Coping when our lives have been drastically destabilised

We’ve never known our lives to be so destabilised. Many emotions are rushing through our bodies at the moment. It may be challenging to identify them because many are uncomfortable feelings which we don’t want to feel. In this challenging situation, what can you do to stabilise yourself in this ever-changing world? I have a few suggestions for you in this blog.

You are feeling your fear and the collective fear

Firstly, let’s get to the source of the problem. Many people are feeling their own fear, fatigue and panic as well as the collective fear and anxiety. Do you remember when Princess Diana died? There was a collective mourning: sadness with an edge of anger. Now the world population is dealing with the Covid-19 virus and this invisible threat brings fear and grief as our lives change in unimaginable ways.

The unthinkable is happening all the time. For the majority, our structured, busy work and other aspects of our lives seem so distant from our current reality. We are now in lock-down, staying home to save lives. It is like being in a film rather than the life you’re used to, it seems so unreal. People queue outside food and pharmacy shops 2m apart. Patiently waiting and hoping that the shelves have been restocked when the enter. We’re used to getting what we want when we want and with relative ease. This is a stress to our systems. Will there be food at the shop or something we need? We don’t know. This is a very different UK.

We are grieving

We are grieving for the life we lost. The stability and the sense of control we may have felt. We are also feeling anticipatory grief. This is your mind going into the future and imagining the worst-case scenarios. We know the world is going to be different from this moment forward. We aren’t sure exactly what it we will have lost. It means we feel unsafe moving into this unknown new future.

Journal to access your feelings

Whatever we are feeling it is important to allow ourselves to feel. Let the emotions discharge themself in some sort of safe way. Scientifically it has been shown that journalling helps individuals to get through challenging emotional times much faster. It allows you to process your thoughts and feelings. There’s support to get you going on Facebook at ExploreDiscover/posts You don’t need to write for long, 15 minutes was long enough. You do need to be radically honest with yourself about how you feel, no editing, be raw. Once you have written it down with a pen on paper (very important) then ask yourself, is there something else underneath this? Trust the process.

Be kind to yourself

This is not a situation you or any of us have encountered before. As a country we have never been put in lock-down. A virus is making its way across the globe stopping all forms of travel and transport. It is an unseen killer, and this makes us feel unsafe. There is the economic turmoil and the loss of connection. Don’t just expect yourself to bounce back. You will feel tired and foggy headed at times. Be kind to yourself. How you treat yourself is important. You may need to cultivate a new level of compassion for yourself. How could you do this? What does the scared child inside you need from your adult self? Do this and you will feel calm.

Watch what you’re feeding your mind

Without really noticing, it can be easy to fill your head with news hour after hour. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on, but don’t let it fill every moment. As with all things in life we need balance to maintain our health and happiness. What you allow into your head is food for your brain. Watch what diet you feed it. This is even more important when it comes to children, as an unseen killer can give them nightmares.

Keep things in balance

Our minds show us pictures. My parents getting sick. We see the worst scenarios. You can’t stop thinking those thoughts, but you can balance them with best scenarios. Try to find balance in the things you think. People may get sick, but they can get better. Neither scenario should be ignored, and neither should dominate.

Noticing what you enjoy

This is reminding us of how precious life is. It makes us realise we’ve been being busy, rushing and we were scattered. Human doings not human beings. Now we’ve been forced to stay in one place for a period, we have time to notice. To come into the present. Write in your journal about what you see, what you notice this spring. Are you hearing more bird song without the traffic and aeroplane noise? Are you enjoying being in nature? Do you notice how good it makes you feel? After the lockdown how will you change your life? Will you still make time to visit the park once a day?

Think about the good things you want to continue to do in your life, such as pottering or even camping in the garden. Lots of people are joining the Facebook group: The Great Garden Indoor/ Outdoor Camp Easter 2020. This is bringing us back to the little pleasures in life. Having fun on our own or with our families in lockdown.

