Stress
6 ways to stress less and age well
Can this really control nerves and anxiety?
What has sex got to do with your stress?  

Health and Lifestyle
Can’t sleep; wont sleep? What do you do?
Is your healthy eating plan stressful?
Astonishing health benefits of chocolate
10 reasons why chocolate is no longer a guilty pleasure.

Career and Business
How to make money doing what you love, even if you’re over 50
Manage your mind to manage your bank account
Are you your own worst enemy?

Family and Relationships
Are you anxious your wedding day will go wrong
Give yourself permission to be the best parent you want to be
Don’t let a Christmas break-up become a New Year breakdown.

MindSet
Tips to nurture a positive mindset
4 productivity hacks to stop them wondering what you’re doing all day
Nothing is impossible

Are you successful but now feel worried about your future and getting older?
Do you worry that you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed?
It’s common to reassess your current situation and wonder if you can continue to cope with the stress of high pressure roles as you get older. And at some point, in the future, when you retire, how will you supplement your pensions, assuming you have them. Feeling vulnerable and insecure about your future income, you may worry if it will last a long lifetime?

Do you already feel tired and weary and concerned that you will have the vitality let alone the money to maintain your future lifestyle? Have you assessed whether you have realistic expectations of what your life will be like after years of working and caring? Have you got a clear vision of your future self? Are you confident that you will have the enthusiasm and energy to start anything new?”


AFFIRMATIONS and ACTIONS to rejuvenate you

#1   I change my responses to demanding situations and I avoid being stress.
Practice subtle ways to relax your body, emotions and mindset when you are stressed. Practice daily methods of being peaceful, happier and calm.

#2   I take care of my body and avoid illness and degenerative diseases.
Learn to sleep better, eat better and move your body to build healthy mobility, strength and health

#3   I spend time with my loved-ones  and I avoid being lonely.
Develop loving relationships and interact socially often to maintain the support and care you need on all levels

#4   I value my wisdom and I avoid being dismissed and patronised.
Learn to recognise and then trust your inner guidance, experience and perceptions.

#5   I earn money doing what I love, and I avoid being a burden to others.
Value your innate talents and personal qualities. Combine them with your life skills to get excited about your life.

#6   I recognise my passion and I avoid being invisible and powerless.
Get the lifestyle you truly deeply want and enjoy meaningful purpose that fulfils you.
 

Feeling stressed is often associated with your fear of losing control which can be caused because you’re behaving according the role you’re undertaking at the time.

For example, If you’re a mother, you may cope with a family argument but not deal with conflicts at work. Whereas a business if you’re a business owner, you may feel confident in a complex negotiation but be anxious if giving a wedding speech. You have your own individual triggers that make you feel stressed and you have personal limits for coping when you’re regularly experiencing tension.

How can you take control and deal with stressful situations? Well, the role you’re taking determines the level of control you believe you have. For example, if you’re upset, you’ll react differently if you’re being a friend than if you’re being a boss. You’ll change your language, tone and volume and your body language to suit the power you believe you have.

So it’s helpful to practice being aware of when you’re simply caught up in a role and even though it seems to be real, it will help, if you stand back from the situation and re-assess your stress.

You can start by observing and thinking about what is actually a true reaction? You can stop behaving in ways you automatically associate with that role and practice showing your authentic, real self. 

Stressful situations may not disappear overnight but you’ll cope much better from a position of strength when you stop being someone you’re not and be happier being yourself!       

How you cope in stressful situations effects your relationships, your career, your health but surprisingly, it’s based on your gender.

Why does a woman cry and let it all out and talk it over and over with friends whereas, a man, goes off on his own, doesn’t let it show and waits for it to pass? The answers are related to your sex and can affect your immune system.

We all use an inbuilt set of reactions; ‘fight, flight or freeze responses’ in a threatening situation; however, do you know that how you approach and deal with stress is more likely determined by your sex.

Your physical reaction to stress is a rush of hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) that work together to raise your blood pressure and balance blood sugar level but unfortunately, cortisol also weakens your immune system.

However, another hormone is released (ocytocin) which promotes self-care and emotional relaxation from fear.

A woman has more ocytocin than a man which is combined with other reproductive hormones, she’ll generally, avoid fight or flight and prefer friendship and support instead which increases her feelings of safety.

However, when a man is stressed, he releases significantly, smaller amounts of ocytocin so he’ll often have the urge to fight but if he can’t, he’ll escape, to work it out alone.  Unfortunately, his health is more vulnerable because of a weaker immune system especially during long-term, prolonged stress.

