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Month: November 2022

Why my Cat Does Yoga

Why my cat does YogaOk I’m not going to pretend anyone asked me why my cat does Yoga. But cats are really great at self care. They seem to be happiest when they spend all day licking themselves and stretching. As humans we also need to make a habit of Self Care.

Have you ever been on a self development course, undergone some counseling or coaching, and experienced great results, only to find yourself back to square one after 6 months? This is called regression and it is very common. So how do you get around it?

Self care is to our emotions what food is to the body or fuel is to a vehicle. We need to keep filling up the tank.

The trick is to develop good habits and practice them daily. Last week, I talked about 5 things you can do to get out of or avoid depression. If you remember, I mentioned walking, listening to something funny or inspirational, eating foods that promote happiness, dancing and contacting friends.

Here I will give you 5 very simple practices that will help you feel good about yourself. They won’t take much time, but they will make a difference if you make a habit of them.

  1. Physical – You can soothe yourself physically by pulling the tension out of your arms. With one hand gently squeeze all the way from the shoulder and armpit down to the tips of the fingers. Do this a few times, then switch arms. You can do the same with your legs. Push the tension from the tops of your thighs down to your ankles.
  2. Visual – Go outside if you can and take a good look at the trees and bushes. Notice the different shapes of the trunks, branches and leaves. See how they all have their own version of green. Stand at the bottom of a tall tree and look up to see it stretching up towards the sky.
  3. Auditory – Listen to the recorded sound of rain falling or some gentle instrumental music. Try shutting your eyes so that you can completely focus on what you can hear.
  4. Gustatory – When you eat, do so mindfully. Take a mouthful of one thing in isolation. Chew slowly and be aware of its temperature, texture and most importantly taste. Keep doing this for as long as you can.
  5. Olfactory – Use a fragrant moisturiser, perfume or Eau de Toilette. Inhale its fragrance and notice how it makes you feel.

If you do each of these 5 practices once, you might feel good for a moment. However, when you make a habit of doing them for at least a minute every day, the chances are you will notice that your general wellbeing is improving little by little. This is how we make small changes that make a big difference.




Funk the Funk in 5

Funk the funk in 5 – no it’s not a typo.

Funk the Funk in 5

If you look up the definition of funk it says it is both a noun and a verb. The noun is a state of depression. Whereas the verb is to avoid or get out of something.  Besides, I didn’t want to offend anyone with the other word I could have used.

Have you ever been in a depressive “funk?” How did you get yourself out of it? If you would like to know my 5 top tips for getting out of a funk read on.

  1. Start by going for a long walk. Five minutes probably won’t be enough, but fifty minutes will help a lot. The gentle movement will increase blood flow to your body and brain and lift your mood. Let your thoughts focus on the nature around you, as this will also help restore your mental wellbeing.
  2. Listen to an uplifting or funny message on a podcast, TED Talk or YouTube video for at least 5 minutes. Hearing another person talk about how they overcame adversity can inspire you. Listening to comedy will trigger endorphins and help you feel better.
  3. Make yourself a smoothie made of these 5 things: Berries, bananas, oats, coffee and dark chocolate. If you prefer something savoury, have a meal of these 5: fatty fish, lentils, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, and nuts.
  4. Dance to happy music for at least 5 minutes. Dancing releases endorphins so that we feel happy. You could go further and dance to 5 happy songs.
  5. Get in touch with 5 friends. Often when people feel depressed the tendency is to hibernate. But this only makes things worse. Just having contact with other people is good for our mental and even physical health. You don’t need to be at your best to send a simple WhatsApp message. Most people will be happy to hear from you and will send you a message back.


There are other things you can do to funk a funk, but I promised I’d keep it to 5. The point is, we can alter our moods. We have a choice to stay in the funk or get ourselves out of it. Negativity and staying in a dark mood are habits. We always have the choice to replace our bad habits with good ones. So what if you got into the habit of doing these 5 things daily, to prevent getting into a funk in the first place?

That Question

Has anyone asked you that question yet?

That Question

“Are you ready for Christmas?” I have two daughters with birthdays in November. So there is no way I’m going to even think about Christmas until after their birthdays. When someone asks me at the start of November, if I’m ready for Christmas, I hold my breath and give them a certain look.

