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Feel the Fear and do it anyway, NEW DATE

Feel the Fear Logo

Change your life this summer!

Join us for a Feel the Fear workshop to help you live your fullest life.  Only a few spaces left!  Free Bonus MP3 download if you book before Friday 17th July.

This workshop uses tried and tested strategies that have helped over 12 million people world-wide!

What is it you fear?  What is it you are afraid of?  Speaking in public, driving to new places, starting or ending a relationship? Starting a new job? Becoming ill?  Starting College or University? Being alone?  Returning to work after an absence?  Launching a new business?  Making decisions? Making mistakes?  Something big, something small?  All of the above, and maybe some of your own? Come along to this workshop and learn strategies to handle these fears and move forward to a more positive life.

What others say about the workshops:  ’learn with Pam in a friendly atmosphere and a safe environment’; ‘the workshop helped me to understand that I can change and I no longer fear it’; ‘the workshop has empowered me to make changes knowing I can handle whatever happens’;  ’Good to know it’s not just me that has these fears’.

I am licenced to train by Susan Jeffers and the workshop is based on the best-selling book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. 

When: Saturday 25th July 10:00 – 16:00
Where: The Grow Forward Centre, Norfolk Street, Hull, HU2 9AA
Cost: £75 including book, lunch & refreshments, and workbook
Info:  For more info see www.pammedhurst.co.uk

Book: Via Paypal, pay your deposit online to secure your space.  Balance due at the workshop. 

 

#50for50 part 2

It all started a couple of years ago when my sis Manda sent me a card saying we will wear flip flops together again.

Flipflops

Flipflops in Florida

So part of my #50for50, 50 things to make me happy in my 50th year, had to include seeing her. Now Manda lives in Canada so we don’t get to see each other too often, last time was nearly 2 years ago when she came over for my son’s wedding. It was our time to cross the water. I started looking at prices to fly to Ottawa for the summer and the prices were ridiculous, but in searching, as the internet does, it saw we were looking at flights and so I kept getting notification of flights to Orlando at much cheaper prices. When I told Manda about this she said OK we’ll meet you in the States then, where shall we go?
During a conversation with my friend, Jackie, who I knew had had good holidays in Florida, she said we should look at Anna Maria Island, their tag line being – another day in paradise.

Another day in paradise

The pictures looked amazing, she sent me a couple of links, and although the cottage she suggested through Owner’s Direct was not available in the dates that we could do another one by the same owners was, I sent the link to Manda and got a text back saying ‘It has a hammock, I’m there’ so we booked.

It has a hammock, I'm there!

It has a hammock, I’m there!

We planned and booked, and flew out on May Bank Holiday Monday.  I woke up every morning and looked out with a big smile on my face and said ‘It’s sunny!’  We wondered how long it would take for me to get fed up of saying that, I think the sun shining in the morning will always make me happy so maybe quite some time.  We enjoyed our breakfast outside every morning. Breakfast in Florida

We didn’t do much during the week, we walked to the beach, all of about 50 yards,My walk to the beachWe swam in the sea, which was as warm as a bath, with many comments such as ‘Withernsea was never like this!’

Pam swimming in the seaWe swam in the pool, regularly, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening too.  Florida Pool AreaWe enjoyed the many flowers and different plants, bougainvillea being my favourite.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

When Manda had googled about the area she said, it says that all there is to do is to watch the sunsets and shop in the little artisan shops, and could I manage this (she knows I didn’t get the shopping gene), but we managed! We both treat ourselves to a gorgeous pair of earrings as a lovely reminder of the holiday.

Florida Earrings

And we watched the sunsets.One of many sunset picsFlorida sunset Pam

 

 

And while everyone was watching the sunset over the sea, we turned around and the moon and clouds were amazing (and yes they really were this colour, but with even more pink in too that doesn’t show so well).  Florida sunset clouds

This is my kind of happy!  After reading lots about happiness and running a local happiness group I know that what makes one person happy might not do the same for another person.  It might not be for everyone, but it certainly was another day in paradise for me & my sis. (oh and by the way the boys came too!)

Pam and the boys in Florida

Holidays – 23 May to 2 June

I am on holiday from 23 May to 2 June and have no access to email/phone messages.  If you want to drop me a line on info@pammedhurst.co.uk I will get to it as soon as I can on my return.

