Acorn Health Blog

5 Steps To Beat The Procrastination MonsterWorkshops & Classes

Posted by Sally-Anne Thu, June 22, 2017 12:11PM

By Sally-Anne Marler Creative Arts Therapist, Facilitator & Coach

We all get hit with this little monster from time to time. He's very clever and comes in many guises and tricks us into being okay about not doing what we really want! We forget what we really want because it all feels too big or scary and so we remain stuck in habitual patterns and routines that don't support our goals, dreams or aspirations. It's not all bad, when you look at why we do this we begin to understand it forms part of our fight or flight response, and we are just trying to keep ourselves 'safe'. But our definition of what is safe, is very different to what it meant years ago. As we are not all running from a saber tooth tiger these days, most of our fear comes from our minds, not an actual physical threat. It's the 'unknown' that tends to entice the procrastination monster out from hiding and can often be triggered by the prospect of change. But this is living, without it, we are simply existing.

Blog imageI look back now and realise I became best buddies with the procrastination monster for the best part of 20 years or so and know first hand how it might start off quite innocent, believing you're doing the right thing and playing it safe but you end up feeling immense frustration, isolation and disorganisation.

Here are my top 5 tips to overcoming the procrastination monster:-

1. Focus only on one or two tasks at a time and ask yourself “what can I do now?” This will take the pressure off yourself and stop feelings of overwhelm. You might not get everything you wanted done, but you will get something done and lift that feeling of being stuck. Procrastination invites itself in when we feel overwhelmed with 'too much to do' so simplify your day and see one thing through at a time.

2. Meet up with supportive friends and family IN PERSON.
Talk over any problems, concerns or anxiety that you are experiencing with them that fuel the procrastination monster! Be as open and as honest as you can. Once you've done this, the fear you felt about it will start to diminish because it's strength comes from you trying to hide it or not discussing it with anyone. Once it's all out in the open you will feel much better.

3. What you don't do influences your brain, thoughts and actions just as much as what you do do. This was a big eye-opener for me and I realised the more I resisted something the more anxious I became about doing it and I started to believe eventually that I couldn't do it, no matter how seemingly small it was. This is because the brain interprets this 'non action' to mean you actually can't do it. Start making a list of the things you feel you can't do, then write in front of each one I CAN DO... and read it over several times or say it out loud, then do one of the tasks.

4. Tell yourself daily that you're worth it, you're worth it, you're worth it. Why do we struggle to do things for ourselves but can easily do things for others? This conflict of interest usually comes from not feeling worthy enough and assuming our needs are not as important as the needs of others. You must absolutely believe with your whole heart that you are worthy of love, happiness, success and fulfilment and that it is not selfish of you to want these things or prioritise these things. You are worth it!

5. Be flexible and bring your awareness to the moment. Your goals are a process so acknowledge that, you don't need everything to be done right now. Remember what you've already done and achieved and be mindful of what you're working towards but don't get too consumed with it. It's what you're doing now that counts. Procrastination loves to take you away from living in the moment and slap you right bang into chaotic thoughts of 'not done' things from the future to make you feel small.

If you'd like to understand more about this you can book yourself onto a Mindset Motivator or Mindset Activator workshop, coming soon at Acorn! Click here for more information.







STRESS: the Sledgehammer and the Drip-DripGeneral Health & Wellbeing

Posted by Sally-Anne Tue, May 30, 2017 12:14PM

By Eileen Strong Therapeutic Massage & Holistic Complementary Therapist

“STRESS” is a much easier word to say than it is to define. But it’s something we have all experienced at some time in our lives to some degree. In this post, I’m going to talk about two types of stress-trigger. Helping people identify and understand their specific, key stressors is, I believe, the first step to feeling more empowered and becoming stress-free.

What is stress?

Blog imageStress comes from the pressures that we feel in life, and how we react to them. It is quite normal to feel anxious and become stressed when facing something that upsets the normal balance of day to day life.

When we feel healthy and happy, and our life force energy is strong and vibrant, our resilience to stress is much higher than after we’ve been ill, for example, or if we’ve experienced a series of stressful events close together that have had a knock-on effect and deteriorated our energy and vitality.

Our thought patterns, perceptions and life experiences also shape our responses to stressful situations. People who tend to think negatively are often more prone to suffering from stress than people who have a sunnier outlook. But all of us experience stress. It’s a part of life.

So how stressed are you?

Here is a short list of some symptoms you might experience when you are stressed for any length of time.

