Why you need a fuck it list this year

Why you need a fuck it list this year

I’m going to make the case for why you need a fuck it list this year and how to create one. You probably have a bucket list for all the fun things you want to do in life before you die. The bucket and fuck it lists go hand-in-hand. One is what you want to do. The other the stuff you don’t want to do.

A fuck it list is liberating

It is you taking a stand and saying, ‘Right, I had enough of this. This is going to change!’

That is why I’ve chosen to use fruity language. It’s to emphasise a strong resolve to do something different. If you don’t like the word I’ve chosen, replace it with another one that is meaningful to you.

Life is short. If you’re dealing with a challenging health issue or are in a caring role, you know that more than most. This is about making the most of your precious life and using the energy you have in a way that is nourishing rather than draining. That’s why you need a fuck it list.

What goes on your fuck it list?

Here’s a sample of what this kind of list contains.

  • Don’t want to worry about anymore – For example, what other people may think of you
  • Something you really want to stop doing or do less of – Soften your inner critical voice, stop feeling so lost in relation to your illness or injury, eat less biscuits and sweets
  • An unhelpful habit you want to change – Turning to alcohol when you’re upset
  • A toxic relationship you want to let go of
  • Saying yes to please people when it would be an act of self-care to say no

It’s the negative, unhelpful and unhealthy things in your life which go on your fuck it list

If you set new year’s resolutions, does it ever take the form of a fuck it list? If not, consider it. Read more here. And learn why I use such strong language #wellness Click To Tweet

Whatever you want to change has to be in your control to change

You can learn more about what is in your control and what isn’t here in this 11 minute video This is key as you don’t want to be wasting your energy on trying to change things that are outside your control.

4 important considerations for your fuck it list

First, just as it’s important to know what you want to stop doing, it’s just as important to know what you will do instead.

For example, if you want to drink less alcohol, what will you do instead? Drink mocktails? Exercise? Draw? Clean? Or if you want to soften your inner critical voice, what will you say to yourself instead?

Second, be mindful regarding any expectations you have of yourself to make changes overnight.

Sometimes we can expect ourselves to get something 100% right the very first time we do it. But if the change you want to make has been difficult in the past (quitting smoking for example) or is something completely new, it may take time for it to become easy and quick to do well. And that’s ok. It’s key you manage your expectations of yourself when it comes to making change.

Third, treat doing something new as a learning process.

When you learn something new, you may not do it as you hoped to the first, second, or even third time you do it. That’s ok. Figure out what you learned and what you could do differently going forwards then try that. Being willing to try something new on an ongoing basis helps.

Remember this mnemonic: FAIL – First Attempt In Learning

Failure is a reason why people find it's so easy to give up. This picture shows a person looking at the word FAIL but it stands for First Attempt in Learning. The person is saying, 'This is a much better way to think of failure.'

Fourth, take a daily dose of self-compassion

A woman is holding an oversized glass containing a dose of self-compassion. On the glass is written, 'I am enough.' The woman is thinking, 'Gosh, this is a large dose. I heard it doesn't taste too bad. I hope it tastes ok.' This is important to consider when you implement your fuck it list. To know what I mean by that, be sure to read the blog.

Getting help can make your fuck it list a reality

The non-judgemental, objective, third party support of a coach can help you figure out

  • what to put on your fuck it list,
  • what you can do instead to get to where you want to be, and
  • your self-sabotage strategies and how to neutralise those.

Having the support of loved ones and friends helps enormously too. A coach and these sources of support help you get to where you want to be faster.

So what will you put on your fuck it list this year?

Share in the comments below.

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND 

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2021

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty can sound like one of those too-good-to-be-true promises. It’s that word ‘easily’.

You may be wondering if it can be that easy. Because you may find it really hard to live with uncertainty.

Especially in these challenging times when we are living with it every day on so many levels. There may be the uncertainty around the health issue you’re living with, politically, the pandemic, etc, etc. It’s a shed load to contend with.

But what if it’s easy to improve your relationship with uncertainty?

What if you told yourself, ‘I can learn this and I can learn this pretty quickly.’ Sit with that for a moment. Feel what it’s like to learn quickly. Keep holding the belief, that yes, ‘this can be easy for me’.

