life lessons

Life Lessons

Life lessons come your way when it’s time for you to accept change, when it’s time for you to make a change in your life and expand your horizons. Life lessons can be messy, painful and hard, but they give the greatest reward, but first you must work your way through them! Letting go of ideas and thoughts that you have grown up believing can be scary, and leave you feeling uncertain, but your knowledge and experiences will deepen the more you look closely at yourself and what you now identify with.

Sometimes you start a relationship with someone who makes you question things you’ve never thought of before, or maybe its becoming a parent and your children make you look at your life differently, forcing yourself to look at past actions or behaviours. You may have a teacher or mentor that is guiding you in a new direction. Whoever or whatever you have in your life that is causing you to question yourself and ask yourself questions, are the ones who are there for you to learn from.
Some people go through life absentmindedly, just cruising along never really getting to see what their potential could be if they only stopped and looked at themselves a little harder and took the time to acknowledge themselves and those around them. Imagine how different their life may be.


So just know if you are finding yourself in a difficult situation by putting in the hard work of identify internally what is going on you are enriching your life for the better. You may find as you work through this you may not actually like parts of yourself, but embrace all of you, the light and dark, and ultimately know you are loved and have love for yourself, all of these phases of life are like seasons they will pass and you will be rewarded with what’s best for you.

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Pure spirit

Pure spirit

Do you ever stop and look at children playing and just think, I’d like to go back to the carefree way of life with no responsibility, nothing to worry about, no bills to pay and having all of my basic needs met.

Children live in the moment, they only experience what is happening to them at that time. They are not thinking about time or distracted by other ideas they are living in pure joy. Feeling raw emotion and reacting quickly to it and working through it far more quickly than we as adults do.
It’s a shame that as adults we lose the ability to live in such a pure form, that no one wants to be seen, as vulnerable or afraid, that we feel we should live our lives in a particular way to spend time making others happy, rather than making ourselves truly happy. We are unable to switch off, always on our phones connected to an outside imaginary world, that’s making us feel not good enough.


Maybe It’s time to switch off, start playing again, forming relationships with real people, and learning to live in a more carefree way, acknowledging that the restrictions we put upon ourselves are holding us back, trust in who you are, let your mind become creative, do that one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but feel silly sharing with people. Live like the 5 year old you once were.

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Feeling refreshed

                                                                     Feeling Refreshed
I’ve spent the last week down in Cornwall, relaxing by the sea. The weather was gorgeous, so every day was a beach day. We’ve been going to St Ives for the last 4 years as our summer holiday, we read, fish, swim, walk, cook fresh food. I love spending time by the sea, it refreshes me, grounds me and clears my head. It really leaves me feeling recharged, which I think we all need every now and again.
Getting away from the grind of daily life, really makes you stop and question what your doing and which direction you are going. For me having somewhere new to explore really leaves me feeing creative and developing new ideas.
As we head into Autumn, with the last of the summer days left behind us, I hope you feel recharged and ready to embrace the end of the year.

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Living with migraines

It’s Monday afternoon, I’m on my second migraine in 24 hours after spending the morning getting over yesterday’s one! MIGRAINES!! The bain of my life, the silent terrorising pain inside my skull. Yesterday I didn’t see it coming, I decided to go out for a run, 3 minutes down the road and the vision in my right eye was blurring, immediately came the swirling feeling in my stomach, I lost my peripheral vision in both eyes and yes… we had a migraine starting. Because I’m stubborn and it had taken me 3 weeks to go out for a run, I decided in my stupidity, that this migraine wasn’t going to stop me, it always stops me, so I thought I’d just going to keep going, for 15 minutes. I did, I’m not a glamourous runner anyway so what would it matter. By the time I got home, and my heart rate calmed down the head pain really kicked in, and I spent the next half hour upset that no matter what I do migraines still strike, even when I try and be healthy

I mainly find living with migraines frustrating, as the trigger list changes whenever it feels like it, this is my list of migraine triggers, and this Is a pretty typical list for most people but I want to highlight this to show how complex and in balance your entire world needs to be in order not to get one.

  • Alcohol,
  • Certain foods, ones that contain nitrates and sulphates
  • Red meat
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Stress
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Intense work outs
  • Hormonal surges or drops

 

  • Thunderstorms (Changes in barometric pressure causes migraines in some people)

I have found that migraines are impossible to control, I’ve been down the preventative prescription medicine route before and nothing would work longer than 3 months, some drugs felt like horse tranquilizers, others were muscle relaxants, so I would get out of bed in the night and fall over, others would give me constant thirst. So, I decided to come off any medication and just deal with them.

