MENTAL HEALTH: BE YOUR OWN THERAPIST

self care isn t selfish signage

With mental health problems continuing to soar in these anxious times and access to NHS services severely restricted it is not time to give up ! Do not disappear further down a deep dark hole if you feel there is no outside help, it is time to help yourself. Let us do this together.

Here are some helpful points to give yourself a therapy session. After all no one knows you better than you know yourself The worst thing you can do is nothing at all while you are on the waiting list for professional help and who knows by time you have practised this list you may decide you no longer need professional therapy.

The following methods have helped many of my clients with their mental health who have sought my help in my capacity of a professional Sound Healing Therapist and have certainly helped myself too. It is very important to examine your own mental health regularly as you would examine say your breasts for lumps.

So here are the 5 rules:

RULE ONE

What do you need when you find yourself in a difficult period ? Most people at this time will NOT feel like going out to clubs and socialising but you may feel like walking your dog in the countryside or curling up on the sofa with a great movie. So identify what YOU need to feel better and allow yourself the time to do WHATEVER COMFORTS YOU .

RULE TWO

Define the situation. Write it down. relationships, money, friends or general lethargy. Be brutally honest with yourself . Are you part of the problem? Self examination is a great tool. But if you are really finding this difficult or this does not fit with your personality type then enlist the help of a friend to talk it through with, but ask them to be honest and open too. The method of self examination works for many but it depends on the type of person you are.

There is a danger of thinking none of this is your fault otherwise then you cannot effect change.

RULE THREE

Analyse the situation. How it happened ? Why it happened ? When did you start feeling this way ? What prompted this feeling? Again write it down.

RULE FOUR

How can you make this better ? What do YOU want ? Step outside of yourself and look in as an outsider. De personalise for a moment.

What would you tell your Son/Daughter/best friend if they were in the same situation ?

Visualise how you would like to feel. Dream how you would like to be. Write down your goals to achieving this.

RULE FIVE

TALK. To someone. Anyone. This does not have to be a trained therapist. Do not bottle things up. Sometimes just releasing pent up feelings can see a marked improvement in mood.

It is time to take control before it gets out of control.

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP:If it is a situation that is causing poor mental health just remember what looks bleak one day to remember there are good times ahead you just never know what is around the corner . Anticipate the good times. Think of a relationship break up you think your world has ended and you will never meet someone like them but the next one is ALWAYS better than the last one. How many of us can relate to that ??

MWAH MWAH

JOJO XXXXXXX

LIFESTYLE: HOW TO STIMULATE YOUR VAGUS NERVE

………….VIVA LOST VAGUS !!!

OK guys lets get the jokes out of the way. Vagus diametrically opposed to ‘Vegas” this is not a wild, partying drinking exercise but a calming, peaceful experience.

I first learned about the Vagus Nerve and the Thymus gland (fed by the VN) many years ago during my training to become a Sound Healing Practioner. The benefits of stimulating this nerve and gland are so great I thought i would share them with you today.

professional massage therapist treating a female patient s injured neck

WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE

The Vagus nerve is the longest of all cranial nerves. It travels from the brain through the trachea, larynx, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas and intestines.

BENEFITS OF STIMULATING THE VAGUS NERVE

Bearing in mind all the organs this nerve passes through the benefits to both your body and your mind can be huge. There is a direct link to mental health such as depression and anxiety. Coping with the effects of stress on the body by calming the heart rate and emotions. Inflammation in the organs. Responsible for making white blood cells therefore boosting immunity. Aids digestion as the nerve is supplying the digestive tract right down into the intestines. The health of this nerve therefore is important to the body holistically.

HOW TO STIMULATE THE VAGUS NERVE

MASSAGE

  1. To calm your anxiety immediately we can use the branch of the vagus nerve in the ear and neck. There are many nerve endings in this area stemming from the vagus nerve. So gently pull on each ear in turn. Massage gently behind the ear in front of the hairline and then in front of the ear. The massage should be light and sensory not full acupressure. When in front of the ear bring the middle finger and fore finger in a straight line down the side of each neck. You will find this action very calming and great for anxiety.

