Archive for the ‘Self Development’ Category

Focus on Sugar – #fit4feb

February 17, 2014

In the past few weeks there has been an influx of media attention on the issue of “sugar”. Much of it has been confusing and contradictory. Is it really that bad for you? Are all kinds of sugar bad for you? Can I eat it in moderation? Laurie Hill, Certified Health Coach gives us the answers:

Laurie Hill is a Certified Health Coach who has been coaching people on better health for over 10 years. Laurie’s passion about health began when she had come to a crisis point herself15 years ago. At 70 pounds overweight, and suffering from some serious health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, gall bladder disease, acne, and horribly low self esteem, Laurie found a Health Coach in California, who helped her lose her weight by showing her how food heals the body.  Amazingly, the health issues either went away completely, or were nearly non-existent.   Laurie says her body was given healthy beautiful food, which stabilised her blood-sugar imbalance, cravings disappeared, her energy increased, and began walking 40 minutes a day.  Laurie says that her body ecology had become messed up from years of chronic yo-yo dieting, stress, sugar addiction, diet-coke addiction, and quick foods (from being a busy mother), that she couldn’t lose weight by trying every fad diet around.  Laurie was so impressed from this natural and healthy approach to body ecology that she became a Health Coach last year and now offers workshops that helps people understand how sugar has devastating effects on health, how to eat healthy and heal your body, and how you can eat for beauty. But most importantly, Laurie says that it’s about learning to love yourself and if you have curves, love them! You’ve been blessed!

#fit4feb OFFER: Get your FREE 60 minute health consultation with Laurie Hill, Certified Health Coach

When my clients first come to me, aside from wanting to lose weight, they may be suffering from; aches and pains, irregular menstrual cycles, blood sugar imbalances, sugar addiction, emotional addictions to food, low energy, low sex drive, and many others…

I can tell you that sugar is a culprit in all of those factors. I have had people tell me that they although they suffer from the above symptoms, they don’t have a “sweet tooth”, and hardly consume sugar. However, when we sit down and examine the typical foods they eat, they soon realise that they are consuming loads of sugar, but most often it is hidden sugar.

The problem with focusing on “sugar” too much is that we can become myopic. The food industry is so clever at manipulating our impulses, that we are brainwashed through the media and even government “nutrition” agencies, that making swaps is our best attempt at limiting sugar. So really, all we are doing is exchanging one bad habit for another, without ever addressing what healthy eating actually looks like. We’re choosing “no sugar added foods”, “low and non-fat foods”, thinking that we are cleverly outsmarting our bodies from taking in sugar. The problem with chemical sweeteners is that they have some pretty scary side-effects that the media isn’t talking about.

My goal of helping my clients is teaching them that their health is their responsibility. Part of that responsibility is learning how to listen to their body. Believe it or not, your body communicates with you all the time. Pain, fatigue, cravings, acne, headache, low sex drive, all are ways that your body is trying to get your attention. When you visit your GP for blood tests and such, blood, pH, thyroid, sugar, iron, are all ways your body is getting your attention. What is it saying to you? Do you throw medication at it, or are there natural ways to help bring your body into balance?

When you shift your perspective about caring for your body, you will be attentive to how food (and non-foods) affects your body. The issue of sugar and all of our questions about foods will be answered because how you feel when you eat those foods will be the great litmus test!

Here are 10 tips I give at my workshops to help people make wiser food choices:

