Merry Christmas!

The day is almost here: presents have been bought and wrapped, the fridge is stocked full of food and only the turkey to pick up tomorrow. I’m full of cold but tonight I feel that, at last, I’m almost there. I feel that I can sit back, relax….until the day itself….and chill.

Every now and again, I have to remind myself what Christmas is about…for me at least.

I have a little nativity scene that I’ve had for years, since my boys were tiny, that gets brought down from the attic every December. I take the stable out of the box, straw falling off it’s roof every year. I unwrap the little figurines from their bubble wrap; the wise men, the shepherds, the angel, the animals, Mary and Joseph and finally the baby Jesus. It serves to remind me of the true meaning of Christmas so it doesn’t get lost in the amount of money spent on presents, food and drink.

As the years have gone by and my boys have grown up and have left home, the meaning of Christmas for me, has changed. Yes, I still remember the Christmas story but for me, it’s more about my family. It’s about us spending precious time together; still eating, still drinking, still playing Monopoly and Who’s in the Bag, but also just being in each others company, just enjoying the time together that we no longer get to do as we spend our time apart; at work, at university, just living our lives. 

So, whatever type of Christmas you have, take a moment to reflect on what it means to you and don’t get lost in the stress of it all. Nothing is ever perfect and things will go wrong; the food may not be perfect, you may not get the present you desired, you may be suffering from a rubbish cold, you may rub each other up the wrong way at times, but try to remember what this time of year means to you. Spending it with the people who mean something to you; be that family or friends or whoever is special in your life is what’s important.

Be in the moment and be grateful for what and who you have in your life. 

May you have the Merriest of Christmases!

Pause. Breathe. Cry if you Must……..

Pause. Breathe. Cry if you must…..

There are days when the weight of the world is on our shoulders. 

There are days when we can’t pull ourselves out of our own minds.

There are days when all we want to do is lay under the duvet and shut out the world.

There are days when we feel so sad or so overwhelmed or so anxious that all we want to do is cry.

There are days when we can’t quite see the way forward, the way out, the way back into the light.

But find a way out we must……and we will.

One step, one baby step, left foot forward, right foot forward, body follows. For just one moment, for just one minute, for just one hour, for just one day. And then day follows day.

Our feelings come. And our feelings go. That’s the way they work. And go they will. 

The greyness gets lighter. The weight on your shoulders gets lighter. The grey cloak that envelops you, slowly slowly unfurls from your body. And your mind feels that little bit clearer and a soft glow of light creeps in again. Not a grey light but a soft-focus yellow haze.

And each day will get better. 

Because out there, waiting for you, are your friends, your loved ones. Waiting patiently for you to feel better.

They are there for you and you must know that. 

Even strangers who you don’t know but who know your pain; your sadness, your overwhelm, your anxiety are waiting patiently for you.

One day at a time. In your own time.

Pause. Breathe. Cry if you must. But keep going.


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What’s Scary about Change?

I’m a Flip-Flop type of girl but…….


Are you comfortable with change?

I am. I like change. Whether it’s my hair from long to short or from bleach blond to dark brown, or the position of the furniture in my house…I love a change-a-round.

September heralds in the new school year, the new university year, a new autumn, a new routine after the long summer holidays. And I’m okay with that. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE summer. I love wearing flip flops, I love the feeling of freedom not having to wear coats and boots, I love impromptu BBQ’s, I love sitting out in the garden in the evening with a glass of wine, I love the light mornings and the evenings that stretch on. BUT…. I also love the change of seasons.

I love Autumn days with a blue sky and the turning of the leaves. I love closing my curtains and lighting candles. I love feeling cosy. I love bundling up in a jumper, my joggies and my uggs. I like the feeling of shutting out the world and being in my home with a good book or watching Strictly… Autumn is my time to hunker down and that suits me and my personality too.  

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace this change in the year rather than battle against it. It’s a bit of a mindset, isn’t it? If you can shift your perspective then it becomes easier to deal with. This is true in so many different contexts.

When my youngest started University last year, it was a real change for me. It affected me harder than I thought it would, harder than when my eldest went off to Uni. Suddenly it was just me and Mr B! How would we get on without anyone else in the house. Would we be okay? Would we have enough to chat about? Would we enjoy each other’s company again?! I had my work to keep me busy but I still found the change difficult. I almost felt bereft and I think it has taken me this whole year to come to terms with the fact that my boys have flown the nest, that I am no longer needed like I once was. It was easier for me to accept this when I changed my mindset to one of acceptance; to one where I gave myself a pat on the back for having raised my two boys and for the two of them being happy to fly!

