3 Steps to Thrive In Isolation

As we settle down in to this lockdown period, I think it’s an important time to reflect and revaluate where we are in life. To press pause and think about what really matters to our happiness, and how we can create a lifestyle revolving around that.

In the absence of distraction and noise, and busyness. This is the perfect time to find out what we value and plan how we can cultivate a life of value when we emerge from this lockdown period.

That said, settling into the lockdown can be challenging at first, so here are my three steps to help you get through these changing times.

1.Build Structure Into Your Day

In times like these, it’s important to create structure in your life because it will being you routine and certainly. Uncertainly is what breeds panic so if you can start to make your day more predictable then you will start to create certainly in your situation. With that, you’ll start to feel more in control and thus more empowered – which is exactly what you need in times of uncertainty like this.

To do this, can you wake up at the same time, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times throughout the day? This will help you break up the day into chunks, then you can fill the spaces in between with work (if you can work from home) or activities.

I live with my flat mate and her two year old, so our structure looks a bit like this –

7 – Wake up, tea

7.30 Meditation

8 – Fitness

9.30 – Breakfast

10 – work/audio book (for the toddler)

12.30 – lunch

14 – Work/Play on the roof terrace

17 – Bath (for the toddler)

18 – Dinner

20 – Bed time (for the toddler)/Wind down – reading/watching a movie/chatting

We don’t always stick to this in a fixed manner, but we do use it as a guideline to help us manage the day. The aim of the structure is to create a plan in a space where there is no plan but we still have flexibility within it.

2. Create a Rhythm For Your Day

By creating a rhythm in your day, you’re priming your brain to build up and wind down depending on what stage of the day you’re in. The rhythm is what you create by putting certain activities into the structure of your day, and this is how you can set yourself up to win for each activity.

Using this technique will help you create a sense of mental stability so you can face any internal challenges that might come to the surface in your isolation period – you know, the times when you feel panicky because ‘oh my god we’re locked inside the house and there’s a virus out to get us!!!’ Or the times when you feel deflated and demotivated because you can’t do what you want so what is the point in doing anything.

These feelings are natural, so let them come up but do help yourself by putting the systems in place to help you throughout the day.

I start my day with a meditation and a hot lemon tea because this helps me wake up and get ready for my fitness class. The fitness class starts with slow mobility stretches and then builds up into a cardio workout – this builds up my energy for the rest of the day.

In the middle of the day I come out of my work rhythm to sit for lunch and connect with my house mate and her son – this gives my brain a break.

Then at the end of the day, I come out of my work space again and we have dinner together and then we wind down by doing activities that are calming. I usually finish the day with a mediation or listening to music because it generally calms my brain down, and I sleep better.

You might have a different rhythm but whatever it is, be consistent with it. This will serve you so much in the long run.

3.Utilise Your Physical Space

There’s no point getting caught up with what we can’t control – the ‘what if’s’, the ‘what they’re doing’, the ‘we should have’. Instead focus on what you can control, such as utilising your physical space.

A way you can do this is to create different zones for different activities, and then you can make sure that each zone has the appropriate set up for that activitiy

This is another brain priming technique to help you work the best in a zone, however it also can help you change your mood if you do it wisely.

For example you could have a quite/wind down zone which you only use for reading, meditating and sleeping. You could have a work zone which you only use for working and brainstorming in.

By using these techniques you’re giving yourself the best chance of thriving through the isolation period. You might even find yourself becoming motivated to do the things you’ve been putting off for years, or even to try new things that you hadn’t thought of before. If anything, I hope these steps help you centre yourself and inspire you to use this reset in the best way possible.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, JOIN MY FOCUS GROUP FOR THE EMPOWER YOURSELF PROGRAM. The program is free and all I ask of you is to give me feedback and a testimonial. The group starts on Monday 30th March so you’ll have to act quick! Email me at shereen@shereensoliman.com to find out more.

Also, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips – my subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Check out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent. Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,

Shereen x

3 Steps To Cultivate Calmness In The Chaos

As I write this, the Coronavirus is sweeping across the world. I’m in Mallorca, which is in lockdown, much like most of Europe. There’s panic, erratic behaviour, a lot of fear inducing facebook chat and silence as the whole island grinds to a halt.

The virus, like many fear inducing situations, shows us how easy it is to get caught up in our emotions. That many of us aren’t aware when we sway over into fear, and very few of us can bring ourselves back to calm and logic when these emotions are high.

What I want for you to take from this blog today is the message of how useful it is to your wellbeing to become aware of how you feel and to practice bringing yourself out of those undesirable emotions and back to a place of calmness, clarity and clear thinking.

This is empowerment.  

And Now is the perfect time to practice (I mean, how else are you spending your days if like me, you’re in isolation).

  1. Check Your Sources Of Information

Whether you are in a country participating in lockdown or not, it’s undeniable that the panic hype is real. Much of this is driven by uncertainty, hearsay and less than educated opinions of friend or foe on social media. Right now, there is no time better than this to start questioning your sources of information.

