Guest Blog with Caz Campbell- Eating Disorders

This Week’s Blog- Eating Disorders

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats” which are all on my website: www.happykindcalm.co.uk  I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Eating Disorders can be about lack of control, unwanted emotions, traumatic events like abuse, lacking human connection  and more… all things that have increased in this last year and with the added strain on the NHS, people aren’t asking for help.

I have a personal attachment to eating disorder awareness as I suffered from anorexia when I was 14 years old and then bulimia from the age of 18. All eating disorders are often misunderstood so it can be really important to learn about them, especially if you know anyone who is struggling. If you understand more, it’s easier to help in the right way. Everyone is unique and may need different types of help, so I’d say the best start is to listen and be there for someone. For me, I didn’t receive the right treatment for a good recovery until I was about 21. I personally think treating an eating disorder should focus on the person’s feelings rather than their behaviours around food. Abnormal or disrupted eating patterns are outward symptoms of deeper emotional issues.

Binge-eating disorder is probably the most misunderstood eating illness that 1 in 50 of us will experience in our lifetime. Charities such as “Beat Eating Disorders” are a great source of information, as well as seeing a GP or therapist. I have worked with teenagers suffering from eating disorders so feel free to get in touch if you feel an emotional coach would be helpful.

Most people know that a healthy diet can uplift your spirits and improve your mood. People who eat fruit and vegetables tend to live a healthier and happier life. Food is such a huge subject and advice changes all the time, with still many myths lurking about and being passed down by generations. I’d never advise what to eat or what to avoid, as that differs from person to person.

One food and drink related thing most people agree on is that we should all drink plenty of water! If you want to change your mindset with any changes you’d like to make, but it feels overwhelming, the solution is to make small changes over a long period of time. E.g., instead of thinking from tomorrow you’ll drink eight glasses of water a day, start by drinking a glass of water before each meal for a week.

This Week’s Blog-Going Back to School After Lockdown

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 so the announcement about schools returning was big news to us. I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book on happiness, kindness and calmness but even I have mixed emotions that are hard to manage, as well as helping my children cope with theirs. So this blog is about children and teenagers going back to school after lockdown.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “We’re all in the same storm but not in the same boat” and this will really be reflected when schools go back. We have all had a huge range of experiences of covid-19 and lockdowns this last year. From kids’ points of views, going back to school may mean they’re feeling one of more of these:

Anxious about the changes

Ready and eager to be back

Fear of being behind in their work

Excited to see their friends and being able to play or hang out again

Afraid they won’t have any friends or that certain friendships have dissolved

Embarrassed if they’ve put on weight or started getting spots so they look different

Pressure to be “on form” / go back to normal without a fuss

Worried about getting the virus or about vulnerable family members

Distrusting the process and expecting to be back in lockdown again

Resenting adults because of all the restrictions, limitations and expectations

Demoralized at the loss of hope for their future

Scared or sad to leave their home or family

Depressed from a lonely, isolated, difficult lockdown

Out of control as there’ll be flexibility and more being told what to do

Happy because it also means they can do other things soon like sport

Jealous or angry that other kids have had a better lockdown

Relieved to be getting away from a disruptive home life

Overwhelmed – by everything

…And more

Even if a child isn’t feeling any unwanted emotions, they’ll be surrounded by lots of children who will be.

I know my children will be absolutely overwhelmed and exhausted when they go back to school. Getting used to the change, routine, morning rush, navigating socially, coping emotionally, stimulation from being among so many people, even the amount of noise that will be a huge increase. In our house, overwhelm and tiredness translates to grumpiness and attitude (which I now called rudeness as my 7 year old didn’t like me using the word ‘attitude’ – this simple change made a big difference, so just talking when all is calm about language and what you can do differently can help).

This is where recognising the emotions behind the behaviour can be really useful. Behaviour is a signal or expression that has come from thoughts and feelings. It’s totally natural to try to modify a child’s behaviour. However, if instead we try to solve the issue, then the behaviour normally subsides. As an emotional coach, I try to get to the root of any presenting problems, as changing an outward behaviour is great but it’s usually short term or another unwanted behaviour replaces it. Guiding someone to find their own solutions that work for them is key.

