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

 

Who are you Janice and Sarah?

Who are you Janice and Sarah?

Recently I have made lots of changes to Julie Rowlands Coaching website, including creating two separate areas for the women I love to support – and  to help change lives.

Women with Asperger partners, who struggle with low self esteem, poor self confidence and the ongoing consequences of living in a challenging relationship long term,

AND

Mid life women who struggle to move into the next part of life, after years of child rearing and family life, when the kids have left home, and life is very different.

These two areas can appear quite different on the outside, however the issues are remarkably similar even though the cause is different.

Let me explain…

Meet Janice:

Janice is 52, a trained nurse, married and living at home with her husband. she works part time at the local hospital. Both their kids have left home, and Janice is finding her life has changed so much, she feels dissatisfied and unhappy with her career, she feels exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time. She doesn’t really know what she wants to do, however she absolutely knows she wants to do something different!

Janice feels stuck and sad and lonely, she misses her kids, but she knows they are off starting the journey of their own lives. Janice finds herself dreaming of starting a business of some kind though she doesn’t know what, she goes round and round, thinking dreaming all the while the little voice in her head tells her to get a grip, that she can’t do anything like that, because of course she would fail! ( so says the little voice in her head!)www.julierowlands.com

She constantly battles negative feelings of not feeling good enough, not knowing enough, not doing enough.

Eventually she ‘parks’ the idea and settles for doing what she has always done.

Now let me introduce you to Sarah:

Sarah is also 52, she has been married to her husband Simon, for nearly 25 years. They have 2 children, a son and a daughter, both nearly grown.

Sarah is a trained teacher, and works part time. She has struggled for years with mild depression and anxiety, and has always secretly felt like there is something wrong with her, because although she has tried and tried for years to keep her marriage going, the relationship is still very difficult and hard to understand. Sarah feels invisible and lost, she is at the end of her tether. She feels she cannot continue trying. Her husband Simon is an enigma to her. To others, he is friendly and outgoing, he is chatty and generous, however at home it is a different story.

Sarah’s husband is a controlling, anxious, and angry man at times, with strict rules on how things should be done, and he expects her and the kids to do things his way, unquestioningly, which has led to huge conflict between Sarah and Simon and also with the kids. Sarah has learned that it is best not to aggravate him, as he reacts badly and goes silent and cold for days on end. She feels that he often doesn’t seem to notice her, he is distant and off in his own little world of sports, TV and work. The communication between Sarah and Simon is limited and conversation or emotional connection is non existent.

Sarah runs the home, organizes their social life (which is minimal)  finances and the kids needs.

Somehow, Sarah is unable to find the strength to make the tough decision to leave, or make changes. She loves her husband and worries that he may not cope without her to organise him as he seems unable to do so many everyday activities.

Sarah is feels constantly exhausted and she has decided that once the kids have gone, it will be time to end the marriage.

She feels stuck, she has somehow lost herself and does not know where to turn, she feels lonely,unheard and dismissed. Her self esteem is in tatters, and some days she struggles to get herself to work.

Her friends tell her she is very lucky to have such a ‘nice’ husband, and to be grateful and ‘suck it up’! this makes her feel even more alone as she feels there is no one really who understands…

Quite by chance Sarah meets someone who suggests Simon may have something called Asperger’s syndrome. She did some research, asked Mr Google, and whamo, the light comes on and suddenly it all makes sense!

Similarities between Janice and Sarah?alone

So what are the similarities between Janice and Sarah?

  • They both have overwhelming stress in their lives.
  • They both are beginning to suffer from stress related health issues.
  • They both feel stuck, unable to make any decisions, they worry about what family and friends would say should they make big changes.
  • They both feel very alone.
  • They both have lost themselves after years of caring for others, and don’t have a clue where to start to make changes.
  • They are both bright, compassionate, intelligent women who are unable to get out of their ‘stuckness’, and have settled for a life where they are not able to fulfill their potential.

This is where I can help!

Why? Because I understand personally the problems both these women are dealing with.

I have been there and I have come out the other side so I know how to make the changes that are needed.

I know you need to have support! a bit of hand holding and a bit of guidance.

I know you need to have proven strategies to help and at times, a listening ear to vent to!

I also know it is not easy, however it is possible, and I encourage you to take the first step, if Janice or Sarah sound like YOU!

I can help you rediscover the Who in YOU.

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Lets find the WHO in YOU

How I can help you?

    I will help you to become the

‘Wise and Wonderful Woman’

I know you to be!

My Focus is to help you to be NO 1 in Your life

AND

Reconnect with yourself

Take back your life!

take the step that could change your life.

How long will you wait?

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Harness the Power of your Own Wisdom

Harness the Power of your Own Wisdom

Hello Wise and Wonderful Woman.

