CARING PROFESSIONALS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO THE PANDEMIC: Here’s how and why we need to look after ourselves first before we help others 

Whatever our roles in our personal and professional lives when we go through traumatic events or experiences at home or in indeed in the workplace, if we re wearing a ‘professional’ mask especialliy in health and social care, we feel we should be OK as we need to serve our ‘clients’ first. 

But remember we are not infallible and some of the greatest carers, leaders and professionals are those with lived experience and this can actually support our work rather than hinder it. 

Tip 1:) Transform your own negative self-talk 

Like most, my moral compass and core values have been challenged somewhat  in Lockdown. I have gone from instagramming and writing columns about my surprise ‘charity shop finds’ to fast fashion that is delivered in the post. 

I have gone from a love of discovering plant-based food (often at bargain shops or past it’s sell by date grub). To being at home, shopping on Amazon when I needed everything from groceries to cleaning products. Trying to ethically close my eyes.

And ironically whilst it’s appeared initially cheaper at first, the accidental subscriptions, the long term impact of my not-so-eco friendly foot print will be long lasting and those instance hits of dopamine in Lockdown challenges from the mind dulling nature of social media escapism to the quick hits of desperate next day deliveries always interrupting video meetings… 

But step back, and stop blaming yourself and talk to yourself like your own unconditional best friend! 

Who would blame us for resorting to hedonistic ways when we are facing huge challenges in life? It is by human nature that we can and need to go into survival mode. Granted in our modern life of excess means that this so-called ‘survival mode’ is sometimes panic over possessions and clutter rather than the threat of being killed by a tiger… but we can still experience feelings of constant trauma from work stresses relative to some of my own personal experiences of more acute situations but I understand it’s all relative and often how we perceive situations levels our response. Either way we experience trauma or fight or flight feelings and no longer always have the communities and warrior rituals to shake and heal it off. We have natural instincts but without the natural coping mechanisms often our bodies need. 

Tip 2) Create your own ‘ritual’

Create your own ritual to shake off fears and anxieties…

Try your own ritual from moving or hypnotic breathing or talking whatever works for you to do when you feel the anxiety building. 

A lot of people live in a state of fear and adrenaline but remember when warriors used to return home from actual war/ places of unsafety they would be cared for by the community and return home to a ritual but we can create our own internal ritual so we don’t carry the feelings of fear.

That said, it is vital that no matter whether it has been traumas from the Pandemic, feelings of Anxiety for some with the ‘new normal’ as well as knowing many clients have become more vulnerable than ever, we are only human if we fear that not only do we have to deal with it, we all have had our own positive and negative experiences of the past year. 

As Psychologist Dr Marianne Trent said: “I often hear people talking about doing things to ‘distract’ them from their struggles. However, what I help people do is quite the opposite – I help them learn to be able to tolerate their distress rather than turn away from it.  It’s so important in order to begin to overcome mental health difficulties and to increase self-compassion.”

Tip 3: Take a break for mindful rest or pause rather than consuming social media or negative news coverage: 

Put on a body scan meditation for 20 minutes on youtube or listen to a podcast or have a mindful cup of tea or walk. Something meditative where you aren’t trying to do anything else other than listen to your mind and body. 

For me this was a challenge at first but stepping off the social media scroll hole (as someone who has a content creator network and built a 100k following and 24 million views on youtube) I am fortunate I grmedia – so I straddle the two worlds. But I too became hooked on the Dopamine so I have swapped the brain dulling swiping for 20 minute mindfulness sessions which your brain ct’s vital that we look after ourselves first, because you matt infallible and in many ways whilst people have rightly shone a newfound appreciation of such professions, but when you the front line you also may experience that people are turning to those closest to blame. 

As someone who has gone from a campaigner to a professional social affairs journalist (and professional win between writing work), I have learnt that actually ‘unveiling our professional masks’ cannot only feel a relief at first, providing it’s done in a safe supportive space, but we can also learn techniques to help us for life which will enable us then to support others too. But your first role and mois taking care of you! 

Whether you experience full blown social anxiety (professional help is needed, yes even for us as professionals) or you’re feeling unconfident about returning to life and work as it was, there are some steps you can take to make the process feel less debilitating and we can actually use it to be a great opportunity to choose the best version of ourselves rather than return to past behaviours that didn’t serve us well. 

Tip 4) Briefly reflect, don’t dwell on your pre-Pandemic life, what were you doing that was aligned with your core values and positively impacted our lives? What didn’t serve us? Were we too busy being busy and feeling lost? What have we learned about ourselves in this time? 