A woman is standing holding her belief in her ability to learn. She is saying, "Ooo! This feels big to hold. But it's not heavy." A man of colour is standing with her. He is holding uncertainty and saying, "It's possible to learn. I did and I don't worry as much now." The point of this picture by Return to Wellness® is that believing in your ability to learn will help you to improve your relationship with uncertainty. We have to learn how to deal with uncertainty and that is very possible to do.

Here are easy-to-use techniques that will help you improve your relationship with uncertainty

Each technique listed here is easy to do. It’s not rocket science. But you need to practice them to make them more automatic.

I provide 11 techniques with some inspirational quotes interspersed among them. (I love a good inspirational quote!)

It’s like a pick and mix. Use what resonates with you.

Aim to choose several. Having more than one way to help yourself can be a potent recipe for improving your relationship with uncertainty.

This blog is packed full of easy-to-use techniques to help you learn to deal with uncertainty without stressing yourself out so much about it #takecontrol #uncertainty #wellness Click To Tweet

The 11 techniques to improve your relationship with uncertainty

1. Be mindful of your thoughts

Start to notice how often you criticise yourself, worry about the future, the past, other people, etc. as compared to how often you are self-compassionate. Self-awareness can be powerful.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "Is the garden of your mind full of weeds or flowers." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

2. Remember, you don’t have to believe every single thing you think

Particularly if you’re thinking and worrying about the future, worrying about what others may think of you, and what they do and don’t do.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "You don't have to believe everything you think." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

3. Bring yourself into the here and now

You can do that by noticing five things around you that you can see and touch around you – your cup of tea/coffee, your phone, a book, a pen, etc.

4. Seek ways to reassure yourself

Tell yourself

  • It will be ok.
  • That you’ve been in a similar situation and survived that.
  • Etc.

Have a number of ways to reassure yourself.

5. Sense check how much in control you are

Do that by listening to the language you use. To learn how, watch this video. It’s 11 minutes long.

6. Figure out what you can control and what you cannot and therefore need to let go of

Learn how by watching this video on Stephen Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern (1989). It’s also 11 minutes.

7. Talk about it with someone you trust who won’t judge you

This helps you to:

  • Acknowledge what is going on for you which is a powerful thing to do. This helps you make the unknown known
  • That in turn helps you to say how you are feeling. When you do this, you ‘contain’ your feelings so they don’t turn into overwhelm.
  • And doing that helps you to identify your needs.

8. Self-compassion helps too

You can’t have too much of this. Stockpile it. Use it regularly.

9. Ask yourself: What has enabled me to get this far?

This is a great way of reminding yourself of your strengths.

10. Focus on the good stuff happening in your current situation

Even if it’s small stuff. You’ve got to keep exercising your appreciation muscle. Writing it down helps to reinforce it.

11. And remember, everything is figure-out-able

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

What is your relationship with uncertainty currently like? Which of the techniques above will you try first?

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND 

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Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2021

References

Covey, S.R. (1989) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. London, UK: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

Do you kind of forget how to breathe to calm yourself when you’re feeling stressed? You don’t really realise it until maybe someone points it out. Or you finally get to a place of calm and think, ‘Boy, I wasn’t feeling that great!’

It’s understandable. You can get so wrapped up in the issue your focus is entirely on that. I’ve done it.

When I started studying coaching and other psychological modalities, breathing was often mentioned. Eventually (not immediately), I realised I rarely focused on my breath!

I might have been aware I was breathing differently when stressed, yet I did nothing to change it. But I also wasn’t aware of how I was breathing in my day-to-day life during times when I wasn’t stressed.

Not only was I not using a valuable tool at my disposal to manage the impact of stress, I took my ability to breathe completely for granted. So in this post I want to share why knowing how we breathe is important and a simple technique you can use to restore calm when you feel stressed.

Picture of a person feeling stressed and forgetting to breathe. The person is thinking, "This issue is so hard! I'll never get it sorted!" It's important when you're feeling stressed and anxiety to remember how to breathe to calm yourself.

What about you?

Do you know how to breathe to calm yourself?

As a way to self-regulate how you’re feeling. Self-regulation is an important life skill. It’s about you recognising and using your personal power, which you can in many different ways. Breathing is one of them. And exercising your personal power helps to feed your confidence in yourself.