  1. How much colour of fruit and vegetables did you have in your diet yesterday? Have a quick count. If it’s fewer than 7, add more colour every day.
  2. How much of what you ate was live food (fruit and vegetables) and how much of it was dead foods? (Cooked foods, meat, pasteurised dairy, processed food). A life-giving diet will be at least 70% live foods. Even adding a salad, a fruit smoothie, and crunchie veg sticks would be enough to start.
  3. Eliminate sugary drinks; fruit juices (unless you blend them or juice them yourself), fizzy drinks, no-sugar added drinks, and vitamin water.
  4. Drink more water. Sometimes we think we’re hungry or craving sugar, and we’re actually thirsty.
  5. Eat 2-3 times a day, until you’re 80% full, with no in between meal snacks. (Just like how we were raised).
  6. Don’t eat after 6pm.
  7. If you eat dairy foods, eat the full-fat kind. Good fat is your friend, don’t worry.
  8. When you have painful joints, or any kind of inflammation, lay off grain products and dairy foods.
  9. When you shop, focus on the fruit and veg section and don’t get lulled in by the £1 or yellow tag deals, which are usually bread and junk stuffs. Make a list; don’t shop hungry, when you know they’re baking bread, or when you’re feeling emotional or vulnerable.
  10. And lastly, read food labels! If sugar (or any word that has “ose”, “dex”, “malt”) is more than 5 grams, third on the list, or if there are any substances you can’t pronounce, choose another brand or make it yourself)

From those top 10 tips, you’ll notice that the only time I mentioned don’t have sugar is with regard to sugary drinks. When you focus on nourishing your body, you are going to heal it at the same time. Sugar is what we do when we are not conscious of what we eat, eating out of emotion, where we eat, and are too busy or tired to prepare food.

It takes time to bring our taste buds back into enjoying real food, so don’t be hard on yourself. Our kids are even slower to change. The point is to begin taking those 10 steps. When you do, sugar will be naturally replaced with whole healthy foods, and believe it or not, our old favourites will taste way too sweet. We will love the taste of fruit again, we’ll crave fresh foods on our tongue, our bodies will feel better, and communicate back to us with more energy, clear complexions, healthier looking bodies, and weight will shift naturally.

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Easing New Mums back into Exercise – #fit4feb

February 17, 2014

Dr. Joanna Helcké is an award winning expert in pregnancy and postnatal fitness and is the creator of the UK’s first ever online pregnancy and postnatal fitness system. She is regularly quoted as a pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert in the national media. www.joannahelcke.com 

Joanna HelckeThe What’s on 4 Me team asks Dr Joanna Helcké how new mums should ease themselves safely back into exercise…

What’s on 4 Me: In your expertise, what are some realistic expectations about when it’s safe to begin exercise? How long does it really take? And will most women be able to bounce back to their former selves?

Joanna Helcké: In terms of when it’s safe to start exercising post pregnancy, the general guidelines are to wait until you have had your 6 week postnatal check up with the GP and been given the green light to start up exercising again. Having said this, 6 weeks is the absolute minimum, and if someone has had a caesarean section then she will need to wait at least 8-10 weeks and use her judgement. In other words, if the scar has not healed properly and is still painful then starting exercise would be unwise. Likewise, water-based exercise is an excellent choice when you’ve had a baby, because it is low impact, but without wishing to make anyone feel squeamish, it is important to wait for everything to have healed up before diving into the local pool.

Once new mums have received the go-ahead from their GPs this should not be taken as licence to throw themselves into hard core, high impact exercise. Post pregnancy exercise needs to remain low impact – that means no running, jogging, jumping, skipping or – heaven forbid – trampolining! – for the first 6 months of the postnatal period. This is partly so as to look after the pelvic floor which – let’s face it – has had a tough time in pregnancy and labour, and also to protect against injury or already vulnerable ligaments, joints, and back. Having said this, I am most certainly not advocating sitting around doing nothing – with a good dose of imagination there are so many activities which are perfectly safe and will get new mums, fit, health and boosting the metabolism.

In terms of new mums bouncing back to their former selves, it’s very much a question of a quick-fix versus a measured, sustainable approach, or a super-complicated diet plan versus a healthy eating plan that is quick and easy to follow for busy mums. Quick fixes are invariable so gruelling that nobody can actually stick to them for any length of time, and complicated diets are just too much hard work for busy working mums. The trick is, therefore, to find ways of eating healthily that are enjoyable and take no time at all. It can be done!

