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  • room101therapy

I am seeing many more clients approach me for help with their anxiety and stress levels. Our ever-changing world with new rules and regulations being announced on a regular basis is impacting more and more people as we struggle to navigate what is allowed and what isn’t. Add to that where it applies and where it doesn’t brings another level of uncertainty and confusion.


As human beings, we don’t generally like change, we like our routines and perhaps even our rules, at least that way, everyone knows what to do and when to do it. With constant change happening, it is not surprising that we start to feel ‘rattled’ that feeling of being unsettled, unsure and a little out of sorts. When that happens time after time, it can lead to our flight and fight response being triggered more than it should, leaving us with worrying more about the ‘what ifs’ which can be extremely unhelpful and to some, very damaging.


My sister and I had a villa booked in Tenerife for the month of July and in the months running up to it, the ever-changing travel advice was confusing, should we cancel, should we go, what were the rules, what was the right thing to do? We waited and waited and eventually decided to go because although it was on the amber list, The Foreign Office did not include the islands in their Essential Travel Only advice.


Once the decision was made, we should have been looking forward to an amazing wonderful working trip to the sunshine for a whole month – but it wasn’t as simple as that.


On a normal trip, the biggest worry is about remembering your passport, this year was different. What tests did we need? Tests before leaving the UK, paperwork to enter the Country, pre-departure tests before coming home, quarantine rules, passenger location forms, tests when back home, day 2, day 8, test to release.......


Well, I had the dubious task of sorting all of these out, I sought advice from BA on their rules, I sought advice from their recommended suppliers of testing kits and tried to learn all I needed to learn so that we wouldn’t get caught out and be on the wrong side of the rules and boy, did I find it stressful. I was not only responsible for all my tests but my sister’s too and that felt like a big weight.


Fortunately for us, days before the departure, Spain changed their rules so it was only a form to fill in. Did I have the right online one? Had I completed it correctly, WHAT IF I had got any of it wrong, WHAT IF the authorities demanded something else, WHAT IF one of us had done it right and the other hadn’t and so it went on. Well, we got Immigration without a hitch and then we could relax, right? No! I then spent the rest of the month with this niggling voice saying, well you have to do it all in reverse, WHAT IF, you get the test wrong or fail it. WHAT IF, the airline doesn’t accept it, well you get the idea, and again, so it went on.


When it was time to go home, it all went without a hitch, the online test was carried out, we were both negative, we flew home, my sister went to her house in London and I travelled home to Scotland to sit out my 10 day quarantine.


And then day 2 came, time to take my test, I got out my kit, went to register it on the Govt website and it came up with barcode not recognised, over and over and for one moment, the panic began to rise..... the WHAT IFS had happened, I didn’t account for this, it wasn’t in my thinking, the research I had done to get everything just right had gone wrong somewhere. WHAT did I do now? All the planning had gone wrong, and I was breaking the rules, what were the consequences of that, was someone going to come knocking on my door, a big fine – who knew?


After a few breathing exercises, I realised that there had to be a way through this, stressing, and worrying wouldn't resolve the problem or help in any way. The only option was that I had to take control of my thinking and take action and so I did, I asked myself what I could do about the situation because I couldn’t change the fact that there was a problem.


Well, I won’t bore you with the details but many phone calls later, it turned out that all my research hadn’t taken into account that there were different rules in Scotland and England as to where you could purchase the day 2 & 8 tests from. In England, you can buy from Private Companies (as BA recommended) but these aren’t valid in Scotland. You can only purchase via the Scottish Government website from one supplier (don’t get me started on that monopoly, to add insult to injury, the processing lab is in England but that is another matter).


So, the moral of the story is that you can research, plan, do everything you can to minimise problems but sometimes things do go wrong, and when they do, think about what you CAN control and what action you CAN take to begin moving forward. The alternative will leave you stuck in a place of worry and anxiousness that won’t change anything other than to leave you feeling awful.


Here are some tips to help you navigate that oh sh!t moment


Conscious Breathing

This is a great interrupt and an easy to remember, simple technique to use when your anxiety levels start to rise. 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 breathing

Take a deep breath in through your nose, completely filling your lungs for four seconds Hold this breath for four seconds Let out your breath emptying your lungs until they are fully deflated for four seconds Do this four times

Breathing techniques work by giving you something to focus on and stimulating your vagus nerve, calming chemicals are released into your body bringing about a soothing effect.