Additionally, we also enter a stressful situation with an expectation and an approach based on our self-esteem. As women tend to focus on their ability to nurture and sacrifice their needs, they tend let others set their limitations and have lower self-esteem whereas, men usually value themselves on competitiveness and achieving goals.

So, regarding the effect of sex on stress, a man generally, measures his self-esteem on his how well he performs whereas a woman measures hers on how well she maintains her relationships and whilst your gender may indeed determine your physical reactions to stress, you can still use your mind to determine your success in dealing with it.
       

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

Has being awake in the early hours become your nightmare? Do you wake up wondering if you’ll ever get a ‘decent night’s sleep’ again?

What if it’s not quite what you think? Maybe the answer lays in understanding how people used to sleep and how our modern beliefs about sleep may be one of the major sources of our problem.

Many of us feel cheated or even guilty when we have sleepless nights and for good reason, because we’re going to feel tired and drained, at some point, and we simply won’t be able to function well.

So waking up in the early hours and suddenly believing we’re sleep deprived becomes the ‘alert signal’ which causes us stress and to become concerned about our physical health and more importantly, our mental health.

Not having ‘enough’ sleep leads us to worry about all the things that will go wrong if we continue to lack ‘a proper night’s rest.’

But there is strong evidence that challenges our modern belief that sleep should be in one prolonged experience.

Historical journals and other literature show that sleeping and napping during the day was common and that before the industrial age, which introduced time measured activity of specific workforces, people used to have 2 sleeps during the night.

The first sleep was after the day’s work activities and, upon waking, the second sleep was after interactions, sharing refreshment, conversation and this was also the most favoured time for procreation. 

Interestingly, when babies and young children are left to sleep, according to their own needs and without interference, they form similar patterns of rest.

It may be that constant access to electricity and light has had a detrimental effect on our natural sleep cycle and that our modern beliefs about sleep are a contributing factor for our anxiety about sleeplessness.

Are you getting stressed that the weight is coming off too slowly or maybe it isn’t coming off at all?  Or even worse, is the weight you lost, now starting to return?

All is not lost! Here’s a relaxing way to focus on your goal. You can literally, trick your brain, body and emotions into working with you, instead of against you!

First thing, in the morning is often ‘the beginning of the end’, when you decide whether to return to your habitual eating routine or whether to choose your healthy eating plan.

You may be craving unhealthy food and your hope of a morning exercise ritual could be fading fast. Emotionally, you just may feel unmotivated and realistically, you may not have time. However, there are small changes you make to de-stress yourself and focus on your goal.
When you’re ready to start breakfast and enjoy a ‘wake me up’ cuppa; you can do some easy things that’ll increase your motivation - in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

All you need to do is stand still. Breathe in deeply. Then, repeat these short, calming movements. 

Ease your body into action by starting with your head; move it up and down 8 times, turn to the left 8 times and then to the right for another 8.

Counting again, pull your shoulders up towards your ears and let them drop again.

Still counting through each movement, continue with slow, easy stretches all the way down your body to your feet.

These gentle movements are peacefully energising and support your weight loss goals because your brain will release ‘happy hormones’ (serotonin and beta-endorphins).

These keep your mood mellow and raise your optimism. Very importantly, they’re proven to reduce sugar cravings.

Feeling less anxious, your enhanced mood will empower you to make healthier decisions about further physical exercise and you’ll feel ready for your ‘healthy diet breakfast’ and a happy fruit-filled day!      

 

Chocolate is the new superfood! And it’s not just fancy thinking­ a 12 year study into the snacking habits of 21,000 people showed that regular consumption of the luxurious snack can help to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as boosting cancer protection.

And it isn’t just dark chocolate either ­ milk chocolate can also have a favourable effect!
The important fact to note is the cocoa content ­ make sure it’s the most featured ingredient and not the artificial additives of some commercial makers.

1. Lowers blood pressure 
The flavonols in cocoa beans help to produce nitric oxide, which widens and dilates the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. This led researchers to declare it reasonable to include a hot cocoa drink as part of a prudent diet.

2. Good for bones 
This is the main benefit from white chocolate, which otherwise has most of the antioxidant benefits processed out of it, since a small bar contains a sixth of the recommended daily allowance of calcium.

3. Reduces risk of stroke 
A Finnish study of over 37,000 men between the ages of 45­79 found that the risk of suffering a stroke was reduced by a startling 17% on average in men who regularly ate chocolate against those who didn’t.

4. It’s an unlikely source of iron and can prevent anaemia 
Packed as it is with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, a 100g good quality bar of dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa solids provides around 7.5% of the recommended daily amount of iron.

