Take time for three deep breaths, a few times a day. Deep breathing slows our heart rate to a more rested state. This can help us feel more grounded. Each
day bring minutes of breathing space to calm your nervous system.
2. Listen to Yourself
Tune in regularly to your inner voice. Keep connected by noticing your thoughts, emotions and senses and stay in touch with your personal needs. Take time to recall memories and remind yourself of experiences when you have coped well before, be that tricky times in business or personally. Tap into your resilience and give your confidence a boost.
3. Digital Detox
Keep on top of the latest information from trustworthy sources. Remember at times of fear and uncertainty our mind is more alert, looking for signs and potential threats. Maybe ration your need to keep checking news updates? Too much information can contribute to overwhelm and burnout. In the long run this may be counter-productive, if it stops you from keeping healthy and well.
4. Home Working
Working and living in our home space, alone or with family, can bring new unforeseen pressures and gifts, as we work out our ‘new normal’. People may miss social connection, friendships and support from colleagues. Some people may have tricky home lives. We are all different we cope, and adapt to change at our own pace. Some people want help; others may be more self-sufficient in taking time to adjust.
5. Calming our Minds
Keep curious and pay more attention to your mind, without judgment. Changes and restrictions to our normal routines, loss and disappointments for our future social plans can all add up. Starting to work from home, or increased pressure at work could trigger positive or negative patterns, thoughts and feelings. Underlying medical conditions may be activated, keep aware of yourself, your team and colleagues. Checking in “How am I today on a scale of 1 to 10?“ Mindfulness practices may help
6. Kindness Counts
Acceptance and adjusting to the changes we are all collectively experiencing is going to take time. Cultivating kindness and compassion for ourselves, and empathy for others helps us. Kindness calms our nervous system. Research indicates compassionate leadership helps us feel valued, connected and safe.
7. Keep Communicating
In times of stress we need understanding and a scaffolding of emotional support around us. Pause, catch your breath, become more aware and present in your conversations; listen better and hear more. Practice keeping open, checking in with yourself and others. Be in the moment with your loved ones, or your team (they will notice), it will make a difference.
8. Get Outside in the Fresh Air
Lancashire is abundant in green spaces even in urban areas. Research tells us that nature has a calming effect onour mind and emotions. Soothe and replenish your senses and uplift your spirit with nature’s sights, sounds and sensations. Follow Government Guidelineson social distancing, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times. Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
9. Physical Health
Plan for a marathon than a sprint. Eat well, hydrate and refuel your body. Make time to rest, recuperate and recover. Relax, switch off and sleep well, so you are resourced and resilient to go the distance. You will thank your future self.
10. Practice the Science of Gratitude
Take in the good stuff, be really present in it, and totally absorb it to nurture and nourish your senses. Each morning write down “3 things you are grateful for”.
At the end of Your Day, remember “3 good things that happened today”. Appreciating small things can provide priceless and precious instantaneous moments of Joy!
Lou delivers coaching and mentoring services helping individuals and business owners, and their staff to thrive and flourish. Passionate about wellness has Lou has studied internationally. A business graduate and Tai Chi teacher, Lou is currently researching the benefits of mindfulness and compassion in coaching, as part of her MSc in Mindfulness, at Aberdeen University.
To find out more get in touch.
Tel 07715814833 www.elementascoaching.com
Can you remember the last time you were home? Truly Home?
I’m not talking about where you live; I’m talking about that pure contentment we feel, when all is well. Nothing to do, nowhere to be, those moments when we are safe, connected, and content with ourselves, and our life.
Can you recall a familiar space and place, where you belong, where you are truly connected, be that alone or with loved ones? A place where we can sense satisfaction, a non-craving. A space where we can be peace with ourselves and our world.
“To feel at Home – to feel comfortable and relaxed”source Cambridge dictionary
Some of you will be saying, “I know that space. I spend a lot of time there”………
Well read no more. Well done, share with others, help them find how to come home too.
