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Christmas Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional Speaker

It’s that crazy time of the year when every function, catch-up, coffee, lunch, dinner and drink seems to crawl out from under a rock and demand that you give it some attention.

Almost everyone around me is already exhausted, and the added pressure of all those extra things at this time of the year can easily tip the delicately balanced scales over the edge.

I notice this going on around me because it is how I used to live. When I stop and think about why I used to live this way, I can bring it back to one thing: the need to keep everyone around me happy.

If you’re struggling with an overload of additional activities and you feel like you need a bit of respite from your life, then here’s a few tips that might help to keep you sane in this very demanding time of the year:

Know what your values are. Once you know then, allocate your time to the activities and people that are aligned with your values … and say ‘no’ to the others – that way you know that the activities you add into your day will be ones that will be supporting your energy, not draining from it. Spread the load. There’s no rule set anywhere that says that every catch-up must be held in December each year. So, put off some of those ‘catch-ups’ until the New Year, when you’ll be able to relax and enjoy them more. Have the confidence to say ‘no’. It’s perfectly OK if you can’t fit a function in. Saying ‘no’ is sometimes the best thing you can do; it allows you the time you need to do the normal things in your life without completely exhausting yourself by overloading your system. Be kind to yourself. If there’s something you feel you need to go to, then go along … but don’t think twice about leaving early. Burning the candle at both ends will only make it harder to get through all the other things you have to do. Be prepared. Not only is this time of year full of extra activities, it’s also usually full of extra food and drink. It’s really important that you make sure you support yourself with quality, nourishing food and drink during this time. Spend a little bit of time now so that you are ahead of the game for those times when you’re exhausted and can’t be bothered looking after yourself. You’ll thank yourself later if you get organised now.

Try one or two of these things and see the difference it makes in your life. Remember, you are a human being with free will and you can choose how, when, where and with whom you spend your time.

Make your choices wisely and you’ll reach Christmas Day a lot more refreshed than in previous years. Who knows – maybe you will experience the 25th of December differently as well as a result!

Want more info on ways that you can easily implement these steps? There are loads of practical exercises and activities for living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

This article was first published on www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 29/11/2017

Following Others Bronwen Sciortino Keep It Super Simple sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerEverything you need to know about following other people

I see so many people who are desolate because they’ve tried everything they can think of to get their life under control … and they feel like they’re always failing. They are constantly looking around themselves and seeing everyone else with what they desire: their lives under control, a flourishing trajectory to success and a seemingly effortless ability to seamlessly manage everything that comes their way.

These people end up on my doorstep stressed, exhausted and ready to give in. Why? Because they’ve spent way too long handing over the responsibility for their lives, their health and their wellbeing to other people.

Somehow, as a society, we’ve become a flock of sheep – all following along behind someone else in the mindless hope that they will lead us to the destination we desire. Living like this is now endemic and I see it so much that the first thing I work on with people is their ability to stop and reconnect with their lives, their path and their health.

Before you can reconnect, it’s really helpful to understand a few simple things about the way we now live:

The speed of our life has increased exponentially – and, it seems, on a daily basis – and we’re connected 24/7, with little respite from the noise. We’re left with physical symptoms associated with being constantly stressed, including digestive and gut problems, an inability to sleep and physical aches and pains in our body. We’re extraordinarily busy, and we constantly take on more than we have time for. There is so much information available to us now – right at our fingertips – that we almost don’t know where to start looking for the things we need to know. We know we need to make a few changes for ourselves, but we don’t know where to start. We don’t have time to think about it, we don’t want to do anything that might impact others around us and we’re so exhausted we can’t bear to think about things that might add an extra load to our already heavy burden.

Because of these things, our head is turned and our eye is caught when we see someone that seems to have an ‘incredible’ or ‘inspiring’ outcome around something that we think we need – especially if it is being presented to us in a neat little package that claims to be easy, with the caveat that it works as long as you follow everything they say.

To anyone who is stressed and exhausted constantly, a solution that seems to be as simple as following a process step by step – and has no thinking required – seems to be a godsend. However, it’s really important to understand what you’re signing up for if you choose to go down this path.

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The first step in this process is always understanding what happens when you follow other people instead of listening to yourself. Having spent almost two decades helping people navigate the maze of their own lives, I can tell you that while everyone is a unique individual there are common themes that show up.

So, here’s what you need to know about following other people:

There are so many channels available to people to share their experiences with the world that anyone can literally post whatever they like and wherever they like … and most of them are uncensored, untested and there is no real science or evidence behind them, except for the results that one person has achieved for themselves. We see the results that someone else has achieved and we think that we want what they have, AND that we therefore must do what they have done to get the same thing. When we follow the steps that someone else has taken to achieve their results, we hand over the responsibility for our lives, our health and our wellbeing to someone else. Doing so could mean that we create even bigger health and wellbeing issues for ourselves, because we have completely ignored the fact that we are all unique individuals and we may have very different requirements than the person whom we are following. We see only a small portion of someone else’s life – even when we know the person personally – but especially when we follow the person through a virtual reality. Following what they do based on the small portion that we see could mean that we significantly reduce the quality of our own lives.