* Obsessive thinking

* Behaviour changes - aggression, withdrawal

* Digestive upsets – bloating, constipation, diarrhoea

* Headaches, impaired memory

* Muscular tension and pain, neck shoulder and low back pain, cramps, muscle spasms

* Palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure

* Anxiety, loss of humour, depression, negative thoughts,

* Inability to concentrate and difficulty making decisions

* Weaker immune system and being more susceptible to illness

If symptoms are present, I will always ask you when they first started as this information is very meaningful and relevant in identifying your key stress triggers.

So what might a key stress trigger be for you?

The Sledgehammer Trigger:- this is a stress trigger that comes completely out of the blue at you and hits you hard, like a sledgehammer. It is unexpected, dramatic, leaves you feeling isolated, with no strategy to deal with. In that moment, your brain takes a full snapshot of the entire event as you see it, and your “fight or flight” response is triggered. Now you are STRESSED. Examples: a scary medical diagnosis, a redundancy notice, or a deeply hurtful comment.

The Drip-Drip-Reminder Trigger:- this is a stress trigger that happens any time you get a conscious OR subconscious REMINDER of your Sledge-hammer trigger. Remember, your brain took a snapshot of that entire event and recorded everything you noticed in that one dramatic moment. So when anything comes up to remind you of that situation, through your own thoughts, environment, or situations that make you feel angry, nervous, frustrated, or anxious, your fight or flight response gets triggered. For example: seeing a doctor in a white coat reminds you of the doctor who gave you that scary diagnosis and triggers a mind-body stress response.

You might not be consciously aware of what the trigger is. You just might notice the symptoms or feel panicky and anxious.

So what can you do to help?

Let's not forget that your body’s response to stress is part of an intelligent, highly sophisticated process designed to keep you safe from danger. If our primitive cave-dwelling ancestors had not been so equipped, then they wouldn't have survived at all, and would we be here to tell their tale?

And stress – like many other things in our lives – has to be managed. To do this effectively, we need to understand what makes us stressed, learn alternative ways to deal with it, and support ourselves in the healing and recovery process on 6 levels; mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental. Of all these areas, lets just take a look today at ways to support your body.

Helping your body repair and re-balance:-

Nutrition - Poor diet can lower your resilience to stress (e.g. low levels of Vit B12, depleted Magnesium levels). Book a consultation at Acorn with our Naturopathic Nutritionist Helen Duffy for expert advice.

Medication- Be aware that certain drugs can contribute to symptoms of stress and anxiety, including caffeine, nicotine, cold remedies, thyroid medications. You may be able to explore more natural alternatives.

Exercise – Even 20 minutes brisk walking a day can make a difference. It’s an instant calm-me-down when you’re feeling tense, and boosts the body’s feel-good chemicals. Walk, swim, do sport, cycle, dance. Whatever you can manage. As often as you can.

Sleep – between the hours of approx 8 pm and 8 am your body is busy repairing, renewing and re-balancing itself. This is why symptoms can sometimes feel stronger at night. So give yourself plenty of rest. If you feel tired, listen to your body and try to rest. If you are not sleeping well, contact me for my free Deep Sleep information sheet for more practical tips on this subject.

Therapies - alternative and complementary therapies are wonderful for relaxation and re-balancing on all levels of being. Try massage therapy, Indian Head Massage, reflexology, Hopi Ear Candles. Talk therapies such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnotherapy are also wonderful approaches to support you in making positive life changes and developing greater mental resilience. Visit the Acorn Booking Page to see whats on offer.

Relaxation – set aside some quality 'Me Time' at least once a week, if not on a daily basis (soak in the bath, reading a book, a country walk etc). Meditation and Mindfulness techniques can help too. Get in touch with Acorn to check the dates of our next classes.

Blog imageI hope you found this post of interest. If you are experiencing stress-related symptoms, and would like to learn more about identifying and managing your key stressors, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I offer a 6 part stress management program that may be of interest to you, and also offer 1-2-1 sessions in relaxation and talk therapies.

You can book a FREE no-obligation consultation with me via the Acorn website, or contact me direct: Contact Eileen Strong: Tel/Text 07745 409059.



The Benefits of Meditation ClassesWorkshops & Classes

Posted by Sally-Anne Thu, May 25, 2017 12:07PM

By Jen Mills, Yoga Tutor & Meditation Class Leader

In class I often talk about the physical flexibility that babies have but thinking from a mental perspective babies don't have the same stresses and worries that we do. Their needs are simple. But we do, however, quickly learn behaviour whether it’s the louder we scream the quicker we will get fed or if we touch that it will hurt. Our brains are powerful, intelligent machines but can be our own worst enemy.

