LOSS AFTER LOVE; CHALLENGES DURING THE FESTIVE PERIOD

LOSS AFTER LOVE; CHALLENGES DURING THE FESTIVE PERIOD

LOSS AFTER LOVE; CHALLENGES DURING THE FESTIVE PERIOD

Loss and grief is something that every single human being will experience at some time in their lives, and so we are never alone in this, however, despite this, it can still feel like a very lonely and overwhelming experience when we are in it. Grief can often feel more difficult at certain times of the year, for example, when there is often more talk around family and loved ones getting together to celebrate, and those that are now missing from our lives are remembered, we may find ourselves feeling sad and overwhelmed, wishing they were still with us.

There is no quick fix where grief or loss are concerned, and there isn’t an answer or a strategy on how to cope, but there are certainly some things that we can consider at the most challenging of times.

Patience is one of the main gifts you can give yourself during these times. I have often heard people saying things like, ‘I thought it would feel easier by now’ or ‘It’s been so long I should be feeling different by now’ and many other versions of this. There are no ‘should’ and ‘should not’s’ when it comes to grief. There also isn’t a timeline. It takes as long as it takes for the intensity of feelings to ease, and these feelings can also come in waves, particularly as I already mentioned, around the festive season, birthdays and anniversaries and so on.

Be kind and compassionate with yourself. Grieving doesn’t have a start and an end date, we are not waiting until it just disappears and then we won’t feel loss or pain anymore. Therefore when it does feel particularly overwhelming, notice how you talk to yourself, avoid judgment and criticism and show yourself love and compassion, especially at the times you need it most.

Understanding and awareness is also key. There are various stages of grief we can go through such as denial, anger, depression, but these are not linear stages and so you may find that you dip in and out of the stages, and this is perfectly OK. It can be comforting to know that everything you are experiencing is normal and to be expected. Although grief is something we all experience, how we deal with it and manage it doesn’t need to be the same for everyone. Follow your own gut instinct and give yourself permission to grieve YOUR way.

If you are facing the festive season and feeling like you are dreading this time and want it to be over with quickly due to feeling the sad loss of a loved one, then it’s important to consider lowering your expectations of yourself and your feelings. It’s OK if you don’t want to socialise much. It’s Ok if you don’t want to decorate your home. It’s OK if you want to spend time alone. Equally it’s also OK if you still want to celebrate and make the most of the time you have with friends and family, it’s OK if you want to decorate your home more than ever before!  We are still OK to enjoy our time and socialise when we are grieving too. We can experience the whole range of emotions in equal measures, and there is no need to feel guilty about that as feelings are not fixed, they ebb and flow naturally, and the less we resist all of them, the more peace we will feel in our loves day to day.

Overall, it’s really about you seeking comfort in people and things or ways that make you feel more at ease, and that will vary for everyone. From myself and the team at Brood, for anyone feeling grief, sadness or loss, we are sending you lots of love. I wanted to finish with a little quote that gave me comfort when I lost very special people in my life over the years.

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Alfred Lord Tennyson

Article by Sarie Taylor

For further help, contact Sarie Taylor direct: sarie@sarietaylor.com or you can call Samaritans on 116 123

Sarie Taylor Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Sarie Taylor resident pyscotherapist

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Overwhelm – anxiety, stress & worry

Feeling overwhelmed? Our resident Psychotherapist, Sarie Taylor gives us some tips to reduce our stress and anxiety when juggling work and family life…

Let’s start by looking at what we even mean by overwhelm? Usually we are talking about when we feel like we have too much on our plate! Too much to do, or to think about, and we often get to a place where we feel like one more thing will happen and it will tip us over the edge!

There is often an innocent misunderstanding about overwhelm in that we believe it stems from the challenges we face, the external things in our lives that cause us to get overwhelmed, our work, our family and so on. I really get it, and believed this wholeheartedly myself for many years until I was able to understand more and see things differently. Bare with me whilst I explain!

Life does throw so many challenges our way, as well as opportunities, and at times it can feel never ending as though we are being faced with one thing after the other, and we have no control! Now there is some truth in this in that the majority of things day to day are actually very much out of our control. The issue comes when we find discomfort in what we can’t control, and so we try to control the uncontrollable using the gift of thought, our minds, queue the worry!

