3 top tips to help you beat Depression

3 Top Tips to help you beat Depression

Depression globally, affects over 300 million people, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). In fact some people call it a ‘depression epidemic’ with suicide rates also climbing every year.

I wanted to talk about this subject, as depression and anxiety have been part of my life for many years, although it is only in the last 3 or 4 that I have been able to acknowledge it and speak about it openly. Before that I was too worried about what people would think of me… Part of the ongoing stigma and shame that exists around mental health issues in this country and probably in other countries as well.

I now know, that it is extremely common for a large number of the population to suffer from depression and anxiety and related mental health issues. Depression is very common and it can be treated.

What are the signs?

The signs of depression and anxiety are many and varied. Below is a few of these and it is by no means a complete list.

These can include ongoing sadness, negative thinking, lack of motivation, sleep disturbances, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and an increasing inability to cope with day-to-day life.

For me it was like a big black cloak, which blocked out any joy and light in my life, and seriously made me question why on earth I was even here…I realised that I had to make changes in my life or I would not be able to go on. I also realised was that I needed help to do this, and that for me was extremely challenging – me ask for help?? when I prided myself on being able to manage everything myself? That was really stepping out of my comfort zone! I really did had to learn some new skills.

My goal

My goal today is to share 3 simple techniques that have gone a long way to help me beat depression and hopefully they can help you too.

Please note I am not advocating that these tools are the only way to manage depression, I am simply sharing some of the ones I have found useful, and in the hope that you may be inspired to try them.

Watch the video below and I will share with you some of those tools that I have learned to make part of my daily routine and that have ultimately been part of my ongoing recovery.

Choosing to live life consciously is not easy at times, it is often about doing things differently and learning new ways of being, particularly challenging if you have always done what you have always done.

Someone a lot brighter than me once said:

‘If you do things the way you always have then you get what you always got’.. Bit of a clever clogs I think!

In the video below I mention a couple of tools you may like to check out

Headspace Meditation for Everyone. Find out more here

Find out more about Louise Hay and her beautiful technique of mirror work

Until next time Wise and Wonderful Woman,

remember you are amazing

sent with love

Julie x

 

Extraordinary Self Care for YOU!

Extraordinary Self Care for you!

 

I have learned from personal experience the importance of focusing on my own self care, and here is where I get to share some of the gems I have learned.

After becoming burned out, depressed and overwhelmed after years of caring for my adult daughter who has high needs autism, I realised that if I was to survive, mentally and physically, I needed to learn better ways to look after myself.

I began a journey to learn in my heart, what I had learned intellectually, but not really put into practice!

Throughout my daughter’s life, I have been determined to support her to be the best she could be, and in that process, I tried to do everything myself. In effect I put everyone else’s needs first and basically lost myself in the process. Very common for Mums, especially when you have special needs child.

Here today I want share with you some of the tips and tools I have learned that have helped me to become the Wise and Wonderful Woman I am today! (wink)

So what is Extraordinary self-care??

For me It has become when we prioritise what is important to us, put ourselves at the top of the list, and make sure we are ok.

Wait! Isn’t that being selfish?

Nooooo!!!, in our society we are often made to feel bad or wrong, if we put our own needs before those of our family friends and sometimes even the dog!

I have learned that unless you do take care of you, there often is no -one else there to pick up the pieces when you fall apart.

So why do we need to practice extraordinary self care??

The benefits of extraordinary self-care are huge, here are some of the main ones:

  • We are more able to help others around us because we have more energy
  • We are able to commit to things we believe in
  • We feel less overwhelmed and stressed
  • We make better choices
  • We become more healthy
  • We learn to tell the truth to ourselves
  • We learn to say no in healthy ways
  • We feel more in control of our destiny

So how we to get started?

I suggest that you pick one thing of the list below and practice it until it becomes habit, then move to the next one.

My view is always:set yourself up to win!

Watch the video below where I talk more about how to do this

 

(In the interests of those who seek perfection, please note, this is not where you will find it, I have published this video despite the obvious blips, to show you that I am definitely not striving for perfection, and that is ok for me, this is me being the imperfect soul I am 🙂 )

 

