Running with scissors…

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This post is about anxiety.Not the cheeriest of subjects, but one I feel compelled to address, I see a lot of clients who suffer from a range of issues related to anxiety, I myself am no stranger to it,I come from a long line of worriers, maybe it is a learned behaviour for me, never the less it aint pleasant! so why the title ‘Running with scissors’? because that’s what it feels like, the threat is always there,one minute you are running along quite happily, but goodness those scissors are sharp! and you are always aware that you could trip and cut yourself at any given moment. An anxiety attack can occur with or without warning.

There is a difference in being anxious and suffering from anxiety, there are different degrees of the brute, severe anxiety is extremely disabling, often leading to cases of OCD or agoraphobia. General anxiety is characterized by unrealistic worry about every day events, feelings of apprehension, dread, constant worrying, often about seemingly minor things such as talking to people, or using public transport.

What actually happens when you have an attack? well adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, a message of fear sends a signal to the adrenal glands that there is an emergency, it takes less than three minutes for your body to respond to that signal.Fight or flight. Adrenaline causes the heart to pump extra blood around the body, your heart beats faster, your breathing quickens, you may feel shaky or faint. It is horrendous. It is not unheard of to experience chest pain, yes it can be that bad.

I am not an expert, you should always consult your GP if you suffer from severe anxiety, if it is reactional anxiety, for example in the weeks before my Dad passed away, I suffered terribly, I physically shook from head to foot the whole time, I couldn’t eat or sleep and had constant palpitations.Obviously this was because of the circumstances, eventually when my Dad passed I had to go and see my GP as I felt I wouldn’t get through the funeral, I was given a short supply of beta blockers, which slow the heart rate down a little, afterwards I did without them and got on with what comes naturally, the grieving process.

So really, the point of this post, is to offer a few helpful steps that I give to my Reiki clients, Reiki is brilliant for stress and anxiety, so if you are a sufferer, find a reputable healer and give it a go. But in the meantime these are the four steps I usually recommend, if you do happen to have an attack.

1.Breathe. I know sounds obvious doesn’t it? however, one of the worst feelings is right when the adrenaline is building and you feel like you cant breathe, or breathing comes fast and shallow causing dizziness.So…take a huge breath in through the nose to the count of seven, then let it out through the mouth to the count of eleven, repeat this four times,we call it the 4-7-11 technique, it is a yogic practice to calm and regulate the breath. It takes around three minutes to slow the panic right down.

2. Focus. Distract your brain by engaging your senses. Find three things you can see with your eyes right now. Then find three things you can touch right now, three things you can smell right now, then three things you can hear right now. You see what is happening here? you are being mindful and staying in the moment, thus not thinking or over thinking.

3. Affirm. Gently to yourself, slowly repeat a positive affirmation, such as “All is well in my world, I am safe” or “I let go of all stress, I feel good” or my personal favourite is one that my Yoga teacher taught me “every little cell in my body is well” or make your own affirmation, whatever you feel works for you.

4.Accept. Finally, accept that we are all each doing the very best we can in any one given moment. Anxiety does not define you as a person.

As I said earlier, I am not an expert, these techniques are simply ones that have worked for me and my clients, I hope some of you at least find them helpful.

when life gives you lemons…

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I make no apology for my love of the humble lemon, whether it is part of ice and a slice in a large G&T, or an early morning detox in boiled water, I do not like to be without my lemons! But how often do we, with the best of intentions, grab a bunch of these most attractive little citrus bombs, absolutely exploding with vitamins, only to use one and leave the rest to slowly die in the fruit bowl, underneath the rather bossy pink lady apples and juicy seductive peaches.

No more! I wish to stop this abhorrent ill treatment of lemons, and so Dear reader, for your perusal I am giving you ten uses for the underdog of the fruit bowl.

1. Lemons can help prevent kidney stones.

lemon juice taken daily may increase production of urinary citrate, a chemical in urine that prevents the formation of crystals that may build up and form kidney stones. Simply squeeze half a lemon into a cup of boiled water first thing on a morning, this is also an excellent aid to weight loss, bonus! it really is an excellent daily habit as it flushes the system.

2. Lemons are anti ageing.

Huzzah! I know. Lemons reduce production of free radicals, which are responsible for ageing skin.Also applied neat to age spots in can lighten them,just dab a little juice on and leave for fifteen minutes,before rinsing.

3. Lemons are great to clean and whiten nails.

Squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water, then soak your fingertips for around five minutes. Viola!