5. It can lower cholesterol 
Cocoa butter is a naturally occurring product in the cocoa bean and is made up primarily of stearic acid, which doesn’t raise cholesterol levels like other fats do. Studies found that replacing trans fats with stearic acid led to a decrease in the levels of cholesterol.

6​.​It may prevent diabetes 
Tests have shown that cocoa decreases insulin resistance, and so prevents too much glucose being absorbed into the cells. In a British study in 2010, diabetics who consumed chocolate with a high cocoa content saw an upswing in high density lipoprotein, the ‘good’ cholesterol.

7. Slowing the signs of aging 
Dementia and arthritis can be combatted with the help of chocolate, thanks to antioxidants epicatechin and polyphenols. Epicatechin has proven to be effective in protecting the brain from the build up of amyloid placques, the proteins that can cause dementia. Polyphenols rid the body of free radicals, a major cause of age related arthritis, reducing the suffering induced by inflamed joints.

Again, this is more a benefit of dark chocolate ­ 85% cocoa and above ­ than milk chocolate. With the flavonols acting as an anti­ inflammatory agent, it helps to treat brain injuries like concussion, as well as stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, autism and ADHD.

8. A cancer protection boost 
Various studies in different parts of the world have shown cocoa products offering strong antioxidant effects, with flavonoids having a powerful effect in fighting different cancers.

9. Potential to combat chronic fatigue 
Whilst larger studies are needed to confirm, a small test found that sufferers given 45g of 85% cocoa chocolate daily reported an improvement in energy levels and mindset than the placebo group.

10. Helpful to lactose intolerant people 
Adding just one and half teaspoons of cocoa to a cup of milk saw lactose intolerant patients suffer less bloating, cramping and diarrhoea. This is due to cocoa stimulating the lactase enzyme in the intestine needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk.

11. Chocolate boosts the appetite 
This seems to go against the ‘healthy’ ideas, until you remember that many illnesses result in a lack of appetite, leaving the patient weaker. The anti­depressant substances in chocolate have a positive impact on the part of the brain influenced by hunger, the hypothalamus, so for those who need help in increasing their weight, chocolate could be the perfect remedy.

12. Improves digestion 
Strong in dietary fibre and magnesium, chocolate keeps the intestinal and stomach walls clean, allowing food to pass fluidly through the body by relaxing both the large and small intestines. In tests, harmful bacteria levels were also shown to fall as good bacteria levels rose.

13. Keeping hearts healthy 
Evidence suggests that the nutrients and fatty acids naturally present in cocoa are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, due to those flavonols, which also occur in a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Latest studies from British universities cite the flavonoids, which are the antioxidants also found in red wine and tea, help to stimulate blood flow by mopping up the free radicals that can cause disease.

14. Improves strength and fitness

In one study. the epitachechinIn found in dark chocolate led to an increase in the capillaries which transfer oxygen to muscles, therefore stimulating muscle growth in the same way as jogging.
In another study, a 7% increase in hand­grip strength was discovered!

15. Asthma sufferers can breathe easy 
While chocolate is thought to trigger asthma, there can be calming effects on some sufferers. The plant chemical proanthocyanidin, the most abundant polyphenol in chocolate, is believed to block the release of histamines, helping bronchial tubes to widen and aid breathing.

It has to be emphasised that­ most benefits are associated with dark chocolate, with a 70% or higher cocoa content. However, some studies, particularly those focusing on heart health and brain function, show benefits for milk chocolate lovers too.

With research ongoing, experts suggest that in addition to the above mentioned conditions, chocolate may be of help to a wide range of other issues including obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and even the normal ageing process.

So it turns out that we could be a lot happier when we’re partaking of this ‘medicine’! 

You know that chocolate makes you feel good and makes you happy but do you know why​?
It’s because the chemical makeup of cocoa naturally constitutes many healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to boost your physical and mental wellbeing, leading to these benefits:

1. Moisturising and hydrating the skin 
There’s a very good reason so many beauty and health products use cocoa butter ­ it melts at body temperature and is therefore easily absorbed into the skin.

The flavonols in dark chocolate protect the skin against sun damage and increases natural collagen, as well as help prevent blemishes.
​It can also minimise wrinkles. ​ A high factor sun tan lotion is still recommended.

2. Maintaining a healthy weight. 
While chocolate certainly contains fat and sugar, it also contains protein and vitamins which means snacking on chocolate leaves you, feeling more satisfied than snacking on other sugary snacks ­ so you snack less.

