Visiting your doctor in difficult times

One in five patients now has to wait at least 15 days to see a GP in England, NHS figures have revealed.

Just under 5m of the 27.1m appointments at GPs’ surgeries in October involved waiting anywhere between 15 and 28 or more days to see a doctor or practice nurse. Patients are finding it increasingly difficult booking appointments with their doctor in the U.K., or accessing support from statutory services.

If this sounds like you, or if you are planning a visit to your GP soon to talk about mental health, here are some suggestions:

Ask for continuity of care. It’s important that you see the same doctor when you visit (where possible) especially in the early days so that they can monitor your progress effectively. You can request this.

Plan your appointments in advance. If there tends to be a three week wait (or more) to see your doctor, or if you’re told to ring first thing and still can’t get an appointment, ask if you can book a few ahead. You can always cancel them if you don’t need them (obviously try to give the surgery notice if you can). You should be seeing your doctor regularly, especially in the first few weeks if you’ve been diagnosed with poor mental health or prescribed medication.

Book medication reviews (if prescribed). You can do this with the practice nurse if necessary but this is particularly important if you’ve just been prescribed medication, or have discussed a lower or higher dose. Always check with your GP about the possible side effects to expect if they apply.

Write a list of what you want to say and/or take someone with you if you’re worried you’ll forget something.

Ask them what help is available locally, eg peer support groups, wellbeing courses, help with finances like Citizens Advice and help for carers too.

Reach out to organisations like Healthwatch England in your area. They have a team of volunteers who want to hear your patient experiences, especially if the standard of care you’re receiving from your doctor is falling short.

Be honest with your doctor. If you’re struggling, if things are getting worse or you’re feeling suicidal let them know, especially if you don’t have any support at home. You can always ask for a double appointment if you think you’ll need a longer consultation.

Practice self-care in the meantime. While you’re waiting to access services, try to write a wellbeing plan. Make a list containing the names of people you can reach out to, and small things that help you get your sparkle back. Things like try going for a walk in the fresh air, watch a video that makes you laugh, and mindfulness.

Remember you’re not alone. Samaritans are available to listen on 116 123 24/7.

Here’s a video from Mind about finding the words to ask for help from your GP

I hope this helps, feel free to add any extra tips in the comments below if you think it will help someone trying to access their doctor.

©️ Copyright Delphi Ellis

Hello and Welcome

Welcome to my website, thank you for stopping by.

These pages tell you how to access services which have been carefully designed to help you find your mojo and get your sparkle back.

Mental health is as important as physical health, and we now know that one can have an impact on the other. But many people still find it difficult to slow down, talk about their feelings or make their wellbeing a priority. Talking with someone impartial can help.

I’m Delphi Ellis, a Qualified Mental Health Therapist and Wellbeing Trainer – Helping You Sparkle™. I help people find their forward, often after a difficult period in their lives. The information below tells you more about me, the services I provide and my professional career.

I offer talking therapies, workshops and classes promoting positive mental health – my aim is to help you reconnect with your energy and enthusiasm – I call this ‘your mojo‘.  You might feel like you want to get your sparkle back following a difficult situation in your life, like after bereavement or relationship breakdown.

The services I provide also enable and empower people to positively manage their mental health, particularly if they’ve been experiencing periods of stress, anxiety and depression.  As a Mindfulness Practitioner I blend the philosophy of mindfulness in to the work I do, offering an holistic, integrated and tailored approach to helping someone find their way forward.

As someone who has worked with and supported many women dealing with challenging situations like breast cancer, domestic abuse and pregnancy, some of my services I offer are exclusively female. You might like my website Let’s Talk Lady Business.

As well as 1-1 services,  I also offer group workshops and have online resources available to buy. Take a look here.

When you subscribe to my mailing list ‘Monday Mojo™’, you get free access to resources in the Members Area like the Sparkle Repair Kit™.  

You can also get in touch here.

Private and Corporate clients are welcome.

Mindfulness Class: Delphi, A HUGE THANK YOU. I really have learned so much and enjoyed every week.

https://youtu.be/AvJlG8W7WPc

Professional Career 

I have supported people professionally since 2002, where I started my therapeutic work in bereavement. I helped those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court, and have been trained by the National Homicide Service.

