“Never tell me of the sterner beauties of winter” the English novelist Letitia Elizabeth Landon once lamented, and for those of us seeking refuge from the season’s biting cold, desolate landscapes and extended hours of dark, her words could hardly be more true.
For some of us, there is no better time than these months of hibernation. But in the harsh and individualized city, a certain sense of isolation can instead take hold – especially on those horrible early morning commutes!
Bouts of low mood during the winter season is something that many are familiar with. Also referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or ‘the winter blues’, the NHS estimates that “approximately 2 million people in the UK and Ireland” are affected and that the “modern way of living” and “extended working hours” have a direct impact.
At London Business Magazine, we have spoken to ten successful working women, on how to keep your emotional wellbeing in great shape right through to the first signs of spring.
Mimi Bland: “Do the internal work”
Author of “The Answer is You” and a self-transformational mentor at the New Life Academy, Mimi’s 25 years of experience have offered her an insight into the connection between mind and body.
Life isn’t happening to you. Life is responding to you, your mindset & your actions.
Understand that everything in your life right now stems from you and is created by you. Everything in your life is happening for you, not to you.
So, go for it! Who says you can’t? The only person who is stopping you from achieving anything that you want to in life is “YOU”. Listen to nobody, be afraid of nothing and make your no.1 goal, to believe in yourself, trust your instincts and to be happy.
One of the most important things that I have personally learned in my life, is how to develop a greater understanding. To know that everything in my life comes from me, from the thoughts I choose to think and by how I feel. Moreover, life was simply reflecting back to me exactly what was happening within me.
Once I began the process of Self Mastery, I started learning how to control what experiences I was attracting into my life. If there were negative repetitive situations occurring, then that gave me the opportunity to go within and do the internal work.
Every day I made a conscious decision to change my perceptions, beliefs and the meaning I gave to everything, so that I could live my life in perfect harmony with who I am.
Carla Cohen: “Tune out to tune in”
Founder of Women’s Health Revolution and an award-winning emotional intelligence coach, Carla brings together more than 30 years of expertise in healing arts to empower her clients.
In the words of Buddha, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. Pain is what the world does to you, suffering is what you do to yourself.” Stress and anxiety are determined by our belief system and its associated emotional pressure. We tend to either suppress our emotions, meaning we consciously put them aside, or repress our emotions, meaning we push them down unconsciously. This cumulative pressure causes thoughts to accumulate. In other words, our repressed and suppressed feelings are triggering the stress we are experiencing – not some outside force. The world will continue to challenge us with outside circumstances.
To find peace, we must make peace, with our unresolved emotions. Tune out to tune in. Take a few minutes to stop moving, turn off your phone, lock the door. Get comfortable. Take several deep breaths. Breathe in and breath out – don’t push. Become aware of your body. When you think about what is causing your stress, where do you feel that in your body? This is not an emotional process, stay with the sensation. Focus completely on the sensation and breathe normally. Ignore any thoughts – stay with the feeling. If the feeling moves, follow it. When there is no hint of the sensation, you have healed the feeling. This process will take you to a place of peace.
Milentina Marcus: “Recharge batteries and come back stronger”
With a successful track record in sales and international business, Milentina has discovered a passion for coaching women – emotionally and financially – for which she was won awards.
How easy it is to find ourselves so busy that we charge our phone batteries and forget to recharge our own!
I shudder when I remember my days as a corporatist. I was only ever at the office or in airports, ready to take yet another business trip for negotiations with a supplier. There was no time to relax my mind or have a moment to breathe.
After a while, I became so exhausted that I could hardly focus on my tasks. I didn’t know how to take control and de-stress. I even used to sleep less in order to work more. Huge mistake! Without enough sleep, our mental health deteriorates and our concentration goes downhill.
Taking a break doesn’t mean wasting productive time. It means recharging batteries and coming back stronger, with a better focus. You don’t need so much time. Just a few minutes to close your eyes and listen to calm music, to think of something you love or even to go out and breathe. Just a few minutes can be enough to de-stress.
Now I pay full attention to my energy levels to avoid any risk of burn-out. How? I schedule in short, but re-energizing breaks.
How often do you give yourself some “me time”?
Ramona Maria Pop: “If we plant the right seeds, we get the right plants”
Having undergone a life journey that led to her graduation in Psychology from a London university, Ramona now works as a therapist and spiritual coach to help others.