In moderation, of course ­ a little of anything in moderation is fine, just eat less calories than you burn off!

 

3. Reducing stress. 
Stress may be caused by the pituitary gland which is a tiny organ at the base of the brain, not working properly. Chocolate provides magnesium, which lowers the manufacture of cortisol ­ the ‘stress hormone’ yet stimulates the creation of serotonin ­ the ‘happiness hormone’.

Chocolate also contains valeric acid, a calming agent beneficial in treating delicate nerves, while the magnesium helps muscles to loosen up. The sugar in chocolate has also been shown to have a relaxing ­ even pain-relieving ­ effect due to sweet tastes triggering the narcotic like matter in our brains.

4. Making you happy 
We find eating chocolate pleasurable ­ sensual, even ­ so endorphins are released which have a similar effect to morphine. Chocolate causes blood vessels to dilate which creates warm, fuzzy feelings, similar to those we get when attracted to somebody.

5. Fighting PMS 
It’s the magnesium at work again ­ it can help alleviate cramps and increase energy, which makes exercising more appetising. And, in turn, exercising alleviates symptoms; ­ it’s the opposite of a vicious circle!

6. It stops tooth decay 
Wait, what? But yes, French dentists actually recommend a piece of chocolate after meals ­ the chemical theobromine hardens tooth enamel more effectively than fluoride. It’s pretty bitter though,
so don’t hold your breath for chocolate toothpaste anytime soon! Cocoa also contains chemicals that combat oral bacteria.

7. The smell is calming 
Our brains are generally influenced by beta waves ­ the normal waking frequency. However, the aroma of chocolate is found to slow down our brain to alpha waves, resulting in us feeling pleasantly calm, yet still wide awake and observant.

8. It doesn’t give you spots 
A study with spot prone subjects found that plying them with lots of chocolate did nothing to exacerbate their acne problems. But it must have been fun for them to find out!

9. Boosting brain function and alertness 
With a reasonably low glycaemic index (GI),Chocolate gives long ­lasting energy because it doesn't raise blood sugar too quickly.
Thanks to Thiamine, Vitamin B1, which helps to produce energy; magnesium, the mineral essential for brain health; procyanidin, a natural preventative of oxidation and inflammation of the brain; theobromine; caffeine-like substance that makes us more alert without the jitters, and chromium (helps control blood sugar as it is involved in making glucose available in the body. Eating chocolate can give you a real boost mid-afternoon when energy levels traditionally drop. It aids concentration and alertness, with tests proving increased memory function in older people drinking two cups of cocoa a day.

10. No more bad hair days 
Chocolate can help thicken hair by promoting blood circulation in the scalp, and its anti-­inflammatory properties can reduce the risk of scalp infections and hair loss

Coating your hair in a chocolate mask ­ or adding cocoa powder to your favourite conditioner; or honey, natural yoghurt or oil,­ can help turn dull, dry hair into a soft and glossy crowning glory.

Having a shiny head of hair may not be high on your list of ‘health’ benefits ­ but how much better do you feel when you think you’re looking your best? It’s a knock-on effect which can kick-start those naturally occurring chemicals for that ‘feel ­good’ factor!

Whilst much is attributed to dark chocolate which contains over 70% cocoa solids, further studies appear to show that milk chocolate is also beneficial, particularly in physical wellbeing relating to heart health, strokes and diabetes.

CAREER AND BUSINESS

I accepted that I needed to change direction, but giving up the teaching career I once loved, was difficult. I often experienced a deep sense of dread as soon as I woke up, my stomach churned at the thought of my future and I felt uneasy.  

My job had become too stressful and it was time to retire and I wanted to change my lifestyle and work less, but I was expected to continue working for many years more than I anticipated and anyway, retiring at any time, was going to mean a severe drop in income.

I felt trapped and I became miserable especially, as no one listened to me anymore and I no longer felt valued. Instead, I listened to myself swing from positive to negative self -talk, I didn’t eat well, I stopped sleeping and I was constantly tired.

Slowly, I realised I was going to be ill if I didn’t do something and I reached a turning point where I knew I had to face an unknown and insecure future or else I might not have one.

Even though, I made the decision to leave, I was confused and found it difficult to make decisions. I didn’t have the energy to face interviews for other jobs and certainly couldn’t face any more study or training. The thought of starting over at this age was daunting!

Fortunately, I’d learned to meditate when I was young, and I understood the power of a calm, healthy body and a peaceful yet alert mind. I’d also learned various other ways to overcome the symptoms of stress. and anxiety too.