Classes resume on Wed 3 June, Community Enterprise Centre for a new 6 week block.  Spaces are available.

All other classes resume w/c 8th June,

Monday – YogaBellies for Pregnancy Hull is full
Tuesday – Yoga for People living with cancer, Hull – spaces
Tuesday – YogaBellies for Mum & Baby, Beverley – spaces
Tuesday – YogaBellies for Pregnancy Beverley – spaces
Tuesday – Restorative Yoga Beverley – spaces

Pam xx

 

Yoga Nidra, The Bluebell Wood

Click on my name to link to the recording Pam 

Hello, I hope you enjoy this recording of the Bluebell Wood Yoga Nidra, this was recorded during my Yoga Nidra teaching training in Stroud with the lovely Uma and Nirlipta Dinsmore-Tuili.  It is slightly different from the one that I offered in class.  Drop me an email and let me know how you get on with it xx

info@pammedhurst.co.uk

 

Spine 7

Spine 7

Spine 7, one dose to be taken daily, preferably in the morning. :)

Here is Spine 7, lots of people asked for a reminder so here it is.  Enjoy. xx

Contraindications – any high blood pressure or eye issues, only go as far as flat back position.

Always work listening to your own body.

Old Fashioned Gingernuts

Gingernuts350g self-raising flour
a pinch salt
200g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
115g unsalted butter
85g golden syrup
1 large egg beaten

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl with the salt, sugar, ginger and bicarb of soda. Put the butter and syrup in a small pan and heat very gently, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts.  Remove the pan from the heat, let cool until just warm, then pour on to the dry ingredients.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Using your hands, roll the dough into about 30 walnut-sized balls (or smaller for smaller biscuits) Place the balls well apart on prepared baking sheets, then flatten slightly with your fingers.

Cook in   a preheated oven at 170C/325F/Gas 3 for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. REmove from the oven and leave on the sheets for 1 minute to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month.

If you like these chewy like I bake mine 15 – 16 mins is enough, for more crunch leave for the 20 mins.  In my oven I put them in, set the alarm for 6 mins, swap shelves, 5 mins, swap shelves, then 5 or 6 mins.  I also sometimes add some fresh/frozen chopped ginger in. And if you don’t have unsalted butter, salted works fine but omit the salt!  Enjoy. xx

From Easy Baking by Linda Collister 2008.

Saying bye to a good friend…

Karla

Karla

Last week we said goodbye to Karla.  She had been a member of this family for just over 5 years having rescued her from Jerry Green Centre in Gilberdyke.  As a rescue dog she had her issues but when we found out that she had no normal lung tissue left and was starting to struggle to breath then we had no other choice than to put her to sleep.

She was about 6 years old when she joined our family, and we are so lucky that we found her.  She gave us so much love and enjoyment over the last few years.  Without her now the house is very quiet and very empty.  There is no face to greet you at the window as you walk up to the front door, there is no bark when the post arrives or random people walk past in the street. There is no one to protect me from the dangers of the window cleaner or my visitors when they knock at the door!  She still regularly barked at Luke (son) & Allan (husband) when they came into the house, just to let me know they had come in.  She had a good bark on her but would never do more than bark.   She was still a bit of a wimp when we were out and about, putting on a defensive show to ensure she got the first bark in so that others would back off.  Off the lead she would be at the other end of the field rather than have a confrontation anytime.  With the whippet in her she could still outrun most other dogs she encountered.  And even up til last week went for a run as soon as she was let off the lead.

The house may be cleaner and I do not missing hoovering every day (she was the hairiest dog we have ever had!) but I am missing her more than I let on.  I will soon be heavier as I am not routinely walking at least 2 miles daily, but somehow it doesn’t feel right to walk without a lead and some poo bags in my pocket!

There are other dogs that need rescuing, and one will be coming to join our family at some point in the future (and yes I’ve already had a little look online) but it is too soon for now.  For now we have said our goodbyes, we will plant a tree in her memory to go in the garden alongside the one we have for her predecessor Pippa, and we will still say ‘Who is it?’ to the empty space at the end of the sofa when the doorbell goes, or look for her to greet us when we get home and miss her each time her little face does not pop up.

