Less Stress, More Ease

This is very different for animals. Every day they face finding food and shelter to survive or being eaten by a bigger and more powerful animal. Once they escape from the lion or tiger they can rest and recover until the next chase. 

Sadly, for us humans, we tend to remain in this heightened state of fear and worry even after we’ve survived or overcome a challenge. We ruminate on ‘what if’ and ‘what might happen’.  This eats into the time we could be spending building supportive relationships or looking after our health and wellbeing. 

We humans are designed to face short-term stressors. Our ancestors had solvable and urgent survival goals – build a shelter, find food, find water, and connect with your family/community.  When they failed to achieve these then they did not survive for very long.

Modern life has evolved beyond this simplistic model. With modern technology we believe ourselves to be so much more sophisticated than our ancestors. 

We are connected to everyone online and sometimes disconnected from the people in our lives and the communities where we live. Loneliness is prevalent amongst all age groups.  We invite stress when we compare ourselves to people we see on social media, even though we have nothing in common with them.

Everyday we’re bombarded with news of suffering, divisions and greed in different parts of the world, and closer to home. This feeling of powerlessness can add to our feelings of stress. 

We have access to vast amounts of data, yet we make poor decisions. 

Photo by Shirley Anstis; Waterfall to symbolically wash away the stresses of life

For example, we know water is good for the body yet that is often the last thing we drink. We know that healthy food keeps us well, yet we make unhealthy choices regularly. There have been an increasing number of studies linking diet to gut health to mental health which means what we eat can affect our mood and thinking ability.

The truth is stress can be debilitating or it can be a motivator by helping us to do better.  The first step is to recognise who or what is causing you stress and begin to take steps to reduce the impact of this. At the same time build your capabilities so that you can tap into your resilience when facing a stressful situation.

Recognise that some things are in you power to control and those things you can begin to resolve. Other stressors may be within your power to influence, and you will need to work collaboratively, with others, to find a solution. And finally, there are stressful things in the world that we do not have the power to solve yet we can choose to be a positive light in our corner of the world.  You are welcome to contact me for holistic counselling or coaching here

So, what can you do to tackle your level of stress?

Pay attention to your body and when you feel stress – who or what increases stress in your life?

Once you become aware and notice then you can try to pre-empt these influences and become proactive instead of reactive.

For example, could you introduce clearer boundaries for yourself and others so that you agree to demands that are realistic for you?

Are there people in your life who you love and care for, but you feel stressed in their presence? Is there anything you can do about that?

As well as noticing what increases stress in your life you can also review what practices reduces the experience of stress for you.

A few ideas to improve your resilience and reduce the impact of stress on your life:

  • Regular exercise, movement or dancing
  • Spending more time in nature
  • Better quality sleep
  • Music and other sounds
  • Developing more authentic friendships and not just contacts
  • Having a creative outlet such as baking, journalling, knitting, colouring, painting 
  • More presence, less multi-tasking
  • Inviting in more positive people and spaces
  • Doing therapy to work through past or present pain and trauma.
  • Trying one or more of mindfulness, meditation and prayer
  • Working on your mindset, patience, resilience
  • Finding a purpose bigger than yourself that nudges you forward. 

Hopefully by becoming more aware of your stressors and increasing your ability to be resilient you will find it less difficult to cope with the many surprises life throws your way. The pace of change will continue, so it is about finding solid ground to stand on. 

Do sign up for my newsletter here to keep connected. Continue to develop good habits and begin to trust yourself.  Let’s truly embody our individuality and do less of the comparing and competing.  Wishing you less stress and more peace.

One Year On

A day to reflect on a year in lockdown

Today marks one year since our first lockdown in the UK.  We’re being encouraged to pause and reflect on a challenging year, so many have become ill or have died: lost livelihoods and lost lives. There has been a lot of suffering.

I’ve found it very hard to think of the year as just one year – it feels like we’ve had about 3 years in the past 12 months. So much has changed – our family meet-ups, our work, our schools and places of learning, our socialising, our communities, our places of worship, celebrations, entertainment, exercise, holidays. There are many others. Thankfully we continued to have school support otherwise this blog would be very different.

