Self-care for when things fall apart

Guest author and self-care and wellness coach Tara Jackson blogs about taking care of yourself when things go wrong 

Sometimes life just happens to you. You can have the best intentions and daily practices but things seem to happen which are often out of your control.

Recently it seems a lot of people close to me have been going through life changing events – job losses, a relationship break down, health issues, a death of someone close, or similar upheavals which affect their life.*

When I look back on my life to date and how I have handled situations which have thrown me off balance, I realise they often felt totally overwhelming at the time and like there was no way out from them. I felt trapped and didn’t think life would ever feel good again. However, I now know that it is these moments which have helped to define who I am today.

Going through upheaval and change is exhausting both physically and emotionally. Our bodies tend to adopt the ‘fight or flight’ response and it can seem like many of our normal cognitive functions aren’t working as they do regularly.

As you go through whatever the situation may be, taking care of yourself can seem almost impossible but this is when you need to the most. I know in past situations I have just wanted to curl in a ball and sleep through everything, or escape through mind numbing activities such as drinking, watching endless TV and at certain times eating. However, these things offer only temporary relief and ultimately you feel worse.

When something comes up which is out of my control I am learning to allow myself to go through whatever it is I am going through. Feel any pain, rage, sadness and whatever else may be coming up as well as care for myself in as simple a way as possible, as my usual practices can often feel too much. Here are some simple things which have helped me in different situations.

  1. Breathing

So simple and so powerful, yet so easily forgotten. Taking long, deep breaths into your entire body regularly will help you to get out of the fight or flight response and allow your body to relax. Breathing will help to calm you no matter what is going on around you.

  1. Staying present

It’s easy to let the mind wander, and replay certain situations or scenarios, or even try to predict the future. Instead (and this is definitely easier said than done) bringing your attention back to the present moment really helps, as ultimately we can’t change the past or predict the future, so thinking about it can lead to unnecessary thoughts which can often spiral negatively. Try focusing on something small such as observing an object – all it’s different colours, textures, shapes. Then move on to something else. The more you do this the easier it gets.

  1. Being kind to yourself

It’s so easy to want to blame or berate yourself for what is happening. Our minds try to come up with reasons for how it might be our fault, how we might be to blame. If only we had done something differently. Also being kind to yourself by acknowledging you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. Perhaps you need to say no to certain things for the time being that you would normally do, or ask for help? Do what you need to do to be kind to yourself.

  1. Looking after your basic needs as best as you can

Food, hydration and sleep are essential to everyone and so easily forgotten when things get thrown. I know that eating is the last thing on my mind if I am going through heartbreak, whereas in another situation where I lost a job all I wanted to do was eat. Remembering to nourish your body and get sleep when you can will help with how you handle the situation enormously. Even a small amount of sleep deprivation and dehydration can impair your normal body and brain functions. If it’s hard to manage, go for little and often with both sleep and nourishment and ideally eat the most nourishing food possible.

  1. Finding an outlet for release

Often life does not or cannot return to what it was before and you need to learn to live with a new normal. It can feel hard, uncomfortable and even scary, but learning to adapt and accept this new reality is a part of life. Having an outlet to express what you are feeling will help you to reach a place of inner peace and/or acceptance faster. Some things which can help are physical exercise or movement, counselling, journaling or another creative expression. Finding something which is within your time and budget allowances and that you feel able to do.

As mentioned earlier I do also think it’s important to allow yourself to feel what you are going through. Acknowledging that there is something happening and it’s okay to feel what you are feeling. Then adding in some simple practices to help you care for yourself whilst you are in this situation.

If you are going through something I hope these simple practices help.

If you need some more inspiration and tips to help you with your self-care, I run FREE 30-day challenges throughout the year. You can sign up to the next one here:

* I know there is so much going on in the world politically and environmentally which affects millions. It saddens me and makes me feel helpless, but for this post I am referring to when things happen on a much smaller, more personal scale. I genuinely feel that we have to put ourselves first and learn to care for our needs (filling up our own cups) before we can help the world in a positive way.


No longer at your convenience – BBC report confirms demise of public toilets

The BBC has published new research which shows that public toilet services have declined dramatically. Meanwhile, research also shows that more than 50% of people with gut health problems, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), fear not being able to get to a toilet in time and need to know where the toilets are located whenever they go out.

PrecisionBiotics, whose team first discovered the live 35624® culture present in the supplement Alflorex, which is clinically proven to reduce abdominable pain, bloating, gas and unpredicatable bowel movements, says the emotional impact of such fears cannot be underestimated.

The BBC reported that: “Public toilet provision has been declining for a number of years and the BBC has learnt that some UK high streets and tourist hot spots now no longer have any council-run public toilets. At least 673 public toilets across the UK have stopped being maintained by major councils since 2010, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information law.

“In 2018 there were 4,486 toilets run by major councils in the UK, down from 5,159 in 2010 and in 37 areas, major councils no longer run any public conveniences at all.”

The other study shows that 46.3% of UK respondents said their IBS has made them feel depressed, while 65.2% say their IBS has made them feel anxious and 53.6% say their self-confidence has been lowered.