I didn't know how .... but I knew, I would make the inevitable transition into the next phase of my life .... on my own terms!

So, I took back control, did my research and found a wonderful way to start over in my new life'. I studied Psychology. NLP, Mindfulness and modern Neurology and Neuroscience and I came to appreciate the role of epigenomics and nutrigenomics in cellular energy, health and longevity. 

I learned how to regain my youthful optimistic approach and I discovered that modern science, my meditation and other philosophies all came together to give me a fresh lease of life! 

Therefore, I planned for the income that would give me the lifestyle I yearned for and would still let me make a difference in the world.

I explored my strengths and personality, to find out how I could live, the next phase of my life, doing what I really loved and how to be happy again. Today, I'm a 'seen'ager and I’ve regained my confidence and zest for life. I wear bright but soothing colours that energise me and make me feel feminine, young and vital.

Now, I have a successful business that I love and one that I'm proud of because I'm helping women from a range of countries to overcome the stress and anxiety they feel at being older and I show them how to make money doing what they love so that they can rejuvenate their lives too.

 

Any of us can fall into a debt trap at any time. With so many demands on the pound in our pocket, making our way in a material world calls for some serious financial planning.

However, all the best plans can be thrown up into the air due to unforeseen circumstances such as job loss or illness, and the ensuing debt is one of the major causes of stress.

But very often debt comes about through no fault of our own, we can inherit money problems from our loved ones, we can suddenly lose our jobs or our health. Most people get into financial difficulties because of unforeseen circumstances that are bigger than they could have planned for.

But it’s not just about being strong and healthy during crisis, it’s also about doing our best to avoid the situation from reoccurring.

For example, if debt has come about through gambling, it’s beating that addiction that is the primary goal - treating the source so it doesn’t get out of hand again.

Identifying what it was that made gambling appealing in the first place means we’ll be better placed to avoid the situation again.

A desperate situation can make us want to run away, or to fight and argue, or it can put us in a limbo where we don’t know what to do for the best, where we can get confused, and angry and sad.

We might have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite or find it hard to concentrate and we very often need help to discover the best coping methods that can avoid the pain of total burn-out.

And we often feel shame about our predicament and many of us prefer privacy. Not everyone wants to shout about their worries on social media, particularly, professional or business people would prefer subtler ways of coping because their public persona is so important to their livelihood.

So, what we need when we’re stressed and anxious are calming techniques that suit us so perfectly no-one knows we’re using them… we often need something discreet. When we feel painfully overloaded we need effective relaxation techniques which allow us to focus on solutions and rise above the experience

The first thing to realise is that anxiety and despair can make the matter worse because we usually, make poor decisions when we’re feeling low. Finding a new job means having to stay strong and positive and so confronting the problem and seeking the right help can help us up onto the road to recovery

We’ve been told that seeking help immediately can stop both our feelings and our finances getting out of control and there are plenty of advice centres for debt management and these can help with practical side of financial recovery but what about the very emotional impact of feeling dread and anxiety over money worries?

These serious aspects are very often neglected and are not so high on our list of priorities. And yet we need the mental and emotional stability in the face of financial meltdown to help us make the strong decisions we need to get back on our feet.

It is possible, to find inner peace and go on to lead healthier, wealthier and happier lives but what we need is a bit of breathing space to work out a strategy for coping financially.

Using powerful one to one stress management coaching and using a number of tried and tested relaxation techniques can help us feel less alone and misunderstood and support us to face up to the difficult decisions that need to make about securing a debt free and financially affluent future.

We can change the way we experience debt and financial concerns so we can be put them into a much healthier perspective. After all, it’s better to live a more peaceful life with financial control.     

 

 

Are business owners and managers their own worst enemy when they're pitching and negotiating?

According to recent research, it’s very rare for them to understand the serious hidden and subliminal aspects of both low levels of stress and high levels of anxiety that can sabotage their efforts to develop businesses.

Although, obvious tell-tale signs of sleeplessness, poor diet and a general lack of self-care can lead to acute stress or chronic anxiety, they are only the tip of the ice-berg!
There are subtler effects that owners and managers don’t notice and yet they can powerfully undermine their pitches for new business and negotiations for growth and expansion.

Victoria Sheridan, CEO at the Secret Calm said, ‘Running and growing a business requires astute negotiation skills but all levels of business professionals also need to make sure their stress levels are working for them and not against them.’ 

Current research into micro-signals in facial expressions during meetings show their powerful messages reveal depths of hidden tension and worry. These are decoded unconsciously by all parties involved and can make or break situations.

