At home ‘rehab’ for anxiety & life trauma

Yup, you heard me right – rehab for anxiety & life trauma – that’s what we’re talking about.

There is no heroin in this story, but there is addiction. There is no horrifically shocking event, but there is anxiety & trauma. There are no visits to The Priory, but there is a cottage in the countryside with a cat.

At the end of 2018 I was seriously struggling, my anxiety levels were crippling and the Christmas period was one of the worst ever. Since the trauma of my marriage ending nearly 4 years ago, swiftly followed by a year in bed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had been working hard on my healing and recovery. My nervous system was so strung out for so long (even before the end of my relationship), couple that with being an ambitious woman rebuilding my life from zilch/ zero/ nada and throw in a few more seriously challenging life events over the following years – and the result is a very messy, extremely anxious, struggling through each day version of me.

It was hard and it was horrible. I only really realised the extent of the spiral I had swung down over Christmas, so I went to my doctor in early Jan and asked for help – I wanted Diazepam (quick fix chill drug) and he said no (the correct answer, as it is very addictive). He also said come back in a month. Which at the time felt a little like I had been left out in the cold, literally, as it was the first week in January. Until I picked myself up, reminded myself I am an extremely talented and experienced Intuitive Life Coach with a huge box of excellent life skills & tools – so I embarked upon my own personal, self prescribed ‘rehab’ – and I am very pleased to tell you – it worked – a treat!

While my house in London was being renovated I moved into my Mum’s cottage in Oxfordshire = peace, time alone & space (not mention my actual Mum & Saintly Step-Dad) – perfect! I devised a programme to heal my hideous anxiety, build my physical fitness, feel good about myself & my life, develop much better boundaries & stop vaping – a little addiction I had fallen for as a much loved crutch through all the above. Now we are only 4 months on and how I was feeling, and my life choices then, feel like a lifetime ago – it literally feels like I was a different person, because in many ways I was. I was being overwhelmed by my trauma behaviours and a racing, fearful mind – whereas now I have shifted the balance so I choose how I feel, I choose what I do, I am the powerful creator of my life, not the helpless victim.

Here is a list of what my at home ‘rehab’ consisted of in those first few weeks and months:

  1. I stopped drinking alcohol for a period of time and read Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington – I had slipped into drinking regularly to numb my feelings – never a healthy place to be.
  2. I step-by-step reduced the nicotine in my vape until it was at zero, then I ran out of vape liquid one day and stopped completely. (This was over a period of months.)
  3. I created a very simple morning routine – starting small. The worst time for the anxiety was often in the morning, it would envelop me as soon as I woke up; thinking of all the negative & scary possibilities, what could go wrong and worries about the day ahead. I got into the habit of thinking from my Chronic Fatigue mindset – that I couldn’t get through the day, that each task was too big and tiring to surmount – and this was not my reality anymore, but my mind had not moved on from it – it was holding onto the pattern of trauma thought. My morning ritual allowed me to interrupt this habit & thought pattern and instead choose how I started each day. It included:
    • 5 mins meditation
    • 10 mins yoga
    • 3 things I am truly grateful for (no lip service here – gotta really feel it)
  4. I had weekly therapy sessions with a counsellor – this was vital to understand what patterns of behaviour and thought had contributed to my downwards spiral – and the support and space to express my feelings with no judgement.
  5. I created some very clear boundaries around areas of life that had been draining my energy and causing more trauma and pain.
  6. I shared my ‘rehab’ experience by spending time with trusted friends and family members – the inner circle.

Sounds fun right?! It wasn’t that fun, but it also wasn’t that hard either, I had lots of support and took each step slowly, bit by bit. Very quickly I started to feel the benefits of committing to my at home ‘rehab’, I started to push past my comfort zone a little more, each step forward I took gave me a bit more confidence, a bit more energy and bit more lust for life.

I share this with you to be vulnerable and show you that we all struggle, even if we keep it private at the time. Also to show that we all have what we need within us to heal and create the life experience we most want. I happen to have had thousands of hours of experience and knowledge this area – so I could DIY-this-shit-baby – but maybe you need someone to help you set up your healing programme. And you don’t need to be ‘sick’, the Doc can even send you away and you still might need a whole heap of healing, love and care – you can give it to yourself & you can ask for it from others. If I hadn’t fully committed to this programme, and many steps after the list above ended, I would be no further forward than I was in January, and I would probably have been prescribed some medication that I don’t really need.

