The One Where I Share With You My Favourite Ways of Grounding and Re-Finding My Centre After A Counselling Session.
One of the challengers that I find on a weekly basis is managing the ebb and flow and ups of downs of my processing and healing journey, amongst the already hectic and challenging day to day life of living with a toddler. Flashbacks, Images, feelings and sensations from the past come to the surface, often without any pre-warning, knocking me off centre within seconds and thrusting me into a totally disoriented and disconnected state of mental and emotional turmoil. In those moments, re-experiencing the old pain, the hurt, the memories and trauma, can be so deeply felt in my body and mind, that to me in those moments, it can feel like the past is happening all over again.
In particular, I can find the days when I have a counselling session quite challenging. That old pain and trauma gets stirred up, brought to the surface and felt even more, often on a much deeper level, within a session. For me, it can feel, at times, like the deeper I go into my healing journey, the more challenging the sessions can be.
What I can find challenging after a difficult session is having to step straight out of that, not only intense but also safe, protected and held space of processing, and immediately back into my demanding and often relentless role as a mother. Whilst I find it helpful in some ways, to have that anchor to ground me back, it can also be quite confusing, stressful, overwhelming, and disorientating in other ways to.
To help me manage the flux, and emotional stress and disorientation, that can arise from a session and help me ground back, not only into the present moment but also into my body and the world of a wonderfully active toddler, I have over the past few months put in place some tools and practices to help me ground and balance after my sessions.
So in today’s blog I’d like to share with you some of my favourite self care practices that I use each week to help me ground and recenter after my counselling sessions.
QI-GONG AND ENERGY WORK
The first thing I do when I step in the door after a session is do some Qi-Gong or energy work. I love Donna Eden’s 5 minute energy routine. It is such an easy and effective routine that helps me almost instantaneously start to ground back into my body and feel my adult self again.
I speak about this routine a lot on my blog because it is so effective and so easy to do. So I’ve copied the link again for you below, in case you haven’t come across it yet.
Donna Eden’s 5 Minutes Daily Energy Routine
On my counselling days I try to do some form of Qi-Gong or energy work, like Dona’s routine, at least three times a day to help me stay grounded, centred and balanced.
I found over time that once I learnt the exercises, which really are very simple to do, that I could fit them in around my daily schedule, even as a busy mum. They really are so quick and easy to do. Whilst playing on the floor with Naila or sitting in a playgroup even, I have found that I am able to do a few key exercises, such as the Three Thumps and the Wayne Cook, from Dona’s routine, which can be discreetly practised anywhere, and within minutes they help me to feel calmer, balanced, stable and so much more myself again.
Naila has even been watching me over the last few weeks as I have been practising and now she even copies me as I do them. Which is great. Not only does she look so cute doing them but she is also learning on some level the normality of exercises like these. Even though she doesn’t know exactly what they are right now when we come to teach she will already have seen them being practised and started to witness and learn, with an already familiar sense of normality, the importance, not only of these exercises but also of our need to self care. This I hope will help her greatly in life as she navigates her own path in the future.
DRINKING PLENTY OF WATER
Throughout all my years of training to be a holistic practitioner, drinking plenty of water’ has been the main, consistent form of advice that I have received over the years, after any healing work or session.
It is really important to drink plenty of water after a counselling session to help flush the toxins out of the body and to help purify the body and mind. For me it is an essential part of my grounding and self care process.
Drinking water is easy for me as hot water ( neat or with fresh mint or a slice of lemon) is generally all that I drink each day alongside the occasional herbal tea.. But I know that it isn’t always everybody’s so called ‘cup of tea’. So I appreciate that my recommendation of drinking plenty of water may not be something that inspires everybody. If you find that drinking water is well …simply too boring or not for you. Then here are a few tips that might help.
Herbal teas are not only a very popular, healthier alternative to black tea and coffee but they are also great at infusing water with some delicious flavours. There are so many different brands and flavours on the market today. Even in mainstream supermarkets the choice of this healthy alternative has multiplied greatly over the recent years. So you don’t have to have a specialist health store close by to stock up anymore! They are of course all available online to. I am a huge fan of the Pukka and Yogi teas which are so beautifully blended to create mixes suitable for many moods and needs.