Therefore, business decisions and negotiations shouldn’t be undertaken by owners and managers who are only superficially, calm and confident. This is because an apparent ease which is not genuine, ultimately leads to confused messages and weak collaborations.

However, focusses improvement of stress levels to achieve a deep state of calm will ensure that micro-signals are authentic and in-line with conscious goals so that business decisions and negotiations are super effective.

 

FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIPS

Many brides, grooms, families and friends experience sleepless nights over this important occasion. Being a key star in a wedding can cause 2 types of stress before you’re free to fully enjoy the day!

Firstly, it’s rare that anyone organising such a major celebration is actually a professional event planner! And the time it takes to organise a wedding can cause slow burning, long-term stress.

Worrying about financial costs and family pressures, as well as researching, negotiating and booking multiple aspects and tasks involved can cause chronic anxiety before the wonderful day arrives! 

Secondly, once the design and creation of the memorable day has been achieved, then the focus of concern is often internalised.  

Short term acute stress can be caused by worrying excessively, prior to the wedding about appearance, confidence, last minute challenges, fear of forgetting something, fear of giving a speech and wanting every last detail to be perfect. 

Your preferred stress management may involve alcohol, which could be highly embarrassing!  Save the Champaign for toasts when everything’s done except the dancing! 

Instead try these ‘secret’ remedies to keep relaxed.  

Body: Hold finger to thumb on each hand, with tongue touching roof of mouth, relax jaw. Close eyes for 30 secs, let wrists and shoulders drop.

Heart: Write a 1 min, free-flow account of current feelings. Watch a funny movie then read account and amend.

Mind: Plan social life, in 10 mins arrange with 2 different friends, to meet up or offer a helping hand.

You deserve a happy wedding day!  

There was a time not so long ago, when it was normal for women to give up work when they got married. It sounds crazy now, doesn’t it? Then, slowly, things began to change and women carried on working, only giving up, or those who could afford to, when starting a family.

And now, as traditional roles turn full circle due to the everyday pressures of modern life, it’s perfectly acceptable to find men taking on the role of homemaker and child care professional.

Being a full time parent is a dedicated occupation often taken for granted and many parents elect to keep their job and place their baby in day care. There’s validity in both routes; its a very personal choice
.
Choosing a working life and day care is not without a major wrenching of the heart of course.
The baby is so precious and to hand him/her over to strangers is one of the hardest experiences a new parent will ever face. Parents often say; “My baby seems so fragile, and what if he/she misses me? Or worse, what if they don’t?”

For new mums, already dealing with physical changes, one of the stresses caused is by other people’s expectations, who are not shy when it comes to sharing their opinions. Working parents can be torn in two by the ‘stay at home’ mums and childcare “experts” criticising a woman’s decision to go to work, or alternatively, they can be despised by working women (and the other childcare “experts”) for dedicating their life to their partner and family.

And it isn’t always a clear cut choice: Some working mothers would love to stay home with their children but have to work due to the family’s financial circumstances. Where every penny is critical, working ‘9 to 5’ and paying for childcare may not be viable. Working evenings and weekends are the answer, but for those without a partner, friends or family close by to babysit, even this option is fraught with problems.

Part time mums might appear to have the best of both worlds but do they? Getting the baby to nursery, with all the paraphernalia it entails, or older children to school, from where you then dash to your office, work, then dash back for the pick up and go on to after school clubs, finally heading home for dinner is a logistical feat worthy of a medal.

ome part time mums may not even have had lunch and will literally be on the go from 7am to 7pm without a break even though they’re only at work from 9am to 3pm. It doesn’t make for the healthiest of lifestyles.

From her quiet, peaceful office Victoria Sheridan helps her clients to find inner calm and gives them the strength to make that decision or indeed, to cope with the choice they had to make. She suggests, "It’s a tough time. Even if it’s not the first child, having a baby, a toddler and a child at school layers on the physical and mental stresses. And you have to stay strong because you don’t want to pass your anxieties onto your child.

You might have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite or find it hard to concentrate but it’s important for baby that you find a way through those times. I love helping parents discover the best coping methods so they can avoid the pain of total burnout.”

Victoria says she likes to “help parents who feel painfully overloaded, practice quick and rise above the exhaustion. With over 18 years’ experience in life coaching and mentoring, helping families deal with stresses in their lives, Victoria is well placed to help new parents feel comfortable ‘letting go’ and she loves helping them to make the best choice for them and their family.

Do you know that among solicitors, the first working Monday in January has become commonly known as ‘Divorce Day’, because more divorce proceedings are initiated on that day than at any other time of the year!