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I have started running meditation classes and one of the benefits of meditation is that we concentrate on the here and now and slow the racing mind thinking about what could happen because we remember what has happened in the past and this makes us worry about what could happen in the future.

Babies have little experience of the past, they just concentrate on the here and now. Mindfulness and meditation helps us to do this. We use tools like visualisation and watching the breath to help us to concentrate. As a bonus this slows our heart and reduces the physical as well as the mental effects and helps our overall well being.

If you'd like to find out more about the classes that I run click on the link, and start your journey towards a calmer mind and increased well being:- Beginners Meditation Classes.





Hypertension (high blood pressure). What you can do to help yourself - naturally.General Health & Wellbeing

Posted by Little Acorn Tue, May 16, 2017 10:49PM

Hypertension (hight blood pressure)

By Helen Duffy Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist

While your pulse is a measure of your heart health, your blood pressure tells you about the health of your arteries. Some people think that high blood pressure (hypertension) is just something that will happen to all of us as we get older, this simply doesn't have to be the case. Young people can also suffer from high blood pressure so it's not just an age-related condition. It's all about looking after your arteries so that they are in good condition, not constricted or 'furred up' so that it takes more effort to pump blood through them. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney disease so it's something that is important for us all to take seriously and do something about.

So if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) or would like to try and keep your blood pressure at a healthy level what can you do to help yourself?

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  • • Eat a diet rich in a rainbow of fruit and vegetables. Aim for 8-10 portions every day. 1 portion is approximately 80g or about the size of your fist.
  • • Beans and pulses count towards your 8-10 portions of fruit and veg so include beans, chick-peas and lentils as part of your ten. These are high in potassium and rich in isoflavones which can help lower your cholesterol, something that often goes hand in hand with high blood pressure.
  • • Raw unsalted nuts are a great snack for taking to work. Measure out a daily portion (40-50g) and keep in a sealed pot as it's easy to indulge if you leave the whole bag on your desk! Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are high in beneficial fats and vitamin E, known to naturally thin the blood.
  • • Celery and bananas are rich in potassium which is important for lowering blood pressure. Aim for 4 stalks of celery every day and no more than 1 banana.
  • • Garlic and onions contain allicin which helps to relax and dilate blood vessels. After crushing or chopping garlic, leave it to rest on the chopping board to allow allicin levels to develop fully before adding it to your cooking at the last minute, or better still, eating raw.
  • • Magnesium helps to relax muscles and dilates the arteries. It's often low in people who are under stress and suffering from high blood pressure. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate (enjoy in moderation, of course :-) ).
  • • For seasoning instead of salt, try Herbamare, available from Health Food Shops, which is a combination of herbs and sea salt to add lots of flavour.

This may seem like a lot so lets see how this could be achieved:

  • ◦ Breakfast smoothie – spinach, avocado, banana, coconut milk, ground flaxseed
  • ◦ Mid morning snack – carrot and celery sticks, hummus, blueberries
  • ◦ Lunch – chicken salad with rocket, watercress, peppers, radish, tomatoes, cucumber, walnuts and a baked sweet potato
  • ◦ Mid afternoon snack – apple slices topped with almond butter
  • ◦ Evening meal – baked salmon with roast root vegetables, broccoli and brown rice.


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Think of changes you could make to your lifestyle:

  • • If you are a smoker, look for support to help you quit. Hypnotherapy can be a very effective tool. Why not have a chat with Sally, our hypnotherapist here at Acorn.
  • • Find a relaxation method that you enjoy. We have lots to offer at Acorn: yoga, mindfulness, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology.
  • • Get outdoors and exercise: walking briskly for just 20-30 minutes every day is an achievable goal for most people and walking in nature is great for reducing stress. Get yourself a dog or borrow a friends!
  • • Take some time every day to breathe deeply. Place your hands on your stomach and feel it moving slowly in and out as you slowly count, in for 5, out for 5.

If you are currently taking medication, please talk to your doctor if you are thinking of making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

If you would like to find out more about how you can use nutritional therapy to help improve your health, then please contact me at Acorn for a FREE 15 minute chat or email helen.duffy@northstarnutrition.co.uk. You can book online by clicking here

Nutritional Therapy at Acorn Natural Health Centre