According to PrecisionBiotics, this can mean a vicious circle and actually exacerbate the symptoms of the condition in many sufferers.

IBS sufferer Vikki Gael, who works for Nestle, said: “IBS was affecting my job and eventually it got so bad that it took over my life.  ​I would constantly be scanning my surroundings for a toilet to ensure that I wouldn’t be caught short. ​ One time at work, I was faced with a terrifying moment – we’re a small team and we only have one toilet between us.  I felt my usual cramps coming on and ran to the loo but it was occupied.  I knew I didn’t have long so had to run around the plant looking for another toilet to use. I was petrified I wouldn’t make it in time, but thankfully I found one just in time.”

IBS is a chronic and relapsing gut health disorder estimated to affect up to 1 in 7 people in the UK.   Symptoms can include unpredictable bowel movements, abdominal pain bloating and gas.


How to reclaim your lunch break and enjoy a spa treatment at the same time!

When The Spa at The Principal heard that the average UK worker only takes around 20 minutes of their lunch break (for fear of not being able to complete all their designated daily tasks), the team wasted no time in developing a range of express spa treatments to help time-poor city professionals reclaim some of their free time.

The Spa, which is part of The Principal Edinburgh – Charlotte Square hotel, believes all employees deserve to take their full lunch break and time to relax. That’s why it’s introduced a new series of 25-minute express treatments, all of which can be taken during a break, after a stressful morning, or as part of an extended Friday lunch.

Holistic Scotland Magazine headed along to the Edinburgh spa to sample an ishga Express Massage and find out just what can be achieved in 25 minutes. Male_changing_room (11)

We discovered that the ishga part of the massage is the natural skincare range developed here in Scotland from organic seaweed and that the spa’s expert therapists really can work tension-relieving wonders in less than half-an-hour (thank you, Reagan!)

This particular massage focuses on the back, neck and shoulders to target areas of tension, release stress and relax the nervous system, while the Invigorating Body Oil works its seaweed-based magic to stimulate, revitalise and encourage self-repair.

Seaweed has been used for hundreds of years for its therapeutic and natural healing properties and contains a number of vitamins, including A, C and E, as well as trace elements and amino acids. It can help to contribute to healthy, glowing skin and has been said to improve certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Treatment_room_2Other treatments in the 25-minute range include the ishga Express Facial, comprising a professional cleanse, tone and moisturise with; ishga Salt & Oil Scrub, whose Hebridean scrub and body wrap is said to detoxify and nourish the skin, and ishga Foot Recovery, which combines a Scottish seaweed foot scrub, foot massage, and cooling foot mask.

The only problem is, after 25 minutes of relaxation and therapeutic bliss, you really don’t want to go back to work! Nevertheless, we think this is a great addition to The Spa’s treatment portfolio, which also includes a range of OSKIA facials and OPI ProSpa manicures, pedicures and nail treatments. And we love the fact that you can mix and match and try them all! You can create a bespoke spa experience, for example, and bolt on as many treatments as you like.

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Holistic Scotland Magazine recommends the Champagne Spa experience, which includes a 55-minute treatment and a 25-minute treatment plus lunch or Twilight Tea in The Garden and a glass of champagne. And, of course, you can take advantage of the pool, sauna and steam room while you’re there.

Why not treat yourself for National Spa Week?

To find out more, or to book, click here 

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The relaxation room




Sunscreens don’t deliver the protection we think they do

A recent study shows we may be getting less than half the protection we think from our sunscreens — with huge numbers of Brits potentially suffering sunburn as a result.

Scientists at King’s College London found that 50-SPF sunscreen – applied in a typical way – would provide no more than 40% of the expected protection.

They are now recommending we all use a much higher SPF sunscreen than we think necessary to make sure we’re protected from sun damage.

Back in December, the same researchers revealed that seaweed could hold the answer to environmentally friendly sunscreen. 

Most current formulations contain synthetic UV radiation filters which can make their way into water systems and harm fragile marine life, such as fish, coral and micro-organisms.

But the palythine compound (a mycosporine-like amino acid) found in seaweed could could protect human skin from the harmful effects of the sun without damaging marine ecosystems.

Find out more here


Chocolate and Love scoops six more Great Taste Awards

Congratulations go to our friends at Chocolate and Love in Edinburgh who have just scooped a further six Great Taste Awards to add to their growing collection.

The team won high praise for its two newly-launched flavours: Pomegranate and Madagascar, which scooped 2-star and 1-star awards respectively.

Rich Dark, Coffee, Creamy Dark, and Orange were also honoured in what is believed to be the world’s largest and most trusted food awards.

Chocolate and Love GTA Awards 2018 social post

This year’s win brings Chocolate and Love, which has also landed Silver and Bronze awards from the Academy of Chocolate, to a total of 29 Great Taste Awards.

The brand has nine different flavours in the range and all nine have now won awards.

To be in with a chance of winning one of two gift boxes from Chocolate and Love, pick up a copy of the August/September magazine or subscribe to have it delivered directly to your door.