Wellbeing Mum

Our wellbeing expert and author Kathryn Lovewell offers tips about the best ways to stay sane and happy as a mum

Kathryn & Boys


LBS Community Leadership Awards 

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On Thursday evening, the 28th February, I found myself mingling with some of Sutton’s most inspirational community leaders.  I was delighted to find myself standing alongside the lovely Kathy, who has created an awesome support network for us local mums and another most amazing lady, Pat Fletcher - an 85 year old street pastor who helps young people in distress in the wee hours.

It was a great evening and I was honoured to win the prestigious “Improving People’s Lives” category.  I have worked tirelessly teaching young people in schools and Young offender institutes.  I have taught stress management, Mindfulness meditation and emotional resilience to men in prison, teachers, Head Teachers and individuals to help make their lives meaningful, fulfilling and happy.  It was a genuine treat to be recognised for the efforts I have made over the years, but ultimately it is the love that I have poured into my work and offered my clients that matters most to me.

I am thrilled to be sharing this fantastic joint achievement with a great bunch of women, who in my eyes do the hardest and most rewarding job in the world – being mums.  

Let's big it up for Kathy! Congratulations xxx


Valentine's Challenge

As Valentine's Day fast approaches, we are already consumed by Valentine mania.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love Valentine’s Day!  It’s such a fabulous focus - Love!  Sadly it’s soooooo commercial, the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is often lost or forgotten.

Did you know that St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus? The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.  During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote "from your Valentine" as a farewell to her.   

How romantic is that!  And so my invitation is to embrace this depth of love and passion on Valentine’s Day.  Even if you think you’re too tired to celebrate, even if your partner is anti the whole malarkey, even if you can’t afford to go out or just can’t be doing with the crowds – give yourself a treat.   Start by getting a babysitter (if you have littlies) and set the scene for your partner that “special time” is the order of the day! 

Consider what you would love and then ask for that.  If that’s too much of a leap, then create what you’d love!  It can be as simple as candlelit dinner and no TV – just togetherness.  You can play the love and appreciation game.  Take it in turns to say: “What I love about you is….” 

(You can do this with your children too to raise the loving vibration in your home.  It works a treat!) If your partner is away or working late, stop all chores and create some special “me time”.  Have a bubble bath & relax!

I believe it is vital for our emotional health and esteem to have our “love tanks” regularly filled up.  This can be exceedingly difficult if we are up to our necks in family demands and household chores.  Step back, and give yourself the time and love you deserve.  There is only one of you!  You are unique and precious.  Let Valentine remind you how wonderful you are - hair, face & nails done or not! 

Let it start with you!  Give yourself the love, time and respect and others (including your children) will support you in your desire for some TLC, pampering and best of all some romance!  Go on, invite cupid back into your life!

For your chance to win the cd companion to my book, Every Teacher Matters simply “Like” my face book page Every Teacher Matters.  It has guided meditations and creative visualisations that will help you relax, stay calm, help clear your mind and ensure you sleep like a puppy!   Just click here!


 Be kind to yourself

As we draw a close to the first month of 2013, how many of you are busy berating yourself for not keeping your New Year’s Resolutions?  I deliberately chose not to discuss NY resolutions at the beginning of the year as statistically psychology research shows that resolutions can often do more harm than good – leaving people feeling like a failure.

If you chose to make a resolution and have “broken” it already – fret not.  You are not alone.  A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning.  What’s interesting is women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends. (Wall Street Journal)

So my top tip for today and the rest of your magical year is to be kind to yourself – let that be your number one resolution!  If you are having a tough day – if you have eaten that biscuit (or ten) when you promised yourself you would be sugar free – go easy on yourself.  You wouldn’t incessantly berate your kids if they made a mistake or let themselves down would you? 

In times of challenge or stress ask yourself:

“What’s the kindest thing I can do for myself right now? 

Be gentle, be patient, be kind – just as you would if your son or daughter was struggling or troubled.  You have a heart of gold – you’re the first one there if a friend is in need, so be that friend to yourself today and every day.  Give yourself the compassion you give your loved ones.

Take good care x


Happy New Year

Well it’s still January, so I feel I can squeeze in a belated good wish for a magical 2013!  I’ve spent much of this month in reflection - not something I would ordinarily do as I embrace New Year’s Resolutions!  This January I’ve spent time looking back and reflecting on 2012 – what I loved, what I struggled with and what my pervading experience was throughout the year.  This has been enormously helpful.  It has brought my lop-sided perspective back into balance.

How might taking time to reflect on the past enable you to embrace a healthier future?  I’m not talking about striving for external goals – losing weight, getting fit finding the dream job.  I’m talking about feeling content, feeling fulfilled; developing a stronger more nourishing relationship with yourself and your family.

What is important to you really? What are your highest values?  As January draws to a close, take a gentle look back – maybe just at January, maybe at the whole of last year and notice what has brought you happiness and what has not.  Examine what you can change and what you cannot.  The Serenity Prayer springs to mind...

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”

As a mum, this will help you to love who you are, love and accept where you are and guide you to where you would love to be.

Have a fabulous year!

Kathryn x


Festive Road Rage

As the big day draws ever closer and the weather brews ever colder tempers often flare – especially in the car.  A spontaneous visit to a friend tonight brought with it several close shaves in the car and soon after I witnessed some serious road rage.  A gentle reminder today to give yourself just that little bit more time if you are out on the roads.  If you are feeling pressured and maybe a little fraught the last thing you’ll want is to have to rush anyway, especially when driving.