For me a migraine will last about 2 days, the first 30 minutes I deal with the aura, and loss of vision, its at the point that if I’m out I need to head home, lie down in the dark, with a heat wrap around the back of my neck the only medication I now take is 2x Rennies and 2-3 Aspirin. It sounds crazy, but I swear by taking an antacid, sometimes it really helps reduce the intensity of symptoms. I’ve found that taking triptans cause more nausea and side effects on top of the migraine so If I’m able to be at home it’s easier to just ride it out. After 30 minutes the head pain kicks in, some days the pain is worse than others, but there’s no way to tell. The pain will continue until I fall asleep that night. The second day is like the migraine hangover, foggy head, dull ache, upset stomach, fatigue, shaky and off balance…. By day 3 I’m generally back to normal, whoo hoo.

What is the worst thing you can ever say to a migraineur?

How’s your headache?

Let me tell you right now, that is no normal headache, not even close. Imagine Ice picks being slowly gouged through your skull into your brain, and tilted just behind your eyes, or a hammer constantly whacking you on the head. The hours when your dealing with that is un-bearable but you know later or tomorrow there will be less pounding and just a dull ache. Then there’s the nausea, I feel for those who get sick with migraines it happened to me the first time ever last month, that was on another level, one I don’t wish to return to. Dizziness, fatigue, limbs feeling like lead, shaking, numbness in the face or arms, pins and needles are all part of migraine process, some come and go, some last for hours.

“Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.” Professor Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology, King’s College London; Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, King’s College Hospital London; Trustee of The Migraine Trust

-Taken from the Migraine Trust.

I have my migraines to thank for giving me the push to start Toe to Soul Therapy. 2 years ago, I was suffering with constant migraines, always feeling unwell, never having any energy, taking a whole load of different tablets and supplements, and it was starting to affect my work.

My partner suggested we convert a room in his barber shop and set it up as a treatment room for me to give reflexology treatments, and so Toe to Soul Therapy was born. I stripped back my working hours, reduced my stress levels and as the months went on continued to make small changes. I cut out all alcohol, and meat. Cutting out meat was a game changer; my migraines went from 1-2 a week down to 1-2 a month!! The couple migraines a month are hormonal which I can’t do too much about. Now I set my alarm clock and have a regular 8-hour sleep schedule, I drink 3 litres of water a day, avoid any known triggers, and the second a migraine starts to come on I take myself off to bed and go with it.

Living with migraines still effects my life in a negative way, I can lose at least a couple of days a week, once or twice a month to them. I cancel social plans last minute, my diet and exercise suffer. Its’ frustrating at how sudden they can come on with no warning, sometimes I’ll know one will be coming that day, because I will feel off and normally freezing cold, often, I’m taken by surprise. It can be hard to keep a positive mindset and motivation however, I’m still in a better place with them than before and for that I’m grateful.

Unfortunately, there is no cure and no definitive cause. I have my own suspicion about auto immunity triggering reactions in the body, through the gut and therefore firing off the wrong signals to the brain, but that’s another story…

For more information or help if you too are living with migraines check these out:

http://www.nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk/

https://www.migrainetrust.org/

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Rebalancing the Chakras

As a Reiki Master I work with the chakras on, a daily basis, opening up and tuning into my own energy flow and that of my client’s.

But what are the Chakras?

Our body is not just made up of the physical body, but also our energetic body. We have layers of energy around us that some will know as the Aura. The energy field interacts with our physical body by flowing through certain energy spots in our physical body. These main 7 areas are known as chakras, a Sanskrit word meaning wheels of light.

These attributes show what the 7 main chakras represent when you body is balanced and flowing.