What credibility does the person bringing you this ‘news’ have to tell this story?

Are they bringing you the story with added dramatic voice tones, exaggerated circumstances and scary future scenarios? If so, can you ignore all that and find the truth in the message?

Can you get this same message via two more independent sources of information? If not, can you take it with a pinch of salt?

Start questioning the manic sharing of scare mongering information openly, so others can realise that they’re not questioning their sources either. Many of us don’t question information before we pass it on, and this is a part of the problem when it comes to spreading mad panic across societies. Be the first. Start questioning.

2. Slow Down and Take a Breather

Are you finding yourself feeling panicked and running away into the world of ‘what ifs’? If so, slow down, take a time out, get a cup of hot something (tea is my thing) and breathe. It’s easy to run away with a chain of thought which is purely speculative and fuelled by fear. However, whether or not there is truth in what you fear, allowing yourself to dwell in that fear doesn’t help you. In fact, it’s actually counterproductive to your overall wellbeing and will most likely leave you feeling like you don’t have any power to change your circumstances – all of which isn’t true at all.

Ask yourself these questions – when you’ve felt really fearful about something happening,

               Has it ever actually happened the way you feared that it would?

               Did you deal with the situation and continue to live your life? (I mean, you’re here reading this blog right?

               Did feeling the fear and sinking in to it, and thinking of all the possible situations, things that could be said, done etc, actually prepare you in any way in the moment that the thing happened? – Probably not is what I’m suspecting here.

What I’m trying to demonstrate is that this speculative fear and the panic that ensues is pointless. Even if your what if turns out to be right, often the way we act in the moment is completely different to how we thought we would, so the only thing that we’re left with is the ego acknowledgement of ‘I knew this would happen’. Are the bragging rights of saying that sentence worth the fear you feel and how much energy, space and time it occupies in your life?

3. Is This Bringing You Joy Right Now?

Personally, I’d like to spend my life enjoying it rather than feeling fearful of ‘what if’ speculations so I try to inventories my thoughts, feelings and actions as much as I can by asking myself one simple question.

Is this bringing me joy right now?

If the answer is no, then I make the moves to get out of that thought pattern, conversation, or situation. Pronto.

An example of when I ask myself this is when I’m lost in the thought pattern of a speculative argument. I might be thinking like this because I’m worried about how someone will react when I set a new boundary. I’m literally trying to run through all the situations of what could be said so I can try and prepare myself for how I’ll react. Yes, as I just pointed out – it’s pointless to do this… but I’m human too so I still can find myself lost here.

The thing is that when I ask myself if this thought pattern is bringing me joy, I suddenly become aware of how I feel – that my body is tense, and my face might have an angry expression on it, that I feel angry and upset and vulnerable inside. Knowing that I don’t want to dwell on those feelings motivates me to let go of the thought pattern and instead choose to think of something that brings me happiness instead. Usually things that I am grateful for in the moment or day dreaming about all the amazing possibilities that can happen in life.

If you’re wondering what I am feeling in this time of lockdown and quarantine, it’s this…

I’m grateful that I’m in Mallorca, my home base, with my friend and her son. Grateful that we have running water, access to heating, and the internet as well as lots of books.

I’m happy that we have food in the fridge, some great cookery books and a fully stocked kitchen of appliances so that we can spend time making beautiful meals.

I’m excited about the ways that we can use the time and the space that we have available to us right now. That I can create some more content for my blog and YouTube. That I can finish the audio books that I left behind earlier this year. That we can do workouts in the lounge. That we can play with the toys we have (with or without my friends toddler). That I can practice meditating every day. That we can do odd jobs around the house that often get left.

There are so many ways to flip our perspective on a situation, and by doing so we can find the peace in the panic. So I invite you to find your place of calmness within this, and trust me, your mental health will be grateful for it.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Also check out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent? Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

3 Steps to Finding The Right Therapist

I posted this post quite a while back and I find it SO relevant today. Now that therapy and sorting your stuff out has become a ‘thing’ (at least it definitely shouldn’t be shameful!), I think it’s ever more important to approach these professionals with discernment. That’s what you’re going to get from this blog post.

Firstly, a few things you should know…

Like with any profession, there are people who do it well and there are people who don’t do it so well. The thing is that when you’re in the role of client you’re putting your mental health and wellbeing in the hands of someone else, so it’s very important that you’ve vetted this person to make sure that they’re up to the job.

What I’ve found with many therapists, counsellors and even psychologists is that they lack the self-awareness and humility to admit that their ego can pop up during a session and project on the client. Here’s the thing – we’re all human. We all have egos. We can all project, have blind spots and ‘act out’. The problem is, that if the person who is holding the space of your mental health is not aware of themselves enough to know when they’re in their own ego, then you as the client can be in a very vulnerable and sometimes dangerous position.

That’s why it’s very important for you as the client to be discerning when you pick your therapist. By going through these steps, you’ll be equipped to do just that.

