Do You Take Painkillers For Toothache or Do You Visit The Dentist?

None of us like toothache, but a visit to the dentist will result in a filling or worse still.  The truth is, no matter what we do, the problem tooth isn’t going to mend itself.

So much of what we do today in our personal lives and in business is about glossing over a problem, fixing the symptom and not the cause.

Many of my clients approach me because they are struggling to lose weight, yet it is only when we start to scratch beneath the surface that the reality of the problem becomes apparent.


Reaching for food can fill a gap, caused by a plethora of realities.  Do we eat because we’ve had a bad day, what caused the bad day?  Have we reached for that snack because we’ve taken something that someone has said badly?

So before you reach for that bar of chocolate or hunk of cheese, ask yourself do you really want or need it?  And if the answer is no, then what is causing the stress that you’re trying to ignore.

I am frequently approached by people who turn to food rather than tackle the underlying problem.  If you see yourself doing this then  give me a call today on 07714 216388 to how we can tackle the cause together




Case Study – Facing Change

Sometimes its useful to share case studies with you. Although data protection prevents me from sharing personal details, I can give you a flavour of the case and an idea of the decisions the client made.

This case study is about Peter, with a comfortable job in middle management, well paid and well thought of for a large organisation.  Peter was comfortable and happy in his role.

His organisation was going through a number of changes and restructuring. Peter had already accepted additional responsibilities and a pay rise he hadn’t really wanted as an alternative to a reduction in responsibilities and pay freeze, when out of the blue it became necessary to relocate too.  Peter was against the change and it had unsettled him. He’d lost focus when I started to work with him and felt forced into a corner.

Peter and I talked about his long term goals and his options.  His goals were focussed around the long term financial security for his family and these conflicted slightly with the immediate need to get home at a reasonable time and spend time with his family.


copyright Carolyn Trafford


We spent some time exploring his options and Peter was able to acknowledge that he had a choice.  That choice was around spending extra time now with his kids or funding their universities fees.  There were two key realisations:

  • Choice.  He could choose to spend quality time with his kids now, at the expense of funding university.
  • Empowerment – His employer wasn’t forcing him to take the relocation, that was exactly in his control.

So he had choice and empowerment – this didn’t change the fact that he had new responsibilities and a commute – it simply allowed him to understand that it was all within his control – not his manager’s.  And once he moved on he was able to think about how he could manage his work’life balance more effectively.

If you are facing difficult choices or change it can help to talk to someone who will help facilitate your thinking.  Reflections Coaching has experience working with people and change, please get in touch if you want to know more about how Reflections can help you or your company. 

Contact or call on 07714 216388 today






Seeking Some Calm On A Summer’s Day?

Crikey! Its Friday already, the sun is shining and promising to do so for the weekend, I have had a busy week of clients, business meetings, committee meetings, social media and updating my website and a meeting with my mentor!

It seems as though every meeting I attend – I come away with half a dozen actions, dump my notes on my desk and shoot out for the next meeting.  Its good to be busy however I’m simply not keeping on top of my admin AND I want to spend some time in the sun.

If I’m not careful I have a tendency to end up with to do lists for my to do list.

This is a typical example of how work/life balance can become difficult for many of us, particularly SMEs and sole traders.

I saw a great speaker this week as part of the Hay House Summit, his name is Greg Sherwood and you can listen to his talk here.  I’ve not included the name of the talk and you should only listen to it if you can handle a certain amount of bad language, however I liked the idea behind his approach.  The concept being to to write down everything that is causing you stress, score them on their importance and basically say “shove it” (my words – Greg’s are stronger) to the items scoring below a 7-8.

You can choose words that you are comfortable with, the stronger they are puts some weight behind the act of “shoving them” much more than simply crossing them off a to do list.  By vocalising the act, it somehow has more meaning.

I liked the concept and am adapting it for my own use.

What methods do you use to get rid of your stress?


This week’s photo was taken on the recent expedition in the Lake District.  For me it represents the kind of calm I am seeking in my working day.


Is It OK To Always Be Right?


I’m always right at least according to hubby.  I’ve spent years educating him that way.  And proving it too.


If I look back it started when a teacher at school explained that he only ever placed a bet with someone when he knew he was right and would win.


I was quick to realise that if I only strongly stated my case when I knew I was right I would always be right and the competitive part of me like that idea. It meant I could win arguments more often and know when to walk away from them.


At what point this kind of thinking gets out of hand I’m not sure, but I now hold a much stronger desire to always be right, its built up over the years and now I feel as though I lose face if I’m wrong.