SINGING AND CHANTING

As the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal chords and throat this is a great way to stimulate them and reap all of the aforementioned benefits. Of course belting out Motorhead or heavy metal songs will not have the same effect as gentle music and gentle chants too. As you are probably aware chanting is normally deep in the throat try OHHHHHHH, AHHHHHHHH, EEEEEEEEEH. Humming is also good . Hum every morning when you are in the shower to wake that Vagus Nerve up.

BREATHING

Just rhythmic breathing from the abdomen can really help but combining this with Ujjai breathing is really powerful. If you practise yoga you will be familiar with this style of breathing, throat breathing. Vibrating a sound as you breathe out deep in the back of the throat.

YOGA

Holding poses, breathing, twisting, chanting relaxation. Doing a daily yoga practice can maintain a healthy vagus nerve and keep it at an optimum level.

THE THYMUS GLAND

This gland is located in the centre of your chest just behind the breastbone and directly connected to the vagus nerve. Leading Psychotherapists state that the Thymus Gland “controls the life energy of the body”. Tapping on the Thymus is a simple technique you can use anytime if you want to strengthen your immune system.

a woman putting a worded statement on her chest

The tapping should be heavy enough to make a drumming sound in your chest. Tap in an anti clockwise direction for about 30 seconds. breathe naturally as you do this. The vibration caused by the tapping stimulates the gland and the vagus nerve it is attached to, massaging the heart, lungs and bronchial tubes and draws blood and energy to nourish the thymus.

The thymus tap is also good for jet lag. Tap every hour while travelling to reset your body clock.

So this extra long nerve and this little gland are incredibly powerful and by giving them a little extra attention and some love and care you will reap some amazing rewards.

MWAH MWAH

JOJO xxxxxx

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: As a Sound and Vibration expert never underestimate the power of vibration on the body. Remember 60% of the body is water. Vibration helps to clear the channels and pools of stagnation within the body. .Think of it like a flowing mountain stream with clear fresh water and eliminating those muddy little pools. These exercises contained in these articles will help you to connect with your body and get to know it better.

COVID CURES : 10 REASONS TO BE POSITIVE POST LOCKDOWNS

This post is dedicated to my best friend Dinx who suggested this article. Thank you for bringing positivity into my life on a daily basis x

The curse of Covid continues to live amongst us and is undeniably having a growing effect on health and finances but let us try to look at the positive effects this has had on us as individuals and globally. You subscribe to this blog because you subscribe to positivity so it is my task to find joy and purpose in life on a daily basis.

So lets focus on some positive points as after all we are going to have to live with this virus on a permanent basis. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 is still with us today mutated into our regular Influenza.