When the time was right for them, my clients wanted to find their way forward, and get their sparkle back; this became the foundation of the work I do today. I listen to what my clients need, helping them find their way back to centre or towards a ‘new normal’.

During 2018, I designed and delivered as the specialist Lead Trainer for the Cruse ‘More than Words’ project, developing peer support groups for bereaved people around the U.K.. In 2019, I also designed and became the Lead Trainer for the ‘You Behind The Uniform’ project, aimed at discussing bereavement and wellbeing, with front line emergency services personnel.

In 2004, I established a unique website dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of depression and anxiety during pregnancy. This began a journey of promoting better mental health for women, including supporting those escaping domestic abuse. I have featured in several popular magazines including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can find out more about my media appearances here).

In 2019, I developed Let’s Talk Lady Business as a positive platform which aims to improve the global conversation encouraging fairness, choice and equality in female health and wellbeing, through awareness and education.

I am involved with and volunteer for a number of projects which support work in the local community. In 2018, I was nominated as one of the Women who Make Bedfordshire Safer Awards, held by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. I was also nominated as a Community Champion as part of a nationwide competition, and won Volunteer of the Year Cohesion Award in 2019, for services to the community.

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Support for Insomnia, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. I am also a Women’s Advocate, raising awareness of situations which predominantly affect Women’s Mental Health, like Domestic Abuse and Pregnancy.

With Delphi’s help, I have a new perspective on life and the strength to face new and challenging things in a positive way.” B.

©️ Copyright Delphi Ellis

Online Services and Resources

If you’re nervous about attending an event or booking a 1-1, you might like some of my resources and services available to purchase and access online. I also offer telephone appointments for £25 (for 50 minutes) – initial consultations are free.

These include:

Click here for The Mindfulness Starter Kit – This pack is available via my Kindfully website, dedicated to the topic of mindfulness.  It includes guided meditations along with activities to try in the comfort of your own home.

Click here Mindfulness for Dreamy Sleep – This pack is available via my website dedicated to the subject of dreams and sleep.  It includes an eGuide on how to keep a dream diary as well as a 10 minute guided meditation.

Click here for The Serenity Self-Care Toolkit – This pack is available via my Women in Serenity™ website, discussing topics women understand, and dedicated to promoting self-care through mindfulness.  It includes a self-care planner, calendar and a 10 minute guided meditation.

Individual guided meditations  – individual guided meditation recordings from 1 minute to 10 minutes, ideal for people on the go.  Introductory prices start from just 50p!

Dream Interpretation via email – receive an in-depth exploration of your dream based on the detail you provide.

Telephone Appointments – receive a 1-1 session for talking therapy over the ‘phone for just £25 (for 50 minutes).

You might also like:

Monday Mojo™ – a free, weekly email sent straight to your inbox containing feel-good vibes for the week ahead, an instant access to the Sparkle Repair Kit™, a small but mighty eGuide designed to help you get your sparkle back.

Please click the links above to find out more about each of these packs, or send your enquiry below.  For details of face to face services I provide including workshops and 1-1 sessions, click here.

Please note that packs can be withdrawn at any time, services are subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply, see relevant pack for details.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Workshops and Events

Did you know according to Time to Change, 95% of people feeling sick with stress, will phone in sick with another reason (like headaches or stomach upsets)?  For training on mental health awareness, get in touch.

This page includes training and events I offer.


Book a Speaker

If you’re hosting an event and would like me to deliver training or a talk on my specialist areas please get in touch.


Workshops

Topics include:

You might also like Gems – micro wellbeing sessions for the workplace


Serenity – insights, products, events and services dedicated to rest and relaxation for busy women

You can also use the form below to get in touch:

One of the best training sessions I’ve attended in years. Very well presented, Delphi is a natural!

