Feeling helpless, disillusioned, and completely exhausted? Then you may be on the road to burnout. Feeling like this for short periods is not a concern, but if you feel like this most of the time you may be burned out.

Burnout is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it can creep up on you. It’s a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

Burnout may be the result of constant stress, but it isn’t the same as stress. Stress usually involves too much – too many demands, too much to cope with physically or mentally. However, stressed people feel that if they can just get on top things, get everything under control, they’ll feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, is characterised by not enough. Burned out people feel empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation and beyond caring. People with burnout usually don’t see any hope of an improvement to their situation.

Susceptibility to burnout can be influenced by three main factors – work, lifestyle and personality. Work related causes include feeling like you have little or no control over your work, lack of recognition or reward, unclear or overly demanding job expectations, monotonous or unchallenging work and a chaotic or high-pressure environment. Lifestyle factors include working too much without enough time for socialise and relax, lack of close, supportive relationships, taking on too many responsibilities and not getting enough sleep. Personality traits can also contribute including being a perfectionist, having a pessimistic view of yourself or your environment, the need to be in control and a reluctance to delegate to others.

Turning to others and socialising is a powerful antidote to burnout. Enjoyable time spent with friends and loved ones can have a positive impact on mood and outlook. Correspondingly time spent with negative and aggrieved people will have the opposite effect. Where possible limit contact with these people.

Most of us spend a large part of our lives at work. Being happy there is important. So, developing friendships with people you work with can help. Having friends to chat and joke with during the day can help relieve stress and make the day more enjoyable.

Everyone must find some value in what we do. So, even if your job is mundane you can often focus on how your role helps others by provides a product or service, either for external or internal customers. Focus on aspects of the job that you do enjoy, even if it’s only chatting with your co-workers at break time.

If you truly hate your job, then looking for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life might by helpful. Perhaps in your family, friends, hobbies or voluntary work. Remember focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.

Your lifestyle and habits can be a good way to address burnout. Things like taking a break from technology, making time for relaxation and ensuring you get plenty of sleep are a good place to start. Learning to set boundaries and limiting responsibilities will allow you to feel more in control. Also, nourishing your creative side is a good reliever or stress. Perhaps something new, start a fun project, or resume a favourite hobby.

It might be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re burned out but physical activity is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout. It’s also something you can do immediately and easily to boost your mood.
Diet is also an important area. Try to minimize sugar and refined carbohydrate foods as these can affect your mood and energy levels. Other areas include using caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in moderation or not at all if possible. 

Hypnotherapy can help relieved a wide range of symptoms of burnout and help you to make the changes to avoid it in the future. These include relaxation, boosting confidence / positive affirmation, meditation, progression muscle relaxation and stress reduction. Also it can help you to deal with sleeplessness, smoking, alcohol use or weight gain, Furthermore it can help with better diet – eating disorders, sugar addiction, comfort eating and any other unwanted or problematic habits. So if you think I can help then contact me.



“Despite being commonplace, too many people with mental health problems still face stigma, prejudice and discrimination”. Luciana Berger (Former MP for Liverpool Wavertree, UK).

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of seeking help early on when you are struggling with mental health, and indeed physical and emotional health. I struggled to write that post as I had so much that I wanted to say on the subject. I found a way through it by splitting what I have to say into more than one post. This time I want to focus on stigma and discrimination around mental health.

Stigma and discrimination can contribute to worsening symptoms and reduced likelihood of getting treatment. This can, in turn, leads to a range of symptoms including reduced hope, isolation, lower self-esteem, increased psychiatric symptoms, difficulties with social relationships, reduced likelihood of staying with treatment and difficulties with family and work.

This can be all the more common in men. As Mauro Ranallo (Canadian Sports Announcer) said, “I believe the biggest stigma right now, with mental health, is that a lot of men are not talking about it”. Typically, men are slower or less likely to seek medical help with physical and mental health issues.

