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"... on the Mind"

By modefor, Jul 1 2020 11:36AM

Today, 1st July, marks the start of the second half of the year, so what better time than now to step back, check in with yourself and see where you are at with your goals and visions and take the action to keep moving forwards?


Whether it’s your wellbeing, finances, career or personal life, it’s a long time since we made those commitments to ourselves back on 1st January!


What’s more, we’ve all developed, learned and changed so much since then; are our goals and visions still right for us?


What did you commit to in January? What were your goals and visions for the year? Were you going to focus on your wellbeing or set-up a business? Were you going to write a book or plan a wedding? What was on your ‘To Do’ list?


2020 has been quite the rollercoaster so far with the curve balls of global pandemics and economic downfalls to navigate as well as our own minds and life to keep control of.


It’s tough… it can be overwhelming…but we need to remind ourselves that we still hold the reins to guide us through our own lives.


Take the opportunity when you’ve read this blog to stop and reflect on the year so far and ask yourself and write down how you’re feeling about it all. Also ask yourself if you’re still on track for feeling satisfied in achieving those goals and visions.


If you’re feeling great and still bang on track, great! Well done, that’s amazing everything is right for you. Now ask yourself how you can double down and commit to making the second half of the year even more awesome.


If you’ve stopped, reflected and still want to commit to the same goals but feel like you’ve been slightly knocked off track, that’s fine, don’t panic, all is not lost. You’re aware of where you’re at and by being aware and acknowledging that fact, you’ve just given yourself the power and motivation to hop back on the train ride to happiness. Hit reset and let’s go.


If you’ve reflected, checked in and realised that what you wanted six months ago isn’t part of your game plan now, then that’s absolutely fine. It’s definitely a positive thing because you’ve taken the time to notice, reflect and realise how much you’ve changed and developed and you can focus on what’s right for your NOW.


You’re not judging yourself on your past and you’re ready to hit the redo button.


It’s perfectly OK to redo you at any time. ‘Redos’ are good and perfectly allowed – give yourself permission to ‘Redo You’. This shows you’re in tune with yourself, what’s been, what you want and most importantly, how you feel right now.


That’s showing improved emotional fitness.


Now you’ve reflected, where are you currently? Right, Reset or Redo?


Want to join me for some emotional fitness group coaching? Ask me about signing-up to ‘The Pod’.




By modefor, Apr 24 2020 10:11AM

Do you even know?


I know exactly how big my bucket is and I pay special attention to it!


Have you ever thought about the importance of the size of your bucket compared to the size of what goes into it?


OK, smutty people, heads out of gutter now please! I’m not talking about that bucket…


… I’m talking about your stress bucket!


Yes, stress bucket is a thing thanks to the clever science-minded people Professor Alison Brabban & Dr. Douglas Turkington, who in 2002 said that the level of vulnerability a person carries is represented by a bucket into which every day stresses flow (check below for the Stress bucket visual!).


People with higher levels of vulnerability (based on life experiences, pressures of work, finance, family, trauma, grief, health, socio-economic factors and more) are more likely to develop mental health issues when stress levels rise. Conversely, those with lower vulnerability levels can withstand a higher level of stress. (check below for a visual of the Stress Vulnerability Model proposed by Joseph Zubin and Bonnie Spring in 1977).


This is why we need to know

a) how big our bucket is; and

b) how we can manage our buckets


… a little self-loving and awareness is everything after all! (yes, you can have that inuendo for free!).


So, to our buckets…


In the Stress Bucket Model the level of vulnerability a person carries is represented by a bucket into which every day stresses flow. The lower a person’s vulnerability to stress, the bigger their bucket.


The size of bucket is dependent on our vulnerability level. The more difficult issues there are, the smaller the bucket so it will overflow more quickly than someone with a larger bucket. When the bucket overflows, is when difficulties develop.


How do we stop our bucket overflowing?

Through helpful coping methods, such as rest, nutrition, recovery, positivity and asking for help. These helpful coping mechanisms function as a tap to let stress out of your bucket.