What does being ready for Christmas even mean? Is there a universal list that I’m supposed to tick off the tasks to get ready? If I don’t have everything on that list, does it no longer count as Christmas? Like the time when I bought an artificial Christmas tree because I looked in 6 stores and they had all run out of real trees already. (Living in the Caribbean we have real trees imported from Canada, but you have to order one in March!) More than one member of my family was horrified that I had “RUINED” Christmas.

Over the years, my daughters became vegetarian, so as well as a turkey, we had to have a meat free version for them. We got to the point where we had to have no fewer than 10 vegetable dishes. All of them were accompanied with the exclamation, “We have to have that at Christmas!” Similarly with the gifts, I have made a rod for my own back by giving everyone too many presents. Is that really what Christmas is about?

Or is Christmas a season that we can celebrate with joy, regardless of the exact details? It is not our birthday after all! Can we encompass in this season of holidays, the fact that we are all celebrating different things? The tourists at our rental property come to celebrate Hanukkah, perhaps partly to avoid that question of “Are you ready for Christmas?”

I know in the States the expression “Happy Holidays” has been used for many decades. But those of us who are not American,  and don’t live in the States, can still learn from our American friends. Certainly when I lived in the UK two decades ago it was unheard of to wish anyone “Happy Holidays.”

I’ve only ever been to a real American Thanksgiving Dinner once. And it was a large party, not a family dinner. But I have hosted them before, much to the surprise of my invited guests! I’ve no idea if I cooked the “correct” dishes, because everyone I spoke to had their own family traditions. My family obviously has no tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving for me to turn to. But what a wonderful way to be consciously thankful and positive. So I don’t mind admitting to this piece of cultural appropriation.

Next time someone asks me that question, I will ask them to define ready, because as far as I’m concerned “ready” is in our attitudes, not our to do lists. How do you know when you are ready for Christmas or the holiday you celebrate?

If you are interested in learning more about 1:1 or 1:2 coaching please see Orchard Coaching & Retreats.

You can book your free session here.

Or you can email Fiona at





Overcoming Overwhelm!

Overcoming Overwhelm

This coming Friday,  I will host my group coaching workshop called Overcoming Overwhelm. It is the last in a series of 6 workshops.

Overwhelm strikes when you have too much work to do, you have personal issues and significant life events happen all at the same time. It feels like there is too much to deal with and you don’t know which situation to look at first. You don’t know which way to turn. It’s hard to focus on the bigger picture. Instead your brain thinks about all the details of the many different situations. And it feels like you are drowning.

When my sister and mother died within 5 weeks of each other, strangely I wasn’t overwhelmed. I arranged the funerals, emptied the house, with my other sister. It was clear what I should do and in what order. So I got on with it.

Then when I lost all the money in my account because our airport was closed to tourists, I was worried, but not overwhelmed. We were waiting for our airport to reopen.  Suddenly American Airlines announced they were cancelling all their flights regardless.  At that point I definitely felt desperate, but not exactly overwhelmed.

In the meantime, I was doing a refurbishment of my sisters’ flat in London, emptying my parents’ house, trying to rescue our tourism business and setting up a coaching business.

Overwhelm struck when I became aware that the London flat needed a lot more radical work done than the initial refurbishment.

The worst moment for me was on a particular day when I messaged my tenant at 6 am and over the next few hours she sent me 40 messages back, including several videos of things that needed fixing, after she had already moved in.

How do you typically deal with this sort of situation?  Maybe you take one day at a time and work through it. Perhaps you pray about it. You might talk to someone. Having someone listen to you definitely helps, whether that is your partner, a good friend or colleague, a coach or God!

But there is more we can do to overcome overwhelm and stay calm.

Nowadays, I help my clients with coping strategies using the 5 senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and even taste. My methods also include Guided Meditation, visualisation, breathing and body movement.

These techniques help you to take a step back and put things in perspective.

Working on our self love, setting boundaries, boosting our confidence, and speaking our truth as well as practising gratitude and self soothing methods all help us to overcome overwhelm.

So I invite you to join us on Friday for the Overcoming Overwhelm workshop. I am going to share with you a very simple but useful tool. And it’s going to be fun!

To enrol in this Group Coaching, please fill this very short Enrolment Form After you have registered you will receive the link to the calls.


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