Some Coping Strategies & Support Ideas for Mums with Young Children

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Effective Strategies to help you Cope if things have got Tough, and also
to help you re-engage Joyfully with life and make Practical Plans for further
Goals. T
his is especially slanted to suit mums, but is helpful for anybody.

by Julia Woodman – Life Coach, Counsellor, Stress Consultant, and Writer

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How about keeping a special book to write down lists, notes, responses and observations as
you go along.  This is a special record of things you will want to know where to find and refer
back to easily from time to time.

If you are setting out on this journey with young children, then use a large scrapbook for them
as well.  Encourage them to explore the world around them and draw and stick things into their
scrapbook as they go.

Make the best of what you have.  List all the good things about and around you, and focus
on appreciating them by referring to your list every day.  This should include :

• Things about yourself (assets, skills, attributes – for example, you might have child care skills,
be a good cook, a loyal partner, have beautiful hair, strong arms, be friendly, have a great sense
of humour, good health, good home, job that fits around family so that you can be there for them,
considerate, helpful, creative)

• Things about your friends and family etc – listing each person separately is probably best
(very similar to above, including things like: loving partner you can communicate well
with, great children, sensible teenager, friends you can chat at ease with, parent you can
ask for help, practical brother, understanding boss, etc.)

• Things about your surroundings ( beautiful hills and valleys you can walk in, rivers to fish
or swim in, amazing flowers or butterflies you can look at or smell or draw or photograph,
places to go out and listen to music and dance, gym, martial arts or yoga etc classes,
seaside for watersports, swimming pool, good school, other kids that your kids can
spend time with, good weather for growing your crops or veg etc, access to good health
support, libraries, college, jobs, etc.)

You can also refer back to this list to make sure you remember to make use of
the good stuff – for example, keep a diary perhaps to just take note of inspiring
things at any time, and to draw in or write poems in about the beautiful things
in any wild spaces you visit.

You might like to cook a special meal for your partner or family or even just for yourself,
find ways to ensure that you keep up with your friends (even if just via the internet if they
are far away), find fun ways to keep fit, set aside time for good movies or comedy shows
or music events, access resources and knowledge available, play games with your friends
and family, etc.  Remember to give praise to partners and children when you can.

When taking walks or going on trips with your children it is great to point out how things
work along the way, and show them the beautiful details in nature, encourage them to
draw or write about it, or stick things in their scrapbooks, such as leaflets about where
you have been.  You could help them draw a flower or leaf, and then press it between the
pages of a heavy book in greaseproof paper (which keeps it more vibrant than tissue paper).
Then later on when it has dried you can compare it to the drawing, maybe even
stick it into the scrapbook next to the drawing.

“Beauty is alive in every moment, riding the breath of life
to remind you of the 
flower that is your heart.” Global Love Project

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” Mary Oliver

Basically, if you practice paying attention to all the beauty and detail of life,
you are bearing witness to what is possible, and showing appreciation
of the diversity,thereby also increasing your own sense of joy in
being alive,and your capacity for learning and creativity.

Young children can understand a lot more than we tend to think, and it is crucial to keep
their curiosity, sense of wonder, and thirst for knowledge alive.  You too can enjoy their
delight if you help them for example by using illustrated information books.  It is
wonderful if you can put on a little act and exclaim with delight or awe at some of the
amazing details.

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Effective communication is vital, whether it be at work, or with family, children, or
friends.  Be prepared to ensure that you have your fair say in a respectful way.  Again, it
is good to write things down in preparation so that you are clear about what the most
important one or two things you want to discuss are, and don’t muddy the waters with all
sorts of vague bits and pieces.  I do have more detailed articles and videos about
communication available via my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

Let go of small things that niggle at you by concentrating on being grateful for the good
things.  What does the other stuff matter by comparison?  We all know that no one is
perfect, so let’s stop expecting them to be.  If you give praise for the good stuff it will
make everybody (including yourself) feel more willing to try to be their best.

List the knowledge and skills that you already have, and appreciate those too.
These are the building blocks of your life. No thing is too small, so put them all down.

If you are lacking in confidence then use affirmations to help build this up.
There are also some of these available via my website.

You can also learn to write your own – they must always be written in the present tense.

A wonderful affirmation that helps balance your mind, body, and spirit because it aligns
you with the earth and the universe (both of which crucially allow and support life) is to
simply say “I love, and I am loved”.  You need to be comfortable, take a few deep
breaths to relax and focus, and then say this aloud and feel that it is true.  Your
relationship with the universe and with the earth is fundamental to who you are.  Be at
ease with yourself, and let the energy flow up and down your spine as you stand upon the
earth, holding your head steady, repeating this until you know that it is true.