Top tips for Extraordinary Self Care

  1. Non-negotiable rituals. Create some rituals or habits that are non negotiable, and that support you to live your best most conscious life. For example you could try-  mirror work, meditation, yoga, walking, EFT(emotional freedom Technique) or tapping to name a few.
  2. Boundaries. Create a set of rules that define what you no longer will accept in your life. For example, limit negative behaviours around you, or allow toxic people who drain your energy, in your life. Its ok to say no to something you don’t want to do.  Explore the thinking patterns that sabotage you, and make you feel bad, and change them. It really can be that simple. Awareness is the key.
  3. Make time for leisure. Remind yourself of the things you love or did love before you got so overwhelmed, and create space in your schedule for ‘Me time’..Often people say they are so busy and don’t have time, my answer to that is you can always take 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes is enough to give yourself a break.
  4. Health and wellness – Have a look at your diet, are you eating healthy foods? What about your exercise routine? Got one? if not consider starting something that is achievable, perhaps a daily walk around the block or take the kids to the park. Make time.
  5. Ask for support. We are often afraid to ask for support because that could be a sign of weakness, and means that we are not coping and are somehow failing. Not so, in fact it is actually a sign of strength to know when to ask for help and to accept it. Success people will often tell you that part of their success is being part of a group of like minded people.
  6. Journal writing. This is a very useful tool in my world, and without it I think I would have gone bonkers long ago. There is something very healing and powerful about getting the thoughts out of my head and down on paper. It may not end up sounding coherent or clear, however just the act of writing for me certainly helps me feel more rational and calm. It is also a great way to document your life’s journey, for those of us who like to review how far we have come!
  7. Close friendships. Sometimes it is hard to maintain close friendships when life is so busy, Prioritise time with your bestie. Having that emotional support is crucial to keeping you healthy and whole.

With all these ideas it is about deciding to change and creating a plan to get there, as I said, set yourself up to win.

For more on learning how to be wise and wonderful and use some of the tips I share, contact me

Forgiveness – a gift to yourself

‘How can I forgive when it still hurts so much’?

You know how sometimes it feels so hard to forgive someone who has hurt you, or treated you badly? Or how difficult it is to get over something that you feel has made your life so much harder? You feel so justified in your anger, so self righteous with your pain and anguish, and so upset over whatever the incident is that has caused you so much grief? This can be especially challenging, if you have been hurt repeatedly and this is just another incident that has added to your pain.

Anger and frustration become ‘stuck energy’, and you can’t seem to let them go no matter how hard you try. You find yourself mulling over the incident or the ‘story’ of what happened, and with each telling the pain is worse.

I know how that feels, as I also have felt like that at different times in my life. I know the pain of rejection and the pain of feeling like you will never ever be able to move on from this overwhelming feeling of hurt and upset. You go round and round in circles and end up feeling worse and worse.

What I also know is that long term anger and resentment is destructive if not addressed.

Our emotions are neither good or bad, they are what they are, it is how we deal with them that causes problems.

For example, If you don’t deal with your anger in appropriate ways and keep stuffing it down or away,  it eats away at you from the inside out, and eventually, (speaking from my own experience) comes back to bite you on the backside, often in the form of depression and anxiety or stress related illnesses.

So what is the solution?

The solution sounds simple although it truly can be one of the most difficult lessons we have to learn.

The solution is forgiveness.

  • forgive the person who hurt you,
  • forgive the situation that occurred and continues to cause you pain.
  • forgive yourself

As Louise Hay says in her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’, ‘forgiveness is about setting yourself free, because, by holding on to resentment and anger we only hurt ourselves. No matter how justified we feel we are to have our resentments and hatreds it still hurts us. We cannot bring good into our worn lives as long as we are sitting in our prisons of self-righteous resentment.

For our spiritual growth we must rise about our need to stay hurt and let go of the past.

Forgiveness is truly a gift to yourself. And miracles happen when we forgive or are willing to forgive.’

Below you can listen to Louise sharing a wonderful meditation that will guide you through an exercise which will help you to release old anger and hurt and move on to forgiveness.

I love this gift from Louise, it truly is powerful and healing meditation, and I hope you will love it as much as I do.

Take the time to listen, and notice how wonderful you feel at the end.

Until next time

Julie x

 

6 Keys for Success in Asperger/Neurotypical Relationships.

Misunderstandings, Miscommunications and Assumptions

When you live with and love someone on the Autism Spectrum, life is often full of misunderstandings, miscommunications and assumptions. Resentment and frustration on both sides can build up over a long period of time and without help the inevitable relationship breakdown will occur.

The difficulty comes when the NT partner (neurotypical) ”assumes that what she says is understood, in the same way that the AS (Asperger) partner assumes that his communication is understood as well. Unfortunately this can often NOT be the case….

The issue was explained to me in this way.cricket player

Think of the game of cricket.