Thank you Karla for being a big part of our family life, we miss you and will not forget you.  xx

 

Inspiration

3 shining starsTotally blown away by the amazing Katie Piper.  Came home after the Women of Achievement Awards and read the whole of her book, Beautiful Ever After, and continue to feel uplifted and in awe of her positivity.  If she can stay positive through all she has been through then what are a few aches and pains, or niggly complaints, or self-doubts.  Nothing, that’s what they are.  I keep the book and her 365 Affirmations by my bed and they will be read and re-read regularly.  I certainly recommend them.

Living with SAD

Living with SAD

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Sitting here with the sun streaming through my bay window it is odd to think that I’m writing a piece on living with SAD, but for me, thinking about SAD now, when the sun is out and before the clocks go back it is a good time to do so.  Maybe if you struggle with winter now is the perfect time to put some of these into place if you haven’t tried them before.

What is SAD?  SAD is a form of depression brought on by shortened daylight hours and lack of sunlight, said to be experienced by approximately 2% of the UK population.  For about 20% of the UK population, Sub-syndromal SAD is mildly debilitating symptoms of SAD that cause discomfort but not serious suffering. (SADA http://www.sada.org.uk)

Why am I writing about SAD, what qualifies me to do this?  Well I’ve been living with it for as long as I can remember and I have more or less worked out for me how to manage it so that it is not totally overwhelming/debilitating.  Below are a few thoughts on what I do, I don’t know it all by any means, but I do know what works for me, and on some I still have work to do.  Some may be new to you and some you may have already tried.  If you’ve tried them previously and found them not to work it may be time to revisit them? For example I tried previously with the eating and then decided it didn’t make that much of a difference, now I know it to make a vital difference but it took a while and a few attempts to acknowledge this.

So in no particular order:

Lights -  I use a Lumie desk lamp both on my dressing table and when I eat breakfast, I also use it during the mid-winter period anytime that I am sitting working on my computer.  These lights are not cheap, but they are worth their weight in gold as far as I am concerned!  And Lumie also do a free trial before you buy so it is worth investigating.  The higher the lux the stronger the light and the less time you need to sit in front of it.  Mine is 10,000 lux.  I also have a body clock which wakes me more naturally as the light gently brightens, if you don’t wake then there is a beep feature too.  I am usually awake before this point and switch it off before that rude beep! www.lumie.com

Daylight – Spend some time outdoors every day.  I am now very fortunate that as I am self-employed I run my own schedule to allow me time outside each day, but even when I was employed I made sure I took a walk outside at lunchtime.  Even on the dullest days it makes a difference.  Now I walk the dog around lunchtime (the brightest part of even the dullest day) particularly in mid-winter when the days are so short.  It is not Christmas (more on this later) that I await in December it is the Solstice, the 21st, so I know that I have passed the shortest day and the days start to get a little longer from then.

Yoga – Always yoga!  My yoga is vital to me, without it I become stiff, sullen and snappy! & even more so in winter.  Why do I think this is vital? Because I know that when I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever I have previously dropped yoga from my schedule because I haven’t got time or I can’t be bothered or I don’t feel like it.  This is the very time I need it most.  For me I have learned what I now need from yoga at any particular time, but this has taken years.  At first I just knew that anything I actually did made me feel better, so it was just a case of forcing/encouraging myself to get the mat out or turn up at a class, and I would feel better afterwards.  And if I didn’t, and there were many times I didn’t, I felt worse.  Now it might be some restorative yoga I need, or a good flowing sequence or some more breathing and meditation but anything is always better than nothing!

With breathing for me I know that Nadi Shodhana or alternative nostril breathing is so important.  This is what it says, a focus on breathing through alternative nostrils.  It really helps with that balance, not too much stimulation but equally not too much relaxation. When I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever my preference is often for static asana (posture), especially Savasana (corpse pose) and yoga nidra but I know that too much at that point can be counter-productive, so the alternate nostril breathing gives me that amazing and much needed balance.

Maybe yoga is not your thing? But move somehow, anyhow! Motion shifts emotion, so walk, swim, bike, skip, run, climb whatever it is that floats your boat!