For those of us on a journey, we need to keep learning to return to our home base, so keep reading………
We often inhibit a turbulent over stimulated world where can busyness is the norm at work and home. The news that sells best and grabs our attention and triggers the ‘fight, flight, freeze’ part of our emotional Brain to engage, is fear based. Triggering chemicals that can be keep us on high alert for hours after. As fearfulness is churned out by social and news platforms 24/7, it can be really tricky to switch off. Even if you are ok, someone you care about may be distressed. So how do we keep coming home to ourselves? Our Home base.
Yes sure we need to leave home, engage with the world and the external landscape that keeps taking us out. As with any trip or journey be prepared! Remember to make sure you keep strong and resilient with a supply of tools and techniques to keep safe. Then you can keep venturing out, safe in the knowledge that you can return Home often to reflect and regenerate.
As well as practical personal experience, I draw from the latest thinking of behavioural psychologists, neuroscience research, wellness experts and traditional, ancient Tao and Buddhist practices. I hope some of my favourite tips may resonate with you.
Ten Steps To Coming Home
1. Notice what and who triggers and distracts you and takes away your balance. Build in more breathing space or just plain avoid.
2. Figure what and who is toxic to your wellness, and notice how this disturbs your peace of mind.
3. Accept what is, leave it alone (the darts of our suffering), or at least don’t make it any worse!
4. Take small steps (again and again) make the changes you know will help you “tend to and heal your wound”.
5. Only give what you are ‘willing to give and receive what you are willing to receive”.
6. Find what really nurtures and nourishes you, and spend heaps of time there.
7. Remember to take in the good stuff, be really present in it and totally absorb it, and practice the science of gratitude.
8. Cultivate kindness and compassion for yourself and others.
9. Breath deeply, listen well and be more present and in the moment with those you love (they will notice!)
10. Return more often and quicker to your Home base.
“know yourself and you will win all battles”Sun Tzu
Notice how often you are happier in your inner landscape. It is here that you have true impact. Trust how your external landscape starts to looks, sound and feel different from this true vantage point.
If you want to know more or need support to cultivate you mental and emotional Home space, please get in touch – call me on 07715814833, or drop me a line at email@example.com.
Work Well: Live Well: Be Well
Be more relaxed and happier at work, more connected and present with the people and creatures that matter the most to you.
Live life with more clarity, more focus. Show up more with more presence. Imagine failing faster, making better choices, and confidently providing for and supporting others. Ultimately cultivating more joy, more personal reward, giving yourself permission to succeed and relax.
Well I believe you can do all this and it isn’t that complex.
Experts and researchers in the fields of evolutionary psychology and neuroscience seem to agree. I will make it simple and pass on my learning so you can easily do it for yourself.
If you are curious about your reaching your potential and are ready to take a fresh approach, let me show you how. Together we’ll bring to light to your personal blocks and any stubborn resistance.
If coming home, connecting and living to your value system strikes a chord, and my approach resonates, then let’s share a cuppa and talk about unearthing new insights.
Over the years I have had the pleasure to meet managers, leaders and owners to discuss business and life experiences. Most are coaching in a similar style. Looking for a different approach? I can highly recommend Lou to guide you to your balanced lifestyle and business achievement” Darren
Think less about what you have to do, more about the way you want to do it!
And let’s do in your life time!
Executive Business and Wellness Coach Post Grad Certificate Mindfulness (MSc)
BA (Hons) DipM MCIM Chartered Marketer
Have you ever found yourself feeling lost? Lost in the familiar, the normal, the known?
Or do we only get lost on an unfamiliar route, when we’re in a new situation or when we are out of our depth?
We may look around us and know we are lucky, a nice job, lovely friends, partner and family. Yet sometimes we can still feel lost, overwhelmed with it all, do you ever recognise that feeling?
Or maybe we are just dealing with the challenges of life, that we all face be that: stress, loss, change, illness. And perhaps we have lost ourself a little in we middle of it all, trying to make sense of it all?
As a coach, my training, expertise and experience enables me to help people make sense of what’s going on. To help them feel less lost. To find their own insights. However to gain this wisdom, I had to experience and understand vulnerability, to get lost myself and so I share my story.
In my mid-thirties I became the first in my circle to get divorced. A catholic, country girl it was a hard pill to swallow. Now years later I realise it wasn’t such a disaster, althought at the time it felt pretty horrendous! My life changed beyond all recognition, and importantly without my permission!
