Keeping balance in your life

Balance in your life

Life is busy isn’t it? It’s not always easy to keep a good balance in your life.

My summer ihas been full of wonderful opportunities, as well as everyday life, increasing family needs and an unexpected difficult issue that needed my time and focus for a while.

Does any of that resonate with you?!

So it’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper.

I’ve now completed 9 of 11 planned trips away. A mixture of holidays, developmental courses (with Dr Richard Bandler, Paul McKenna and Steve Wells), visiting friends, voluntary work and long dance weekends. I feel blessed.

But I’ve noticed feeling a little underlying tiredness lately.

Good things can be stressful

If you’ve heard my talk ‘Recognising Stress Early’, you will know that even good things can be stressful. In it I advise taking the time to notice how you feel physically and emotionally, and then do something about how you feel if needed.

Seems like it’s time to follow my own advice.

But I’ve noticed when we decide we know the reason for something it can close our minds to other possibilities.

Take time out

And the busier we are, the more likely this to happen. So I didn’t want to just blame it on my busy life, or the heatwave we were experiencing (remember that?), without checking in with myself properly.
So I decided to focus on this tiredness during swap sessions. This is when I get together with a fellow practitioner and we work on our own stuff. I also had a chat with a dietitian

These sessions brought a number of things to the forefront of my attentionMy life has changed a bit in the last 2 years. I’m dancing more – great, I love it!

But, I have hardly any time in the evenings for cooking foods that I would keep in the fridge to snack on. So my diet has suffered a little. And I learned that it is now thought important to eat protein at every meal – at my age!

The summer evenings were also a time when I would garden and do all sorts of jobs. Now these things were getting pushed into the day.

The knock on
effect is that the bigger jobs that need doing, de-cluttering and decorating, have been getting left.

During a swap session, I identified that clutter was impacting me much more than I’d realised. It wasn’t so much being busy that was leaving me feeling tired, as my overwhelm at what I hadn’t been getting done.

Overwhelm can be exhausting

Overwhelm saps your energy and is demotivating. No wonder I was feeling tired.<What can I do about all of this?
Well I love my paper diary, so I plan to use it even more:

1/ To block out time in my diary to make healthy snacks. I also intend to eat before I get ravenous, as feeling extremely hungry often results in poor food choices leading to tiredness. If you like the look of my Raw Brownies why not try them yourself?

2/ To block out 2 days at a time in my diary for those bigger jobs. Even if I can’t get to de-clutter until the Autumn and Winter when we’re not so busy with outside jobs.

I know I can’t do it all overnight.

But if it’s planned, I can relax at the times when I can’t get to it instead of being overwhelmed.

Baring in mind, of course, that life is what happens when we’re making plans! I might need to be flexibly inflexible with my plans.

Life’s all about balance.

But we have to notice when we’re out of balance and take action to move back into balance.

We can’t do everything
.

We can only make the best choices for us that we can. When something good comes into life that requires time and attention, it can be useful to also focus on what needs to change to accommodate it.

£5, Parachuting & Me

I’m not sure when I developed a fear of heights.  As a child I climbed trees but I grew to be a shy, anxious, introverted teenager.

My first jump. We didn’t have tandem jumping when I was training!

I found two things I loved.  Playing the piano – but only for myself!  And dancing.  In my mid-teens I as was introduced to Ballroom and Latin American dancing.  When I was 18, my examiners started to encourage me to compete.  At the time, there were more girls than boys dancing, this made finding a suitable partner difficult.  I also wondered whether I’d love it as much, as I’d need to spend most of my free time practising.

So, instead of dancing competitively I joined 18+.  A local social club for 18 to 30 year olds.  I got involved in lots of activities.  Often they’d finish with a take away and a group of us putting the world to rights into the early hours.

Fear of heights

On one occasion we went to the theatre.  We ended up with seats high-up in the circle. I walked happily (whilst laughing and joking with friends) through the door to the circle. I suddenly found myself violently frozen to the spot.  The height hadn’t dawned on me at all! Now, having walked into the circle, I was faced with a steep drop down into the stalls.  Every muscle in my body felt rigid.  My friends took my arms and somehow managed to drag, push and manoeuvre me to my seat.  It was a very uncomfortable experience, and the first time I’d realised the effect my fear of heights could have on me.

Here we are getting ready to jump. I’m second from the right with a big smile!

Jump out of an aeroplane? Me?