Maintaining our emotional well-being is very important. Throughout my journey, I found introspection in the times when I had to stop and ask myself – is this the life I want to live? Of course, these were not the happiest moments of my life. Yet, I made a decision and chose to release my old traumas. Hence, the first step is to acknowledge that mental health is an essential element.
Everything starts with a thought. Thoughts are like seeds. If we plant the right seeds, we will get the right plants. Likewise, putting good, positive thoughts in our minds will yield good and positive things in life. In other words, our life is a mirror of our thoughts. What we believe becomes true for us. Each day, we must remember to master our minds. We have to control the mind and not let the mind control us. My daily discipline consists of positive affirmations, meditation, yoga practice, walks in nature, body workouts, sun exposure and healthy food.
This is how you can keep your mental and emotional wellbeing in top shape – by just loving yourself more every single day.
Mikaela Messiou: “Create daily rituals at home”
Entrepreneur, writer and mother, Mikaela co-founded Damaris Health & Wellbeing Centre after an impressive career that saw her start a fashion business, aged just 25
Do you suffer from the “winter blues”? The decreased sunlight often disrupts our internal clock and leaves us feeling depressed, not to mention the effects of the pandemic that put an additional toll on our mental health.
Over the years, I have found my very own coping mechanisms – my ‘Winter Bible’ – to keep my mental health in top shape, and so can you! Here are a few ideas I can share:
- Talk To Yourself, She Is Listening: Use a journal to write down your thoughts, congratulate yourself on your achievements – however small or large. I have created The Goddess Workbook to help you get started, you can download it here.
- Scent Is The Most Powerful Memory Trigger: Use the power of fragrance to boost your mood; light those candles and create daily rituals at home that make you feel like the Goddess you are!
- Nature Is Heaven On Earth: Despite the cold outside, spend time in nature. Go for long walks on the beach or enjoy the winter landscape, to wind down and recharge.
Taking these simple steps will help you get through winter and awaken your inner Goddess. For more tips, download my free report with 3 easy steps to find the Goddess in you. Godspeed, my dear Goddess, and don’t let the “winter blues” stand in your way!
Jacqueline Norton: “Feel better by doing less”
After 25 years working in IT solutions, Jacqueline moved into coaching and is now the founder of Aurate – a company that works on inner transformation and develops authentic client relationships
After a global pandemic, the question ‘how are you doing?’ takes on new depth. Consider the loss, grief, anxiety, lifestyle changes and a whole host of other effects that many of us are experiencing. Yet, the answers vary widely. Some have thrived and prospered, some have most definitely not. So, I find it helpful to ask ‘how am I being?’, first.
We are, fundamentally, human beings – not human doings. This word play alone brings a deeper question of ‘how am I being in this moment?’ Then subsequently, ‘can I BE different so I can DO better?’
I believe we can feel better by doing less and pausing to observe how we are being in this moment, and then the next moment, and so on. It’s a standard ‘coaching’ technique that encompasses mindfulness, but goes beyond the mind. You may notice the tension in a part of your body and how a minute after relaxing that tension, it returns to the same place. So you relax it again. This awareness can then become the start of observing your thoughts, and creating space between that thought and your emotional response to it.
It may feel frustrating to be told to do less when you haven’t enough time as it is! But it’s the key to being more efficient, healthy and ultimately, achieving more.
Luise Sargent: “Replace that old memory of not being good enough”
Founder of Therapy Point – a London-based counselling service for adults and adolescents – Luise has been practicing for 8 years, with charities and the NHS.
Let’s face it, winter mornings do not make anyone want to jump out of bed, but what if you’re feeling a bit rubbish, your motivation is low and everything seems that little bit harder to achieve? Sound familiar?
A recurring theme I see in my therapy room is related to self-worth. Self-worth, self-esteem and self-belief truly are the foundations of our being. Get the foundations right and you will be able to build resilience, have the ability to take knocks and move forward in your life.
Trying to build anything sustainable on shaky foundations just isn’t going to happen. You will doubt yourself, question your abilities and listen to others who have their own agenda.
We can change the way we perceive ourselves. Yes, it’s not easy. It takes time and commitment, but if you believe you have the right to become the best version of yourself, the effort will be worth it. Everyday look in the mirror and say “I love you. You are good enough and today is going to be OK”.
Our brains are memory boxes and we have to replace that old memory of not being good enough.
