Time to Reflect and Deflect
By; Ana Mepham.
The Christmas holidays are upon us, there is a buzz around town. Between the annual Christmas lights being switched on, Christmas Markets, presents to be bought, family gatherings, children's Christmas carols/plays, Christmas parties, oh and don’t forget the choice of bird one has to decided to cook or the delicious nut roast one has to prepare, never mind Santa on his way with all the presents the little ones have posted their letters for. The list goes on as we all know. It’s also the end of another year to put a many of things in the past and to bring the lessons we have learnt into the future with us. New beginnings are around the corner. We all know Christmas is a joyful occasion and on some days we smile and laugh and feel grateful to have the people we have in our lives and the lives that we have to live. Other days we think of the ones we have lost along the way and miss so deeply, we shed a few tears with the memory and the thoughts we have and can no longer continue to have. It’s a huge time to reflect and potentially think of the things we aim to do in the new year. Weather it be as little as something which is reading more and checking in with ourselves or planning a weeks summer holiday with our significant other. So we have something to work towards and something to look forward to. Overall it’s a time to reflect and deflect. Take in all the moments and be kinder to others, especially yourself.
Merry Christmas to everyone and thank you for all your ongoing support.
See ya next year! ;)
By: Ana Mepham
I often say to my clients, “be gentle on yourself” or “be mindful of how you speak to yourself.” Each time I say this I find they nod in agreement or laugh a little as we are all guilty of being self critical. Affirmations are something I introduce, I think we all know what they are but we don’t tend to practice them enough. Also how do they work?
Neuroplasticity, or your brains ability to change and adapt to different circumstances throughout your life, offers a clue to help understand not only what makes affirmations work, but how to make them more effective. I have written a blog about grounding and also a little on the Amygdala, that very interesting part of the brain that's primary role is processing of memory, decision making and emotional responses. In that I explain how we can get ourselves into a tizzy by thinking something which may or may not happen yet allowing ourselves to respond as if it were happening. Its amazing how switching up our dialog in our minds can benefit out bodies and in turn help us to become more optimistic and positive.
Your brain sometimes gets a little mixed up on the difference between reality and imagination, which in many of ways can be somewhat helpful. Creating a mental image of yourself doing something - like learning your work and finally becoming self employed in something you have contemplated for years on doing. Or conquering your fear of heights and sky diving out a plane, activates many of the same brain areas that actually experiencing these situation would.
Regular repetition of affirming statements about yourself can encourage your brain to take the positive affirmations as fact. When you truly believe you can do something your actions often follow. For example replacing a negative or anxious thought, like;
“I shouldn’t leave my job, I am unable to work for myself. I cant commit and I don’t have the skills and I am scared of going out on my own.”
With a positive affirmation;
“I am well able to work for myself! I can do all of this as I have years of experience, I will learn and gain more experience everyday.”
Using affirmations may help you feel more relaxed before taking on something that makes you nervous or anxious. Knowing you are fully prepared can help avoid self sabotaging thoughts or behaviors potentially interfering with your success. Remember action is key. Repeating a affirmation can help boost your motivation and confidence, but you still have to take some action yourself. Try thinking of affirmations as a step forward toward change, not the change itself.
Change up the dialog you have towards yourself in your head and tell yourself you are capable, you are able and you will succeed, no matter what. Instead of putting yourself down and and speaking negatively towards yourself. Practice this in your day to day life, be kinder to yourself.
By: Ana Mepham
I thought it would be a good idea to touch on a few ways I ground myself. My sister and I were having this conversation the other day. She is 18 and life is changing rapidly for her. She has her final year in secondary school and as we all know this means final exams, points, success, courier choice, Uni choice, I mean the list is somewhat endless to a teenager at this transition in their lives. She is excited to be going forward but also somewhat anxious about it. More responsibility, big changes, I mean she is a grown up now and no longer the baby of the family. So as we sat talking she said it would be good for me to write about what is very easy but works well for calming ourselves in hectic times.
Now before I get onto the grounding techniques I use, lets talk about what it is your brain is doing when you go into panic stations, irrational or rational.