I know it can seem really easy to follow exactly what someone else has done to get something we think we want. But there is another way for us to get the things we NEED in our lives.

The reality is that no one knows what we need better than we do ourselves. It is only when we stop and reconnect with ourselves that we find the space to actually discover what those things are.

Reconnecting with ourselves is as easy as learning to ask a few simple questions so that we can quieten the noise and find out what it is we really want. When you know what YOU want, you can stop your head from spinning. All of a sudden you won’t be impacted by FOMO (the fear of missing out) which means you will consciously choose the things you love doing rather than spending your life doing the things that others tell you that you should be doing.

Stepping away from a life full of stress and exhaustion to one that is calm and full of energy is as easy as choosing to find your path back to you.

Want more info on ways that you can easily find your own path? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from my website www.sheiqlife.com.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

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Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Increase Mindfulness Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerHow to Increase Your Mindfulness in Half the Time

Mindfulness seems to have appeared out of nowhere as the salvation to all our problems.

But what is mindfulness, and do we really need it?

Thanks to a multi-million dollar industry that has grown around being ‘mindful’, like most people I was completely sold on the concept that to be mindful I had to be able to sit still for at least ten minutes whilst making my mind go blank.

Actually, there are so many different ways we can be mindful – and at its crux, mindfulness is about being connected with what we’re doing, and making conscious decisions about why we’re doing it.

I was the perfect example of why mindfulness is needed in our lives.

I spent twelve years existing on two hours a night of very restless sleep. I completely bought into the long-held belief that without stress and exhaustion you cannot be successful. My life was out of control. I was constantly draining energy from an already empty tank and finding ways to ignore every signal my mind and body were sending me that it was time to slow down and take some time for me.

I was extremely busy – doing everything for everyone else – so I relied on excuses to support my case for why I couldn’t make changes in my life. If I stopped doing what I was doing, everyone around me would suffer. I would be fine, as soon as I got to the end of the project I was working on. It was okay for me to be tired and exhausted because it meant that I was on the right path to be successful.

In reality, these excuses were simple distractions that kept me from looking behind the veil and seeing that what I really needed was to be more connected to the decisions that I was making.

When I was stuck in a pattern of high stress, low sleep and extreme exhaustion, I was also stuck in a pattern of worrying about things that had happened in the past or things that might happen in the future. I spent almost no time actually living my life in the present moment.

It was like my life was lived on repeat – crisis, solution, crisis, solution … and so on. Deep down I knew that I desperately wanted to get off the rollercoaster I was on, but it all seemed too hard. So I even found a way to deny that the thought had even existed.

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Our lives are now overstimulated and packed to the brim with ‘stuff’ that we have to do.

I was busy, busy, busy – and none of what I was doing was connected to my well-being or looking after my health. I was running on fumes, trying to fit too much into every day, over-delivering on already over-promised promises and desperately trying to keep my head above water. It’s exhausting just trying to describe what it was like – and I was living it!

Every decision was made on auto-pilot and I was completely disconnected from my life, and from what was happening in the present moment. What I now know about this situation is that instead of taking a step back and employing some simple mindfulness tips and tricks, I reacted to the situation by creating more things for me to do, adding responsibilities to my already over-burdened list and pushing myself to the brink of collapse.

Mindfulness could have saved me from a breakdown.

Almost every time I speak on mindfulness, someone tells me that they simply cannot sit still for long enough to make their mind go blank.

My answer to them is always this: ‘I get it – I used to feel exactly the same way!’

If you believe that mindfulness is being able to sit still and make your mind go blank, then most of us will find it very difficult to do. We’re stressed, exhausted, overstimulated, connected 24/7 and almost all of us are way too busy doing things that don’t actually benefit us, or support us in any way. To be able to make your mind go blank when you live like this is almost impossible!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bring mindfulness into your life – mindfulness can help you to cut stress and exhaustion considerably. What I’m suggesting is that the best way to create a more supportive lifestyle for yourself is to find the process that allows you to easily be more mindful. We’re unique individuals, so there isn’t one way that works for all of us.

I was someone who couldn’t sit still, so the thought of meditating was almost impossible for me to consider … until I discovered that there are all sorts of different types of meditation. I tried some of them and found that I love guided meditations that include your mind in the process. My favourite form of meditation is Mahat Meditation, where your mind is involved in running sequences and colours through the chakral system of your body.

Finding these types of meditation meant that I could transition from not being able to meditate at all to a situation where I can now meditate at least 5 days a week for somewhere between 25 and 90 minutes a day.