What Can Help?

  1. Prepare. From practical things like making sure kids have school shoes that fit and practising the morning routine, to talking through any emotions kids may be having and what might help to ease any of the unwanted feelings – as well as celebrating the wanted feelings of course!
  1. Patience and Understanding. Listening to when they want to talk but also noticing what they’re not saying. Being there for kids is the most important thing, letting them know you’re there when they want to talk. If they do start to talk to you, try not to judge, interrupt, dismiss or patronise. I’d also say only give advice if they ask for it.
  1. Talking together about after school activities, giving as much choice and control as possible. Kids may want to go to a park, listen to music, run around, read by themselves, play sport, watch TV, play computer games, they may not even want to talk. Respect the fact they may be feeling any of the emotions listed above.
  1. Flexibility. I’m going to try really hard to do most of my work, housework and chores in school hours so I’m able to be flexible after school. I appreciate this is tough for a lot of people, but being flexible day to day may be needed as emotions may be heightened and kids may need something different from you one day to the next.
  1. Build resilience and confidence by encouraging their efforts and highlighting their personality traits rather than focusing on their achievements. Admire their strength, energy, kindness, humour – who they are rather than what grades they get.
  1. Lower expectations. Too many people dismiss the impact this last year has had on children, claiming they are super adaptable will “bounce back”. Yes they are resilient but we can’t expect them to adapt to going back to school in the way we want. We want our children to be happy and do well, but it’s easy to be over controlling in their behaviour.

This pandemic has had a devastating impact on children and teenagers, so I’d say keep on listening, learning and loving.

If you or your child is struggling and you feel you’d like to work with me to look at ways to cope, please do get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com

www.happykindcalm.co.uk

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats” which are all on my website www.happykindcalm.co.uk  I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

 

It’s LGBT+ History Month this month so I’ve been thinking about awareness, fairness, judgement and identity, which is this week’s topic.

How you identify can be related to your body, your mind, where you live, what you do and who is in your life. Identities can be simple or complex, deemed as positive or negative, but there’s usually a connection to other people, places and the ongoing activities of everyday life that make up society. Some identities are fixed or are very difficult to alter, whereas others are transient, changing throughout someone’s life.

When we meet someone for the first time, a conversation often starts with the question ‘where are you from?’, as if the answer will reveal something about the type of person they might be. This comes from the assumption that identity is somehow connected to the place where people live or their place of origin. When we meet others from places with which we also have some association, this can help to break the ice and create a sense of connection. This suggests that people living within one place share a collective identity or a sense of common belonging. 

Typical forms we fill out for identity purposes usually have categories of sex, age, nationality, race and ethnicity. Each of these may be a personal identity but they’re also likely to connect us socially to others in that same category e.g., people of a similar age being in the same educational year, or people of the same ethnicity sharing the same social club. Disability is another category that appears on forms and makes us consider bodies as part of our identity. As well as sex and age, the ability of our body connects and disconnects personal and social worlds. Sport is an area of social life where our bodies and our abilities are really important. Your body might determine whether you win or lose, or even if you can take part at all.

Psychologists use the term ‘label’ to refer to a negatively valued identity which, once given, sticks to a person and is difficult to escape: e.g., ‘labelling’ someone as selfish or lazy is certain to cause that person hurt as well as encourage them to fill that role. A family who talks about their child as being “the naughty one” may cause that child to feel that’s their identity. Your family will have a huge influence on your identity, as people grow up thinking their environment is the norm.

There are also many examples of a negative identity given to one group of people by another and this usually comes from unfair judgement.

 

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Motivation. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy. I also have a Facebook group of the same name which is free to join.

 

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

 

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week so this week’s blog is about childhood and parenthood, especially apt for all those home-schoolers at the moment! I’m also hosting a free webinar this Sun 7th at 8pm about children’s emotional well-being if anyone would like to join.

In this blog I’m going to touch on Punishment, Reward and Praise but I’m not saying people should or shouldn’t do anything as I know everyone is unique and all situations are different.