But then you may be hit by feelings your a professional hypocrite…”I need to stay professional at all times. I should look the part.” 

If there’s one thing that no leader, boss or team I have connected to more by all of us just unveiling those professional masks as much as we are comfortable to share it really can make us more connected and approachable. 

Sat crouched on my home stairwell, I hold my phone up to my face as I confidently deliver a speech on wellbeing to an international health and care conference, it’s the only space I could find whilst entertaining two children at home in Lockdown and whilst it’s not ideal, it’s the only backdrop that may shield some of the noise of my daughters currently squabbling over who is using the iPad for what they promise is online school work and “definitely not youtube for kids.” 

Extract from my personal mindset blog https://mamamei.co.uk

I myself have embraced technology having mostly worked digitally from home yet been at the mercy of wifi signal, technical updates and lack of power (which tends to be when I am on Zoom trying to coach digital skills, creating content and public speaking for online! So there are many humorous  juxtapositions within life’s hurdles.)

Whilst I manage to keep calm, as I delivered one of my many conference speeches on wellbeing, mental health and journalism throughout this year… I have learned to be authentic and to ‘laugh it off.’ As we are only human and sharing my fails and wins with other professionals has helped to forge better connections by being ‘authentic.’ 

In that last speech I alluded to, I was presenting at a conference on creating Microsystems in the work place whether that be physically or digitally, it focused on creating small teams within big organisations and actively listening and supporting each other. In turn, it was about then having a creative approach to making ‘health care’ and services accessible by creating health cafes and mini libraries to engage clients in supportive spaces, a more human-centred approach to typical medical settings. 

That said when we take off the barriers, we also may feel more vulnerable without an ‘official meeting room’ environment. 

Which is why my third self-care tip is to create an imaginary shield. 

Tip 5) How to protect yourself from energy vampires (negative people or situations) and develop your personal power with this activity… 

Shield: Visualise a protective shield around you (imagine you’re in a snow globe!) 

Intention: Make the intention e.g. Clear negative energy or mentally rehearse.

Grounding:  Anchor yourself using your favourite grounding technique before meeting someone who drains you or facing a challenging situation. 

Follow @mamameiblog for more. 

Summary

  • I have always said our mental health should be treated as integral to our health wellbeing but actually now we need it to be of paramount importance with stress levels rocketing and it’s thought that 4.2 million people across the UK are now regularly feeling isolated and alone as a result of the pandemic. 
  • That’s without mentioning how each individual situation is further amplified by the ongoing restrictions over ‘normal’ life challenges that 2020 has thrown at us. 
  • Alcoholism is up, eating disorders are on the rise and even those without prior mental health problems have reported feeling more stress, anxiety and low mood. That’s not to mention the impact of long Covid as a Chronic illness with reports of neurological implications. 
  • So whilst somehow the incredible volunteers, care workers, NHS staff, good samaritans  and wellbeing professionals have injected as much they can into our survival as a country, they now need more funding and support as we cannot get away with merely applauding them through another year. We have a new pandemic on the horizon which is already brewing up… a country riddled by mental health problems. 
  • I am not alone in my hope for more services to help cope with the next crisis. 
  • Even The BMJ, writes: 
  • “Studies of responses to disasters show that the majority of people are resilient and are able to cope with the stressors of the sudden change in environment (4).  However, many more people struggle and, along with an overall higher level of anxiety in our societies, there are reports of an increase in suicides and overdoses which are attributed to COVID -19(5).
  • “The resulting mental health issues arising from COVID-19 have created a second pandemic–one which has yet to be fully recognized.  In fact, rather than an increase in mental health supports, the need to distance and isolate has resulted in the amalgamation or closure of amenities and has resulted in fewer or less accessible mental health services in an already underserviced and stigmatized sector.  
  • “It’s important for health care systems to recognize mental health as a significant issue and put strategies in place to address it.” 
  • As well as the added pressure, stress and personal circumstances many health professionals may be experiencing too.

we can now choose what we want to return to and how we want things to look differently. This isn’t about staying in our comfort zones, it’s the opposite. How are we going to assert ourselves so that we can recover and transform our lives for the better?

So for me, preparation has been a key part of allaying any anxieties about a return to the ‘new normal.’ It’s all well and good to push ourselves but sometimes I over exert myself not giving myself time to restore. Other self-help ways to reduce worries are mindful anchoring techniques, scheduling a gradual return to activities and breaking down our weekly plan so that we build in time for all our core needs such as relaxation, connection, movement, contribution and personal development. 

And try not to compare yourself to others, start to take action in your own life. 