When my mum had to move into a care home, I felt such anxiety as that was the last thing she had ever wanted to happen to her. Unfortunately, her Dementia laid her open to accidents and a vulnerability that was truly worrying. On the day she had to move in we all broke our hearts but as soon as she was there my mindset changed to ‘thank God, we got her in here where she is safe, warm, has regular hot food and is looked after and before anything happened to her’. That change in mindset took me from distress to thankfulness. 

I have been in jobs where things haven’t worked out and there has been conflict or a dissatisfaction with the work. When you are in that situation it is hard to get perspective and often it’s not until you have walked away that perspective comes into focus. We can hang onto regrets and feelings of unfairness or being mistreated in some way….but at the end of the day, what good is it doing you to hold onto this? The chances are that the only person who is holding onto it is you, and it is dragging you down and sapping your energy. Learn from what has happened, and move on. Be aware of the part you yourself played  and learn how to change so that doesn’t happen the next time. If the behaviour and the reactions came from another person, then you will have learned better how to deal with that type of person. You can change how you react and respond but you have no control over how someone else reacts.

It is through my coaching training that I have learned how to change my mindset and to see the learning from different situations I have been in, and continue to find myself in. Life happens and it’s how you deal with it that is important; it’s the lessons you learn from what happens to you. It’s how you pick yourself up and carry on. There are always going to be tough times and times when our life changes and not always for the best; life isn’t one big fat bowl of cherries;  painful things happen, change happens but when you learn to embrace the  change and see things with a different mindset, it can really, truly help.


If anything in my blog has resonated with you and you feel that stress & anxiety life coaching could help you then email me now for a chat:  or call me on 07984 954304.

You can download my free PDF, 7 Super-Simple Strategies for Worrying Less by simply filling in your details at the side of this page and clicking ‘Download’.


A-Level Failure=End of the Road

A-Level Failure =End of the Road

I have a friend whose child didn’t do as well in their A-level results as expected and it got me thinking as to how that disappointment affects someone. Is this their first real disappointment in life? What is its immediate impact? Does it carry through life with them? How does it affect their dreams and hopes?

I fired off a number of texts to past clients and friends who are anywhere between 4 and 10 years past their A-levels and asked them if they had experienced any disappointment with exam results.

I also asked if their results had impacted on what they then did with their life, if the results had changed the direction in which they travelled and if there had been any kind of learning from their disappointment. The replies that came back from those who had experienced this amazed me!


I got to the same destination but I was a stronger candidate because I had experienced failure.

It made me work 100% harder and I took my studies far more seriously.

I realised how much you have to fight sometimes for what you want.

I’ve learned more out of my difficult times than my easy ones.

I’m where I want to be now because I stuck with it and put in the hard work.

I needed the disappointment to push me in the right direction.

Wow! Some of us travel that straight road…..and I was one of them. I had different disappointments in life that taught me a lot about myself but not until I was older. My hat is off to those above who had to deal with it at 18 years old when they were full of hope on that August A-level results day.

We don’t always get to travel that straight road; our road could include bumps, diversions, roadworks, hairpin bends, the lot!


But do you know what? 

They learned valuable lessons from that disappointment and very probably it made them all the stronger because of it. So, no, A-level “failure” does not =end of the road. It’s just the beginning of a beautiful new one.

I don’t think it matters if you are an 18 year old just starting out, a grown-up with a mortgage and kids, or someone in their 40’s or 50’s with a dream, a hope, a desire to get from their A to B. It’s what’s inside us that matters. It’s how determined we are to get there, it’s how much we desire to succeed in whatever our endeavour may be. THAT’S what will make us travel that road from A to B.

Stuff the shape or the length of the road. We’ve got this.

“The road is there, it will always be there. You just have to decide when to take it.”

Do you agree? Did you have a disappointment in life that led you down a different road but gave you valuable life lessons? Comment below, it would be great to read them!


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Are you suffering from a Case of the Comforts? 5 Ways to Step Out of your Comfort Zone

Are you suffering from a case of the Comforts? 5 Ways to Step out of your Comfort Zone

Are you comfortable? Too comfortable? Lay down and scratch my tummy comfortable?