Another trick is to learn to ask yourself a question before you provide an answer to anything. When you can learn to ask a question, you immediately create a space between whatever is coming to you and your response. The second you create this space you are creating a conscious connection – which is what being mindful is all about. The question I use the most is ‘what if this isn’t right for me?’… but it doesn’t really matter what the question is as long as it works for you.

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Learning to be mindful is a journey. We’ve spent decades teaching ourselves to live the way we do, so we need to remember that it will take us a little bit of time to learn to live in a different way.

If you want to halve the time it takes you to become more mindful, then you need to find the process that works for you. Work out what helps you – the things that make it easier for you to be more connected to the decisions you are making. Once you know what works, it’s as simple as finding the best way to get more of that into your life!

Want more info on ways that you can introduce mindfulness into your life? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Challenge Your Boundaries Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerChallenge Your Boundaries to Ease Your Mind

It was an interesting moment when I realised that the last time I had made a conscious decision was the first time I had decided to crawl.

Deciding to crawl was such a simple act … and yet it was an act that triggered the start of my social conditioning. Just like everyone around me, from the moment I first crawled I was trained that all of my answers were to be found outside myself. I was cheered as I crawled with more expertise, encouraged to walk and praised as I became proficient at it.

Progressively over time, I was schooled by my family, friends, school, community and so on, in all the things that were right and wrong, good and bad, appropriate and inappropriate about myself, my characteristics and my behaviour.

What I didn’t know was that all of this conditioning was forming the basis of the platform that my subconscious would then use to filter information about my life. Filters that would go on to create the boundaries that would define the way I would live, how far I would extend myself and the things that I would – and wouldn’t – allow myself to do as I moved through every day.

I also discovered that the subconscious is always adding and storing information to the long-term memory bank, and as it does so, it also creates lists of similar circumstances that the memory can, and will, be applied to over time.

Here’s an example. If, while walking across a courtyard on a rainy day, I was to slip because the pavement is wet, then my subconscious will not only record that it is slippery when wet in that courtyard, but will also then apply that information to all situations when it is wet.

So, instead of a one-off event where I slipped in the rain, my subconscious would go on to create a memory for me that it is always slippery when wet. Moving forward, I would then apply that to every situation, forever applying a boundary of having to be much more careful of all surfaces when it is raining.

Sure, there are times when this sort of information is helpful and can alert me to take care. However, I also found that there were exponentially more times when the experiences stored in my long-term memory were being applied through an ‘auto-pilot’ response … and I was limiting what I ‘allowed’ myself to do through wanting to minimise the impact of the long-term memory.

In effect, I had allowed my subconscious to create boundaries for me that in turn had created rules around what I could and couldn’t do. To make matters worse, those rules were creating layers of complexity that were significantly limiting my potential; they were essentially squashing me into a small and confined box.

I had spent so much time being squashed in that small and confined box that it had increased the level of fear that I associated with making changes. I can tell you from experience that when you can’t move it’s also very difficult to breathe.

Furthermore, being squashed into that space was taking such a toll on me that my subconscious then created boundaries for me to conserve my energy … and so I stopped doing almost all of the things I loved to do because the rules I had put in place told me that they were no longer good for me.

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Eventually I found myself so afraid to move that my subconscious created blinkers for me and I became blind to the warning signs I was receiving from my body and my mind. Instead, I created rules and beliefs that succeeded in convincing me that it was much better to live in a totally overwhelmed state. Somehow, I had trained myself that being overwhelmed was easier than taking small steps that introduce and encourage change.

Once I understood all of these things it became very easy to take one simple step at a time to do things a little bit differently.

One of the most powerful things I have ever done for myself was to create a process that allowed me to step out of the box I had created for myself. I learned the simple, yet significant, act of challenging my boundaries.

I’ve tried and tested the following method so often – and it has worked so well every single time – that I now love finding something that I can challenge regularly. Here’s how it works:

Identify a boundary in your life. The boundary can be big or small – it doesn’t matter. Just find something that you want to test. I started by challenging some long-held beliefs about physical activities I didn’t think I could do anymore because of permanent injuries. Set yourself an activity that will challenge what you believe about this boundary. Give yourself something to do that will challenge whether what you believe about the boundary is correct or that the boundary no longer applies to you. I set myself a goal of completing a day trek with challenging terrain that I knew would test the beliefs I held about my ankles, knees and back. Consciously take notice of the things that are – and aren’t – true about the boundary. Allow yourself time to get into the motion of the activity you’ve decided to do. If possible, remember to constantly ask yourself how you’re feeling whilst doing the activity. When you’ve finished the task, look at how you went honestly and decide whether the beliefs you held about the boundary are still true. I now know that 95% of the beliefs I held about physical activity weren’t true for me. Give the boundary a new definition. Once you know what is and isn’t true about the beliefs you held about the boundary, you can create a new definition for yourself. Creating the new definition will re-code your subconscious and create new information in your long-term memory. I now hold new beliefs about what I can and can’t do with regards to physical activity and I also know that these are now boundaries that I can challenge again whenever I want to!