Grounding

Focus your attention on your surroundings to interrupt your negative thinking by Identifying the following things in your immediate area

5 things that you can SEE 4 things that you can FEEL 3 things that you can HEAR

2 things that you can SMELL

1 thing that you can TASTE


Acceptance

We often worry about things that are out of control and catastrophise about the potential outcome.

Ask yourself, can I change the situation? If yes, then create a strategy on how to implement change and do it differently. If the answer is no, and you are unable to change the situation then accept that it is the way it is, and that no amount of worrying will influence the outcome. Your energy will be wasted.


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  • room101therapy

There is no question that lockdown has contributed to our waistlines getting bigger and so many of us are interested in #weightloss plans and #diets to work on our #weightmanagement and are constantly searching for ways of how to lose weight fast.


Less activity on the daily commute, more reaching for treats and / or alcohol to comfort ourselves when our anxiety begins to rise, when the boredom kicks in, the frustration hits, the celebration of birthdays and successes or when sadness takes over upon receiving bad news.


We are unwittingly taught from a young age to use food as a comfort and a crutch for all sorts of situations, positive and negative.


Unfortunately, reaching for food or alcohol as a comfort has a short lasting effect. The sugar rush spikes our insulin levels and gives us that feel good factor but as the insulin in our system crashes, it has the opposite effect of lowering our mood and often adding guilt into the mix.


The more we eat and drink, the worse the problem becomes and then we hit the point of wanting or needing to lose weight and we seek a quick fix solution, perhaps the latest diet plan as hailed by celebrities, a plan that our friend has tried and been successful with perhaps? Often, these diets tend to be very restrictive and unsustainable in the long term without a good support network and a cast iron will.


So how can we lose weight for the long term?


1. Well the first step is to be realistic with your goals. Let's do some maths and make some assumptions .......

A woman's recommended daily intake is 2000 calories (less if you are menopausal) which equates to 14,000 calories per week. One pound of fat is reported to be made up of 3,500 calories. Generally it is recommended that we should not lose more than 2 pounds of fat a week for healthy weight loss though most people want to lose much more each week.

So... a non-menopausal woman needs to reduce her weekly calorie intake BY HALF to lose 2 pounds of fat a week i.e. eating only 1,000 calories a day to attain this loss. That is a huge reduction and so you can see how unrealistic it is to expect to lose more on an ongoing basis without pretty much starting yourself.


2. Look at your diet - I mean, really look at your diet and your portion control. A rainbow pate of food is highly recommended. Eating all the food groups, protein, fats, carbohydrates are important to have a balanced diet that provides you with the nutrients that you require. Importantly though, portion size is most key. Our plates tend to have gotten bigger, we heap food on to our plates and eat whatever is put in front of us. Bearing in mind the calorie intake above, those portions need to be controlled. Try mindful eating where you chew food for longer, you put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Perhaps talk to someone, this really can slow down how much you eat and let your brain recognise and send the ‘I’m full’ signals. Oh, and stop eating when you get that signal!


3. Think about exercising more. This could be walking, dancing, housework, going to the gym, taking the stairs instead of the lift. Little changes make a big difference, and your mental health will thank you for it too.


4. Water, water everywhere.... Keeping hydrated is so important for our body’s health. Sometimes we mistake being hungry for being thirsty so keep your water intake up – little and often throughout the day is best.


5. Stress!!!! Did you know that when you are stressed, your body doesn’t optimise food processing? In fact, what happens is that your body stores excess calories as fat so that they can be used when the fight or flight process kicks in. As we don’t run away from sabre tooth tigers any more (which is how our metabolism evolved) the fat gets converted and stays with us. So look at how you can ‘de-clutter’ your lifestyle. What can you do to outsource, stop or change some of things in your life that are causing you to feel anxious?


6. Seek support. There are lots of professionals out there that can help you on a one-to-one basis or perhaps a group program. We all work differently and finding what suits you best is key.


I was thrilled to receive a wonderful review from one of my clients recently who had worked with me where we fitted a hypnotic gastric band. We initially met because she was struggling with restless legs syndrome and wanted help. I wasn’t sure if hypnotherapy could give her any relief but we both agreed to give it a try and the outcome was very positive.


She then explained that she had tried all the diets going and just couldn’t lose weight. She was unhappy, feeling sluggish, miserable and generally fed up with her world. Lockdown was causing stress and anxiety and she felt ‘stuck’. We worked through the virtual gastric band sessions and since then she has worked slowly and steadily towards her goal and she continues to lose weight at a sensible pace which will hold her in good stead for the long term.