Cultivating more compassion

If people get a bit grizzly, realise they will also be feeling the grief and may not be themselves at the moment. We need to treat each other with compassion. You choose how you act in the world. Let there be more compassion than fear. I’m seeing more compassion in the world as I move around my community. We ask how each other are. I notice that people are genuinely interested in the answer. In England, you may ask “how are you?” But it’s a courtesy statement, a form of greeting. People didn’t really want to know the answer. The old “I’m fine” because I can see you’re too busy to listen, to me has gone. In this brief period of time so much has changed. We have restrictions on our liberty, but we have deepened our compassion. We notice each other. I hope we continue to learn these important lessons that this situation is bringing us. We can learn and grow into better versions of ourselves.

If you want a coaching session to support you through the six stages of grief, the final is to find meaning, get in touch with me. https://explorediscover.me/coaching/

Perimenopause

Keeping Your Confidence Through Perimenopause

Menopause is a woman-centred experience and needs a woman centred approach. It’s difficult to express some of the feelings and experiences during this time. This is a rite of passage into maturity. In her book “The Wisdom of Menopause”, Dr. Northrup calls menopause “the Mother of all wake up calls.” Everything that you have swept under the carpet comes up during menopause, for you to deal with, to face, to heal, to let go of and to learn from as you become the next version of you. Whatever needs to come up for you to be this next, healed version of you, will show itself as physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms.

January 2019 my confidence seemed to drain out of me. Sometimes I’d been getting hot and sweating in the night and this made me wonder, had I slipped into peri-menopausal? Was I moving from the summer into the autumn of my life? We never know when the blood flow will begin, so too, we never know when the last period will be, or how long it will take to not come again. Even though I don’t know it will unfold, I understand it’s part of my journey as a woman.
I started to investigate the menopause. I found out that other cultures that have a much more positive regard for elders in their society are having a different experience. Women don’t experience difficult physical symptoms like hot flushes in cultures that hold elders in high regard. I found that fascinating. Having a positive attitude to getting old made a huge difference to your experience. In my workshops I work with women to define their future, so they feel positive and confident about their life.

I had felt my confidence draining away, which is an unnerving experience. There was no external reason for the way I felt inside. This challenge has enabled me to create tools to support other women, to avoid falling to the bottom of this pit. Our creativity and willingness to share our gifts with the world is linked to our confidence. I can give you tools that will fan the embers of your confidence into a roaring flame!

If you want to see what I’m talking about join me for an introductory workshop:
• Menopause – Grounding, Passion and Power – this supports women going into/through peri-menopause which is a rite of passage for all women. This workshop will not give you medical support, there’s lots of information elsewhere. I offer you tools, language and concepts to prepare you for getting the most out of this transformational process.

More information about all these workshops and a brand new course launching soon please visit the website: Workshops and Course

Sign up to register your interest or book a discovery call today

Finding opportunities through the Menopause

Whether you are at the start, middle or end of your menopausal journey, one thing is true, this is a new phase of life. A change in hormones affects how we feel inside, about ourselves and our lives. In this blog I will suggest how you can transform challenges into new opportunities to step out and shine. Life is for living!

My journey begins

Earlier this year my confidence just seemed to fade away. I was able to function, do my work, socialise and get about, but I felt empty inside. My confident-self had drained away and I couldn’t understand why or how? Some nights I was hot and sweaty, was that me or was it just a bit warm this summer? What was going on with my body?

These are symptoms of the perimenopause caused by changes in hormone levels. Feeling low, cross and irritated, irrationally angry, rage or upbeat and then low are all symptoms some women experience. Now I recognise them as such, they are no longer bewildering and overwhelming. Feeling relaxed and happy with myself and my current stage in life is very important. I accept that this is a natural process and welcome the transition. Being open, letting it flow easily rather than resisting it.

But still the challenges are out there and my feeling of a complete lack of self-confidence was very real. How did I get through it? I accepted that this was some sort of temporary feeling that had no external reason. This analysis helped me feel better, it was just a matter of step by step, getting back to the whole me. The way I did this was simple. I listened to my body and set myself some great fun goals to work towards. I didn’t push, I just let myself move towards them.

Prioritise yourself

Being very busy at work, the pressures of running a home and finding time to fit in family, friends etc. can mean a residual level of stress in your body. If you are stressed, your body is already challenged. Reducing your stress allows your body to cope with things in a more natural and flexible way. Taking time out for yourself, sitting and reading a book in bed, enjoying your garden or walking in nature can help you feel less stressed. Self-care is important, it’s not a nasty self-indulgence as some people think, it de-escalates things, allows us to regain our equilibrium and our strength. This is a crucial step; you need to get your footing right. Prioritise yourself.