Unhelpful coping methods, such as working long hours, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, lack of sleep, excess pressure etc can become additional stressors to fill the bucket and block the tap.


You see, we all have stress, but you have control of the tap on your bucket and you can manage the level of stress in your bucket.


Your stress levels will be different to someone else’s because your bucket is a different size.


Your vulnerability level is different to someone else’s because of your personal experiences and how you manage them.


Get it?


By using the Stress Bucket Model we can use the visual to help us manage our stress.


So, get investigating your bucket and see how big it is… and feel free to report back!


For more free gems of enlightenment like this straight to your box, fill this in: https://forms.gle/X4gPFhfKvMppPXMq5


Much love

Tabby xxx



By modefor, Apr 6 2020 09:57AM

I’ve written about the importance of resilience a lot… and I will continue to do so! But today I thought I’d give you a quick Resilience High-5.


Resilience is not just strength, but the ability to be stretched and then return to form… (think Elastigirl from The Incredibles – one of my heroes because she is resilient AF!)


Resilience is the ability to be flexible, to bounce back, to manage stress, to cope positively and to keep going regardless of what you’re faced with. It is buoyancy (I guess with an ass like Elastigirl’s you’d be particularly buoyant?!).


Resilience is the power to return to form after being bent, compressed and stretched, mentally and physically.


The more resilient you become, the stronger you feel and vice versa.


But the form you bounce back too doesn't have to be the old shape, it can be a new form.


Resilience is about accepting and moving forwards.


This is why working on your mental (and physical) resilience is so important for your health and wellbeing. Being mentally resilient, flexible, stretchy, malleable, whatever word, you want to use, will stand you in good stead. You will deal with personal, financial and professional issues much better.


Being resilient will help you learn and flourish from situations and not be broken by them.


Being resilient will help with your mental health and help you be stronger for others.


You can read about more ways to develop your resilience in my article “Coping Strategies for Anxiety” on my “… On the Mind” blog, but for now, here’s my Resilience High-5.


• Reflect

• Time-out

• Focus

• Create

• Move


Reflect

Look at what you’ve got through already in your life; if you’re reading this now then that means you’ve got through some stuff so you are already resilient. Appreciate that and be grateful for all you’ve achieved.

Once you look back at things you can change the narrative going forwards; in effect you can choose not only how to live your life, but choose your mindset and how you respond and act to situations without reacting.

You can face your fears, release regrets, cultivate forgiveness of yourself and others you feel may have done wrong to you and you can learn the lessons to help you develop your strength and resilience.


Time-out

Taking time-out from the busy world, both online and physically, is a good thing. Don’t keep doing things out of habit or impulse.

It is OK and great to do nothing sometimes; we don’t always have to be striving forwards. Being mindful of what’s going on right now and slowing down is good for your mind, body and spirit.

Take time-out for your mental and physical health and to digest what you have learned from your reflection. If things aren’t always working for you, taking a break can really help and don’t be afraid to make changes.


Focus

Reflection done, time-out taken, now it’s time to focus on how you have got through the tough things so far and how you can develop those skills.

Show yourself plenty of self-compassion and pass that empathy and self-compassion on to others.

Focus on yourself and what you need for your optimum mental and physical health and wellbeing. This is about you and what works for you. Don’t be afraid if it’s different to the needs of others. This is about you and doing the things you love and that make you feel good.

From walking to meditating, cooking to music, finding new and old things you love to do are therapy for the soul.


Create

Creating and being creative are important for confidence, flexibility and happiness to name just a few reasons.

You have the means to create yourself, your life, what and how you do things and you shouldn’t be shy of ‘re-doing’ you at any time. Passions and values change as we learn and grow, so create yourself as you go along.

Create a plan of what you want, what you need and how you can implement that and combined with an element of letting things ‘be’ and ‘happen’, you can really bump up your resilience levels.

Having a creative outlet will also help you gain confidence to be the best version of you which you can love.


Move

With your armoury of developed skills, it’s time to move.