Lets talk about how you can harness the power of your own wisdom.

It is definitely there, it is just that sometimes you forget!

You see,usually when you are upset, tired, stressed or actually, completely overwhelmed, you tend to forget about the power you innately possess, the power to unravel the issues that are causing you so much pain and to know how to fix the problem.

Your brain tends to forget things that you absolutely know, and you fall into a deep dark hole where your thoughts cycle round and round and you are unable to find your way out.

johnhain / Pixabay
johnhain / Pixabay

It is a disastrous and scary feeling, when you can’t see any solutions to the problems you are facing.

Normally you are someone who on the surface anyway, has their life sorted, you are someone who copes, a go-to person, someone willing to help anyone who needs you.

However, sometimes when you are worn down and your coping skills seem to have run for the hills, you need to have a plan, some strategies to support yourself.

It is a bit like an emergency plan if there is a Tsunami or earthquake, you need to know what to do to keep yourself safe.

Only someone living in a similar situation could understand the ongoing and unrelenting stress involved with living with someone who is on the autism spectrum.

I think it is very easy to over estimate how much sense the individual actually makes of his world, and the effort involved for him to do so. That often leaves you, as the NT partner to pick up and support him when he needs it, interpreting, explaining, organising… the list goes on.

A major challenge for someone on the AS spectrum is understanding ‘Theory of Mind,’ in other words, understanding that others have thoughts, feelings and wishes that are different from his own, and having the ability to put himself in ‘someone else’s shoes.’

This creates a whole raft of challenges, and no matter how willing you are to help support your partner, you must learn to look after yourself too and get your needs met too, (sometimes dare I say it… at the expense of your partner) as the unrelenting nature of this can be all-consuming.

We NT’s are social beings, and we NEED to feel heard, seen and understood, and our experience validated,so it natural that you can feel lonely, sad and isolated when you are not able to connect emotionally with your aspie partner.

If you are someone who loves chatting and sharing fun and laughter, and you feel energised by being with other people, make sure you create ways that you can bring more of that magic into your life. It will fill up your ‘bucket’ and help sustain you when you need it.power of your own wisdom

Conversely if you are someone who loves to spend time on your own and alone, make sure that happens regularly as well. We all need to fill ourselves with the things that bring us joy, and happiness, so start to think what you need to do that for yourself.

Ask yourself what you need regularly, to feel whole and alive and joyful.

  • It might be regular time with friends,
  • It might be a date night once a week, with your partner,
  • It might be your partner cooking a meal for you once a week,
  • It might be time on your own without interruption.

This is your life so it is time to take it back and create more of what you want and need.

You deserve to be happy.

Till next week

Be Happy

With love

Julie x

 

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Choose Forgiveness and Set Yourself Free

Hi Wise and Wonderful Woman,

I’m curious – what comes to mind for you, when you think of forgiveness?

Ask yourself these questions to help you get clear:

  • Who do you need to forgive?
  • What is the point of doing that?
  • How can it help YOU?

Recently, I have learned the power of forgiveness, and the power letting go of long held resentment around issues that are ultimately un-resolvable.

What a relief to be able to finally let them go and move on!

For me it felt so much lighter and I felt free!woman-570883_1920

I have learned that holding on to resentment and anger is a waste of time, and energy, which ultimately leads to more pain, rather than less. When you feel self righteous anger you give yourself permission to be angry, you give yourself permission to blame the other person or thing that has caused you the anger and resentment in the first place.

However, holding onto the anger and not expressing it in healthy ways can lead to more sinister side effects of anger and blaming –  one where you give your power away to that person or the thing causing the problem.

You become attached to trying to make things ‘right’ and frustrated when events do not go according to how they ‘should’ happen. It becomes a vicious cycle that goes round and round.

Anger and frustration not expressed, can lead to energy build up in the body, and over time your body responds, with higher levels of the stress hormones, and whamo you are on track to develop stress related illnesses.

Not a good look!

  • So how can you forgive when you don’t feel that way inclined?
  • When you feel there is no resolution?
  • No explanations and therefore no comfort?
  • When you feel that what was done was unforgivable?

I choose to think of forgiveness in this way….

I do the forgiveness thing for purely selfish reasons, that is, I choose to let go for my own peace of mind, for my own resilience and my own self care, in other words, for ME.

Easy ways to facilitate forgiveness and set yourself free.

There are lots of ways to help you let go of anger and blame and learn to forgive.

One of my personal favourites is writing a letter, (adapted from Louise Hay.)

Write a letter to the person you want to forgive, detailing all the resentment and your side of the story. Make sure you are clear about what happened and how it affected you then and now.  Then, burn the letter, while consciously letting go of the feelings around that you have written. As the letter burns, choose to say ‘I forgive you, I love you and I set you free.’ Repeat as necessary.

