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Struggling to make a positive start to 2023?

I talked in my last blog about how Christmas can be a difficult time if you’re bereaved, but if the message for that period is all about spending time with family, eating drinking and generally making merry, the message for the New Year is quite often something along the lines of making a new start. And if you’re struggling to come to terms with a loss, whatever that might be, January can be a very difficult month too.

How many of us have made New year’s resolutions that we haven’t kept, for example? Our losses, whether they be that of a relative or other loved one, our job or our independence, are not something that we can confront right away. That’s why I offer counselling in Chorley and also Bamber Bridge; talking therapy that gives you a non-judgemental therapeutic space to talk through whatever is troubling you. I’m also available for remote sessions online, because I know that walk and talk counselling in Chorley isn’t possible for everyone, especially taking the winter weather into account!

You may feel right now that all the talk among your friends, on TV and across social media is about optimism and making that ‘brand new start’. Things may feel very different for you though. It could be that the month of January itself brings back some difficult memories, or that you find the prospect of dealing with the new year a little too overwhelming.

Whatever is troubling you, I’m here to listen. You can email me at simon@insideandoutside.uk or call on 07941 262711 to find out more about counselling in Chorley. Just like those New Year’s resolutions, the best time to start is right now, so get in contact today.

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Grieving at Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and though it’s a time that’s associated with celebration, spending time with loved ones and making happy memories, it can also be a difficult and emotional time. It can of course be particularly difficult for anyone who is grieving or recently bereaved – one of a number of ‘firsts’ that we hold in our minds, certainly for the first year after our loss. Even if we’re thinking back to losses longer ago, Christmas can have a habit of bringing some melancholic feelings back.

Personally, when I think back to my childhood Christmases, there seemed to be cards and gifts from lots of relatives, many who I hardly knew. They were the great aunties and uncles, the cousins once-removed, those names that only cropped up at Christmas and birthdays. I didn’t have a lot of siblings, and neither did my parents. There was never that huge Christmas meal with the whole family around a huge table, though I still have fond memories. Every year, that extended family dwindles a little more and Christmas always makes me think back and take stock of all those people.

As an adult, I’ve formed meaningful relationships with some of them and stay in contact when I can, and of course Christmas is one of those times. It also makes me think of those I have lost more recently, those who I knew as a child and an adult. It makes me think of how much they enjoyed Christmas and what it meant to them.

Whether you’re facing your first Christmas without someone very close to you or you share similar thoughts to me during the festive period, talking about your feelings is always useful. It can be hard to offload or open our hearts to even our closest friend at any time, but at Christmas, we’re extra-conscious of how busy a time it is for them, and feel like we’ll be ‘putting on them’ if we reach out.

That’s why talking therapy is so important, because it gives you a non-judgemental and confidential space to talk about your feelings and your loses. If you feel like you want to talk about your bereavement, whether it’s recent or more historic, I’m here to help. Find out more about counselling in Chorley, or online by getting in contact with me.

Take note of your memories

During a counselling session, it may be that you want to talk about some aspects of your past, if they’re relevant to what’s on your mind. The past isn’t just about those big moments in history, but our own lives as well. It’s often said that we should cherish our precious memories, but what does that actually mean? Are they merely a mental treasure-trove that gradually fades over time, sitting around for us to dip into when things get tough?

Well, they can be, but there’s no reason for them to stay that way, because we can write them down. Whether that’s an account of an unforgettable family day, or something crazy that just happened, make a note of it. That’s because, before too long, life gets in the way. And why stop there? If you’re one of those people who can still remember things that happened when you were four or five, write them down:

I remember being frightened as my mum let go of my hand. I was led to a table next to another boy and when I sat down, I looked up just in time to see her wave as she left. Our first task was to copy a sentence, or something like that. It was word-related anyway. I think that was the first time I realised how much words can capture your imagination, because for a minute, I forgot I was in a room full of strangers without my mother.”

That’s pretty much all I can remember from my first day at school and at the time of writing this blog, it was the first time I’d ever written it down. It’s important to make a note of the sad times too. Why? You may ask. I’d sooner forget all that stuff! That’s true, but it was the act of writing things down that helped me to grieve and deal with some of my own bereavements.

I lost my mother to cancer when I was very young, and I cherish the few memories I have of her. It was such a traumatic loss for me, and it was only through my counselling studies that I realised that I hadn’t fully processed losing her. I’ve spoken about her a lot in my own counselling and supervision sessions (as counsellors, we need to make sure we’re in good mental shape too!) and think about her every day. As I say on my counselling in Chorley site and to anyone who asks, bereavement is what brought me to counselling, as I wanted to be able to make a small difference to people’s lives.

So, get typing – or even write it down old-school in a journal or diary – and bring those memories to life. Start with today. And if you do find that you need to talk about your loss, just get in touch for a free initial consultation about my counselling in Chorley. I’m here to listen.

The Healing Power of Nature

Healthy body, healthy mind may sound like a cliché but there’s certainly a lot of truth in it.

Whether you’ve got a specific problem that you need to chew over, want to prioritise your daily to-do list, or just need a little me-time for some good-old contemplation, taking a walk in natural surroundings is great for tackling stress and clearing the mind.

In fact, if you’re struggling to get motivated, there’s another way to look at it. Think of walking as something you can be doing while thinking things over. Not only are you guaranteed to be free from the distractions of daily life, but you’ll be improving your fitness too. Keep at it, and you’ll start to feel healthier. Feel healthier and you’ll start to feel more positive. Feel more positive, and your mental health will improve. It’s a simple, symbiotic relationship that works.

That’s why I offer walk and talk counselling in Chorley and why I believe that person-centred, talking therapy and being outside amidst nature is such an effective combination. I recommend a session of therapy every week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit your favourite park or woodland on your own and use the time to process your thoughts.

It’s so often the case that a lot of therapy takes place outside the session, and giving yourself some time to think things over before the next one is always useful. Doing that while you’re outside in natural surroundings is even better.

Why not get in contact with me to find out more about counselling in Chorley and taking your first steps into therapy in the great outdoors.

What is talking therapy?

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Hello and welcome to my blog. This is a space on my website I’m aiming to update monthly, so be sure to come back and see what’s new. Also feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or ideas about topics you’d like me to talk about.

As the blog develops I’ll be covering a variety of topics related to wellness and mental health. Though I specialise in loss and bereavement counselling in Chorley, I’m hoping to share insights on aspects of life that you may find useful, whether that’s staying positive, looking for ways to stay active or just ways to stay motivated. To start with though, I’d like to tell you a little about person-centred therapy and how it works.

As a person-centred counsellor, I offer talking therapy, which is all about helping you find your own answers to your problems. I don’t offer you advice or give you solutions but instead, help you to find your own answers through non-judgemental listening.

Sometimes it can be as simple as having someone to talk to about your loss who isn’t a close friend or family member; somebody impartial who you don’t need to feel guilty about offloading onto. We spend so much time with our thoughts and worries swimming around in our heads that saying them out loud can be a powerful and cathartic experience.

It’s likely you’ll feel unburdened too. Bereavement is a complex and difficult thing to work through, but talking about your worries is an important first step on your journey through grief. How often do you hear the phrase ‘get over it?’ Grief isn’t something we ever get over, rather something we learn to live with. Of course, we never want to forget our loved ones, but we want to learn how to live with their loss.

If you’d like to find out more about my counselling in Chorley, get in contact to arrange a free no-obligation consultation.