Lets discuss the Amygdala; The Amygdala is the region of the brain that primarily associated with emotional process. The amygdala helps coordinate responses to things in your environment, especially those that trigger an emotional response. This structure plays an important role in fear and anger. It is great for preparing emergency events but sometimes kicks in to action and detects a threat when there really isn't any.
For an example; we have a negative thought about something, bare in mind this is not real it is a thought. Our trusty amygdala sends messages to our nervous system saying “Emergency! Emergency!”. This signals our body to get ready which will start to change things in out body such as increased muscle tension, rapid heartbeat and faster breathing. The amygdala then interprets these body changes as further evidence that something is actually wrong which of course further activates it and creates a vicious cycle where you become more and more anxious, physically and emotionally overwhelmed.
Thankfully we can use grounding techniques to break out this vicious cycle. By re-enforcing on your body and what you’re physically feeling. You get out of your head a divert your mind away from anxious and stressful thoughts and into the moment.
Breathing, seems like its very simple and indeed it is. Yet, a majority of us do not breath properly. Especially when we are stressed. I find myself doing this technique whenever I am about to perform a task or I have finished a task. Three deep breaths in and out. Mind, body and soul. Sit up straight if you are sitting, drop your shoulders, take a deep breath in for four and out for six. Feel your lungs filling and diaphragm expanding. Hold the breath and then release. Repeat three times and you will feel each time you drop those shoulders and breath out the mind is calming the body. It is scientifically proven to center the mind and allow your nervous system to essential reboot itself. Focus on the task or feeling at hand and allow it to be what it is and on release allow the release.
Sometimes we also need the physical touch of something to put our energy into or to even draw our energy from. To see something or feel something can make a big difference to how we react. When I was younger I remember my Mum asking me to get her purse from her handbag. So as I went rooting I found a little purse. I pulled it out and opened this colorful, fabric purse with a zip on the top. I opened it to find six little handmade dolls. Tiny little things, I asked Mum what they were for and she replied “They are my Guatemalan worry dolls, when I am struggling I hold them and tell them all my problems and then put them back”. So like my Mum maybe you could find something that you could tell your problems too. Just getting it out, no judgement, no response and no reaction but your own.
Crystals are also something a lot of people look into. Harnessing energy to protect yourself from negative energies. They have numerous amount of powers from healing to protection. They come in all shapes and sizes. You can wear them on your body as a necklace or a bracelet. A book we have here in Solace on which we all use is called “The Crystal Bible” a great book for anyone interested on learning more about them.
We can also ground ourselves by scents, Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).
Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one. Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.
Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:
· “You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.”
· “You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.”
· “You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.”
Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.
Simple techniques that we can try and see which one suits you and then practice this method when you are feeling a bit up in the air. As we know muscle memory is huge and we are creatures of habit. You will find eventually that subconsciously you will be doing what suits you and grounds you unbeknownst to yourself.
I just cleaned my windows....
Why? Because I live by the sea and can't see out with the salt on the windows, or I was a cleaning maid in a past life!
No I can honestly say I clean my windows to facilitate cleansing the energy in my house and to create good energy flow. February I discovered a long time ago was not my favorite month but with the knowledge I have gained about my own energy it has now become a month that I embrace and maybe even enjoy a little more.
I am very traditional and for me February is a month for spring cleaning, so I take a little time off and recover my own energy, I can honestly say I found that this winter was seriously lacking light. My time off is intentional, I use the time to declutter my own house and move some more, and embrace daylight. This spring cleaning process helps to cleanse my mind and body in order to move out of the winter hibernation and into spring.
We also close Solace for a full day to Cleanse the space properly and this isn't about cleaning as that is a daily activity. It's about intentionally washing the energy off the walls, doors, floors, objects and opening up the space. Releasing any stagnant energy and making space for new spring energy.
With all that said we will be in spring for the next couple of months, perhaps you too can embrace with intention, cleansing the stagnation of the winter. This will look different for everyone. For some it will be exercising a little more, eating healthier, decluttering a wardrobe or in fact cleaning your windows.
" In this Moment, show patience and compassion for yourself "
by Ana Mepham
Here in Solace we offer a holistic facial. Quite different from a beauty facial. Reasons being we use facial massaging techniques along with Blumain products. I will touch on the products we use later on in the blog. For now lets get into the difference of a holistic facial and its benefits. Grab a cuppa, pop your feet up and enjoy the read.