Jane's Testimonial

Delphi’s calm manner and clear-speaking meant she connected with the audience and made us feel that we were able to ask questions without feeling conscious. We can’t wait for Delphi to return again.” Amanda Coles, President SSEWI

Proud to have worked with:

Delphi is proud to have worked with these companies

In the media

I’m Delphi Ellis – a Qualified Therapist, Mental Health Speaker, Mindfulness Practitioner and Well-being Trainer – Helping You Sparkle™.

I help people find their mojo and get their sparkle back, often after a difficult period in their lives. I do this by offering counselling, and well-being training services promoting positive mental health, including some specialist services for women. Sessions are available 1-1 and as group classes, with some workshops available nationwide. Private and corporate clients welcome.

As a Mindfulness Practitioner, I also suggest practical strategies for quality rest and relaxation, including guidance on healthy sleep. With a special interest in dream interpretation, I have appeared as the ‘dream expert’ for TV shows like Loose Women, ITV’s This Morning and presenting the Guide to Sleep on Daybreak. You can find out more about this here

Mindfulness Class: Delphi, A HUGE THANK YOU. I really have learned so much and enjoyed every week.

For more details about the services I provide click here, or to book a free initial consultation for counselling (available in Bedford and Milton Keynes) complete the form below (subject to availability).  Please don’t send dreams for interpretation this way.  For dream interpretation services click here.  Messages are replied to during working hours.

 

Professional Career 

I started my therapeutic career in 2002, where I supported those bereaved by murder and suicide, including attending inquests at coroner’s court.  I also spent a brief time with the National Homicide Service.  I now work in the community promoting positive mental health through 1-1 sessions and group events.

When the time is right for my clients, their aim is to find their way forward and get their sparkle back; this is the foundation of the work I do. I listen to what my clients need, helping them find their way back to centre, towards a ‘new normal’.  Find out more about my counselling services here.

During 2018, I developed the training programme and was the specialist lead trainer for the More than Words project, developing peer support groups for bereaved people, around the country.  In 2019, I developed the training and became lead trainer for the You Behind the Uniform project, discussing bereavement awareness and encouraging self-care with front-line emergency personnel, including police officers and paramedics.  I also established a peer support group in Bedford.

Improving the Conversation for Women

In 2004, I established a unique website dedicated to Pregnancy Mental Health, following my own experience of depression and anxiety during pregnancy. This began a journey of promoting better mental for women, including supporting those escaping domestic abuse. I have featured in several popular magazines including Pregnancy and Birth and Natural Health magazines, and featured on radio programmes like Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. (You can see an extensive list of tv and media appearances below).  I also promote healthy dialogue to help end discrimination and highlight inequality, campaigning through my Lets Talk Lady Business™ website and social media, to help end shaming, exploitation and violence towards women.

Volunteering

I am involved locally as a ‘Community Champion’ encouraging collaboration between agencies that promote positive mental health and wellbeing, and volunteering with those that support victims of crime.  In 2018, I was nominated for one of the Women who Make Bedfordshire Safer Awards, held by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.  In 2019, I was voted Volunteer of the Year for services to the community.

Community event hosted by OPCC
Community Cohesion Awards 2018

Qualifications and Training

My qualifications and training include Therapeutic Counselling, Delivering Adult Learning, Restorative Justice, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Support for Insomnia, Positive Psychology, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. I am accredited to work with victims of crime, including those escaping domestic abuse.

TV and Media Career

I have enjoyed a TV and media career talking about the subjects I am passionate about, including healthy sleep and dreams.

Media Appearances include:

Radio –

BBC Radio: BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 1 Xtra, BBC WM, BBC Shropshire, BBC Coventry, BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio 6 with George Lamb, BBC Suffolk Breakfast Show, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Drive Time, BBC Radio Leeds Drive Time, BBC Tees, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, BBC London with Sunny & Shay and on the Eddie Nestor show, Talk Sport, Beacon Radio, Hallam FM, Original 106 FM, Gemini FM, WLR FM, XFM, The Psychic Show (LBC 97.3), My Spirit Radio, Bridge Radio, Red FM

Television –

Loose Women, ITV’s This Morning, DayBreak (Presenter of The Guide to Sleep), , GMTV, The Wright Stuff, LK Today (Lorraine), Consultant to SO Television for My Lovely Audience (Graham Norton), Psychic TV