Yoga is a wonderful way to let the stress drain from your body. Find a teacher that works in a way that suits you. I like to listens to my body, doing what it needs in the yoga session. Ask around to find a good yoga teacher, that’s fun to be around. You can’t banish stress if it feels serious and strict. Meditation, massage and acupuncture can also provide relief from stress and lift your mood.

Be mindful

Emotions can sweep us off into an internal storm. Being mindful (awareness) of what you are doing at each moment in time can often help you feel relaxed and better able to manage mood changes. Be conscious of your body and how it feels from the inside. Notice what you are doing and how if feels on your body, on the outside. It’s a way of linking back to the real and not getting swept out-of-control by an emotional tornado. Notice the little things, the smell of a beautiful rose, focus on its delicate beauty and incredible colour. You can delicately touch its petals. Use all your senses to notice and feel what you are doing in the moment.

Living in the moment

The past is done, there’s nothing you can do to change it. The future is the future, you can’t control it. What you do in the present moment is all that matters. When you live in the moment, you are completely present for your friends and family, which is the greatest gift you can give. You notice more, life is richer. Living in the moment, can reduce anxiety levels because you don’t worry about the past or future events.

Lots of laughter

You choose what you do with your time. Doing something that makes you laugh will make you will feel closer to others. Giggle therapy is just so good for you and it stimulates your immune system. I feel so much better after a good belly laugh. I went to see Russel Howard in Leeds and was laughing uncontrollably at one point in his show. I came out feeling lighter, and the laughter didn’t end there as we were sharing funny stories from our own lives after the show. Choose to hang out with good positive people that make you laugh.

Keep in touch

My friends are also noticing their bodies changing. Being able to share our experiences of life and our bodies is important. This social support stops us feeling isolated. It’s important to have others to go to in times of need. Pick your friends wisely, you don’t want drama and negativity. Solid individuals who know, that this too will pass, willing to just listen, understand and who believe in your ability to cope.

Positive thinking

How you think about the menopause influences how you experience it.  Studies show that negative beliefs held prior to the menopause can be predictive of a more difficult time. For instance, the more catastrophic your thoughts about hot flushes, the more intense they will be. How you feel about yourself and your life is crucial. If you’re over the hill and past it, as a Western culture obsessed with youth and beauty may have you believe, you feel there’s no hope.  But Chinese women described menopause as, “wisdom and maturation,” “a symbol of achievement,” and “a time to start enjoying life.” They’re just starting to get into the stride of life. They don’t experience as many negative symptoms of the menopause as western women. Choose your thoughts and think positively. The best is yet to come.

Keep a diary of things each day that bring a sense of joy and make you smile. Its best if you can do this before you go to sleep and set your mind thinking positive thoughts. You will start to think more positively, looking each day, for the good things you are going to write down in your journal. Your life will become much happier as you focus on the good things each day, negativity slips away.

Transitional phase

Not all women report feeling negative effects of the menopause. Zoe Ball even has some advice for other women who are going through “the change”… Have more sex!

See this as a transitional phase, it is the adolescence of older age but better than adolescence of youth because menopausal women have confidence and experience. This is a time of choice and should really be about finding out what you really want. Now is the time to take charge and shape the remaining chapters of your life.

Find a couple of pages in your journal, and title them “To Do List”. Next, think about some things you’d like to do in the future. There’s lots to live for and enjoy doing. Write them in a list and tick them off as you do them. You can buy some beautiful underwear, go on a course, visit somewhere new – whatever excites and challenges you, write is down. This is a time for exploring who you are and connecting to your inner wisdom.

New opportunities, new challenges

This third phase of our lives enables us to look inwards. As infants we look outwards learning about the world and ourselves. In the mother phase we nurture and create, giving ourselves and our time to others. Now is a time for self-development and inner work. Your “To Do List” should have challenges that allow you to try new things, test out new hobbies or interests. Physical challenges that push you a little further. Maybe, like myself, you’ve been wanting to do something for a while and haven’t got around to it yet. Pop it on your list.