CROWN CHAKRA: Enlightenment, Gateway to the Divine, Thoughts, Ideas, Thinking, Higher Consciousness, Divine Love, Wisdom, Awareness

BROW CHAKRA: Vision, Intuition, Dreams, Psychic Ability, Connection to   Higher self, Perception

THROAT CHAKRA: Communication, Self-Expression, Truth, Purpose,

HEART CHAKRA: Love, Trust, Healing, Gratitude, Self-love, forgiveness, Compassion

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA: Confidence, Personal Power, Ego, Self-worth, Clarity, Strength, Instinct

SACRAL CHAKRA: Emotions, Sexuality, Creativity, Joy, Adaptability, Fertility

BASE CHAKRA: Home, Family, Finances, Career, Stability, Vitality, Patience

When any of our chakras are out of balance they have an impact on our thoughts, feelings and how we live our life. Sometimes it can be very subtle, other times if you find the same problem happening over and over, or something can’t be resolved it may be interesting to see which chakra point it refers to and what you can do to rebalance it.

Ways to rebalance your chakras:

  • Reiki Healing
  • Using Crystals
  • Burning Essential Oils
  • Meditation
  • Mantras
  • Affirmations

On my Etsy shop, I’ve created a chakra balancing set which includes crystals, affirmation cards and meditations in-order for people to start to work on balancing their energy, themselves at home. It’s very easy, to do once you get into the practice of it, and along with grounding you can really feel a change in your energy and your connection to yourself.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ToeToSoulTherapy

I believe the power of relaxation is key to reducing stress and therefore staying physically and emotionally fit and healthy. I wanted to create this set as a way for someone who cannot come to me for treatments but who could benefit from what they could do at home on their own. On my website you will find some free meditations that work alongside balancing your chakras.

https://www.toetosoultherapy.com/free-meditations/

 

 

 

 

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Endometriosis Awareness Week

 Endometriosis awareness week is this week, 3rd-11th march.

I wanted to focus on this disease this week as it causes so many women so much pain, and its often overlooked because it’s hard to get a diagnosis and a lot of the time women think that what they are experiencing must be normal. But 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer with Endometriosis.

The actress Lena Dunham has put endometriosis in the press recently as she featured in the March issue of Vogue talking about her decision to have a full hysterectomy at the age of 31 to end her years of chronic pain.

https://www.vogue.com/article/lena-dunham-hysterectomy-vogue-march-2018-issue

What is endometriosis?

Essentially, it’s when cells like the ones in uterus are found outside of the uterus in other parts of the body, such as the bowel, bladder, ovaries which results in cysts, and even up into the chest for some women. Just as the cells change in the uterus as part of a woman’s monthly cycle, the same thing happens with the cells that are living else-where, so each month they build up, break down and bleed, but the blood has no where to go. This then causes pain, inflammation, and adhesions that build up in the body. It can be incredibly debilitating, and extremely painful.

Often resulting in heavy, painful periods. It can leave women feeling bloated, with fatigue and can have a huge effect on a woman’s fertility, as many as 30-50% of women diagnosed with endometriosis suffer with fertility issues.

The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by a laparoscopy, an operation in which a camera (a laparoscope) is inserted into the pelvis via a small cut near the navel. The surgeon uses the camera to see the pelvic organs and look for any signs of endometriosis. If endometriosis is diagnosed, the endometriosis may be treated or removed for further examination during the laparoscopy.

Scans, blood tests and internal examinations are not a conclusive way to diagnose endometriosis and a normal scan, blood test and internal examination does not mean that you do not have endometriosis, it often doesn’t show up in ultrasounds.

Now, there is no cure for endometriosis, laparoscopic surgery to laser away adhesions may be carried out, but it’s not a permanent fix as the cells can grow back. Hormonal treatment such as the pill may be given to stop your monthly cycle, and pain management is pretty much all the can be done.

Endometriosis-uk have lots of information on their website with further reading or what to do if you suspect you may be suffering.

https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/

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Grounding: Why we all need to do it!

Following on from last weeks meditation post, this week I wanted to focus on grounding. What it is, why we should all be doing it, especially therapists, and how do you do it.

I first learnt about grounding techniques through my reiki 1 training. I was taught how important it is to stay connected to the earth so that when I am giving a treatment or even just meditating I don’t just zone out completely and stay in a lovely space, it makes it very hard to come back into reality quickly.

Grounding is essentially centring ourselves, through our breath and visualisation. Its bringing our attention back into our body at a time when its needed and required. A good time is when your starting to feel overwhelmed with lots of thoughts and ideas, or stress and anxiety is creeping in. That is the time to pull the energy down from your head, through your body, out of your feet and down into the ground. It then gives you some head space and a chance to breathe deeply.

There are different ways that people may ground themselves, with mindfulness techniques, through the power of breath or through prayer, each of these encourage you to bring the awareness back into  your body.

