Sharon Evans 07976 410903
Please Note:During Covid-19
All classes& P/T sessions will be carried out via Zoom
Please bear with me during these unprecedented times
Read what's going on now...
2020 Dates for Stretch and Relax Masterclass
Turves Green Boys School
BIRMINGHAM B31 4BS
Comberton Road KIDDERMINSTER DY10 1UA
Sunday 12th Jnauary
Sunday 2nd February
Sunday 1st March
Sunday 5th April
Sunday 3rd May
Sunday 7th June
Sunday 5th July
Sunday 2nd August
Sunday 13th September
Sunday 4th October
Sunday 8th November
Sunday 6th December
2020 Dates for Mindful Meditation Circle
Comberton Road KIDDERMINSTER DY10 1UA
Friday 17th January
Friday 21st February
Friday 20th March
Friday 24th April
Friday 15th May
Friday 19th June
Friday 17th July
Friday 14th August
Friday 18th September
Friday 16th October
Friday 20th November
2020 Dates for Classes & Personal Training
Monday 6th January - Saturday 22nd February 7 weeks
Monday 24th February - Saturday 11th April 7 weeks
Monday 20th April - Saturday 6th June 7 weeks
Monday 8th June - Sunday 5th July 4 weeks
Monday 20th July - Saturday 22nd August 5 weeks
Monday 7th September - Saturday 24th October 7 weeks
Monday 2nd November - Saturday 19th December 7 weeks
HOLIDAYS FOR 2020
Sunday 12th-19th April 1 week
Monday 6th-19th July 2 weeks
Sunday 23rd July-Sunday 6th September 2 weeks
Sunday 25th October-Sunday 1st November 1 week
Sunday 20th December 2 weeks
Is This Really Happening.........???
It seems to have a struck a chord with many of you, when I mentioned on Facebook this morning that I woke up feeling a bit ‘lost’ ,,,,, and tonight I’ve been reading a post that talks about exactly how I was feeling and apparently, how we’re all feeling..
" a little bit wobbly".
It sounds like there are an awful lot of people having reactions they don’t really understand. So I thought I would post the article written by a mental health first aider/therapist;
I could identify with so much of it, and yet here was me thinking I was on my own and being a bit ‘silly’,,,,
so put the kettle on and have a read of this whilst it boils.....
IN CRISES, WE START DOING WEIRD STUFF: Over the last week I have struggled to sleep, stayed up late into the night reading endless news articles, bought pasta I don’t even like very much, got angry with my mum for not staying home. My spelling is a disaster and I’m definitely drinking more. I’ve been a bit teary, and all I really want to eat is cake, cake and more cake. From what I got back from my post yesterday, I’m not alone.
If you’re having a wobble, you may also have noticed all sorts of weird stuff going on. Are you arguing more, talking faster, struggling to sleep, restless, desperate for information? Or are you teary and overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit sick? Struggling to make decisions? Just want to stay in bed? Tummy upsets? Having palpitations, butterflies, headaches? Ranting, picking fights or getting into arguments? Laughing unexpectedly or saying random, inappropriate things? Developing Very Strong Opinions on epidemiology overnight? Or have you just completely gone to ground?
If you are feeling any of these things: good news! You are not going mad. And you are 100% not alone. You are, in fact completely normal: a fully emotionally functional human being. Congratulations! Why? I’ll explain: take a seat and put the kettle on.
WE ARE LIVING IN TURBO-ANXIOUS TIMES. Well, no kidding. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented crisis that has showed up unexpectedly (they do that) and which presents a mortal threat to ourselves, our loved ones and our way of life. It’s terrifying and it's getting worse and it makes us feel totally out of control. And this is on top of anything else we have going on.
HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT. When we are exposed to threats and need to deal with them, our brain springs into action. Specifically a tiny, innocent-looking thing buried behind your ear called the amygdala (fun fact: it's the size and shape of an almond). It’s the bit in charge when we are frightened and right now, it’s in full tin-hat klaxon mode. Unfortunately, it’s also very ancient bit of kit. It came into being when threats basically consisted of being eaten by large scary animals like bears. You know that thing about when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Well, to the amygdala, everything looks like a bear. It’s also pretty basic, so it really only has two settings. They are no bear :) and BEAR!!!.