Win 3 months membership to Dr Joanna Helcké’s tummy tightening online New Mum Pilates Programme

What’s on 4 Me: What’s your advice about easing back into your pre-pregnancy fitness routine? How much does exercise and diet really affect breastfeeding? 

Joanna Helcké: When I am helping people regain their pre-pregnancy figure, I never focus on the usual “going on a diet” approach, as this implies a short term measure which is, in my opinion, liable to be unsustainable. It is also inappropriate, given the demands of breastfeeding and looking after a little baby. In view of this I have a three-pronged system for beating the “baby bulge”: specialist, post-pregnancy, abdominal work to strengthen and flatten the abdominals, which have been stretched and weakened in pregnancy; a weekly exercise “portfolio” which is specifically designed to kick-start the metabolism whilst still being safe for the post natal period (low impact interval training, and the introduction of appropriate resistance work to build muscle, which gets the body burning lots of calories) and which is also baby-friendly i.e. no need to find childcare as this stops new mums from sticking to their fitness regime; and last but certainly not least, analysing people’s nutritional intake to ensure that it is balanced and healthy. With regard to the latter, I would suggest that for most post natal women, simply making sure that they get the correct balance and type of protein, carbohydrates, fat, dairy, fruit and vegetables – combined with the right sort of exercise – is enough to see the baby weight come off at a steady and healthy rate, without feeling hungry, tired and without having to count calories, points or swig food replacement shakes.

It is often suggested that vigorous exercise has a detrimental effect on the production of breast milk and can interfere with the success of breastfeeding but reviews of research would seem to indicate that this is not that case and that exercising has no adverse effects when it comes to breastfeeding. Having said this, it is, of course even more important to maintain excellent levels of fluid intake if you are both breastfeeding and exercising. On a personal note, I breastfed all three of my boys – the youngest until the day before his third birthday – and I also exercised regularly. Having clocked up a total of 5 years’ worth of breastfeeding and exercising I had to conclude that it had no negative impact in my case!

With regard to diet and breastfeeding, mums should remember that their babies are gaining so much goodness from them when breastfeeding. This should provide an enormous incentive to eat healthily, so that they are giving their babies the best possible start in life. The added bonus is that new mums will also be getting all the health benefits of this nutrient-rich food. Early motherhood is a tiring experience that requires huge reserves of energy (and patience!) – going on a restrictive diet is unhelpful and likely to leave mums deficient in certain nutrients, iron being a frequent problem.

What’s on 4 Me: Is it true that breastfeeding helps you lose weight fast? Can diet and exercise too soon mess up the breast milk somehow, ie, make it less nutritious?

Joanna Helcké: If a newborn baby is fully breastfed then a new mum will be burning an extra 400-500kcal per day but trying to exploit this in an attempt to shed the baby weight would leave her feeling depleted and exhausted. If breastfeeding mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet and combine this with moderate exercise, such as brisk buggy walking incorporating intervals of faster and slower walking, this is a very good basis for beginning to lose the baby weight in a manageable and sustainable manner.

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Getting yourself fit for birth – #fit4feb

February 15, 2014

Dr. Joanna Helcké is an award winning expert in pregnancy and postnatal fitness and is the creator of the UK’s first ever online pregnancy and postnatal fitness system. She is regularly quoted as a pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert in the national media. www.joannahelcke.com 

Joanna HelckeFalling pregnant for the first time is often a time when you reassess your lifestyle, health and fitness. There is the sudden realisation that your body is busy creating a tiny human being, one that is entirely dependent on you for its development and growth. What a responsibility this can feel. Having said this, it’s the ideal opportunity to put in place a healthy lifestyle both in terms of eating and fitness. Whilst it is important not to go on a major fitness drive on discovering that you are expecting, putting in place an appropriate “pregnancy fitness portfolio” can really help you have a more positive pregnancy with fewer aches and pains, an easier labour and a speedier recovery during the postnatal period.