Mind (UK mental health charity) provide support for those with mental illness or those caring for them. Meanwhile, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (a US based group) has some useful suggestions about what we can all do to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. These include:
* Talk openly about mental health. It’s not something to be ashamed of.
* Help to educate others. Challenge misperceptions or negative comments by sharing facts and experiences.
* Be aware of language used. Words matter. Avoid and challenge the use of derogatory, judgemental or stigmatising language.
* Promote equality and parity between physical and mental illness. For example, draw comparisons to how someone with cancer or diabetes is treated.
* Show compassion and care for those with mental illness.
* Be honest about treatment. Normalise mental health treatments, just like other health care treatments.

One further, very powerful, approach is to choose empowerment over shame – “I fight stigma by choosing to live an empowered life. To me, that means owning my life and my story and refusing to allow others to dictate how I view myself or how I feel about myself.” Val Fletcher (Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health).

If you, or someone you know, is feeling stigmatised, here are some ways you can deal with it. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, get the treatment you need. Try not to let the fear of being labelled with a mental illness stop you from getting the help you need. Sadly, mental health issues are rarely something you can deal with on your own.

Do not believe the hype. When you hear or experience something often enough, you start to believe it. Do not let other people’s ignorance influence the way you feel about yourself. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and is not a sign of weakness. Talking about your mental health issues with healthcare professionals will help you on your road to recovery or management. Even understanding what the issue is, that it’s not unique to you, and that there are well used treatment options can help to reduce anxiety and isolation.

Many people with mental illness choose to isolate themselves from the world. This can be a block to getting the help they need. Reaching out to people you trust, such as family, friends or religious leaders, will mean you get the support you need. Some companies offer confidential help and advice to their employees. Connecting with others can be very valuable. Doing so, either online or in person, can help you deal with feelings of isolation and make you realise that you are not alone in your feelings and experiences.

Remember, your illness does not define you. You wouldn’t say, ‘I am cancerous’. This simply change to the way you talk about your illness can be very powerful. So, instead of saying ‘I’m a schizophrenic’, say ‘I have schizophrenia’. It’s a condition, it happens, it’s not what I am. There is real power in language.
Don’t give up on people who seem judgemental or insensitive. It’s rarely personal. Their language or judgements often come from a lack of understanding or information rather than anything else. If you feel able, then education and inform them. Importantly, do not believe that their views have anything to do with you personally.

So, as Mark Twain (American Writer) said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Reach out, talk to someone and get the help you need.


Keep it simply

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau

12th July marks National Simplicity Day, which falls every year on that day to mark the birth date of the author, environmentalist, abolitionist and American icon, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was an advocate of living simply and wrote a number of books on the subject. He followed the philosophies of simplifying life in both mental and material ways.

Thoreau believed that people have knowledge about themselves that transcends all external forces in their lives. He advocated for living a simpler life to better get in touch with those feelings. For example, his most famous work is Walden, written in 1854, it’s an account of the two years he spent living alone in a cabin – which he built himself by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Modern life has many distractions. From our phones and other electronic devices to social media as well as work and family commitments, we rarely have time to just sit and reflect and gather our thoughts. Here are some simply ideas you could try on your Simplicity Day.

• Challenge yourself to take a break from all technology for a day. It can be refreshing to not be constantly plugged into the lives of other people on social media and have more time for yourself. It’s an act of self-love.

• Use your Simplicity Day to look at all your various belongings and figure out what’s important to you as opposed to just taking up space. Everything that falls into the latter category can be donated or given to a charity shop. You will feel more comfortable in your home and you will have done a good deed.

• This simplification process can be used to prioritise other areas of your life. As Thoreau said, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” It’s an opportunity to think about what you spend your time and energy on and whether it would be better to do more useful or constructive things.

• Take time to unwind. This is all the more important for more empathic people. Our lives are scheduled around jobs, school, workouts, childcare, etc. and we often forget just how taxing that can be. Take some time out, even if it’s just mentally, and focus on the importance of the simple things.

• Spend some time in nature, even if it’s just in your garden or a park. It’s all too easy to under estimate the importance of nature to our psychological and emotional health.