I’ve wanted to walk The West Highland Way ever since I heard about it. This summer I made the time to do the 96 miles. It wasn’t until I was walking on day two, did I really feel in my heart, what a great gift this was to myself. This act of self-love, time for me in nature, doing something I love – walking and exploring, it was simple and yet so profound. It was a key moment, filling up the empty space inside I’d been feeling. I gave myself time to think, to be and regain my feeling of self-confidence because it was time to just know me again, no distractions.

This is a transition phase, an opportunity to become who you are meant to be. To do this you need to push out of your comfort zone and develop in to the new you.  Whatever your challenge, prioritise time for it. A long-distance walk, canoeing in the wilderness or cycling in North Wales, make time for a journey into yourself. If you want support and guidance to plan your journey, sign up to Adventurous Spirit. Whether you are travelling near or far, go on that inner journey and step into your power.

I’m developing a new course designed to help you navigate the emotionally roller coaster of menopause – you can read more and register your interest today – Wisdom Queens

The importance of adaptability in a crisis

On Tuesday Italy went into lockdown. This is the first time a country has quarantined itself in my lifetime. This is a new experience for me, seeing how the world is choosing to deal with this challenge.

I attended a great training course on Wednesday. We talked about how to deal with environmental problems such as earthquakes, fire and rip tides. We also covered acts of terrorism and shooters as they target areas with lots of people. We watched a film of people panicking, a streetlight went out and people screamed and started running, because some ran, others ran, they didn’t know why, the fear-based reaction created panic. This may sound all doom and gloom but it’s not. It’s thinking about possible problems and making a plan, a strategy to deal with them. We hope for the best and plan for the worst. If something does go wrong, you can flip into doing something you know rather than panicking.

FEAR

The virus seems to have created a lot of fear. It feels like a fear-virus in our consciousness. Being in all this fear isn’t pleasant. Panic buying and hording is fear-based action. There’s helpful information explaining what the virus is, how it’s transmitted and advice on sensible actions people can take to stay safe.

I had planned to go to Valencia next week. The Festival I was visiting has been postpones at the moment but they intend to run it in the future.

The week after, My plan was to go to Florence in Italy. I am now not going. Am I upset? NO. It doesn’t matter if I go now or in October or next year. Things can be rescheduled. I’m not fixated on going now. I’m flexible.

Getting target fixation can mean that your mind gets such a narrow tunnel vision, you lose perspective. You are so set on the target; it can mean your other senses are compromised. This isn’t good. When we’re travelling or anytime in life generally and we are faced with a situation we need to ***** it. This is thinking on your feet:

  1. Does it look wrong? If there’s something not quite right about the situation, don’t do it
  2. Does it feel wrong? Trust your KNOWING – don’t do it
  3. Don’t get target fixation – this compromises your ability to think objectively – this can be deadly!

My assessment of the situation in Italy is:

  1. Florence doesn’t look right the streets are empty
  2. It doesn’t feel right, my insurance won’t be valid
  3. I can go another time; it will be okay later in the year

Italy is just an example, but whatever we are doing in our lives, we should use these three checks. Always trust your gut instinct and don’t do it if it doesn’t feel right.

BEING FLEXIBLE

Flexibility is hugely important it’s a state of mind and a way of being. Move with what’s going on around you, adapting and flowing. We still need strong roots; we need to know ourselves and trust in ourselves and our ability to cope and adapt. Knowing that you have lived through worse challenges gives us confidence as we are facing a challenge.

We are in a time of uncertainty and I encourage you to step back and see the bigger picture. Know that this too will pass. Be flexible and see what opportunities a change of plan offers you. I have plenty of books that are waiting to be read if I need to self-isolate. We need to treat each other with kindness as we move through this time doing our best to adapt and change as needed. Being in control is a figment of our imagination. Anyone that has been affected by a serious sudden accident or bereavement will tell you. Life seems to be in control, but we don’t control life. Life is a force of nature. We need to flex with it doing our best to adapt and learn as we go.

Be like bamboo – flex in the storm, not like a ridged tree that is blown over. Adapt and move. There are so many choices every day – millions, you can change the course of your life in any single moment. What will you choose?

