Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 2 of 2

Last week I shared the start of my journey from feeling overwhelmed and powerless to creating greater balance and wellbeing.  Having explored the inner wisdom behind what I was feeling I started to work on the underlying emotions and beliefs using EFT.

I also picked out some power cards to see what insight and support they might offer.  For me, this was another way of ‘getting out of my head’, in that I wasn’t rationalising or over-analysing things, which I can tend to do.  Instead the cards, and any wisdom they might bring, would draw on my intuition, something that I wanted to reconnect with.  These are the cards that I drew:

The colour cards were:

  • Bronze – strengthening
  • Purple – for developing mental clarity
  • Pink – encouraging me to let love in
  • Ruby – rejuvenation for the body

The White Lion cards were:

  • creativity
  • trust
  • renew

I found the overlap between the 2 sets very interesting.  It seems that my intuition is telling me to relax, trust and allow love in to renew and strengthen me.  This will then support my mental clarity, allowing my creativity to guide me.

Through these exercises I also became more aware of my need to take the time to rest and reconnect so I used some Reiki, energy exercises and visualisation (using the images from the cards above).  Another important thing for me was to spend time outdoors in Nature, enjoying the energy of the sun and the trees and other plants around me.

these were actually taken on the same day, as part of a mindfulness walk during this process

As a result of working through this process, I felt as if a huge dark cloud was lifting and I had more clarity and determination going forward.  Yet again I was amazed that such ‘simple’ steps could help to start turning things around.  I recognise that the steps aren’t always easy though, and for some of my issues I will need to work with another therapist, rather than trying to deal with them on my own.

Also, I need to remember that, while I feel so much better, this is not an overnight fix!  It took time to get to that low point – a series of small, and not-so-small, things building up to a critical point – so it will also take time to work through them; but I’ve made a start, and I know that this journey will be a learning adventure.

I’m also a believer that things happen when we’re ready, and in the right frame of mind, for them.  Having made this small initial shift, I got a supportive phonecall out of the blue and connected with some wonderful new people.  A couple of days previously I was questioning my ability to carry on with some of the threads of my life and now I’m feeling recharged, excited and grateful again.  I know that I am so blessed to do what I do and I’m looking forward to how things will develop from here.  We really never know what’s just around the corner, or what help or support might suddenly appear, ‘as if by magic’.  As long as we can hold on to Hope then there are still endless possibilities.

If your life is not currently making you happy, you can create a path that works for you.  It’s about finding your balance and not pushing too hard.  Allow your feelings and intuition to guide you while also keeping a clear head to best discern the next step.  And if you feel like you could do with some help at any point, then reach out.  It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

As so many wise teachers have said, it is up to us as individuals to consider What we want and Why we want it and to put our energy into these things in order to create the future that we desire, but the How is not for us to worry about.

If you too have been struggling recently, please remember that you are not alone.  There is a lot going on at the moment, and at a fast pace, which is affecting the energy around us.  Please remember to look after your self.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, look at what needs are not being met and then explore what you can do to support yourself.  This is not being self-centred and selfish in a negative way, it’s self-care which then allows you to be there for others too.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Connecting with others can in itself be very healing.  And if anything here resonates for you, or you have questions about anything that I’ve shared, then please feel free to get in touch:

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

           mobile:           07980 669303

           website:           www.equenergy.com

 

(You can read the full text of this article here)

Advertisements

Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 1 of 2

This topic has been big in the news this year, with Prince Harry working to help change attitudes towards mental health issues:

Prince Harry helping to reduce stigma around mental illness

Prince Harry to help tackle mental health in the armed forces

 

I decided I would share a personal experience as, yet again, I’ve been reminded how fragile our mental health can be and how we need to make a point of looking after our own wellbeing.  On the down side, it can take seemingly ‘small’ things to set ourselves plummeting to the depths, but the reverse can also be true, as often it can be relatively simple things that result in great positive shifts.  Highly Sensitive individuals, those whose Stress Bucket is already heavily loaded, or those who are feeling fragile due to earlier trauma, can be particularly prone to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotion.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed that people around me, both locally and online, have been experiencing considerable challenges, resulting in increased stresses and strains.

I too have had a few testing times, both personally and professionally, and I succumbed to the negative spiral of too much work and not enough ‘play’, leading me to feeling in a very low, dark place.  I lost sight of the fact that life is about enjoying the journey rather than worrying too much about the destination.

Sometimes though, this can be a necessary part of the healing process.  For me ‘hitting the bottom’ acted as a springboard from which I could push off again.  It forced me to take a look at what was really going on, identify the limiting beliefs I was buying into, to realise that these were not Truth, and that they weren’t serving me, or those around me.