In that game, common English language words are used, words which can have completely different meaning in the world of cricket, rather than in the real world…

Words like maiden, century, over, duck, and many other more obscure ones. These words when used in the context of cricket, have a particular meaning and unless you have a knowledge of the game you might be forgiven for wondering what for example, ‘bowling a maiden over’ might mean! Sounds painful right?

The thing is, that anyone who knows the game, knows what the words mean and so there is no misunderstanding about them. The assumption is that you know what the words mean in that context, therefore you can make sense of the game.

Now, my point here is that in the communication between NT partner and AS partner, unless each partner clearly understands what the any given words or conversations mean in a given context, there is a huge potential for misunderstanding.

Beware of assumptions!

As NT partners, we assume the AS partner understands what is going on. What we do sometimes fail to realise, is that the AS partner has, for years possibly, managed to hide his difficulty behind his high IQ and has learned coping strategies to support him in his communication.

He may shut down, deflect, walk away, ignore or change the subject, in order to not have to admit that he really does not know what is being asked of him. (commonly called a defense mechanism)

It is only when specifically asked, he ‘may’ admit he does not really know what is being asked of him or what the conversation is actually about.

Add to this that when he is stressed and anxious ( which happens a lot of the time) it magnifies the difficulty.

It can be mind blowing for the NT partner to realise the depth of the challenges to communication that her partner faces.

Added to this is the defensive behaviour that the AS partner has learned over time, which effectively ends the conversation and allows the AS partner to get back to doing his own thing and so avoiding the interaction which is so difficult for him.

Interactions like this become a minefield, as issues are not get resolved and resentment, blame and anger become more and more prevalent along with the increasing the frustration and sense of invisibility the NT partner faces daily.

There are no easy answers.

There are no easy answers to improve the situation. In order to be successful, research has shown that several key things must be present.

  1. It is crucial that both partners agree and commit  to try and work together, to make things better between them. No easy ask when the Asperger partner often is unable to articulate what he is thinking or feeling and the effort required can just be too big to face.
  2. There must be support from a counsellor or therapist well versed in understanding the nuances of an AS/NT relationship, and ongoing effects this can have on both partners, though particularly on the emotional well being of the NT partner.Sometimes the sadness, frustration and inevitable loneliness can be too much to bear and the relationship ends.
  3. The NT partner must limit their expectations of the AS partner, which becomes mind – numbingly difficult as it means they ( the NT partner) carry more than their fair share of the work of the relationship, as well as the rest of the responsibility of young children finances and juggling that comes with family and work life..
  4. There must be understanding on both sides of Aspergers syndrome and it’s effects on relationships.
  5. Both partners must agree to give each other the benefit of the doubt, when conflict arises. Often pretty challenging as usually the Aspie partner tends to think in a negative way and become defensive.
  6. Do not accept abuse of any kind from your Aspie partner. It is often the default response for the person with aspergers to get defensive and angry when he does not understand or accept what is being said. Just know you do not have to tolerate this behaviour. Learn to set firm boundaries around what you are willing to accept. Stay safe and walk away from abuse. Call for a time out until you both have calmed down.

I hope this article has been useful, and you find some tips that help you to understand and improve the relationship with your Aspie partner.

How Empathy fuels Connection

‘Empathy Fuels Connection’ – Brene Brown

Regular readers of this blog will know that I often refer to Brene Brown’s work to help us understand the concept of love and belonging and why is empathy so important for love, connection and belonging.

Brene Brown is one of my  favourite go-to people whose research, books and videos on vulnerability, shame and the power of connection, have helped me understand myself more, and so understand the women I choose to support.

Today I wanted to share a short video where Brene explains what empathy is, clearly and succinctly, and also the vital difference between empathy and sympathy so you can use this knowledge in your own lives .

I think it is so important to understand what empathy is, and why it plays a crucial part in the dynamics of relationships.

empathy fuels connection
GDJ / Pixabay

I believe it is especially important to understand what happens in a relationship where empathy is missing…

In the video Brene talks about the 4 parts of empathy:

  1. Perspective taking, learning to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
  2. Staying out of judgment.
  3. Recognising emotions in others.
  4. Communicating this emotion to the other person.

If you are in a close relationship with someone who is on the autism spectrum, they will not be able to show/feel empathy, for you or others, as their brains are wired differently than an NT person. This can have far-reaching effects on any relationship with someone with AS, therefore it is crucial that you understand this and learn not to expect something that the person is unable to give you.

The effect of no empathy on the NT partner in the relationship is pervasive, and for a while you may think it is part of the quirkyness of your partner, he is just being a ‘man’, or just being stubborn.