Challenging boundaries is now so easy and simple for me that I am constantly looking for things I can test. Every time I go through this process I find that it shifts my perspective about things. The best thing about a shift in perspective is that it opens up so many more options in my life and there are so many more things I can easily do.

More options received in a graceful and easy way makes it so much easier for me to breathe. And … the more rules I get rid of, the simpler my life becomes. It seems that the more I challenge my boundaries the easier it is on my mind.

Perhaps most significantly, my experience has taught me that being ruled by the boundaries in our life is a choice that we make; we can choose to challenge them and breathe easier every day, or we can choose to remain confined and squashed in a box of our own making.

Doing something a little bit differently is no harder than learning to ask yourself a few questions – the choice is yours.

Want more info on ways to challenge some of your boundaries? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

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Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Breakdown Bronwen Sciortino Keep It Super Simple sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerI’m often asked by people what it was like to suffer a complete breakdown.

This is not an easy question to answer. It was such an intense experience that there are still some parts of it that I don’t completely remember. The best way I know to describe what it was like for me to experience a breakdown is this:

Imagine that in five minutes time you are going to receive a shock to your system that is so significant that it will shatter everything you’ve ever known. In that instant, you will lose your ability to think. You will look at the things around you and be completely unable to make sense of what you are seeing. You will know that something isn’t right … but you will have no means of working out what it is, nor where to turn to fix it.

Your mind will be numb. You will have people around you asking you questions, but you won’t be able to understand what they are asking, let alone how to comprehend a way of answering those questions. You will suddenly be unable to stop crying … and you won’t know why.

Now overlay on all of this the fact that you cannot explain any of this to anyone … because you don’t understand any of it yourself.

In essence, you move from being a fully-functioning adult to being lost, lonely, terrified and completely dependent on those who are closest to you … within the space of minutes.

You’re lost … because you cannot cognitively function as you once did so easily.

Everything around you is foreign and you have no way of connecting to how – or why – it is in your life. Perhaps the worst aspect of this is that you look in the mirror and you don’t know who is looking back out at you.

You’ve lost all sense of who you are – the things that used to go together to make you a human being are gone, and it feels like they will never be found again.

You’re lonely … because you cannot understand what is happening to you, and that means you cannot explain to anyone else what is happening to you.

All sense of belonging has completely disappeared. You feel completely disconnected from the community around you. And because you can’t explain what is happening to you – and there is no physical wound for people to see – it is hard for the people around you to understand what you are experiencing.

So, to rationalise your status in their own minds, they decide for themselves what is wrong with you, and what will fix you. Then, when you don’t comply with these decisions, they get frustrated with you.

You’re already extremely vulnerable, and then someone says something to you that they think will help to ‘lift you out of your funk’ and it wounds you like a knife, making you fall backwards into the abyss you’re trying to climb out of. This makes you feel like those miniscule forward steps you’ve taken have been lost.

You’re terrified … because everything you knew to be true about yourself and your life are suddenly gone and you have no direction.

You don’t know where to turn, where your answers are, or how to ‘fix’ your situation … because you don’t know what is wrong with you, and therefore you don’t know what questions to ask.

You’re also utterly terrified because you’re suddenly dependent on someone else for your survival – something that is completely foreign to you and not something you’ve ever needed to deal with before. Previously, as a functioning adult, you could take care of everything you needed, but now even the basic things are difficult and everything else seems almost impossible.

What is it like recovering from a breakdown?

In its simplicity, when you are at the bottom of the abyss and things are at their worst, you are faced with a choice: you must choose to either live or to die. You will have to make this decision at a time when the choice isn’t clear, and when you are at your most vulnerable and have the least energy you’ve ever had in your life.

Having made the choice to live, I then had to face the challenges that recovery would bring. I can put my hand on my heart and say that recovering from a breakdown was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

It took me two years of exhausting, invasive and confronting work to get myself back to a point where I could function at a basic level on a day-to-day basis. It took a further year of this work for me to be able to step forward and take my place in the world again.

Sitting in front of complete strangers was daunting. Being asked questions that forced me to look at the deep, dark, hidden places within myself and learn to not only recognise but to love every single piece of myself again was even more daunting.

Overlaying this with trying to find my way in the world again and it was without doubt the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

What have I learned from experiencing a breakdown?

Before my breakdown, I was under constant and unrelenting stress, and I was completely exhausted. I had completely bought into the belief that we must be stressed and exhausted for us to be successful. I had pushed myself to extreme limits to be a high achiever – to present a perfect facade. I had existed on two hours of restless sleep a night … for the previous twelve years. I was constantly draining energy from a completely dry tank – which meant that I was effectively cannibalising myself for existence.

Through the process of recovery I learned exactly who I am. I re-connected with myself and I now know – and understand – my gifts and strengths … and I can openly acknowledge them.