Accepting that its OK to be wrong is quite a change in thinking for me, however its one that I need to do.  Needing to always be right can put a huge amount of pressure on us, when we’re already in busy worlds leading busy lives.  And lets face it, if I’m wrong occasionally then someone is actually right in that instance and that’s OK – in fact its a bit of a win/win.


So have a bit of a think.  What is it that you do that just puts unnecessary pressure on you?  Please share your thoughts.

English: Cover of the 2009 print of Thinking a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually in my role as a coach I have to put aside any feelings of being right or wrong and accept  my client’s views of their world. So I’ve had plenty of practice – its just a matter of transferring this to my personal life.  If you need help with something that holds you back, give me a call on 07714 216388 for a no obligation chat.



No time for a little R & R?

I’m a little late posting the week – not because its a bank holiday but because we’ve taken a few days out for a bit of a holiday.  We’ve had three lovely days on Anglesey at Church bay ands its reminded me about the importance of a bit of R & R.

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day stuff. Emails that pile up and post. To do lists that are longer than shopping lists. Mobile phones……

Our break was about getting up earlyish and taking the dog to the beach before a lazy breakfast then going exploring and walking lovely expanses of beaches and trekking coastal paths to lighthouses. Leaving technology behind. A space to breathe in.

Its critical having that space to breathe and not always practical to escape to Anglesey so I thought I’d share a very simple mindfulness technique with you. I use it a lot to calm me down when stressed is nervous and even find it useful in helping me sleep.

Simply take deep breaths. Breathe in for the count of seven and out for the count of eleven. Simply concentrating on your breathing focusses your mind back on the hear and now and makes you aware of focussing on you!  Scientifically its also helping by expelling lots if carbon dioxide and taking more oxygen into you system in turn aiding your brain and concentration levels.

Why not give it a try. Would love to hear your thoughts.

How Do You Eat An Elephant? – And What If You Have More Than One To Eat?

So how do you eat your  elephant?

The common answer is one bit at a time.  I’m sure many of you will have come across this before.  Its a common analogy for tackling your goals.  But its not always that easy is it?

At this time of year I start thinking about my goals.  All that stuff that I haven’t done yet but intended to do this year and all that stuff I want to do next year.  It can be a bit over- whelming.  And of course some of the goals require you to tackle many bits in one go – so the one bite at a time rule goes straight out of the window.

I quite like to use a priorities grid.   Simply draw a line right down the centre of your page vertically and then another one horizontally across the middle.  Label them:

High Priority – Quick to do

High Priority – takes time

Low Priority – Quick to do

Low Priority – Takes Time

Now you can list all your goals in the quadrants.  This tends to work best if you can break your goals down into all the little stages and split these across the quadrants.

Now start to tackle the High Priority – Quick to do tasks – it will amaze you how much you can achieve in an afternoon or even just an hour.  It’ll help you tackle that elephant one bite at a time AND multitask in getting more than one of those goals heading in the right direction.


So how do you tackle your goals? I’m sure my readers would love to hear your solutions too.


All I Want For Christmas ………

Are you feeling the pressure of Christmas?


There are so many demands placed on us at this time of year.  If it isn’t hard enough coping with a job, career, running a business coupled with your home life, this time of year (wonderful that it is) comes complete with lots of other pressures.


Those pressures can not only place increased demands on your time, and lets face it – all that socialising takes up time, not to mention the extra grocery shopping, gift shopping, wrapping, cleaning, decorating……..   Need I go on?


Then there’s the extra stress.  Where is the money coming from? Is the family going to get on? Will uncle Tom like his gift – should you change it now?  There’s pressure coming from all angles to get everything just so.  Just so – to make sure that everyone enjoys their festive season.


Have you ever stopped to ask where this pressure comes from?  Perhaps you should.  For most of us the pressure that we feel will be driven internally.  Those little voices that tell us to get everything perfect are not our friends and families.  They’re ours!!!!

And if you asked your friends and families what they thought.  I suspect the advice would be the same as mine.  So if you want to make more of this festive season, then replace your current internal dialogue with these simple words.

Stop and take some time out to enjoy your festive holiday.  Your friends and family will enjoy it more by experiencing the pleasure of your company and seeing a more relaxed you.  No one will notice if you fail to serve the cranberry sauce.

What advice do you have for others wanting to make the most of Christmas?  Please share.




‘Tis the season not to get stressed…….