Lets just say it was the external stuff that caused the overwhelm directly. We would all have the same levels of overwhelm and stress about the same things and yet we don’t. Something I find stressful may be a breeze for you, and then something you really fear may be an everyday easy occurrence fo me? It’s our response to the challenges we face, our perspective and our thinking about what is happening that creates the overwhelm. Overwhelm comes from the inside out, not outside in!

I would actually go a far to say that the overwhelm is caused 99.9% of the time from the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves, often habitually without even realising, we just get so good at it. Let’s take guilt as an example, parental guilt is talked about a lot. Our feelings always come from our thinking and this includes guilt. Feeling guilty as a parent often involves feeling that you are struggling to be all things to all people and somehow not quite hitting the mark (your expectations). This is not a reflection of your ability as a parent, it does not correlate with whether you are enough, doing a good enough job or getting it ‘right’. It is simply an indication of where your thinking is at…

“I feel bad I haven’t spent much time with me kids”

“I am behind at work because my child has been unwell”

“I feel selfish but I just need a break”

We could go on, and I am sure we could all add hundreds if not thousands of comments and thoughts to this! All of these thoughts create feelings of not quite being enough and then naturally cause us to feel overwhelmed. What if you could change the goal posts yourself? What if you could lower your expectations? Even with all the challenges we face as parents, we can still change the pressure and expectation we put on ourselves. ‘Yes but’ I hear you say! Well you can come up with all the reasons as to why you cant reduce the pressure or expectations, but ultimately if you don’t, your body will slow you down anyway, through feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, catching every cough and cold you come into contact with amongst many other things. It’s our bodies job to slow us down when we don’t take notice. We are humans not robots.

The other aspect to overwhelm, that we don’t always notice, is that we are not often concerned with that present moment, (as we are actually managing and more capable than we give ourselves credit for), but again we are more in our head about what happens next! Let me give you some examples.

‘My child is ill and I feel overwhelmed’ – usually translates to, what if they get worse, what if I am off work for another day, how will I manage (future what ifs)

“I just don’t get a minute to myself” – usually translates to if I carry online this what will happen, when does it end? (Future what ifs)

“I keep getting terrible headaches” – usually translates to what is wrong with me, is this something serious, how will I manage if it is, who will take care of my children? (Future what ifs)

I would love you to reflect on how much of your suffering is really about the here and now, or if it is in actual fact more about the what ifs, the stories we create trying to predict the future and believe we are in control!

How can you start to reduce your overwhelm starting right NOW? Even just picking one will make a difference!

*Treat yourself with compassion NOT criticism

*Adjust your expectations, lower that pressure

*Remember we are only ever doing the best we can given our thinking at the time

*We are enough!

*Ask yourself…would you treat your closest friend or family in the same way you treat or talk to yourself?

*Ask yourself…right in this very second am I OK?

– will it all get too much to handle? (Not sure how you want to start it or how you plan to do the title)

Let’s start by looking at what we even mean by overwhelm? Usually we are talking about when we feel like we have too much on our plate! Too much to do, or to think about, and we often get to a place where we feel like one more thing will happen and it will tip us over the edge!

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Life does throw so many challenges our way, as well as opportunities, and at times it can feel never ending as though we are being faced with one thing after the other, and we have no control! Now there is some truth in this in that the majority of things day to day are actually very much out of our control. The issue comes when we find discomfort in what we can’t control, and so we try to control the uncontrollable using the gift of thought, our minds, queue the worry!

Lets just say it was the external stuff that caused the overwhelm directly. We would all have the same levels of overwhelm and stress about the same things and yet we don’t. Something I find stressful may be a breeze for you, and then something you really fear may be an everyday easy occurrence fo me? It’s our response to the challenges we face, our perspective and our thinking about what is happening that creates the overwhelm. Overwhelm comes from the inside out, not outside in!

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“I feel selfish but I just need a break”

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The other aspect to overwhelm, that we don’t always notice, is that we are not often concerned with that present moment, (as we are actually managing and more capable than we give ourselves credit for), but again we are more in our head about what happens next! Let me give you some examples.