My favourite teas are the Pukka Teas – Love Tea, Lemongrass and Ginger and 3 Gingers.
What I love about herbal teas as well is that many of them taste just as good cold as they do hot, so maybe try your favourite ones fresh out of the fridge as an alternative.
You can also flavour water hot or cold with fresh mint, lime, lemon, ginger, cucumber or even basil. The latter two suggestions I’ve haven’t tried yet, I will admit, but I have heard they are nice and refreshing.
Having a pitcher of water in the fridge over night infusing with fresh berries, citrus fruits, pineapples or melon can taste refreshingly yummy the next day to.
Or add a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice.
‘Some like it hot’! The saying goes. And that’s how it is for me when it comes to drinking water. I can only ever really drink water hot. After the temperature falls a certain way it’s not going to work for me any more. If you’ve never tried hot water before, give it a go, you may find it easier to drink than cold water.
A final point I will just add is that tap water, in certain areas of the country can taste pretty rough at times and I think that is why so many people can get put off by it. I don’t recommend bottle water, simply because of the sheer amount of plastic waste that it creates but I do recommend some kind of water filtration system. You don’t need to have a fancy system built into your sink or plumbing system, although that is on my wish list, a simple counter top filter in a jug, such as the ones Britta make are perfectly good enough… And the cartridges (for Britta at least) can be recycled to! We have one for now and find that you can really taste the difference.
I try to make sure that I have plenty of healthy snacks within easy reach for when I find myself needing to snack to keep my energy up. Processing, on top of chasing around after Naila, is energy consuming and exhausting work. So when I come back from a session I like to have a snack and also fill up our snack pack for the morning with lots of healthy options that we can both share. I find having healthy alternatives available means that I am less likely to reach for the more sugar filled snacks that I so often crave. Not only crave, but know from experience, that after the initial sugar rush, they won’t make me feel good at all. If healthy alternatives are not available then I am more likely to grab or biscuit or two…
Salty and sugary foods don’t help my emotions to stabilise or help my body to re-balance with all the toxins flowing through it.
To help me have a continuous supply of healthy snacks at hand I like bulk bake and have lots of options that both Naila and I can share, stocked up in the freezer. Ready to take out of the freezer when I come downstairs in the morning, they can fill the snacks pots and defrost ready in time for our mid morning munchies.
I like to make muffins (mini and large), pancakes and powerballs all of which can be made up in batches and popped in the freezer for when I need them.
I’ve shared some of my favourite recipes below for you to try and enjoy :o).
I also like to make sure that there is always a bag of nuts, some oatcakes and trail mix in the bottom of the pram to, they are great to snack on.
I really try to avoid processed snacks, sweet or savoury, and foods containing refined sugar. That can be tough when times are tough, but I’m finding more and more over the months that my tastes and habits are changing . I am actually now preferring the healthy alternatives and noticing how much better they are helping me to feel.
It’s taken a while, to find nice and easy recipes and to get into the routine of baking. And although it hasn’t always been easy to break the habit of reaching for those bites and snacks, that I have not only loved for years but have turned to for comfort, I’m getting there! And I’m really noticing how much better I feel. Trying out new recipes and new ingredients has been great fun as well as a great way to take care of myself .
I hope you enjoy some recipes from some of my favourite websites:
Sweet Potato Pancakes
These pancakes are so easy to make, although doing it Amy’s way is very time consuming,I find. So I discovered that baking them in the oven instead of frying works for me just as well and is a lot quicker. 12-14 minutes at 190 works for me using a tablespoon of mixture for each pancake. Let me know what you think!
Coconut and Lime Powerballs
There are lots of recipes online for my favourite lime and coconut powerballs but I have chosen to share this one with you. It is so easy and uses just 4 ingredients. I love this website to.
I love powerballs and they are so easy to make. Although the lime and coconut ones, above, rank up top as being my favourite, I also love orange, ginger and chocolate ones to. Its a tough call as to which ones are my favourite really. What I love about powerballs is that once you find a basic recipe that you like, then you can use that as a base and experiment with lots of different flavours. Let me know some of your favourites, if you are a powerball fan to.
I love Amy’s Mini Blender Muffins. They are so quick and easy to do. They taste delicious and are just perfect for a quick snack.