This brought me to a new level of self-awareness.  It wasn’t pretty, and I had to remind myself to exercise self-compassion, but it did give me a framework for addressing the issues.  I no longer felt powerless and instead gave me a good grounding from which to create a plan of positive, supportive action.

Thankfully, as a therapist, I have a range of skills that I can use to work on my wellbeing.  I started by looking at what was going on in my body and realised that there was a range of niggling issues that I’ve been largely ignoring, or avoiding, for some time.  Starting to listen and to explore these was a first step, as they connected me to my inner wisdom.  They were my body’s way of communicating that something wasn’t working – that a need was not being met – and they also brought clues about how to address, and hopefully resolve, the issues.

Journaling, particularly somatic journaling (tuning in to, and writing from, the perspective of the body / body part) is a great tool for this, as are grounding and mindfulness exercises, which help to get you out of your head and into your body, and so to move away from that awful feeling of ‘analysis paralysis’ and overwhelm.

Using the information that this gave me, I started working with EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) to further explore my underlying emotions and beliefs.

In next week’s instalment, I’ll share some other steps that I took as part of this process.

 

(You can read the full text of this article here)

Best wishes for the festive season

We’ve just celebrated the Winter Solstice here in the northern hemisphere and I’m excited at the thought that the days are getting longer again and soon it will be the New Year with all the potential of starting a fresh new slate and planning my next steps!

In the meantime I’ll be having some time off to celebrate with family and friends and to rest and reflect over the next week or so.

I’ll still be around and checking in from time to time so if you’d like to get in touch with any questions or to book a session with me, you’re very welcome to drop me a line.

For now I’d just like to send you warm wishes for a wonderful festive season and a very happy and healthy New Year!

 

THE FUTURE OF OUR BEES – Part 5 of 5

Supporting bees and other pollinators

There are now schemes where you can own a part-share in a bee colony.  One example is Adopt-a-Hive Ltd based in Oswestry in Shropshire.  They aim to support bees and raise public awareness.  Their membership pack includes: a bee identification guide; lists of ‘good bee plants’; a packet of wildflower seeds and lots of useful information.  They also welcome members to visit the hives to learn more about the bees.

Also, I’ve recently met with Paula Carnell of ‘Creating a Buzz about Health’.  You can find her on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/PaulaCarnellcreatingabuzz/about/?ref=page_internal

or on her website:

https://www.paulacarnell.com/about/

Paula runs events where you can learn more about bee-keeping, such as ‘Getting Started with Keeping Bees’: https://www.facebook.com/events/532856653724561/

In recent years there have been campaigns by prominent gardeners, such as Alan Titchmarsh and Sarah Raven, encouraging people to plant wildflower meadows and nectar rich plants in order to support a wide variety of pollinating insects (“Bees, Butterflies and Blooms”, BBC2 2012).  It is also important to grow a variety of different flowers that bloom at different times of the year, thus providing food across the seasons.  In addition a new labelling system has been developed for use in garden centres so that buyers can easily identify plants which are ‘bee friendly’.

Other supportive organisations include:

  • the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA)
    set up in 1874 to support beekeepers and to promote public awareness
  • the National Bee Unit (NBU)
    which supports governmental Bee Health Programs
  • the International Bee Research Association
    which aims to promote the value of bees
  • the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust

This Trust has 4 main aims:

  • The prevention of the extinction of any of the UK’s bumblebees
  • A long-term future for all our bumblebees and other pollinators
  • The protection, creation and restoration of flower-rich habitats
  • An increase in the understanding and appreciation of bumblebees

Hopefully, with all these people and organisations working to support bees and other pollinators, these amazing insects will have a more secure future.

 

(This is an extract from my article which you can read in full here)

 

 

References:

THE FUTURE OF OUR BEES – Part 4 of 5

Last week I began to explore some of the threats challenging the honey bee.  In addition to parasites the bees are also suffering from:

Habitat loss

Farming habits in England have changed dramatically in the last century.  We now have fewer ancient hedgerows, bigger fields and more mechanised practices.  This has resulted in large areas of land growing human and animal food crops which do not produce the nectar-rich flowers needed by bees.  Field margins used to be full of wildflowers but modern farming has also reduced this food source.  The land might appear fertile to us, but to hungry bees it is like a desert.  It seems strange, but bees can now find more food in cities and suburbs than in the countryside.