Punishment mostly translates to blame, shame and pain. It can overpower a child with fear and they will shut down or lie to get out of it. Blame, pain and shame can encourage children to lie, or take revenge as it breeds anger and resentment. It also misses a learning opportunity and erodes trust as the person they love the most is doing this to them. There can still be consequences for negative behaviour though and these can be given in a gentle, respectful manner. They can work best if the consequence is related to the behaviour, eg if a child refuses to brush their teeth, explain to them they can’t eat any sweet things as they will rot their teeth. Or if a child won’t wear a bike helmet, they can’t go cycling as they could hurt themselves. These consequences are connected and can be explained without shouting, blaming or dominating a child. The child is then more likely to make the right decisions for themselves.

 

Rewards are another common method used by most schools and parents, including myself. But instead of building up self-esteem they can potentially discourage and diminish a child’s internal motivation. If children are rewarded for things they do, they may get the message that they only work hard or help if there’s something in it for them (although on the flip side, getting rewards reflects real life in getting paid for work). There’s been a lot of studies showing that children try harder or pick a more difficult task when they’re doing it for themselves, i.e. not to please a parent or teacher to then get praise or rewards all the time. Being proud of themselves and having a sense they’ve contributed to something is far more beneficial than constantly trying to gain – and maintain – acknowledgement and approval from others, which brings about high pressure and stress.

 

Praise is very similar to rewards and this I find the most difficult to put into practice. Praise can often mean judgement, focusing on the person, and is rewarding a child with words eg “your painting is amazing” or “I think you’re so clever / pretty”. Encouragement, on the other hand is inspiring, focusing on the action, effort and improvement. I don’t want my children to feel they need to please me or others for acceptance, or feel the pressure to be who I’ve described them as (eg clever, pretty). I want them to think for themselves and feel good about their own hard work and perseverance… it’s a tough one and a work in progress!

 

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Motivation. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy. I also have a Facebook group of the same name which is free to join.

 

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

 

Positivity!… After another week of homeschooling last Friday, I felt like a deflated Eeyore! All my positivity & enthusiasm had been drained out of me trying to motivate my girls. It felt like every way I tried to make things fun was resisted and every bit of help I gave was met with “I can’t…” or “I don’t want to…” Then the snow fell on Sunday and that change of scene, something new to do and the beauty of all the white lifted us all! I’d been for a run with my dog and made a snowman with my girls all before 9am!

2020 and now the start of 2021 can be looked at as a very negative, unlucky, sad and crazy time. When it got towards the end of last year, I had in my head that 2021 was going to be totally different, almost as if on 1st January, some kind of magic fairy dust would transform everything back to pre-covid times. When I realised I was unconsciously thinking that, the reality and negatives of 2021 seeped in so I felt doom and gloom. Then I read and wrote a few things to help…

It can be instinctive to be negative and think ‘typical’ if something goes wrong. Like when I catch my clothes on a door handle when I’m stressed, or when I dropped a glass jar of honey all over the floor when in a rush (this one was I had no idea where to start!).

But why is it typical? Why not think of all the things that have gone well that day instead?

Our brain works to prove our beliefs right, which is called confirmation bias. An example is if your partner annoys you and you’re in a bad mood, you may start thinking they’re going to annoy you all day… your brain then searches to prove or confirm that belief. If you change to thinking positively – then happier beliefs are reinforced. So thinking how sweet your partner is, your brain will look for evidence to confirm that belief instead.

Being positive by exercising, showing gratitude, being kind, meditation, etc., can rewire your brain and then you’re more likely to be happy and healthier. The mistake is thinking that:

“I’ll be happy when…” so:

 “I’ll be happy when my leg is better / when I get that promotion / when I can see my friends”

or

“IF…. then I’ll be happy” so:

“If I move house / lose weight / go on holiday, then I’ll be happy”

But what about seeing what you are and can be happy about now, today? When we are positive, our creativity, energy and learning all increase, and we’re then more successful, happy & healthy.

So this week I’m trying to be more Unicorn than Eeyore!

 

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy.