Featured work –

Daily Express, Mens Health magazine, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Magazine, Natural Health, Soul & Spirit magazine, Huffington Post, Guardian (G2), Sunday Express, Pregnancy, Baby & You, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Pregnancy & Birth magazine, Prima Baby magazine, Practical Parenting, Columnist for Spirit & Destiny Magazine, Contributor to Talk Mum, Contributor to Silent Voices, Columnist for Spirit Force Magazine

PR Events

Dreams Bed Company, Maybelline New York, Sky + HD (article featured in Daily Telegraph), Johnson’s Beauty: Dreamy Skin, Snow Leopard Trust

Awards

  • Volunteer of the Year Cohesion Award for services to the community;
  • Nomination: “Women Who Keep Bedfordshire Safer”;
  • Regional Finalist for the Health and Social Care Awards for Mental Health and Wellbeing;
  • Spiritual Connextions Awards for Best Service to Others

I also work for a charity in my spare time which offers a unique transport service for cancer patients, which won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

You might also like:

Monday Mojo™ – A weekly email containing feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Sign up here.

With Delphi’s help, I have a new perspective on life and the strength to face new and challenging things in a positive way.” B.

© Delphi Ellis, Helping You Sparkle™ – Wellness through Learning™

Monday Mojo – Set Aside Time

What do you think about time? Apart from the fact that there never seems to be enough of it these days. 

Our relationship with time is something of a paradox. 
It’s precious, but costs nothing. 
You can spend it, but you can’t get a refund. 
You can use it, but you’ll never own it.
When we talk about making time, we know really we can’t create it; we get 24 hours in each day and not a minute more (no matter how much we try to squeeze out of it). And once it’s gone it’s gone. 

The invention of industrial time has conveniently split 24 hours into three slots of eight for work, rest and play. But our brains don’t work like that. They’re still working on light and dark, no matter what time you set your alarm in the morning.

It means we’re tired. Irritable. And every minute of the day is accounted for. And it might mean that none of your time is being spent on you.

This week set the intention to Set Aside Time. Grab your diary right now and block out at least five minutes every day for the next few days doing something exclusively for you as part of your new self-care routine. It could be watching a funny video, treating yourself to a bunch of flowers or relaxing in a warm bubble bath. And if you feel guilty for doing it, remind yourself that it’s in everyone’s  interest that you make yourself a priority. 

For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox, click here

©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

Monday Mojo – Know Your People

How many people do you trust?

As we get older, it’s often said that your circle gets smaller.
You start to realise who you can count on.
Who “gets” you.
Who you would turn to when things go a bit pear-shaped. 

But as we age, it’s also harder to make friends. At school we’d maybe just go up to someone and say “will you be my friend?”  As an adult that can feel a bit, well… awkward.  

As Vanessa Van Edwards says in the video below it’s socially acceptable to say “I’m looking for a partner” but not “I’m looking for a best friend”.   Even though social media makes it easier to stay in touch, you can still leave good friends behind if you move home or change jobs.

Not knowing how to make friends in the 21st century, and recognise those who could bring out the best in us, can leave us feeling isolated and alone. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This week, set the intention to Know Your People.  Write yourself a list of three people you can call and give them a “role”. Eg someone you can call when you need a cry, someone you can ring when you need a laugh, and someone when you just want to put the world to rights.  If this proves difficult, or your list is smaller than you’d like it to be, write a list of three values you’re looking for in a friend, or interests that you have eg photography, movies and reading that can help you find like-minded people. Then maybe go on websites like Meet Up and see if there are people local to you who share your wonderful vibe.

https://youtu.be/YLxGyUxblBk

For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

How to help someone you’re worried about

When someone you love is struggling with their mental health, it can be hard to know what to say and do. Sometimes we can feel concerned if our efforts to help someone don’t seem to be working, or frustrated if they say they don’t want or need our help.