I’ve missed family gatherings, social spaces, entertainment, restaurants and foreign holidays but I’ve also appreciated the quiet spaces and calmer existence. I imagine that this enforced social distancing has been much harder for extroverts. I enjoy walks in nature and given that this was all that was allowed we had to discover new walking areas near where we live. We were able to sneak in a staycation or two in Wales and Cornwall in 2020 so that helped tremendously.  Time by the see can be very soothing as we imagine the sea washing away our worries. Have you found a way to make regular walks or exercise interesting for you?

I realise that I’ve got through this time by being incredibly busy and maintaining two online women’s circles; one weekly and one monthly. These connections existed pre covid-19 and have been invaluable.  I will be hosting more circles for women coming out of lockdown as we try to reconnect with ourselves and each other. Sign up to the blog to find out when these go live.

The continuous conversations about illness and death have made me want to make the most of the time I still have. In 2020 I threw myself into writing courses and completed my third book. I was able to offer a few writing workshops, and these brought as much pleasure to me as the participants. I had offered these face-to-face before 2020 and was pleased to be able to take them online.  I’m forever grateful that work and family life have remained stable, and I was able to transition my counselling practice online. Like many home-based workers I’ve found it hard to maintain good eating and exercise habits and this needs to be a focus going forward. This has been my way of coping, but I’d love to know what has kept you going?

Journal 2021

I’ve added my love of photography to my work in ‘writing as therapy’ and created a journal for 2021. You’re welcome to try it too. It has a writing prompt, space for what you’re thankful for, how you plan to look after yourself and any goals you have for 50 weeks of the year.

2021 journal
Back and Front cover of A4 journal with 50 writing prompts and 100 pages

You can be as focused or as vague as you like , just the weekly reflection should be useful. It’s my first journal so I’m excited to try it and to hear how you find it on Lulu here. Start the year with intentionality and positivity.


Time to Talk

As a practising counsellor I feel I want to encourage people to have better conversations about mental health. But the phrase ‘time to talk’ is so well used now that I wonder what we mean by it.

I remember when I first returned to live in England how I had to concentrate on the person I was speaking to figure out when they were genuinely interested in what I was saying and when they were just being polite. The difference between the two and the subtlety with which it is communicated affects us all.

So perhaps we can: –

Decide that – it’s time to talk

Create space – to talk

Choose a time – to talk

Communicate a desire – to talk

Show up, listen, empathise and not judge.  The people we connect to will appreciate it.

Most of us spend large parts of our day multitasking; at home, whilst travelling, at work, in meetings, with family and with friends.

What if we could create time to listen to ourselves? Is our self-talk supporting us or hindering us?

We too need the non-judgemental supportive space we create for others.

Through one-to-one counselling and writing workshops I try to provide this space for others.

I also provide such time for myself as often as possible. Whether I am walking between appointments or having a relaxing bath I allow myself space to be mindfully present and listen to what is going on inside me.

Let’s find ways to really talk to each other and to actually listen to ourselves. Each of us deserves to be heard.



I am smiling on the inside


I stood with one hand under my chin, arms folded and looking at my feet.  If you saw

me at a distance you’d think I was feeling miserable.  The truth is I was enjoying the

sunshine and engrossed with the ladybird trying to climb up my shoes.  A grounded

moment in a busy day.


What we are thinking and feeling is not always obvious to those around us.  If our aim

is to deceive then that’s great but if we wish to deepen relationships and develop trust

then opening up is necessary.   We could be smiling or crying on the inside, who



What we see from the outside is

always a partial picture of the

truth, and even we may not fully

understand ourselves.




For myself I find it is very powerful to be really seen, even if feedback is sometimes

difficult to receive.  It is very exposing and moving to have someone give honest

feedback on how they experience us.   With my clients I offer my reflections gently.


If we are experienced differently from what we believe to be the truth then it is up to us

to explore this. How are we living or being that gives them that impression?  Is there a

conspiracy or is there some truth in how others experience you?

I would love to have your responses.