I felt heart-broken, rejected, set adrift and lost. Yes lost, and on reflection it was a bit like being in a car-crash inside. All my friends were having children, buying bigger homes, and nesting. And then my dad timely left my mum for a new partner.
I was forced to re-think my life, to sink or swim. And I swam, literally each day in the local pool in my lunch break and cryed! I took the holiday planned with my ex to Peru, Machu Picchu, but ‘solo style’ crying in the heart of breathtaking beauty the Andean Mountains. I remember observing impoverished young Peruvian children and thinking “Lou you are an adult you will be ok, they are children”.
Often from our suffering, emerges great wisdom. For this I turn to Viktor Emil Frankl, Austrian psychologist as well as a Holocaust survivor, associated wih the powerful quote:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space Is our power to choose our response” In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
From the space of the Andean Mountains, I had made a life changing decision, without realising. Back in the Uk later in the year, I left the safety of my steady job as Marketing Development Manager to volunteer in South American, in a small town called Cochabamba, Bolivia. I bravely stood up for myself, and negotiated a three-months Sabbatical with my boss. I ventured out of my comfort zone, and then disappeared off map from all I knew, for a while to lick my wounds.
I took myself out of my stretch zone and to the edge of my panic zone at times, smiling to myself about being ‘brave but stupid”. It was the hardest but best thing I every did. It helped me survive and more, I restored the old the person I thought I had lost. I built new resources and resilience to take me through the very tough few years which were to follow and the effort to rebuild my life in the UK.
In South America, working with abused, abandoned and lost children, I found myself. I realised my life was not that bad. I travelled, backpacker style in a jeep to the heart of the breathtaking Bolivian salt lakes Salar de Uyuni, with a kind, funny medical student, and bright, young fellow companions. We giggled a lot, staying in $1 a night hostels and submerged in natural landscapes that even Sir David Attenborough would marvel at.
Staring at the stars of the South Hemisphere, I was falling in love with life again. So powerfully captured in a verse from my favourite poem “The Dance” Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
“Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart. And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again“.
In these three most memorable months of my life, I started to trust again, and unfurl and flourish amidst kindness; to others and from others. I was accepted and started to accept myself. I was nourished by my host Bolivian family’s love. I taught arts and craft to vulnerable children, as well as found adventure with my travel companions. It was here I would also to gain first hand practical experience of the psychology of compassion that in years to come would support my pathway to a deeper love of coaching others and a MSc Studies in Mindfulness.
In the unfamiliar and naturally beautiful terrain of the southern hemisphere, I started to wake up again. The language barriers, materialistic poverty and my non-judging companions took me to a different place. In Bolivia I was named Luisa, the girl from England. I realise now she had fallen to sleep and got lost. Yes I was still suffering great emotional pain, it was real, but I was starting to live again. To have moments of goodness and be in what mindfulness and compassion expert and clinical psychologist Professor Paul Gilbert, calls the ‘flow of life’, I was discovering my truth of the matter.
I write this article again in Bolivia. Drawn back to a continent that makes my heart sing. A place to reconnect with my Bolivian family and make sense of the loss of one of my oldest friends to terminal cancer by helping others. My friend could not join this trip, but I hope maybe it helped her, in her last days to know and to support her spirit.
Yes I listened to “the call”, when Bolivia kept coming into my consciousness for six months before. So I planned and I made time for a working vacation, in the shadow of the magnificent Andes. I decided to work with a local project http://boliviadigna.org . I choose to raise money for, and volunteer in the children’s hospitals including cancer care (in memory of my friend) and in projects where children are most vulnerable.
So, I have listened to my heart and returned to the continent where I first learned to dance and where I started to feel whole again. I am grateful.
To find out more about how coaching can help to find yourself again. Drop me a line- Lou@elementas.co.uk
In my role as a coach, I often challenge and support people to move out of their comfort zones. Encouraging them to move into their stretch zone, with support. It is in this zone where we can start to live to see our potential and where we flourish.
