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Would you like to know how to reduce the worry, stress and anxiety in your life?

Would you like to know how to release stress, worry and anxiety? Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stHaving spoken to and worked with a significant number of women from all over the world, there are a few things that they all have in common.

One of these things is that every single one of them has something in her life that is causing her to worry, stress or have anxiety.

I’ve yet to find a woman anywhere in the world who has never experienced worry stress or anxiety of some form.

Every woman experiences some kind of worry, stress and anxiety…

Not only have I spoken to many women about this…I also happen to be a woman!

If I had a penny for every time I’ve worried about something, got stressed or felt anxious…I’d be one very wealthy woman by now!

From a passing thought about an upcoming deadline that interrupts my yoga practice, to a full scale meltdown over the stress of my job when I worked in the corporate world…me and anxiety have become well acquainted.

So I wanted to know how to release this worry, stress and anxiety…

Studies have found that women differ from men not only in their emotional responses to stress, but also that acute and chronic stress may take a greater toll on womens’ physical and mental health.

Just some of the symptoms that women suffer from with stress are: Reduced sex drive, irregular periods, acne breakouts, hair loss, poor digestion, depression, insomnia, weight gain and decreased fertility.

So finding ways to reduce and release any worry, stress and anxiety that you’re experiencing has got to be a good thing!

So today I share with you one really quick and easy tip to help you to release the stress, let go of the worry and say bye bye to anxiety:

The more you practice releasing the worry, stress and anxiety, the easier it becomes…

When we first begin doing this, it can seem a little challenging…after all we’ve been in the habit of worry, stress and anxiety for a long time!

So this week I invite you to notice any time that you are experiencing worry, stress and anxiety, and give it a go.

Practice it as often as you can and before you know it, it will be second nature!

…and if you know another woman who experiences worry, stress and anxiety, then I would love for you to share this article with her so that she can begin to practice it too…even better you can support each other along the way.

Find a friend you’d like to do this with and commit to sending each other a text, message, or email whenever you feel worry or stress coming up with what you’re focusing on in the moment to let it go.  It’ll mean you have some support along the way, and you get to share ideas for what to be grateful for in the moment!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Do you have a peaceful place?

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1stToday I want to share with you how important it is to have a peaceful place.  Somewhere you can go to relax, unwind, de-stress.

These days life can get a bit much from time to time with so much to juggle it can feel stressful and overwhelming, and it’s so important to have somewhere to decompress and get some space.

So today I share with you one of my ‘peaceful places’ and give you some ideas and suggestions for your own…watch the video to find out all about it…

I’d love to hear about your ‘peaceful places’, so please leave me a comment below to share your thoughts…

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

Would you like to know how to just let it all out?

Let it outWe all know that life has its ups and downs, it’s stresses and strains at times, it’s highs and lows….that’s what makes it interesting!

Sometimes though, us ladies can get caught up with this idea that we need to be perfect, and that no matter what happens that we need to stay in control.

Especially at times like these,  its important to remember that perfection is an illusion…as is control.

We see in magazines and on television all about how to have the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect home, the perfect career, the perfect life!

But what is perfection?!  It’s all subjective.  …and if you’re anything like me you appreciate something that is perfectly imperfect.

Life needs to have its downs otherwise you wouldn’t appreciate the ups as much!

As for control, well control is also an illusion.  The only thing that we can control in life is what we say and do and how we react to situations.

…and herein lies the problem.

Sometimes, in order to try and keep ‘control’, we ladies insist on controlling our emotions.   A situation comes up which upsets us, disappoints us, or makes us angry, and in order to feel like we’re ‘in control’ we hang on tight to our feelings and either bury them, distract ourselves from them or cover them up.

The downside of this is that these feelings don’t go away, they just end up staying there, inside us, eating us up and sometimes causing us other problems (like affecting our health) until such time as our guard is down, when they have a bad habit of bubbling back up to the surface and catching us unawares.

So I hear you asking, “How else do I deal with it?”

Great question.

Well, as we’ve discussed previously the best way to deal with negative emotions is to allow yourself to feel them…because it’s only when you’ve felt them completely and totally that you are able to release them and let them go.

But we’re feminine women!  We’re not supposed to shout or scream or get upset are we?

I say, “Why not?!”

Passion and emotional connectedness are fundamental parts of femininity…if we don’t allow ourselves to embrace these aspects fully, then we don’t allow ourselves to embrace our femininity fully either.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting for a second that you start shouting and screaming the moment that something irks you slightly…but I am suggesting that you allow yourself to “Let it out” when something is bubbling under the surface.