Self Care

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I’m an emotional coach for children and adults, I teach baby massage and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Self-Care… There is a lot of talk about self-care at the moment. Mainly because most of us aren’t practising much self-care because of lockdown, due to any number of reasons – such as trying to juggle work and home life, lack of money or things being closed so no treats like restaurants, pampering or shopping. For me, it’s because I’m home-schooling two primary school children, while trying to do work on my three mini jobs, earning very little and the main stinger for me is not being able to socialise, see friends and let off steam! Most people have a lot on right now, without having the fun, release of a social life. So we need to find things to do that we enjoy, which are a break from everyday life and that are good for us.

Self-care is about looking after yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s about doing things to be kind to yourself, and can be interchangeable with self-compassion which focuses more on how you think about yourself.

70-80% of people are harsher on themselves than they are to others. Being kind to yourself with the same care as you would naturally show to a friend is hard to do but is greatly important to practise self-care. When you face a battle or conflict of any sort, would you want a critical voice in your head or one of a supportive ally? Choosing the right voice makes a powerful change to your outlook, actions and self-worth.

I now visualize a grumpy Donald Duck as my inner critic, who’s frowning, moaning and critical of everything. So it’s easier to dismiss him, not take it personally and tell him he’s just being difficult! Because it’s a silly character, it’s also distracting and playful, so works well for children but I believe we all have that inner playful child inside us. What would you visualize as your inner critic to make it easier to ignore it?

Treating yourself is the kind of enjoyment-self-care that we get sold, like a massage or a weekend away – and these things are still amazing to do and can be fantastic for your well-being. They can reset, refresh and rejuvenate, but they’re temporary self-care solutions. Trying to live your life so self-care is a normal part of everyday is vital.

One of my favourite pieces of advice is to talk to yourself like the person who loves you the most would. Or talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend. You can also ask yourself these questions:

 

What would your life look life if you were kinder to yourself?

How can you take care of yourself (rather than “fix” yourself)?

 

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Resilience and Positivity. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy.

Control

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

CONTROL: Since last week’s lockdown announcement and schools closing, I think a lot of us are feeling a lack of control – in what we can do in our everyday lives, balancing work, home, children and living with a worry of unsafe uncertainty. However, some may feel lockdown actually gives us more control, as we can keep our home bubble safe without sending our kids to school. Everyone’s situations and feelings are different. But one thing we all have in common is wanting some sense of control.

Control generally refers to how a person regulates themselves or wants to regulate their environment. There’s a balance that most people would like to meet, of feeling in charge of their own lives as well as being relaxed. Our sense of control influences how we respond to events that happen in our lives and our motivation to take action. When we feel in control, we’re more likely to take responsibility, avoid being influenced by others, work harder and feel happier. When we don’t feel in control, we’re more likely to blame others or circumstances, be stuck or unwilling to change and feel hopeless or powerless. Feeling in control is great, but we also want to be able to accept, cope and relax when that’s not possible.

Stress mostly arises because of major change, uncertainty and lack of control. Now more than ever people are realising that uncertainty is a fact of life. There are four positions to consider:

1) Unsafe uncertainty, which means danger, unclear, random, chaos,

2) Unsafe certainty, which is negativity, toxic, criticism,

3) Safe uncertainty, which means challenges, adaptations, flexibility, innovation

4) Safe certainty, which is repetition, comfort zone, complacency.

Which one would you prefer to be in? Most people would say 3. (Safe uncertainty) – as it’s the most creative, explorative and helpful to our well-being and for improving ourselves. If you were in 4 (Safe certainty), and you had total control and everything in front of you was planned, your life set in stone, you may struggle to have motivation. We learn better when we perceive uncertainty, it allows us to dream big, to explore a wider picture and look for positives.

I wanted to share with you this little exercise that can help:

Draw a circle on a piece of paper and in this circle, write down things that you can control today or this week. They can be big or small but focus on things that are present to you at the moment. E.g., how often you listen to the news, how often you check your phone, whether you meet up with someone or not. Now draw a bigger circle around it and in this circle, write down things that you’re worried about, and can’t control. E.g., what’s happening in the news, how someone behaves, current restrictions. For each worry, tell yourself: ‘by worrying about this, it won’t help me…’ You can then try and find the positive or reality in each worry. E.g., that situation has taught me…, the depressing news has made me grateful for…, if my boss / colleague doesn’t understand my situation then…

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy.