SETTING: BEAR!!!. Because all threats look like a bear to the amygdala, it preps you accordingly. There are really only two reactions to a bear about to eat you: fight it, or run away really fast. So this is what the body gets you ready to do. It’s called the Fight or Flight response (there’s also freeze, meaning you just get paralysed). It does this by flooding your body with chemicals like cortisol, and adrenaline. Your heart rate goes up, you feel super alert, your breathing goes shallow, your muscles are ready for action. These chemicals are also largely responsible for the huge range of other cognitive/physical/emotional reactions in my intro. In group fear situation like a pandemic, this tends to happen whether you think you're scared or not - anxiety is even more infectious than COVID. Your body reacts even if your conscious mind doesn't.
BEAR V VIRUS: Obviously this is all great if you really are running away from a bear. But we’re now in a situation where we’re being asked to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of running away. We are being told to sit tight. Literally stay still. Process large amounts of information, make complicated and life changing decisions, and stay calm. All while a bit of your brain is running around yelling BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! This isn’t easy. The result is an awful lot of stress and anxiety. And if you’re anything like me, you end up feeling really overwhelmed and having all sorts of reactions.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Anxiety isn’t just mental – it’s also physical, cognitive and behavioural. You will notice all kinds of things: stomach upsets, headaches, insomnia, changes to eating, changes to the way you talk. It’s also cognitive: it’s very difficult to think straight when you’ve got the BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! thing going on – so we also become very bad at making decisions, absorbing information and generally thinking rationally. Which is EXACTLY what we need to do.
SO WHAT TO DO: well, the good news is it is possible to calm down. We can turn the amygdala from BEAR!!! to NO BEAR 😊, and not just by distracting it with cake and tea. Here are some solid, scientifically proven things you can do.
BREATHE: It’s so basic, but breathing exercises are basically magic. They work in minutes and you can do them anywhere. They work because of all the physical reactions the amygdala triggers, rapid breathing is the only one over which we have conscious control. Control your breathing and you are basically telling your body: it’s OK. There is no bear. Your body will then start to dial down the adrenaline and cortisol and all the other reactions will slow to a halt. How to control your breathing? It’s easy – and if you want help just put "two minute breathe bubble" in into Youtube. The golden rules are these:
• In through the nose, out through the mouth. SLOWLY
• Make the outbreath longer than the inbreath – imagine there’s a candle in front of you and it mustn’t go out
• Breathe from the tummy not chest – really make your tummy go out when breathing in.
• Do it for two minutes - time yourself - and see how you feel
Seriously, try it – this technique is used by everyone from top athletes to the US military to help stay in control while under stress. There are all sorts of versions – from yogic breathing to box breathing to 4-7-8. Google them, mess around, figure out what works for you.
CALL A FRIEND: Don’t suffer alone. Call a mate - someone who’ll listen while you have a bit of a rant, or a cry, or a general wobble. Someone you can trust not to judge you and who’ll just sympathise. And if you get one of those calls, just be nice to them. You only need to be kind. You can’t fix what’s going on so just give them a bit of space to rant and tell them they're normal and doing great. And if you’re OK, call your friends and check in on them. Especially if they’ve gone silent.
LAUGH: it doesn’t matter what is funny – laughter is a huge releaser of endorphins. Silly memes, silly jokes, stand-up, rolling around with your kids – videos on youtube. The sillier the better. Also v good for bonding with friends, which will also help you feel less alone.
DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS: Yes you can meditate if this is your bag, it’s amazing. But if it’s not, and personally I’m rubbish, then trying to start when you’re already anxious is really hard. So do something instead with your hands, that you have to focus on to get right. Cook. Tidy. Knit. Draw. Bake. Garden. Mend things. This is what nice middle class therapists like me call Mindfulness.
TREAT YOUR BODY: We hold stress in our bodies at least as much as our minds. Take a bath or a shower. Put on things that feel good on your skin. Use nice smelling body creams. Stretch. Skip. Do yoga. Dance. Eat healthy but delicious things - fresh if you can get it. All of these will help calm you down.