10 POST COVID CURES

  • Time to press the pause button. A period of reflection and thinking. Press the reset button. What a luxury rarely afforded to ourselves.
  • Decluttering the home in a mindful steady way. Bit by bit room by room . Developing a charity pile to take to donate to starved charities in this time. We also have learned to live without so much excess and from speaking to you all your needs have been differentiated from your wants.
female shopaholic with laptop shopping online in messy living room
  • Discovering new ways of working. Ways that work for you. Creating lovely office spaces at home. It is great if you have now been given options to combine the two. Many new jobs have been created for homeworkers helping stay at home Mother/Fathers. People have found new outlets for untapped creativity e.g writing books, TikTok, fashion design, Pet youtube videos.
  • Cooking healthy nutritious meals from scratch and more importantly eating them. No need for fast food now ! A skill that hopefully stayed with you when we returned to normal. You will never return to junk food once you have been eating so healthily and realise it takes less time to put a healthy meal together than to order a takeaway.
  • Catching up on movies you have been meaning to watch for years. Even live theatre streaming on YouTube channel The Show Must Go On a front row seat that you may not have had the time or money for pre lockdown.
  • Nature appreciation. Long walks in the Countryside. Noticing colours, smells and the visual stimuli for the first time in many cases. A time to build up an exercise regime that you enjoy and to continue an appreciation of the beautiful Country we live in that we may only have noticed the first time during lockdown.
person wearing yellow jacket walking in forest
  • Less pollution on the roads. A chance to reset globally. It took a surprisingly short period to improve air quality substantially globally proving a massive health benefit for many. Although the current rail strikes have not helped the situation. But what was apparent there were much more car sharing happening more thought and planning had gone into our daily commute. The challenge is to use this time to maintain the low levels by reassessing working practices. I personally can notice a difference in the air quality in Central London even today compared to pre lockdown.
  • Appreciate friends and family more. Spending more time together, talking , playing board games, eating together. I know this has exposed some weaknesses in relationships but this provides a chance to air grievances. Or indeed walk away, it is a true test of a relationship tif you enjoying staying in with someone as opposed to going out with them.
  • Restaurants are much more enjoyable now with more appreciation for more distancing between tables. A direct result from the socially distanced covid requirements. Less people less noise and no one sitting right next to us listening into(and sometimes joining in) conversations makes the whole experience infinitely more enjoyable. I am sure as Customers we will become increasingly demanding on this and not put up with being squashed into tight spaces. I have been campaigning for years to put more space between tables in restaurants as I don’t particularly want people I have not invited to join me for lunch. I consistently ask to be redirected to a table with more space and now I don’t have to ! Loving this point.
interior design of a glass wall restaurant
  • Stimulating my mind with the huge growth of on line courses. Art,wine,photography, piano ,poker, just a few ways I have found to educate myself further.
  • Helping the planet by buying less clothing . No more fast fashion fixes. After all there is nowhere to go ! It does reassess your values and you probably found pieces lurking at the back of the closet when you were doing all that cluttering !

You I am sure noticed that there are in fact 11 post Covid Cures and not 10 , testament to my positivity. In fact I could think of several more. Why not try writing your own list.

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: New routines take 21 days to become a habit and a consistent part of our new normal. We have had a good deal longer than 21 days so get going Stylistas !

MWAH MWAH

JOJO XXXXXXXXX

HOW TO HAVE MANNERS !

PEOPLE ALWAYS POINT OUT HOW IMPECCABLE MY MANNERS ARE. THIS IS PROBABLY AS IT IS A DYING ART , WHEN I AM OUT IN THE BIG WIDE WORLD I FEEL AS THOUGH I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO STILL CARE ABOUT MANNERS.

NOW I AM NOT EVEN POINTING THE FINGER AT THE YOUNGER GENERATION AS THEIR MANNERS SEEM TO BE FAR BETTER THAN THE OLDER GENERATION. WE JUST SEEM TO HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO CONSIDER OTHER PEOPLE. POST COVID EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE ANGRY AT EACH OTHER, STRANGERS AND THOSE WE HAVE BEEN LOCKED UP WITH !