A holistic facial is the ultimate pampering for your skin, to be in relaxing, caring hands is deeply comforting in a world full of stress and anxiety. To be able to come away from it all and find yourself totally relaxed in mind, body and soul. The treatment we offer can be combined with a back massage, some Indian head massage or Gua Sha stone tools. All depending on what you are feeling on the day.
A holistic facial has the same principles as a regular facial in that a routine of cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturizing. However we take a holistic approach concerning on the client as a whole and not just the skin type that the client has. A Facial massage can benefit in many ways. It can boost circulation, maintain moisture balance and remove toxins that may present in muscles and tissues. It can also help with relieving headaches or migraines. It can help release stress and get rid of sinus congestion. We use pressure points on the face to stimulate facial muscles, relieve tension, boost collagen production and enhance the skins elasticity and appearance. We also use lymphatic drainage techniques that reduce puffiness. Your skin will be left feeling soft, soothed, hydrated and radiant. Regular treatments can reduce fine lines and wrinkles and make the skin look firmer, smother and younger.
Blumain Organic skincare
Now to touch on the products and ingredients we use in our holistic facials. Blumain is a certified organic skincare range made here in Cork. As you know here in Solace we pride ourselves in using local products. The Blumain skincare range has won awards from “natural beauty awards” and “Free from skincare awards”. In the holistic facials we use the Geranium and Orange cleansing oil. Which aromas are slight but soothing, the cleansing oil is used on all skin types, it gives the skin a deep cleansed feeling and the orange essential oils balance and brighten the skin.
Then we use the Geranium and Bamboo Facial Polish. I have quite sensitive skin myself so a Facial Polish or scrub I get slightly nervous about. Reasons being I find they can irritate my skin or I even feel a burning sensation. This Facial Polish is fantastic, I sometimes leave it on for a couple minutes to really work its magic! No irritation, no burning sensation, for me its a win win. I use it once sometimes twice a week religiously. This exfoliates with the bamboo powerd and cupacca, removing all dead skin and also refining with Alpha-Hydroxy acids. This also moisturizes the skin with honey and shea butter leaving it perfectly smooth and glowing.
After we will use the soothing Rose Toner, Rosewater soothes whilst Geranium oil balances the skin. This toner is suitable for dry sensitive and mature skin. We then apply Hyaluronic acid and multivitamin serum, the ultimate anti aging serum. This is everything you need and want for a healthier looking skin. You may be asking what is Hyaluronic Acid. This is a humectant which draws water to the skin, helping to plump out fine lines and wrinkles. It has;
Vitamin A which helps the skin to produce new skin cells.
Vitamin C which is needed for collagen production.
Vitamin E which helps to nourish and protect your skin.
Eco Marine Algae extract which strongly stimulates collagen production.
Eyebright extract for its anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing benefits
Lingonberry extract for its rich anti-oxidant properties which protect the skin from free radical damage.
Evening Primrose Oil which is rich in essential fatty acids that are needed to maintain the skin structure.
This is suitable for all skin types, except those that are pregnant or breastfeeding due to the Vitamin A content.
Then last but not least we use the soothing Lavender and Camomile moisturizer. This luxurious and gentle Apricot and Rosehip oil combine to improve skin elasticity and help cell and tissue regeneration. Sweet almond oil nourishes and Shea Butter protects while Calendula and Chamomile extracts work together to calm and heal the skin. Lavender water and essential oil’s anti-inflammatory properties make this the perfect moisturiser to calm and soothe even the driest and irritated skins.
Suitable for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin types.
So there you have it, I hope this entices you to come into Solace and give yourself a hour of pampering and care. As you deserve it!
by Sarah Forristal
Today marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, which has been celebrated for over 5000 years in Ireland. On this day the sun is described as standing still before the days start lengthening again. It is a celebration of the returning light at the darkest time of year.
It is difficult to imagine how dark it would have been in the days without electric light. How when the sun went down work would stop for the day, and candlelight would be the only source of light. People would have rested more during the winter months as they were forced to slow down. For us these days, we are not forced to stop or slow down. We have to decide to switch off and to escape the busyness. Sometimes we can put pressure on ourselves to keep going even though our bodies need rest.