Declutter

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

 

Declutter… The start of a new year often brings about having a clear out, which you may love or hate. Having too much stuff around or a messy home or workplace can make you feel stuck, anxious, overwhelmed, claustrophobic and even resentful. But clutter is rarely recognised as a significant source of stress in our lives. However, having a declutter can be cleansing, making you feel freer, lighter and it also improves attention, focus and serenity.

Decluttering is basically a process of decisions, which is why it can feel like an effort to start and it’s often a job that’s put off. There can be an object in a room I walk passed multiple times a day and think for a split second “I must sort / get rid of that…” but it may take months for me to actually do it. Even if it’s a split second thought, it’s a negative thought and all the times I walk past it adds up. So why not just do it? When I finally declutter that one thing, I have feelings of relief and clarity, and it also clears all those negative seconds when I walk past that place from then on.

 

Our relationship with stuff is complicated and it’s easy to become ‘consumed’ with the act of consumption. For many items, it’s memories and nostalgia, thinking that one day you’ll use it, show it, look at it with your grandchildren or a friend. But, you may be keeping piles of books when, if you really wanted to have them again in the future you could buy them very cheaply second hand, and all the memories of the stories are still there.

 

While training as an emotional coach, a technique was practised on me. The aim was to motivate me to tidy my clothes away without the dread I always had. I’ve no idea why, but it’s a job I detested doing and therefore always had an untidy room with clothes piled on, around and under “the bedroom chair”! The technique was so simple but it clicked and now – I’m still messy but I tidy away the clothes happily, easily and without the negative feelings I had before.

 

The biggest step is to just start – stewing is worse than doing! You can start small by giving or throwing away a few things you don’t need. Give yourself one cupboard or drawer or room to sort, and build up. If you haven’t got time for a total declutter, you can just be aware of things around you as you go along. A general rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you would miss or replace something if it broke or got lost. If the answer is no, give it to someone who would like it, to charity, to a school’s jumble sale or throw it away.

If you have a block of what to save and what you can let go of – this is a good list to check first: old toiletries, nail varnish, magazines, CDs, DVDs, unplayed-with toys and games, clothes or bedding you’ve not used in a year, duplicate kitchen items or things you’ve not used for ages like spices or a pasta maker.

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed

Touch

Hello and hope you had a Merry Christmas! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Touch is a sense we probably used to take for granted, but since covid, we may have realised how important it is. From all the family and friends we long to hug, to simply being tactile with people, whether it’s sitting next to them or touching on the arm while chatting away. Research says that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding and health in many ways.

Research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding and health in the following ways:

Pain – Touching someone you love can reduce physical pain.

Security – When we’re touched in a comfortable way, our neurological senses are ignited through the skin, and our brain gets the emotional response that we’re feeling safe, secure and good.

Calm – If you’ve had an overwhelming day, a good hug can do wonders to help you relax. It reduces cortisol and increases oxytocin. Which leads onto….

Health – When you’re feeling reassured with touch, your blood pressure and pulse decrease as you are calming your body, which puts less stress on your heart. These physical benefits of hugging and touch can lead to a healthier, longer life. Every time you lower your cortisol, this has an impact on your immune system so you’re increasing your ability to fight disease.

However, it is crucial to always remember that hugs and touch must be agreed to by both parties. Touching someone who doesn’t want to be, is extremely disrespectful and can cause physical or mental damage. Some people aren’t tactile, some are very private, and some have issues with touch. Forcing hugs is a huge no-no in my eyes, especially with children. It’s totally wrong to say they should hug someone to say hello, goodbye or thank you. Their body is theirs and they can choose. Just as your body is yours and you make your own choices.

There are some people who prefer animal hugs to human hugs and these can be just as beneficial. Did you know? Interacting warmly with your dog for 30 minutes can increase oxytocin levels (the love hormone) by 300% (and by 130% in your dog). Our cortisol levels (stress hormones) can also decrease when stroking a pet (unless you don’t like animals of course). And the pet’s cortisol levels also decrease when being stroked or cuddled.