The easiest method that I have found that works quickly and effectively is to imagine strong tree roots, growing out of the soles of your feet, down into the ground beneath you, through the layers of sediment and soil, all the way through to the centre of the earth where you will be anchored. Then taking in a nice deep breath, send that breath down your belly, down your legs and out through your feet, taking with it any thoughts or issues you don’t need to hold onto right now. This is a really simple exercise to do and easy to remember, try it and see if you don’t automatically feel a difference within your body.

I now ground myself most days, but always before I meditate or give a holistic treatment. I feel like it gives me a sense of inner strength.

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Meditation for my sanity

My journey with meditation has been a long one, and one that I wish I could say I sit down and do religiously every day for 20 minutes. But I don’t. I started meditating about 10 years ago, pretty much the same time I started learning more about alternative therapies. I found that through meditation I got a lot of clarity about different ideas, I found a place of stillness, and a way to connect with my spiritual side.

Now I try to meditate a few times a week, and I like to switch between guided meditations, or focusing on breath and clearing my mind of thoughts. The guided meditations that I use are on the Hay House Meditation Podcast.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hay-house-meditations/id955266444?mt=2

There are so many to choose from depending on what you fancy working on at that time. Relaxation before sleep, chakra clearing, regression, grounding etc. They are all under half an hour and take you on a journey of connecting with yourself. When I first started all that I used were guided meditations as I found that was the most easiest to learn how to clear my mind, and learn how to become aware of my energetic body, and most importantly how to ground myself.

Meditating just by focusing on the breath can be very powerful. Think about all the women who only use the power of breath to endure labour and birth. It really is a powerful tool, that if done correctly can transform your body. Instead of shallow breathing into the top of your chest you want to inhale deeply down into your belly so that as you inhale your belly expands. This is done slowly over the count of 4, then pause before you exhale for another count of 4. As you start to slow your breathing down, you will probably be able to increase your count. Once you are thinking about your breathing it’s hard to start letting other thoughts into your mind.

Starting my day with meditation puts me in a good, positive head space for the rest of the day. Sometimes I like to repeat positive mantras to myself, this is a great way of sending yourself some self- love. Ending the day with a meditation can be a lovely way to relax before falling asleep, and generally if I start a meditation in bed at night, I don’t finish it because it just sends me to sleep. But an evening meditation to clear yourself of any negativity of the day, and being grateful for the positive things is a nice way to end the day.

There are many different modalities of meditation out there for you to try, so find something that works for you and that you’re comfortable with, starting off with just a few minutes a day. I prefer doing it sat at home, others prefer being out in nature, in a yoga class, or in a group space learning mindfulness. Whichever way suits you, you can still reap all the benefits of the peacefulness and hopefully keep your own sanity intact!

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Loving yourself this Valentines Day

Let’s leave the valentines romance on the shelf and focus on a bit of self-love this week. How often do you have a date with yourself? Take time out for you, to do something that you love? I would hope the answer is regularly, but I suspect it’s more than likely to be something that rarely happens. Just like you would pencil in a date in the diary, pencil your me time in as-well. That way, it’s more likely to happen, you can arrange childcare, your work or whatever it is and make yourself a priority. If you can’t prioritise you, no one else will!

Start searching for a workshop, a book club, a yoga class, a craft club, book a treatment, or go out for a coffee.  Just book in something regularly for once a month just for you. Then break it down into something small once a week. Spend an evening reading the book you’ve wanted to start for ages, or listen to a new podcast. Have the soak in the bath. Just some space where you can have some peace, recharge your batteries and focus on making yourself happy in that moment.

I’m suggesting this because the more we go out of our way to make time for ourselves, to treat ourselves, and make new social circles, all empowers us in different ways and takes us on a journey of self -discovery. The more joy you can find in small things in your life, brings you more confidence to try new things, meet new people, form new friendships and attract more love, for yourself and others.

Love has a ripple effect, the more love you have for yourself the more it reaches others around you, you attract more positivity back, once you shift your vibration onto a loving one, life changing moments can happen. I appreciate this isn’t feasible 24/7 but as often as you can consciously try to make a decision to react and just be, in a loving state of mind.

This Valentine’s day, don’t get caught up in the hype, whether you are in a relationship or not, make the focus on you, and treating yourself in a kind and loving manner.

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