I’ve been finding myself getting a little stressed this week.  I’ve got a lot on work wise, I still have the Christmas wrapping to do, presents and cards to deliver and cooking to organise, that’s on top of having an awful lot on at work, and fitting in those last important gym sessions keeping me nicely toned for Christmas.  I’m sure everyone is feeling pretty much the same, so I just wanted to remind you of a few key things to remain relaxed and enjoy your holiday season and distress ready for 2012.

Manage your time – Most of us use some kind of to do list.  Make sure everything is written down so that you’re not worrying about what you might forget.  AND prioritise.  You might want to make sure that everything is attended to in the finest detail, but don’t stress out over the things.  Remember that it might be more important to enjoy your time than whether every present has a bow around it.

Remember what is important – Everyone is entitled to enjoy their Christmas Day and that includes the cook.  So what if you don’t have absolutely ALL the trimmings with your turkey.  It’s the people you’re eating the turkey with that are important.

Take our some ME time – I’m a big advocate of ME time.  At Christmas its as important as ever.  If you want to disappear for half an hour for yoga, relaxation or just time out there’s no need to feel guilty.

And most of all – remember to have a wonderful time.

christmas 2007


This will be my last full blog post until the New Year so remember to start thinking about what you’ve achieved during 2011 and what you want to achieve during 2012.


Stress! – My Stress Buster Techniques

STRESS – A little word for a big scary thing.

Some people refer to stress as an illness and talk about the symptoms, others use it to refer to the cause of the symptoms.  I googled the dictionary definitions.  It varies greatly however I think these two sum up what I want to talk about.

Emotional pressure suffered by a human being or other animal.

n. A mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterised by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.

Therefore there are two ways in dealing with stress.  You can deal with the symptoms or the cause.  Clearly dealing with the symptoms only provides temporary relief from the problem.  Often it is necessary to control the symptoms in order to tackle the cause.


Symptoms of Stress
Image via Wikipedia


Here are my top stress buster tips

1         Tackle the symptoms.  Take frequent short breaks at work or home.  Stretch! Move around!  Use simple relaxation techniques such as meditation or walking.

2         As always – get regular exercise.  Joining a fitness class or going to the gym or even a regular walk will get you away from the situation that’s causing you stress and can be a great way of meeting new people.  Also a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind.  See my previous blog post.

3         Get a support system – Find people with whom you can share your feelings, make sure they’re positive people.  If you talk to someone with negative thoughts they may simply further reinforce the way you’re currently feeling.

4         Start to tackle the root cause – Talk to your boss at work or whoever it is that can help in the situation you’re in.  Ensure that you’re getting the support you need and deserve.

5         Be assertive, don’t take on extra tasks that you really aren’t able to do.  If you explain that you’re already busy, people tend to understand and work with you to resolve it.

6         Take control of your situation.  Choose to leave the stressors behind you when you’re out with the family/dog.  You can’t do anything about them in the middle of the park so why worry about them.

7         Take time out. – ‘me time’ is important.  Especially if your stress is being caused because people are relying on you.  You will be much better placed to help them if you’re relaxed.


My top tips are there to help you regain some control of your situation.  If you are unable to manage the situation yourself do not be afraid to get professional help.  Doctors will be able to advise.

Can exercise really lower those feelings of stress?


Anyone who follows me on other social networking media such as Twitter and Facebook will have observed that I regularly declare the health benefits of a Lake District Walking Holiday or long walks in the Peak District.  In fact I believe them to be good for the soul…..

….. and in fact good for the body too.

Actually any exercise is as good for the mind as it is the body.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve come away from a really stressful day at the office, feeling tired and worn out, headed to the gym for my favourite exercise class and left all my stresses behind me.  In fact its one better than that! It gives me a real energy boost for the rest of the evening.  Well at least until about 9.00pm when shattered I fall asleep. That’s good too because the decent nights sleep I get sets me up afresh for the challenges of the next day.

Fresh Air & Exercise – so good for you.

Copyright http://www.reflections


In fact, I read an article recently that talked about studies into people with depression and that significant improvements in their mental health were seen as a result of combining exercise such as running, with their normal medication.  The article suggested that the effect of exercise on metabolism could increase serotonin, but also that exercise could act as a therapeutic distraction, diverting attention from an individual’s worries and concerns.

For me this is evidence enough of a link between the well-being of body and mind of which I have always been an advocate.  In my life coaching, I include a “walk & talk” session for suitable clients.  It really helps them to think.

As a coach I maintain I will never tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.  That is for you to decide, so I’m not going to tell you all to go out and increase your exercise regimes, however I know for me it helps so if you feel you need a bit of stress release, why not consider exercise as an option.

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