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How I Manage Business, Wellness and Life

As a wellness provocateur and disabled entrepreneur I’m often asked about how I manage business, wellness and life.

I am sharing my answer here (with permission from the person who asked).

Q: When personal matters grow overwhelming, how do you refocus so that you can effectively run your businesses?

This has been on my mind lately; I have more clients right now than ever, which is exciting, but I’m also feeling my symptoms worsen. And I’m not in crisis mode, either, so am not sure of how to proceed.

 A: It’s challenging that more clients can come, but bring more pressure too. It’s not often talked about, but it’s totally a thing. I think it’s going to vary for each person naturally, but here’s what works for me, and may be helpful for you and others:

1. Fuel – I keep myself fueled. If I am feeling as well as possible in terms of rest, time for myself, doing activities which I find restorative and relaxing, then everything is easier. And I can deal with a full client load. If I’m depleted, everything is harder and feels like juggling, but I’m not able to drop balls because they are people. So it’s my job to keep my well filled up. Luckily I have enough self-reflective space and Healing Team support that I notice if I’m getting low on fuel and can top up – so I’ve never felt like I’m going to drop people, but I imagine that’s how it could feel.

2. Boundaries – everything needs clear boundaries. So when I’m with a client, I’m fully with them. I’m not thinking about lunch or bills. It helps that I really enjoy the work, and it needs me to be present. And when I’m fueled thoughts don’t tend to intrude. And when I’m not with a client or doing client prep, I don’t think about them. I release them and ask a team of angels to take care of them for me, while I rest/sleep/see another client.

3. Reflection – I have lots of reflective space built in, so if there’s any worries, personal issues, triggers, things stemming from client sessions, I can journal or think about them. I can talk to my own therapist about the things I’m dealing with. If a thought or worry comes up I tend to put it in it’s category and think about it when it’s time. This ability has grown over time.

4. Mindfulness Practice – this is what helped stop my worries from turning up and then dancing in front of my face like gremlins, until I did something about them. Or, if I couldn’t, I just worried and worried over them. I practice being in the moment; now is now, and now is ok.

5. Releasing Perfectionism – I am not going to be perfect, and that’s ok. People aren’t going to hate/desert me if I reply to their email a little later, or if a blog post isn’t as good as it could be.

Nothing will ever be as good as it could be. But it will be enough and that’s amazing. (Click to Tweet!)

6. Fun – things work better when I am having happy times. Sometimes it’s hard to find those. I make love lists, I explore new things and book in time to do fun things. This week I wanted to bake, and each day I somehow seemed to find time for work, urgent media requests, other people’s problems, but not to bake. And so on Thursday I thought, enough! I am doing this, I am a priority too. And I made a gorgeous clarfouti and banana raisin bread. As I began making it I was aching with tiredness but in the process I became relaxed, grounded, engaged and fluid. It was a rest-while-in-motion activity.

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”

― M.F.K. FisherThe Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

I wonder if you can proceed by taking this as an opportunity to design an Optimum Environment for Me Plan? It can be a fun experiment. If you are taking on more clients, how does your self-care need to change/step up to meet the extra pressure?

How do you manage work and self-care? Share your answers in the comments below. 

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Wellness in Dark Weather- Grace's Winter Love ListI love our earth, I love the cycles and seasons. But for a while now, I’ve been nervous about the coming winter. Last winter I had two pretty severe lung infections and since then I’ve been nervous about winter, infections, feeling like I can’t breathe and having that awful chest pain. The amount of anxiety is disproportionate to the risk of infection, but every time I thought about winter and endless drizzly grey skies I felt tension.

So we decided to re-frame things, and all summer Linus has been helping me put together a Winter Love List. A list of specifically enjoyable activities for cold or wet weather. Some of them are treats we are reserving for the winter months, some are just good things about damp days.

If the current wet weather is getting you down, feel free to dive into my Love List activities and please add your own in the comments!

Grace’s Winter and Wet Weather Love List

Going to the spa or swimming pool and being in warm water when it’s cold outside

Listening to my favourite audio books

Double duvet days – the ultimate luxury. A high-tog duvet over and under you, for total cwtchy comfort

Camping out in the sitting room

Making warm and nourishing foods, like black bean potsweet potato soup with vanillasmokey tomato lentil stew with spinach and olives and scrummy split pea soup.

Drinking hot gingerbread rooibos tea with a good book

Cuddling up with the dogs

Eating Crazy Sexy Kitchen Avo Toasts

Avocado toast

Having snow days inside

Watching the dog play in the snow

Bertie playing in the snow

Funky hot water bottles

Seeing the leaves change colour

Celebrating Yule

Classic FM Christmas music

Decorating the house

Planning the garden

Horses playing in the snow

Grey days are good photography days:

“Cloudy grey days can produce surprisingly beautiful results because the clouds act like a diffuser around the sun, dispersing wonderfully even light across your scene and minimising the risks of harsh shadows and hot spots.” - Instant Love by Jen Altman, Susannah Conway, Amanda Gilligan

Secret midnight feasts 

Vision Boarding

Supercharged vanilla porridge 

Going to the beach with our family

Pickling and preserving vegetables

Making vegan madelines 

Decorating the chimney piece with squash and pumpkin boxes from Riverford Organic Farms and then eating them!