‘My child is ill and I feel overwhelmed’ – usually translates to, what if they get worse, what if I am off work for another day, how will I manage (future what ifs)

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“I keep getting terrible headaches” – usually translates to what is wrong with me, is this something serious, how will I manage if it is, who will take care of my children? (Future what ifs)

I would love you to reflect on how much of your suffering is really about the here and now, or if it is in actual fact more about the what ifs, the stories we create trying to predict the future and believe we are in control!

How can you start to reduce your overwhelm starting right NOW? Even just picking one will make a difference!

*Treat yourself with compassion NOT criticism

*Adjust your expectations, lower that pressure

*Remember we are only ever doing the best we can given our thinking at the time

*We are enough!

*Ask yourself…would you treat your closest friend or family in the same way you treat or talk to yourself?

*Ask yourself…right in this very second am I OK?

 KEEP UP TO DATE WITH BROOD:

* indicates required
Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Brood Magazine:
You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

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By Sarie Taylor

___________________________________

This can be a difficult time for a lot of parents, despite the sun (hopefully) shinning, and if we are lucky enough we may get to go on holiday, but as well as all of this, we have to find a way to take care of our children for many more hours, often whilst maintaining a level of work that quite frankly at times feels impossible. (This can be difficult enough outside the holidays too!)

I know a lot of parents save their holidays for summer, and that is sensible but lets face it, summer isn’t the only time they are off and if like me and many of us at Brood you work for yourself, you wont have the luxury of taking holidays and completely switching off!

It can feel like such a juggle at times and its easy to get caught up in parenting guilt, feeling like we should just be able to manage all the time and hide it when we are not, and I am here to say absolutely NOT, we don’t need to hide that we are struggling, that it feels tough, and that sometimes its easier to be at work! (This may just be me, but I am not afraid to admit it – I do have one year old!)

I am just going to jump straight in and share some key points below that I think may help to consider before the holiday juggle…

Separate your time in a more structured way where possible – I find if I am trying to parent but I also know I have work stuff to get done I really struggle to be good at, or enjoy either! I find it I give myself a plan and permission to just focus on one thing at a time, I am way more productive and less likely to feel like I am losing my sanity!

Don’t compare yourself to others and their situations – It may appear that others have it easier in some ways compared to you, but ultimately none of that matters. Thinking about it and ruminating is only taking up valuable time where you could be doing other things. Remember you are only seeing your perspective of someone else’s situation. You are dong YOUR best.

Be realistic – How often do we write ourselves a list of tasks or jobs for the day, or even the week and when we look back we can see that it was never in a million years going happen? When you have extra duties as a parent, then its ok for other things to be reduced. In fact its crucial that you do! Now I know some of you will say, but everything has to be done, however what we would like to have done, and what actually has to be done are often two very different things if we are really honest with ourselves.

Schedule some downtime – Easier said than done at times, but so many parents I work with get to a point where its not even on their radar anymore as they cant remember the last time they had time to rest and relax. I want you to have this on the radar again, and it doesn’t need to be hours, even minutes to just pause and consider ourselves can do wonders for our mental health. Even if this just starts with a little compassion for yourself with everything you have to manage, you will benefit greatly.

Communicate with your partner or other caregivers – It’s so easy to resent our partners or other family members if we feel like we are ‘doing’ more, or that we feel we have more responsibility, and yet the funny thing is that your partner may also be feeling like this too! Talk to each other about what you need from each other and how you can best make it work for all of you. Check in with each other regularly to see if its working for you both and be open minded to their perspective.

And finally, don’t bury your head in the sand – I have done this so many times because it feels overwhelming and impossible, I will put things off and just imagine that the magic fairy will come and take all my logistical nightmares away – it never happens! As much as it may hurt your head to consider what needs to happen, and what support you may need or conversations with partners and so on, the sooner you get this part out of the way, the less overwhelmed you will feel.

WE CAN DO THIS!