Research has shown that sustained periods of time  ( years and years in some cases) of living without empathy being expressed for you, can lead to low self-esteem, loss of self-image, and sense of self, as well as other more sinister conditions for example depression, anxiety and auto immune disorders.

Check out some of my strategies for learning to cope with a lack of empathy in your Asperger partner in this blog post

Once you are clear on exactly empathy is and why it is different from sympathy, you can notice it more in your own life and teach your asperger partner ( if he is willing) how to empathise.

I love how Brene distinguishes between empathy and sympathy, and reminds us that empathy rarely starts with the phrase ‘at Least’, and even though you do not have an answer to the problem, empathy fuels the connection.

check it out below.

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For more on Brene Brown’s excellent work, visit her website

Hope you enjoy this video!

Until next time remember to look after YOU

Julie x

New look and new beginnings.

Hi Wise and Wonderful Woman

Today lets talk about new beginnings, a new look, – and an ending!

First, the ‘new beginnings’.

You may notice that the website is looking a little different lately. That is because I have thought long and hard and decided to re-brand my business.

What that means is that Fast Forward Coaching is morphing into Julie Rowlands Coaching.

This may sound like an obvious thing, however for me it is like stepping out of the clouds into beautiful sunshine, as I become more of myself, giving more of myself and being the person I want to be.

Now, more than ever is the right time to share the knowledge accumulated from over 30 years of living up close and personal with autism.

This has been an evolution of sorts and now it feels right to be offering my skills to others in the form of coaching, support, community and sharing.

What does this mean for you?

It actually means that what you see is what you get. Warts and all.

A new look – to the website and to the blog.

I have changed the look and feel of the website to reflect more of what I am offering and what I stand for.

The colour purple is the colour of imagination, future and dreams, and for as long as I can remember it has been my colour! so it seems doubly appropriate that it fits so well with my change of direction.

It means I will be sharing more of what it takes to create the life you want, the life you deserve.

I will be teaching you ways to face the challenges along the way.

wise and wonderful woman
Wise and Wonderful Woman

Learning how to push through, and make things happen despite the huge obstacles that can get in the way. Blocks like depression, anxiety, stress, health issues, loss and grief can seem huge and insurmountable. however when you have the right support you can change that. I know, I have been there.

Learning to live with autism in the family adds a whole different dynamic to life, a dynamic that is unlike anything you will ever experience until you do. I know that is double dutch, however for me it is true.

I have learned it is not the challenges you face it is HOW you face them and WHAT you learn from them that will make you stronger and more resilient.

Learning to accept and understand what you are dealing with in your life, whether it is autism, mental health issues, physical health issues, relationship difficulties, or any other challenges you can name, is the key that opens the door to more joy, happiness, laughter and fun.

I believe once you give yourself the space, the time and the nurturing in the form of what you actually need,  you begin to make sense of the challenges you face AND you can move forward, and change anything you want.

My focus is and always has been to teach women Simple Soul Care Solutions, so create a life of Maximum Energy and Minimum Stress.

From now on this blog will be devoted to my offerings to support you to create the life you absolutely love, whether you are in a long term relationship with someone who has aspergers, or struggling with the 3 O’s in your life,  This is the place you will find the support, love, and practical tips and tools to help you move ahead.

Hope you will join me.

Check out some of the newest offerings right here

Till next time

Love and light and new beginnings!

Julie x

By the way –  the ending? this is me publicly proclaiming there will be no more procrastination, limiting beliefs, assumptions and plain negativity from blocking either you or me from being the wise and wonderful women we are!

Rediscover the ‘WHO in YOU’

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Good morning or afternoon, where ever in the world you are!

Today I wanted to share some thoughts about how to ‘rediscover yourself’  after years of keeping the peace, trying to make things better, endlessly trying to be good enough, and trying to sustain the relationship, while living in a long term relationship with your Aspie partner.

Just to clarify, to me it always sounds a bit ‘woo woo and fluffy’, when I hear ‘rediscover yourself’  however I cannot think of  better words to describe the process of remembering and rediscovering the person you used to be prior to losing your ‘sense of self’ ( the WHO of YOU) which can often happen in an Aspie/NT partnership.

geralt / Pixabay
geralt / Pixabay

Women in long term relationships with Asperger spouses often say they feel lost, confused and constantly stressed, due to the crazymaking lives they live. They describe the feeling of ‘not knowing who they are anymore’ living with the ongoing anguish and frustration, being unheard and invisible, for long periods of time.

Some women share that they strive to understand what is happening to them in the relationship, sometimes for years. It is very common for them to blame themselves for the failure of the relationship, even after they have struggled for years, to try and keep the relationship intact.