The world doesn’t need me to support women to go travelling independently at the moment. I will return to that when it’s useful.

Currently I am looking at delivery online training to those looking inwards right now and using this time to reflect and refocus on their life.

More details coming soon…

Learn more about me here

 

Workshops

WORKSHOPS

Learn more about ExploreDiscover’s range of exciting travel workshops for women and book online.

“ASPIRATION”

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there” This workshop will connect you to your inner compass so you can get clear on the direction you want to go in.

Learn More & Book

“Grounding, Passion & Power”

This workshop is designed to help you look at your life from the foundations up. If the foundations aren’t solid, whatever you put on top will fail in the end.

Learn More & Book 

“Menopause – Grounding, Passion & Power”

This workshop will not give you medical support, I leave that to the medical professionals. This is designed to support you to develop the foundations of your life.

Learn More & Book >

“VISION”

This workshop will support you in getting clear on what you want to do with the next phase of your life. Our life journey is made up of phases.

Learn More & Book >

Sign up today for information on the “Adventurous Spirit” online course

A step by step guide on how to prepare mentally and physically for your adventure.

Book a Complementary 20 minute phone call with Sarah to discuss which workshop is best for you.

Testimonial

"I chose the ‘Know YOUR Way’ workshop because I felt overwhelmed and was struggling to find focus and meaning. Although I felt I didn’t have time to do the course I knew it was important to make the time. Sarah was great, down to earth and easy to talk to. She helped me reflect and to recognise my self sabotaging behaviour and fears that were holding me back. I left the course with new insights and having created a clear step by step action plan of how I am going to make my dreams a reality, with short-term and long-term goals. After finishing this course I fulfilled one of my dreams and organised an amazing family trip, travelling round Cost Rica. Before the course it felt impossible. Invest in your future happiness. I would recommend this course if you are feeling lost and need clarity and guidance on how to make profound positive changes in your life."
Jen Todman

Solo not lonely – Make your own adventure this valentines day

Love yourself this Valentine

As we edge towards another commercialised holiday celebrating being loved I ask, must you be in a relationship to feel love?  Must we be defined by the vision of a loved-up couple whispering sweet nothings and sharing a bottle of something sparkling on Valentine’s day?

Is there a valentine’s day card that reads ‘Dear Me, You are worth it and I love you for everything you are‘?

I hazard a guess at no, but we don’t have to be constrained by these stereotypes and our limiting beliefs of what we are worth.

Investing in yourself, practising self-love and being kind to yourself despite cultural expectations is such a powerful action and can really make a difference to how you see your life.

Solo does not have to be lonely

Being solo in life doesn’t have to mean being lonely and unhappy.  Quite the opposite.  Discovering your inner purpose, aligning with your inner compass, going after the life that you want and all the adventures that brings, fills you up with new respect, new love and new dedication to you and everything you want to be.

Solo female travel has increased hugely in recent years. Google searches for ‘solo women travel’ increased by 32% in 2017 and 59% in 2018. The search grew to a jaw-dropping 230% increase in 2019. So women are getting out there, travelling on their own and experiencing the world just for them.

How do you feel about doing something for yourself as we move to Valentine’s Day?

What would your adventure be?  Where would go? What would you do?

This is the real juice of life. This stuff makes you sparkle from the inside out.  Kick back on the cultural lovey-mush and find you own romantic adventure with you.

Top 5 ways to practice self-love this Valentines

  1. Do something special just for you, massage, explore new foods -cook yourself a recipe from another country
  2. Write a list of all the places you’d like to travel
  3. Go for a walk, just with you and relish the sensory experience, enjoy your body
  4. Write down your goals and aspirations for 2020
  5. Invest in you. What courses can you do or which books can you read for self-development?

 

If you feel like you need a little support in reaching your goals and aspirations, my Womens Travellers Tribe could be for you.  A group of like minded women, supporting each other, learning new skills, empowering each other.  Read more about the tribe here – WOMENS TRAELLERS TRIBE

Could Valencia be the perfect City for your first solo travel?

The answer is yes!

I’ve just returned from a research trip to Valencia as this is the destination of my first graduation trip following the Adventurous Spirit course.