I’m not afraid to be who I am anymore. I’m not afraid of my greatness and what that brings to the world. I’m now comfortable in my own skin. I am re-charged, re-connected and re-energised.

Perhaps, most significantly, I learned that all of these things were available to me before I drove myself to breaking point – I had simply chosen to be blind to the pathway to finding them with ease and grace.

I learned that we spend a lot of time playing the ‘judgement game’. This is where we critically assess those around us to determine whether – in our opinion – they are successful or not, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate – you get the idea.

What I now know is that this game is simply a distraction. It distracts us from looking within ourselves to determine whether we’re on our own path. It distracts us from seeking answers that we think we might not want to hear.

Perhaps it took me learning these lessons so that I can share my experience with others, and they can take small, easy steps now to move their lives in a different direction. Perhaps my road can provide a map for others, where they can make change without first experiencing the extreme pain that I endured.

It seems to me that our society teaches us to hold a fascination with the suffering of someone else. I’m not saying that the fascination comes from a macabre viewpoint – not at all. Rather, I believe it comes from us trying to work out whether that suffering is a legitimate option for us to take so we can escape the way we currently live.

My advice, having experienced the trauma of a breakdown and the long and exhaustive road to recovery afterwards, is that if you wake up every morning exhausted, having not slept well after being subjected to constant and unrelenting stress from every corner of your life, then it’s time to take a few simple steps that will help you think and live a little bit differently.

The easiest way to do this is to find the people who will teach you how to re-connect with yourself – the ones who will teach you how to learn from yourself. Let go of the grip you have on your distractions, and allow yourself to unfold from that small ball you’ve allowed yourself to be rolled into.

You can, of course, choose to keep going the way you are and hope that your breakdown, when it comes (and it will eventually come), will be kinder to you than mine was to me. However, I know that it is a much simpler option to take some small, easy and completely manageable steps now that can move your life to a different path in a kind and gentle way.

There is a very different way to live … and it is no harder than learning to ask yourself some simple questions. Will you stay the way you are? Or will you take a tiny step forward and put a toe in the water of a very different way of life?

Want more info on easy ways to step forward and create a kinder life? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Breathe Sunflower Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerGive a little less, breathe a little more

There are times when it can feel like the weight of the world will crush you.

The longer you carry the load, the heavier it becomes. The heavier the load becomes, the more stories you tell yourself about why you are carrying it. And before you can blink, you find yourself under constant stress, sleeping poorly and feeling like you’re on the edge of exhaustion.

You find your thoughts wandering to what it might be like to simply collapse and let yourself fall into oblivion. For a few minutes you might even wonder what it would be like to sink into a chair and have someone drug you into senselessness, so you might escape your life for just a little while … and then you guiltily remember all the things you’ve promised to everyone else and the way the world would collapse if you didn’t deliver.

So you soldier on.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, we’ve accepted conditioning that has led us to believe that we have to be stressed and exhausted before we can be successful. We’ve grabbed hold of this story, taken it by the arms and run away with it until it is so ingrained in us that we cannot see otherwise … to the point that we now live our lives with this belief as a guiding principle.

Often, we don’t find out that living this way is doing us significant damage – at least, not until we suffer a traumatic event that brings us to our knees. Part of the problem is that our current way of living allows us clarity only when we stand still long enough for the message to be received.

Why do we live like this?

We’re educated, intelligent people, right? So what compels us to live our lives in such an insular manner, completely oblivious to the speed with which we are storming down a pathway that ultimately allows us one of two outcomes: death or destruction?

The answer is simple. We live our lives at such speed – and in such an unconscious way – that every action, thought and reaction is made on auto-pilot, without any thought given to the outcome for ourselves.

We struggle blindly from crisis to crisis, fighting nobly to put out the ‘bush fires’ of our life, and desperately focus on the next mini-break that might offer us salvation.

We give everything we have to everyone around us because we believe that this fulfils an unwritten contract that will guarantee we will be successful. We drain our energy resources until there is nothing left, in the hope that this means that we will be rewarded.

In reality, we’ve forgotten that we have the power to direct our own life. We’ve forgotten that we have the power to make decisions for ourselves. We’ve forgotten that there is another way to live.

The thought of stepping away from all the commitments you’ve made to everyone around you is something that brings great fear to the heart of most of us. But here’s the thing: the weight of the life we’ve created is too significant for most of us to maintain for very long.

Living life differently is as simple as learning to ask yourself a few simple questions; questions that help you to make conscious decisions about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

For most of us, being able to step away from just one of our commitments is enough for us to find some room to breathe a little more. Room to breathe increases our ability to think, and when we have space to think, we are more likely to make decisions that are better for everyone around us – and, perhaps more importantly, for ourselves.

It’s time to recognise that the way we’re currently living isn’t working for us. It’s time to understand that by giving a little less, we give ourselves space to breathe a little more … and that by breathing a little more we’re creating a better world for everyone around us.