“Comparing yourself to others will only undermine your confidence and self-belief. A difficult habit to break, especially with social media giving us no shortage of opportunities to measure ourselves,” says Life Coach Ina Messer. 

You could easily look at my life online through rose tinted glasses 

and see me at home, speaking to millions worldwide with a clean white backdrop. But do you really hear the kids fighting in the background? Do you see the fact I am crouched on my staircase for some clean space to film? So do you really know what’s going on in my life? Granted, I feel fortunate these days because the more I manifest (thoughts = actions) the more I receive the life I aspire to live, all whilst taking these necessary self-care measures. 

As airy fairy as that may sound, we can try utilising this time to explore our own mental, emotional, social, intellectual and physical wellness needs, choose our main challenges to overcome and move into this next period, to live our best lives.  Our hurdles really can be stepping stones to success.

We can now use this time as an opportunity to explore our own mental, emotional, social, intellectual and physical wellbeing, and choose our main challenges and how we can utilise this next period of time to live our best lives.  As airy fairy as that may sound, our hurdles really can be stepping stones to success.

Remember: You could easily look at my life online through rose tinted glasses 

and see me at home speaking to millions worldwide when delivering my online presentations, how-to-videos and my verbal or written words can ripple out to many homes from the safety of my home office (or corners of the house when I have been swamped with providing lockdown home-schooling.)

UNVEILING PROFESSIONAL MASKS: FOR MUCH MORE PERSONAL PROFOUND CONVERSATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS 

These blurred lines actually helped us to carve a much deeper profound connection in just one quick meeting.  

It is such an asset to have diversity at the forefront of a more fruitful world where people can thrive. 

The less I too have witnessed the professional and personal world as two separate entities, much like I used to feel my ‘impoverished’ background as a bellydancer was a million miles away from the ‘rich’ I would often perform for, the more optimistic I feel now that I have overcome my own divisive barriers which were holding me back, as we are one world and there is an abundance of opportunity and money to pay for us all. So if you have the strength to speak up for someone who is yet to actualise their potential, make sure you offer them a space to flourish. 

I am now proudly showcasing my closet of sequins to add some sparkle to the normal ‘bookcase’ or ‘business banner’ backdrop we often see, who knows maybe I’ll be presenting Channel 4 News with all my sparkles on show one day! One thing I do know is that the more money is shared amongst those of us with values the much more prosperous a universe we will live in. 

Read more from me at https://MAMAMEI.co.uk / https://sparkleupnorth.com

Microcosm of what goes on globally and want to feel good off 

Its fast food and now fast beauty 

Instant fixes and look to next ting we dont stress 

Stress cycles 

We dont want to look 

  • Create your own Rituals 

 

  • Create your own Rituals 

How to act: Rituals = experience of product/ group./shopping – expectations when we walk in 

The mind-body connection flourishes when it’s strong from the inside out. This is where your SuperPowers kick in. The ability to multi-task and reach goals, stay motivated, and stay inspired are all triggered by both our physical and mental strength.

Community treatments for phobias 

  • Relaxation and meditation
  • GP

Reconnecting and rebuiulding the bonds that were broken in trauma 

Remothering of people 

The cost of trauma to human suffering is incalulable 

The cost on society is calculabel is very high especially to unresolved trauma 

  • In a Messer: 

Do you have a nagging feeling that trauma is holding you back?  Or can you remember the source of trauma but cannot get to grip with it? Then this article is for you!

Let me start with what trauma is; Trauma is an event that happened to us at some point in the past. Most of our trauma stems from our childhood often unintentionally given to us by our families or friends,  things like violence in the household, neglect and not enough love or it could have been a dramatic event like an accident or death.

The tricky part of a trauma is that, mostly, we cannot remember when we inherited the trauma. Also, can we recall all the facts correctly? Sometimes,if we placed them wrongly or not, our subconscious mind is carrying it around, and it suddenly get triggered and shows its ugly face via pain or emotion in our body and mind. 

Traumatic signs can take all shapes and forms from shock, sadness, helplessness, guilt, anger, shame to physical symptoms like stomach pain, headache, rapid breathing, shaking, change to sleeping pattern and more. The list is long.

However, the main symptom of trauma is fear and anxiety, hidden deep in our subconscious mind and showing its ugly head when triggered.