Literal physical movement will help to give your mind clarity, improve your wellbeing and mental and physical health but it’s also time to move in a different way; forwards with your life.

There is no speed guidance for this, as long as the direction is forwards, you do you and move at your speed to achieve the satisfaction that you need and want.


It’s your life on your terms. Work on your resilience and you can navigate life and all its ups and downs with a little more confidence and ease.


Want to chat about your resilience more? Message me for a short 1-2-1 power call.


Much Love

Tabby xxx





By modefor, Apr 4 2020 09:56AM

As we prepare to enter week three of the COVID-19 lockdown here in the UK, some people have settled into a new routine nicely, whilst others are struggling to mentally deal with the constraints of isolation and the lack of freedom.


That mood swing, that moment of judgement of the words or actions of someone else when they are actually just supporting others, that feeling of calmness, that moment of frustration? Familiar? Let me introduce you to your mental health.


We all have mental health; that is something that connects us all and now, more than ever our feelings and emotions will be constantly fluctuating and that will have a direct correlation to the positioning on our personal mental health continuum, which will be ever changing, but there are things we can do to support our own mental health.


This week, one of the best things we can do is get involved with some of the amazing free events both on and off-line which can support our mental health by giving our mood a boost, getting us moving and making us part of a fun and appreciative group of likeminded people.


Here’s a suggestion of five things you can plan and do for free next week to support your mental health during week three of lockdown.


1. The Virtual Piano Bar

Monday to Saturday evenings from 6-8pm you can join the incredible professional pianist Nigel Wears in his Virtual Piano Bar, direct from his home!


Music has huge positive benefits on wellbeing and this is two hours of incredible piano playing and sing-a-longs of popular melodies, complete with lyrics if you need them and you can make requests.


The regular clientele are warm and welcoming and the ambience is laid back, easy going and a great break from the reality of the outside world with lots of easy going chat and ‘happy banter’.


You can drop Nigel a few pounds in his virtual tip jar to show your appreciation as you would if you were in a real piano bar, and if you join on Tuesday nights you can be part of some amazing charity fundraising too, which, in the last two weeks has raised nearly £700 for two charities, the Salvation Army Foodbank and the NHS frontline staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals via the charity Leeds Cares.


The next charity nights are Tuesday 7th and 14th


Nigel is not only a first-class musician but an incredibly generous and kind-hearted soul and his music will entertain you and send your mind some much needed calming vibes.


Check out (and like) his page, schedule the date in your diary and join the musical fun at: www.facebook.com/nigelwearspianist


2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Assuming you’re not showing signs of any COVID-19 symptoms or physically struggling in any other way (in which case please take stringent self-isolation measures and stay safe and protect others too), you are possibly taking your regular daily constitutional around your local area (and please stay local).


Whilst out and about, take the opportunity to look up and around and spot some of the thousands of pictures of rainbows which have been placed in windows for people to enjoy.


A sign of hope and solidarity, they bring a smile to your face.


Why don’t you get your colouring pencils out too and find your inner artist to add to the joy for other people. The process of drawing is a good therapy and bringing a smile to someone else’s face is definitely gratifying and good for the soul.


3. Word Power

Books and reading are a huge boost for mental wellbeing. Whether it’s a good novel, autobiography or self-help manual, books can give us the words and boost our mind needs.


The audiobook platform Audible has said that, for as long as schools are shut, anyone can listen to a vast range of audiobooks for free so you can get yourself some good titles there without having to turn a page!


Also, if you tap into Amazon ‘free Kindle books’ you’ll find some free titles for Kindle.


Why not get together with friends online via Zoom, WhattsApp or Houseparty and set-up a book club where you all read or listen to the same book and then chat about it.


Even better, get creative, get writing and find your inner storyteller. As a breed, humans have always historically been storytellers. Put your stories on the page and bring them to life for yourself and others to enjoy.


4. Games Night!

A good thing that has come out of the COVID-19 lockdown is the increase in positive online social communication, whereby family and friends who live near and far apart are hooking-up online to hang out, chat and make sure they feel socially connected.