Sadly, the winter festivities are a major turning point for many couples, when the pressures of being together, can develop into a crisis that causes arguments and unhappiness. Being thrown together for an extended time over the festivities, when a relationship is already going through a ‘bad patch’, is always going to be stressful on everyone in the family.  

A couple experiencing relationship problems can be oversensitive and find the slightest issue extremely irritating.  Consequently, whereas most families quarrel amicably and it all ‘blows over’, a troubled couple find family events highlight their deeper misgivings and it all ‘blows up’.

What was expected to be a warm family time suddenly comes to a shocking end which can even be quite public, in front of friends and family. Other extended family members and especially children, are very often involved but feel powerless and unable to cope too well with the break-up either.  So how do we find our way through the transition of such devastating changes?

Taking time out to stop the flow of events, finding a peaceful spot and thinking clearly is not easily achieved. It can be difficult not to simply react to situations and can be a struggle to maintain a positive approach. However, our weakened mental and emotional responses can very often lead us to make poor judgements and bad decisions can result in undesired outcomes.

Everyone agrees that it’s important to choose the most favourable decisions and dissolve the confusion, but that can be easier said than done when life has been turned upside down.

Victoria Sheridan, an expert in managing stress, has spent over 18 years helping people who are experiencing anxiety, to cope with the debilitating effects of overwhelm during a relationship breakdown. “Being thrown together over the festivities, is hugely upsetting if what you expect to be a happy time, becomes a bitter disappointment.

Victoria says, “A desperate situation can make you want to run away, fight and argue, or it can put you in a limbo, confused, angry and sad, not knowing what to do for the best.  You may experience sleeplessness, lack of appetite and loss of concentration. Just a few sessions of coaching can equip you to manage stress differently.”

Victoria is also mindful that many of us prefer discretion. “Not everyone wants to spread their feelings on social media. In particular, professional people and celebrities, whose livelihood depends on a positive public persona, prefer subtler ways of coping.

She says, “The Secret Calm™ stress relieving techniques are a rich blend of ancient and modern methods, drawn from many cultures from around the world. Combined with modern scientific knowledge of neurology, the way the brain performs in response to stress triggers and how it can be induced to produce mood enhancing chemicals are key to managing anxiety. 

This individual or small group coaching is designed especially for you that fits naturally with your lifestyle and can help you make clearer decisions about your future from a position of calm inner strength."      

People striving for life success can never underestimate the power of positive thinking. It’s the mindset to achievement, and key to building your skills, boosting your health and improving your work

It’s more than just being outwardly happy or displaying a buoyant attitude ­ to create real value there needs to be a calmness, a feeling of peace within yourself and understanding your priorities so as to not put yourself under pressure.

Taking just a few minutes a day can put you in the right frame of mind.

Meditation/Yoga:
The value of taking a breather is well documented and proven by the many successful and busy people who have been practising these arts for years. It enables a de­cluttering of the mind and stops it faltering.

Writing:​Diary writing is no longer the domain of teenage girls with angst.  Reinforce your aims with a regular blog, online or in a journal, congratulating yourself on what you’ve achieved.

Smile/Laugh:
It takes a lot less muscle power than frowning! If you’re stuck for inspiration, give yourself permission to Youtube the funniest cat video, the soppiest dog, hiccupping babies, ­whatever gives you the giggles or elicits an outright belly laugh!

Surround yourself with positive people:​Stimulate your mind and creativity at least once a week The participants in a creative writing course found that their eclectic conversations in the pub after the lesson created a buzz that continued into the next day, leading to increased positivity and subsequently, increased productivity.

Help someone else:​A proven way to feel good ­ and it doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or money, it could be as simple as replying to an email with more than just the answer to a straight question. Go the extra mile to send a link or provide details of another source that will give added value. The recipient’s purpose will be boosted, encouraging them to continue seeking knowledge ­ and you’ll experience satisfaction when they thank you.

List 3 things you’re grateful for: 
Health, family, home. Not difficult, is it? They’re the obvious ­ but what about your next door neighbour, giving you a bump start one morning? A work colleague popping a cup of water on your desk during a particularly long phone call when your voice was cracking? The tiniest things can make a difference.

Sing and dance: 
Take 5 minutes to listen to your favourite ‘happy’ song and dance around the room to it. This is a double whammy ­as you’re working out both mentally and physically.

Mind your language:
​If you’re constantly telling yourself that you can’t ​do something, it’s highly likely you’ll begin to believe it. Instead, concentrate on doing your best and trying your hardest and use language that reflects this; I am, I will, I can!