…and letting it out doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

There are so many ways that you can release those emotions in a way that will help you to feel better, and not scare the living daylights out of anyone nearby!

A couple of weeks ago, a large group of friends all got together for a friend’s 35th birthday in London, where we went for dinner and dancing at a Greek restaurant.

Plate Smashing

Plate Smashing!

Now, if you’re not aware already…the Greeks have a tradition which is a fantastic way to ‘let out’ any stress you might be experiencing in a fun way – plate smashing!

At the end of the meal they play some traditional Greek music and everyone is invited to take some plates and smash them on the floor.  It’s great fun, doesn’t cost very much money and is a fantastic way of ‘letting out’ any emotion you might be hanging on to.

…and plate smashing isn’t your only option…Smashed Plates

Here’s a list of 10 ways to ‘let it out’ which will make you feel better…and some which might even make you smile too:

  1. Sing along to a fitting song at the top of your voice (being in-tune is optional) – some song suggestions are: “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, “So What” by Pink and “Ready to Go” by Republica.
  2. Have a good cry.
  3. Go running…run as far as you can as fast as you can.
  4. Take it out on a pillow.
  5. Pull faces at yourself in the mirror.
  6. Find somewhere remote and shout it out at the top of your lungs.
  7. Take up kickboxing.
  8. Dance around like a 4 year old.
  9. Write down everything you’re feeling and then tear the paper up into tiny pieces.
  10. Take up Krumping (a dance style created in LA to give kids an alternative to gang-life and to help them to release their anger in a positive and non-violent way)

…or come up with your own – this is a great opportunity to get creative and think of some ways to ‘let it out’ which will work well for you.

…when you let it out, you can let it go…and trust me, you’ll end up feeling a whole lot better.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

I'm fine

No thanks, I’m fine.

I'm fineHow many times a day / week / month do you say this sentence, or a variation of it?

It’s ok.

I’m fine.

I’ll manage.

It’ll be alright.

We spend our lives telling everyone else that we don’t need any help, assistance, guidance or support.

Often, when someone offers to help, the words of dismissal leave our lips almost before the suggestion has been made in full.

It seems that we are so used to proving to both ourselves and everyone else around us that “we can do it” and “we can cope” that we don’t even stop to consider the offer.

I feel we are so good at giving out and helping others…but not so great on the receiving front.

Well, the downside to that is that even the deepest of wells have a bottom at some point…and if you keep taking out, without putting back in, eventually it will be empty.

Us women are exactly like this. We give out, and out, and out, and out…but we forget that in order to have something left to give, we need to remember to replenish.

Receiving is a vital part of maintaining our feminine core…if we receive, we can continue to give.

Many years ago, I was the personification of the phrase “independent woman”. If something needed to be done, I could do it, I could handle it. There was nothing I couldn’t manage.

I would offer to help everyone else…with pretty much anything…but I didn’t like accepting help.

I didn’t want to put anyone out, or inconvenience anyone. I could do it….regardless of the fact that it might take me twice as long, or three times as much hassle.

When someone reminded me of two things:

If I kept giving out constantly…and never received…sooner or later there would be nothing left to give.

By not receiving myself, I was denying other people the pleasure of being able to give. Helping or doing something nice for someone else can really make your day…who was I to deny someone else that great feeling?

It was a major wakeup call.

I was chatting to a friend last week who was organising an event and having trouble finding a venue. When someone offered to help, her instinct was to say “No, don’t worry about it, I’ll manage”…when instead she found herself saying “actually, that would be great”.

Those 5 words saved her stress, hassle and extra workload which (given everything else that needed to be done) made a HUGE difference to her week.

The venue was sorted, and she didn’t have to worry about a thing…and the person who helped got to feel great about helping out someone they cared about.

It was a win-win situation…which wouldn’t have existed if she had insisted on proving that she could do it herself.

So the next time someone offers you help I’d like to ask you to be a S.T.A.R.

Stop – Stop first before saying anything. Be sure to respond to the offer they are giving you, not react to the fact that someone is trying to help.
Think – Think about what they are offering you. Would it help you? Will they feel good for being able to do it? Could you suggest a compromise which would work for you both?
Acknowledge – Acknowledge what they have said and thank them for their offer.
Receive – Receive the offer graciously.

If we all learned how to be stars…think how sparkly life would be! 😉

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

resolutions-list

Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way – Part Two

resolutions-listSo in Part One of Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way we talked about ‘What is your Why?’, Being Realistic, Focusing on the next step and enjoying the journey.