4. Lemons are the best for chills and fevers.

Squeeze a lemon into boiled water, add a little grated  ginger, Spanish Doctors swear by it.

5. Lemons will freshen your fridge.

Chop a lemon into quarters and leave on a saucer overnight in your fridge, it will absorb all yukky smells and leave it fresh and lovely.

6.Lemons will stop rice from sticking.

Yep,just a quick squeeze in the pan will avoid a horrid gloopy congealed mess.

7. Lemons are great on stains.

I know this from my vintage days, it was great on old tablecloths with age marks and such,Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle with salt and rub on the stain, leave in natural sunlight if you can for a while, repeat if necessary until stain is gone.

8. Lemons make an amazing skin toner.

Add a shot of fresh lemon juice to 6oz of distilled water and 3 drops of tea tree oil, either put in a spray bottle for a quick spritz or apply with cotton pads.Keep in the fridge.

9. Lemons whiten your teeth.

mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with a little baking soda, mix until it bubbles, apply to teeth with a cotton bud, leave for a minute before brushing as normal.

10. Finally…. make a lemon cake!

This is my Mothers secret recipe. You are welcome.

Hazels Luscious lemon cake.

4oz unsalted butter, 6oz caster sugar creamed.

Add; 2 large eggs, 4 tbsp milk, 6oz flour, grated rind of one lemon.

Mix well to a soft dropping consistency, pour into a lightly greased loaf tin and bake in oven (350/gas 4) for around 30-40 mins, keep checking obvs.

Mix 3 rounded tablespoons of icing sugar with 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, when cake comes out of oven drizzle over.Leave in tin until completely cold.

Enjoy!

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Pampering.

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As many a therapist will concur, we are notoriously bad at looking after ourselves! however, lately I have taken this on board and made a big effort to make the time for a little bit of self care.

So for the past few weeks I have been undergoing some dental treatment, it should have been fairly straightforward, but hey ho, it wasn’t, I am in pain. I wont bore you with the details, but suffice to say I feel a little sorry for myself. Today ,courtesy of my beautiful Daughter, I took myself into Town and indulged in what I can only describe as an hour and a half of absolute bliss, At the Clarins skin spa in Fenwick, I experienced the most divine Tri active facial.

From entering the very stylish salon, I was greeted by a charming therapist called Alaina, who immediately made me feel very comfortable, she conducted a little consultation and ushered me into a private therapy room, softly lit and chill out music in the background, already I was feeling relaxed. She went through the products she would be using, all tailored specifically for my personal skin type, and then the treatment commenced.

What can I say? it was sublime, the Clarins products all smell and feel amazing, it all felt very holistic to me, because although it is a facial they also give hand and foot massage, my whole body just totally relaxed. I do already use some Clarins products, but now I am an absolute convert. My particular favourites were the double serum and the absolutely gorgeous santal treatment oil .

Sadly after around ninety minutes, my treatment was over, my lovely therapist applied a little light make up for me, in order that I did not scare the other shoppers (me sans make up…very scary) and bid me farewell. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, it is quite expensive, but once in a while I feel is a worthy indulgence and even took my mind off the lousy toothache!

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On simply being…

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Hello Dear Reader!

I am back! tis me the errant blogger! where have I been for goodness sake? what have I been doing? well as much as I would love to enthrall you with tales of an awfully big adventure, the reality I fear is rather tedious. Or is it? Is it so bad to spend time just living, to get out of bed each day and put one foot in front of the other, and get on with this business of life. No, is the answer, it is infact pretty wonderful to be perfectly happy in the moment.

I guess this then is what is now being bandied about as ‘mindfullness’, it is nothing new, but for many of us not that easy to achieve, we fly through this life, drinking take out coffee from a cardboard cup on the way to the office, texting and emailing our way through the day, only to crash out every evening wondering where the Hell the day has gone.

But I digress….what have I been doing?

I have been trying. Trying to embrace those little ordinary moments, which upon reflection, are pretty damn spectacular. Talking with my Mother, tea in the garden, losing myself in a book, making a pretty good Sunday roast for my family, taking a scented bath in the afternoon, browsing the local flea market with my Daughter, binge watching ‘The good wife’ on netflix. I could go on and on, but you get the gist? I am not perfect, some days leave me tired and frustrated, life can throw the odd curve ball .Hey ho, it is what it is,I am who I am.

It is enough.

But don’t they say it so much more beautifully in Italy? 

Il dolce far niente….. Pleasant idleness. Yes I did learn that from Eat,pray, love.