Win a FREE three month membership to Dr Joanna Helcké’s week by week online Pregnancy Pilates Programme  

Whilst there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” fitness regime for your pregnancy, there are definitely some forms of exercise which work particularly well for the pregnant body. It is important to introduce a mixture of cardiovascular exercise with resistance and deep abdominal work. The former will help give you the stamina needed to get through your nine month journey, especially towards the end when you are carrying around a heavy baby day in day out. If you have been a regular exerciser pre-pregnancy, and as long as all is going well, there is no reason why you cannot carry on during the first trimester with the exercise that you normally do, although it is important to not get too breathless, too hot or to push yourself when your body is crying out for a rest. Be kind and gentle to yourself.

Power walking is an ideal form of exercise during pregnancy and if you spend a lot of time seated at a desk, it will help ease off tightness in the lower back. So how about going for a 20 minute walk in your lunch break every day? Having said this a significant proportion of mums-to-be suffer from pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy and if you are one them, then walking will need to be dropped in favour of other forms of exercise, such as aquanatal.

Water-based exercise is fantastic when you are expecting, especially as you get towards the end of pregnancy when the sheer weight of your bump will leave you feeling tired and depleted. Try aquanatal with a trained specialist in pregnancy exercise or if you can’t find a local expert, swimming is a great alternative. Again, if you are suffering from pelvic girdle pain, be sure to modify your swimming accordingly: breaststroke is to be avoided at all costs but front crawl should be fine for you.

Last but most certainly not least, make time for a weekly dose of tailored pregnancy Pilates. This will help to protect your back by keeping the deepest layer of abdominals toned. Doing just one pregnancy Pilates class a week or even 5 minutes of Pilates moves every day will be enough to keep you free of many of the aches and pains that accompany pregnancy. Be sure to go to a class that is designed specifically for the antenatal period as standard Pilates is not appropriate for pregnancy. If the pregnancy Pilates you do includes postural work, then all the better – posture is greatly affected by pregnancy.

In short, a “pregnancy fitness portfolio” that contains a good mix of exercise to give you stamina – whether it be walking, swimming or aquanatal – and exercise to help keep your back strong and niggle-free, will get your ready and fit for birth.

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5 Benefits of Regular Exercise – #fit4feb

February 1, 2014

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood and improving your sex life, to losing weight and feeling firmer, find out how exercise can improve your life.

Check out these five ways exercise can improve your life.

No. 1: Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the lift or revving up your household chores.

No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

No. 3: Exercise improves mood and sex life

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, join a walking group or a netball team. And if feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy, then regular exercise can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life.

No. 4: Exercise boosts energy

Tired out by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily activites.

No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.

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Cycling Challenge & Family Fun Day 15th September – in aid of Hearts & Minds

August 29, 2013

cycle_surgery

Join us for a Hearts and Minds Cycling Challenge  Family Fun Day   

15th September 2013!

Starting and finishing in the stunning grounds of Capethorne Hall the ride will comprise of an intermediate and advanced course, both warming up with a rolling 12 miles through the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Next is where the “Challenge” comes in!

The course will head off towards Bosley Hill and the famous “Dumbers” climb towards Buxton and will branch off towards the little village of Flash – At 1560ft home of the highest pub in England!

At this point the advanced ride will peel off towards Bakewell. Taking in some of Derbyshire’s most spectacular vista’s, climbs and hamlets (and fast, fun descents!) It will loop back to Buxton and then take in the stunning climb through The Goyt Valley and finally descending back into Cheshire after over 3500ft of climbing.

The intermediate course will still be a challenge with a fast descent from Flash into Buxton and will take in Long Hill and The Goyt Valley before rolling along Clough Brook through the lovely valley of Wildboarclough before climbing back over the Dumbers and descending back into Cheshire. Make no mistake! This is still a challenge and takes in nearly 2500ft of climbing – enough to test the majority of keen cyclists!

You will be joined on this ride by our Patron Rik Waddon. Rik has been an inspiration to many with his fantastic cycling career which has included multiple successes in the Paralympics and World Championships.

