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jane@janekeogh.co.uk ~ 07813 847205
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It seems that Christmas is a bit like marmite; you either love it or hate it!

This time of year can be extremely emotive. For many, it presents a roller coaster of emotions; for some, it brings joy and excitement and for others a source of great stress. Managing expectations, yours and those of others, is key to having a happy stress free Christmas.

For some Christmas can evoke strong feelings of loneliness. 

Whilst it's important to acknowledge feelings and emotions, it's important to avoid wallowing. Instead, this is a great time to review your life. On the one hand, look for the positives from this year, and then and look at changes that you can implement to make the coming year much better.

What can you change in you that will make a difference to your perspective? Set positive intentions for each quarter of the new year, refrain from getting caught up in the how - ie how those things will become a reality, this can become the obstacle to achieving your goals/outcome. Taking some positive action will automatically lift your spirits.

If a loved one has died, there is no doubt that Christmas is a challenge. It's important not to ignore how you feel, especially if the bereavement is fairly recent. Putting yourself under more pressure to create an uplifting experience can do just the opposite. Changing Christmas traditions can help, whilst still keeping the memory of whoever has died alive by sharing stories, photo albums, videos, and memories.

Christmas can be challenging and awkward if there are family tensions - it's best to manage these situations ahead of time, keep people apart that may escalate into unpleasant fallouts. Take the pressure off and allow older children/ to make the right choices for them in terms of where they spend Christmas. Remember it's only two days and that people's behaviour is a reflection of some deep-seated emotional turmoil. It helps put things in perspective. Alcohol can also strip people of any inhibitions.

If you love to have big gatherings, great but rather than stressing over everything that you have to do, ask for help. Ask guests and family members to participate by bringing something to the table and share costs. Financial pressures create angst and spoil family gatherings. Set a budget, it helps everyone, and agree on a maximum spend. If you have no idea what to buy for someone, ask, it's a lot better than getting them a present they won't appreciate.

I hate the commerciality of Christmas. It starts at the beginning of September and by December reaches a crescendo, where many are fed up with it and it hasn't even happened yet. We once attended a Thanksgiving dinner in Maryland, US, and it was such an amazing day. No presents, just food, and wine on the table, and a group of people around the table that cared about one another, sharing stories, laughter and creating new memories.

Whatever your view on the Christmas season, remember you have choices. 

And it is just two days out of 365!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.

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New beginings

Think about where you were this time last year. Can you remember all the things that worried you so much at the time, that no longer consume your mind, energy and time?

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emotional resilience

An unexpected knock on the door one night haunted me for many years to come. It came out of nowhere, no preparation, no warning. At the door were two police officers, one male and one female. They were sombre, their eyes ill concealing their own apprehension. Words cannot express the wave of foreboding that bubbled up within me - this was NOT good.

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Freedom

A courageous person reached out on LinkedIn in a post last week. They said they were struggling and they were afraid of the effects it was having on other areas of their life including their business.

I was impressed; it shows emotional competence to expose vulnerability in public. There was a reasonable response to the post and I read the replies with interest and renewed faith in human nature. And then I came across one response which turned me cold. I am fairly sure it was well intended but it was a conditioned (learnt) response. And it went along the following lines: You should 'man-up'.

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acknowledge

Think about where you were this time last year. Can you remember all the things that worried you so much at the time, that no longer consume your mind, energy and time?

The stress of what this year would be like; the relationship that was unhealthy; the unexpected challenges and problems that arose; the frustrations; the highs and the lows; the things you never thought you would accomplish but did.

All those things that are worth being grateful for; all the lessons, the growth, the pain, the joy, the highs and the lows, all reminders that after everything that happens in life, that you are going to be ok and that to date you have survived 100% of your worst times.

If you would like to have a chat to discuss how I can help you build true emotional resilience, get in touch.

 

 

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STORM

Symptoms of stress are most likely affecting your health, even though you might not realise it. You probably blame something else for that nagging headache, your reoccurring insomnia and/or your decreased productivity at work. But the reality is that stress is likely the culprit.

