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Welcome to the Harvey McMillan Blog.  During the spring of 2020 we are focussing our energy on providing Resilience support to clients through our Resilience Alphabet.  We will be re-issuing our Resilience Alphabet here starting on May 18th which is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.  Details of the Resilience Alphabet for Kids can be found here Martha Simpson Coaching.  

 

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U is for Uncertainty

Have you ever lived close enough to a baby to track the many achievements required in simply learning to talk, from these first one syllable sounds, testing out the musical range of babbling, through learning the word ‘no’, to telling you fantastic tales about the adventures of various toys.  It is a complex and effortful process accessing many parts of the brain.   To produce a phrase, about 100 muscles of the chest, neck, jaw, tongue and lips must work together.  That any of us can talk is one of life’s miracles.

I love this photo.  It symbolises all that is wonderful about being able to talk.  Getting lost in the moment with friends over a cup of tea, oblivious for a time to what is happening around us, or the challenges we might face.

Today call one of your friends simply to chat. 

Affirmation: Talking is one of life’s gifts and I’m choosing to use it well.”

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T is for Talk

Have you ever lived close enough to a baby to track the many achievements required in simply learning to talk, from these first one syllable sounds, testing out the musical range of babbling, through learning the word ‘no’, to telling you fantastic tales about the adventures of various toys.  It is a complex and effortful process accessing many parts of the brain.   To produce a phrase, about 100 muscles of the chest, neck, jaw, tongue and lips must work together.  That any of us can talk is one of life’s miracles.

I love this photo.  It symbolises all that is wonderful about being able to talk.  Getting lost in the moment with friends over a cup of tea, oblivious for a time to what is happening around us, or the challenges we might face. Today call one of your friends simply to chat. 

Affirmation: “Talking is one of life’s gifts and I’m choosing to use it well.”

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S is for Sunrise

If I live to be 100 and look back on my life, one of my moments of wonder will be sitting alone on Kaikoura beach at 5.30am in the morning waiting for the sun to rise.   I left the campsite in darkness with camera and crossed over the railway to find a place to sit on the sand and wait.

All was silent, except the rhythmic sound of the waves, entrancing and soothing, constant and re-assuring.  I could feel the cool sand, and feel the gentle morning breeze, and internally I can still remember that feeling of wonder at being part of this amazing natural phenomenon that happens every morning. Get outside and look at something amazing today!

Affirmation: “I am paying attention to the beauty of nature and its constancy no matter what is going on”

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R is for Remember

A couple of days ago I looked out my two Passports (of the electronic kind) to look at the photos stored on them, some of which go back to 1979!   As we’ve looked at them some have made us laugh, some are pretty awful, and many of them have been reminders of days out and family holidays, significant events and people, and times of much fun and laughter.

To build your personal resilience today, go and pull out some random photos or a photo album from before the selfie took over, and revisit some of the times that you thought were significant enough to capture.  Go laugh at what’s fun, remember important moments, and revisit happy times.  Write a list of 10 people you have photos of and get in touch with them.  You have a vast store of happy memories – what a resource to revisit at this time. 

Affirmation: “I am accessing my memory to build resilience by remembering happy times!”

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Q is for Question

Questions fairly frequently disturb our equilibrium and perhaps that is their core purpose.  For most of us, as we journey through life we ask ourselves questions.  What is the point of this?  What is happening here? Why is this happening to me?

As we think about personal resilience, I would encourage you to adopt the sentiment of this Quote.  Embrace your questions and learn to live with and in the question.  These may include questions of faith, questions about meaning, questions about the future and so on.

Questions fairly frequently disturb our equilibrium and perhaps that is their core purpose.  For most of us, as we journey through life we ask ourselves questions.  What is the point of this?  What is happening here? Why is this happening to me?

As we think about personal resilience, I would encourage you to adopt the sentiment of this Quote.  Embrace your questions and learn to live with and in the question.  These may include questions of faith, questions about meaning, questions about the future and so on.

Right now there are many things that remain unsolved in our hearts.  The invitation in the quote above to “Live in the Question” rather than to seek to resolve all the uncertainties of this time is wise advice.

Affirmation: “I am learning to have patience and to be at peace with some of the questions in my life.”

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P is for Pause

It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum of daily life where we simply move from one task to the next in an unrelenting effort to get everything done. 

Today in terms of personal resilience I want to encourage you to Pause: to take the time to consider how you have fared over the last week; to recognise those things you have done that have strengthened your resilience; and to recommit to making some of them a daily habit.

 In times of high stress, we need to practise habits of high self-care, as there are so many possibilities for having our energy and resources zapped!  So pause and set good habits for your self-care beginning today.

Affirmation: “I am learning the art of pausing often to check in with my wellbeing.”

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O is for Open

In terms of personal resilience one of the best things we can do from a wellbeing point of view is be open about (1) how we are today, (2) what we are feeling, and (3) what our hopes are for going forward. 

This degree of openness comes more naturally to some than others.  Some will immediately go into thoughts when we ask them how they are feeling.  The answer to the feeling question is best described in one word. 

In my work with clients I often say of difficult thoughts and feelings that “it is better out than in”, that is, it is better to be expressed.  Whether that is releasing these thoughts and feelings through talking it out, writing it out, exercising it out or whatever.  Letting the steam out a little at a time is way more helpful than holding it in until it explodes.

“I am choosing to be open with those I know will help me reflect without judgement.”

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N is for No

One of the keys to personal resilience is the ability to know when to say No! A long time ago I was asked a question: “What is your ‘Yes’ worth if you never say ‘No’?”  It is, and always has been, important to say ‘No’ to some things in order to say ‘Yes’ to what’s important.  If we fail to make this distinction, we will simply arrive at overload, particularly in times of high stress.

Today think of the things you ought to say ‘No’ to, in order to ensure you have time and energy for the ‘Yes’ that only you can provide.  Take time to re-evaluate your current priorities, and when you say ‘no’ know that it is for a more impactful ‘yes’.

Affirmation: “I am saying ‘No’ to some things in order to say ‘Yes’ to my real priorities.”

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M is for Move

M is an easy letter to find words for when we think about personal resilience.  I’ve chosen Move.  It’s such a simple thing to do even when our movements are restricted.  Here are some ideas:

1.  Create a standing desk

2.  Set a Sports watch to ping every 45 minutes.

3.  Ensure you get out for exercise every day

4.  Join an online exercise class of your choosing

5.  Find a pair of skipping ropes

6.  Dig out a ball – or three balls and learn to juggle

7.  Play Twister or the Cereal box game

8.  Put on your favourite dance music and dance!

9.  Get out into the green gym if you have one

10. Start a Couch to 5K programme

Affirmation: “I am made for moving and am choosing to move with intention every day.”

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L is for Let it Go

Sometimes we simply need to rebalance the priorities of our life and let some things go. The alternative is an ever increasing activity load which over time reduces us to exhaustion. 

Perhaps today would be a good day to take stock and ask yourself: “What do I need to let go of?”  Whether that is a routine we normally adopt or a thought pattern that is not useful, taking a moment to take stock and simply let some things go may help ease the pressure.

Take 10 minutes just for you today, to think about what you are trying to juggle, new activities and old, and decide what you can let go of. 

So review your activity load and make wise choices about where you simply need to let it go.

“I am decluttering my priorities in order to ensure sustainability and good health.

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