There are a number of ways you can recognise if someone is struggling with their mental health including:

  • Unusually quiet or withdrawn
  • Taking less care in their appearance
  • Looks tired, or says they’re not sleeping well
  • Easily agitated, reacts disproportionately
  • Not joining in conversations when they normally would
  • Complaining a lot, lacking motivation to address their concerns (seeming helpless and hopeless)
  • Sighing a lot
  • Under performing at work, especially in areas they normally excel
  • Says “I’m just tired” when you ask what’s wrong

Of course, the best way to find out how someone is, is to ask them – but often people will say “I’m fine“. This is why it can help to ask twice, by asking “how are you really?” as shown in the video by Time to Change below:

When someone is feeling low, your instinct might be to try and cheer them up. But when we tell someone what they need, they can feel unheard or misunderstood. Helping someone compassionately involves:

  • Asking them over for a brew and a catch up, without an agenda. Don’t stop asking them if they say no, keep trying periodically
  • Creating a safe space for them to speak openly
  • Listening without judgement – and specifically know when to stop talking
  • Asking open questions – eg “what‘s going through your mind right now?”
  • Knowing your limits – if the conversation feels like it’s too difficult for you to manage, or if you feel out of your depth, refer them to help (see below)
  • Signposting where appropriate – eg encourage them to talk to their GP or the Samaritans. You might find these links useful, including some tips for talking by Heads Together
  • Keeping your promises. If you say you’re going to check in on them then make sure you do, even if it’s just sending them a text message to see how they’re doing.

If someone says they don’t need or want help, you might feel like there’s nothing more you can do. But it can help to let them know you’re there when they’re ready to talk, and to check in on them from time to time.

Here’s a video by Megan Devine about how to help a grieving friend which applies just as much to those in other types of emotional pain:

These are things which tend NOT to help:

  • Expecting them to call you because you’ve said they can; a person struggling with their mental health is unlikely to reach out – at least at first – if they feel like a burden. This is why even if they don’t seem to be accepting help, it’s good to say you’ll check in on them in a few days anyway;
  • Telling someone you know exactly how they feel. Although you might have a shared experience, you genuinely don’t know how they feel. If you connect with something they say, saying things like “that makes sense”, keeps the conversation about them rather than you;
  • Saying there are people who have it worse, or they should be grateful for what they have. This just suggests you don’t understand or don’t want to hear it, and they’ll be less likely to talk

It’s also important in situations like this that you take care of yourself. It can be draining when you don’t know what to do or how to help, so make sure you include a self-care routine in your daily schedule so that your capacity to cope is less impacted. The healthier you are, the more you can help when it’s needed.

©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

Monday Mojo – Tap into Wisdom

How’s your intuition these days?

Your spidey-sense. 
Your inner wisdom. 
Your gut..

..and what’s it telling you?

We are built to be “in tune” with our environment. Our body was designed to know when it’s time to go to sleep (before technology did its best to put a stop to that). It’s how we can sometimes smell rain in the air (I know that’s not just me). And it’s how you can can sense tension in a room, even when no one is speaking. 

There’s a meme that goes round that says: ”Women know. They just know. And even when you think they don’t know, women know.”  Often we instinctively know things, but sometimes it’s not our intuition that’s guiding how we feel, it’s worry. And sometimes it can be difficult to tell them apart.

So what do we do if our intuition needs re-calibrating? 

This week set the intention to Tap into Wisdom.  If you don’t already, try keeping a dream diary, to record your night-time adventures and decipher what messages they may be offering. If you’re not remembering your dreams lately, you could try meditating in a quiet place. Find yourself somewhere that you can sit or lay down for a while.  Bring your awareness to the experience of being where you are and take three deep breaths. Then follow the natural rhythm of your breathing, and let your mind wander, allowing your imagination to roam and see where it takes you. (Mindfulness is believed to help improve decision-making).  If your mind wanders in to work or worry again, bring your awareness to your surroundings and try again when you’re ready. And if in  your daily life, you keep seeing a “stop” or “slow down” sign on the way to work, maybe life is offering a hint or two along the way.  

In the meantime, here’s a life hack: if you’re really undecided about which decision to make, flip a coin. How you feel when you see which side it lands will almost certainly tell you what you wanted. 