When we are balanced, it is easy for others to love us, because we hold a steadiness in
our hearts and do not react to trivial things.  You are regaining your connection with the
deep self and the real world beneath all the crazy stuff and meaningless rules we have
piled on it.  Breathe deeply and feel yourself to be more free.

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As you progress through all these ideas here and in some of my other materials, you will
find that your confidence increases quite naturally.  You have to know that you are
worth it.  Everyone has an equal right to live their lives as they choose because each one
of us is a vital part of the overall diversity of life and consciousness. You are a unique
human being come to experience life on this planet so you should aim to learn from
everything, even what we would normally term as negative because the most challenging
things usually have the most potential to teach us stuff.  Even illness can be viewed as the
body trying to show us that it needs attention, so once you start listening to that and doing
something about it, you are taking the positive steps you need to.  It is your life, and you
have the power to choose to make it good for you.  You should not be afraid to follow your
heart and fulfil your dreams, don’t listen to people who tell you otherwise, or to any
niggling doubts in your ego ­mind.

Our minds can be used as tools to help us help ourselves, instead of allowing
ourselves to be subjected to some of the silly thoughts, fears, and worries that tend to go
round in our heads if we let them.  Stop listening to that sort of negative stuff and focus on
the positive.  Think about it – worry is a total waste of energy because it does not achieve
anything productive.  All it does is show us that perhaps we need to take care to prepare
for whatever it is we are worrying about or fearing, so that we can face it instead of letting
it knock us down.  Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real – usually if we just
get on and do what we are afraid of, then we find it is all fine after all – so we need to learn
to stop our minds getting in the way, and use them instead to help us move forwards.

By making these lists of all the good stuff, we can then remind ourselves of things to
inspire and motivate us.  We can say “AHHHH YES I CAN DO THIS. Look – I already
have some of the skills, and I can learn the rest, and find out what I need to know and do
to be successful.”  You can learn to follow your heart to be who you truly want to be.

If you feel stressed or depressed, then look for my articles that can help with such
issues, which are again available on my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

There is a full Stress Busting guide available too.  Don’t let these things steal your power,
learn how to deal with them!  I also have some simple visualizations to help you relax, but
meditation is even more powerful, so if you are prepared to put in the work, go for my
full meditation guide, and you should be well rewarded for your efforts.  Meditation takes
you into a sense of bliss that arises from a combination of personal and universal power.

Promise yourself that you are going to stop beating yourself up about anything –
you are doing the best you can for the moment, and as you find out how best to move forward,
you will continue to be doing the best that you can in each moment.  Of course, as you
learn and plan and achieve, that best will be better than it was before, and you can
congratulate yourself for every step that you take.  Meantime just do not expect too much
from yourself, we can only do what we can, given the tools we have in each moment.

Don’t judge yourself (or others) – each moment is only one step on our journey.  Even
if you take a step backwards, don’t waste time and energy on berating yourself for that, just
get back on the track.

Everyone needs a bit of space to themselves once in a while, so ensure that you
do get this, and don’t let anyone else make you feel that you can’t take it – we need to rest
and renew ourselves, recharge our energy.  We all have different ways of doing this, so
plan for it as part of your life, just don’t overdo it – there is a big difference between taking
time out now and again to do something inspiring, and withdrawing or retreating from
things.  It should be time to do something positive for yourself….. yes if you need to sleep,
then sleep, but ideally you could meditate or read or write or draw or play music, go for a
walk, visit a friend, or do anything you love.

Meditation is fantastic for regaining and strengthening our deeper sense of self.
It can also be used as a tool to train our minds to do what we want instead of getting in our way.

Plan lists of anything else you want to learn or achieve – You can come back to this
later, it is just to get your thoughts clear for now  Don’t just think about work, think about
hobbies, enjoyment etc too, anything that might help you (and your partners, and
children, if you have them) have more fun.  Obviously sometimes you may need to do
things on your own, but this can be planned for – if you really want to do it, make sure
you put it on your list, don’t leave anything off or limit yourself just because your logical
mind says it isn’t practical!

Writing all these things down helps to give them more potential.  If you faithfully
make your lists as suggested, then you will find it useful to refer back to them to remind
yourself of your thoughts and renew your positive motivation.  Another main factor about
writing all these things down is that it clarifies your intentions, which helps you focus on
what you want.  If our minds are less muddled then we are simply much more likely to
follow what we have set down, so this focus removes the muddle and sets you on track.