2022 IS THE YEAR TO REDISCOVER YOUR MANNERS. LETS WAKE THEM UP GENTLY WITH A FEW SUGGESTIONS;

  • DRIVING. THE NUMBER ONE SOURCE OF ALL BAD MANNERS. DISPLAY COURTESY AT ALL TIMES TO OTHER ROAD USERS. LET PEOPLE IN FRONT, AND FLASH YOUR LIGHTS OR GESTURE A THANK YOU WHEN MOTORISTS DO THE SAME FOR YOU. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE AND INCUR THE WRATH OF OTHER ROAD USERS HOLD YOUR HAND UP AND SAY SORRY. THERE IS NO POINT IN GETTING INTO ROWS AND ESCALATING A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. LET IT GO ! IT IS NOT A COMPETITION. ON A SEPARATE NOTE NEVER TAILGATE SOMEONE AND DONT COAST IN THE MIDDLE LANE !!!!!!
  • PUNCTUALITY. YOUR TIME IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHERS SO DONT STEAL THEIRS. I LUNCH WITH A REGULAR FRIEND (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) 3 TIMES IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS SHE HAS ARRANGED A DENTAL, A WAX, AND A MASSAGE APPOINTMENT AT THE SAME TIME AS OUR LUNCH APPOINTMENT TO ALLOW HER TO BE AN HOUR LATE EACH TIME !!! DONT LET THIS BE YOU. UNBELIEVABLY RUDE AND I AM CURRENTLY CONSIDERING MY POSITION. IM NEVER LATE FOR AN APPOINTMENT AND I RECOGNISE SOMETIMES IT IS UNAVOIDABLE BUT IF IT IS JUST SLOPPY AND INCONSIDERATE TIMING WITH NO APOLOGETIC MESSAGE ON YOUR PART THEN IM GONE BY THE TIME THEY GET THERE.
  • CANCELLATIONS IF YOU HAVE MADE A PRIOR ENGAGEMENT AND ALL CHECKED YOUR DIARIES AND CONFIRMED. DO NOT CANCEL LESS THAN 48 HRS BEFORE, BECAUSE YOU GOT A BETTER OFFER. OTHER PEOPLE HAVE ARRANGED THEIR LIFE AND TURNED DOWN OTHER INVITATIONS /WORK TO BE THERE FOR YOU. HONOUR IT. I HAVE STILL MADE A CONFIRMED ENGAGEMENT AFTER UNEXPECTED MAJOR SURGERY BECAUSE I GENUINELY VALUE OTHER PEOPLES TIME AS MUCH AS MY OWN.
  • ACCEPT INVITATIONS PROMPTLY. IF YOU ARE LUCKY TO RECEIVE AN INVITATION FOR YOUR COMPANY REPLY WITHIN 48 HOURS DONT KEEP THEM WAITING. STICK TO IT (SEE ABOVE)
  • RESPECT SERVICE STAFF. MANY PEOPLE TODAY TREAT WAITERS,SHOP STAFF,SWITCHBOARD STAFF INVISIBLY. IF THEY ARE WEARING NAME BADGES OR HAVE TOLD YOU THEIR NAME, USE IT. REMEMBER YOUR PLEASE AND THANK YOUS. THEY ARE HUMAN TOO AND WE ALL WANT THE SAME BASIC THINGS IN LIFE. JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE SERVING YOU IT DOES NOT MAKE THEM LESSER THAN YOU. LETS MAKE THEIR JOBS EASIER AND MAKE THEIR DAY PLEASANT TOO. (UNLESS OF COURSE THE SERVICE IS BAD)
  • MOBILE PHONES, PUT IT AWAY. PLEASE DONT SIT OPPOSITE ME TEXTING MIDST CONVERSATION. ENJOY SOME HUMAN INTERACTION. EVEN WORSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT WALK DOWN A STREET TEXTING AND BUMPING INTO YOU AND WALKING IN FRONT OF CARS ( NOW IM BOILING OVER!!) IF THIS IS YOU PLEASE STOP ! TODAY! LIVE IN THE PRESENT. ENGAGE WITH THE WORLD #LOOKUP I ALSO DONT WANT TO LISTEN TO YOUR PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS IN PUBLIC PLACES. TALK QUIETLY OR LEAVE THE AREA.
  • RESPECT YOUR NEIGHBOURS. MOST OF US HAVE NEIGHBOURS AND WE ALL WANT A HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT TO LIVE IN. SO KEEP THE NOISE TO A MINIMUM WHETHER ITS MUSIC, CHILDREN, DOGS OR ARGUING WITH A PARTNER. SO SHOW RESPECT TO OTHER PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE SHARING AN AREA WITH. ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR NEIGHBOURS SMILE,WAVE,SAY HELLO. OTHER THAN THAT KEEP THEM AT ARMS LENGTH DISPUTES AND ARGUMENTS WITH NEIGHBOURS CAN ESCALATE QUICKLY AND CAN RUIN YOUR HOME LIFE.
  • KEEP YOUR PRIVATE HABITS PRIVATE. WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR OWN HOME IS YOUR BUSINESS BUT DONT BE SURPRISED IF OTHER PEOPLE GET UPSET WHEN YOU BRING UNACCEPTABLE HABITS INTO THE PUBLIC ARENA. ADAPT YOUR BEHAVIOUR TO SUIT THE SITUATION AND HOPEFULLY WE CAN ALL LIVE IN HARMONY.
  • FINAL NOTE…….. WHEN OFFENDED BY BAD MANNERS KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS RATHER THAN OFFENDING WHILE POINTNG OUT THEIR INCREDIBLY SELFISH SELF ABSORBED WORLD OF INCONSIDERATION.