All cyclists who have registered for this event will receive  a voucher giving 10% discount off all none sale accessories and clothing at the Manchester Cycle Surgery store. Cycle Surgery will also have a bike maintenance area at the start / finish area and will be on hand to help with any mechanical problems. They will also have a stock of spare parts available should you need them. There will be a number of drink stations and marshals along both routes as well as a medical team for your safety. We will also have a Family Fun Day at Capesthorn Hall for your family to enjoy while you are cycling.

To register for this event please visit Hearts & Minds Challenge

New Book And Campaign To Support Fathers And Families Of Those Suffering From Postnatal Depression

February 6, 2013

mark_williamsAfter going through postnatal depression in 2011 with his wife and suffering from depression himself Mark Williams has set up a new charity called “Fathers Reaching Out” which supports fathers and families of those suffering from postnatal depression.

Mark found that while there was support for his wife there was no support for fathers and families and a lack of education, research and awareness about the illness in general.

In January 2012 Mark set up a website called www.fathersreachingout.com as a point of contact for fathers and families and has also published a book on Amazon called “Mark Williams Reaching Out” about his personal experiences of postnatal depression and depression.

Postnatal depression is often a major cause of families breaking up due to the high stress levels it creates and the lack of education or support to combat this. While the mother receives treatment and support the father has to deal with the newborn baby, the partner’s depression and work in isolation.

Mark comments “When I was at my deepest, I didn’t think I could turn to anyone. I was told I had to go on a waiting list for counselling which after sixteen months I am still waiting for the phone call. I went to free counselling through a drink programme, which was the starting point of my recovery.”

tips_bannerHe continues, “Since then in the last 12 months I have turned my life from a negative into a positive, and now feel strongly about helping others in the same situation as me. I was just given medication and that was that, and feel that a simple outreach project could not only save the government money, but stop families from breaking up.”

Mark says “One of best things for depression, that worked for me was structure. Going to the gym is always great, and also exercise classes, as you are more likely to eat healthy foods and meet positive people. Small steps each day will get you to your final goal…depression free. Always remember this is a illness,and you will get better.”

Mark has raised awareness through public speaking to people from the NHS and the mental health charity MIND amongst other resources. Mark has also been asked to appear on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Radio 5 live and other networks. He has many followers and now receives emails from all corners of the world, from professors to people who have been through the experience themselves.

Due to Mark self funding the ‘Fathers Reaching Out’ project and all his hard work in awareness he has been awarded ‘Inspirational Father of the Year’ in Wales, The Welsh selection for the Pride of Britain Awards and was even short listed at the Mind Media Awards hosted by Stephen Fry. He has also had an article published in a journal for health visiting.

Mark hopes to help even more people and take his campaign from strength to strength. He would like help with a project he is starting along side Fathers Reaching Out, which will involve going into shelters for homeless, prisons and other places where people can help others and also better themselves by taking part. Marks aim is also to educate students in schools and employees in companies around the country that they must seek help before it gets to breaking point, like it did to him.

Since speaking out about his illness and the effect of postnatal depression, Mark has been delighted with the results. He has had people who he has known for many years come up to him saying they too have suffered in silence.

banner5Mark notes, “People are more willing to open up when they know that they are talking to someone who has been through the same situation themselves and don’t feel judged. Many people including myself were afraid to seek help, and didn’t know how people would react to the situation. I know this is a illness, that anyone can have in their lifetime as the figures show 1 in 4 will have a mental illness in their lifetime.”

Mark concludes “If we can start talking about this illness called depression, people will be more likely to come forward and seek the help quicker and start the recovery at the earliest point.”

Follow Mark Williams on twitter @fathersreaching or see www.fathersreachingout.com for more about the campaign.

For more support groups and ways to increase your positivity, search www.whatson4me.co.uk for classes and groups near you.

Childcare Costs now make it Unaffordable For Most Mums To Return To Work ~ What’s On 4 have a Brand New Solution…!