The subconscious mind is a ‘devil’ in pairing the trauma with the fight, flight, freeze reaction, which gives the adrenaline and fears a boost. This is an instinctive response that keeps us alive in the face of real threats. Our brain has no means of distinguishing between a real threat or an imaginary one. This can be our problem but also our saviour. Yes, we can reprogram our brain. I’ve worked with clients who are triggered by radiators, grasshoppers, backpacks, and loud noises, but the most common type of trigger is when people have an intense anxiety reaction to thinking about or talking about something frightening, like a past trauma or assault. Because anxiety is uncomfortable, we try to avoid it. However, every time you avoid it, your brain thinks, let’s do it again, increasing our anxiety around that stimulus. Avoidance can take many forms, like staying at home using substances, endless distraction or using blame or anger to escape that discomfort. But regardless of the type of avoidance, the result is always the same: avoidance grows anxiety. Below are some self-help tips for taming your anxiety around a traumatic stimulus.

  1. Breathe 

I know this is a buzz word but I promise you it will help. Focus on your breathing and observe if you change your breathing habit, like breathing more rapidly when anxiety creeps up. Rapid breathing will be increasing the feeling of fear and panic. Try to get your breathing into a steady pace, breathing slowly in and out, counting to five. It will help bring your fight, flight, fight mechanism down, and you will gradually begin to relax. Tell yourself during your breathing exercise that you are safe. You can create little mantras: I am safe. I can control my thought. I can control my breathing.

  1. Journalisng

Try to write down what happened before you got triggered. It may help you see a pattern, and you might see early signs so that you can act fast like, changing your thoughts quickly through counting objects aloud around you or sing your favourite song.

Work through the fear 

  1. Sit with your fear, yes you have heard the phrase, “Feel your fear and do it anyway.
  • Try breathing to calm you down and ask yourself unrelated questions like” what did I have for breakfast today?”
  • Then think of the negative feeling, sensation, images, words associated with the experience- create a picture/ image scene in your mind of the negative situation or emotion.
  • Now change the negative image in some way.
  • Take the colour out, make it black and white
  • Turn the sound down; make it silent.
  • Shrink it in size to something you could grab hold of, maybe a postcard size.
  • Grab the postcard and give it a good shake and throw it away.
  • Do it whenever the fear gets triggered again.
  • Try to replace it with a great feeling and say them out loud ; That is not me these are my thoughts in my head and I have the power to control them.
  • Your brain takes on everything you tell it.
  1. Moving your body

Yes, exercise will help you to burn off adrenaline and release feel-good endorphins. This will boost your mood and help your nervous system get unstuck and help you move away from the trauma.

When you exercise, focus on your body and breathing, and if you are struggling to get motivated, put your favourite music on and dance your little heart out and, if possible, sing too.

  1. Go for a walk.

Make nature your healer, spending time in nature that is free will help reduce stress and anxiety. You can find nature everywhere in green spaces in town, which gives you the freedom to breathe, calm your nervous system down, and space to reflect. Walking is a great benefit to numerous accounts for your body and mind.

If you need further help to unlock your trauma please get in touch www.inamesser.com

  • My anecdote 

Manifesting, which utilises quantum physics theories, follows the principle that what you want to feel and experience can become a reality via your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions. 

Leeds Quantum Coach Emily, said: “Our thoughts create an energy which create our reality. 

“Use this time to intentionally align the best version of yourself in the future. 

“Our thoughts and feelings create an energetic vibration. 

“We’re choosing to manifest what we desire rather than unhelpful thoughts.” 

She added that we can choose the best version of ourselves and ask, what part of our life has resonated with the person that would live your truth? 

For us, we can now choose what we want to return to and how we want things to look differently. This isn’t about staying in our comfort zones, it’s the opposite. How are we going to assert ourselves so that we can recover and transform our lives for the better?

So for me, preparation has been a key part of allaying any anxieties about a return to the ‘new normal.’ It’s all well and good to push ourselves but sometimes I over exert myself not giving myself time to restore. Other self-help ways to reduce worries are mindful anchoring techniques, scheduling a gradual return to activities and breaking down our weekly plan so that we build in time for all our core needs such as relaxation, connection, movement, contribution and personal development. 

And try not to compare yourself to others, start to take action in your own life. 

“Comparing yourself to others will only undermine your confidence and self-belief. A difficult habit to break, especially with social media giving us no shortage of opportunities to measure ourselves,” says Life Coach Ina Messer. 

BREATHING TIPS: THE IMPORTANCE OF BREATHWORK FOR MIND AND BODY FITNESS 

Life Hack 

My top tip to keep healthy, both in mind and body is to ‘learn how to breathe’. Everyone breathes obviously but a lot of people do not know how to use their lungs to their full capacity and how that can have a positive effect on their mental wellbeing. 

In Yoga especially we learn different pranayama (breathing) techniques that can be used in our day to day lives as a way of stress busting, anxiety relieving & a way to help us focus and become more level headed. 