Sarie Taylor is a trained psychotherapist and a life coach who works with people across the world with a wide range of issues. Having suffered with severe anxiety for many years herself, Sarie also has personal experience and an understanding of what it feels like to struggle. Sarie will be a regular contributor for BROOD magazine, answering questions, sharing ideas and helping our readers understand more about the principles that eventually helped her transform her anxieties, relationships and business – enabling her to fall in love with life again!

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I talk to so many parents about trying to manage the ever changing and ever growing guilt around trying to be all things to all people. It can often be a difficult and challenging juggle when you have a job to do, the house needs sorting and your children need taking care of 24/7. This doesn’t even include contemplating what your individual needs are, and that its important to have time and space for yourselves, whether that be to rest and reset or to spend time socialising and having fun with friends. 

 

It may feel familiar, as so many of us do this, that you put yourself at the bottom of that list, and then may actually find yourself occasionally resenting your life, wishing you could find more hours in a day, and wondering how other people and families seem to manage and have it all! Now when we do make the time and effort to put ourselves first occasionally, this is where it can lead to feeling guilty, as there is always something else we ‘could’ or ‘should’ be doing. I don’t think I have met a parent yet who doesn’t find themselves trying to manage everything as best they can and yet still feel guilty in and amongst everything else, its almost like we can’t win. 

 

A number of years ago I was able to understand guilt and see it for what it really is, and I want to share that with you now as it was a great relief for me. Guilt is a feeling just like any other, and feelings always come from our thinking, not our external circumstances, but our thoughts about our external circumstances. We can often be tricked into thinking that we feel guilt because its an indicator that we need to do better, that we are not enough, and we need to make some changes or improvements. However, guilt comes from our thoughts about ourselves and our situation, so the feelings of guilt come from thoughts such as, I need to do more, I should be spending more time with my kids, I am not on top of my work and so on. 

 

When I started to really see that my feelings of guilt came from the thoughts I had about myself, I started to see guilt as a wonderful alarm and indicator for me to actually lower my expectations of myself, relieve the pressure and be much more patient and compassionate with myself! It is simply and indicator that our thoughts have gone off in an unhelpful direction. When we see thoughts for what they are, thoughts and not facts, we can much more easily let them come and go, creating much more space for thoughts around how amazing we are at managing the juggle even when we lose sight of that. If you can do one thing for yourself today, remember you are only ever doing your best and that is more than good enough! 

 

Brood Live Speakers
No more years of hurt!

No more years of hurt!

This issue of BROOD comes during one of the most exciting international football tournaments, the Euros. For so many of us it’s a time to look forward to, a time of hope – the eternal hope that so many of us have – and a time to go out and enjoy ourselves. But for those living in refuges for survivors of domestic abuse, just the sound of the Euros might mean switching the TV off.

The ultimate (and actually achievable) skincare routine

The ultimate (and actually achievable) skincare routine

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My advice is different. I promise.
And to put your mind at rest I’m a professionally qualified skin aesthetician who works with an award winning micro-biologist recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in the science of reversing ageing.

Against All Odds – Dean Holden and Danielle Nicholls

Against All Odds – Dean Holden and Danielle Nicholls

When TV presenter Danielle Nicholls married her childhood sweetheart and professional footballer Dean Holden, their life was as near to a fairytale as it gets. After a perfect wedding, Danielle became pregnant on their honeymoon, welcoming a beautiful boy Joey, with their second baby boy, Ellis, arriving only 18 months later. Then the loved up couple completed their family with the arrival of their eagerly awaited princess, Cici, just a few years later.

Inspiring and honest Interview with Karina Jadhav & Ben Wilkinson: “I’m still finding it really hard to juggle!”

Inspiring and honest Interview with Karina Jadhav & Ben Wilkinson: “I’m still finding it really hard to juggle!”

Inspirational entrepreneur and Mum of two, Karina Jadhav, has continually made waves in the business and hospitality world over the last decade; after first stepping into the hospitality industry in 2010, as a bartender and as a waitress. Then, after years of successfully building businesses, from a food truck to award winning restaurants, Karina has firmly cemented a name for herself within the notoriously challenging sector. In 2015, Karina embarked on her biggest career achievement to date when she launched Menagerie Restaurant and bar, making her the north west’s youngest independent female business owner.