We can go a stage further and use life coaching charts to actually make step by step
plans of how we are going to get from point A to B.  These are different from the
lists above, because these exercises here are looking at your whole life really, whereas in
life coaching plans you need to focus on one or two specific areas – for example how to get
to do what you want at college, how to plan to move country, how to give up a bad habit,
how to save or pay off debts, how to get fit or lose weight, how to basically achieve any
goal we choose to.

We make the steps along the way realistic and achievable alongside time frames that
again are realistic and achievable.  We also add in details like who is going to help or
support you where help is needed, for example you may need a child-minder so that you
can attend college, or you might just need to be able to phone someone up for moral
support if you are feeling tired and demoralised.  Or you might just be able to refer back
to your book where you have written your list of reasons for doing this in the first place
to regain your sense of motivation.  In any case, your plan will also include rewards for
achievement along the way to help keep up your motivation.  We need to bear in mind
that any cycle of change is bound to have slight setbacks once in a while as it is normal to
feel very motivated to start with then run out of steam a bit if things get tough, but the
thing is just to get back on up and on with it again as soon as you are ready, and not waste
time and energy regretting the setback.  If we are prepared well enough, then we will
have the support in place to help us get back on track.  I have life coaching charts
available on www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides3.htm so that you can use them
yourself if you wish to.

If you want to find something to do and you are not sure what that is yet, then I do also
have a system included in my Life Coaching packages to help you tap your
subconscious 
to identify what you most want.  This might help mums returning to
work or mothers whose children have left home, for example, to decide what sort of a career
or business they might want to go for, or define what hobbies or college course might suit
someone.  Again, this is on my website www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides3.htm

I also love to help Young People and have specific materials available about communication
with them, and helping them to make the transition into adulthood.

I have other guides such as ‘Confirming your Joy’, as well as the Meditation and Stress Busting
ones, all available via www.radiance-solutions.co.uk/essenceguides.htm  There are ones
related to Creativity, and Spirituality, and Evolving Consciousness as well.

Creativity is not just about the generally recognised arts, it includes all sorts of
things, like cooking, sewing, woodwork, gardening, flower arranging, decorating, you name it,
we all have some creativity in us.  Creativity is also often an outcome of curiosity, which
children usually have in abundance, so looking at things around you can naturally lead on to
creating something in relation to that.

Creativity helps you express yourself, and your appreciation of life.  Both of those
help add to your sense of confidence and satisfaction because you are interacting more
with the world around you through your creativity, which also involves a deep level of
noticing details.  So I always advocate that people watch other people, animals, plants,
anything at all, and really note the finer details of behaviour, natural beauty, and the
amazing diversity of life, the interaction between things, and also how things function so
incredibly well – including our own bodies.  It is equally inspiring to know that even if
we may not function that well all the time, we can always do something about helping
ourselves return to our optimum state.


More details of the HELPFUL LIFE COACHING TOOLS
available hereThere are some specific pointers in there that will be helpful to Mums returning to 
work, plus an example form called “Improving Belief in Self as Parent and as having
Valuable Skills & a Right to a Career of Own Choosing”.Life Coaching ­ Pack of All 3 Achievable Goal Planning Sections ­
How to Maximise Success, Help to Decide, and all FORMS ­ £6.50
(which gives a saving of 50p on buying them separately as detailed below).
[The sections are also available separately so that people who don’t need the “help to
decide” section can save by just buying the other two.  And sometimes people just want
the “help to decide” section and then take it from there themselves because they might
already know about life coaching, but that is a unique extra developed by me.  Or people
might just want to use my forms and look at my examples, although I do obviously
recommend looking at the 2nd section too, as there is so much useful information in it.]
Life Coaching 1 ­ How to HELP yourself DECIDE WHAT you really want to do ­ £1.50Help with deciding on your goals in the first place.  It’s best to get really clear before you
begin the planning stage so that you don’t waste time and effort.
For example, you could be trying to decide which course to study, what to do as a career
(or change of career), or for a hobby etc, but you can also apply it to any decision you
are not sure about (like moving home, ending a relationships, travelling etc).
We do sometimes subconsciously block our own progress, particularly if we are not sure
what we want, or if we don’t have enough self esteem or confidence in ourselves.

Life Coaching 2 ­ HOW TO develop achievable Goal Plans, and put realistic
Timescales, Support, and Rewards in place TO MAXIMISE SUCCESS ­ £2.50

Includes details of what to think about before starting your plan.
Includes details of how to prepare plans successfully by avoiding certain pitfalls.
Includes details of how to keep motivated and communicate your needs to rally support.

Life Coaching 3 ­ Goal Setting FORMS ­ £3

Includes blank form for your use, plus a tutor form with guidelines on,
plus several examples.