Or try the popular mantra promoted by the successful entrepreneur, Penny Power, OBE:
“I am free, I am brave. I am in control and I am achieving.” ​­  

If you’re a stay at home mum or dad, or you work from home, the chances are that you can always find something to feel guilty about. Does a day go by when you haven’t thought, “I could really just shut my eyes for ten minutes and relax.”; ­ but you don’t because the dishwasher just stopped and it needs emptying and it can’t wait, can it?

The answer of course, is ’Yes, it can wait’. It can wait until its allotted time to be emptied even though it takes willpower to do that, so getting into a routine will not only keep your organised, it will allow time for yourself ­leaving you happier and healthier at the end of the day.

A schedule for everything 
Hacks don’t need to involve complicated computer programmes or specialist equipment. Some of the most productive tools are the simplest: An A4 'page­ a ­day' diary, a pen and five minutes before going to bed.

1) It’s simple and effective: at the top of the page, list all those things that absolutely have to be done. i.ie. the school run, lunches, work, swim, meals, washing.  Then list everything, even the smallest, quickest task because­ they all add up. And as you quickly see, you need to also include your own activities such as, swimming or gym class, that are essential to your wellbeing. It could easily be reading, or walking, remembering to stop once in a while to smell the roses.

2) And from the bottom up, list those things that you’d ​like ​to get done that day if possible. These could be simple errands, such as picking up dry cleaning, or clearing out a wardrobe for charity.
Identify the most opportune moment to do each of those tasks. Clearing the dishwasher, for example, could be part of the dinner ritual, while you’re waiting for the oven to warm up. School lunches are probably the first priority in the morning. Dry cleaning can be picked up on the way home from work or school.

3) Then work your way down the list, crossing tasks off as you go. In the section in between both lists, add things that crop up unexpectedly that you deal with immediately such as an unexpected phone call or visitor, And­ don’t forget to cross them off. Allow a certain amount of time for each task­ the Promodoro Technique suggests you set an alarm so you don’t go over that time. That way, you take natural breaks from working to give your eyes a rest or stretch your legs.

Structured Procrastination
There will inevitably come a time when you get to a task that you absolutely hate. You want to put it off even though you know it has to be done. So simply make a start and walk away. This way you often actually continue and get stuck in and then pretty soon the nasty task is done, gone and finished with… ta da!

The 2 Minute Rule
Another good trick is to do everything on your list that takes two minutes or less. Set aside a short allocated period of time to do as many as you can. See your se3lf as being in competition with yourself and you will very quickly see your list shrink in size which is a great motivator to tackle some more complex jobs after.

In just 15 minutes you could lose half a dozen tasks from your list.

Then at the end of the day,­ instead of being stressed at the things you didn’t do, take pride in that list of things that you did ​do. And anyone who dares to utter that immortal phrase “What have you been doing all day” can soon be shown the error of their assumptions.

Audrey Hepburn wasn’t just making a play on words when she said this. Its profound message was full of intent; as she demonstrated throughout her life.

Although, these clever words show that she not only had intelligence, but she also had wit. 
She became a film star with considerable talent, whose image of demure beauty and sophistication has endured long after her death, but she also had a hugely successful second career as a Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund UNICEF.   How did one small woman achieve all this?

Audrey Hepburn was the daughter of a Dutch baroness and an English banker who were both Nazi sympathisers. A child during World War 2, she was taken from Britain to Holland to avoid the conflict; however, she experienced, the German invasion of Holland and witnessed executions and deportations to concentration camps. Her uncle was executed, and her half-brother was sent to labour camp and she was starved along with the rest of the population when Germany’s blocked supplies.

 

Her famous thin physique came as a result of her malnutrition during her formative years but despite all this, and being only a child, there were times when she was motivated to risk her life to raise money for the Dutch resistance by giving ballet performances at a time when public events were banned and was sometimes a courier for the resistance.

Audrey Hepburn’s motivation to use her talent and position to help others was strong throughout her life and this ‘mission’ continued after her retirement from her successful film career.  She became equally successful as a Goodwill Ambassador and spokesperson for UNICEF for which she achieved the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.


In 1990, she summed up. her ability to face insurmountable obstacles during an interview with Phil Donahue.  When faced with harrowing scenes of extreme famine and death in her role with UNICEF;   “… you deal with it by doing something about it.”  
Her enduring motivation to help children came from her deep belief, not necessarily in herself, but in action and taking continuous steps towards achieving the outcomes that benefit others.  So according to this an inspiring woman, we can deal with the ‘impossible’ when we also believe I’m possible.