And I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.  Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. It’s a beautiful, vibrant and thriving city full of art and culture with great transport links making it easy to get around.

Despite the heavy rain and storms during my time there, I made the most of the rich history and culture

Here is a useful guide on things to do in Valencia and here are my top tips for an adventurous city break:

 

My top tips for travel:

  1. Pack your trainers and explore the city on foot
  2. Use the metro, easy clean and fast
  3. Tourist buses give you a different perspective of the city

My 3 must see attractions:

  1. The Fallas in the street in March or the Fallas Museum all year round
  2. Iglesia de San Nicolas
  3. Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

My top 3 places to eat/socialise:

  1. DDL boutique
  2. Tapas at a great looking place
  3. Jimmy Glass Jazz Club

 

If you think Valencia could be the place for you, you can find more information about Adventurous Spirit and the graduation trips over on the website.

Compassionate Kit Bag

Your Tool Kit for Life’s Journey
A Compassionate Kit Bag is a place to put reminders for your compassionate self, so you can use your resources to nourish you along life’s journey.

You can use any bag or box or other container. If you are feeling challenged by your journey, you have these self-nurturing items with you help you connect to your strength. Collect together items that are meaningful, or those you know will be helpful.

You might find these items inspiring, empowering, calming, soothing, motivating, bringing confidence, strength, calm composure and wisdom. Some items you might choose may have some sadness attached by their association with an event or person. You will need to decide if it is right to include this item.

If you physically cannot put the item in the bag or box, then perhaps use a reminder of the item, for example, a picture of an iPod, mp3 player.

Start small
You may have some items that you immediately know would fit in this compassionate kit bag. As a traveller you don’t want big items, choose a few important items that make you feel good about yourself perhaps they bring up a positive memory, or represent something that is important, inspiring, motivating or gives you a boost in some way.

Consider:

  • Music
  • A talking book, self help or calming mp3
  • Pictures/postcards
  • Smells – oils, favourite perfume or a sachet of coffee
  • Reminder of compassionate image (self or other)
  • Book, poem, quotes
  • Letter or cards from family or friends
  • Objects with meaning
  • Hobby e.g. drawing, photography
  • Reminders of your strengths
  • Grounding or soothing objects – soft woolly socks or blanket, hand or foot lotion, massage oil, warm bubble bath, nail varnish, make-up, bracelet
  • Fruity snack or treat

Keep your compassionate kit bag nearby, maybe next to your bed to remind yourself every day how strong and loved you are. It will help you ground yourself and connect with your inner strength. You will bounce back up and feel empowered.

I believe in you. Go for it!

Travel Self-Care Tips

Travel can be challenging. It doesn’t always go to plan. You’re in an ever-changing environment with new people all the time. It can be an onslaught to the senses, a culture-shock at times, which pushes you out of your comfort zone. Don’t be ******* yourself if one morning, one afternoon or one evening you feel a bit deflated or overwhelmed by it all. It’s perfectly normal.

It’s normal, but it isn’t something you want to indulge in. Notice how you feel. Have a think about it, why is this happening? What has knocked you out of your stride? A quiet moment journaling can help you get to the bottom of the issue, acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. This clarity may be all you need to move through it. Think about it in this way – open the front door, let the feeling in, understand it accept it and then open the back door and let it out. No inviting it in for a cup of tea, to sit down and make itself at home. You don’t want or need that negativity in your life.

First things first. Why is it happening? Why are you feeling down? Is there any physical reason?

  1. Have you drunk enough water? Are you dehydrated?
  2. Have you eaten? Has your blood-sugar crashed?
  3. Did you get enough sleep? Are you tired and grumpy?
  4. Are you too hot or too cold?

Malsow’s Hierarchy of needs makes its clear that we need to take care of the basics first.

Think about the questions above and write the answers below. This is just checking-in with yourself. It’s basic self-care. You need to be kind, like you would to a small child and see if there’s something that needs fixing at the first level.


Is there any physiological reason for you feeling bad?

1.
2.
3.

Things you can do to address the imbalance:

1.
2.
3.


This basic self-care needs to be a priority in life, all the time. It stops things before they start becoming a problem. They keep you in your equilibrium, your happy rested and energized state, ready to take on the world.