Gingerbread - fresh and warm from the dehydrator

Amaryllis

Knitting

Blood oranges in season

Making kale chips

Watching the Christmas lights get turned on in our local town

Wearing my faux fur muff and coat

Grace wearing faux fur coat sitting outside with snow behind her

Deliciously hot showers and baths.

Skiing

The feeling of coming home when you’ve been outside and it’s cold

Mixed nuts in their shells and clementines at Christmas

Christmas hampers

Star gazing

Want more inspiration? Check out what Gala Darling and Kris Carr have to say on fun winter activities!

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If you want to make your Autumn even more amazing, come and join us in The Phoenix Fire Academy! We start next week and there’s just 3 spots left.

If you’ve been wondering, thinking about it, going back and forth, I’d love for you to dive in and join us. This is the only time The Phoenix Fire Academy will run this year and I can’t wait to change your world with you.

Got questions? Jump on The Phoenix Fire Hotline with me now.

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Diagnosis: A New View

Phoenix Fire Academy

It is the moment which changes your life. Sometimes it feels like it is the moment which ends it. The life you knew is gone, you are AD – After Diagnosis, your own new millennium.

Diagnosis can feel like your carefully planned and treasured life burning up around you. That you can see things changing, feel them shifting, but are helpless to stop it.

Diagnosis feels like a fire moving through our lives, consuming all we hold dear, burning our very selves, our image, who we are, and leaving us with little but pain and ash – where there used to be hopes, plans and a maybe not perfect, but truly real life.

Diagnosis can be a signpost on our healing journeys and today I’d like to talk to you about how to cope with, or without, a diagnosis, as well as how to let go of your diagnosis and stop being defined by it. This is about how to navigate your healing journey at whatever stage of the diagnosis you’re in. The diagnosis is just information, it’s not a sentence.

A diagnosis puts a name on your pain, but you can heal without one.

We get to blaze our own trail and write our own story.

Sometimes we are told that our diagnosis, our pain, our challenge can be for good, that we are an ‘inspiration’.

People around us can try to frame our pain and challenges in a positive light as it makes it easier for them to accept. It hurts when our loved ones are hurting. And we want to believe in the best for them.

But having these ideas forced upon us does nothing but cram us into stereotypical boxes – the ‘brave sufferer’, the ‘inspirational cripple’, the bad disabled person who doesn’t do anything to help others.

Selflessness and virtue are not implanted on the day they hand you your wheelchair.   

I believe that incurable doesn’t rule out joy.

I believe that our bodies and minds are more powerful than we can even contemplate.

I believe that the world is waiting for us.

I believe that healing is always an option, that doctors are not God and that we can know our bodies.

I believe that there is a life waiting for us to step into it.
(Click to Tweet!)

I believe that how things are is not how they have to stay.

I believe that trust is exactly what the planet needs right now.

I believe life can flow and my arms are open to that.

I believe that we need role models for sustainable wellness, not just miracle cure stories, so I became one.

I believe that with passion, pain cannot hold us back.

I believe that there is always a way.

I believe that living well is my happy ending.

I believe that I am staking my claim to freedom and I’m so blessed to have you alongside me.

I believe we can move through a life that leaps off the page in beautiful living colour, transforming challenges and living well, every-beautiful-day.

But at the beginning my diagnosis began to consume me. It was as though I wasn’t Grace anymore; merely a case study, a host for the pain ravaging my body, a curiosity and a walking, talking diagnosis. I felt like I was being subsumed in the medical system and was losing everything that made me, me. Are you still yourself when you don’t look or sound or feel like you? Are you still you when you can’t do the things you love? When you are told you may never be able to again? Do you know yourself when it doesn’t feel like your body, it’s not home anymore and you don’t recognise yourself in the mirror?

When we are newly diagnosed, it can feel like our lives are burning up around us. Everything we know is changing or gone. And it seems like everything we touch turns to ash. There’s nothing left anymore and no path on which to go forward.

I decided then, that if everything was burning up and I couldn’t stop it, maybe I still had a choice. Maybe I could allow the fires of diagnosis to be like phoenix fire – they were burning me up and the self I had known.

But like a Phoenix, I vowed that it would burn through and leave me better.

Maybe this could be an opportunity and a renewal. I could emerge strengthened from the fire, more burnished and beautiful because of it. That my hurting places would become stronger because of their cracks and I would arise, leaving everything I no longer needed in the ashes.

The fire eats us, consumes us and our hearts, and purifies us. We can let go and turn to ash or we can use the fire as transformation, to temper and refine us. We can emerge stronger, we can be reborn.

Your diagnosis does not define you. You are more than the label they gave you. Let’s discover the new you together. Enroll in The Phoenix Fire Academy today.

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