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happy old man 156731

What is Happiness?

The better question would be what is your definition of happiness? It’s clear that it can have a different meaning for each of us. There is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to what makes us happy. Research indicates that a happy person is someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, and infrequently (though not absent), negative emotions. Happiness is also related to life satisfaction.

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Can do

Have you ever met someone who is always positive, and a joy to be around – someone with tons of energy, and who can see the positive in everything? They are seemingly always ready to take on any challenge and nothing is insurmountable. They have answers for seemingly difficult problems and do not seem to get phased by anything.

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healthy mind

What kind of information do you like to fill your mind with? Do you find yourself constantly reading the tabloids, or social media, only to find there is a horrific story that upsets you? Or perhaps you get caught up in other people’s opinions and conversations and find yourself agreeing to things that you actually don’t agree with!

Did you know that you are heavily influenced by the people you surround yourself with on a regular basis? In fact, you pick up on behaviour, mannerisms, opinions, beliefs and a ton of other information that your brain unconsciously absorbs, which can have a huge impact on your own behaviour.

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May 2018

I wondered what I could do to make a difference and contribute to the World. There are so many horror stories about the state the planet is in and feeling helpless (in my own experience) achieves absolutely nothing.

I wondered what impact I might make, would it be significant enough? What if significant was a simple gesture, a step, an action, an act of kindness, a donation of time or money?

I knew I was drawn to a bigger purpose and that it would continue to nag away at me until I did something about it. 

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It's time to step up and take a reality check.

If you perceive your life to be s**t and you are fed up with it being s**t, then it's time to stop blaming everyone and everything for what's wrong. Take responsibility for yourself. To quote Ghandi: Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

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The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship of all.

When we realise that the relationship that we’ve been having with ourselves is toxic, we become aware that many of our relationships with other people are mirrored and take on similar patterns. You cannot have a healthy relationship with anyone whilst you harbour a toxic relationship with self.

The belief that you are good enough isn’t something that anyone can give you. It starts by becoming aware of the problem - developing self-awareness. Then we can observe and reframe the relationship by changing our thoughts and behaviour. 

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I made the choice in December 2016 that I was going to make 2017 a very different year. I have never been so ready to embrace change and knew that nothing would deter me from my objective. I was going to take my tool box and use the tools in a new way. Instead of reaching for them when I needed them, I was going to use them to prevent feeling stress and burnout.

There were also some other tweaks that I had been thinking about implementing for a while but never felt brave enough.

I was curious about how life would be if I decided not to drink for 12 months. Truthfully, the very idea scared me, but honestly my relationship with alcohol wasn't as healthy as I liked to think it was. I typically would only drink at weekends unless I was on holiday or there was a special occasion, but from time to time the weekend extended to Thursday nights. I knew deep down that I was using alcohol as a distraction or avoidance tactic. On top of which I didn't like the effect it had on my mental well-being.

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People often ask me how I stay so positive all of the time.

My response is this: I am usually positive, but my positivity levels vary, so I work on myself. When I say that I work at it, I don't mean that I try to be positive, I am naturally positive, always have been, even in the most adverse of circumstances. I think I have always intuitively known that being positive is better for my mental health.

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JANE’S TOP TIPS FOR A CONFIDENCE BOOST

Stop judging yourself
by what happens to your in life, so you're not basing your confidence on outside events.
Forgive yourself
and others for past mistakes. Harbouring old grudges takes up a lot of time and energy which you could be using in more productive ways.
Learn to think differently
When you fall into self-criticism, notice them and change them to positive thoughts.
Set goals/outcomes
on the basis of what you can realistically achieve, and then work step-by-step to develop your potential. Acknowledge small achievements which take you closer to your end outcome.
Emphasise your strengths
Focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot.
Remember
self-confidence and self-esteem are learnt behaviour, and with practice can be built.