You don’t just need to limit your online sessions to chat though; you can turn it into a games night!


Quizzes and karaoke work well, as do board games such as Trivial Pursuit or other trivia games to give your mind a little work out.


If you’re a fan of the mildly inappropriate and often play Cards Against Humanity then you can check out this version called ‘Remote Insensitivity’ which you can play online with friends at http://playingcards.io/game/remote-insensitivity


Anything that brings a feeling of social connection and an opportunity for laughter is good for the soul and seeing faces into that bargain gives us a sense of connection and ‘normality.’


5. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!

Trying to keep your own mind in check and entertain the kids? Then why not combine the two on your daily walk?


As well as looking for rainbows, why not keep your eyes open for some bears too?


There’s a nationwide bear hunt on; they’re getting up to all sorts of fun stuff in people’s windows and gardens, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.


Why not pop a bear in your window too to help keep the children (and adults!) entertained?


***


So, there you have it; five of my suggestions to schedule and try out next week during lockdown that will help support your mental health and wellbeing. There are plenty more ideas though and I could go on for ages with recommendations (such as a day at Chester Zoo, online concerts and music rehearsals, free musicals and more), but just have a little search online yourself or ask a neighbour whilst out on your daily walk (from a safe and acceptable 2m distance of course!).


Whatever you do, make sure you do something every day that supports your mental health and wellbeing and together we will get through this and be stronger for it.


Most importantly, keep communicating, keep talking and keep sharing the highs and the lows. We are all in this together.


Much Love, stay home, stay safe and keep smiling

Tabby xxx


Ps. If you want something to read then you can download the digital PDF version of my book 'The Three

Ps: Possibility, Productivity & Performance' for just £2.99 at https://sowl.co/g1Fc2 or for something amazing to listen to, download the digital version of the album ‘Lago’ at http://modeforpublishing.com/audio/4594750000. Both are great for the mind and spirit!



By modefor, Mar 31 2020 08:12AM


*** Trigger warnings: reference to death & suicide ***


I’ve titled this editorial ‘The Art of Grief’ because, having experienced, thought and spoken about the subject in some depth and for some time now, I’ve come to the conclusion that grief is like a work of art.


It’s messy and unique, it’s sometimes difficult to understand, it’s striking and bold or subtle and unclear and sometimes it’s utterly beautiful and full of love. The understanding and feeling of grief, like art, is personal to the person viewing and experiencing it. None of us will ever experience, live or feel it in the same way.


“I get the messy and difficult but how is grief beautiful?” I hear you ask. No, I’m not completely delusional, but most of the time I choose to embrace my grief as one of the most beautiful things I have in my life. It is every moment and every memory and expression of love and happiness that paints the most vivid pictures that bring a smile and an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude. That is beautiful; the memories and the reflection of all that was and still is amazing.


Grief is something that we will all experience at some point in our life and sadly, as we witness the global pandemic of COVID-19 and are faced daily with news of death and loss of people we both know and complete strangers, we witness how grief becomes a reality for us all.


COVID-19 has not only changed our way of life, but the way of death too. Here in the UK, we are living in a world where no loved ones can be at the hospital bedside of those in pain and dying and limits of five people at a funeral.


For those losing loved ones during this time of global uncertainty and lockdown, my heart breaks for you. I have so much gratitude for the fact that I could hold my husband until he took his very last breath; I could reassure him and tell him I love him.


He too died in the same way as many victims of Coronavirus; not from the cancer he had fought but the complications that led to ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). It was a heart-breaking battle with oxygen (the necessity that keeps us alive and breathing) that he couldn’t overcome and the ventilators and oxygen just weren’t enough. He was weak and compromised, but he had me by his side.


Regardless of how someone dies, whatever our experience or our loss, the emotions and feelings are real, strong, unique and personal.