For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

Understanding bereavement and why society needs to change its views on grief

The news that Prince William surprised well-wishers outside Kensington Palace on what would have been his mother’s birthday, has sparked a discussion on social media about the “right” way to grieve. ITV’s Loose Women joined in the conversation asking their followers how they mark the anniversary of the death of a loved one.

Let me start by asserting that there is no ‘right‘ way to grieve.

Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one

Everyone is different. The way a person grieves will depend on any number of factors such as the connection they shared with the person who died and the support network they have available.

Grief is a normal reaction to the loss of a loved one. How we manage grief can influence how we navigate our way through it. If not acknowledged and managed healthily over time, grief can impact on a person’s mental health. It’s fair to say that when people are struggling with managing emotional pain, they may turn to coping strategies which can do more harm than good. But often the pressure society puts on bereaved people to “get over it” can be just as damaging.

I know this because of what people have told me.

I started my therapeutic career nearly 20 years ago, working with people mainly bereaved by murder and suicide.

In the last 18 months in particular, I have been travelling the country meeting bereaved people as part of a project funded by the Red Cross and Co-op. This provided workshops in Belfast, Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and many places in between, to members of the public who wanted to learn about the benefits of peer support. Attendees wanted to explore how they could share their experiences of grief with like-minded people, so that they could offer informal but much needed bereavement support in their communities.

This project and my career over nearly two decades has emphasised many things, and today (sparked by the comments on social media), it encouraged me to write this blog.

I obviously haven’t given specific details about clients in this article, to protect their confidentiality. But in writing this, I want to acknowledge and thank every one of them who shared their thoughts with me in their darkest moments. Their courage in our work together enabled them to find their way through their grief – despite the fact that society tried to impose its opinion on how they should do that.

And on that subject – a note about “society”.

This article isn’t aimed at any one person, or a particular community, culture or tradition. Instead, it recognises that although society is completely faceless, it has strong opinions and a very loud voice.

Society imposes its expectations on humanity and judges people – especially when they’re grieving – by telling them what ‘should do’, how long they ‘should’ grieve, and how they ‘must’ feel. If people don’t cry at the funeral, or if someone does cry but it’s beyond what it sees as an acceptable mourning period, society assumes there’s something wrong with them. Society doesn’t give people long to grieve, and this is demonstrated by the amount of compassionate leave employers provide.

Society will tell you it “knows exactly how you feel” (except it really doesn’t) although, this is normally in an effort to help you feel better, even if unknowingly it’s completely inappropriate. Society doesn’t usually want to be harmful, it just doesn’t know any other way. Hence me writing this: so society can learn why it needs to change its views on grief.

Grief is more like a roller coaster than a flight of stairs

Here are just some of the things I would say bereaved people want society to know:

Grief is not a task, it’s a process which means it takes as long as it takes. It’s not linear, and despite what society thinks it knows there are no “stages”; grief is more like a roller coaster than a flight of stairs.

Telling someone its time to “move on” or they should be “over it” is basically telling them to forget their loved one. It’s also letting a grieving person know they’re acting in a disappointing way by not meeting society’s expectations of a socially acceptable period of time to grieve (see the next point below). To be clear, none of these expectations help a grieving person, but then society generally doesn’t want to hear about pain. Feelings and more specifically demonstrations of feelings (like crying) make people uncomfortable.

We don’t ‘move on’ from grief – we move forward.

When this happens, grief goes (as I call it) underground and when that happens, people stop talking about how they feel – that’s not good for anyone. As Nora McInerney says in her brilliant TED talk below (a shorter version on Facebook here), we don’t ‘move on’ from grief – we move forward.

The second year is often harder than the first, sometimes for the very reason that society assumes you’re “over it”. It means people stop asking how you are or showing up on anniversaries to see if you need anything. The idea that it takes a year and a day (which I’ve genuinely heard ‘society’ say) is a complete myth.

Employers in particular need to recognise that anniversaries can be upsetting even years later. You’ll know yourself, even just hearing a special song on the radio, that reminds you of someone you cared about, can be like time travel in your mind that can bring feelings of fondness or pain (or both).

Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Compassionately mentioning the death of a loved one is not going to upset someone anymore than they already are. It won’t “make things worse” by sending them a text to let them know they’re being thought about (especially if it would have been the birthday or Mother’s Day, or any other anniversary like when their loved one died). A bereaved person never forgets the death and so, if anything, remembering an anniversary might even help validate their feelings.

If you don’t know what to say, say hello

Don’t cross the street, or try to ignore what’s happened. In the documentary “A Year or British Murder” the father of Quamari Barnes, a young teenager stabbed to death, said this was one of the things he found most hurtful when people did it. He explained that he understood why they did – probably because they were worried they’d make things worse (see point above) – or just because they didn’t know what to say. But then he made the point that something is better than nothing. He said “if you don’t know what to say, say hello“. There is a short video voiced by Brené Brown on empathy below, which gives some more insight on this.

Don’t try to ‘fix’ people. Telling people they should be grateful for the time they had with their loved one, or that they should be glad their deceased relative had a long and happy life, only works if that’s how they feel in that moment. Saying things like “at least you’re still young, you can always try for another child” – or “at least they had a good innings” is often crushingly dismissive. As Brené Brown says in the video above: “rarely does empathy ever start with the words “at least”. It is pretty much impossible to talk a bereaved person out of their pain – and nor should we try. Despite what society might think, there is rarely a silver lining to the loss of a loved one, and attempting to cheer someone up when they’re grieving can make them feel misunderstood. A person is less likely to open up in those circumstances, and the last thing we want to do is push people away when they’re reaching out for help. Megan Devin describes beautifully how to help a grieving friend in the video below.

So in summary, some things NOT to say to a grieving person:

  • You’ll get over it
  • Have you tried exercise?
  • You need to take up a hobby
  • Time is a great healer
  • I know exactly how you feel / what you need
  • You must be feeling…< enter assumption here >
  • or any statement that starts “at least…”
  • Things society could say instead:
    • How do you feel today?
      Would it help to talk about it?
      I’ll keep checking in on you – when’s good for you?
      (If feeling strongly that a suggestion might help ) “Have you thought about… ” (eg. counselling)?
  • Things NOT to do to a grieving person:
    • Go into fixing mode, at least without asking them what they need
      Ignore them, avoid the topic, pretend it hasn’t happened
      Make assumptions about how they feel

    Things society could do instead:

      Invite round for a cuppa and chat
      Keep promises, especially if saying will check in on them
      Send messages letting them know they’re being thought about, especially around anniversaries
      Offer practical support if it would be helpful like offering to cook a meal or walk the dog

    These are just some of the things I would say bereaved people want society to know, and I hope reassures anyone in mourning that there is no ‘right‘ way to grieve. It takes as long as it takes. If you agree, feel free to share this article.

    If you are worried you’re not coping, talk to your doctor and reach out to people who can support you compassionately. .For useful links of organisations providing free support following bereavement, click here

    For more information about bereavement covered by this website, click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

    Monday Mojo – Set the Tone

    Do you ever feel like people just don’t listen?

    Like you’re talking to a brick wall.
    That what you say falls on ‘deaf ears’.
    As if you’re talking another language. 

    When we feel misunderstood it’s easy to raise our voice in anger. To shout out, have a knee-jerk reaction and say something we didn’t actually mean. (We’ve all been there).

    It’s in those moments that we might walk away wishing we had – or hadn’t – said something, and that can lead to anxiety. Before you know it, your mind is taking you (as I call it) down the plug hole. And it’s dark down there.  

    Eleanor Shakiba is a coach who introduces the WISH formula (there’s a video about it here). It describes how to make your point with some helpful starter phrases that can lead to healthier dialogue. Whether it’s at work or at home, assertive communication is in the building blocks of healthy relationships.  So here’s some food for thought:

    This week set the intention to Set The Tone.  Decide what it is that needs to be said and if possible role play it with a friend. Create a list of assertive phrases to respond helpfully when people aren’t listening, using (for example) the WISH formula.  You can say things like “When you do that, I feel like you’re not listening. So, How can we fix this?” And if you don’t agree with someone, start with “I see things differently”. If they are interested in why, they’ll ask you. If they’re not, ask yourself if their opinion really matters.