Sleep, Safety and Security

If you aren’t getting good sleep, you will be tired, and it will affect your awareness and ability to make good decisions. Sleep is so important. Think about where you are staying. Is it the best place for you now?

  1. Are you getting a good night’s sleep?
  2. Is it too noisy?
  3. Do you feel safe?
  4. Do your belongings feel safe?

If any of these questions help you pinpoint a problem, it’s helpful. Now you need to decide what you want to do about it.

Do you want to move or stay?

When you are tired, and it all feels overwhelming the last thing you want to do is pack your backs and put yourself out on the street. So, let’s take this one step at a time.

I’m going to share a story with you. I went to Cuzco in Peru. I was booked on the Inca trail trek and I had a couple of days before the trek to acclimatise and do a bit of sightseeing. I booked myself into a hostel close to the center. I got there, booked a trip that left at 4.30am the following day, packed my kit ready and went to bed. There were doors slamming and people putting the light on and banging their kit about through the night. I had booked into the party hostel! We had different aspirations.

After my day trip, I looked for a different hostel, moved 50m down the hill and got a nice bed in a quiet hostel with great food and showers. It was a great upgrade!


What do you want at your new accommodation?

1.
2.
3.


You now have a checklist of key criteria for your search of the local area. If you have stayed in the town/city for a night, you will be learning where the noisy streets are with traffic and people. You can either head towards the noise and action or head away from it depending on what you want to do with your time.

Accommodation Options

If you want a quiet sociable place to stay, look for a quiet hostel or a family run guesthouse. Guidebooks also give details of popular hotels. I’ve done my homework and found places locally that might be good, but I’ll go down and ask at reception for a recommendation. Other travelers have heard me asking and invited me to join them, as they were just heading that way.

If you want to be on your own a hotel may be best. You can hide in your room on your own or be sociable in the communal spaces if you choose.

Time alone

Sometimes we just need our own space, time to hide from the constant change and just do a bit of self-nurturing. This is a time to be quiet and calm yourself. Ground yourself so you feel whole a stable rather that in a busy whirlwind that’s pulling you all out of shape.

If you keep a travel journal, writing up the last few days may be a good way to acknowledge all the things you have been doing. How busy you have been, what you have achieved. It is a step towards understanding how much you are putting yourself through. When you are at home you aren’t doing different things every 24 hours, there are some familiar routines, space to unwind.

Travel journal can be mini-scrapbooks, full of your tickets, postcards, pictures from leaflets and your own drawings. Having a quiet, creative, reflective few hours can be all you need to get you back on track. You’ll feel proud of who you are, what you are doing. Acknowledging all the feelings you’re experiencing as you explore this new land is also important. Sometimes we are awed by the beauty and brought to tears, sometimes devastated by the poverty and squalor. Not being able to do anything about it makes us feel helpless and possibly angry.

You may not be able to change the world, but you are responsible for how you choose to act. Treating people with loving kindness always is a choice. If you decide you want to do something to solve a problem you have seen, you can choose to do so. It’s your life and you need to do what’s right for you.

Get out into Nature

You can always choose to do something different. Being in a busy city may not be the best environment for you. It could make you feel lonely and overwhelmed. Maybe it was a great when you were planning, but now you’re there, it’s just not right. Sometimes being in nature is the best place. It helps us feel grounded and calm. Being on a tropical beach or staying in a bungalow in the forest where you can admire the Milkway at night can be humbling and enriching.

I suggest you meditate to calm your mind and get clarity. Below is a guide on accessing your inner quiet space. This will allow you to relax and settle yourself.

Accessing your inner quiet space

There’s lots about meditation and mindfulness now. Whether you have your own practice or not, I offer this meditation to you. This is to help you access your inner stillness and your intuition.

Find yourself and quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet on the floor, hands in your lap or lie down. Take three slow deep breathes in to the bottom of your belly, to help you relax. Feel the contact of your body, where it meets the chair or bed. Feel the support and allow yourself to relax deeper.