There is a picture of a virtuous cycle saying: Ability to self-regulate with an arrow pointing to Recognising and using your personal power then another arrow pointing to Feeds you confidence. When we self-regulate, we are using our personal power and that helps increase our confidence. A person is looking at this, smiling and saying, "I'll try deep breathing!" Being able to self-regulate how you feel is a key life skill. Learning how to breathe to calm yourself will help you do that.

And do you know where you breathe from when you’re not stressed?

Stop for a minute and notice. Do this a few times throughout the day.

Are you breathing from high up in your chest? Maybe near the throat? Or lower down around your diaphragm? Or maybe even lower?

What is your style of breathing like?

Short quick gasps for air? A slow, deep intake of breath? Something in between? Or do you find yourself holding your breath a lot?

Breathing is fundamental to living and your life

Yet many of us are not very intimate with how we breathe. Notice how you breathe and where you’re breathing from when you’re working, cooking, preparing for bed, exercising, reading, doing household chores, errands, looking after your kids or grandchildren, doing something you really enjoy doing, etc.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed

When you are feeling stressed and anxiety, your breath can be a go-to tool to help you restore a sense of calm.

So here’s an easy-to-use breathing technique to help you do that.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed. Are you aware of how you breathe? Click here to learn more #breathing #stress #wellness Click To Tweet

How to breathe to calm yourself using the 4-6 technique

You use this technique in the moment when you’re feeling stressed.

Breathe in for a count of 4.

Exhale for a count of 6.

Repeat until you feel calm. Then keep doing it AND smile to yourself.

This technique helps to regulate your nervous system.

And it’s a great technique as no one can really see you do it.

A person is standing looking calm and practicing a breathing technique. They are saying, "Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 6 seconds." You can regulate your nervous system by using the 4-6 breathing technique.

What’s it like for you?

Are you aware of where you typically breathe from – high up in your chest, from your diaphragm, from your belly? Have a go at breathing using the 4-6 technique. How did you feel afterwards? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are struggling with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support to get unstuck and on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

At times, it can feel like you can’t quite conquer overwhelm when you’re living with a challenging health issue. Particularly when you may be in the early stages of living with it. Or some kind of change happens with your health or life that throws your previous normality out the window.

The overwhelm can feel like a constant in your life. It’s not surprising as you can be dealing with a lot of change, you may not be sure how best to deal with it, and you don’t know what the future holds. So yeah, overwhelm can easily happen.

Pic of a being taking a woman's life which is in the form of a cloud it is holding with 'Your Lovely Life' written in it and the being is saying, "Take these. You won't need your previous life so I will toss that." The being is standing near a window. The being is handing two clouds to the woman with overwhelm & anxiety and chronic illness written on them. She is holding them but saying, "I don't want these. I want my life back." Dealing with a challenging health issue can feel like you're exchanging your life for overwhelm. And all you want to do is conquer overwhelm to get your life back.

So how do you conquer overwhelm?

Without it being incredibly difficult?

Here are three steps you can take to conquer overwhelm with ease

It will be a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm.

Learning how to conquer #overwhelm is a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

First, show some compassion to yourself

And tell yourself:

“It’s ok. I’ll get there. Everything is figure-out-able.”

When you show compassion to and reassure yourself, you calm your nervous system. When you feel calm, it’s easier for you to take effective action to help yourself.

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

Second, get curious about your experience of overwhelm

Get to know what it’s like for you when you feel overwhelmed.

What sensations do you feel in your body and where?

What do you do when you experience overwhelm? Do you deny it and try to get on with life as normal? Do you hide away? Get cranky? Cry a lot? Get angry? Experience lots of anxiety? Something else?

Whatever is causing the overwhelm? How do you think about that issue? What are your thoughts?

Is it typically certain issues which trigger overwhelm?

When you are aware of how you experience overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier.

When you are aware of how you experience #overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

When you feel overwhelmed by a problem, the problem feels bigger than you

You need to get bigger than the problem.

When you do that, you can see how big or small the problem really is and the different parts of the problem.