Now I am doing so well – I am finally getting back to peak fitness – going to the gym 5/6 times a week – eating clean – no vaping – loving my work – loving my family & my peeps – lots of fun & travel. I have taken huge leaps forward in healing from my anxiety and moving on from my trauma patterns – it feels like FREEDOM and it’s awesome.

Sending love xx

 

 

 

 

Your intuition will guide you to radiant health

 

EinsteinIntuitiveMind

Can you think of a time you had a gut feeling about something and didn’t listen to it? What happened? Usually when we follow our intuition, our sixth sense or gut feeling, things work out, and when we don’t, they don’t work out so well. You can use this same inner GPS to make good choices for your individual health and wellbeing.

For years I followed strict nutritional plans, cutting out all sorts of food types, I even did a 7 day juice fast once! I felt awful at the end of it! I am all for cleanses and eating healthful food, however I was enforcing rigid, external structures onto my body and the results were not great. I was constantly having to monitor myself and felt like I was just a little bit heavier than I would like to be. I had to use lots of will power NOT to eat the dessert or the burger, so I often felt like I had piously made the ‘right’ choice, but also like I was denying myself.

Same goes for exercise, I would crowbar myself into exercise programs, force myself to do high intensity classes and move my body in a way I didn’t really enjoy. Now there is of course a time & place for discipline and commitment, I am a big fan. However there is another way to approach diet and exercise…

When I actively did the work to connect more deeply with my intuition, and chose to make my intuitive guidance a priority in my decision making, I discovered a sense of ease and enjoyment around staying healthy that I had never experienced before. For the last few years I have eaten, for the most part, exactly what I want, when I want. Same goes for exercise, I do the type of exercise that my body is asking for, not what the latest fad is. The result is I don’t even think about my weight, I am definitely slimmer than I used to be and I love wearing clothes to show off my figure.

By tuning into the wisdom and messages from my body I make choices that make me feel good and are good for me. Sometimes I really want the burger and the dessert, so that’s what I have, and I love it! But mostly my body wants clean foods, lots of vegetables and lean protein, because that’s what makes it feel good.

How can you use your intuition to benefit your health?

When I make choices about what to eat I think about the food, or look at it, and tune into my body, especially my stomach, silently asking it how eating/drinking this would feel to me. Would it feel light or heavy? Would it feel energising or draining? Would it make me feel nourished and satisfied, or not?

For example when socialising I used to drink wine, because that what girls do, girls drink wine and boys drink beer – right?! When I started listening to my body I realised my body likes beer, and not wine. Wine gives me a headache and makes me feel heavy in my body, whereas beer suits me much better. So now I don’t drink wine and I do drink beer. Same goes for drinking tea, I used to drink tea everyday because that’s just what you do, right? When I started listening I found my body very rarely wants tea, and when it occasionally does I have a cup and love it.

The voice in my head usually speaks first e.g. oh those brownies look yummy and sweet and I want one! So I give myself just a moment to tune in, how would I feel if I ate one now? (Not would I feel guilty, but how would I feel in my body.) Sometimes the answer is ‘I’d feel great’ so I have one and enjoy it, and sometimes the answer is ‘I’d feel high and then low and tired’, so I leave it.

The same goes for exercise, I very rarely do high intensity training anymore because it doesn’t feel good in the moment for my body, I love dance classes, yoga, walking, sometimes running, swimming, barre classes etc. I also know my body likes to move in lots of different ways, it gets bored and stiff if I do the same type of exercise over and over again. I prioritise listening to my body during my cycle, there are some days in the month when my body wants to rest and be gentle, and other when I’m raring to go and love a spin class.

As I said, this doesn’t mean I have thrown all discipline out of the window, it means I allow my intuition to be my guide within the structure of the health commitments I have chosen. I still set my alarm to exercise and would sometimes rather snooze it than get up and go to the gym. I still do cleanses for my digestive system, but I do them when I feel it’s right.

Not only does my body look and feel better than ever, I feel good about my health. I am not constantly second guessing and counting up all the things have consumed that day in order to work out how guilty I should feel, and therefore how long I need to train for the next day to balance the calorie intake. In fact I rarely think about it, it frees up space and time in my head and in my day to enjoy and relax and appreciate.