Often what holds people back is the shadow of low self-confidence and their fears of the unknown. Self-doubt then creeps in to keep us stuck and uncertain, we often tire of the ‘trying’ to change. As well, we have those deliciously addictive past experiences, events and perhaps unknowns. The more unconscious deep barriers, habits and patterns that stop us from doing what we think we would love to do. Or even more sadly, simply keeping us stuck living a stressful life, with heaps of fear and anxiety.
For a second, stop and take a deep breath. Can you imagine a more relaxed life with more joy! How good does that sound?
It is key that I have empathy and appreciate just what it means to feel out of our comfort zones. And so I regularly challenge myself to explore my comfort zones. Yes I do have very solid comfort zones! This year I have chosen to live and work in Bolivia again for just over a month. I travelled to Buenos Aires on route to Bolivia, and got to spend a short break in the beautiful “Home” hotel in Argentina. To inspire my motivation and passion for colour, design and interiors.
I always get a little bit nervous before travelling and this time it was no different. In fact, after months of fundraising for the project and working out how best to pack all the additional resources I was taking to the support the project, really proved a challenge. As well as letting clients know I was planning to work from a different part the world!
So how did I succeed, well I started early, as things generally can and do go wrong, I put a plan in place. I was patient and let go, “took my foot of the gas” so as to speak when all was not working to plan. I trusted but kept up the effort of doing what I could do, priortising, saving up, creating an ideas mind map, speaking to people, asking for help, showing vulnerability at times, focusing on supporting others. I clearly understood my motivations and inspirations and built them into my plan. I kept to my daily meditation and compassion practices, allowed space when I got anxious and stressy. I also did what I increasingly realise is key (and scientific research backs up), I turned to loving kindness; the antidote when I am being too tough on myself, and expecting too much of others. This is definitely work in progress!
As I promise to hold your hand on your journey of change, I need to know what it is like to be on the other-side. This experiential knowing helps me keep a sense of perspective and it enables me to be objective, authentic and compassionate to you and your journey.
The confidence we get from making personal changes is amazing. Yes it is hard, and it does not always happen overnight. I often have to remind clients I am not a magician and habits may have taken a lifetime to form. Sometimes it is a life-long journey to undo habits and patterns, it takes courage. I believe doing the work of letting go, allows us to achieve our potential and flourish as individuals and as human beings. We are all connected. Eloquently articulated below by Albert Einstein.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
(Image Buenos Aries capturing nature’s beauty and spaciousness for the sharp, clear blues skies)
The changes we make impact others in our lives. Please do not underestimate the power of your light in your own changes, albeit seemly small, to potentially to make a huge difference to yourself and others.
Do you ever give yourself enough time to stop and think? To reset your inner compass?
Life gets busy with work, family, friends and hobbies. Before we know it another year has gone. We may feel we are never going to do what we have dreamed about, that new project, new hobby or idea.
Coaching can help us focus. It can give use chance to articulate and make plans, sounding out our ideas. Coaching offers space to think about our intentions (what) and our motivations (why). Coaching conversations can help us become more mindful, more present and more aware of what is really important in the here and now.
And as they say in Tibet, ‘If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.’
I am returning to Cochabamba, Bolivia South America, late Summer to volunteer with www.boliviadigna.org.
I will be volunteering on a project designed to protect and defend children (2-18) at risk in impoverished neighbourhoods, who are often victims of violence of any kind. The project helps promote human rights education, responsible leadership and Christian values. I will also visit terminally ill children in the cancer hospital who are often left alone. I hope to teach arts and crafts, face-paint, play with Tai Chi and mindfulness relaxation and bring a little joy into the lives of young ones.
How Can You Help?
There are 2 ways you can help out.
Just an update everyone, Jellycat https://www.jellycat.com providing one of each book free and some more merchandise!
Lovely note from their PR department ” we are more than happy to send out donations, however we do not expect any sort of recognition for this as we are more than happy to simply support a worthy cause.”
I think we are up to 20 Teddies sponsored now! Yeah !
Once I know what Jellycat can offer and Francesco (Bolivia Digna) can estimated how many children are in the wards, we can get moving.
You can choose your Teddy or book and make a note to the child,
If you want to sponsor at Teddy, follow the Facebook page link below or email me Lou@elementas.co.uk or call me 07715814833. Thank you!
