Staying A Lert? Better To Stay Alive

So, we are all now told to “stay alert”.

What, exactly, do they think we’ve been doing in the last ten weeks??

What this instruction does not offer guidance on is what you are supposed to do if you are quietly staying alert, minding your own business in the queue at your preferred supermarket, when someone walks past you closer than 2m; very much closer than 2m.  Slowly, taking their time.  And coughing.  They’re not wearing a facemask.

Do you give them a very British, Paddington Bear stare?  Tut?  This is known as passive aggressive in the jingo.  Do you scream at them… that’s pure aggressive!  Or just fearfully hope they didn’t give it to you?

If you are worried about all this, that’s perfectly normal.  Most normal people are worried right now.  Even more so than the previous weeks of lockdown.  And the guidance for that wasn’t all that clear!

But now normal people are confused and fearful, while thoughtless people think the pandemic is all over and they have carte blanche to act as they like once more.

There are things you can do to lessen your anxiety about these times.  For your physical health, you can treat everyone as if they have the bug and keep out of their way.  Don’t think “she just queue-barged!  How unfair!”. Think “She’s a thick twerp who doesn’t know what she’s doing, and I pity her.  And I kept away from her, well done me!”

For your mental well-being, you can explore getselfhelp.co.uk which is packed with practical emergency and long-term advice and exercises to tackle depression, anxiety, phobias and other worry related conditions.

Stay safe and stay well… and stay a lert.

Stir crazy?

No parties.

No sports fixtures.

No theatre.

No live music.

No pubs, clubs, restaurants, coffee shops.  No browsing in TKMaxx or M&S.

There are odd scarcities in the shops.  I mean, who is really doing all this bread baking anyway?!!

And you are cramped, locked up with your family whom you love (normally!).  Or you’re by yourself trying not to despair or go mad.

Lockdown steals our freedoms, in return for a reduction in the likelihood of catching a deadly disease, a cruel disease that kills its victims by using their own autoimmune system to suffocate them.

One way of surviving the lack of freedom is by finding what good you can in the situation:  the quieter than usual traffic noise, meaning you can hear the birdsong better, or taking joy from stories like that of Captain Tom Moore (£28m and counting!), or from all those rainbows in windows.

If you can, try to find 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and either think mindfully, or of your God if you have one, or just dream of what you want to do when this is over and plan how you will make it happen.

Because joyful dreaming is a kind of meditation, a good relaxation, and one of the best freedoms available to anyone.

Stay home, stay strong, stay safe everyone.

When someone you love dies…

Grief is awful.  Everyone says nice things about the deceased, they offer you words like “he had a good innings”, “a merciful release, really”, or “let us know if we can do anything”.  The funeral happens.

And everyone goes away and carries on living their lives.

And yours stays stopped.

Yes, the well-known ‘grief curve’ does describe a lot of what we feel when we are bereaved…but, in the immortal words of Mr Eric Morecambe, not necessarily in the right order….

mixed-stages-of-grief

And your life stays stopped…sometimes for years.  Every birthday, Christmas, anniversary, the wounds reopen.  Every time you pass that restaurant you both loved, every time you hear a certain piece of music, and so very many people cannot understand why, after all these weeks, months, years, you haven’t ‘got over it’.

This callous ignorance is bad enough when the deceased was a member of your family.  It’s even worse when it’s someone you loved who happened to be a dog, cat, rabbit, or other furry, scaled, or feathered friend.

It can be even worse when the deceased person, the someone you love dies…but their body exists without them: dementia.  Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia is affecting more and more people, and their carers are becoming less and less supported either practically or in society’s estimation.  They are taken for granted.

Hypnotherapy can help both sufferers and carers.  Please ask around to find a practitioner near you (but not me, because I’m not trained yet!).

The gentle approach to this dreadful disease is within your grasp.  There is hope.

Why we grieve for people we’ve never met

This last week, there were lots of touching tributes to Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear (among many other childhood favourites).  As well as the beautiful bronze statue of Paddington in Paddington Station which became an impromptu shrine, Twitter and other social media sites were filled with affection and sadness.  There was a little flurry of photos of people’s own Paddington Bears being comforted by their other bears, with the poignant caption “We’re sorry for your loss, Paddington.  We will look after you.”…a reference to the label around Paddington’s neck.

The same sort of outpouring happened when Sir Terry Pratchett died.  Some clever fan set up a petition to Death to bring the author back (sans his Alzheimer’s).  It wasn’t intended to be successful, of course.  It was intended to allow his fans a way of expressing their grief in a way that we all knew he would have appreciated (and found funny).

If a public figure has captured the public’s imagination in any sphere, it is natural for us to feel sadness and grief at their loss, even if we never knew them personally.  And this phenomenon isn’t new.  Think of the mass grief that met the deaths of Rudolph Valentino, or Horatio Nelson, or Princess Diana.

If a celebrity and/or their work has struck a chord with us, the reality is that we do know a part of them.  They have connected with us.  When they die it is natural to grieve the loss of that connection…and the possibility of more connections that might have been.

RIP Mr Bond.  We will look after your bear.

Title-tittle-tattle

image

Hi, I’m Ruth.

Hello, Mrs Barlow here.

Actually, it’s Mrs Ruth Barlow FRSA, MPhil, BA (Hons), CertMgmtNFP (Open), CertHypCS.

All of us are several different people in one: the person we are at work, the demon at the pub quiz, the lady who always walks her dog at the same time, daughter, wife, Mum, Grandma.

While setting up my business I wondered what name/title would be most acceptable to potential clients and came across a conundrum.

Would you prefer someone who comes across as friendly, or someone who has so many letters after their name they can’t all fit on her business card (sad but true!).

The truth is, of course, that someone can be both, and, in hypnotherapy, counselling, and other caring professions, most practitioners are.

So…hi, I’m Ruth.  I’m highly-qualified but don’t let that put you off.  I’m human really.

 

New, new year

romney_sheep_ewe_with_triplet_lambs_in_new_zealand

 

So it’s New Year’s Day 2017!  Any resolutions yet (that you haven’t already broken)?  Every year we all make unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and then, we inevitably fail, and we blame ourselves.

2017 doesn’t have to be like that.  2017 could be the year that you decide to face your fears, tackle your problems, and by harnessing the amazing power of your unconscious mind, succeed, triumphing over issues that may have hamstrung you for years.

Last year, among others, I helped a lady overcome her fear of spiders…a fear that had dominated her life for over 50 years.

You could be my star success of 2017!