Weather

The last few years have seen some very cold and wet weather in Britain.  It is difficult for bees to leave the hive to forage on wet days because the rain makes flight difficult and they are at risk of getting too cold to fly.  Also, if a bee’s temperature drops below 8oC it will die.  However if the colony stays inside for long periods of time it affects the temperature and humidity of the hive and can increase the risk of infection from parasites.  It also means that the bees have to eat from their stores and are not able to collect more nectar to replace what has been eaten.

The best way to protect a hive and to ensure its survival through bad weather is to make sure that the colony is as strong and healthy as possible.  Hives should also be kept up off the ground to allow air circulation and prevent damp, and they should be placed somewhere out of the wind.

Pesticides and Fungicides

In a recent report, published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists from the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture “have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.”

The researchers collected pollen from certain plants on the east coast of America and fed it to some bees, finding that it lowered their resistance to a parasite that can cause the collapse of a colony.

” The discovery means that fungicides, thought harmless to bees, are actually a significant part of Colony Collapse Disorder. And that likely means farmers need a whole new set of regulations about how to use fungicides.”

(treehugger article: ‘Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths, and it’s really bad news’, July 26, 2013)

It was already known that neonicotinoids (a relatively new type of insecticide, used in the last 20 years to control a variety of pests, especially sap-feeding insects, such as aphids on cereals, and root-feeding grubs) have been responsible for huge numbers of bees dying, but this new study revealed that many more chemicals are involved resulting in a much more complex challenge.

Spraying practices also need to be reviewed as it was discovered that bees forage “not from crops, but almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers, which means bees are more widely exposed to pesticides than thought.”

These chemicals were thought to be safe, and of themselves they might not be lethal to the bees, but it appears that they affect the immune system making them more susceptible to attacks by parasites such as the Varroa mite and Nosema.

It is not economically practical, however, to simply stop spraying crops with these pesticides and so various groups have been looking into alternative ways of supporting bees and other pollinators.  I’ll be looking at these in Part 5 next week.

 

(This is an extract from my article which you can read in full here)

THE FUTURE OF OUR BEES – Part 3 of 5

Issues facing the honey bee

Scientists are still unsure why so many bees are dying. Various different causes have been proposed: parasites, loss of suitable habitat, bad weather, pesticides.  It is probably a combination of some or all of these factors:

 

Parasites

Bees can suffer from several parasites including varroa and acarine mites, nosema fungus and ‘amoeba’.

Varroa mites are external parasites which can only reproduce in honey bee colonies.  They can attack the larvae, pupae and adults.  They weaken the bees by sucking their hemolymph (the fluid in their circulatory system) and spreading viruses such as deformed wing virus (DWV).  A severe infestation of DWV can result in the death of the colony.  This could be a contributing factor in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  It is one of the most significant causes of bee death in the UK and so all beekeepers must treat their hives for varroa.  Treatment involves various different chemical sprays, which can only be used when there is no honey in the hive, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which removes mites at the most effective point in their breeding cycle.  The queen is trapped and drone comb is removed thus restricting the cells available where the mites can breed.

Acarine (or tracheal) mites are rare in the UK.  They infest the bees’ breathing tubes (tracheae), particularly the large tracheae at the front of the thorax.  They shorten the life of the bees and therefore slow colony development, especially in the spring.  As there are no external signs of infestation, diagnosis is done by dissecting a sample of bees and examining the tracheae.  These should be a creamy white colour, but in infected bees they turn brown.  There is no licensed chemical treatment for these mites but it seems that bees can develop resistance.  The best course if action is probably to leave the colony to see if it recovers or to replace the queen with one from a more resistant strain of bee.

Nosema fungus has 2 different forms: Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae.  The latter is widespread in the UK and seems to be the more virulent form of the disease.  Bees infected with this fungus are less able to digest food, particularly pollen.  Spores travel through their gut and are passed out in the faeces.  Bees usually defecate outside of the hive but if they are prevented from going out by, for example, bad weather, they defecate inside.  This is then cleaned by other bees who ingest the fungal spores and so the cycle continues.  Nosema infection shortens the life of the bees and prevents the colony from developing as it should in the spring.  If a colony is infected the frames should be removed, the comb burned and the frames sterilised before being used again.  The hive also needs to be sterilised.

‘Amoeba’ is a protozoan, Malpighamoeba mellificae, which lives in the bee’s ‘kidneys’ (malpighian tubules).  This is a rare disease and does not appear to affect the colony therefore it can be transferred onto clean comb if necessary.  ‘Amoeba’ is spread in the same way as Nosema.

Sadly these are not the only issues threatening the honey bee.  In Part 4 I’ll be talking about some of the others.

 

(This is an extract from my article which you can read in full here)