BUSINESS, BALANCE & LIFE AS ABLENDED FAMILY – Aaron Willis and Vicky Willis

BUSINESS, BALANCE & LIFE AS ABLENDED FAMILY – Aaron Willis and Vicky Willis

Successful entrepreneur Aaron Willis is best known for his appearance on The Apprentice, Series 16, but many won’t realise how inspiring his story is and how the many challenges that he has faced throughout the years has given him the drive and determination to succeed in business, aswell as the passion to give back to charity – one of which he is now CEO of – STRIDE UK – which he juggles alongside his successful businesses

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

Need to increase your self esteem and confidence, or are you perfectly imperfect?

Confidence and self esteem are talked about so much, and thats usually because we are looking for an answer on how to improve ours! If you look up what these actually mean you will find there are many different explanations and variations depending on who you follow or read about. I like to take everything back to as simple an explanation as I can see with my own understanding and experience. For me these words could be substituted for many things like, self belief, self love, self image and so on, but it all ultimately leads to the same thing for me, which I want to share with you below.

As a human being we will always fall into the trap of judgement, particularly about ourselves and when we are criticising and judging ourselves we are by default getting further and further away from showing ourselves love and compassion. Despite what we tell ourselves at times, it is not about looking for the perfect finished article of a confident person, (which doesn’t exist, or does it?) But more about realising that we always have the gift of perspective and therefore constant change is possible for each and every single one of us. If you were to question your level of self esteem or confidence in any given moment I would probably ask you to reflect by asking yourself the following;

How much do you like yourself right now?

How much do you value yourself right now?

How do you see yourself right now?

What are your beliefs about yourself right now?

I am sure you get the picture, and the reason I add ‘right now’ onto each question, is because this will always change, it’s never static. This is why I would never describe a person as having, or not having low self esteem or confidence, as I accept and see human nature as one momentary experience after the other, no two moments the same. This is actually good news as this means that by default, there is always opportunity for a new experience, in other words a new way to see ourselves and a different way to treat ourselves – hopefully with more compassion! Instead of how do we become more confident or increase our self esteem, reflect on how compassionate and loving you are towards yourself.

If we all gave ourselves a daily dose of compassion as a general rule, the difference in our experience of life would instantly be uplifted, and filled with so much more contentment and peace of mind. Often people don’t see the value in this and the power it has to show ourselves compassion, and yet when it comes to others we often instantly see the value in it? In fact we will talk about it as though it’s a necessity for us to support others, see the good in them, reach out to them and be a shining light, and yet it somehow seems alien, unnecessary or maybe even too indulgent to do it for ourselves?

We were not born this way! If this is something you find challenging, you have ‘learnt’ or ‘thought’ your way out of naturally seeing your core nature of love and compassion. The reason I said above does the perfect finished article exist, is because in my eyes it does, but maybe not in the way you initially think of perfection! We are all perfectly imperfect. Part of my own experience of showing myself a tonne more love, compassion and understanding was that I could accept that I was not and did not need to be perfect, and in actual fact it is all of me that makes me perfect just the way I am. Instead of always thinking I need to be better and do better, I am much more able to lower my expectations and the pressure on myself so that it is much easier to see myself as good enough just as I am, I change the goalposts, not myself.

One more thing to mention is that I know some people will read this and say there are some things people do need to change and there are habits that I have that I don’t want to continue with, they are not good for me or my life. Thats OK so do I. These are my habits and they can change without me having to be a super human and in fact the irony is, if I lower my expectations, the pressure I put on myself and accept myself as I am. A large part of getting a quieter mind and there for feeling better in ourselves starts with that daily dose of compassion, so you can start NOW, right this very second!

Self Esteem

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What others think of us is actually none of our business…This is something that I continually remind myself and my clients of. We can spend so much of our time and energy on worrying about other peoples opinions, as well as the general opinions and expectations of...

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IS GUILT A GIVEN WHEN YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT?

When I started to really see that my feelings of guilt came from the thoughts I had about myself, I started to see guilt as a wonderful alarm and indicator for me to actually lower my expectations of myself, relieve the pressure and be much more patient and compassionate with myself! It is simply and indicator that our thoughts have gone off in an unhelpful direction.

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