Examples include: 1) paying off debts, 2) losing weight and getting fit alongside study
times, job, and committee member obligations, 3) planning workshops with all the admin
etc included, and 4) Improving Belief in Self as Parent and as having Valuable Skills
a Right to a Career of Own Choosing.

IN CONCLUSION

I really hope that this has been helpful, and that anyone interested in planning to achieve
goals will take the next step and get the life coaching packs, but please do also feel
free to phone or email with any questions, or if you would like further support.

Whatever choices you make
best wishes!

Links to other articles pages via our TOOLKIT page

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A Holistic Approach to Loving our Bodies and Our Lives

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To get a bit of healthy discussion going between our experts, Julia has a follow up post to last weeks Wednesday Wisdom on Body Confidence. (This was on another website, but I have left the mention in so that it makes sense as you read.)

I agree with Star’s 11th July Wednesday Wisdom Blog “Body Confidence”, but of course there are many other things we can love about our bodies than how they look.

I am continuously amazed by how well we are put together, how our bodies work, and the incredible things we can do with them.

I am grateful for the systems that function to keep me alive and well.  Just look at the details – isn’t it incredible?  Aren’t we incredible!

I like to feel strong and fit, and am pleased that I can do physical work sometimes, and feel that different kind of tiredness at the end of a day that is really satisfying, and bodes for a sound night’s sleep that is really renewing.  The more muscles we use the better – it’s not so great to do things that strain some areas and leave others untouched – but we can remedy this by doing other things which do provide more of a balanced form of exercise and make us feel good all over.

I love to dance.  It’s amazing how we can wriggle and shake and twist, bend and spin and kick.  I revel in the feeling of it, and being able to express a response to good music in this way is wonderful.  I make sure to roll my shoulders to release tension, and sway and rotate my hips at least some of the time, to prevent them from stiffening up as I get older.  I often have a good laugh too, by the way.

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Yoga and martial arts are great, not only for the movements that stretch us and keep us supple, but also for the balance we develop.  From the centre of our bodies we can then move our limbs more effectively.

Lots of sports test your abilities and skills.  I tend to prefer individual non-competitive ones such as windsurfing and climbing, but of course there are loads of team sports and things you can do with your friends too.

Swimming is fantastic for overall body exercise and way of keeping fit, and doesn’t put any weight bearing strain on your skeletal frame. Walking is absolutely excellent for you, especially if you can do it in a lovely natural environment which is soft underfoot and beautiful to enjoy.  The steady movement not only exercises us in a balanced way, it also allows stress to seep away, and our breathing to deepen and cleanse us.

Exercise has many added benefits – it boosts good brain chemistry (but don’t overdo it as it can actually become addictive because of this).  It also helps toxins to clear from all areas of our bodies as we move and breathe to stimulate all our systems.

It’s great if you also drink more water to help clear toxins out after exercise, or anytime in fact, rather than go for other drinks all the time.  If we are exercising well, then we also tend to go naturally for more healthy foods, rather than comfort foods.  Food is something else we can really appreciate and enjoy in a sensory way – the taste and aroma’s, as well as the visual.  And if we eat the right things for our bodies, that of course also helps them to function better.

Of course, it is more than just the physical that we can love.  I advocate total mind-body-spirit balance if you want to really make the best of life, and give yourself every reason to love and appreciate yourself, and your interaction with the world around you.

We are physical beings experiencing life here – ideally in energetic balance between the earth and the universe.  We need to find ways to stimulate our minds, and have fun at the same time.  And we need to look at our spiritual side too, to make life satisfying and meaningful.  I can help with this.  Why not take a look at some of my guides and other articles on this blog or on my website, such as “Breathing to Balance….”, “How to Feel Great”, “Philosophy & Sensuality”, “Spiritual Coaching”.  “Being Lighter than this…” looks at a blend of the mental and physical to optimise performance in any area, including sports, studies, interviews, and public appearances.

I really advocate being creative and sensual in life, as well as developing practical skills, and using our minds as tools. We can use our awareness and intention to notice and enjoy things, as well as to learn new things, all of which enhance how we live.

We can fine-tune ourselves to live optimally, and really get the best out of life.  As a Counsellor and Stress Consultant, I can help deal with any emotional issues that might get in the way of finding your balance here, and of becoming comfortable with yourself and with others.  And as a Life Coach, I can also help you to plan how best to move forwards with anything you might wish to achieve.

