Dear Sally,

Put those hands in the air!

Now, hands up… Are you trying to lose weight?  Are you stressed?  Would you like to be fitter?  Do you need to visit the doctor for a check-up but can’t find the time?  Do you have the sniffles? Did you sleep well last night?  Do you have a headache?  Would you like to be healthier?

With everything else on your plate, finding time to put some effort into your health can get pushed to the bottom of the pile.  There are people who can stick to life without caffeine, a regular fitness regime and be angels when it comes to saying “no” to pudding and “yes” to another helping of vegetables.  The rest of us just muddle along and probably only start to do something about our health when we get a real wake up call or discover that we can’t do our trousers up!

This month’s newsletter takes a gentle stroll through what being healthy can be about, what can happen if your health balance seesaws out of control and how you can help yourself to get back on an even keel.

Pour yourself a nice cup of tea, grab your mid morning snack and read on!

What’s your stress buzz?

When I begin coaching a new client there is an exercise I ask them to do which involves scoring their current satisfaction level regarding their health on a scale of 1 to 10. I also ask them what their definition of health is and what a score of 10 would look like.  Bizarrely, no one ever marks their health at 10!

What does being healthy mean to you?  Does it mean being able to run three miles, walk up a flight of stairs without panting, being comfortable with your own shape, mentally alert?  When we talk about our health, it is often wrapped with the words ‘I try to have……’, ‘I should…….’ and ‘I’ll start next week’.  Until something happens to your health, how you look after yourself can take a back seat. 

For me, being healthy provides the foundation upon which everything else that I do is built.  Without feeling relatively healthy I won’t have the physical or mental agility to complete what I need to do each day.  Basically I don’t have the energy or the inclination! 

Stressed Out? For many, feeling stressed is the initial health impact which, if left unchecked, can lead to something more serious.  But how do you know you’re stressed?  Everyone reacts differently - do you reach for the nicotine, the alcohol, the caffeine, a sugar fix or a nice cheese and pickle sandwich to lift your mood, give you a buzz and a short sharp shot of energy?

What symptoms do you get? Headaches, a sore tummy, disturbed sleep, a racing mind, heartburn, backache?  It’s important to be able to recognise what happens to you physically and mentally.  If you can spot your signs early on, your chances of doing something different to reduce the stress are greatly increased.

Stress reduces your body’s ability to cope.  It weakens your immune system and makes you susceptible to illness.  According to the Health and Safety Executive, 1 in 5 of the working population claim to feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed by their jobs, whilst ½ million experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill.  It is estimated that every year stress, anxiety and depression account for about 13 million lost working days.

Taking Care of You

So what can you do?  Know what causes the stress.  Immovable deadlines, an overflowing wash basket, untidy garden, children fighting or a horrendous commute to work.  What pushes your button?

How do you react to stress? A little bit of stress can act as a motivator, too much and you’re on overload, reaching for your fifth Red Bull with one hand, a chocolate éclair with the other and shouting at the first person to ask how you are.

Once you know what creates the stress and how you react to it, you can look for ways to start taking care of yourself.

Despite being low down on most people’s priority lists, looking after your body, inside and out, goes a long way to ensuring that you have energy, good concentration, a positive outlook and a strong immune system.  If you start neglecting what you eat and drink, burn the candle at both ends, push your body and your mind to its limits, at some point your body will say ENOUGH!  It stops responding to your demands.  Then you’re into emergency fix mode.  Much better, perhaps to choose to invest in a small maintenance plan rather than waiting until one is thrust upon you.  Is your gas boiler going to come off better in an emergency than your body?

But isn’t putting ‘me’ first selfish?  Cheryl Richardson in her book ‘Take Time for Your Life’ doesn’t consider it to be selfish; she prefers to call it ‘self care’.  If you don’t look after yourself, how can you expect to look after everyone else, as well as do all the things that need doing?  Remember when you fly and they talk you through the safety demo?  If you are travelling with children, they urge you to put your own oxygen mask on first, before seeing to your child.  Why?  Because if you’re not getting enough oxygen, you can’t concentrate and focus on helping someone else.  That’s what self care is all about.  Making sure you feel balanced in your health so you have the energy to help others.

The 'give it a go' bit

There are oodles of things you can decide to do to help improve how your health supports your life, but my top tips would be:

  • Know your stress triggers.  What three things can you jot down that you know can make you feel stresed?
  • Understand how you react to stress?  Have a go at completing the sentance 'I know when I'm stressed because I react by......'
  • Drink more water.  Chances are you don’t have 2 litres a day and keeping well hydrated has a direct impact on how alert you feel mentally and physically.  Remember that tea, coffee and alcohol have a dehydrating effect.  If you reach the point of feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.  If you do have 2 litres – well done!
  • Laugh.  Remember how great you feel after having watched a film or heard a joke that made you unable to catch your breath?  Smiling and laughing make you feel light hearted and laughing in particular increases the blood flow around the body and produces endorphins which make you feel good.  If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.
  • Somthing for you.  When was the last time you looked after yourself and did something just for you? Identify one thing you can do to show that you care for yourself and then do it!

Remember, if you’re happy, relaxed, healthy and balanced, you are going to be so much better at coping with whatever life throws at you.  Let your health help improve your balance.

Until next time


If you know of someone whose health is out of kilter, then please forward them this email newsletter so they too can benefit!

Your monthly thought to contemplate…

"A well-developed sense of humour is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life."-- William Arthur Ward

This newsletter was brought to you by No Limits Coaching.  Only just over two months until Christmas, so if you’d like someone to help you put togther a health maintenance plan and look at ways to help you prepare for the party season, contact No Limits Coaching for a free 'try it' coaching session.   Come to the session with an issue you’re currently facing and leave with some options and actions to help resolve it.

Kathryn Proudlock
Tel: (01235) 810938
Mob: 07786 270951

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