Want more info on ways to create more space in your life? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Keep It Super Simple: Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist Average Rating: total customer reviews…

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

This article was first published on www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 20/07/2017

KidsNutrition_Blog | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

By Monisha Iswaran

There is so much conflicting information out there nowadays about what we should and shouldn’t be eating in order to be healthy. Sometimes it would honestly be so much easier if someone would just tell us what to do! Here are a few easy-to-follow rules that will help you and your family feel well nourished throughout the day – from working adults to newborn babies!

Eat Regularly!

It’s so much better to have a few small meals a day, or at least break up your day with snacks, than to go several hours without so much as a carrot stick. This helps you to avoid the awful feeling of a blood sugar crash and also means you are less likely to go crazy on unhealthy food late at night (and that never makes anyone feel good)! Not to mention, you are likely to be more productive at work or school if you have a couple of snacks to keep your energy up.

Sometimes with children, it can be difficult to ensure they are having snacks regularly. Set up a high chair in your kitchen, so your little ones will have to sit in one spot until they finish their snack – and then they can go play. This will give them focus so that they know when they are popped in their chairs it’s time for their snack break.

Get Enough Calcium!

Having enough calcium in your diet has been proven to make you feel better and boost your overall mood – regardless of age! Great sources of calcium include kale, yogurt and milk, so if you can incorporate these ingredients into meals or snack time they’re bound to provide an energy boost.

Iron Is Just As Important!

Another thing you shouldn’t be skimping on is iron, as it supports energy levels and is extremely important in transporting oxygen! People who are anemic, or lacking in iron, are known to experience bouts of fatigue which is something you definitely want to avoid. Foods that are rich in iron include red meat, oatmeal and lentils.

Get Lots Of Veggies In Throughout The Day

There are so many creative ways you can include veggies throughout the day. In the morning, consider getting up a little earlier and making a blended vegetable juice. You won’t get a sugar spike like you would with fruit, and it helps you to retain fiber throughout the day. You can even pack them in to-go cups, so you can drink them on the way to dropping the kids off at school. Other ways to include vegetables at meal times are omelets, soups and wraps!

Choose Snacks Carefully

Remember when we said eating regularly was a good idea? Let’s revisit that. It doesn’t mean grabbing a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar. Eating regularly is only a plus point for your health if you’re picking the right ingredients. A small serving of nuts, a granola bar, a banana or some berries are perfect ideas for light snacks, either mid-morning or in the afternoon. If you’re the type who loves a coffee break, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! A hit of caffeine in the morning can actually jumpstart your metabolism (although it’s definitely not good to get the kids started on caffeinated products too young!) Just make sure you’re taking in lots of water throughout the day to keep yourself properly hydrated as well.

*Note: Families With Babies

Of course you’ll need more specific tips on how to properly nourish your family members if you have an infant in the house. One tip is to feed your baby in a nursing chair, as this allows both you and your infant to be comfortable and relaxed, making the breastfeeding process a lot simpler. It’s also important to remember that if you’re a new mummy, nourishing yourself properly and keeping healthy will result in much better quality milk for your little one.

In short, keeping your family healthy, with a good level of nutrition in their systems doesn’t have to be a complicated affair with heaps of meal prep on the weekends. Sometimes the best way to start is just to follow a few tips or guidelines that are relevant for your family, and you’ll find that everything else starts to fall into place!

 

Labels Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional Speaker

Are you hiding behind your labels?

From the time we can crawl, we’re conditioned to live in a way that is deemed acceptable by everyone around us.

For some of us, the decision to crawl was the last real decision that we made all on our own – with no input from anyone else. Nobody tells us we should crawl – we simply make a decision to try it out. But then we’re congratulated and everyone around us is super happy with our achievement.

Next, we hit the “terrible two’s”, where we start to explore our boundaries. This is where we’re taught – through social conditioning – what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not. From this point forward we are conditioned to rely on everything external to ourselves to find the answers.

With this comes a set of rules that we’re given about almost every aspect of our lives. For most of us, these rules govern the way we live, and we obey them in an auto-pilot kind of way … very rarely being conscious of what we are doing or why we are doing it.

The rules come laden with the ‘stuff’ carried by the people who have given the rules to us, and when we’re not aware of the stuff – or the rules, for that matter – it means that we create ‘labels’ for ourselves that we hide behind so that we don’t have to challenge ourselves in ways that challenge the rules.

Labels can come in all sorts of different formats. They might be physical injuries, or physical conditions. They might be religious in nature. They might be in relation to your friends or family. They might be qualifications or educationally based labels. They could be related to clothing standards, where you live, the type of car you drive, the type of restaurants you can eat at, or even the type of groceries you buy.