The same problems recur over and over.

It is not until there is a realisation that Aspergers is present in the relationship and from there a development of learning and understanding of the condition, that things may improve.

I suggest that until you (as the NT partner) understand that you must let go of the dream of a ‘normal’ relationship, let go of the ideals you have in your mind, for the relationship, and accept the expectations you have, are just not real – until you swallow that excruciatingly bitter pill, nothing will change!

We NTs need emotional connection, just like we need food. It is food for our souls. Without it we become anxious and stressed and are prone to depression, anxiety and other stress related problems.

Now, as I said at the start, this is a chance for you to rediscover the WHO in YOU! and begin to change your life.

 Lets find the ‘WHO in YOU’ checklist

  1. When you were younger, what did you LOVE doing most?
  2. What sort of fun activities did you enjoy when you were a child
  3. What is your favourite music
  4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. Who was your favourite person, what was so important about them? Are they still part of your life?
  6. What were your favourite subjects at school?
  7. When you were a teenager/young adult what sort of activities did you do for fun?
  8. What activity do you really love, yet haven’t done for ages?
  9. What is your creative outlet?
  10. What is your favourite thing to do on the weekends if you could?
  11. What would you do if money was not an obstacle?
  12. What is your favourite way to relax?

Write down your answers and reflect on what you have learned.

Next step, pick your top 3 and go and do them!

Remind yourself : You are perfectly wonderful just how you are!

Be you!

You are absolutely enough!

Remember: START TODAY!

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Need support to find the

WHO in YOU?

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 An accountability partner can help with creating new supportive habits.

Working with a coach can help you sustain your new habits and change your life.

check out the amazing offer below

 Skype Coaching with Julie

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How meditation can change your world

Have you ever experienced the peace and calmness that regular meditation can bring?

Like alot of people, I had tried plenty of times to learn to meditate and like lots people with plenty of good intentions, but no real commitment, I was keen for a while and after a short time had let it go thinking I just couldn’t spare the time or get it right!

I also have to say I was pretty skeptical! However, I am glad to say I was wrong! and  I am now a devoted convert!

I realise my mistake was I did not persist enough to make it a habit!

Why is it that ‘bad’ habits seem so much easier to cultivate? the ones like not exercising, drinking and eating too much, and the ‘good’ habits are so much harder to keep going??

I spose like everything, it is about finding a way to make it work for you, and persisting until it does become a habit.

I remember when starting out with my exercise habit, some days it was like I was never going to make it stick, and others it was easy.

I think it is when you can’t imagine your life without the habit you have created, that you can say definitely that it has stuck.

The trick to getting it to stick is to start out small, and gradually and regularly increase the time you do the activity.

Today I want to share with you, something that has become an integral part of my life, a sustaining and self nurturing  habit, one that has changed my life immeasurably.

A Regular Meditation Habit.

First, I invite you to watch this short video, all 10 minutes  of it, featuring former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe, the creator of Headspace and the gorgeous calming ‘voice’ behind all the meditations.

When I first watched Andy and his TED talk I was immediately inspired, I couldn’t wait to download the Free Headspace app for my phone, and to try the FREE’ Take 10′ series.

I am happy to say that from then on, I have been hooked.

The Free app makes meditation easy! and the cute and colourful animations explain everything you need to know.

I seriously LOVE easy!

You can get the app at headspace.com

So what has changed since meditation became part of my life?

  • Using the techniques I have learned, I have been able to weather the difficult emotional times following the sudden loss of my Mum.
  • I have learned ways to stay calm and focused, and to put myself in a place where I am able to see a different perspective.
  • The regular meditation has allowed me to de-stress, think more clearly and creatively.
  • Meditation has allowed me to notice and change patterns of unhelpful thinking.
  • Anxiety and stress and worry have reduced markedly.
  • I also have noticed that others around me a calmer…perhaps a flow-on effect?

Research has shown that regular meditation can actually change the brain in many ways, reducing the effects of aging and cognitive decline, (that has to be a good thing!) as well as increasing the amount of grey matter and conductivity within the brain.

Other benefits include increased creativity, compassion, as well as the well documented decrease in anxiety, stress and depression symptoms.

All of the above are great reasons to begin a regular meditation practice –  so why not start today?

Download your free app and get going!

Disclaimer: I do not get anything from sharing this info, I just LOVE sharing helpful stuff 😉

 

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Having an accountability partner can help with creating new supportive habits.

Working with a coach can help you sustain your new habits and change your life.

Try Skype Coaching with Julie