Another great way to help you forgive and let go is to try EFT, ( Emotional freedom Technique) otherwise known as Tapping.

This simple non invasive technique can be used to help to let go of old resentments and frustration.

I love tapping as it is a simple way to take back your power and allow yourself to take responsibility for your own emotional health.

Watch the video below as Nick Ortner ( The Tapping Solution) teaches the basics, which you can adapt for what ever you are working on.

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Learn to forgive and set yourself free!

till next time.

Love

Julie x

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Fear Busting for Wise and Wonderful Women

Hello Wise and Wonderful Woman

Lets look at some Simple Fear Busting for Wise and Wonderful Women just like you!

The Big F word, is sometimes what stops us in so many areas of our lives.

In this video I talk about 3 things you can do to beat fear and get yourself in a motivated space to achieve your goals.

I also talk about a simple acronym you can use, to help you to step over your fear, and surge ahead with the power just bursting to get out!

What is your biggest fear?

You might be surprised to hear that others have the same fears and worries, and that in fact you are not alone, weird or strange.

Sometimes just voicing your fear can be hugely liberating.

It can shift the grip that the hidden fear has on your heart and help you to move forward.

with that in mind I thought I would be crystal clear and share my one of biggest fears….

I am terrified that someone will come along and realise that I really am the twerp I sometimes think I am!

I’m basically an ‘extroverted introvert’!! if that makes sense, and so doing a video, and talking about what I know to be true is pretty scary, and while it is in no way perfect, I am doing it, and for me that is huge.

there you are, I told you mine, now its your turn…

Watch the video, and if you feel inclined,

I would love to hear your thoughts,

so drop me a comment in the box below.

Be kind though, as I am new to this 🙂

Love and light

Julie x

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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 😉

 

IMG_2687

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

How to deal with energy draining ‘friends’

autism photo
Photo by Jeff Kubina

If you have a child with a ‘invisible’ disability like autism, I bet you have experienced ‘The Stare’ or the whispering, judgmental ‘tut tuts’, as you walk by, or maybe even the upfront people who blatantly tell you to your face what you SHOULD be doing to raise your child properly. (This can sometimes come from family, who for some reason think they know better than you, about what is best for your child!)

It always amazes and saddens me that our society is often so narrow minded and judgmental when it comes to accepting difference and providing support and understanding to parents so desperately in need, while trying to raise a special needs child.

However, it does not stop there!

This same judgmental attitude is alive and well in society’s view of ‘different’ adult relationships, in particularly AS/NT relationships.

Comments like… my husband is JUST like that! (actually, no he’s not!)

My husband does exactly the same things! (No, he doesn’t!)

You need to be tougher, stronger, or get over yourself….(Don’t you think I have tried??)

or the most common one!!! He’s just being a man!! UGH!

HELLO!!

It makes my blood boil to think of this, because it completely invalidates your experience, leaves you feeling lonely, unsupported and completely discounted!

To me it is equal to saying , ‘Its ok, you don’t have a broken leg, just get up and walk on it, you’ll be fine!’

broken leg photo
Photo by tedeytan

To everyone around, your Aspie partner is perfectly ‘normal’,  fun loving, helpful, ‘give you the shirt off his back’ kinda guy!

  • Only you know that the same problems keep occurring, no matter how hard you try to change things, sometimes for years!
  • Only you know the huge communication deficits he has, where he cannot express his feelings, share emotions, or understand himself or you.
  • Only you know the difficulty sharing experiences, the painful recurring ongoing stress you live with daily, that tears you apart.

Many of the differences that result in having AS, can be very subtle, especially in high functioning people. The person puts lots of effort into managing themselves while at work or in the community, and by the time they come home, they have nothing left to give at home with their spouse.

This gives the impression to outsiders, that there is no problem or if there is it is YOUR (ie the NT’s) problem.

As a result, you can be seen as needy, clingy and too sensitive, or over reactive. All of which adds hugely to your stress.

So whats the answer?

  • I believe it is crucial for both partners to acknowledge and learn about Aspergers and its effect on day to day living and the relationship as a whole.
  • There must be mutual agreement and motivation and commitment to change the behaviour of each person in the relationship.

This can be a huge challenge for both partners and so finding people who are non judgmental supportive and validating is absolutely vital.

My advice to you about the kind of energy draining ‘friends’ mentioned at the start of this post?

Don’t waste your precious energy  trying to explain or change their view, they are not worth your time.

Save your energy for more important activities 😉

Julie x

 

 Join the community

Meanwhile, if you feel like talking to other women like yourself, and at the same time, help me build our community,

join the Wise and Wonderful Women’s cafe forum.

Hosted on Meetup

check out the link here