On the lefthand side of the picture, a woman is looking out of sorts and is laying on the ground as problems overwhelm her. On the righthand side of the picture she is much bigger and has broken down the overwhelm into all the problems that is contributing to it. She is saying, "Ok, now I can see everything more clearly. first, I need to sort my finances and car. Then I'll have more energy for the other stuff." The point is that by making yourself bigger than your problems, it can help you to step out of overwhelm and deal with the problems. This helps you to conquer overwhelm.

To get bigger than the problem and overwhelm, the third thing you can is write about the cause of it

There is no right or wrong way to write about the problem. It may be a simple bullet list of the issues you face. So it doesn’t have to take a long time.

You might write about the different parts of the problem. You may end up writing just how you’re thinking about everything as it occurs to you. Spelling and grammar do not matter.

When you write about the problem, it does two things:

  1. It takes the overwhelm out of your head and puts it on paper. You can let the overwhelm rest on the paper and not in your head or body.
  2. You create distance between yourself and the problem. That makes it easier to look at it and evaluate it more objectively.

You are then in a much better position to start dealing constructively with the problem.

So think of your pen as your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

The woman is sitting at a table and has been writing about the overwhelm she experiences. She is holding her pen up and saying, "For something so small, you are very powerful and effective!" The point is that your pen can be your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

Have you used writing before to conquer overwhelm? If not, what do you think of writing as a tool to do that? What other approaches do you use to conquer overwhelm which you’ve found effective? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

When you don’t feel in control, all you want is something to help you regain control. But sometimes the solution doesn’t come quickly enough for your liking. Or it’s hard to sift through everything and determine what’s best for you because you may be feeling so much anxiety. Understandable.

You can end up not taking effective action as a result

And I don’t want that for you. I want you to take good enough action that has helps you get what you need and where you want to be. So I’ll share the one skill you already possess and how it can help you to regain control.

It requires you to notice how you’re thinking and speaking. Noticing is good because it’s the first step in regaining control. To help you do that, I share what you need to be on the look-out for. And I provide a four-step process you can follow to help you take back control.

Click on the video to watch. It’s 11 minutes long.

What’s it like for you?

What do you think of Rotter’s ‘Locus of Control’ model? Do you recognise yourself using passive language when you’re not feeling in control? What do you think about using active language to help you regain control quickly? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

You may also want to watch this video on how to determine which aspects of issues you are dealing with are in your control to manage and what is not and therefore you need to let go of. It’s a great complement to the video you just watched. (It’s 11 minutes.)

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

We may be past the peak of COVID-19 with lockdown just starting to ease, but now there’s the question of how to recover from coronavirus. I can speak on this from a number of perspectives, but for now, I want to focus on those of you who have had the virus. Particularly if you were seriously affected.

It can be really scary to have gotten an illness the world is trying to dodge right now. And a new illness the world is still learning about. It’s understandable if you have concerns.

So I want to share seven key things which are in your control to do to help your recovery. Given I am not a medical professional, the advice I share here is non-medical. It is based on my professional experience as a coach, research, and personal experience of serious illness. What I share here also applies to many of you who have dealt with another challenging illness or injury.

There is a woman standing coughing and coughing. Her eyes are closed. Spray is coming out of her mouth but she is trying to cover her mouth. Little bits of coronavirus are stuck to her. She is thinking, 'I feel so tired. And I can't stop coughing.' Those are classic symptoms of COVID-19. When you get a serious illness like COVID-19, it's important to learn how to recover from coronavirus and the blog this picture is from will tell you how. All from a non-medical perspective.

How to recover from coronavirus from a non-medical perspective

If you’re recovering from #COVID19 or another #seriousillness, here’s some things you can do to aid your recovery #wellness Click To Tweet

Take life gently

Your body has been through a lot. So you will naturally be moving more slowly and possibly experiencing some difficulty doing that. You won’t be able to do as much for a time.

This may piss you off. Or you may feel sad. Or something else. And there are a whole host of reasons why you may feel the way you do.

Your feelings are valid. Acknowledge them. But don’t unpack and live in the anger or sadness. Because you need that energy to help your healing.

To take life gently, you also need to do the following.

Adjust your expectations of yourself

Sometimes with illness we can expect ourselves to recover at a certain speed because we’ve got things we have to do or want to do. We can expect our bodies to function a certain way.

