Now we are into December,  I thought I would write about something that is not often talked about, or if it is, we might open ourselves to being targeted by others with words like Scrooge. That’s right.. what does it really mean if we dislike the winter holiday season?

Do we always have to be happy at holiday time? For some of us it can sound like an instruction, even a rule.  

It seems that we may feel we have to be quiet or whisper about our discomfort with the whole event. That our true feelings would not be accepted by others, or that we might ‘bring them down’.  However, for some people it really is a horrible time of the year, a time that reminds them of loss, grief, loneliness, of all the things they might desire but do not have. A time of rush and anxiety and panic and bustle and noise. Perhaps in that desire to fit in or maybe just to be liked, we can spend money on gifts that we can’t really afford so ending the year in debt.

It can feel like a time of pretence. Perhaps we feel it most at the office party, putting on a smile and having  drinks with colleagues we don’t really like.  Or spending a lot of time with relatives who after a sherry or two start to relate to us in ways which damage our sense of wellbeing and worth and yet we are meant to carry on and smile through it. To deny the impact that it has on us. It’s the season to be jolly after all.  If we try to go along with it and fake it, then sooner or later it will take its toll – it is exhausting to wear a mask all the time! It is little wonder the body collapses under the stress of it all and we end up a reduced immune system and colds/flu etc.

For people who have an alcohol dependence or addiction, it can be a really difficult time of year, temptation everywhere, the supermarkets at every turn have endless offers of alcohol of every description. And we can risk of  being labelled the party pooper by friends and family because we won’t join in the ‘fun’ and choose to stay sober and protect our recovery.

So if for any reason this season isn’t jolly for you, try to find calm and relaxing activities that you enjoy. Find and claim some time away from the chaos of it all. It isn’t selfish to take some time for you and listen to your needs. And like all things, it shall soon pass and it will be time to welcome in a new year, a fresh start and new beginnings.

If you are finding the holiday season too much to bear, a counsellor can help you off load, help you to identify ways to manage the stress and will accept unconditionally how you really feel so that you can lower the mask and be seen. It can also help you find the resilience to cope through the next few weeks.

So to answer my initial question about what it means about us if we don’t like the winter holiday period? Well it  certainly doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you and you are not Scrooge (unless you choose to be). It is a genuine and authentic response. Warm wishes x

Autumn leaves

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I saw a post on Facebook recently which said something like ‘thank the autumn leaves for showing us how to let go..’

This really touched me so I thought I’d use this blog to explore this a little further. Letting go can be really tricky as there is often at least one reason why we tell ourselves that we need to hang onto something (or someone). And we can tell ourselves that if we let go..we might never get that thing or person back. We tell ourselves that it will be final. Which may or not be true yet it can seem very scary to us.  What may be more important  is if we ask ourselves ‘does this benefit me anymore?’ or ‘how much does this benefit me anymore?’ as life is rarely linear or straightforward, there may well be positives as well as negatives about the thing or person we are considering letting go of. It may be worth considering  ‘What do I gain by holding onto this?’ and leading on from this ‘what might I gain if I free up some space for something or someone else?’

As a constantly growing and evolving human being, what is good for us and what works for us is not static, it changes as we do throughout our life stages, which is why looking at what and who we have around us and what we do is something we can choose to be curious about and question. Does this job/hobby/activity give me what I need as I am now? And if not, what would it be like for me to let it go? Is it possible to let it go, is it a responsibility or is it something I need to keep for now but with a view to move on when I can. It is all very well to ditch a job that we hate but we need to plan what is going to replace it and consider our financial and security needs first. We all have autonomy to a certain degree, but there are limits in life that we might need to accept.

However, if we can let it go…what is stopping us? What is the resistance and what thoughts and feelings does it tap within us. How resistant to change and the uncertain are we? What does spontaneity and risk really mean to you? Does it feel like a threat to our status quo and/or do we feel fear? What would it be like to take a risk and let go of something that doesn’t feel right anymore and make changes which might enable us to feel happier? Just like the Autumn leaves that leave the tree that has sustained them, they detach and float away. How about you…is it time to let go?

A counsellor can help you consider and explore your feelings about change, resistance to change and taking risks/making positive changes. Greater self awareness of what you really want awaits..

This hot summer…

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How are you doing?

It certainly has been a hot summer so far and changes such as weather conditions can have an effect on our mood and energy levels. What emotional, physical or spiritual changes have you picked up upon, that you have been experiencing, since the weather has been unusually hot? Perhaps you have had trouble sleeping in this weather and this has left you feeling drained, tired and maybe irritable.

