How to indulge - without the hangover!

When I look at my calendar and inbox it feels full of plans for drinks gatherings, bbq catch ups, family parties and even a recipe from my aunt for fabulous chocolate truffles! A whole lot of delicious decadence and fun.

But I’m a bit nervous about the hangovers!

I’ll probably risk indulging with delight in the great food and drink. I definitely can’t wait to make the chocolate truffles. However, at the same time I also want to plan some healthy indulgence.

I’m keen to boost my positive emotions and positive relationships without nasty side effects!

How can we indulge AND increase our flourishing?

Indulgences to help us flourish

1. Indulge in movement

The research is in and well accepted, there’s no argument that movement is good for us physically and mentally – but often it’s the first thing we lose track of when we’re busy. Ironically this is probably when we might most benefit so could it help to plan for it and think of it as an indulgence?

How might you indulge? Could you?

  • Book a walk into your diary (if it feels good make it a recurring date!)

  • When no-one’s watching turn up your favourite music and dance (or tap your foot and sway if you’re really not a dancer!)

  • Trial the exercise class you’ve been thinking about or test out the benefit of a few yoga stretches before bed

2. Indulge in nature.

The benefits of being in a natural environment or even simply looking at some beautiful pictures of natural areas is also really well researched. It’s been shown to reduce feelings of stress, fear and anxiety and increase positive emotions such as awe, gratitude and meaning.

How might you indulge? Could you:

  • Plan to watch the sunset one night this week

  • Find a flower and spend a few moments quietly enjoying the colour and the scent

  • Find some incredible nature photos online

3. Indulge in time for you

For many of us this probably feels like the ultimate indulgence! However the science of self compassion tells us that when we look after ourselves and occasionally put our own needs first, the benefits are enormous. Simply giving yourself permission to indulge, taking a guilt free break from your to do list, will give you a burst of energy and positive emotion. It might even help you accomplish more later on.

How might you indulge? Could you:

  • Go to see that film you’ve been longing to see – or if it’s left the cinemas, download it and indulge

  • Call the friend who you love love love chatting to but just haven’t had time to catch up with for months

  • Take a 20 minute nap

  • Make a coffee date with yourself and a good book

Time for a treat!

Whatever speaks to you we encourage you to give it a try! You work hard and deserve a little healthy indulgence!

We’re in your corner

Kate & Debra

indulge without  hangover



Two confidence zapping words you should never use!

Have you ever planned an exciting party for your child (or yourself) and despite the fact that planning is going well, doubts start to creep in?  

What if no-one comes? What if it rains? What if people don’t have fun?

Then on the day of the party, people turn up, fun is had, guests were undeterred by the light rain showers and you all finish up with big smiles. “See?” you say to your child, “it all worked out, no need to have worried”.

confidence even in hard times.jpg

When my kids start with the “what if’s”, I say to them “what if your moustache was made of spinach?” This is so completely ridiculous it helps remind them of the futility of worrying about something that may never happen.

As adults, we’re guilty of the “what if’s” regularly in life and at work.

When we finally get our dream jobs, doubt can kick in. What if they realise I’m actually not that good? What if I stuff up? What if I don’t like the job as much as I thought I would? What if I don’t belong here?

These thoughts are normal and we all have them. But when we let them take hold, they zap our confidence and make us anxious. They get in the way of bravely exploring the possibilities in our new roles, and impede our chances of success. “What if’s” are just not useful.

The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once summarised this truth when he quipped:

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened”

If you find the “what if’s?” undermining your confidence at work or in life, here’s what to do:

  1. Be your own cheerleader. Back yourself. Imagine things will go well. Allow enough time at work to do things well.

    At the end of the day take a minute to reflect on what went well and give yourself a high five.
     
  2. Bring your best self to each day. Get enough sleep, look after your health.

    Know your strengths and make sure you get the opportunity to use them every day. Make sure you can use your strengths in your job (Hint: if you don’t know what your strengths are, see a strengths-based coach!)
     
  3. Reflect on the worst-case scenario. If the “what if?” actually came to pass, what would you do? Write your answer down in this format: “If (insert the worst-case scenario), then I would (what you would do?)”.

    If you get derailed, knowing what your intentions are gives you the confidence that if need be - you’re capable of rising to the challenge and coping with the event. This diminishes the power the “what if” has over you.
     
  4. Change your perspective. Reframe your difficulties or even failures as an opportunity to learn something worthwhile. What you learn will help you set the right direction next time, and improve your performance in the future.

    In the end, you can only grow by moving towards challenges, not away from them.

We recommend you banish the confidence zapping, party pooping words that are“what if?” from your vocabulary! Those two words only rain on your parade, and chances are, they’ll never actually happen.

In the unlikely event they do happen, don’t let them undo you. Rather, be confident you’ll be able to cope and even grow from the challenge. And then you’ll succeed in at work or in life.

We’re in your corner

Debra and Kate

 

How can we clear our mental storm clouds?

Over the past few weeks there have been a lot of wet, windy, grey days in Sydney and I admit that my mood takes a battering in this sort of weather. Then, if things happen that make me feel sad and angry and helpless, it becomes more likely that a spiral of negative thinking will develop. 

I suspect I’m not alone in this, so I want to share some ideas that I’ve found useful when the mental storm clouds roll in. 

self compassion

I believe there are 3 options:

a)      Continue to ruminate
b)      Distract yourself
OR
c)      Compassionately evaluate

Let’s have a quick look at each option.

Rumination - When we ruminate, we let ourselves dwell on the thoughts and we think long and hard about what we could do better next time and how we might be able to fix things.   We fiercely criticise ourselves and our negative emotions of sadness, anger, embarrassment only grow.  Sometimes self-criticism can spur us to action but it’s hard work emotionally. Our wellbeing is likely to suffer.

Distract yourself - Distraction can definitely work for a while to help us cope with negative thoughts.  We can busy ourselves with activity, give ourselves a treat and redirect ourselves to look at pretty shiny things in the way we might distract a screaming child.  The problem with distraction is that it’s a short term fix and avoids any emotional processing of the situation.

Compassionately evaluate – This option is about showing kindness and acceptance towards yourself. The aim of self-compassion is to evaluate our feelings and thoughts in a non-judgemental way and recognise that they are normal and in fact experienced by many in our community.  There are 3 key elements to self-compassion

  1. Being kind to yourself – seeking to understand not to punish yourself.
  2. Recognising your humanity – everyone goes through this
  3. Mindfulness – try neither to ignore, nor exaggerate your negative feelings

Which option sounds right for you?

I vote for option C! 

For a quick fix distraction works well – but longer term simply distracting yourself to avoid negative thoughts doesn’t give you the wellbeing returns.  In contrast a good dose of self-compassion is going to help you in both the short term and the longer term.

Research has shown that deliberately building self-compassion leads to higher levels of life satisfaction and wisdom.  It also helps to broaden your outlook and make it more likely that you will consider various options and reach out to those around you in difficult times.  Rumination makes us feel more isolated and likely to withdraw into ourselves just when we need other people the most.

If this makes sense to you and you’d like some guidance on developing self-compassion; we’d love to send you an exercise to test out.  Send us an email at coaching@flourishingmothers.com.au and we’ll get the exercise to you asap.

With love from Flourishing Mothers

Flourishing Mothers was inspired by the work of Dr Kristen Neff, Natasha Odou and Jay Brinker