January 17, 2013

What’s On 4 brings you the opportunity to run your own work-from-home business with the Award Winning “junior” What’s On 4 websites and Baby Expo Events www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk, www.whatson4littleones.co.uk, www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk

Franchise Profile (2)With recent news of childcare costs being prohibitive to mothers being able to go out to work, it will be welcome news to many mums that What’s On 4 have now launched their regional businesses for mums to work-from-home!  The opportunities are ideal for mums looking to get back into work and running a business from home.

Marilyn Bradshaw and Bev O’Sullivan are leading the way in creating flexible working opportunities for mums across the UK by expanding the very successful What’s On 4 brand of websites!

Our family of What’s On 4 websites has been bringing information about local activities, clubs, classes and events, catering for all age groups from newborns to over-60’s, for over seven years now, since their creation 7 years ago by What’s On 4 founder Sam Willoughby.

Now with over 75,000 visitors each month to our What’s On 4 sites, over 50,000 subscribers, and over 50,000 social media fans, these websites are immensely popular with adults, parents, grandparents and carers.  What’s more is that these businesses are about to be launched as regional businesses across the UK.

As working mums themselves, Marilyn and Bev understand the need for home-based business opportunities and this is a major driving force for them.  Marilyn has two boys under the age of six and in the past 2 years has already taken the UK by storm with What’s On 4 Me (www.whatson4me.co.uk) – the adult “arm” of the websites.  As Master Franchisee she has provided many mums with part-time, flexible working opportunities.

Baby Expo LogoMarilyn says “Being a mum and running a National business from home is the most perfect combination I could imagine.  Having already developed 12 local business owners across the UK for What’s On 4 Me I am completely driven to do the same for our What’s On 4 “Juniors” business. These opportunities give the flexible working arrangement that many families need these days.”

Joining forces with Bev O’Sullivan, mum of three children under 10, means that they can quickly expand the “Junior” websites www.whatson4littleones.co.uk, www.whatson4schoolkids.co.uk and www.whatson4kidsparties.co.uk, including the extremely successful and popular BabyExpo Events www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk to create these desperately needed work-from-home opportunities.

Marilyn Accepting AwardBev says “Since coming on board with the What’s On 4 Team by running South Yorkshire What’s On 4 Me, my work life balance has changed dramatically for the better.  To now be able to run the children’s side of the business of What’s On 4 gives me the unique ability to also offer this lifestyle to others – and run a successful business.”

Marilyn and Bev have a wealth of business accolades between them including Awards for Best New Business Idea, North East Woman Entrepreneur Finalist and Best Brand Winner to name just a handful.

What’s On 4 “Juniors” will benefit from their combined entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen and drive the growth of the What’s On 4 family of websites across the UK – creating dozens of flexible work positions all across the UK.

Interest has already been registered for many of the local What’s On 4 business regions and discussions are underway with potential candidates.

However ~ DON’T MISS OUT!! If you feel that you would like more information about running What’s On 4 in your region, including the availability and cost, then contact Marilyn Bradshaw, 0121 288 1228, marilyn@whatson4.co.uk for more information!

How well do you express yourself?

January 10, 2013

Our guest blog today comes from Nicci Talbot, a journalist, author, copywriter and editor of Rude Magazine. She specialises in health & wellness, sex & relationships.

I’ve just done the Hastings Mastery of Self-expression, an intensive weekend workshop for creativity and self-development. It was led by Christine Kimberley, an experienced actor/coach/presenter and draws from techniques used to train actors to express more of themselves and be more authentic in their work. The experience blew me away and I’ve been talking about it non-stop since. I’m not going to explain the processes involved because they won’t make much sense out of context but the combination of exercises, play and group energy is very powerful and facilitates change.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of doing the workshop for a while – friends have mentioned it so I went along to a taster event to find out more. I was a bit freaked out by the performance aspect (you need to prepare a two-minute piece, which is used as a vehicle during the workshop to help you express yourself). I’m not an actor but I do want to learn how to express myself more authentically, from the heart and to get over those nerves about public speaking so in the spirit of Susan Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, I signed up. I was curious to find out how it could help my writing and desire to run workshops and salons on female sexuality, which is something I want to develop.