    For Monday Mojo, straight to your inbox, click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

    Monday Mojo – Bring in Mercy

    What do you think about forgiveness?

    I think the modern definition is somewhat over-rated, and I much prefer its original meaning.  Let me explain.

    Today, people often associate forgiveness with letting people off the hook.
    Accepting their excuses.
    Pretending the hurt didn’t happen. 
    People might say you “just need to forgive” like it’s as easy as turning off a light switch. (You and I both know emotions don’t work like that). Thankfully that’s not what forgiveness means at all.

    If you look at the old English definition of forgiveness it means “to stop seeking revenge”. In other words to make a conscious decision to save your energy and release the need to punish.  If you can grow your tribe so that there’s no one in your circle who takes up that level of energy, life becomes a little easier. But how long have you been punishing yourself?

    We all do it. Even little things like spilling your morning coffee or making an error at work can find you calling yourself all the names under the sun. How you treat yourself matters, and our self-talk can be a game changer.

    Another word, mercy, is often misunderstood as defeat these days.  But the  definition of mercy means to show compassion or  forgive. What if it’s time to send some of that your way, in order to discover what this moment is asking of you?

    This week, set the intention to Bring In Mercy. Give yourself at least a day when you show yourself a compassion that might have been missing for a while. If regrets have taken hold, consider that the decisions we make in each moment are always right at the time, even if later we’d have made a different choice.  Recognise the role perfection plays in your life and consider if it’s time to let good enough be enough. Go a little easier on yourself, and notice the language you use to describe yourself. And, if someone has been unkind to you, ask yourself what needs to happen for that door to finally close.

    For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

    ©️Delphi Ellis 2019

    Happiness is not where you might think it is

    In my workshops I talk about happiness, that being the real meaning of it. I talk about how shops and online retailers will have us believe that in order to be happy, you need what they have. This image arrived in my inbox today, and is a perfect example of this.

    The only problem is, that as soon as you buy what they’re offering, they’ll bring out a newer, better, faster version of it. The journey to happiness – the way retailers want you to believe – is long and expensive.

    What if, though, it starts somewhere else?

    Being happy starts with being at peace with yourself, and knowing that even when it all goes horribly wrong or as if the world has turned against you, you know who you are, and that you’re alright. That takes time, some patience and knowing where to start. We’re all different, so find your way to happiness without believing that a retailer can wrap it up for you.

    (P.s. I deleted the email without even reading what they said I needed!)

    For free Monday Mojo straight to your inbox, click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

    Monday Mojo – Start Where You Are

    Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up?

    Like it’s all just moving a bit too fast. 
    That other people are strides in front. 
    That somehow you’ve fallen behind. Or fallen short. 

    I often liken the pace of life to that of a treadmill. Before we know it we’re hurtling along, striving for perfection, believing we daren’t step off for fear of creating a massive problem. So we try to keep up, even if it’s exhausting.  Are you tired?

    When we’re battling to stay ahead, to appear perfect, or even just stay alongside everyone else, it can  lead to burnout. We feel worn out, frustrated – cynical even. Maybe even faking it a little (see the Brené Brown video with Oprah below), letting people think we’re happy, putting on a brave face and even laughing at other people’s jokes that just. aren’t. funny.

    Maybe you’ve lost sight of why you got into the race in the first place. You wake up one morning and wonder how you got where you are. The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay like this.

    This week, set the intention to Start Where You Are. Focus on what you can do today (rather than things you can’t) and make space in your day to slow down when you can. Take at least a twenty minute lunch break. Go for a walk after work if you can.  Focus on who you are, and where you are, rather than what and where others think you should be.  Try to ditch perfectionism. Let good enough be enough.   And if things feel like they’re moving too fast – pause.  Let the world race past you if it has to, you’ll get where you need to be in the end. Think of it like the Tortoise and the Hare, only with your panache.

    For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

    https://youtu.be/_YeulUgWNp8

    ©️ Delphi Ellis 2019

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