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Life is challenging and uncertain for everyone at the moment. We are worried about catching Covid-19 and its mutating strains and passing it on to those who are vulnerable. With the frequent policy changes and decisions being taken it’s increasingly hard to stay sane, juggling circumstances and priorities with no end in sight. When we feel confused by the mixed messages we are hearing in the media we experience cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is holding some contradictory beliefs, values or ideas from the information we are hearing.

Fear and anxiety are known to suppress our immune system and keep us in a state of fight, flight or freeze. This is not a healthy place to be and will lead to exhaustion and burn-out.

We are in a global transition cycle

William Bridges describes transition as "the psychological process we go through in order to come to terms with a new situation." We will have all experienced one or two major transitions in our life, for example a job or significant relationship coming to an end. The major difference is that now the Covid-19 crisis is affecting us all at the same time, to a greater or lesser degree.

A transition is an ‘in between’ space where we can feel like a trapeze artist suspended in mid-air.


At times like this its good to step back, check in and ask:-


• What is in my control and what is outside of my control?
• What changes or adjustments can I make?
• What difference would that make to how I am feeling?

Make a list of the things you are free to take action on. This will help you regain some autonomy. We can create positive changes by taking small steps, even if they are only micro-steps. There is always space for refreshing our perspective on life.

Discovering what you need in the moment will enable you to feel calmer and more centred in your daily life.

Here are 3 tips to reset your life: -


Wake up well
Redesign a new morning routine to uplift you, whether you are a lark or an owl. What would put you in a great mood? Maybe it's journaling, yoga, singing, dancing or walking in nature every day. For more suggestions on creating a new morning routine, take a look at “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod.


Eat and drink healthily
When we eat healthily we feel better and have more consistent energy throughout the day. Try out some new healthy recipes to get re-inspired. Consider a detox and reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake. Drinking good quality water makes a difference too.


Rebalance your week
Think about what you want to change. Be honest - how much time do you take for yourself in an average week? Plan out your ideal week and compare it to your actual week. This exercise can be revealing! Find an action to take towards more balance.


The final transition phase as defined by Frederick M. Hudson, coach and consultant, is GO FOR IT. This is when we have renewed energy and drive in our personal life and/or career. We have experienced an ending like a redundancy, gone through the doldrums, spent time cocooning and getting ready and now, here we are at a brand new starting point. At the end of a career or life phase, we can't believe that we will ever feel renewed and re-energised. However we are in a cycle and eventually the wheel turns.

A transition cycle can be either a mini or major cycle (depending on what else is going on for you.) You could be starting a new decade or be newly single after divorce (major) or have been promoted in your company (mini.)

Whatever has gone before, as you enter this phase you will notice shifts in your energy, your confidence levels and find the courage to try new things, accompanied by a feeling of fulfilment. You may also be challenged by everything you want to achieve and risk-taking increases with your new-found confidence.

The main results I want my clients to achieve in the GO FOR IT phase are reaching their new goals and really enjoying the experience of success, however they define it ( as individuals we can differ in our perception of success.) We may want to redefine success, especially if our definition is outdated and based on other people's views rather than our own e.g. our parents, boss, friends or partner. The important thing is to celebrate being successful. High achievers are prone to skip the 'celebration' step as they swiftly move on to their next goal. If you are one of these, pause and take time to witness all that you have achieved. Then find a way to 'mark' it that is significant to you.

  • Here are some tips for navigating the high energy "go for it" phase:-
  • explore new networking groups and events
  • find ways to improve your time management skills to get more done
  • make sure you block out some work-free evenings and weekends
  • investigate which new professional organisations you could join





At some point during the cocooning process there will be a tiny spark that you notice. Something new is ready to emerge, like the butterfly unfolding its wings and coming out into the world. Renewal is here and with it comes a deeper sense of trust and hopefulness. You realise how necessary the other two parts of the transition cycle were and that you can't go back to who you were then, or the career or job that you had. Life is demanding something new and different.