And here, as promised, are the final three steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way:

4. Take time to recognise and reward

When you do something, anything, towards your resolution or goal, take the time to feel good about it. Recognise what you’ve done, and reward yourself even if it’s just with a smile and a metaphorical (or physical!) pat on the back. It is so important for your momentum to take the time to recognise the progress you’re making (big or small) in order to stay motivated. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and take the time to acknowledge yourself and your actions.

Remember, nurturing is a key part of your femininity. So many women focus their nurturing nature externally and forget that the most important person to nurture is themselves. So make sure you nurture and support yourself by recognising and rewarding yourself as you go along.

5. Don’t persecute yourself!

The flip side of the previous point is to remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Sometimes things won’t work out exactly as you had planned, or your won’t achieve what you wanted exactly how or when you expected to. That’s OK. What’s important is for you to be OK with the fact that it’s OK.

To give you an example, my first big thing for 2012 is to sort out my morning routine in order to set me up well for the rest of the day. I have other goals which relate to my business and my personal life, but I figured if I get my morning routine sorted it will give me more time and energy for those other things later on.

So my aim this morning was to get up, and do some writing, a short meditation and some exercise before I sat down to work for the day.

I set my alarm for 5.30am last night in order to give me time to get it all done.

When the alarm went off, I got up immediately (yes, I was shocked too!) and went next door to do my morning writings (a technique I’ll share with you in a later blog post). I then had a 20 minute meditation before getting ready for my run. A half hour run later I came back to shower, wash my hair, change and get ready to sit down to work.

However….there was a small issue.

I had wanted to be sat down to work by 8am.

I wasn’t ready to start work until about 8:40am.

At this point I had a choice.

In the past, I would have taken this as an opportunity to berate myself for not getting things done the way I intended, and being late in sitting down to start work.

But having learned my lessons on this, instead I decided to allow myself a moment to feel good about achieving all of the things I had wanted to do before starting work. I felt great from the run, and was really pleased that I’d got up when I planned to and got straight on with everything I’d wanted to do.

So I was a little later than intended, but I can always adjust as the days and weeks go on. The main thing for me was to feel great about achieving what I had set out to do and allowing myself a moment to acknowledge that.

6. Buddy up!

It is so important to have support when you’re trying to make any change in your life. If you feel like you’re doing it alone it feels that little bit harder than if you have people who are rooting for you along the way. So in order to give yourself the best chance get yourself a buddy. A buddy can be anyone. It can be a family member, it can be a friend, it can be a person from work, a person at the gym…anyone. As long as they can and will fulfil the following criteria:

  • They will keep you accountable. This means they know what your goal is, they know what you’re doing to achieve it, and they will do their best to keep you on your path by positively supporting you.
  • They know your why. You have explained to them what you are doing AND why you are doing it. They know why it is important to you, what benefits you will experience from achieving it and can use this information to support you along the way.
  • They will positively support you. They will be your cheerleading squad every step of the way, recognising and acknowledging all the steps that you are taking.
  • They will remind you of your why if necessary. If you appear to be wavering on your path, they will use questions to remind you about what you are doing, and your reasons in order to re-focus you. It’s often good to actually give your buddy the questions you would like to be asked if you appear to be having a difficult day.
  • Ideally you will also be able to be their buddy. Buddies work best when it is a two-way process. It’s much easier to receive support if you are also able to give it…and vice versa. It is also easier to know what support will help your buddy if you are trying to achieve something and need support yourself. You don’t have to have the same goal…you just both want support in what you are setting out to achieve.
  • They will celebrate with you when you reach your target! 😀

Make sure that you choose someone that you can trust to meet all of the above criteria (there’s no point having someone who will support you when you’re doing well and who will criticise you if you make a mistake!!) and if you can support them at the same time as they support you, even better.

As feminine women, community is vitally important to us, so if you can find a supportive buddy that’s a great first step. If you can find a supportive community, even better! If you want some help finding a buddy, or some support along the way then pop over to the Feminine 1st Facebook group where you will find hundreds of fabulous women who will cheer you on and offer support on your journey.

So there you have it, the six steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way! Good luck…and remember to enjoy the journey! 😀

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

resolutions

Six Steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way – Part One

resolutionsThe start of a new year is great.

You feel like you have a completely clean slate.

The previous year is past, gone, forgotten.

It’s time to start anew…create the new you that you’ve always wanted.

We create our resolutions, set our goals for the year ahead and get excited about the possibilities that the New Year holds.

We look at our lives and start to work out what we would like to improve.

We resolve to lose weight, eat better and exercise more.

We commit to becoming a domestic goddess (well Nigella made it look easy enough…)

We decide that this will be the year where our career moves to the next level.

We are determined to become the best partner / mum / friend / sister / daughter in the world.