IT WOULD BE LOVELY TO LIVE IN A WORLD OF POLITENESS AND CONSIDERATION TO OTHERS AND AVOIDING POTENTIAL CONFRONTATIONS. I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MANNERS SO LET US WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE OUR SPACE A HAPPIER PLACE TO LIVE IN.

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: MANNERS COST NOTHING , TAKE NO TIME AND NO EFFORT SO LETS GET PRACTISING !

MWAH MWAH

JOJO XXXXXX

HEALTH: CHRISTMAS MOCKTAILS

Christmas is a time when we go into overdrive on our alcohol consumption. The run up to Christmas with an incredibly busy social scene right up until the day when we start on the Bucks Fizz at breakfast time …….then just continue.

If you are cutting out alcohol for any reason or if you just want to cut down do not let it spoil your Christmas. Especially if you are cooking the lunch !!! You can still join in and feel very naughty with three of my favourite non alcoholic Christmas cocktails. I don’t think anyone of us wants to feel inebriated on Christmas day ( well maybe there is a few of you !!) but even if you are having the mulled wine, the egg nog, the champagne and the wine it maybe a good idea to intersperse the alcohol for you and your guests with one of these. Also good for the children (well, it IS christmas )

Mulled ‘Cider’

  • 1 glass of apple juice
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • star anise
  • orange zest
  • teaspoon of agave syrup

METHOD

Simmer gently all ingredients. Strain. Serve with a cinnamon stick.

Mulled ‘Cider’

APPLE SPARKLE

  • 1 glass of cloudy apple juice
  • A tot of elderflower cordial
  • Mint
  • Sparkling water
  • Gold leaf for sprinkle and sparkle

METHOD

Half fill a glass with cloudy apple juice . Add a tot of elderflower cordial. Top up with sparkling water. Lots of crushed ice. Mix well with a mixing spoon. garnish with a sprig of mint and sprinkle with gold leaf.

Apple Sparkle

RASPBERRY ‘NOJITO’

  • Raspberries fresh or frozen
  • mint
  • coconut sugar
  • lime juice
  • sparkling water

METHOD

Muddle the raspberries, mint and sugar and lime juice. Top up with sparkling water.

Raspberry Nohito

As you can see all very simple and quicker to make then normal cocktails so time saving too. The raspberry mojito can be whizzed up and pureed in a blender and served in a martini glass as a fake cosmopolitan. It all depends what you normally drink so change the glass to suit your mood.

JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: THIS ADVICE IS NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS BUT FOR LIFE…..FOR EVERY ALCOHOLIC DRINK HAVE A NON ALCOHOLIC DRINK. MY ‘GO TO’ IS ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL AND SODA SERVED IN A CHAMPAGNE GLASS. SO YOU DONT APPEAR TO BE A PARTY POOPER AND PEOPLE DONT FORCE YOU TO EXCEED YOUR LIMITS. ADDED BONUS OF SAVING CALORIES TOO !!!

HAVE A MERRY (BUT NOT TOO MERRY) CHRISTMAS !

JOJO XXXXXXXX

EXERCISE : BEFORE GETTING OUT OF BED

Gentle stretching exercises before getting out of bed in the morning particularly as you get older to warm up the muscles is imperative. It takes just 5 minutes and the benefits will far outweigh an extra 5 minute sleep. You can actually feel the tiredness being squeezed out of the muscles after being sedentary for so long. At any age you should be doing the Bed Stretch 6. Six exercises holding for 6 seconds on each side.