Eating well -  When I am down/depressed/SAD/whatever I would quite happily live on white bread and butter, cake, ready salted crisps and cups of tea.  This is not a good diet!  (I know this now, I didn’t always believe this). But it is what I crave in winter. Sometimes I still eat these but know with absolute certainty that I will feel worse if I carry on with them.  I do still allow myself indulgences of them occasionally but have to encourage myself to eat protein and lots of veggies.  I love a hugely colourful plateful so challenge myself to get six or more colours on a plate when eating.  I am, however, still working on this!

Alone time – I am an introvert, a gregarious introvert but an introvert non-the-less. I need time alone to recoup my energy.  I also know that I need a balance in each day and each week of time alone and time spent in company (in relation to both work and leisure time). And I can get the balance wrong – too much alone time can be as counter-productive as too much company!

Winter holiday – we now take our holiday in winter, sometimes February, but more recently December.  This works well for me, it gives me that boost of sunshine and rest that I need in order to get through the rest of winter, for you it maybe that you need it a little later in the season. We go somewhere warm (with more or less guaranteed sunshine and longer day length) for at least a week.  In an ideal world I’d live where it was summer all year round!  This is unlikely to happen in this lifetime J but I’m working towards it…

Not too much festivity – Winter celebrations – aka Christmas!  I don’t really like Christmas, it is not something that I have come to admit lightly.  I find it hard work because of when it is as well as the jollity of it all, and the shopping (I hate shopping!).  All I want to do is hide under the duvet and ‘people’ expect me to want to go out and socialise, repeatedly, with other people that I may barely know just because we have a little bit of a connection.  I am choosy in what I do in relation to these celebrations. I say yes to some things but no to others.  I know that I cannot do repeated late nights (more of which later) and I know that I cannot do repeated big gatherings (see above).  Some people (I’m told)  may feel I’m selfish in this but I know what I need to do to keep me healthy,  and I have previously tried to do far more than I knew was healthy in an attempt to please others.  Knowing myself so much better now helps me to say No.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you or want your company; it just means that I can’t do it all and I can’t do it then.  Invite me in the spring for a lunch rather than a Christmas dinner and I’ll be there like a shot

Sleep – I need 8 hours, I can just about manage on 7, less than 7 and things start falling apart rapidly.  Repeated nights of less than 7 hours have me a gibbering wreck within a week! But much more than 8 and I become comatose and want to stay in bed, so once again it is that balance.  And my yoga certainly helps me sleep much more soundly than I ever used to do.  More yoga = better sleep = better Pam!

Reading – I love reading but I lose the capacity to read when I am depressed.  This for me is one of my earliest indicators that something is not good for me.  I love a good novel but when I find that I have read the page/paragraph three times and still don’t know what is happening then I know it is time to take a good look at myself and see what I need to do to rectify this for me.  I know to watch for it now.

This too will pass – My four favourite words, they help with so many situations!  I had heard them before but they became real for me during my yoga training in Mexico.  With SAD knowing that winter will end, that spring will spring again and that the sun will shine is so valuable.  We will not be in the depths of winter for ever, and knowing I will feel better, knowing I will have more energy again, knowing I will want to go out and share times with friends again helps even if at the time I don’t have those things.  Even though this is in relation to SAD those four little words help me in ‘regular’ depression too, knowing that I will not always feel like this, this too will pass, makes it far more manageable to deal with at the time, but that has been a long lesson to learn.

Do what you love – I was in a job that didn’t fit with my beliefs and values, I was unhappy. Being unhappy does not make you depressed, but it certainly didn’t help the state of my mental health.  Walking away from a job is not an easy thing to do. In my case I was fortunate as a severance package made it an easier choice.  I now do what I love – teaching yoga and workshops – and it certainly contributes to me being healthier and happier, though I still have work to do on that work/life balance!

Smile/laugh – This section may sound contradictory…  Put on a smile or laugh, even when you don’t feel like it.  The brain does not know the difference between the real and the fake and by using these muscles (facial & belly) it sends signals to the brain that you are happy.  When depressed it is probably the last thing you feel like doing but it works.  Laughter Yoga works for me so well, I can fake laugh and instantly have a mood lift, I can put on a huge smile even when I feel like crying and it does make a difference, sometimes a little difference sometimes a bigger difference. And that fake/false smile/laugh can and does turn real.