What I am not suggesting…

Doing research and being well informed about food choices, exercise and general health is wonderful – I am not suggesting you throw all scientific research and expert recommendations out the window. I am inviting you to create a moment of space to tune into your body, tuning into your intuition, to confirm what feels right to you in this moment.

Give it a try, start small and let me know how you get on.

Sending love xx

 

 

 

The importance of feeling good

feeling good

If, like me, you’re a touch prone to worrying and anxiety you will know how difficult it can feel at times to convince yourself that everything is ok, you are ok and you can relax and feel good.

However, it is crucial to check in with ourselves and take steps to feel good and positive. The main reason is because the frequency of our vibration (meaning the level of energy we are holding and emitting) directly affects what we allow into our experience. Good feelings and thoughts attract good things, high vibes attract high vibes and low vibes attract low vibes.

For example, what does your energy feel like when you are feeling crappy about yourself? About the day you’ve had? About a recent rejection or bad news? Your energy feels low and contracted. Now what does your energy feel like when you have had an awesome day? When you signed up that new client? When you have just been given a promotion? Your energy feels expansive, uplifted and excited.

Generally we want more good feeling things and experiences in our lives, therefore we must commit to taking steps to ensure our energy (our frequency) is consistently high.

But Gemma! (I hear you say) What about when I have very good reason to feel bad, sad or crappy? Am I just supposed to ignore those feelings and force myself to feel good?

This can be a tricky area in the conversation of Law of Attraction and manifestation – when is it OK to feel bad? Is it ever OK? My answer for you is yes – it is absolutely ok to feel bad at times. It is normal and human and denying or bottling up our feelings is destructive in itself. So how do we navigate these confusing waters?

My opinion is, allow your feelings to move through you. Emotions are called ‘e-motions’ for a reason – they move. When we allow ourselves to feel the feelings and lean into them, they will move through us. What we need to get good at avoiding is allowing our feelings to get stuck, to dwell on them for ages and to ruminate on them. This is where the work comes in…

Say for example you have experienced a loss, you will almost certainly experience grief, sadness and feel very down. It is completely right and good to give yourself space and time to experience them fully. However it is also important to allow those feelings to move at the appropriate time. Even in the darkest times we can experience beauty, gratitude and love, often even more poignantly and deeply.

Abraham Hicks suggests we choose just a slightly better feeling thought, gratitude is the quickest and most powerful way to do this. When my mind and heart is consumed with worry and uncertainty I often list in my head all the things I am grateful for, from the really tiny things to the big things, as many as I can think of. Doing this helps me to raise my vibration just a bit, to feel a little more ease and hope.

This is why ‘wellbeing’ is so important – the things we do to keep ourselves feeling good are our number one priority, no matter what is going on around us at the time. This will be somewhat different for all of us, although there are some that generally work for everyone: exercise, eating wholefoods, spending time with loved ones, self care, being in nature etc. One of my favourite comforts is a cup of Earl Grey Rooibos tea and toast with marmite and marmalade. (Sounds gross, but it’s delicious!)

Committing to your dreams becoming your reality unavoidably includes committing to actively participating in you feeling good, as much as you can, and as much as is appropriate for you at the time. If you are not clear what makes you feel good, spend some time figuring it out. If you know what makes you feel good, ensure you give those things time and energy as a priority in your life. It is a discipline and sometimes won’t be easy. but it will be so worth it.

 

Beginner’s intro to yoga – video

As a yoga teacher people often tell me they want to do yoga, but are nervous of going to a class having never done it before. This video is a very gentle introduction to yoga that you can do at home with no one watching. It introduces you to breathing with your movements, gentle stretching and a deep relaxation at the end.

Even though I’m a yoga teacher I still find it difficult sometimes to get on my mat to practice. Sometimes I’m uninspired, or don’t want to be alone and so incredibly present with myself and my feelings. Bringing my interrupted awareness to my breath and my body, as we do in yoga, can feel raw and challenging as the emotions and thoughts I’ve been ignoring come up to the surface. This may not feel comfortable in the moment but is so essential and cleansing – to move the energy of those thoughts and emotions through and eventually out of my body.

That’s one of the many reasons I love following yoga videos at home – I feel like I’m not doing it alone and the teacher on the screen is supporting and guiding me. I hope you have a similar experience.

 

At home retreat – Step 2 – self care

I was very much a shower on the run girl – squeezing in a quick rinse to clean the essentials while my head was full of the lists of things I had to do that day. Maybe once in a couple of months I’d treat myself to a bath and even then I’d get bored and hot and jump out pretty quick.