You can also think about other forms of touch – what textures you love. Stroke a pet, feel a silk piece of clothing through your hands. Feel the rain. Wrap up warm and intentionally go out when it’s cold. Coming back into the cosy warmth, feeling that contrast is revitalising, refreshing, and you appreciate having a home.

Hopefully in 2021, we’ll be able to hug a lot more when we want to!…. Happy New Year!

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy.

Resilience

Hello and Merry Christmas! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Resilience:

When I think of resilience I think of daisies as they are super resilient (whenever I mow the lawn they pop back up the next day!). Everyone has had struggles in their lives and everyone is going through something right now, whether small, big… or life changing. Looking at hurdles we’ve overcome in our past, how we battled, what worked, what didn’t, helps us to remember we are resilient and we can get through whatever faces us.

 

I’m training as an emotional “Ollie” coach and this is reflected in the Ollie model which explains this to children really well:

First of all, Ollie has many super powers that represent his feelings. They all help him in some way and he knows that he can tap into his super powers whenever he needs them. For example if he faces a new challenge he uses his brave super power. He knows he has all the tools within him to deal with life.

Second of all, part of Ollie’s brain is like a library that stores his memories. Events that happen get filed away everyday with the date on the box. Sometimes, when Ollie looks back at memories from the past, they can seem scary, like the time he was left alone in his lounge for 10 minutes when he was 2 years old. Ollie is older now and he understands that when he was 2, he didn’t like being left alone, but now he doesn’t think twice about being by himself for 10 minutes. He also has a memory from when he was 4 of some kids calling him names which made him cry and want to leave a party. But as an older child, Ollie knows that memory was from when he was younger and hadn’t yet learnt how to tap into his resilience super power. Ollie can look back at his past memories, learn from them and use them to be an even stronger person. He looks for the positives, for the super powers that have helped him and are shaping who he is.

 

This totally relates to adults as well, we are all growing still as people and we can look back to past experiences and look for the positives, what we may have gained or learned, look for that silver lining.

We’ve probably all had to build our resilience this year, more so than other years. And December can also be a time for strength – with lockdowns, family conflicts and the pure stress of the chaos. Resilience is the capacity to recover from a difficult time or place and to bounce back from that struggle, coming out stronger and wiser. It’s about maintaining our mental health and well-being while continuing essential tasks.

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy.

Kindness

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It’s also contagious, a source of pleasure and even elevates the immune system.

It’s a stressful time at the moment. Most people think the opposite of stress is calm and relaxed, but these are the absence of stress. Physiologically and behaviourally, kindness is the opposite of stress. Research shows that as one increases, the other decreases. Stress produces the hormones cortisol and adrenalin, which increase blood pressure, suppress the immune system, tense the nervous system and trigger depression. Whereas kindness produces oxytocin which decreases blood pressure, lifts the immune system, relaxes the nervous system and reduces the risk of depression.

Kindness elevates the immune system. A study where volunteers watched Mother Theresa carrying out humanitarian acts on the streets of Calcutta, showed that s-IgA levels (a component of the immune system) had significantly increased after watching the film. So even watching kindness gives us feelings that promote the immune system, whereas feelings of stress can suppress it.

Another factor is ageing – as we know stress accelerates ageing – this damage is caused by ‘free radicals’. High levels of oxytocin (produced by kindness) on the other hand keep free radicals down so is a natural way to feel young!

Results of surveys from 200,000 people from around the world showed that those who gave money to charity were happier than people who didn’t, even after taking into account their financial situation. Giving money to charity made as much difference to happiness as having twice as much income. Increasing happiness by giving, works much better when there’s a connection – i.e. if you can envision how your money is helping. One of our advent activities was to choose a charity to donate to. My 7 year old choose Save the Children after watching videos about it, and my 5 year old wanted to “Save the Unicorns”! …So we chose the RSPCA!

It’s not all about donating money though. Almost half of UK adults say that their busy lives stop them from connecting with other people. We can all play a part to tackle loneliness. And it’s incredibly simple. Research shows even small moments of connection can improve someone’s well-being and help tackle loneliness. Small moments can make a big difference. A smile and a hello can lift someone’s day.