FOCUSSING AND GETTING ON WITH THE DAILY ROUTINE
I’ve found over the months, particularly since having Naila, that it has been really important after a counselling session to get into my daily routine, as soon as possible and focus on the things that need to be done.
There’s nothing like being thrust into the world of a toddler, who wants me to play or for whom I have to make snacks or change dirty nappies, to help me ground and get me back into the present moment.
I find sticking to my plans and going to Naila’s toddler groups or on play dates are not only a great way for me to ground but also an essential part of my selfcare routine. Even if I don’t always feel like it at the time of leaving the house, that hot cup of Camomile tea, or those warm and friendly faces armed with the welcome distraction of mundane conversation that await me at my go-to groups, ALWAYS make it worth the effort of getting out of the house!
STRETCHING AND EXERCISING
Over the years I have found stretching and exercising to be a really important part of my self care routine after my counselling sessions. Although, now as a mum I, for the moment, no longer have the luxury of time that I once had for myself, I find doing whatever I can when I can, in and around my time with Naila, is really important to balance my body and mind. Especially on a counselling session day.
I’ve become an expert since having Naila at making good use of those precious five minutes here and there that I manage to find in the day, to fit in some yoga to help me stretch in and amongst the lego bricks and toys.
As a Yoga teacher and practitioner myself, I’ve known for many years the benefits of a regular Yoga practice. Now, as a busy mum and survivor of abuse , faced with the relentless challengers of her healing journey, I know, and feel now even more than ever the benefits of yoga and what even just 5 minutes of yoga can do to help and support me on my journey.
After a counselling session, Yoga helps me to calm my mind, balance my emotions and ease the tension out of my body. My body can feel so tight as I gather so much tension, particularly in the back, neck and shoulder areas. Yoga postures/stretches have always been really beneficial to me, helping me to release that tension. In addition, Yoga helps me to ground and find my secure base and stable centre and sense of self so that I am able to carry on with the rest of my day. Probably more importantly than anything else though, Yoga helps me, after my counselling sessions, to restore my whole being back into a state of equilibrium and inner peace and calm. This has been so important for me, over the years, as I can often feel constantly stressed and on alert.
Yoga helps me still to this day, everyday, not just on counselling days, to keep more centred and calm, to not only help support my body as I process and heal but also the rest of me to cope with, and stay as calm as I can through, the daily challenges and pressures that I go through.
In addition to Yoga, over the years , I have always felt and enjoyed the benefits of regular exercise particular on my difficult days. Walking , running and swimming have always been part of my self-care routine. I try to stretch and exercise as much as I can, knowing the benefits that it gives me.
Stretching and exercising help me:
To feel more able to manage and cope,
To get out of the house and connect with others,
To get out of my head and calm my mind, my fears, my thoughts, anxieties and concerns,
To ease and support me on my days of low mood and depression,
To ease out tension and relax my body,
To calm and balance my emotions,
To process my experiences and memories and make sense of it all,
To gain clarity and peace of mind,
To let off steam and release any pent up tension and emotions when it all gets too much,
To re-energise and re-vitalise,
To feel better, with the increase of Endorphins or happy chemicals that flood my body with exercise, and
To build inner courage, strength and resilience to carry on.
Below I have shared with a yoga routine that I love to do, to help you, should you so choose, to bring Yoga into your day to day life to help and support you on your journey. The routine is simple, quick and easy to do and really helps to ease the tension out from my body.
I try to fit the routine in ( as a part or whole routine ) during the day, here and there when and where I can, or in the evening once Naila has gone to bed.
For now, I’ve just given you the written instructions to the routine, so that you can start practising straight away. I will do a video to demonstrate the exercises as soon as I can. Until then I hope the written instructions can help you in some way. Click here for the written instructions.
Also, don’t forget the video to my neck and shoulder exercises which I use regularly to ease out neck and shoulder tension. Click here for video.
AROMATHERAPY/ESSENTIAL OILS TO GROUND
I love to have essential oils burning around the house. I love how different blends can be combined to support and suit how I am feeling, and what I need, in any given moment.
One of my favourite scents is Bergamot. A wonderfully grounding scent (according to Neal’s Yard) that can help to balance the mind. It’s perfect after a counselling session combined with the uplifting qualities of Orange and calming qualities of Listea. Not only does this blend help to ease any stress in my system but it makes the house smell wonderful to. I love it.