SUNSHINE: It’s SPRINGTIME amid this horror – enjoy it. If you can’t go outside, open the windows and feel it on your face and breath it in. If it’s safe for you to go outside (maybe you live in the country) do it, while of course observing social distance. Go for a walk. Being outdoors, connecting to nature, is hugely calming.
AY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA/THE NEWS: All it will do will scare you more and make things worse. Turn off the telly and for gods sake avoid the psychopathic digital wild west that is Twitter. Stick to sensible sources like the BBC and the NHS, and limit yourself to short need-to-know bits a day. You’ll feel better immediately. Talk to friends instead - this is physical, not social distancing
STEP AWAY FROM TERRIBLE COPING MECHANISMS: They will all translate as BEAR!! to your poor brain. Especially don’t get drunk, especially if you’re alone (BEAR!!!), take drugs (BEAR!!!), stay up all night reading (BEAR!!!), get sucked into conspiracy theories (BEAR!!!), pay attention to ANYTHING Donald Trump says (BEAR!!!). See? Stress levels going up already. Breathe.
BE KIND: to yourself and others. Now is not the time to go on a diet. Nor is this the time to start on Proust or makeover your life. You'll probably struggle to concentrate, fail and make yourself feel worse (hat tip Laura Gordon for this bit). Don’t make this more stressful than it already is. Think comfort books, comfort telly, comfort everything. Personally I re-read children's books. Everyone is wobbly, everyone is going to have a meltdown at some point. Understand that if someone is angry or aggressive, then they are also just scared. And eat more cake. Cake makes everything better.
So, there we go. Hopefully a bit less BEAR!!.
Right, that kettle should have boiled by now!
Go make a nice cup of tea, sit by a window and drink it in this lovely morning sunshine. We are British after all (and go on, have some cake!!!!)
And be kind to yourself
With love, light and blessings
Meditate...? But How...?
People all around the world have practiced meditation for centuries. Today meditation is quickly becoming one of the most popular pastimes of the modern world inhabitants. Modern lifestyles can often lead us to feel stressed and unable to get the required sleep, especially with the current Covid-19 situation that we all face.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to find inner peace, relax, and cope with our stresses.....
Eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise can take care of the physical need, but allowing your mind some space to relax is often over looked. You will often here people say that they feel more relaxed after a holiday - that is because they have had time to switch off from their daily routines and think about other things - they have given their brain a rest.
Meditation is a way of giving your brain a mini break that can be taken daily.
A More Productive You:
One great benefit of meditation is that it helps you vastly improve your concentration levels, which in turn will help make you far more productive. Clearing your mind of distractions and focusing on the act of mediating itself, clears your mind and leaves you able to focus on what’s right in front of you.
Meditation teaches us to not fret over the small stuff, and helps us to really put things into perspective, leaving us positive, happy, tranquil, and peaceful within our self.
So why not try one of the most popular pastimes of the modern world and find your inner peace.
How do you learn to meditate?
In mindfulness meditation, we’re learning how to pay attention to the breath as it goes in and out, and notice when the mind wanders from this task. This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness.
When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment
-to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose
The idea behind mindfulness seems simple although the practice takes patience. While meditation isn’t a cure-all, it can certainly provide some much-needed space in your life. Sometimes, that’s all we need to make better choices for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And the most important tools you can bring with you to your meditation practice are a little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable place to sit.
A Basic Meditation for Beginners:
The first thing to clarify: What we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered.
1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.
2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
3. Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.
4. Welcome back!!
How long was it before your mind wandered away from your breath?
Did you notice how busy your mind was even without consciously directing it to think about anything in particular?
Did you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts before you came back to reading this?
We often have little narratives running in our minds that we didn’t choose to put there, like:
“Why DOES my boss want to meet with me tomorrow?”
“I should have gone to the gym
“I’ve got to pay some bills”
or the classic,,,
“I don’t have time to sit still, I’ve got too much stuff to do.”