As we head into the summer holiday time, we could perhaps use the principles of Thoreau and properly switching off from work, spent quality time with friends and family and be mindful, slow down and take a moment. This will ultimately make you more productive and help to guard against stress and burnout.
With the current pandemic and lockdowns, you have an opportunity to take time for reflection and moments of calm and clarity. 

However, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to someone, but make sure you also take the time to just stop, even for a few moments, and breathe. With Hypnotherapy, for example, you are able to explore your thought processes and beliefs. These can be that the root of emotional, physical, mental or even spiritual problems. Once identified, changes can be made to address these issues and improve your quality of life. To find out more, click here.


National Health Information Week

This year Monday 5 to Sunday 11 July is National Health Information Week. The idea is to increase the quality of health care people receive by promoting high quality information for patients and the public. It’s about highlighting the importance, and raising the profile of, health literacy; offering a platform for collaborative working between different partners; and reminding us all what good, reliable, health information looks like.

Are you currently undergoing medical treatment or taking prescription medication to treat a condition? Do you know what condition you have? Do you understand the treatments you are receiving and any likely side effects? Are you fully aware of the range of treatments available to you? Did you choose your treatment option or did your Doctor do it? Do you suffer with side effects from medication you are taking? Is there an alternative medication? You owe it to yourself to fully understand what treatments you are receiving and whether they are the best option for you.

Now, this may simply be a chat with your Doctor or Specialist, but this can be challenging. They don’t mean to but they can use confusing jargon and technical terms, be short of time or feel you are questioning their judgement. Also, even if you do have a good conversation, you may not remember all of what they said or become overwhelmed by information.
One way to combat this is to do some research beforehand. The internet is a truly amazing resource of information on virtually every subject you can imagine. But beware, there are pit falls. Not everything on the internet is true and in some cases information can be biased, misleading or deceptive. Even other media such as TV and newspapers have to be treated with caution. Often journalists are looking for a good headline rather than to slavishly report the facts.

There are some useful questions to ask about health information you find. These are:
• Where does the information come from? Who produced it? Was it the NHS or a trusted charity or health organisation?
• Is the information relevant to the country you live in? Not all treatments are available everywhere.
• How up to date is the information? When was it published or last updated? Health information changes over time – make sure it is current.
• Who is the author? Does it make sense that they would know what they are talking about.
• Is the information based on evidence reviews or case studies?
• Why has it been produced? Is it to inform or is there an agenda? Is the website profit driven / trying to sell you something?
• It is also a good idea to cross-check information. This means looking to see if it is repeated by more than one reliable source.

Remember, Hypnotherapy can be an alternative to other more invasive or time consuming therapies. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Please check out which condition I treat by clicking here. But I am not an expert on everything and other Hypnotherapists may offer other services and treatments.


Loneliness, don’t suffer alone.

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self. May Sarton (Belgian – American Poet).

Loneliness Awareness Week is 14 to 18 June 2021 and is hosted by Marmalade Trust. It’s a campaign to raises awareness of loneliness and get people talking about it. In 2020, they reached around 271 million people with their campaign – all while in lockdown.

This Loneliness Awareness Week, they are encouraging us to view loneliness as an experience, not as a condition. Loneliness doesn’t have to define us. Everyone feels lonely from time to time. We are social creatures after all. We are designed for social contact and loneliness is simply the signal that we need more of it. So, by building greater awareness and acceptance of loneliness, we can help ourselves and others to better manage the feeling.

Covid-19 has meant that many of us are working from home over the past months, separated from our colleagues and many of our usual social connections. But even before the pandemic, an increasing numbers of people were experiencing loneliness in their working lives. The Co-Op and New Economics Foundation found that loneliness costs UK employers over £2.5 billion a year due to increased sick days, time off to care for others, burnout, to lower productivity and poor staff retention levels.

Loneliness can have a great impact on our mental and physical health. When someone suffers long-term loneliness, they are more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices. For example, poor diet, lack of exercise or increased use of alcohol, nicotine and other substances. This leaves them at a higher risk of obesity and other associated health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Studies have also discovered that loneliness and a lack of social stimulation is associated with long-term cognitive decline. This can affect memory and develop into more serious neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, chronic loneliness can impair the immune system, leaving us less able to fight off illness and disease. The Neuroscientist and Researcher, John Cacioppo, found that people who felt acutely lonely over prolonged periods had higher levels of inflammation in their bodies.