A while later the chairman of Bromsgrove 18+ asked if I’d do a sponsored parachute jump to raise money for charity.  I was horrified!  How could he ask me to do such a thing?  Since the evening at the theatre, my fear of heights wasn’t exactly a secret. I rounded on him saying, “don’t be stupid, I’m terrified of heights!” or words to that effect… I wasn’t prepared to entertain the idea – at the time anyhow.

Back at home I was very indignant as I ranted on to my Dad about the Chairman’s request.  He listened quietly and then, without any memorable comment, went off to do something else.  “That’s odd” I thought.  But, at least I’d been able to let off steam a bit. Sometime later he casually came back and said, “if you do the parachute jump I’ll sponsor you £5.00.”

Aren’t Dad’s supposed to protect their daughters?!

Well, it gave me the push to decide I could do it. And I’m glad it did. Conquering this fear is just one of many challenges I would face over the coming years.

I also continue to do my bit for charity.  Last year I supported the Midlands Air Ambulance’s 25th Anniversary celebrations and 2017 will be my second year supporting Healing Hands Network in Sarajevo.

Group talks

The lovely ladies of Swanpool WI recently gave me my first opportunity to deliver this new talk. So, in addition to my popular Hereford & Worcester’s 1st female paramedic and Recognising Stress Early talks you can now book £5, Parachuting & Me.

See the my full list of group talks.

When are you going to write your book?


This was the question I was asked by one of the 60 or so members, of the ‘Bromsgrove NHS Retirement Fellowship’ group earlier this week. Very flattering, nonetheless the voice in the back of my head questions that a whole hour (or so) of me rabbiting on isn’t enough? But I keep getting this message, and find myself thinking, maybe I just might…..!

Later in the day I also got to speak to Hollywood WI, a smaller group of about 20 lovely ladies, and after I’d finished they agreed I could take a picture, it’s not great quality but you can see their lovely smiles.

My thanks go to both groups for their donations in support of my continued work in Sarajevo.

“I never looked at my watch once!”

Stress Medic group talksIn addition to my one 2 one client sessions I am very lucky to have a busy schedule of Stress Medic group talks. My latest was last Thursday for the Wyre Forest Friendship group meeting, held at Stourport Community Centre. Megan, who booked me to talk, was smiling and relieved when I arrived, with just 5 minutes remaining before the start of their meeting. I’d taken a wrong turn on the way and been held up by roadworks.

Wyre Forest Friendship Centre is a thriving group. Fifty or so of the members had arrived for the meeting. I often talk to WI groups, which I really enjoy, but it was nice to see a mixed audience.

They had chosen my most popular talk ‘Hereford & Worcester’s 1st Female Paramedic’. This has a lot of content and, noting that no one was yawning, I will admit I did run over a little. This really is not something to be encouraged in a speaker! So, that’s why I was delighted at how surprised a gentleman seemed when he came to tell me “I never looked at my watch once, and I always do!”

I chatted with several of the members over a cup of tea and biscuits. It was a lovely way to spend a morning and my thanks go to Megan for inviting me.

If you are looking for a different talk for your group or society, you can find a list of my Stress Medic group talks here.

Image courtesy of www.stourportcommunitycentre.co.uk

Fundraising event for 2017 Sarajevo trip

Sarajevo fundraiser - The Stress Medic

I’ve made the commitment to return to Sarajevo next April! To help continue the wonderful voluntary work of Healing Hands Network. Imagine how amazed and delighted I was when Rose Hutton of Astley Music Group contacted me to offer me a fundraising event, to kick start my fundraising for the trip. In fact they did two, raising a total of £150 which is a fabulous boost towards the £800 I need to raise.

You can make a donation here

About the fundraising event

I was delighted when Rose contacted me. How amazing to be offered a fundraising event to support me going back to Sarajevo with Healing Hands Network – helping to continue the charities work with those suffering as a result of the war. Naturally I accepted, having just made the commitment to return to Sarajevo next April, this would be the perfect boost to start my £800 of required fundraising. In fact they ran two events for me and raised a fabulous £150.

Rose organises regular charity events and supports many charities, and she is very good at it. I could only attend the first event because I had another commitment to Healing Hands Network, but we had a wonderful evening of comedy and song in October, and I’m sure the second event was equally entertaining.

On the 8th October our entertainers were Kelly Louise and Dave Chance. Kelly Louise has a beautiful, clear voice and performed a wide repertoire of songs, and is no stranger to comedy. Dave Chance is a comedian, and had the room in stitches, but he’s also a singer and has an excellent voice, it was a great combination. The evening was such good value, with a ploughmans supper included and a raffle with many donated prizes. A lovely evening was had by all and I am so grateful for everyone’s support.