We will give up all vices (smoking / drinking / chocolate etc etc).

We agree to finally sort out our debts once and for all and start that savings account that we’ve been talking about for ages.

The only challenge is, as women, we have a tendency to want to (and expect to) create perfection.

And when do we want to see this impossibly perfect version of ourselves? Immediately.

We start the new year off with a mountain of pressure on ourselves and what seem like impossible to achieve goals. It’s no wonder that new research has shown that the many people give up on their resolutions after less than a week!

So in order to help you to enjoy the process, I’ve created six steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way:

1. What is your why?

The first thing to ask yourself is what do I really want? It is so easy at this time of year to feel pressured by everyone (family, friends, even the TV!) into what we think we *should* be doing. We’ve already discussed the dreaded ‘should’ word here so if you hear yourself saying the ‘S’ word (be it to yourself or to other people) take a moment to have a read and remind yourself how to stay out of the ‘S’ trap.

The second question to ask is what do YOU really want? If you’re completely happy with you and your life as it is…then why change anything? If you like your job as it is, then why focus on a promotion? If you are happy with your figure, why try to change it?

If it isn’t broke…don’t fix it! 🙂

If you do want to change something, what is most important to YOU? What would make the biggest difference to your life? What would make the biggest impact to how you feel? What would make you the most happy?

In order to be connected to our femininity, we need to look after ourselves first, in order to then give the best ‘us’ to the people who mean the most in our lives. In order to do that we must focus first on the things that mean the most to us.

AND…if we’re trying to achieve something that means a lot to us, since our ‘why’ is that much stronger, we’re more likely to be successful than if we’re doing it for someone else anyway! 🙂

2. Be Realistic

Overwhelm is a major problem for us ladies. We take on everything at once, try to make it all perfect, and then wonder why we end up crumbling under the pressure we’ve put ourselves under. So rather than expecting to make every area of our lives perfect in the first two weeks of January, how about we pick the one which means the most to us first? That’s not to say that we aren’t going to do anything on the others, it just means that we’re going to look at them one at a time.

Who said that resolutions or goals needed to be set in January? You could do them every few months if you wanted to. That way you could do something for four different areas over the course of a year. The chances of success are far greater if you focus on one thing at a time rather than pressuring yourself to do everything at once.

We also tend to be quite unreasonable in what we expect of ourselves, and then end up beating ourselves up emotionally when we don’t hit our target. So first we need to be realistic with what we can achieve. For example, aiming to lose 3 stone in weight (that’s 19kg for our metric ladies!) in a month is not going to be achievable in a healthy and sustainable way. So step one is to make sure that were not setting the bar too high.

The next step is to take any large goals we have and break them into smaller, more manageable chunks. If we want to lose some weight, why don’t we start with just a few pounds in the first month? If we reach our goal ahead of time, fantastic…we will feel great about our achievement and can create a new goal (and even be a little more ambitious if we want to).

3. Focus on the next step and enjoy the journey!

As you may know, last year I agreed to start training for a marathon…so I did a lot of running in 2011. One thing about running that I always struggled with was hills. Especially big steep hills.

I realised that the challenge was being caused by my focusing on the top of the hill all the way up. The top always felt like such a long way from the bottom or the middle (or wherever I was located on the hill at the time!) When I looked at the top, the task of getting there always seemed overwhelming and would often cause me to stop running.

I then discovered a neat little trick.

Wherever I was on the hill, if I just focused on the next step that I had to take I was fine. The next step was always manageable. The next step was always possible. The next step (as long as I took it in the right direction!) always took me another step closer to the top.

So my advice to you is always to focus on the next step, rather than setting and focusing on expectations for yourself that seem overwhelming or a long way from where you currently are. If you want to improve your fitness, rather than setting yourself an expectation of doing something every day of the week, focus on what you can do today in the direction of your goal. You can then do the same tomorrow and the day after. Likewise if you’d like to lose a significant amount of weight by a date in the future, also set yourself a target for this week and focus on that first.

As long as you keep taking the next step you’ll soon be at the top of the hill wondering how you got there!

As feminine women, being completely goal-orientated isn’t a part of our core nature (as opposed to our masculine counterparts) and so focusing on the journey rather than the end point is a great way to stay connected to our femininity along the way. Even better, if you can focus on and find a way to enjoy each next step on your journey your femininity will flourish with every step!

Come back on Friday to find out the final three steps to achieving your resolutions the feminine way…or if you just can’t wait until then you can receive part two later today in the Feminine 1st weekly Newsletter. To receive part two today as well as your free “First steps to Femininity” MP3 to kick off the New Year, just sign up to the newsletter here.

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x