Signs to look out for:
Always sit in the same chair
Drink the same drink. Go to the same bars and clubs.
Speak to the same people at work. Go to a party and speak to the same people.
Eat the same type of food at the same type of restaurants.
Feel that you should be recognised at work but not willing to become visible.
Feel free to fill in your own scenario here……

Oh yes, sounds like you have a case of the comforts! Same thing, same people, day in and day out. I know you feel damned comfortable here but are you stretching and growing? Feeling excited and challenged? OR are your symptoms boredom, dullness and stagnation? Mmmm time to move yourself into the Stretch Zone (next one along from the Comfort Zone but before you reach the Panic Zone) before you turn round, see that years have gone by and nothing has changed.

The Stretch Zone
A zone where you can be just a little brave or indeed, a big bit brave! A place of exploration and adventure, a place where you can feel life zinging along with the wind rustling your hair. It’s a place where we try things we haven’t done in a long time or have never done before. Yikes! Scary? Well, maybe a little but it’s an exciting-scary. It may not be very comfortable…at first…but it is definitely stimulating…and it’s where we learn, where we stretch ourselves physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s good to move into this zone now and again as it gets us feeling more comfortable with this feeling of discomfort. It helps our confidence grow and it will allow your stretch zone to grow so that we will find it easier to step out of our comfort zone when we want to or need to.

5 small ways to treat a case of the comforts.

  1. Next time you’re at work/at a party/socialising go and talk to someone you don’t know. Say hello and introduce yourself. Ask them how long they’ve worked here/what they do/who they work with/how they know the hosts /do they live locally…’ll be really happy that you have been brave enough to do this and you might even enjoy finding out about someone new!
  2. Smile at someone you pass in the street/in the coffee shop/the school run/on your commute to work. Try to make this a daily habit. I guarantee it will make you feel good and do you know what? You will have made someone else feel good too.
  3. Set aside a day at the weekend or when you are off work and do something completely different. Do an activity you wouldn’t normally do e.g. go for that bike ride or go try that zumba class. Or visit somewhere you wouldn’t normally go e.g. the museum you have often thought about, the other coffee shop that you never go to.
  4. Put yourself forward to do something at work. Speak out at a meeting, put yourself forward for a project, something that will make you feel uncomfortable and take you out of your comfort zone but that won’t send you screaming into the Panic Zone.
  5. Give compliments. I enjoy giving compliments. As long as they are heartfelt then they will be well received. You can make someone’s day. The opposite side of that coin is to receive a compliment with grace. Don’t dismiss it when someone says how good your hair looks/your skin is glowing/that colour really suits you. Say thank you and accept it. It makes you feel good and it also makes the person giving the compliment feel good.


Your S-T-R-E-T-C-H Challenge

What would be a good way for you to step out of your comfort zone? What step (as small or big as you feel) could you take to do just one thing to take you into your stretch zone?
Would you like to commit to doing something? Go on, comment in the box below what you are going to do and when you are going to do it by. Easy peasy.

I don’t just talk the talk. I walk the walk:-)
Click the link below to go onto my Facebook page  to find out what challenge I gave myself!



Does Superwoman Even Exist?


Does Superwoman Even Exist?  (Superman, if you’re a bloke!)               

Well I certainly can’t lay claim to having any super powers, but then I don’t claim to be Superwoman! I do my best to be everything to everyone who is important in my life; a good mum, a good wife, daughter, friend, sister……but I know there are times I fall short. Life tends to get in the way; work, family, timetables, deadlines, house stuff, and when my children were younger it was school stuff, homework, after school stuff…..lots of stuff!!

On one of my FB posts I talked about how we react to stress. It could be that you turn to comfort food, or you may get tense muscles in your neck or shoulders or your jaw. It could be that you get tearful or you get irritable with your family or colleagues. It could be that you become very negative. You might hit the alcohol more than you know is probably good for you or you might feel the need to start smoking again or to increase the number you smoke as you try to feel more relaxed. Another way you might react is when you ‘go in on yourself’ where you don’t want to socialise with friends, you don’t want to meet up for that drink and you just want to be by yourself.

On another FB post I talked about recognising your stressors (what triggers your stress). Is it getting the kids out the door in the morning, is it the commute to work, is it the deluge of emails that come through your inbox? Is it the colleague who wears you down, the list of ‘to do’ items in your notebook or phone? Whatever it is, once you recognise that it is a trigger then you can begin to deal with it.

