Health and wellbeing Hypnotherapy Mental Health and Wellbeing

I’m proud of you!

Written by Nat Young – Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

Wherever you are in your life journey right now, I’m proud of you! 

I think many of us need to hear this right now. Whether you’ve managed to shine in 2020 despite everything that’s happened, feel you’ve survived OK but not much more, or you’ve struggled and only just come out the other side, it doesn’t matter. I’m proud of you for just being here.

Reflecting back on the last year, working from home was a godsend for me. Not just bringing classes online and continuing to run the virtual hypnotherapy clinic from home, but also being based at home for my day job. Not having to battle my way into an office meant I was able to embrace the simpler things in life such as getting out for a walk in the fresh air more often, eating lunch with Nick and being home for the boys, even if I was working (full time working parents, I hear ya – home schooling is certainly an interesting time, isn’t it?!)

2020 was also a great year for learning to embrace uncertainty, and what an uncertain year it was! For learning that the world won’t end if I don’t have an exact plan. For distancing myself from the things that don’t serve my mental health positively, to say no if something doesn’t feel right or I simply don’t have the energy for it. For once, I actually started getting enough sleep…! All of these positives were great but I also wasn’t immune to the stress. I feared for Aurora and whether we’d be able to keep going with everything moving online. There were no government grants for us and many setup costs involved with getting online. We’d also already paid for things that we now didn’t need for online sessions. Financially it has been hard. I’m so grateful for the support of all our lovely clients though.

So we’ve now reached 2021. I know that overall we’ve been very fortunate and that not everyone will have had the same experience in 2020. Especially those of you who have been key workers, working on the frontline, have faced unemployment or have lost someone to covid. My heart goes out to all of you.

So how about you? Wherever you are and however you’re feeling, it’s important to give yourself time and space to reflect. To acknowledge. Time to feel. Even if those feelings are painful, they’re important to process. And whenever you’re ready, know that life is about balance and many opportunities are there for the taking, even in adversity. You’re amazing and you deserve health, wellbeing, opportunity and happiness.

Even if you’re glad to see the back of 2020, take time to process what was. Recognise any successes you’ve had (I guarantee there will be something to celebrate, even if it’s just surviving). Leave any 2020 baggage behind and feel proud that you’ve got to 2021. Savour this moment…

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Feeling the pressure to learn?

Written by Nat Young, Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist and Yoga/Pilates Teacher.

I’ve seen so many advertisements for home study courses on social media recently, and at least an equal number of people feeling stressed by the pressure of seeing such things. “Learn this”, “grow that”, “use this time wisely”, “fill your free time!” While some people may be furloughed and have excess time on their hands, many are still working. Even many of those who are furloughed are struggling to be teachers as well as parents or simply trying to survive in a climate that, let’s face it, is really challenging right now. Where’s that free time that so many of these companies seem to think everyone has?!

“The ‘needs’ at the bottom of the pyramid must be met before those at the top.”

I’m reminded of a psychological motivation theory that I learned about while I was studying for my psychology degree many years ago and also revisited when I qualified as a hypno-psychotherapist back in 2015. That theory is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There are several versions of the theory but in simple terms, it’s depicted as a pyramid which shows our needs as human beings. The needs at the bottom of the pyramid must be met before we can even think about those at the top.

At the moment, many of us will be in the ‘physiological needs’ and ‘safety needs’ parts of the pyramid. We’re spending our time surviving and trying to find a place where we feel safe because the current situation has ripped the safety net out from underneath us.

Things like courses and opportunities for growth would be right at the top of the pyramid under ‘esteem’ and perhaps even ‘self actualisation’. Many of us won’t be up on those levels of our pyramids at the moment.

So if you’re feeling the pressure, thinking that you should be ‘using this time wisely’ and wondering why you’re struggling, remind yourself of Maslow’s theory and give yourself a break! There will be plenty of time for learning and growth when you’re feeling grounded again.

Need some help?

If you’re in need of some time to ‘be in the moment’ and recharge your batteries, our mindful yoga and pilates classes could help. If you’re in need of a bit more, why not try a hypnotherapy session with me? Sometimes a chat is all it takes to help you feel better about things.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Why does exercise feel good?

Written by Nick Young – Personal Trainer.

Ever wondered why you feel good after exercising?

Clue: It’s not just because you’re finished! Your body is an amazingly complex organic machine designed to operate in a wide variety of environments. To do this it must be able to regulate itself – a term scientists refer to as homeostasis.

As an example, your body can generate or release heat to regulate the body’s temperature in response to the environment around it. This is why we sweat in heat and shiver in the cold. Another example is the way your body can produce hormones. Insulin or glucose is produced to maintain the glucose levels in your body at the correct levels, ensuring you have sufficient energy for your level of exertion. Homeostasis literally is your body maintaining balance in response to the demands placed upon it.

Runner’s high

When you exercise, you put your body under some stress and discomfort. This naturally impacts upon homeostasis. Under increased exertion, your body deals with the demands placed on it through the release of chemicals – neurotransmitters and hormones. For instance, endorphins actually act in a similar way to morphine (without the addictive qualities!), which relieves this pain and stress. This is often referred to as “runner’s high”.

Many other chemicals are also released – for instance noradrenaline (often referred to as your ‘fight or flight’ response), increases your heart and breathing rate. It also increases your blood sugar levels to give you access to energy more easily and of course as a result of these changes, blood and oxygen flow around your body is increased. Other hormones such as dopamine and serotonin are also released. When the demand for energy is no longer there, your body will stabilise again in response.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise can increase the serotonin levels in your brain. This can boost your mood as well as your appetite and sleep cycle, all of which contribute to that great feeling you get after exercise. There’s also a social aspect to exercise to consider. A shared experience and common goals can also help stimulate this positive response, which is one of the reasons why group exercise classes are hugely popular.

Of course, there’s a lot of science involved here and some scientists disagree as to the relative impact of different hormones on that post-exercise feeling of wellbeing. One thing the scientists all agree on though is that exercise produces positive long term mental benefits.

Whatever the science, most people who exercise regularly agree that exercise stimulates a positive mental response and helps the body to deal with the stress we tackle in our daily lives. So if you’re thinking about trying a yoga class or some personal training, one thing’s for certain – you’ll be getting fitter and stronger but you’ll also be helping your overall mood, wellbeing and ability to deal with stress. What could be better than that?!