During this time of recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome combined with healing my heart I have learned to approach life at a completely different pace. I learned to slow down, and at times stop completely, because I had no other option, my body decided for me. One of the aspects that has been crucial in my healing journey, and a huge part of my ‘at home retreat’ is self care. Self care is very closely connected to self love in that it’s a the physical choices we make to take care of ourselves.

Taking the time for myself and treating myself everyday to a simple, leisurely bath has been my number 1 self care ritual during my retreat and I have continued since. It is a small way I show myself that I’m important and that I love myself, as well as it being healing in a practical way.

My self care, bath time ritual involves:

Daily…

  • Run your bath and set the scene – light a candle or two, lower the lights and I love to have a big glass of water (or drink of your choice).
  • I love to have something to do while I’m enjoying my bath e.g. watch my favourite show on the iPad, listen to a meditation audio, watch a spiritual video or listen to music.
  • I put a good amount of Epsom Salt into my bath nearly everyday – there are so many benefits to Epsom Salts such as relieving aches and pains, very detoxifying and cleansing for your energy and aura – its the best!
  • Add essential oils or flower essences – depending on whether you’re bathing to relax or to wash before starting your day you can choose essential oils to help you. I love lavender to relax and sage to cleanse, citrus oils are good for lifting energy.
  • Once comfortably in your bath I recommend using healthy, non toxic products to wash with – I use Arbonne products as they’re vegan, contain no nasties and work brilliantly. Use a specific face wash for your skin needs, I love the SeaSource Detox Body Wash for everywhere else and of course hair care. (Note if you put lots of Epsom Salt into your bath it can leave your hair a bit crispy – you can always rinse it in the shower afterwards).
  • Give yourself at least 20 mins to soak in the bath with the salts to get the full benefits while you enjoy your music or video and when its time to get out do so gently, I always take time to rest a little after a bath before rushing to get dressed or get on with the next task.

Once or twice a week…

  • Exfoliate your whole body twice a week – I use a natural exfoliating mitt and the Arbonne SeaSouce Detox Salt Scrub for my body and the FC5 Exfoliating New Cell Scrub for my face – which can double as a face mask too. Every now and then I use a more deeply cleansing or nourishing face mask.
  • Don’t forget your feet and hands! It’s easy to focus on your face and forget about the parts of your body that do the most work – feet and hands. Once a week I like to treat my feet and hands to a revitalising salt scrub all of their own – they feel so soft and lovely afterwards.

There are so many aspects of this bath ritual that are healing both spiritually and physically; giving time and energy to yourself is so important, it sets the standard for how others treat you too. Switching off from your daily tasks by enjoying a TV show or doing a relaxing meditation while in the bath creates space in your mind to find peace, creativity and is like a re-set button. The essential oils, Epsom Salts and Arbonne products are nourishing your senses and physical body with minerals, cell renewing properties and removing toxins.

Now it’s your turn – enjoy!

 

At home retreat – Step 1 – Food

static1.squarespace.com_-1140x687.png

The first step is crucial and needs nailing before you start your retreat – easy, healthy, whole food. Most of us are busy and creating healthy, delicious meals 3 times a day for a whole week is a challenge, especially if you’re creating a new way of eating.

Solution = order a week’s worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner + snacks to be delivered to your door! I decided to use Nosh Detox as they offered a 7 day alkalise, balance and cleanse programme. The first three days were mainly smoothies and soups with a proper meal for dinner and the rest of the week was proper meals; salads, quinoa porridge, stuffed peppers and many more yummy dishes.

I was impressed that the smoothies were not too sweet, as is often the case, and the meals were very filling and tasty. All the food is diary and gluten free and you can specify your own dietary requirements – for example I loathe mushrooms so none of my food included mushrooms.

The team at Nosh needed very little notice before my deliveries started and having all the food for all meals in the fridge (delivered fresh every 2 days) meant I could free my mind and my time of any and all food related concerns and concentrate on me and what was important to achieve during this week. After a number of months suffering from chronic fatigue and healing from a marriage break down my priorities were to get my body moving and release stored up emotions – which is where the following steps came in…Step 2 coming soon!