Getting ready is a time of exploration and enjoyment. You may find that you have a yearning to learn or discover something new, to try something out that you haven't dared to before.

  • What experiences are you drawn to?
  • What new options might be available to you?

You notice you are feeling different. 'You are much more joyful and trusting of life. Your sense of humour, confidence and creativity are returning. You may decide to make some different choices about how and where you live. You experience a renewed sense of purpose and passion. You feel able to take more risks. Your intimate and close relationships feel revived and refreshed. You redefine what your 'inner sense' of work is and feel open to try something completely new.

Overall this is a very exciting time. You give yourself permission to do something with abandon! You take more risks! You enjoy the experience of 'being lazy' in a way that you haven't been able to do before. Maybe it's reading with abandon or playing more? You can explore your creativity beyond what you know and enjoy experimenting playfully like a child with a new paintbox!

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The term 'cocooning ' comes from the work of Fredrick Hudson and Pamela McLean who studied transition cycles. We can go through a mini transition which is about improving a life chapter ( e.g. when we change jobs) or it could be the end of a life chapter. Cocooning is about renewal and inner transformation. It's a time of reflection and self-evaluation as well as a time of surrender and allowance. This means allowing your old world to fall away while surrendering to the in-between space, before the next phase begins. You could feel a sense of relief, but you may also feel lonely and sad at times. Grief may surface and you are offered an opportunity to process it.

We all have an inner sanctuary, a place deep inside of us. In the cocooning phase it's time to cultivate our relationship to it. Our inner sanctuary is the place where we can nurture ourselves and offer ourselves unconditional love.

Activities that could be beneficial during this cocooning are journalling (to help with self-reflection) taking up a new interest, travelling or taking a sabbatical. In some cases taking a transition job or part-time work will enable you to transition to something else when it's the right time.

You may not feel like doing anything much for a few weeks or months. It's very easy to get caught up in old patterns of self-judgement and view yourself as lazy. Know that you are going through a metamorphosis. Try cultivating patience and trust in the process. Eventually you will experience a sense of excitement and renewed purpose and passion.

Trust that this will emerge, like the butterfly, when you are ready.

The struggle to leave the cocoon is what strengthens the butterfly's wings so she can fly

Tricia Stirling

Here are my tips for navigating the cocooning phase:-

  • Cultivate kindness and patience towards yourself
  • Don't force things, rather ALLOW them to emerge
  • Positive solitude. Connect to your inner sanctuary daily (during meditation, when you are out in nature or taking quiet reflective time out)
  • Breathe into the softness of your cocoon and connect to the inner peace and safety there

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We become aware that cycles are shifting when we reach the end of something, an impasse, a point where we can no longer sustain our position. This could relate to a career, a job role, a significant relationship, or a life phase. Perhaps a new decade is approaching and instead of looking forward to it, it feels daunting.

Endings are a place of exhaustion, deep despair, panic and often fear. You know something is coming to a close and it's time to move on, yet you still desire to cling onto the known world. The familiar, tried and tested territory, which felt safe and comfortable, no longer feels that way. In fact, it will probably become excruciatingly uncomfortable if you stay too long.

During my life, I have experienced a fair amount of life and work transitions including moving from the city to the countryside, changing job roles, undergoing a restructure at work and moving from employment to self-employment. I have made supporting clients who are navigating transitions a major part of my coaching practice. I have worked with clients who are reaching the end of a career phase and those who are starting a new role after a promotion. Other clients are facing redundancy, a restructure or a relationship breakdown. Together we find a way to navigate the ending and journey through to the next phase in the cycle called cocooning. I help my clients to recognise that an end point has arrived and that overstaying in an old place/role may be to the detriment of their health and wellbeing. Overstaying when things are not working leads to illness, burnout and depression. I view endings as our SOUL calling us on to greater, more expanded life. Even if the path ahead is misty and unclear we can acknowledge we are entering a new phase.