  1. Does the therapist have appropriate qualifications?

Firstly it’s important to be clear on the therapy you want and to make sure that the therapist is qualified to provide this. The first question I ask before I even meet up with a therapist is what kind of qualifications they have and what school they studied at. A therapist who is confident in their ability will happily provide their course and school details and answer any other questions you have. If you ask this question and the therapist starts to get defensive then to me this is a red flag I would question whether or not this is a person you want to have a treatment with. Seriously, if they are so insecure that they feel the need to get defensive with you then that’s already showing you that they might not have the skills. Also, by them getting defensive is a clear sign that they aren’t self-aware and cannot emotionally regulate – red red reeeeed flag!

  1. Meet up with them first

A very good piece of advice I got from Dr. Jenn (one of my best friends who’s a very good psychologist) when I ended up in a bit of state because I was seeing a counsellor that unfortunately wasn’t right for me, was to meet up with the therapist before paying for a session to see if you ‘click’. I’ve come to realise that this is something very important especially with any kind of psychological treatment (CBT, NLP, talk therapy etc) because if you don’t feel comfortable and safe in the presence of the therapist then this will limit your ability to heal. Why? Because you won’t open up and then you can’t process your stuff because it’s still locked away. What I mean by safe and comfortable is that you feel physically and mentally safe but also on an emotional level, which means that you shouldn’t feel judged by the therapist. Instead you should feel like you can say anything that comes to mind, that you can cry and that you can feel free to explore these areas of your emotional spectrum.

Since receiving this information I now meet up with anyone before having a therapy to see what my gut reaction says about them. If you don’t have a good gut feeling then it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is bad, it’s just your instinct saying ‘not this one’, keep going until you find someone who is right for you.

  1. Can they provide what you need?

It’s important to be clear with the therapist about what your expectations are of the treatment and to ask them whether or not they can provide what you need. A credible therapist will be clear about what they can and cannot offer and steer you in the right direction to get what you need. It’s better to communicate this before the treatment so that both parties are clear on the expectations. For this, you’ll need to have a think about what you want from the treatment? How many sessions can you pay for? How deep do you want to go? Do you need to be able to take a break from the sessions at some point?

I think this step is even more important when it comes to people who are selling packages. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes clients need that container of ‘6 sessions’ etc, but some don’t – I certainly know that I don’t work this way anymore, so make sure you decide on a framework that suits you in your life right now, that you can change later if you want to.

Also be careful of people who promise the world because only you can heal yourself, it’s just the therapist’s job to provide space for that kind of unfolding. Hopefully if you follow these three steps you’ll get the right person for you.

Have you checked out my YouTube channel for videos on all things Emotionally Intelligent? Please subscribe if you like my content, and I’ll keep on providing great insights for you!

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

No More Censorship

There’s something I’ve battled with over the last few years, as I’ve worked my way through the healing journey. Something that’s leaves me feeling conflicted in a ‘did I do the right thing’ kind of paralysis. You know, the whole ‘does this sit with the values of who I am, of what I preach’ – and we all know that I’m a preacher!

Basically, it’s when it comes to speaking out about how I feel, when I feel hurt by the actions of another. I guess this is because I know that by expressing how I feel it means that it’ll leave the other person feeling upset too, which of course means that I’m then the one causing the upset – moral dilemma 101!

Personally I believe that we all have the potential to be the victim or the villain – I especially, can be reactive, judgement and hurtful at times. I know that I can also be the one who feels pain when someone is nasty, aggressive or hurtful towards me. I think we’re all somewhere along this spectrum and that we can sway along it in varying degrees, in fact I think that’s completely natural and normal to do so.

What I don’t agree with though, is people causing hurt towards another because they’re unaware that they’re doing it or because they’re not taking personal responsibility to heal their own pain.

Because this is how trauma is passed on – unconsciously.

We’re all human and most of us have negative behavioural patterns, ways that we’ve been taught to respond to certain pains in our life, certain traumas. Most of us picked up these patterns throughout our developmental stages of life and for the most part, they remain unchallenged.

The problem is when these patterns are destructive to our relationships, and we’re not even aware that we’re doing it.

Patterns such as dismissing or belittling a partner’s feelings, teasing a sibling or shouting at a colleague. What bothers me most is the censorship around this – how many of us don’t speak up when we feel hurt, so because of the unawareness it continues.

Lately I’ve committing to stopping this censorship within myself, and I invite you to do the same.

If you’re looking at where to start with this, I strongly recommend reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson.

Be the one who speaks up when you experience hurtful behaviour.

Tell that person who you love – I love you but I feel upset and I no longer wanted to be treated like this.

I know what I’m asking isn’t easy but without this we’re not going to change this behaviour and we’re not going to eradicate hurtful behaviour.

To win a copy of my latest book- Scattered sign up here now. All entrants receive the first chapter of the book absolutely free anyway, and the draw for the free book will be on the 6th of March 2020.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exclusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With courage, Shereen x