Noticing differences between ourselves and the image of summer that is portrayed in the media of happy smiley people at the beach eating ice lollies, we can start to compare ourselves and despair. Why don’t I feel/or look like that? Which can lead to the even worse negative thought of ‘What is wrong with me?’ It is important to hold onto a realistic view of ourselves, and make time to notice our positive attributes.  If, like the majority of people, our life does not revolve around bikini wearing days in the sun, but perhaps instead long days at work and hot sticky journeys home on public transport, then it is important to hold these differences in perspective and acknowledge that life can be challenging but our resilience to this is where our power can lay. Perhaps building into our day, every day, at least one thing that brings us joy can be useful in enabling us to keep our mood out of the low zone.

Maybe, you haven’t been able to exercise as much in the heat as you would have liked to. If exercise is one of the ways you use to ‘feel good’ than this can be a frustrating time and negatively effect our mood  Perhaps, like me, much of your exercise comes about by walking the dog and in this heat that has had to be curtailed. If getting outside for fresh air is important to your mental wellbeing, it may be an idea to find time for a 10/15 minute stroll in the evening, even if all you feel capable of is sitting in front of a fan drinking a cool drink. And talking of drinks, hot weather can easily lead to over consumption of alcoholic drinks. That extra trip or two to the beer garden, or that BBQ where the ice cold beer and/or prosecco flows can be lots of fun, but overdo it and it can lead to dehydration and a much worse hangover than normal..and if you add to this a heightened state of irritability caused by disrupted sleep then this could lead to difficulties in how we manage ourselves, our work and our personal relationships. Re-hydrating ourselves with water can be great self care and make us feel more alert and alive.

Perhaps you have been loving this hot sunny weather, it boosts your mood and you don’t want it to end. Your vitamin D levels are all topped up and you feel raring to go. I’m happy for you and do cherish all those gorgeous memories made in the sun!

For those who wish the hot summer to end, remember that it is a temporary state and it will change. Before you know it, those cosy cardigans with be coming out of your wardrobe and Christmas jingles will be playing in the shops. And then there is the snow.. sometimes we do have to be careful what we wish for!

Wishing you all well this week, Sue x






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How are you at making decisions? What does the word decision mean to you? What sensations does it create (do you feel) in your body when you think of making a decision, particularly if it is going to involve making changes in your life. Does the idea of change create unease, or resistance or excitement? Or even all these feelings at once. Little wonder it can feel overwhelming at times.

Questioning our decision making ability is something that can be very common, as humans seeking connection with others, we can want to feel ‘significant others’ value our choices. For me also, I want to make decisions that are sound and thought through and based on all the information and experience I have at hand at this moment in my life. But I, like everyone else I know, do not possess a ‘magic ball’ that can predict whether my decision will be the best choice/right/most productive in the future. Essentially many decisions are based on a punt/a risk/a gut instinct yet I will have to take ownership if it doesn’t go to plan and leads to disappointment. It seems understandable that it can seem paralysing and create a climate for  procrastination. And in a fast moving world, it is often not the case that there is the time for deep reflection, sometimes being asked for an instant decision can seem very stressful indeed.

The missing ingredient to being able to make decision making less painful  is often self compassion. Can I accept that I can only make a decision based on the information I have (or have gathered), my learnt experiences, my own felt sense of the situation and what my gut instinct is telling me. To accept that an element of risk is always present and that I cannot 100% predict nor control the outcome. Then I can make a decision knowing,  whether it goes well or not, that I have done all I can with the resources that I have available to me and that is all I can do as a human being. Thus setting myself up to be kind and forgiving to myself if the outcome is less than I would have wanted.

Making decisions can lead to positive changes in our lives and can be an exciting experience. Whilst taking a risk can feel incredibly difficult at times,  to duck important decisions or to avoid change (at all costs) in order to avoid disappointment/failure or disapproval from others, can be stifling for our growth and potential.

Go well this week, Sue

First blog

I am feeling excited but a little nervous about writing my first ever blog.  I  wanted to write this to talk about why I chose ‘space for you’ as the name for my counselling services. For me, a part of the process of starting counselling is about agreeing to take some time for you, to find some space for you. I know that I have struggled to always do this in the past, and some of my clients often tell me that they find it difficult to believe that they deserve time for themselves, that they are worthy of having a space where they can be themselves and explore what is important to them. For me, being able to offer my clients this non judgemental space where they are valued for being who they are is why I love doing what I do. So ‘space for you’ seemed the obvious choice. Wishing you all well, Sue