So, here is a beautiful mix from Neal’s Yard, using these wonderful oils.
Listea and Bergamot Calming Diffusion
Makes 1 diffusion
Listea essential oil 6 drops
Orange essential oil 4 drops
Bergamot essential Oil 4 drops
How to make
- Add the essential oil blend to a diffuser, vaporizer or oil burner
- Gently fragrance your chosen environment.
I hope you enjoy it.
SPENDING TIME OUT IN NATURE
I am always out walking with Naila. We are both so much happier outside and love being out in nature. The sounds, sights and scents, all round, that accompany us as we walk, relax my body, re-balance my emotions and help to calm my mind. Even more so on a counselling day it is important for me to be out and about as I find such comfort, energy and clarity down by the river or amongst the trees.
Nidra means ‘sleep’ and Yoga Nidra is the practice of deep mental, physical and spiritual relaxation, either as a stand alone practice or at the end of a yoga session.
Regularly practising Yoga Nidra for 10 to 20 minutes a day, using techniques such as progressive relaxation, visualisation, breath concentration and self suggestion, can provide many benefits including:
- Calming the mind and relaxing the brain,
- Relieving stress and mild depression,
- Relaxing the body,
- Reducing tension, headaches, fatigue and Insomnia,
- Helping to lower blood pressure,
- Stimulates blood circulation and exercises the inner organs,
- Alleviates fatigue, nervousness, anxiety and that general worn-out feeling,
- Alleviates asthma, constipation, diabetes, insomnia, lumbago.
- Teaches mental concentration.
In addition regular practice can,
- Enable us to gain a greater sense of compassion,
- Gain us a greater sense of clarity,
- Show us our negative tendencies and habits which can keep us locked in tension, allowing us to find a much more worthwhile and happier path in life,
- Show us true happiness as all our attachments and dependencies fall away.
I don’t often get the chance at the moment, with being a busy mum, to do a complete Yoga Nidra but I have found it, in the past after my counselling sessions, to be a really beneficial way, of not only helping me rest, re-energise, re-set and re-ground but also, of helping me love, support and take care of myself.
There are many examples and recordings of Yoga Nidras and other relaxation exercises on YouTube and also many simple techniques that you can teach yourself. Below is a link to a simple technique from my early training, that you can learn and practice, if you so choose to help and support yourself.
Ideally relaxation exercises are practiced lying down in a warm, quiet place for twenty minutes or so but the technique that I have shared with can also be practised in lots of other situations, if you like me are unable to take that longer period of time for yourself. I use the technique below on the train, whilst sat on the floor playing with Naila, sat as a passenger in a car, sitting on a chair at the side of a playgroup, or at bedtime after getting into bed. I find it just as beneficial when practiced little and often. So I hope that in sharing it, that it can help you in some way to.
I will record this exercise for you at some point so that you can simply sit or lie back and enjoy it fully, along with plenty of other relaxation exercises and techniques. So keep an out and up to date on my Youtube page (click here for link) by subscribing and clicking the bell for alerts on new uploads. Until then I hope that the simple to learn written instructions that I have posted on this blog (available by clicking here) will help you get started.
MAKING TIME TO DO THE THINGS I LOVE
I find it as equally important to all of the above, for me where I can to make the time, not just on my counselling days but on all of my days, for myself to enjoy my creative projects and passions. I take every opportunity I can as Naila sleeps to write or immerse myself in the world behind my camera lense. Not only do my creative pursuits help me to ground and re-find myself but through the wonderfully creative time they give to me, they help me to nurture, nourish and honour my Soul.
Over the weeks and months I’ll share with you some of my other creative pursuits, such as my paintings and music. But for now though, I hope that you are able to enjoy my writing and also some of the photos that I take on my daily rambles, which I post onto my Instagram page.
I’m not always be able to do all of the practices which I have shared with you above every time I need or want to. But I do find doing even one or two on a day when I am really pushed can really help to support me. I hope, in sharing them with you today, that they may be able to help and support you to in some way.
As always, I’ve loved rambling and sharing with you and I hope my blog can help and inspire you in some way.
My love is with you, as always, until next time
Amelia Ella Hope