There is a natural movement inwards at this time of year, a period of hibernation, when nature is dormant. It is important to listen to our bodies and give ourselves the time to rest and rejuvenate, building our reserves for the year to come.
To embrace this time of year and to honour ourselves it is important to prioritise rest. Light candles in the evening and allow the body and mind to unwind after the day. Invite stillness in by switching off distractions and taking a few slow, deep breaths in and out. Tune in to your body's signals and rest when you need to. You may find you feel like sleeping more, and that's okay. It is a way for the body to preserve energy for the longer days ahead.
Moments of Solace Oracle Cards
By: Joyce O Sullivan
I've always been really passionate about self care and self reflection. I feel it has become increasingly more important and needs prioritising. Time has suddenly speeded up, with the world after opening up and life getting busy again. As much as people would have said to me that after the lockdown there is no way that they will get back on the treadmill of life. I have to be honest it’s hard to avoid it. This is why I feel self care needs prioritising.
As a result of multiple discussions around self care and self reflection with clients, I had a strong sense that there was more I could do to support their self care at home between appointments and so Moments of Solace Daily Guidance Oracle cards came to life. Inspired by the word Solace, I recognise that we all need Solace at times even if life is going well. Solace means to provide "comfort or consolation in a time of de-stress" and this is exactly what we offer in Solace Holistic Centre through Massage therapy and Reflexology and what I know the Oracles cards will provide for you at home.
Oracle cards can be used daily as a self care, self reflection tool. Moments of Solace Oracle cards consist of 40 cards, each with an image, a word and a quote on them. The quotes are chosen with your self care and self reflection in mind. When I was creating them I decided to break the word ' Solace' into 6 sections. These sections are Support, Observe, Listen, Accept, Change and Express. I also included a seventh section called Moments. Why seven sections? Each of the 7 sections "Solace Moments" correlates to one of your seven main Chakra’s. I have also connected to each Chakra, a healing crystal and colour for you to observe as an optional extra. Details can be found in the guidebook provided with the cards.
How to use Oracle cards:
If you are new to using oracle cards, the first step is to sit holding the deck, and when you feel ready, start shuffling them. Continue to shuffle until you feel like stopping. As you shuffle feel free to ask the deck “What do I need to know to support my self care today?”. Then with the deck face down pull a card from the top of the deck. The card picked will resonate with you and encourage you to look at an aspect of your life that needs attention in that moment.
Presented in a beautiful box the 40 cards, and guidebook have been designed with you in mind. To support you through your daily self care journey. Solace Oracle Cards will provide you with an opportunity to enhance your self care and to self reflect and observe where you are in that moment. Allowing acceptance of what the heart has to say. Supporting you through lessons learnt, and encouraging change and expression.
Saying it how it is
by Ana Mepham
I have found lately when having a conversation with someone struggling with something emotional it goes a bit like this, ill ask them how they are doing? They know immediately its a sincere question and I am being genuine, also that its a safe space and opening up is good. They will start to say they are grand, a little stressed. Then they discuss what ever situation is weighing on them. It could be something like the car is playing up and costing a lot of money to fix. Or it could be something like for example my family member, loved one, etc is sick and it could be terminal. These are two very different things but still stressful problems that are effecting said person. No mater how small or big. The next thing that happens is they go on to say “but sure look, there are plenty others out there that have it worse, it'll be grand.” There is definitely an element of which comparing is healthy and good but there is also an element of which comparing can be unhealthy and cause imbalance.
Don't get me wrong I can see how this can work as a coping mechanism to avoid getting upset, being seen as weak or perhaps just to full on avoid the emotions. As we all know everything in life can be avoided up to a point but then it really is important to not compare and just “say it, how it is!”.
Saying it how it is shows courage and expressing emotions shows strengths. Its all a proses in which we should allow to flow instead of justifying our emotions by comparing and actually not dealing with these feelings.