I am human and I am someone who gets overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate. Before my coaching training I don’t think I handled it very well. I wasn’t as aware as I am now. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees if you like. But I do now and here are some techniques that help me:

  • I cut back on what I’m doing. I look at my diary and pare it down if I can. What meeting can you miss? What can you delegate? Where can you give yourself a break and say ‘actually, I’m going to bow out of this to give myself some space and time.’ I had a client who was a full time working woman who had many commitments outside of work. During our session we did a simple exercise to see which area of her life she could focus on removing some of the stress.When I first suggested this she wouldn’t entertain the idea that she could change anything as she was committed to so many things and had to be there. In our next session she told me that she had thought about it again and agreed to drop a couple of commitments for a few weeks to give her time ‘to breathe’. Where can you cut back?


  • If I have a meeting with a client somewhere, I check my directions (even with Sat Nav!) and I leave earlier than I need to take account of traffic jams. I am happy to sit in my car and read through notes etc than feel panicked that I am going to be late. Even when I hit traffic, I’m calm, I know I’m not going to be late as I’ve left in plenty of time. And even if I am I don’t stress….I recognise that a traffic jam is out of my control…there’s nothing I can do and stressing certainly isn’t going to help.


  • Sleep. This is a biggy! There are so many scientific studies out there to show us what happens when we get insufficient sleep. It affects our immune system, our judgement and our mood. They say between 7-9 hours. This is a real trigger for me. As my family can testify, I need my sleep! I can be grumpy, unfocused and lack energy when I’m tired…and if the sleeplessness lasts for any length of time, my mood can tumble. I take great care to have enough sleep and for me this is between 7 and 8 hours.


  • Exercise. When I work at well-being days in large companies and organisations and I’m talking about Resilience, the biggest thing that comes up when people say how they deal well with pressure is that they exercise! They go to the gym, they run, they walk (by themselves or with their dog), they cycle, they walk to work/go out and walk at lunchtime. We know that exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones) and has a host of other health benefits. I do a 20 minute walk before work in the morning and it sets me up for the work day ahead. What could you do if you don’t already?


  • Relaxation Techniques. Whether it’s Pilates, Yoga, meditations, deep breathing etc the important point here is that you are in a calm, relaxed state and your mind is in the moment, focusing on your body rather than any worries or stresses in your head. 


  • It’s good to talk. Yes, that old chestnut! Whether it’s the girls, your mates, a work colleague, EAP, family or someone on the end of the phone. It helps to connect, to have support. Talking can bring you clarity and a different perspective. Use whoever you feel comfortable with as a sounding board for what’s going on in your head. Journaling is also a great way to get stresses out in the open and gain some emotional relief. Buy yourself a beautiful notebook or just use your laptop or phone. Whatever works.


So, don’t feel the need to be Superwoman! She’s a myth. We do what we can to have a balanced life where we work hard but also have the time for self-care and enjoying what and who we have in our life.


“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”


If Stress affects you and you feel that my Address the Stress package would help, send me a message to arrange a chat to see how I can help.




The Monster Under the Bed

Do you have a monster under your bed? I sure do! 

But I’ll let you in on a secret. My monster doesn’t have sharp claws, or red-rimmed eyes, or a gaping rip where his mouth should be. Oh no, my monster is more subtle than that. You see my monster isn’t under my bed…he lurks in my head; distracting me from what I’m doing, rearing his head during quiet moments. He’s most visible to me when I’m plucking up the courage to do something….like write my first ever blog, or do my first ever Facebook live. He feeds off insecurity and hesitation. He magnifies my fear about doing something that is out of my comfort zone. Will I look stupid? What if no-one is interested in what I have to say? Wow does he love that? You bet he does! 

So What Do I do?

I’ll tell you what I do! I face my fear. “What, Just like that?!” I hear you cry? No, it isn’t easy and sometimes I spend too long mulling over the pros and cons…but that’s exactly what my monster wants. REMEMBER he feeds off insecurity and hesitation. So I throw those bedclothes aside and I drag him by the scruff of the neck and pull him into the daylight. Ha! He doesn’t look so special, he doesn’t look big and scary now that I’m face to face!

Change your Perception and Face your Fear

In other words, I tackle my mindset! Instead of thinking of all that could go wrong, I concentrate on what will go right. The new friends I will make, the chance to connect with others who travel this road. And, most importantly for me, the chance to share with you tips, advice and information on dealing with Stress & Anxiety and with trying to find Balance in your hectic life. Shall we travel this road together?


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