After more than a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and other restrictions, more of us are experiencing loneliness than ever and this is having an impact on our wellbeing. We need to remove the stigma and shame surrounding loneliness.

So, if you are experiencing loneliness then reach out to others. If you have conditions that restrict your ability to do this, such as low confidence / self-esteem or anxiety, then contact me and we can discuss how hypnotherapy can help. Additionally, if you are struggling to adjust to return to normal or have picked up unwanted habits or addictions, then get in touch to see how I can help.



Peace, Tranquillity, Serenity, Diversion? Not so much.

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness month in the US. While, 27 June 2021 is PTSD Awareness day more widely. PTSD is an anxiety disorder associated with traumatic events. It has also been known as battle fatigue, combat fatigue, combat neurosis and shell shock.

Many people think that PTSD is only something that happens to people in the armed forces, but this is not the case. Being part of or witnessing any traumatic event, particularly one characterised by fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the threat of harm or death, can cause some degree of PTSD.

PTSD is probably more common than you think. It is estimated that as many as 70% of Americans have experienced an event traumatic enough to cause PTSD or PTSD-like symptoms. Now, this does not mean that 70% all of Americans have PTSD. However, typically one in five people who experience a traumatic event will have PTSD symptoms to some degree.

PTSD can happen to anyone, at any time of life. It is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. A range of factors can affect the chances that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, if you were directly exposed to the trauma or injured, rather than witnessing it, you are more likely to develop it.

PTSD can cause a wide range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. These include panic attacks, flashbacks, hypervigilance, irrational anger or fear, nightmares, digestive issues, feeling numb and exhaustion. In more extreme cases PTSD can cause suicidal thoughts or self-destructive acts. Symptoms can vary in intensity and there is no standard case. They may come and go, or be more persistent for a time. Sufferers can be high-functioning, while others may be more debilitated by it. The person may use alcohol or other drugs to ease or mask symptoms.

As Peter A. Levine (Psychologist) says, “Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence”. So if you, or someone you know, has these symptoms, then seek help. Regardless of the severity of the symptoms or how long ago the trauma happened there is help available. More severe cases can be successfully treated by psychotherapies such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). While milder symptoms can be treated with Hypnotherapy. If you contact me, I will carry out an initial consultation to discuss with you what symptom you have. If I can help you I will set out how and let you know how many sessions I recommend. If I feel I can’t help you, I will refer to a better suited health professional.


It’s OK to not be OK

The underbelly of the human psyche, what is often referred to as our dark side, is the origin of every act of self-sabotage. Birthed out of shame, fear, and denial, it misdirects our good intentions and drives us to unthinkable acts of self-destruction and not-so-unbelievable acts of self-sabotage. Debbie Ford (American Author).

One thing that frustrates me as a Hypnotherapist is that people are reluctant to ask for help. They suffer far longer than they need to before seeking assistance. You would not think about living with a broken arm, so why are conditions that are less visual any different. If you have conditions that effect your quality of life, even slightly, then don’t hesitate, get help.

Every human regardless of how successful you are has anxieties, insecurities and challenges. Anyone can suffer from mental health issues. Being rich or famous is no shield against it. Many celebrities, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Phelps, Marcus Trescothick and Lady Gaga have publicly shared their stories of mental health challenges. This has helped to bring the discussion much more into the general media and everyday conversation. We need to continue changing how people think and act about mental health problems.

For example, it is thought that about half of people with forms of mental illness don’t seek help for their disorders. This is often because people avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being treated differently or fears of losing their jobs and livelihood. Sadly, the stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is still a problem. But be assured, as a health care professional, all information you give is treated in the strictest confidence and not share with others without your permission.

Reach out, talk to someone you will be surprised find you are not alone. So, if you have a condition or other ailments that Hypnotherapy can help with don’t wait any longer. Contact me to find out how I can help you. I will carry out an initial consultation to discuss with you what issues you want to resolve. If I can help you I will set out how and let you know how many sessions I recommend. If I feel I can’t help you, I will refer to a better suited health professional.


