Kathleen’s latest news
Once a time for Christian religious worship, now a time of peak consumption. I know people who are so stressed about Christmas that they can barely sleep for worrying about posting cards off in time, getting the right presents for their family and friends, planning the schedule for the ritual Christmas dinner, cooking it - and making sure that everything goes exactly right throughout the whole day. And what of those who don’t spend Christmas with a partner, friends or family? Having experienced this myself, I know only too well that if you aren’t initially upset about your situation, everyone else will unwittingly conspire to ensure that you are, as the day approaches. Were you looking forward to getting up when you felt like it, eating what you want when you want, going out for a walk in the woods and then luxuriating in a hot bath, before catching up on that box set you’ve been saving up? Hard luck. By the time the day arrives, you’ll feel like a solitary failure of a human, because you’re ‘on your own on Christmas Day’. Last year one of my clients was in full Christmas meltdown and [...]
It's that time of year again and I'm reminded of the poem by Thomas Hood, which ends with the lines: "No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!"Dark nights and gloomy days can make the most cheerful of us despondent. But those suffering from anxiety or stress may find the ‘winter blues’ affect them in a disproportionate way.If that sounds like you, there are things you can do to help combat those feelings, and it’s worth making that little extra effort.First of all try to make the most of what natural daylight there is. If you can, spend some time outside during the day and especially if there is any sunlight. Even if the sky is grey, research tells us that being outside is beneficial to body and mind. A brisk walk (and at this time of year, brisk is best!) will also burn up those calories and release endorphins that lift the mood.Also, make some time to practise relaxation is a mindful way. Even if this is simply doing some conscious breathing for five minutes of the day, I promise you that you’ll feel the [...]
Mental health services in the NHS will be getting an extra £2 billion per annum as a result of the recent budget But is it too little, too late? The promised funding is not due to arrive in NHS budgets until 2023 and the plan is to create a new mental health crisis service, provide mental health provision in A&E, and to prioritise mental health support to young people. The Royal College of Nurses is dubious about the plans as they will inevitably depend on the existence of a well-trained and expert workforce of healthcare professionals. They point to the current staffing gaps in A & E departments which don’t seem likely to be filled in the near future. As I listen to the stories many of my clients tell of the mental and emotional distress and anxiety that they suffer on a daily or even hourly basis, I frequently wonder how we have arrived at this state of affairs. The catalogue of misery that often precedes a mental health crisis is often made up of a series of events and incidents that could have been avoided. In addition, the person affected might have been [...]
The start of a new year is usually a time to reassess our lives and work out how we want to make changes for the better. We often think about this in negative terms, because we perceive that we have 'bad' habits or our self-image is somehow unsatisfactory. Instead of self-criticism, I encourage my clents to focus on the positives. For example, don't beat yourself up about being fat - focus on how fantastic it would feel if you could walk up a hill fast and get to enjoy the view at the top without even thinking about being out of breath, or wear the clothes you'd really like to be able to buy. Stressing about the negatives just brings you down even more. Think of a plant and how it grows... It doesn't fear the frost or worry about being attacked by predators. It pushes out new growth, and after even the coldest, darkest winter, its buds will burst into flower on the first day of sunshine. Why not make this year YOUR year to blossom?
I lose count of the number of people (especially women) who use the words "take care" automatically when signing off an email or note. It’s become an almost meaningless cliché. But we need to start to really mean it when we say it, for our own sakes. Because we simply aren’t taking enough care at the moment –not of our friends and family members, but of ourselves. Many people seeking help from hypnotherapists and counsellors want to lose weight, or stop smoking or deal with anxiety-related issues. They see these problems as individual and specific issues that they are suffering from and that they want to get rid of. However, the cause of many of these problems is that we aren’t taking care of ourselves, in the sense that we aren’t caring properly for our physical bodies and our minds. I said to a (very stressed client) just recently: “Would you let your car run out of fuel, never replace the oil, and overload it with heavy weights?” No, of course not. But that’s what we’re doing to ourselves. People experience different results from hypnotherapy, as with all therapies, and some clearly derive more benefit [...]
“Happy Christmas”! To anyone feeling lonely, anxious, fearful or depressed, those words sound not only hollow but cynical. In fact, they just seem to emphasise that many people aren’t actually happy at all, and won’t miraculously become that way just because it’s the festive season. But it’s worth remembering that those smilingly wishing us a happy Christmas are often not very happy themselves – their smiles may hide heartache, worry, illness or even downright misery. Talking to people can help, which is why so many of us turn to counselling and hypnotherapy. But a bit of ordinary, genuine goodwill can also go a long way towards making people feel better. In the run-up to the Christmas holiday, I plan to make sure that I perform at least one small act of kindness or consideration every day, even if it’s only telling someone that they’ve done a good job or thanking them properly for their help. Simply smiling at people who serve you in shops can make their day that bit better. If we could all do this, it would make our lives a little bit happier, I’m sure. And who knows – it might become [...]