I’m not just talking about grief as a consequence of death from a virus though. Millions of people, like me, are already living with grief and many will experience the death of friends and family during this time of lockdown due to natural causes, other illnesses, accident and suicide.


Factor into this that death is not the only way to experience grief and you soon see that so many of us are experiencing something that is still a taboo subject and yet no one wants to talk about it; but you know me… I’ll start the conversations about grief and mental health and any other taboo subject because it’s important, it’s necessary and by talking we can better understand, empathise and support ourselves and others.


By lifting the mask on our grief, we show a beautiful honesty that can truly help, support and strengthen others.


So how else can we experience grief if it’s not always about death?


It could be the loss of a job, work or a business, a relationship or a pet. It could be the consequence of not being able to do the things and see the people you love due to lockdown. It could be the feeling of isolation and loneliness; the loss of your lifestyle and routine as you know it and the not being able to be there for others as you once had.


Today, as a self-employed business owner in an economically unstable climate I can also feel the pressure mounting to not lose my business; the possibility and pressure is real and if my business didn’t make it, I know I would mourn and grieve the loss for years to come. The thought that every moment of hard work I had put in over the last 12 years, every part of the legacy of my husband and all he worked hard for just gone? It doesn’t bear thinking about.


There are so many ways you can experience grief and right now, as the world is on lockdown, maybe more people than ever are experiencing the emotional rollercoaster that is grief.


Now add that feeling onto the shoulders of those living with grief following death and you can see why, for the benefit of better mental health, we need to be talking more about this subject.


This is why I’m happy to talk honestly based on my personal experience and also share with you a few ways I found that can help us to help ourselves whilst we settle into co-habitation with grief.


Five Tips for Living with Grief


• Keep talking and sharing: open, honest, non-judgemental conversation not only makes us feel better, but empathy and sharing experiences can help others to both understand and know they are not alone.


• Allow yourself to feel your emotions: you will experience everything from happiness to sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety, joy, love, pain and so much more, often within the space of the same minute. Embrace those feelings and feel them in all the weirdness, inappropriateness and confusing ways they fire at you. This is good and normal to feel something.


• Build your resilience: I honestly believe you don’t ever get over grief; it doesn’t go away, but instead it becomes a part of us which we embrace, manage and co-exist with. Whilst you accept it won’t go away, work on building resilience which will be your key to managing and living with it day-to-day harmoniously.


• Don’t feel guilt or shame: you must NEVER feel guilt or shame for feeling your emotions and living with grief or your response to grief, regardless of why you are grieving or how long you have been experiencing it. There are no rules, boundaries or timescales. Your experience is unique to you, but building your resilience will help massively improve your response to grief and how you continue to move forwards at the same time as learning to live with it.


• Love yourself: yes, learn to love yourself exactly as you are. This means being kind to yourself, looking after yourself and becoming resilient and strong to be the happiest version of yourself even in the times that feel hardest. Focus on the things that are good for you and don’t be concerned with the uninvited opinion of others.


There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about and feel a whole ocean of emotions following the deaths of my husband, my Dad, my brother, my pets my friends, other family and complete strangers but alongside the pain and sadness there is so much love, beauty and gratitude and this is what I hold on to; what makes me smile and creates my happiness.


Grief, in any form and for any reason, is cruel. It is an emotional baseball bat with a mind of its own and by hell, it knows how to take a massive swipe when we least expect it. We can’t control it, but we can control our response to it and that is going to be the single action that helps you manage it; controlling your response.


Grief is, and will be, a part of all our lives; let’s just talk about it, make it less taboo and in the process help ourselves be less scared and try instead to see and focus on the beauty, happiness and love of memories that paint the art of grief.


Much Love

Tabby xxx


If you need or want to talk my virtual door is always open. Just visit www.modefor.co.uk or www.facebook.com/modefor


Further support is available from:

The Samaritans - phone 116 123

Cruse Bereavement Care – phone 0808 808 1677




The Blog written by Tabby Kerwin and members of the Mode for... team focussing on possibility, productivity &  performance, with a focus on resilience, creativity & mental health.