Now breathe in slowly and as you breathe out, I want you to drop down a layer in your consciousness. It’s just like dropping through a trapdoor and floating to the next layer below. Don’t rush this just go one layer at a time. To be honest your mind will probably try to distract you with chatter, just stay at that layer until you quieten your mind, then, breather in and as you breathe out float down to the next layer. You will go down several layers and, in the end, you will find yourself in a dark and quiet space. It’s like finding the ground. This is your quiet space. When you are ready you can come back up.

You can access this any time you want. It is very grounding and centering. It gets easier and quicker to access the more you practice. This meditation reminds you that you are more than just the chatter in your head. There is an inner quiet space that you can access. You may want to take a few moments and write about your experience in your journal.

Understand your feelings

Human have had to survive all sorts of different environments and different dangers. You will have heard of Fight or Flight. This is our inbuilt system that looks out for dangers and acts to keep us safe. We get a spike of adrenaline that will allow us run away or fight our way from the danger. Previously, dangers were simply Wooly Mammoths. Now in our complex world many things can seem to be a dangerous, the internet, the traffic and strangers.

Not all strangers mean us harm, in fact the majority are very friendly and are willing to help. The situation isn’t always dangerous. You may have a lot of false alarms going off. Feeling anxious because you are stressed, and think you are under attack it’s a sustainable situation. You need time to relax your body. Let it know you’re safe, so it can turn off all the alarms and rest properly. Doing some deep breathing exercises to connect with your body and the meditation above will make a real difference.

You need to calm yourself. Let your brain know that not everything is dangerous. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. Going out into the world and experiencing something new can be stressful at first as you see in the graph below. But the more you do it, the more normal it seems, and you no longer feel stressed.

Habituation Graph

When I travel, I take a few specific things with me to make me feel special, connected, comforted and enable me to be creative, as I’ve explained with the Travel Journal.

These are my self-soothing tools.

If it’s my birthday or Christmas while I’m away, I’ll take a few cards and a little present to open. I make sure I have my own room, I make a fuss of myself, putting my cards up and opening a present. I might have bought myself a gift, such as a bracelet I can wear. I have energising music playing (I like dance music and electro-swing). I do something creative or go out somewhere special. This is a great time to do exactly what you want.

If I need to calm myself, I need space to nurture myself. Breathing exercises make me focus on breathing down into my body. This focuses my mind and gets me in touch with how my body feels. I have a Chill-out playlist that I listen to or I can use a guided meditation.

Using nice bath products and moisturisers makes me feel special. I carry a little pot of nail varnish on long trip and paint my toenails. I have a bit of perfume to make me feel feminine.


How can you self-nurture as you travel? List items you can take:

Calming?
Inspiring?
Confidence?


Make sure you make self-care a priority and put together your own compassionate kit bag. I have detailed what you could include below. This isn’t an afterthought; this is core to making sure you can flex with whatever comes your way.

3 Ways to challenge yourself in 2020

 

What’s a challenge?

Whatever’s a bit difficult for you – something you can’t do easily is a challenge. Doing something a bit difficult is a way of learning a new skill, developing your knowledge or competence and increasing the number of things you can do in life. When you do something new and you master it, it feels great. You are on top of the world. How are you going to challenge yourself in 2020 and get that feel-good factor?

What do you want to try/learn this year?

I love to cook and so I booked on an Asian Cookery Class in York this summer. It was great fun cooking, drinking wine and eating the delicious food we made. What would you like to try/learn?  A new skill? Something fun and physical like axe throwing or more detailed such as a jewellery making workshop.

What are your personal development goals?

One of my 2019 goals was read a book every month. It didn’t need to be a huge book, but it did hep me refocus back in to reading. I love reading and learning. What do you want to learn in 2020? Do you want to travel and be able to speak the language a little? Could learning a new language be your development goal?

What are your physical goals for the year?

In August I walked the West Highland Way a 98mile path in Scotland. It was fabulous and my goal for 2020 is the Dales Way, another long distance walk this time in England. I also want to spend a week cycling in the Orkneys exploring the countryside and ancient sites. Do you want to walk, cycle, paddle somewhere? What would you do? Where would you go?

These are dreams. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.

Join me on 6th January for the Adventurous Spirit FREE challenge week and set some plans in motion!

Decide to make your 2020 the best year of your life!