But, and it is a big BUT, don’t just put on that false/fake smile and pretend to the world that everything is alright.  It is about what is going on for you that is important.  When someone asks ‘How are you?’ we may reply ‘yes I’m fine’, and that is often appropriate, but when someone close asks how you are, if you are not fine then don’t say you are!  Tell them you need a hug, tell them you are struggling and could do with some help, tell them you need some time out, to just to ‘be’ for a while. I am trying to say not to hide yourself behind that fake smile, particularly when you need support, but that it is still important to do it for you to lift your mood. Said it might appear contradictory!

Be happy – Ok, glib comment here maybe!  But not really, focussing on happiness really has made a difference to me.  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is just one of a long line of self-help books that I have read and done and that has helped me understand me.  This one made such an impact that with a friend (thanks Lynne) we set up The HEY Happiness Group to keep a focus on happiness.  When you are in the depths of depression someone from outside telling you to be happy is absolutely the last thing you want, I know I’ve been there, but from inside, when you work out what makes you happy and do that thing/those things regularly as part of your routine it really does make a difference. (But it does have to be what makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy because it makes others happy!)

Ask for help – Get the troops to rally round!  This is not being lazy or not coping (both things I have previously told myself); this is a good tool in your toolkit of coping mechanisms. Ask for help, whether it is little or bigger things.  I have a fabulous family and support network but I still sometime struggle to ask for help when I need it.  This could be just telling someone about your SAD and asking them to mention to you if they notice that things are not quite usual, particularly in those winter months.  This could be at home or at work.  But ask them to do it gently and with love.  If you are anything like me you may take their genuine concern for your welfare and offers of support as criticism and go into defensive mode!

Talk – or perhaps write? Tell people about it, just what I’m doing here. I didn’t always discuss the fact that I struggle/am blessed with depression.  Now I am much more open about it and I find it easier to deal with when it comes.  I am as open as I can be about the fact that I have had depression.  I also find it easier to discuss once it has passed, not while I am in the middle/muddle of it! Seriously, talk to me then and I may well deny it, alternatively I may just dissolve in a puddle!

My depression is usually seasonal but not always.  I put struggle/am blessed with in the previous paragraph because that is how I feel about how depression affects me.  ‘Struggle’ because it is often a struggle; but ‘am blessed with’ because I truly believe it has made me the person I am today and that is a much more empathetic and considerate one than I used to be.

Not taking on too much – I am very guilty of thinking I can do everything and getting it done by tomorrow at the very latest!  I am enthusiastic about new projects and love to learn.  This means I say yes to things, get fired up and want to do whatever it is and learn everything about it! Then I have no energy left to deal with everything, including the new thing. And then I have to back off and say no, and sometimes let people down (which I hate doing!)  So I now try and curb my enthusiasm so that I get the balance right (that word again – I am Libra!) of being involved and doing things but not taking on too much.  Again, I am still working on this one!

Drugs – prescription ones, obviously!  I have used anti-depressants in the past.  I no longer use them as I don’t feel I need them, I now control my SAD with all the other tools I’ve mentioned above.  But I have used them and found they worked for me.  Some are better than others and some have more side-effects than others.  I found the ones that worked for me and if I had a bad winter/period and couldn’t control my depression with other methods I would certainly go back to my GP and ask for them (by name) again.  There was a point in my life that I thought I would always need a regular dose of anti-depressant, I’m not there any longer, I believe, because of the things above.

When SAD isn’t SAD – Sometimes SAD isn’t SAD, even though most of the time my depression is seasonal it hasn’t always been the case.  If you think that you have SAD and you are not starting to feel more motivated, having more energy, having more joy of life by March/Spring then maybe it is not SAD.  The longer days, the sunshine, the warmer weather, the daffodils should start to make a difference when they come, if not, it may be that you are not dealing with SAD this time.

Relax, laugh, flourish J

Pam x

The above are opinions of Pam Medhurst, the definitions of SAD and sub-SAD are from www.SADA.org. I am happy to discuss this writing if anyone wants to ask questions or pose an alternative.  I am also happy to try new things in relation to managing SAD going forwards so feel free to contact me.