Each evening when you get into bed, think of one positive that happened today. It’s easy to think of 10 negatives but try to find that one positive and go to sleep proud of what you have achieved.
Aline Uara: “I spend every morning looking after myself”
A resident wellness therapist, Aline has studied traditional medicine in Japan and is now part of a research group on body analysis
Self-knowledge is the key to balance our mind. Often what works for me will not work for someone else because we are unique. As a Life Coach & Wellness Therapist, I use the Body Analysis technique for myself and to my clients.
Created by Dr. Vanesa Cesnik (PhD in Psychology and co-founder of the research institute “The Body Explains”), this tool can measure our unconscious where we all have 5 inner children, looking to the shape, sensation and expression of the body. Here are mine: 6% DREAMER, 30 % COMMUNICATOR, 24% DOMINATOR, 10% PLANNER, 30% DOER.
In my unconscious, the communicator + doer + dominator command. I spend every morning looking after myself by:
- Eating different tasty things but carefully counting calories, being surrounded by good company, receiving massages and listening to music etc.
- Going to the gym 6 times a week or going to the hairdresser
- Creating new strategies with my business partner.
- Appearing in advertising photos, wearing exotic clothes
If I don’t look after my 5 children, they will live in a frightened state inside my head.
You can book your own online Body Analysis with me to create your care plan.
Zalina Wälchli: “Get involved in what’s actually happening around you”
Always on the lookout for organic and natural ingredients for her cosmetic products, Zalina runs Zalina Swiss Organic and ran a popular 2019 seminar series in Switzerland on women, health and finance.
Living in a big, bustling city is often viewed as romantic, alluring, and even exciting. However, sometimes during the winter months, living in the city can make you feel rather low. With the grey skies, greyer snow slushed on the ground, and bitter cold, many people start to feel those city blues. This emotional downturn doesn’t have to last long though. Here are 2 great ways to keep your mental health in top shape!
Have a skin care routine
Skin care routines are ideal for mental health. Our brains like consistency and routine. By creating an organic skin care routine, your mind will feel productive simply from washing your face! Check out these all-natural products to amplify your routine:
- Blissful Cleansing Oil with alpine rose and patchouli
- Pristine Facial Serum
- Esctasis Intimate Body Oil with cold pressed organically nuts and seeds
- Night Goddess Rich Overnight Balsam with alpine rose & sandalwood
- Radiant Eyes & Lips Balsam with alpine rose and jojoba
- Detox Face Mask with Bentonite clay, Ashwagandha and Matcha (purifying, glowing skin)
Also, get in the habit of making every bath and shower a spa-like experience. Purchase bath oils, shower bombs, bath bombs, hair masks, face masks, etc. Fill your tub to the brim with bubbles while sipping a Matcha Latte!
Turn off the cell phones
Actually turn off all gadgets, at least an hour before you go to bed. Spend some time away from social media. Get involved in what’s actually happening around you. Use this time to do really anything else like finding a motivational book that you just can’t put down (or purchase an audiobook).
The city blues hit everyone at some point or another but remember, you control how hard and how long they last.
Harriet Waley-Cohen: “Have realistic expectations of yourself”
Bringing an intersectional feminist approach to corporate speaking, Harriet has spoken to a spectrum of audiences – including on ITV – about the need for resilience and self-belief to empower women
One of the kindest things you can do for your psychological wellbeing is to have realistic expectations of yourself. When the bar is set too high, it usually ends in disappointment. You feel overwhelmed and out of control.
No matter how hard you try, it is never enough. Any successes can only feel good for a short time, because there is always more to do and never time to stop and appreciate yourself. Then, if you do manage to meet your expectations consistently, your health and relationships may suffer in the process.
What happens next is that your inner critic get louder, anxiety rises and your self-belief and ability to feel empowered decrease. I see this pattern often with clients who are suffering from low self-worth and toxic perfectionism.
Keep the pressure on yourself manageable. Review your goals to check whether achieving them is genuinely possible and desirable. Investigate if they are compatible with your work-life balance, happiness and overall wellbeing. Career success – or any other kind of success – that comes at the expense of your wellbeing, is not the road to genuine happiness in the long-term. True self-worth involves safeguarding your sanity and health.
For further information on SAD or if you are in need of any assistance, always seek professional help. Services you can access include Mind (www.mind.org.uk), CALM (www.thecalmzone.net) and you can call CALM in the UK on 0800 58 58 58 or for 24/7 support, Samaritans on freephone 116 123.