Just say it! Say it how it is and let it be. No shame, no second guessing, don’t doubt yourself. The voice in your head can only stay in there for so long. You need to release this emotion and not feel like once you have said it you should compare it. This is your situation, no one else s. Yes we can all relate to emotions but you are currently in this and you are allowed to feel the way you are.
Gua Sha Facial
Facial Gua Sha is a gentle technique which increases circulation, improves skin texture and promotes lymphatic drainage. It relaxes tense facial muscles and also gives a natural lift. It is performed using jade or rose quartz tools which are smooth and sculpted so that they glide over the contours of the face. It has become very popular in recent times but Gua Sha was widely used in Ancient China and is still commonly used there and in other parts of Asia today.
What to expect from a Gua Sha facial:
It is a very relaxing treatment. We incorporate massage of the shoulders, neck and head in to our treatment as many people hold tension here. After cleansing, we use an organic balm to gently massage the facial muscles. Many people also hold tension in their jaw, around their eyes and in their forehead; through massage this is able to release. Gua Sha tools are then used to massage and sculpt, toning the face and giving a natural lift. Puffiness is decreased through lymphatic drainage, texture of the skin is improved and the face has a natural glow.
The products that we use are certified organic. They nourish and care for the skin, nurture the skin's natural balance and promote health. They also smell and feel amazing, which adds to the deeply relaxing experience!
For more information or if you would like to book a gua sha facial contact 0879510554
Back Pain & Emotions
By: Joyce O Sullivan
In Ireland, 8 Adults out of 10 will suffer from back pain at some stage in their life.
Are you one of the 8? Some questions to ask yourself...
Is it in the lower, upper or middle of the back?
Is your posture good?
Do you do repetitive work?
Do you exercise?
How is your diet?
Is there financial worries?
Is there family worries?
Are you feeling emotional stuck or on an emotional roller-coaster?
All these questions are relevant and some may be surprising but they can all help to figure out what may be causing your back pain and even perhaps how it can be eased.
Poor posture, Repetitive strain injuries, Osteoarthritis, Slipped Discs, and Weak core muscles are among the most common reasons for back pain. In truth the list is endless and everyone's pain is relevant to them. On an emotional level, the back is out of sight and so is the perfect hiding place for
emotions and issues that one doesn't want to deal with.
We all know the saying "I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders!".
This might be an emotional weight that has been placed on your shoulders and as a result can cause high stress and severe muscle tension. The Left shoulder in particular is related to "emotional stress", massage can help work this out and allows emotions to surface that you may not have even realised were there. This is also true for the neck or the inability to turn your neck perhaps what has happened in the past is too hard to look at and so the ability to turn your head has become restricted over time as the emotions become more locked in the neck.
The middle back allows us to bend and move in different directions. We have all heard of "Bending over Backwards to help someone". Do you find yourself constantly saying yes to those looking for help from you, maybe some resentment is building up inside you. This resentment and frustration can have a trapping affect in the mid back where the muscles can lock around the spine prevent movement in the mid section. Hard as it is at times, it is important to say "no" and looking after what feels right for you. Saying no is a skill in itself and can be learned it's us to get more comfortable with saying no!!
"Financial Strain is often linked to the lower back", this might surprise some but others may connect with this statement. The financial worries of being in debt or not having enough money to support yourself or your loved ones can sit in the lower back for years creating all sorts of lower back pain that can radiate up the back and down the legs. The lower back is what keeps you upright. if it is gets sore and you're finding it difficult to get comfortable standing or sitting, have a look inside yourself and what's going on around you and perhaps you feel you are letting someone down or trying to do too
much at the moment. It's good to ask for help and support from loved ones to give you the strength to stand upright and continue walking through tough times!!
As mentioned aside from emotions there are lots of physical reasons for having a "Bad Back".
Weak core muscles, bad posture, Osteoarthritis, are all real issues that need to be worked on in order to maintain good health in the back. There are many options out there such as: > Massage, Osteopathy, Chiropractors, Physiotherapy, Talk Therapy, Acupuncture. Find what works for you, and what works for one person may not work for another, trust your instinct on this.
Solace Holistic Centre
10 Sand Quay Mill
Tel: 087 9510554 // 023 8859701
Located in the Old Grainstore on Clarke Street.
In between the Clona Factory and Fiddlers.