Labels can be very invasive and we can be completely unaware of the way they are interacting in our lives. For example, I made a decision to try some yoga classes. Somewhere along the way I had created a label for myself that the only yoga classes that were worthwhile were those run by a pure yoga studio … and therefore, that the yoga classes offered by my local gym were of a low standard.

Then I had a day where the timings at the yoga studio didn’t work for me and I had to go to the class at the gym in order to fit a yoga session in. I was astonished to discover that the class at the gym was better than the class at the yoga studio. In fact, the variety of teachers at the gym was much more varied and I could experience a range of different types of yoga and teachings if I attended the yoga at the gym. So … I stepped away from that label and opened up a whole new growth area for myself.

Another example of a label I discovered was based around the injuries I have. I have permanent injuries to both of my ankles, I have had double knee surgery, I experience sciatica and I have a healed- separated fracture in my back. My social conditioning and ‘label set’ told me that, as a consequence, there would be a load of things that I could no longer do – and for a time I found myself sitting around at home lamenting all of those things I could no longer do.

The second I stepped out from behind that label, I found myself hiking in amazing scenery in different places around the world. Sure, my body’s recovery process from doing these things is quite different than it was before these injuries, but I am determined that they aren’t going to stop me from doing and seeing the things that I really want to see and do.

I’m also not reliant on prescription or pharmaceutical drugs to be able to do them … because I stepped away from that label too.

You can find labels enmeshed in all areas of your life. The biggest challenge from a label comes from stopping long enough to identify that one exists. If you do identify a label in your life, then here are three things that might help you to step out from behind it and move forward without it:

Research – start researching what else is happening in the area you’ve identified. For example, if it’s an injury, what are other people around the world doing in similar fields? If it’s a condition, what have other people found in natural environments or sources that can help you? Question – start asking yourself questions around the area you’ve identified. Your answers will always be within you; your intuition will tell you whether or not you’re on the right track and whether the information you have is relevant to you or whether there are other things you need to find or try. Explore – remember that we are all unique individuals and there is often no one solution that works for everyone. Start to explore and try different things and make a note of the ones that work for you. Put together your own solution for what works for you and your body. ‘You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.’ (anonymous)

You choose – are you happy hiding behind your labels, or is it time to do something differently? Eradicating your labels is no more difficult than learning to ask yourself a few questions that help you to see things a little bit differently.

Want more info on how to identify and then eradicate your labels? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

This article was first published on www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 20/06/2017

Resilient Enough Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional SpeakerHow Do You Know If You’re Resilient Enough?

We live in a time of connection, yet we are more disconnected from ourselves and others than ever before. We spend our days in a state of constant stress, rushing from thing to thing. We surround ourselves with ‘stuff’ that is insignificant and that matters little in the big picture of our lives.

Somewhere, somehow, we’ve morphed into over-stimulated, materialistic ‘stress heads’ who have just enough stimulants in our lives to mask the symptoms of the pain we are actually experiencing.

We’re left with our heads spinning, our health declining and our minds needing to be stronger and stronger every day – just to keep going.  We grab for the newest, shiniest, brightest thing that might be the one thing we’re looking for to release us from having to live like this – the one thing that might catapult us to success. But until that one thing comes along, we need to find a way to survive.

Living like this leaves us with a need to find things that support us through our day, so we reach for artificial stimulants like caffeine, sugar and carbs to keep us going whilst searching for our way out. Clever marketers realise that we are desperate for a way out and create buzz words like ‘resilience’. These are then followed by the appearance of whole industries creating a crutch for us to make it through until tomorrow.

But what is resilience? And do we actually need it?

Resilience is really just the ability to smoothly ride the waves that life gives us. It’s being able to calmly and gracefully tackle our challenges in a manner that enables our learning whilst at the same time allows us to experience the great parts without going into an overstimulated sense of excitement.

Resilience is about being consistent with how we act, react and behave.

It’s a relatively new concept in our lives, because stress and exhaustion have only recently been adopted as key components of our life. There’s a direct correlation between the level of stress and our need for resilience. Not that long ago our lives were a lot less hectic, a lot less visible and a lot less stressful. Not surprisingly, then, there wasn’t the same need for resilience to survive.

So, how do you know if you need resilience?

Think about the answers to these questions about the state of your life right now:

Do you spend every day bouncing between crisis and challenge and back again, before heading home to log in to the computer to do the work that didn’t get done whilst you were putting out fires? Do you spend all of your time giving everything to everyone else and leaving nothing for yourself? Do you manage less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night? Do you have high levels of constant stress and/or exhaustion in your life?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then chances are you probably need to be resilient. All of these things on their own adds a significant strain to our ability to function normally, and most of us have more than one of these things happening at the same time.

How do you get yourself some resilience?

We really only need resilience because we’ve adopted a way of life that doesn’t support us on a constant basis. Perhaps the bigger questions here are these: How long have you been existing this way? How much longer will you continue with this being your ‘norm’?