And when the recovery doesn’t happen at the rate we want or our bodies don’t function the way we expect, we can get upset with ourselves.

There’s a period after a tough illness call convalescence. And it’s become a bit of a lost art. Convalescence is that period when the worst of the illness is past, we do feel better but we are not yet able to return to normal every day activities with no issues. It can feel like a period of limbo, but convalescence is an important part of the healing process.

Because of the illness, your body has changed. So you have to work with that change. And that means you have to adjust your expectations of what you can do. Doing that doesn’t mean you are ‘less than’ as a person.

Your recovery may go up and down

It’s not uncommon in our society to expect our recovery to be a straight upwards trajectory from zero to hero in a specified period of time.

The reality is often different.

You may have some good days where you feel better and then some days when you feel you are getting worse. If the latter, make sure you have a number to call to get medical advice from your GP, consultant or nurse so you can check with them if there is anything you need to do.

It can be difficult to say how long it will take you to recovery from coronavirus. Every person is different. Some recover quickly, some take more time. Your body will let you know what it needs. You need to listen to it and give it the time it needs to recover.

Look after yourself and your needs

When you’re trying to figure out how to recover from coronavirus or another serious illness, this is one of the key skills you need. It’s so important. And it’s a skill you can develop. In my coaching practice, I’ve helped a lot of people to do that after serious illness.

Start with the basics – sleep + nourishing food + liquid + gentle activity.

Get as much sleep as you and your body needs. If you need to sleep 12-14 hours, do that if you are able to. Appreciate that may be difficult if you also have to look after children.

Eat a balanced diet. Avoid the sugary and processed foods. Your body needs nourishing food to heal.

Drink plenty of liquids. Alcohol may not mix well with any medications you are on, so watch the intake of that.

If you have the energy, a gentle activity like walking around the house or your garden if you have one may be ok. But do check with your doctor first.

Other gentle activities like watching favourite tv programmes, reading, playing a card game, doing puzzles, knitting, etc. can help pass the time in a healthy way whilst you recover. Choose activities you enjoy.

Put guilt to one side

To look after yourself and your needs you often have to put guilt to one side. Or if you cannot put it to one side you, you have to hold it as you also hold on to your needs and look after them.

To look after yourself and your needs when you’re recovering from a #seriousillness it helps to put guilt to one side #wellness Click To Tweet

Acknowledge any anxiety you’re feeling

Sometimes after a serious illness your anxiety levels may be a lot higher. I’ve personally experienced this. Being seriously ill is hard enough in the acute phase. After you leave the acute phase of a serious illness and you enter the convalescence stage, anxiety can make an experience. And you’re thinking, ‘Now I have to deal with this???’

Anxiety is an understandable response to the difficulties you have experienced and an uncertain future. When you’ve had a serious illness like COVID-19, it’s a lot to hold.

When anxiety appears, noticing 3-5 tangible items near you can help you ground yourself. You can also breathe in for 4 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds to help regulate your nervous system. This can help you reduce the anxiety to a level where you can respond mindfully to it.

Reach out for support to help you recover from coronavirus

When you reach out for support, what you’re doing is getting help to hold all that you’re dealing with. You don’t have to hold it all by yourself anymore. That relieves some of the pressure.

Getting support to find ways to respond mindfully to anxiety and the issues you’re dealing with in a way that works for you helps to relieve the pressure further.

Your energy is then more freed up to focus on your recovery.

How to recover from coronavirus - seek out support. In this picture there are four people standing. One of them is a woman who has had COVID-19. A man is saying, 'I'll shop for you.' Another man is saying, 'We'll help you hold the anxiety and uncertainty.' He is holding anxiety. A woman is holding uncertainty. The woman who had coronavirus is saying, 'Thanks. I feel lighter.' The caption reads: Support helps you to return to wellness. The point is that when we seek out support, others can help us hold anxiety we may be feeling. That makes it easier for your recovery because you no longer have to hold that anxiety by yourself.

What’s it like for you?

What advice on how to recover from coronavirus resonates with you? Which pieces of advice may be easier for you to implement, which ones less so? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you have had COVID-19 or are caring for someone who is recovering from it, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

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