New beginnings can lead to new challenges and a whole host of emotions, regardless of whether they are planned or led by unforeseen changing circumstances! Many young people will have faced challenges over the past two weeks such as moving away from home for the first time to go to University or changing from primary to secondary school and having to navigate unfamiliar surroundings, timetables, increased homework and meeting new classmates. Others may have had to face the disappointment of not getting the exam results they needed to be accepted into sixth form, college or university and are having to re-think their plans. But it is not just young people who face new beginnings at this time of the year. Many parents/carers are having to adjust to life without their teenagers being at home - learning to trust they will be okay and yes they will eat enough, probably not sleep enough and no they probably won't phone home as much as you would like! Teachers have faced the challenge of getting to know the new pupils in their classes alongside working out how to get the best out of them and how to facilitate them reaching their full potential. For others it may be that they have been made redundant now the summer season is over and at all times of the year people suffer the loss of a loved one.
While I do not deny new beginnings can be exciting they can also be anxiety provoking, stressful, challenging and frightening. We can feel like we're wandering around in the wilderness, struggling to navigate without a clear map to show us the way through. Our emotions and feelings can become overwhelming. If you are struggling with life changes or new beginnings don't go it alone. Talk to someone. It can be anyone - a friend, relative, employer, GP, counsellor, the Samaritans... whoever you feel comfortable talking to and don't be afraid to let out some of the emotion. One thing I have learnt over the years is that no matter how hard we may try to suppress or hide our feelings they still have an impact on us.
I recently came across the following quote by Kevyn Aucoin. "Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it." I find this very thought provoking, especially at this time of the year. The Christmas period can be a difficult period and we are often faced by situations that cannot change however, the one thing we can change is our attitude. It isn't easy to do as all too often we fall back into beating ourselves up over mistakes we have made, things we have said or done that we later come to regret or resenting others for their behaviour towards us. My resolution for the rest of this year and heading forward to the start of a new year is to embrace all that life throws at me with as positive an attitude as I can muster. I cannot change whatever will come my way but I can choose how I respond to it!
Dare to believe- this was the motto for the Paralympics a couple of months ago and I have spent a long time since then reflecting on these three words. Dare to believe. We all face obstacles that at first seem insurmountable but unless we dare to believe how can we ever even start to try to overcome them? Challenges, obstacles, hardship, difficult times and doubts can all have a massive impact on our lives but our attitude towards them and the belief that things can get better can make all the difference. Do I dare to believe? Sometimes yes but at other times it is easy to let doubt and fear get in the way. I too need to remember that the first step when wanting or needing to see change is to dare to believe - believe things can change, believe things will change and dare to believe I have the courage, strength and ability to allow change.
Like many others I have been hooked on the Olympics over the last couple of weeks and have stayed up way later than usual to watch GB athletes in their quest to win a medal - even when they are competing in events I would not normally watch or be interested in! The dedication, courage and determination of each athlete to perform at their very best, to pick themselves up and continue despite falls, injuries, and prior defeats in other events are commendable attributes which serve us all well in life. Each of us face difficulties, disappointments and set backs throughout our lives but what is important is our attitude towards those times. As hard as it is not to give up or become immersed in doubts and lost confidence if we can try and face our struggles head on and, with support, keep on going, then we will grow as people and can get through the difficult times. It takes courage and strength which at times can elude us. But it is at those very times we need to reach out to others and lean on them for support. We should never be afraid to open up to others when we are struggling, we do not have to go it alone. The athletes competing in Rio all have a team around them to help, encourage, advise and provide support. Do we have people around us that can do the same for us? And if we do, are we able to reach out and ask for help when we need it? One thing I know - it is much harder to go it alone. Sometimes circumstances mean this is unavoidable but even when there seems to be no answers, no way out of the present difficulties, having someone walk alongside us during our struggles can make a huge difference.
Hi everyone, welcome to my inaugural blog. My aim is to blog on a weekly basis with my reflections and thoughts on current news and counselling related topics. I have wanted to create this for what seems like forever but have struggled to find the time. Time: what an interesting phenomenon. Why is it that the things that are important to us are so frequently left undone with us using the excuse of "I just don't have enough time"? Where does time go? Each day has 24 hours. For some at least 8 hours a day are spent at work, another 8 hours are spent sleeping (ideally!) which leaves another 8 hours. If we add in time spent eating, travelling to and from work, doing household chores and generally 'chilling out' theoretically there should be at least an hour or so left each day of quality time. While we have many demands on our time surely we should aim to prioritise those things which will enhance our lives and which have special meaning to us. And so today I have done just that! My challenge to myself is to continue what I have now started.