Being Aware of Anxiety

Anxiety is the theme of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 2023, so I thought that it was a good opportunity to talk about it a little in this post. Anxiety is one of the many emotions we feel, and it’s a common one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it or reach out for a little help in dealing with it.

There’s so many things in our daily lives that can cause #anxiety, from looking for work and pressures at work, to relationships and dealing with a sudden change of circumstances. Even though you may feel that anxiety is a ‘normal’ emotion, that doesn’t mean that it is one that you should ever dismiss.

By addressing your anxieties, you’re acknowledging that something is troubling you. And if something is troubling you, it’s always good to talk about it. However, you may feel reluctant to share your problems with friends or family because they have their own problems, and most likely, their own anxieties.

That’s where counsellors like myself come in. My walk and talk counselling in Chorley combines a non-judgemental therapeutic presence with the healing power of nature. Sometimes, the thought of being in an enclosed space to talk about problems can be a cause of anxiety in itself, and just the simple fact being outside, in the fresh air and surrounded by nature can help.

So, if you want to talk about your anxieties, please call or email me simon@insideandoutside.uk to arrange a free, no obligation consultation. I offer counselling in Chorley and Bamber Bridge, but if you don’t live locally, I’m also available online via video call from a confidential space within my home.

Remember, acknowledging your #anxiety is the first step.


Striving to become

Easter of course, has long had an association with rebirth. That’s not just because of the Christian tradition of celebrating Christ’s resurrection which is the origin of the holiday in the British calendar, but also in all the imagery that has become associated with it.

Take Easter eggs, for example. With our cynical heads on, they are a huge commercialisation of the season, but the very icon of the egg also represents birth and new life. Even the daffodils that we see everywhere we go, from the public parks and gardens to the florists and supermarket shelves, are a sign that the season of growth has begun.

But what about our growth as people? In the physical sense we stopped growing years ago, but we continue to grow mentally throughout our lives. The founder of the humanistic approach to therapy, Carl Rogers, made a famous and often quoted analogy about growth in people to explain what he called the ‘actualising tendency’ – something which he believed was humans’ desire to reach their full potential.

In his 1980 book A Way of Being he talks about potatoes that he saw struggling to grow in his basement:

“The sprouts were, in their bizarre, futile growth, a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. They would never become plants, never mature, never fulfil their real potential. But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become.”

Rogers believed that all of us have an inbuilt tendency to ‘strive and become’ no matter how adverse the conditions we are living in might be. He believed that everyone had that potential, and that person-centred therapy could help them to find our own answers.

Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, the loss of a loved one or a sudden change of circumstances, you may feel right now that you too are struggling to grow and reach your potential. That’s where the person-centred talking therapy that I offer can help. I’ll offer you an empathic, non-judgemental and confidential space to share whatever is troubling you, help you to find your own answers, and continue to grow as a person on your journey through life.

To arrange a free, no obligation consultation and find out more about counselling in Chorley, call me on 07941 262711 or email simon@insideandoutside.uk and we can talk a little more about what’s troubling you and the type of counselling I offer.

The Hope of Spring

When the celebrated poet Alexander Pope wrote the words “hope springs eternal” as part of his Essay on Man, he wasn’t talking about the month of spring of course, but I think there’s a little serendipity in the phrase, at least in the sense that we often associate the month of spring with hope.

The change from winter to spring is always associated with growth, rebirth and new life. The early bulbs have been brightening gardens up for a couple of weeks and I’ve already seen daffodils in one of the places that I offer walk and talk counselling in Chorley. There’s daylight when I wake up now, as well as the promise of longer days, and indeed warmer ones, which means more sunlight. Sunlight is good for us. It improves our sleep patterns, can reduce stress and feelings of depression and give a boost to our immune system too.

Of course, this doesn’t mean our issues vanish along with the cold mornings and dark nights. Whether we’re grieving, have feelings of anxiety or depression, or are supporting a relative with a long-term illness or health condition, our problems are always with us, whatever the time of year.

Just getting out of the house, spending a little time in a new location surrounded by nature can give us a new perspective on our issues, and maybe even take our mind off them for a while. Combining the healing power of nature with person-centred counselling in Chorley is perfect if you do want to talk about your problems, however. For the duration of each session I offer, I’m a non-judgemental and confidential ear, someone with whom you can share your problems without ever having to worry about ‘putting on’ your friends and family. I can’t promise to help with the melatonin, but I’d like to think I can contribute to the other things!

Another advantage of having longer days means that I’m able to start offering early evening walk and talk counselling in Chorley and Cuerden Valley Park. So, if you’d like to arrange a free, no obligation introductory call to find out more, just give me a call on 07941 262711 or email me simon@insideandoutside.uk.

Spending Valentine’s Day alone

February is traditionally a difficult month for a lot of us. Winter has yet to let go, Spring with all its hopefulness, still seems ages away and the relentless push for Valentine’s Day is upon us again.

Whether you celebrate this with your spouse or partner or not, it’s hard to ignore the commercial pressure of the day on TV, in newspapers across social media and everywhere. If you’re grieving the loss of your partner, Valentine’s Day can be an especially painful reminder. It may be that you did absolutely nothing for the day, happily shunning it and spending quality time together making memories the way you always did. Or maybe you sent each other a card every year, just as a reminder of how much you cared? Perhaps you marked the occasion with a celebratory meal or a walk among nature in your favourite place?

The first year after we lose someone is always marked by those ‘firsts’; the painful milestones such as the first birthday since… first Christmas… wedding anniversary … and no matter what your opinions on it, Valentine’s Day is another one. Even if it’s been several years since you said goodbye to your partner, each year that goes by can bring up those reminders once more. Or maybe it’s just that you live on your own and Valentine’s Day is a time of year that always seems to bring up feelings of loneliness for you?

That’s why I offer counselling in Chorley and Bamber Bridge, so you can talk about your loss, bereavement or feelings of loneliness in a non-judgemental, therapeutic space. The hour that we spend together is your time to use as you want, and talk about whatever is on your mind. Perhaps you’re reluctant to talk about your issues with your friends because they have their own problems, or you’re worried that the rest of the family seem like they have ‘moved on’? The walk and talk therapy in Chorley that I offer combines a non-judgemental presence with the healing power of nature, and it’s about you talking through your problems without fear of judgement.

So, contact me today to find out more about counselling in Chorley. Whether you want to meet inside in a confidential space or outside in nature, I’m here to listen.

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.

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?

counselling chorley
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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.