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  • lyndakynes

As a therapist, I not only try to encourage my clients to think about their own self care and what that might look like in their everyday life, but I also need to look after my own self care.

I am lucky enough to have a garden and earlier this year I felt that it needed the addition of a hammock to lie on in a sunny spot of the garden on beautiful days. How right I was.

Once you get the hang of getting into it without falling out again, with that slight sway from left to right, it's like turning on a switch of calm and tranquility. Looking up at the beautiful sky with cotton wool clouds and watching the planes high overhead. With birds, bees and butterflies flitting around the foliage, once a butterfly gently landed on my foot remaining there for quite some time. I stayed as still as possible to extend my delight.

Moments of Mindfulness, being in the present, just being, are precious moments of self care at the end of busy days. It is a wonderful way to transition between work time and me. Perhaps you can find ways to help you transition between work and home life, especially with so many of us working from home. Switching off from work can be a constant struggle.

One evening as I lay reflecting on what a calm feeling my hammock brought to me, I considered my practice in EMDR and the work of that day. Realising, that focusing on the thought of ME time, self care, calmness and the pleasure of lying in the garden, with the hammock swaying side to side, my eyes were making lateral eye movements, and I was unwittingly creating my own adaptive neural pathways and linking into my dopamine reward pathway.

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  • lyndakynes

The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the autonomous nervous system & passes though the ear, facial muscles, throat, diaphragm, lungs, belly and digestive system. When you feel anxiety or fear this is the vagus nerve in action and it can have a debilitating physical response in the body. This being part of the fight or flight response, in the distant past this could have been imperative in keeping us alive. However, today our more sedentary lifestyle it affects us in much more subtle ways, for instance, IBS, shaking,nausea, stress, anxiety, tinnitus, panic attacks.

Feeling anxious, stressed or panicked causes shallow chest breathing, making us tense and have tightness in the chest - learning to manage our breathing can really help us to feel more calm and relaxed.

A breathing technique which can be helpful is Straw breathing:-

Sit comfortably with a straight back, face, neck & shoulders relaxed.

Inhale normally

Place straw or imagine having one

Slowly exhale - don't blow - slowly

Exhale until your lungs are approximately 80 percent empty

Close your mouth & slowly exhale the last 20 percent through your nose

really try to engage the muscles in your abdomen & diaphragm to expel all of the air

Take a few normal breathes to normalise your breath - then repeat.

Practice 5 minutes per day

This exercise can help to soothe your nervous system.

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  • lyndakynes

Good interpersonal relationships and appropriate loving behaviour stem from those people who hold strong feelings of self-worth. Simply stated, those who love and value themselves are able to love and value others.

Our family of origin can either inhibit or encourage strong self-worth, even in unconscious ways. Which types of message were expressed in your family from the types of behaviour below:

Messages of High Self Worth Messages of Low Self Worth

Praising Criticising or Blaming

Regard & love given unconditionally Regard & love being conditional

Trusting Mistrusting

Expecting success Predicting Failure

Showing respect for all Belittling others

Encouraged to make your own decisions Controlling or Belittling behaviours

Negotiation and appreciation Making sarcastic comments

What is most typical of the responses you received from the adults in your family?

Can you recall an event that speaks strongly to you about these messages, with either positive or negative influences or both from your life.

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