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Resilience, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy, it will make a great Christmas present!

We Rise By Lifting Others

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

Community News-December is usually a time for doing lots of things with friends and family but this year may be slightly less. The sense of community can still be “present” with other people in many ways. Connecting, socialising, learning new things and even reaching some sort of united goal – brings many benefits to your physical and mental health. Feeling part of a team gives a huge sense of well-being, belonging and often achievement. This is often through your job, as many people work in a team, or in sports but there are many other ways to be part of a team or community.

E.g. When I left my job where I was part of a team and had children, I then felt a void of belonging to a team. I joined Rock Choir and got back these feelings of connecting, contributing to an achievement and sharing a passion with a group.

People connect directly to others within a local or physical community. People also connect through technology, West Berkshire Villagers is a great example of a local community connecting physically and via technology. But connecting online doesn’t have to have anything to do with where you live and the options are limitless. Relationships and attachments between people who are far apart can sometimes be stronger than those living next to one another on the same street.

Looking throughout history, neighbours were said to provide the sought-after sense of solidarity, security and proximity associated with the word ‘community’. But privacy is also key – looking at any street’s infrastructure you see fences, hedges, walls, gates etc. that are designed to keep people apart rather than to bring them together. Despite this, in general, a neighbourhood is a place where people look out for each other.

When lockdown started, I knew a few neighbours to say hello to, but that was it. During lockdown, we took more time to talk to neighbours from a distance, clapped key workers on a Thursday evening from our driveways (but with a sense of togetherness) and baked cakes to deliver to each other’s doors. Just these few gestures made such a difference to the sense of community from our point of view. Did you get to know your neighbours more this year?

Christmas time is chaotic, but it’s also a time people think more about volunteering to help in the local community. If you haven’t got the capacity it can be simply picking up some litter rather than walk by, making a point of saying ‘hello’ to someone you don’t know or checking-in with an elderly relative or vulnerable neighbour.

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Resilience, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy, it will make a great Christmas present!

Slowing Down with Caz Campbell

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

This week will be a transition of lockdown rules changing – (for many this means a big change, for some it means very little), as well as going into December, usually the most hectic month of the year for most. So Slowing Down is a perfect topic!

Before covid-19, I would’ve asked, “When do you last remember doing nothing?” but this year has been a bit different! During lockdowns, most of us are forced to slow down in some way. What most people have realised this year is just how busy modern life is, whether it’s the change to slowing down or trying to juggle everything and not having a work / life balance. Overthinking is a huge problem of recent times as we are all so busy. I definitely struggle to process the day so when it comes to going to sleep, my brain gets stuck trying to process everything. My mental computer can’t run its night-time back-up because I have too many files open!

I know you may want to forget lockdown days, but one idea for the future is to try to block out days or weekends in your calendar, as though it is lockdown, to remember the slower pace of life. It may mean you give yourself a break, say no to things, catch up on sleep and get to spend that quality time with people.

We live in a world of multi-tasking, it’s very normal now to be working, talking and listening to something all at the same time. It’s also common to assume we’ve had a productive day if we work late and come home exhausted. The problem is that there will always be more things to do no matter how many jobs you do and how fast you do them. We clutch at the idea of higher efficiency because it helps to maintain the illusion that we can get everything done. But we have to learn to do what matters and tolerate leaving other things undone. Something has to give and that choice is yours: do you settle for an untidy house or not be the employee who always does overtime, so you can spend more time socialising with friends or reading with your children? (I definitely opt for the untidy house!)

Consciously making the decision is key, so you’re not then worrying or thinking about how messy your house is or doing that overtime. Many people get their sense of self-worth from their work but no one aged 90 will boast of always having an empty inbox in their working life.

So my tip is to slow down… like a sloth! How are you going to be more sloth? What can you slow down on? And an extra fascinating fact – the sloth is the slowest animal in the world – even slower than a snail!

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Resilience, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy, it will make a great Christmas present!

Motivation by Caz Campbell

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

The first topic was about “Being Present” and this week is about Motivation, as I know a lot of us have found this hard this year, especially in lockdowns.