Here are some tips if you are near the ENDINGS point : -

  • Be gentle and loving to yourself. Allow time for what surfaces
  • Prioritise your own space and create silent time
  • Nurture yourself every day with fresh air, quality nutrition and exercise
  • Have patience and be true to yourself. Honour the ending of this significant career/life phase

Autumn is a time of transition. The children have gone back to school, young people begin a new university term and we have arrived in a new season.

I want to share my thoughts on the topic of "letting go."

We may think we are ready to let go, but for many of us, when the moment arrives there is a heaviness and level of resistance that shows up.

Last autumn, I set myself the task of sorting out my storage. I had been living back in London for a year but I still had some personal items stored away.

Letting go of this personal "stuff" was a process because when I connected to "my things" they made me feel SECURE but I didn't really need anything that was there for my new life. In fact I had the urge to buy new things to match my NEW ENERGY.

My storage represented the parts of my OLD LIFE that I was NOT ready to let go of.

I am sharing this with you because there may be some exciting shifts that you are ready for but if you are still "holding on" to the past in any way then the new can't come in fully.

Here are some questions for you to think about:-

  • What are you holding onto that keeps you feeling safe and secure?
  •  What are you ready to let go so you can finally start a new life chapter this Autumn?

Once you decide to let go of some "stuff" you will start to feel completely different!

LIGHTER

EXPANDED

ALIVE

JOYFUL

SO if you are still holding onto things, people, places... even after you KNOW deep down that you should let them go, now is the PERFECT TIME to release this old energy.

Many of my clients tell me that they know they need to leave their husband/partner /job and move on but they feel very insecure about making the transition. What's holding them back is FEAR; fear of the unknown, fear of being alone and it is scary. We all want to feel loved and secure and supported.

The good news is that you don't need to continue to carry the shadows of the past around with you and by facing your fears with support they will diminish and be replaced with new feelings of excitement. I also use a new process in my work with clients that helps clear away fear and release anxiety.

If you know you are holding onto the past and you are feeling READY to begin the process of letting go contact me   now to find out how I can support you, so that you can start creating YOUR Vibrant Life NOW!

 

January can begin with a review of what we achieved in the past year and setting new goals for the year. One of those goals could be to change your career or to review your current role. It may be the time to think about whether you are actually doing the work that inspires and uplifts you. As we spend so much time at work, it's critical that we enjoy doing it and that it inspires us most of the time.  ...continue reading "New Year, New Career?"

As the summer holidays come to an end and September approaches, this new month feels like the start of something new. September is the start of a new  academic year and as I worked in education before I became a coach this month always has the flavour of a new beginning.

For many women in their fifties September is the time when our children embark on their journey to university. Their departure can leave us feeling empty and with a deep sense of loss. We wonder what to do with our lives now that we have more space for ourselves.

Like the change of seasons, change is a constant, but when change arrives it is not always welcomed or anticipated. Letting go of the old is part of a life transition and there will be a time when we are "cocooning."  Cocooning isn't a dormant phase, but rather a phase of gathering new energy around us, like a space " in between." Eventually we feel ready to start our next new cycle/life phase.

Here are some suggestions for new beginnings this month :-

  • Venture into new territory - find a different route to work or discover a new walk in your local area
  • Register for that course or evening class you have been thinking about for a while but have not got round to doing.
  • Buy something in a new colour. A new scarf or lipstick will bring in fresh energy.
  • Review your morning routine. Does it need a few tweaks e.g. a healthier breakfast or getting up half an hour earlier so you have more space for visualising/meditating/morning stretches.

Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself at the beginning of a new month:-

  • What would I like to initiate this month?
  • What needs to be brought back into balance?  ( e..g  finances, energy levels, quality time alone.)
  • What do I want to have achieved by the end of this month?

Wishing you a wonderful September........