Image courtesy of Nosh Detox

At home retreat – guide to creating your own retreat in your own home

Lavendar oil and flowers.jpg

Last week I was feeling stuck and frustrated – you know when you’ve tried so many things to feel better and kick start yourself back to health/ease (insert your own word) and none of it has really worked. So I thought RETREAT! What better?! A break away from it all focusing on health and wellbeing and myself – how wonderful!

I did some research online and then the reality started to dawn…last minute retreats which are good quality are expensive, I have two fur babies who need to be fed and loved, I don’t really want the hassle of packing and travelling and, and, and, and…

IMG_3454

Who would want to leave these adorable fluffy souls for a whole week!?

Anyway I came up with a solution – an at home retreat. Over the next few days I will go through the steps I came up with to create my ‘at home retreat’ which is simple, cost effective and can be worked around your normal life.

The main steps to creating my healing, nurturing retreat involve getting healthy meals delivered (yes it is possible, it doesn’t break the bank and it’s amazing – almost like having your own private chef!), moving your body, healing treatments, self love at home treatments, TV/internet fasting and time to play, sleep, cry and whatever you need my lovely.

Extra benefits you would not get from an away retreat are spending time with my cats, Raff & Max, setting up new and healthy habits at home which can be continued and an unexpected outcome is it’s a perfect time for space clearing – home, body, life – whatever needs some throwing out to make space for shiny newness.

Step 1 coming tomorrow…

 

Healing yin yoga and hip openers

gemma childs pose.jpg

It was a day of things going a little awry and then synchronistically working out perfectly.

I was planning on going to my morning Sivananda yoga class at the ashram in Putney, as I trained in this very soothing, classical style in India. I didn’t sleep well at last night so was waking and sleeping till late in the morning and missed my class. Not to be thwarted I decided to go along to a later class a local studio I haven’t been to before, a Yin class. I thought Yin, a very slow style of yoga where the poses are held for long periods of time, would suit me perfectly as I am recovering from chronic fatigue and so have been doing very little exercise recently.

The poses were a range of steady holding and gently flowing, it was physically harder than I expected to hold still for so long! I was very impressed by the teacher’s knowledge both in the realm of the spiritual and physical. The piece of information which stuck in my mind most and turned on a light bulb of understanding was her explanation of the iliopsoas.

She explained the iliopsoas is the only muscle that is attached to both the lower limbs and the torso (the spine) making its way down through the pelvis, it is actually the deepest muscle in the human body. In yoga it is known as the ‘muscle of the soul’ as it holds emotional as well as physical tension. When we are relaxed in life and feel able to express ourselves our hips tend to be more open, when we are in flight or fight response (stress) our hips become tighter and movement is reduced. This is why when practicing hip openers in yoga, especially in a yin yoga class (where we held a low lunge for at least 5 minutes!), often emotions and hidden frustrations come bubbling up to the surface.

This was my experience exactly, I knew that my right hip was especially tight, and I attributed it to difficult emotions connected to close male relationships in my life (right side of the body represents yang/ masculine energy). While holding the stretch on the right side the wave of emotions was overwhelming so much so that I feared I might cry out if I didn’t release the pose and take a break.

I loved the teacher’s beautiful, soulful and anatomically correct explanation of why the emotions are caught up in the hip area. I breathed through the emotions, through the discomfort in an effort to let go as much as I could. Often in a deep hip opener I can feel the resistance building in my body almost like very small convulsion and if I stay with it and breathe through it my body releases the blocked energy and I can relax and let go a little deeper.

This class, this teacher, this pose and this explanation were exactly what I need to heal and nourish myself today. And the bonus prize was the studio are offering a £25 unlimited pass for 2 weeks for newbies – so much to be grateful for in the flow of synchronicity.

Super healthy, super yummy supper


It’s Wednesday evening after a long day at work and my fridge is offering left over roast chicken etc from Sunday and a whole pile of green veg I’d planned on eating but haven’t got around to it (when take away sounds way more interesting!).

The answer to this situation – delicious super green veg soup topped with shredded roast chicken and a few sun dried tomatoes – divine! And guilt free!

My trick to making a veggie soup taste great is lots of fresh herbs, garlic and in this case a whole bunch of spring onions. All fried in healthy oil (rapeseed, coconut etc) and uncooked veg added first, a good quality organic veg stock. Bubbling for a bit then add left over cooked veg – whatever’s in the fridge – a pile of spinach, some pepper and blend like crazy. Voila!