Most people have a good idea of what’s good for them in terms of health, work and habits. It’s not a lack of information that’s the problem, but a combination of procrastination, lack of follow-through and self-control. In general, it seems we want to do what we know is good for us… Just not right now!

During lockdowns, many people found it a huge struggle to get motivated. My husband was one of the only people I know who lost weight and increased his fitness this year. Most people did the opposite, understandably. Uncertain times affect us all in different ways but lack of motivation is incredibly common. There are days when you won’t want to take action and that’s OK. However, if you’re stressed about your lack of motivation, this can have an impact on your mental health and well-being.

Motivation is a flow, it’s not an on-off switch and there’s normally a driving force behind it, a reason, a purpose. When you accomplish any of these purposes, acknowledging and even celebrating your wins, however big or small is a great practice to get into.  All the little wins count and they create that spark in us. You’re the creator of how you want to tackle your days and what you want to accomplish.

Motivation is much more productive when coupled with kindness. The intent behind the motivation needs to come from a place of care. If you’re motivating yourself or someone else is motivating you with force or shame then it won’t be good for your well-being.

The simple act of writing down your goals can boost your motivation and increase the likelihood you’ll reach your goal by 50%. Having accountability can also massively help. Most people fit into a personality trait where we often break promises to ourselves, but rarely do to others as we’d feel awful letting them down. If you have someone to check in with weekly or do something with that person, you’re much more likely to feel motivated and stick to your plan.

I’ll finish this topic with some “homework” for those who would like to do this for themselves! These questions can help with everyday motivation:

1) What do I want today to be about?

2) What action do I need to take?

3) How will I feel at the end of the day once I’ve accomplished this?

In Donkey on a Waffle, there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Resilience, Environment, Relationships and Travel. It is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy, it will make a great Christmas present!

Being Present with Caz Campbell

Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats”: I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve just published a book last week focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” (see at the bottom for more info!) and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.

The first topic, as we’re in a lockdown at the moment, is “Being Present”… Being present in what you’re doing; appreciating and living life in the now, so trying to avoid worrying about what you can’t control. Children are brilliant at this, only thinking about right now without the worries of the world.

Most of us adults are the same in that we seek out and remember negative news more than positive, because our human instincts are to problem solve so we look for problems! Neuropsychologists explain that our brains are like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain. Positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to long-term memory the way bad emotions do. Most of us don’t stay with positive experiences long enough for them to be “encoded” into our brain’s neural structure: The longer the neurons in our brain fire, the more of them that fire. And the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength – so that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, successful and loved. In other words, if you let a moment of happiness pass without being intentional about taking it in, it won’t stay with you. So: stop in the moment of your bliss and acknowledge it.

There’s a Buddhist technique for making the present count – spend 30 seconds consciously paying attention to the feelings you have. The feelings may increase and you’ll encode the memory of the experience in more detail, so much so that when you look back and remember that moment, it will feel even longer. A friend Susie told me to do this on my wedding day, as the day just zooms past in a whirlwind. She said at some point in the day when you’re not talking to anyone, look all around you, take it all in, absorb it and you’ll be able to look back and really feel that memory as you consciously took a mental video. I now tell my children to take mental pictures during their school day to tell me later and it helps them to remember the good things. Choose whichever wording works for you – “bookmark it” or “take a mental picture” or “capture it in a bottle”.

Another thing I do is I have a notebook of “those little moments” to write down funny or memorable things my daughters have said or done. Or you may choose to have a jar with a label of what year it is, then put little notes of happy moments into the jar – at the end of the year, empty the jar and go through them to stir up the happy moments you may have otherwise forgotten.

A little more about my book – the term “Donkey on a Waffle” is from an urban phrase meaning to make something a priority or to get on with a task – “I’m all over it, like a donkey on a waffle”. It’s something my husband says and I love it because it conjures up an image of two things that make me smile!

In the book there are 52 topics, many of which are particularly meaningful since covid-19 hit, such as the importance of Community, Environment, Motivation, Relationships and Travel. Donkey on a Waffle is available on Amazon or feel free to get in touch with cazncampbell@gmail.com for a signed copy, it will make a great Christmas present!

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