However, if you make a conscious choice to continue living the way you are (and let’s face it, this is a common unconscious choice for many of us), or you have a short period of time during which you need to live this way, then you may need a few tips and tricks to assist you in creating a quality of life situation for yourself.

Building resilience really comes down to two things:

Self-compassion

One of the biggest stress-building areas of our life is the pressure we put on ourselves. When we take a few moments to remember that we are human and that we’re doing the best that we can, it can allow the pressure valve to release and let us breathe.

Understanding your ‘why’

One of the most supportive things we can do for ourselves is to understand why we are doing something. When we understand why it is important to us that we do something, we can then use it as a guiding light to keep us focused and on track. Having a really strong ‘why’ gives us a repeatable measurement to determine whether or not to do something – if it supports our ‘why’ then we do it, and if it doesn’t support our ‘why’ then we don’t do it.

Perhaps the best place to start is to decide whether or not the way you are living is supporting you. If the answer is ‘no’ then it’s time to look at ways you can do things a little bit differently.

It doesn’t take much to live your life in a very different way and there are loads of tips and tricks on how you can easily do this in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn

Combatting the Stress Bronwen Sciortino Keep It Super Simple sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional Speaker

Combatting the Stress of Being a Leader? Here’s Five Things Women Can Do Almost Immediately

There’s a reason ‘it’s lonely at the top’ is one of the most commonly used phrases by people in leadership positions … and it’s never been more true than for women who take on leadership roles.

The basic definition of a leader is something as simple as this: a person who leads or commands a group of people or an organisation. However, the reality is that leadership is often complex and demanding.

There are so many layers that come with being a leader. The added burden of being responsible for a group of individuals is something that most women take extremely seriously. The best leaders appear to effortlessly display qualities like honesty, delegation, communication and confidence. All this at the same time as knowing how to inspire their teams to achieve dizzying heights.

Often, there is little or no training offered for individuals to become great leaders. If you’re lucky, you come across someone who inspires you, and you find a way to learn from them. But for most leaders they learn on the job and, depending on the culture of their workplace, they sink or they swim.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most women in corporate roles (other than in the public service) seem to have to battle a great deal of bureaucratic red tape in order to access company-sponsored training funds. What this means is that any formal leadership development training comes at their own expense. Additionally, age-old customs and long-held beliefs see women finding it hard to justify spending time and money on themselves, so there is an added impact on their ability to access quality training that can assist them with personal and professional development.

For women, leadership positions come at a greater cost. We take the responsibility of looking after, and leading, others very seriously. We absorb the pressure from above and shield our teams as much as we can, without considering the cost to ourselves as we do so.

All of this adds up to a significant yet silent load that stress places on the shoulders of women in leadership. Stress plays a massive factor in our lives, but we’ve been taught that stress and exhaustion are necessary components of being successful.

As a leader, we take on the responsibility of asking people to follow us, but we need to consider what we are asking them to follow. We spend so much of our time committing ourselves to the needs of others, the business, our boss and our team members … and we forget to make sure we are OK as well.

We may physically leave the office building at the end of the working day, but technology now means our work travels with us when we go home. Our immediate focus may shift from what is happening in the office to what is happening in our family, but technology allows those two domains to overlap and blend throughout the day. There is no respite; we’re in demand and on notice 24/7. We don’t get a break and this amplifies the level of stress in our lives.

We’ve been trained to live like this – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

To combat the stress of being a leader, you can benefit almost immediately from focusing on the following five things:

Make sure that sleep is a critical component of every day. Sleep is essential for making sure you’re well rested. Stress levels rise significantly when you’re tired, and there’s a direct correlation between being tired and an increased difficulty in decision making. Allocate some “Me Time”. Set aside a specific period of time each day to relax and re-charge your batteries. Make sure that you structure it so that you cannot be reached and where you disconnect from technology. Re-charging your energy in the right way not only allows you to fulfil your everyday activities, it also assists in achieving beneficial sleep. Establish your ‘posse’. Who are the people in your life that you could call at any hour of the day or night if you needed them? Are any of these people outside your immediate family group? Make sure you schedule time to catch up with these ‘go-to’ people regularly – this will keep your posse current. Plus, if they’re your ‘go-to’ people, chances are you are theirs in return. Connection is key. Make sure your friends are people outside your workplace. Your friends should be people who help you re-energise, but they should also be people who help you grow and develop. Pick the people who will tell you the truth in a loving and kind way – not just what you want to hear because you’re their boss. Spend time with positive people. Spend time with people who leave you energised after spending time with them. Intentionally choose to have people in your life that will pick you up.

There is nothing normal about being constantly stressed and exhausted … and there is a very different way to live that is no more difficult that learning to ask yourself a few questions that allow you to think a little bit differently.

Want more info on how to reduce the stress in your life? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

This article was first published on LinkedIn on 27/04/2017

SheiqLife Logo | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker
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