If you experienced these sorts of distractions (and we all do),
you’ve made an important discovery: simply put, that’s the opposite of mindfulness. I
t’s when we live in our heads, on automatic pilot, letting our thoughts go here and there, exploring, say, the future or the past, and essentially, not being present in the moment. But that’s where most of us live most of the time—and pretty uncomfortably, if we’re being honest, right?
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We “practice” mindfulness so we can learn how to recognise when our minds are doing their normal everyday acrobatics, and maybe take a pause from that for just a little while so we can choose what we’d like to focus on. In a nutshell, meditation helps us have a much healthier relationship with ourselves (and, by extension, with others).
Why Learn To Meditate?
When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives. And bonus: you don’t need any extra gear or an expensive membership.
Here are five reasons to meditate:
1: Understand your pain
2: Lower your stress
3: Connect better
4: Improve focus
5: Reduce brain chatter
How to Meditate:
Meditation is simpler (and harder) than most people think.
Read these steps, make sure you’re somewhere where you can relax into this process, set a timer, and give it a shot:
1) Take a seat
Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
2) Set a time limit
If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 3 or 5 minutes.
3) Notice your body
You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, or you could lie down—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
4) Feel your breath
Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out. You could say to yourself,
"Breathe in, I know I'm breathing in; Breathe out, I know I'm breathing out".
5) Notice when your mind has wandered
Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
6) Be kind to your wandering mind
Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back to your breathe.
7) Close with kindness
When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
That’s it! That’s the practice!
You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.....
Under Pressure: How To Handle Relationship Stress During Lockdown
This is a difficult and challenging time for many of us and one of the challenges that we face is being forced to distance ourselves from those we care for.
Mothers cannot see their sons, fathers cannot see their daughters, grandparents cannot see their grandchildren, people in relationships cannot see each other. We are in a state of isolation which is having an impact on us, mentally and physically.
Distance & Proximity
Being apart from those we love is not easy. Humans are essentially ‘pack animals’ – we need one another in order to feel, learn and understand ourselves and others better. Confinement and isolation brings anxiety and sadness, not to mention worry for our loved ones as we all strive to protect ourselves during these troubled times.
At the same time, it works the opposite way. Some people have found themselves thrown together; couples may be confined to a small space, unable to leave one another’s company. This can bring irritability, stress, and arguments; people need their space just as much as they need each other. On an extremely worrying note, cases of domestic abuse have risen since the pandemic began.
Our elderly, some of whom rely on the visit from their grandkids every week or their weekly chat in the local café with friends, have suddenly found these joyous occasions stripped from them.
The tragedy this virus is inflicting on the world hits us in more ways than one; but while the virus tries to cause harm, we must do everything we can to help heal both ourselves and others.
Social distancing and following government guidelines are essential. The more of us who comply with the rules, the greater chance we stand of beating this virus. Staying indoors all day or shuffling warily at a two-meter distance from others in the local supermarket may not be easy, but it is through working together as a community and as a collective that we will be able to get back to our normal lives.
Relationships in Isolation: How To Handle It
Like many others, I have not seen my family or friends for weeks and I admit, I too have experienced bouts of loneliness. It becomes especially difficult as we draw into summer and the sun comes out.
But there are ways we can combat many of the negative impacts the virus is having on us. We cannot stop the global situation, but we can make the best of the situation we are in.
So what are some ways we can handle relationship strain during isolation?
If you’re missing your family, friends, or partner, take advantage of the internet – it is one of our saving graces right now! Thanks to the advance of technology, we can video-chat with each other, play online games with one another, have written conversations with one another......Zoom is my best friend!!!
It may not be the same as holding each other or laughing face to face. But this communication is important – seeing a loved one’s face on the camera provides us reassurance and a sense of comfort. The mind has a tendency to trick itself when it’s left to its own devices. The inclination for thinking up worst-case scenarios and sinking into negative thinking is common. Having regular video-chats or online conversations with those you care for helps tackle the loneliness and lets you see the faces of your loved ones.
Agree on Space
If you are in the opposite situation to the above and you are confined with those in your relationships, then some kind of plan needs to be agreed upon so that people don’t end up snapping and snarling at each other. Avoiding cabin fever is essential.