The weekend is a blank canvas so an opportunity to assess where you are and where you want to be, with the aim of bridging that gap. You will find out what holds you back and where you stop yourself. It also gives you a toolkit to help you cope with situations that might arise. I went into it as an individual focusing on my own dramas and I came out feeling supported by a group and in a more cohesive frame of mind. I learned that creativity is something that happens ‘out there’ between you and others rather than something that is locked inside, waiting to be released. We are naturally creative and we can choose whether to turn it on/off during the day.

Presenting something from your heart and gaining feedback and support on it is a powerful experience and one that stays ingrained in your muscle memory. So, when you come to do it again your body will remember the experience and won’t be phased by it. It’s about practice and it becomes more natural the more you do it.

Throughout the weekend I got several opportunities to ‘do myself differently’, which was freeing and exhilarating. It’s fun to work with a group to create something spontaneously and it made me realise I need to surrender and have more fun! Life can be a schedule of routines and I have various hats on so this realisation was important. I miss the freedom and joy of dancing so this is something I will make time for. How often do we give ourselves permission to play without agenda, as we did as children? Not often enough and it’s a vehicle for creativity.

I met some amazing people and it was a privilege to share their journey, hear their stories, and see them blossom as the weekend progressed. By Sunday evening I felt a massive shift in my perspective and energy levels. One of my goals (and this was reiterated by others) was a desire to feel bigger in the world and get myself out there with the work I’m doing. I experienced that feeling and it’s stayed with me since. I am fired up, open to opportunity and possibility, living in the moment and being more present. There’s less procrastination and guilt around money for a start. I have let go of the anxiety around that and am working on abundance and gratitude for what I do have.

I’m operating from the heart and keeping my emotions flowing – be it love, anger or need. I don’t want to block or repress my feelings because I know doing so has a negative impact on my physical health. I have had joint pain and arthritis for the past seven months and the physical release of emotion has improved my health. The mind-body connection is powerful so from that perspective the workshop gave me a physical detox as well as a mental one. I have found it easy to connect with people on a day-to-day level and am experiencing a sense of flow with my work, which is joyful.

Coming back to my worries around ‘presenting,’ I learned over the weekend that it’s not about acting or pretending to be someone else but about expressing yourself from the heart with feeling. That’s what inspires and moves people. That simplifies things and takes the pressure off I think. Watching people do this naturally and letting their defences down was inspiring and emotional. Christine is a natural and intuitive coach and knows instinctively how to get the best out of people.

By Sunday evening there was a big shift in the group energy. We were working as a team to nurture and support each other and I saw people blossom. I forged some strong emotional connections from the shared experience, which will stay with me forever and I know those people will be a continued support in the work I am doing.

Two weeks on, I feel clearer, focused, open and in touch with my emotions. I’ve come to terms with my anger and learned how to express it constructively rather than bottling it up. I am connecting well with others and have had several ideas about how to take my business forward. My health is better and I will continue working on that. I have taken the pressure off myself and am being less self-critical and kinder to myself. I am more present in my relationships and this has improved things between me and my daughter. Most of the time the dramas and tantrums are about wanting my undivided attention. Several people have told me I look great so I can see that people are attracted to my openness and energy.

The Mastery has had an impact on me on various levels – personally and professionally. I consider it a gift to myself and it has given me some practical tools to cope with whatever life brings up. I feel less anxious and have gained a sense of security in where I am and what I am doing. The workshop is an investment in yourself and I recommend it if you want to step things up a gear and work on whatever is holding you back.

Christine Kimberley runs taster evenings of The Mastery in Hastings and Eastbourne. Contact www.christinekimberley.com and www.hastingsmastery.org.uk.

On the Edge, an anthology of Mastery leaders worldwide, compiled by Christine, is available to buy from her website.

Nicci Talbot can be contacted through Rude Magazine at  www.rudemagazine.co.uk


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