We can look around us at the amazing complexity and diversity of things; how the many eco-systems of the earth work, the intricate details and variety of life, and also how the solar system incredibly allows life to exist here.  I hope that you can enjoy a sense of wonder at it all, and share it with your children too.  If we can hold onto that sense of child-like wonder in life, and not let it be dulled by work and other pressures, then it stimulates both mental and spiritual curiosity, and boosts your overall enjoyment of life.

Look also at the amazing skills and unique attributes we have, or can develop.  Life is chock-full of opportunities to use them, to explore, to learn, and to become more and more of who we can be.

So, I encourage you to think holistically rather than putting too much emphasis on one area, and try to optimise your overall life experience.  Loving it all means that you cannot help loving yourself because you are part of it.

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Safe Cave Meditation for Relaxation, Renewal, and Confidence

Video

this was written on request for a client

Safe Cave Meditation for Relaxation, Renewal & Confidence – THE SCRIPT (includes some extra tips at the end)

You know there is a cave somewhere
in your imagination – that you can go to
if you want PEACE & QUIET.
I want you to take yourself there now
and just wander around checking it out
before you sit down in the best spot.

You feel SAFE in your cave, and secure.
It’s a place where you can be CALM
and RELAX, and LET GO of worries.
It’s a place where you can REST
and RE-CHARGE before carrying on.
It’s a place you can ride out ANY storm.

So settle down and make sure
you are comfortable & warm.
Now take some LONG SLOW BREATHS
and count them as you let go of worries – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 –
As you count you RELAX more & more – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 –
Count until you feel sleepy – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12.

RELAX & RELEASE ALL YOUR THOUGHTS –
If any thoughts do arise, just set them aside –
let them wash away in the stream
that is gurgling gently nearby.
LET ANY TENSIONS GO TOO –
wash, washing away in the stream.

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Now FEEL SOFT LIGHTS in your cave –
Maybe fairy candles or glow worms – to SOOTHE you.
They have come to help you RE-CHARGE.
So now focus on RENEWING YOURSELF.
Feel their light COMFORTING you
and gently giving you NEW ENERGY.

With every BREATH, feel more LIGHT
steadily coming INTO your body.
BREATHE IT IN and feel it in your chest & abdomen –
in ALL parts of your body, your head, and your limbs.
Now feel it warming your heart
with the YELLOW LIGHT OF CONFIDENCE.

Also now you feel an ORANGE GLOW
in the lower parts of your body,
which gives you a sense of STRENGTH.
Feel that VITALITY spread –
and join with the yellow confident light
and RISE OUT TO SURROUND YOU.

You now have A BUBBLE PROTECTING YOU,
which you can take out into the world
and use anytime to BOOST yourself.
Use it for difficult situations
to keep you STEADY in yourself.
TRUST yourself to REMEMBER this.

Now just focus on your breathing
as you FEEL THAT ENERGY IN & AROUND YOU.
Give thanks for this, and everything else you have to be grateful for.
Then count again, backwards to retunr – 12 – 11 – 10 – and on
to – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – breathing more lightly now – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 –
and feel yourself ready to stretch, and rise up.

Move about a bit, rub hands on thighs etc – if you need to ensure you come back fully to the present moment. If you go deep into a meditation, it can take a few moments to be properly present afterwards. Having a drink of water helps too.

After a bit of practice with your imagination, you should be able to imagine that bubble around you at any moment you might need it. After a bit more time, it can even happen automatically, so you will then never feel quite so vulnerable again.
If you want to, you could even ask the fairies or glow worms to make you wings, and feel what it is like to wear them, and imagine what you could do with them. You can then imagine you have them any time you want to rise above a situation.
You can use just the first part of this meditation to help you fall asleep if you have difficulty with this. You could use the second half to help you wake up in the morning too if you wish.
If you have difficulties with communication, or need to prepare for a public performance, you could also add in a bit where the lovely pale blue of the stream water rinses your throat, washing away fear of speaking, and letting you feel what it is like to be clear, and concise, with what you want to say, so that you can use this experience in real life too.
There is a saying in LIFE COACHING that if you ACT AS IF something is true (pretend you are, for example, cool, calm, and collected), then it is like having the real experience of being that, so it becomes easier for you to learn that skill. (This can even apply to falling asleep – if you have trouble with this, then act as if you are pretending to someone else that you are asleep, like children sometimes do with parents, then before you know it, it may actually be so.)
Another way to boost confidence is to say “I can do it, I can do it, I can do this!” to the rhythm of your steps when walking, or hand claps, like a chant or mantra. Children could have fun with that part of it too, or might like to make up their own. So might you.
julia@radiance-solutions.co.uk can help you create your own meditations, visualisations, affirmations, or other personal and spiritual development tools.
There are also a lot of tools already available via http://www.radiance-solutions.co.uk

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