So speak to your loved one (or your teenage son/daughter!!) and map out a plan which gives both of you the space you need. You could agree that one person stays in the living room for a couple of hours at a specific time while the other takes the bedroom. You could agree certain times you’ll both use the kitchen/ home gym/lounge.....show some kindness and understanding of each others needs.
It might be awkward…
Such a conversation may be a little awkward at first, but it can do a world of good. A friend of mine has been confined with her housemate the last few weeks and has become increasingly irritated by his presence as he would turn up in the kitchen for a chat every time she would make a meal or try out one of her new recipes, or follow her around while gardening. However, she had been reluctant to point this out to him so as not to potentially offend him. I suggested she has a sit-down with him and explain to him politely and firmly that she needs her space. She did and the situation is much better – it turns out he didn’t even realise he was irritating her!
Much of the time, others can’t pick up on what we’re feeling and will only understand how we feel if we actually communicate with them directly. It is better to be upfront and honest, rather than silently stew in a myriad of stress and anger, which may end up exploding at some point.
Help Your Community
Being apart from others can generate anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. One way that we can alleviate these feelings is to help others in our community who are also struggling. Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, are unable to leave their homes and collect essentials such as food and medication.
Joining a neighbourhood incentive that helps them in this area can make the world of difference, both to how we feel and, of course, to those in need. Helping others helps us because it makes us feel good to know that we are assisting those in need. We are not only offering assistance but helping to save lives.
You can volunteer from home…
In the UK, there are now over 750,000 of us across the country who have volunteered with GoodSam, which is working in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. This app alerts a volunteer to a vulnerable person in the local area who requires assistance, such as shopping, medication or even a friendly phone call to check they are OK. It is certainly worth checking out nationwide incentives in our country of residence to see where we may be able to offer our assistance. This further brings a stronger sense of community and boosts our spirits.
Make Future Plans
If you are missing your loved ones, make a list of all the things you want to do with them once this pandemic is over. Maybe a weekend trip away somewhere or planning a day out that you’ve been meaning to do for ages, but never had the time?
One positive thing the pandemic has done is give us time to reflect, especially on the things we may be missing out on because our lives are so busy and hectic. A list of plans for fun and meaningful things to do when it is over gives us something to look forward to and creates optimism in our lives.
If you are struggling with the stress of being confined with others or the stress of being confined alone, then relaxation methods are essential to helping you stay balanced and positive.
Meditation, which can last from as little as 5-10 minutes, can make a world of difference to how you feel. Meditation can bring you huge benefits on many levels. Have a look at my early blog titled Meditate..? But How...?
Likewise, if you are able to get out among nature in a way that is safe for you and others, grounding yourself barefoot in the earth is known to bring balance and relaxation to you.
Self-care helps in our relationships…
And never underestimate the power of a hot bath with essential oils mixed with a carrier oil.
Metaphysical help can come in the form of relaxation crystals, such as celestite and angelite, and meditating with these can help ground and soothe you. Furthermore, it can be helpful to pay attention to the astrological transits each day as this can have an effect on our moods and influence our thoughts. The moon has very strong powers and effects on most of us, whether we can to acknowledge it or not...!!!!!
Reach Out For Help
Don’t suffer alone. Remember, we are all in this together and help is there one way or another, whether it’s through someone you know or an organisation or charity that exists to help you with your situation. If things become particularly troubling, let someone help you. There is no shame whatsoever in admitting you need help. We all do at some stage of the game...my telephone number is at the bottom of this page..USE IT!!!
We don’t know how much longer the isolation period will remain. Our struggles may differ from individual case to individual case, but during these troubling times, the best thing we can do is help each other and help ourselves.
If you are alone at this time, just remember you are not truly alone – your loved ones are still there, your relationships still exist. If you are confined with another, keep reminding yourself of how dear that person is to you and how precious they are. It can be easy when spending so much time in another’s company to take them for granted or forget why we love this person so much in the first place – reminding ourselves of the love we feel for them helps to tackle the irritation that creeps up on us.
Whatever stress, sadness, or anxiety you struggle with right now, remember that we are in this together and we will get through this – together.
Stay Well xx