Top well-being tip for the day is take your time!  Take a breath before you get in the car.  Bring yourself to a place of calm by breathing deeply before you start the engine and maybe listen to some tranquil music as you drive.  If you take a proactive approach to being calm when driving, you will better cope with those unexpected pedestrians, speeding lads and dreaded traffic jams.

Visualise clear passage and see you and your family arriving safely at your destination.  Breathe in deeply and on the out SMILE!  Make it a big cheesy grin and make yourself chuckle!  The “Breathe and smile” technique will make a profound difference to your driving experience.  Take care.  Be safe x

Working Mums

If you’re a working mum then you’ll likely be chasing your tail during the lead up to Christmas; extra stuff to do at home and pressure to tie up loose ends at work before the Christmas break.  Juggling the needs of your family and the demands of work can send a sane and organised girl right to the edge.  And if we’re not careful – right over the edge!  

My boys are at the age where they have independent activities after school and often need feeding at different times and need to be in different places at different times too.  Their schedules are different; they attend different schools and their after school commitments also differ.  Simultaneously I have my clients to attend to – stress and well-being is a 365 day a year issue.  Is it any wonder working mums can find themselves spinning in ever decreasing circles!!

Top tip for working mums is to create a supportive underlying structure.  There’s lots of structures you can create, including practical help from friends and family.  Here’s one the kids (almost any age) but especially great for teens - can help you with.  Make a list of household jobs that need to be done; everyday stuff that’s not particularly hard, just time consuming.  Assign each task to a family member. It may feel like it generates extra work at first, as you show them exactly what you want and how you want it done – however once you’ve laid the foundations it will support you long term and help develop your children’s skill base too!

We have a blitz every Wednesday morning before school to keep on top of things.  Stairs get hoovered, bath gets cleaned, dishwasher emptied, recycling put out etc etc.  I won’t pretend it’s warmly welcomed however there is no discussion.  I need help and this way family members are more likely to appreciate your efforts!  Always good  ;0)


Managing Time at Christmas

Time can often feel like your enemy in the lead up to Christmas - so much to do and not enough time.  School activities, social nights, family gatherings, cards, pressies and of course the dreaded shopping!  

With the list of things to do growing ever longer every day, how on earth do you stay calm and relaxed?  It’s easy.  You give yourself time first!  You’ve heard the flight attendant say “in an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first, and then attend to your dependents. It’s no different.  Give yourself time to gather your thoughts and organise your day.

Each morning (or if you have trouble going to sleep because your head is swimming with things you must get done – each evening) write your “to-do” list.  Now I’ve always struggled withprioritising, so here’s a great top tip to manage the mayhem.  It’s inspired from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

Fold an A4 piece of paper into 4.  Label each box.  

1.Top left hand box: URGENT & IMPORTANT.  

2.Top right hand box: IMPORTANT, NOT URGENT.  

3.Bottom left hand box: URGENT, NOT IMPORTANT.

4.Bottom right hand box: NOT URGENT, NOT IMPORTANT.

Instantly you’ll be able to breathe as you assigneach “to-do” in the appropriate box.  Now you may think box 1 is the box you must prioritise –short term it is but with practice you will hopefully have more entries in box 2 (than box 1) and that will be your focus.  This way, the urgency is removed – which generates the stress and you will be ahead of the game.  This is the best case scenario. There are always unexpected things that show up and must be dealt with there and then which can throw your day and more often than not things take longer than you’d hope.  Just give yourself permission to breathe and be human!  One day at a time, one task at a time, one moment at a time.  


Breathing space at Christmas 

Christmas is a magical time!  Time for family, friends and special treats.  Christmas can also be a very stressful time.  As a mum, it is often left to you to create this magic and to ensure everything runs smoothly. The challenge is to meet the needs and desires of your loved ones without sacrificing yours. More importantly, it is vital that you take care of yourself in the lead up to Christmas so that you too can enjoy the festivities and remain fit and well.

Mums are notorious for putting their needs last.  Christmas is no exception.  Here are some top tips to take care of yourself during this fun-filled time of activities and social mayhem!

Create space in your diary.  Impossible you say!  It is imperative that you give yourself some breathing space in your day to ensure you can sustain your great parenting during the silly season.  Carve out at least one hour (okay half an hour) for yourself.  Stop and rest.  Give yourself some headspace.  Sit down.  Be quiet. If your kids are at home, plug them into an independent activity that they don’t need you for (yes the TV is allowed) and give yourself some loving attention.

Rest.  Relax. Breathe deeply.  As you inhale, imagine breathing in qualities you feel might help you; feeling calm, patient, kind, relaxed.  As you exhale imagine all the tension and frustration leaving your body.  Keep breathing deeply in and out.  If your mind is bursting with “stuff” that has to get done, give your mind a job to do and simply count your breath.  Breathe in for 7, hold for 7 andbreathe out for 7.  This will slow down your heart rate, increase happy hormones and give you a sense of well-being.

Do this every day – even if it’s for 5 minutes and you will feel stronger, clearer and more energised to embrace the Christmas chaos.  Good luck!


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Kathryn Lovewell is a Sutton Mum of two teenage boys and an inspirational specialist in Mindful Self Management teaching inside and outside mainstream education, in prison and within the community. She trains Head Teachers and teachers and supports students to be self resourcing.  She has worked creatively and therapeutically with young women offenders and presently works with male offenders.  Kathryn assists adults and children challenged with ADHD, dyslexia, low self esteem, behavioural difficulties and life threatening illness. She is a highly skilled qualified Journey Therapist, an experienced facilitator of meditation and self inquiry. Kathryn promotes practical self empowerment rooted from mindful awareness.
www.kathrynlovewell.com


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