I promise you that you will move with grace and style as you glide through the day. The mornings you choose to do these exercises you will see a difference in posture and movement instead of leaping out with gusto after not moving for hours.

I have done a video post rather than try to explain in words. You can copy to your phone but in no time this will become second nature and hopefully part of your routine. Try it !! Jojo xxxxx

OTHERHOOD:COPING WITH EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

Following the NETFLIX release of the much talked about film OTHERHOOD last weekend it prompted an emotional response. It deals with the trauma of three mothers and their distancing relationship with their sons. “Like their are breaking up with you on a gradual basis” was the quote that resonated with me.

Catch it on Netflix Now

As a Mother of a son think it definitely afflicts us more, girls on the whole tend to stay in touch. I am also a single Mother since my son was two so we had an extremely deep bond. Any article I have read on this deals with the void left when your teenagers leave for university, the first step. When being a mother changes , you are no longer needed in the same way. Motherhood becomes Otherhood. But often these days your offspring tend to return to the home post graduation.

As in the film though I believe the real isolation you feel from your Son comes in their twenties when they are carving out their own life…..without you. Many readers of my blog (50+) I am sure you will relate to this. My own son went off to University………..in Los Angeles a massive impact on me but now he is living in London and in his twenties I feel MORE distant.

This is a very real syndrome especially when you identify very strongly in your role as a Mother. The feeling can be overwhelming, almost a grieving period. My son was the centre of my life. Our daily time together was over.

Can I just add this can affect Fathers too. Whoever tends to be the primary care giver.

So lets look at some coping mechanisms

  • You have done a great job if your child is showing independence. Remember you primary purpose is to give them wings to fly the nest.
  • Your child will always need your support . Just cheering them on from the sidelines of the playing field of life. When they score the goals AND when they drop the ball. Let them know you are still their root.
  • DONT stalk them on social media.
  • Refrain from calling them everyday but DO still call regularly. They won’t call you. Don’t expect an instant reply to your text. I used to get upset if he did not reply within……3 minutes ! This is normal. You are no longer the centre of their world. Accept this.
  • Embrace your liberation. Write a ‘pleasure list’ of things that bring you happiness and do a daily pleasure. Its all about you ! Less time spent cooking, shopping, washing and ironing more time for you !!
  • Cultivate new friends and interests. These tend to be linked. Art galleries, a luxury brunch, long lazy lunches ( no school run ).
  • Update your image. Employ the help of a local stylist. New haircut. Clear out that cosmetic purse. Closet cleanse. Ready for this new chapter in your life.
  • Many marriages can fail at this time if your main focus was your children. Plan some together time. Reconnect. Travel. Date nights. Dancing classes. Beautiful lingerie.
  • Equally I personally have scheduled a lunch date with my Son fortnightly we take it in turns to choose a venue and to pay ! It really is a great catch up. We appreciate each other more as we no longer live in each other pockets.
  • Finally even though you feel as though you have been dumped do not express this and put pressure on them to treat you better will isolate them even further. This is a perfectly natural process in their twenties. It changes as they mature. they will be back.

Anyone going through this right now or your child is going off to University next month I would recommend you to watch the film, enjoy it and recognise we are all in the same boat with our sons (maybe some daughters too).Take the humorous route. Accept they are developing new relationships and you are no longer their main focus. they are on their own personal Journey and once they have been through the process of discovery they will return and will probably assume the parenting role over you.

JOJOS STYLE LIST TIP : FILL YOUR LIFE WITH JOY AND FREEDOM

JOJO XXXXX

Still hanging out…….. just not as much

MY PLEDGE

Hi to all my fabulous and fifty + friends. These days being fifty has a whole new look think Elle, J-Lo,Halle. They look super stylish and lead an equally super stylish life surrounded by beauty. You can live like this too and I hope to take you on a style journey with my blog. Not a destination, a continuing evolvement. If you are not going to embrace a life of style now….then when? So I am looking forward to getting to know you all welcome to our club.