You Tube Channel

As Mary Berry said, “Life is all about sharing. If we are good at something, pass it on.” So, as promised, I have set up a You Tube channel for Paladin Hypnotherapy. I am still gathering content, but I have uploaded two videos so far. They are both Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) exercises one with background music and one without.
I will be uploading more content in the near future, so please subscribe to the channel and give me any feedback you have.


Meditation, for the Nation

21 May 2021 is World Meditation day. So, what is meditation? Well, of all people, Dick Van Dyke put is very well. He said, “When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that.”

Meditation plays a role in many religions throughout the world, especially Buddhism, but is not an exclusively religious practice. Many people have realised the benefits of meditation and incorporated it into their daily lives who are neither spiritual nor religious.

Today’s world puts many demands on us, such as work and family, and can leave us very little time for ourselves. Meditation is a way to have a very beneficial moment’s peace to quicken or clear the mind and relax. It has been proven to have positive mental and physical effects when practiced regularly. Specifically, some of these benefits include reducing anxiety and stress.

Anxiety remains one of the leading causes of mental health conditions and can manifest itself as physical as well as emotional problems. In severe cases doctors may prescribe medication, but the best approach is prevention. Meditation is one of the most common ways to treat the symptoms of anxiety, helping individuals to slow their heart rate, control harmful thoughts and prevent future anxiety.

Stress is a normal bodily response and is closely allied to the fight or flight response to danger. For short periods it does no harm, but if you are regularly stressed and your body it regularly preparing to run or fight, this can cause problems in the body. Meditation is a good way to take time out from the world and to focus inwardly on yourself. For example, breathing exercises can reduce blood pressure, calming the mind and give the body time to recover from periods of prolonged stress.

Also, practicing meditation and mindfulness encourages you to think about the present, to live in the moment and not worry about future possibilities. With this focus and other distractions dismissed, it can help you to stay focused and to improve your overall concentration and productivity.

One of the great things about meditation is that anyone can do it, almost anywhere. How you meditate varies widely from person to person. Some prefer physical activity accompanying it such as yoga, while others prefer to stay still. Whether you’re seated, standing, lying in bed or sitting in the bath, simply close your eyes, focus on taking deep breaths in and out and allow your mind to empty of thoughts. If thoughts pop up, simply acknowledge them and dismiss them. Continue to breathe deeply and use it to deepen your sense of calm. When you are ready, then open your eyes and continue with your day. If you are short of time, then set an alarm to alert you it’s time to finish.

So, celebrate World Meditation Day by setting some time aside for yourself to clear your mind and relax. Find a place where you won’t be disturbed, feel at ease and relaxed. This could be in the bath, in bed, or somewhere in nature like a garden. Then simply put yourself in a comfortable position, close your eyes, breathing steadily, and let all thoughts clear from your mind.

If you’ve never tried to meditate before then it can be difficult to clear your mind and avoid wandering thoughts. You may benefit from trying a guided meditation tutorial in which an experienced individual will gently talk you through the process. I have a guided meditation on my You Tube channel which you are welcome to use. Please click here.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate World Meditation Day, just remember that meditation is most beneficial when practised regularly, so why not set yourself a reminder to meditate once or twice a day. Try it for a week and see how you feel. You won’t be disappointed.


Did you know I’m bilingual?

As you will know if you have ever spoken to me I was not born in the UK. Although I have lived in the UK for about twenty years, I do still have a slight accent. I have been accused of being, American, Australian and even a New Zealander. But, I am in fact originally from Port Elizabeth in South Africa. This means that as well as English I also speak Afrikaans, a sister language to Dutch and one of the many official languages of South Africa.
When I first started doing Hypnotherapy I developed my services and scripts in English as most people I come into contact with speak it. But I have now translated them into Afrikaans and can now offer services in either language. To help support this I have added an Afrikaans micro site within my website. It’s accessible by clicking on the South African flag at the top of each page or by clicking here.