If you would like to know more about virtual gastric band or weight management sessions then I would love to hear from you to explore whether I may be able to offer he support and missing link that you need to get you on your own journey.


To book a free consultation CLICK HERE




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  • room101therapy

Brain fog, forgetfulness and then downright stupidity. Menopause Madness!


I am lucky enough to be away on a working trip at the moment, somewhere warm and in the wonderful company of my sister. She is somewhere I admire immensely, very smart, and I always learn loads of new ‘stuff’ when we are together as well as eating wonderful food, experiencing new things and having a lot of belly laughs and maybe the odd fractious moment, but all totally normal.


We were having a conversation the other evening; well, it was an attempt at a conversation because menopausal brain fog and stupidity seemed to take over. We spent about twenty minutes talking about films and actresses / actors without being able to name one of them!!!! Our chatter consisted of...


Me..... do you remember that film, I can’t remember what it was called but it had that woman in it and lots of rabbits, she was also in that series, but only played The Queen in the later episodes? Nope, I can’t remember her name, but she won an award and is in lots of programs at the moment. Hang on let me Google it. (Olivia Coleman in The Favourite, The Crown).


Sister.... I loved that series with that woman who was also in that detective program years ago that I didn’t watch, she was part of a double act, male and female actors. She was also in the one that Olivia Coleman was in, she played Margaret Thatcher (The Crown), oh, I know the actress and the series you mean – I can’t remember what it was called though – I’ll Google it (Gillian Anderson - The Fall).


And so, our conversation went on and on, round and round in circles making no sense and we laughed so much about the things we couldn’t remember and that was ok. It was trivia and it was only us, although I did get a little bit irked about not remembering anyone BUT what about when brain fog and senior moments happen when you are at work or it is about remembering something important?


Continually forgetting things can be scary, you start to question your mental health, you worry about what is going on and you begin to wonder if you are suffering the early onset of dementia, is it an illness, is there something seriously wrong with you?


Did you know that perimenopause /menopause could be the reason? Our hormones could be at the centre of much of this disruption.


I want to share a fascinating article that I read recently about the relationship of estrogen and its effect on the brain which helps explain what is going on. Niki Bezzant, writer and journalist interviews Dr Lisa Mosconi,PHD.


https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/teach-me/122294106/women-midlife-moods-and-madness-the-truth-about-perimenopause?fbclid=IwAR2_FGbNd0JfbN12U-ab2CSocy0F1uJwA7Hq3YnCDAnUv34CFRRz_HSlpwQ


In summary, women’s brains are very different to men’s and rely on estrogen to help them function. When estrogen levels begin to fluctuate and drop, we start to experience these lapses in memory but is there anything you can do to help to support your brain function?


The great new is.... yes!


From the interview, Dr Mosconi says....

Diet is important. She favours a Mediterranean pattern of eating “plant-based foods, front and centre. Focus on vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Smaller amounts of fish especially, and then meat, which was always meant to be a treat.” She emphasises the importance of fibre, which she calls our “best friend for oestrogen balancing”; and eating foods rich in the natural estrogens known as phytoestrogens. “Even though they are there in very small amounts and they have a very mild action on the body and brain, if you eat them consistently enough for a long period of time, they seem to actually have a positive effect,” she says. Whole and fermented soy foods such as edamame, tempeh and miso are standouts here, along with flax seed oil.

Another piece of the puzzle is stress. “We don’t talk enough about stress as a brain disruptor or something that can really negatively affect hormonal health and precipitate menopause.” She says we should find ways to ease the stress in our lives “as something that really supports the health of your hormones and your body and your brain”.

We also need to talk more about menopause and ageing in general. “I think we really need to change the conversation around menopause entirely. We need to be able to manage it better, and also revamp it from a social perspective where women are not afraid of entering this phase of their lives, where there’s an understanding of number one, what’s happening. You’re not losing your mind. There’s something objective and measurable and quantifiable and predictable that’s happening inside your brain that we can most likely support and reverse and manage for you, so that the entire rest of your life is a wonderful experience instead of something you’re not looking forward to.”


Well, it is my mission to talk more about menopause, I help educate women first and foremost. I then help with their journey to make this time of change, an empowering process, one that should be embraced and not feared.


If you would like to chat with me about your menopause symptoms, your experience, your curiosity and wish to learn more, then I would love to hear from you and you can book a complimentary call with me here.


Warm wishes


Coral



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