“This is a massive life hack – learn to breathe properly and see the world, your world clearer. “Then add physical yoga into the mix and as you unravel your body your thoughts and problems will also become resolved.” Natalie, Sanctuary Health and Wellbeing Ltd. 

Mind Challenge 

Take some fresh air daily. Whether that be on a walk or opening the window to start with. 

Natural daylight and fresh air boost our mood (lowering cortisol levels), brain cognition and improves sleep (our circadian rhythm). 

@thesparklecoach

Did you know?

 80% of our lungs are in our back… Most people only use their chest to breathe. 

By lengthening, deepening and slowing your breath down It helps to calm the central nervous system by switching off the fight or flight mode that we tend to be in most of our modern lives. It can help to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. And by learning to use your lungs to their full capacity this can in turn strengthen your immune system. Something we all need these days.

Yoga Nidra 

ARTICLE

Intro: interview structure. 

* My Intro: Why I wanted to talk about Chronic Fatigue or why it is relevant or both (shocking fact or figure or hook or life story at top)

* Write out questions

* Expert Intro (Interviewee)

Top Tip On This Week’s Theme: 1) Tips on chronic fatigue

It may say sound strange, but my top tip for chronic fatigue is movement. I'm not fond of

the word exercise as it has specific connotations and expectations.

You can start with three minutes every other day and build up over weeks. There are plenty of

rehabilitation chair workouts and chair yoga routines available online or on YouTube for free.

Mind Challenge

SLEEP

Sleep hygiene is a must. Many of us do not get enough sleep or wind down to prepare for

sleep. I advise 90 mins of no screens or work before sleep, & 90 before nightie. Many

smartphones actually have a bedtime setting to remind you when it’s time to slow down

before bed. It’s a handy tool to remind you to turn off the T.V. or swap the Kindle for a

paper book.

Yoga Nidra can be used first thing in the morning when you may not have had enough

sleep or had interrupted or disturbed sleep. It is said that 20 to 30 mins of yoga Nidra is

like having 2 to 4 hours of deep sleep for the body. I encourage clients who are able to

take 20 mins in the afternoon to do a session of guided Nidra Yoga to combat chronic

fatigue or that 3pm dip.

Life Hack 

Stress

Stress is a huge burden on the modern body, a common complaint with many people, and

just because it's common doesn't mean it's healthy. I advise anyone suffering from pain or

chronic fatigue to do Nidra Yoga (also known as Yogic Sleep). A great deal of scientific

research supports the belief that Nidra Yoga is a key restorative practice to relieve stress.

Studies reveal that it both repairs and regenerates cells. It has even been applied by the

U.S. Army to assist soldiers in recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Did You Know? 

FOOD

The first thing I recommend is to get yourself a food diary. You can print one out and fill it in daily, marking all food and drink consumption and doing asleep and pain score.

Over time you will begin to see patterns emerging with certain foods, drinks and,

environmental factors. Start to remove and replace the foods, address, lifestyle, and choices, and see your scores transform in the sleep and energy section. All my clients keep a food diary. It is a great way of finding your triggers and building a new diet on and

off the plate that supports your wellness journey.

It may be beneficial to do an elimination diet for 21 days where you remove all the common triggers and slowly introduce them in week four and see how the body reacts.

The common trigger foods are:

Gluten

Eggs

Refined sugar

Maize/corn

Garlic

Dairy

Body Workout @TheSparkleCoach @GreenHealthPT (Sent) 

UNVEILING PROFESSIONAL MASKS: FOR MUCH MORE PERSONAL PROFOUND CONVERSATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS 

It had previously been primarily women having to explain their need for flexible working hours, but as we all move to one much more flexible world with our colleagues, leaders and teachers feeling less on a hierarchical chain as we share video calls with screeching children, dogs barking and many a creative backdrop cutting through the normal sterile office backdrop we see on the news. 

As one business coffee appointment called it, who turned out to be a fellow creative thanks to displaying her array of craftwork on display at home via Microsoft Teams: “We are “multi-potentialists,” replacing my self-proclaimed misfit badge.

It felt a relief, having always felt held back by needing to have one niche or ‘USP’ in my pitches and CV which so many of us have had to dust off in recent times… to being able to showcase rather than hide my spectrum of skills as secrets. 

With that gusto I then revealed to my call the ‘secret’ behind my sparkly office curtains, which is an array of dance costumes and gym equipment nestled away from my traditional work-from-home media suite. Even though my wide vocabulary of mind and body fitness informs my journalism these days. 

After all there is no competition, there is only one you. 

These blurred lines actually helped us to carve a much deeper profound connection in just one quick meeting.

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