2. Project Bolivia – Sponsored Swim – 100 lengths –Target £800
My good friend Jo has agreed to join me in the UK for a sponsored swim, to raise funds for the children We hope to do this by end of July. All sponsorship is appreciated, by the length or total please.
Last time your help purchased face paints, games and toys, you bought the children essential clothes, re-kitted out their orphanage with cooker, fridge and furniture to create a living area and created fun with pizza and the cinema.
If you want to help by sponsoring our swim or a Teddy get in touch Lou@elementas.co.uk. Thank You!
Please note all my trip expenses are self-funded.
PS did you know Bolivia was landlocked?
In a valley in the Andes mountain range, Cochabamba is known as the “city of eternal spring.” At around 2,558 m (8,392 ft) altitude, the sunny dry highland weather rarely gets too hot or cold…. Time to get fit and ready for the altitude…
On a recent trip to Holy Island off Arran, I had reason to contemplate this question personally.
We are living in a world that increasingly values our success and status by materialistic standards. Our ability or inability to achieve materialistic worth can impact our self-confidence and self esteem. Jobs can be hard to find, or hold on to in uncertain times. This can cause our brain’s Driver and Threat systems to be continually on alert to ensure we prosper and survive at work and play. Not allowing us time to Rest and Restore.
I wonder what would happen if we did something different? If we were able to confidently shift our thinking and were able to redefine what success and achievement truly meant in our hearts.
Imagine being able to unearth new ways to find greater focus, wellness and motivation to achieve our inner potential.
On holy Island I was fortunate enough to join fellow colleagues and challenge myself to climb a rather big hill. We were celebrating passing a testing first year of our MSc Studies in Mindfulness. It gave us time to relax, to connect with each other and get fully into our bodies, after two days of teacher training tests. We had all grown up in so many ways, helping each other, learning and demonstrating that together we flourish.
Nature can be our companion to insights; well articulated by these ancient and wise words.
If this resonates and your are interested in a mindfulness coaching approach, please get in touch and arrange your free 1/2 hr session. Lou@elementas.co.uk
Mindfulness Coaching is suitable for business executives and owner managers looking to think differently. It is suitable for those wishing to make career transitions and rethink their lives.
Early into a New Year, with hope high on the horizon, employers and potential job candidates alike are planning their next move.
So just how do you both ensure it is your best move?
Maybe you are looking to recruit someone new to grow? Finding the right person can make a difference to success or failure. Keeping a project or service running effectively while the new person dovetails into their role, means months of extra cost. In some cases, if the candidate is not suited, the employer has the cost of helping them smoothly exit the organisation.
So just how do you ensure you recruit the right people and find the right job? It can be tricky. Would you agree?
“The most important asset your organisation has is its people. The biggest asset they have is their health and wellbeing. It, therefore, makes good sense to look after it.” Dame Carol Black (source Investors in People)
From designing the right job specification to finding the right people to fill their future roles there is a lot involved to enable success, whether you are a recruiter or candidate.
When recruiting, organisations need to be clear in what they want from an individual and role. We live in a world that is often referred to as a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) organisations are continuously changing and evolving.
Susan Skjei Director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University suggests that the challenging nature of change and complex business environments are creating an appetite for mindfulness.
“We may think of change as an organizational process, it actually happens one person at a time.”
Finding the right job takes hard work and commitment, but often people are unaware and do not think about their real authentic needs.
“Lou is good at asking the right questions to get you to think around the issue rather than in one dimension. This opens up new possibilities and a breakthrough in terms of how you can deal with issues. Lou has helped me to change my approach to interviews and now have a new and fulfilling job. ” Sue (Senior Business Growth Specialist)
This is where career coaching is key. It allows you to think deeply about your abilities, your values and what you want from a job and organisation – including how it fits with your lifestyle, total wellness and approach to life.
The benefits of mindfulness coaching include:
Where appropriate people can get over personal issues, reframe their attitude, and re-engage with their current organisation to explore opportunities closer to home.
If you are looking for a new job, mindfulness coaching works. The more you are in touch with your personal needs and priorities, the greater your chance of finding your route to success.
This year, let mindfulness-based coaching enable you to become more fully aware of what is really important in your life!
Want to know more? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org