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Grief, Loss and COVID-19

Note to the reader: This article is in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and discusses death and dying. It also explores how we may recognise grief and loss, even when no one has died.

As the number of deaths continues to rise in the U.K. and around the world, many are facing grief in ways they never imagined.

Alongside the loss of someone we love, this current crisis reminds us that grief doesn’t just belong to death; we can experience it when anything that matters is no longer here.

You can grieve for the job you’re currently unable to do, the family you can’t hug, the holiday you really needed but had to cancel.

We are all looking at life through our own lens. What feels insignificant to one, will be a huge concern for another. All feelings matter. And all grief is valid.

We are also being confronted with our own mortality every day. We are seeing stark reminders that death comes to us all, when many understandably don’t want to even think about that.

On the one hand, the daily government adverts have been received by some as terrifying, with their strap lines about who can spread it and who can get it, especially for those identified as most at risk. On the other, the compassionate among us see the yellow hearts placed in windows as a gentle act of solidarity for someone whose loved one has died of COVID-19.

The pandemic has led to war-talk of an “invisible enemy”, “field hospitals” and “fighting a battle”, which gives a sense of the unpredictable yet invasive nature of our times. The language of war when highlighting illnesswhich has been proven to be unhelpful creates an understandable anxiety.

It’s no wonder if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

The greatest mystery in life is why death chooses a particular moment.

Mitch Albom

There will be those who were grieving for loved ones who died before COVID-19, and those whose hearts are breaking because of it.

There will be those with considerations like poor mental health and those faced with domestic abuse, that make them more vulnerable and more at risk following the outbreak, in ways authorities have been slow to recognise. (Here is a list of links to agencies that may be able to help). Trauma can form part of the picture, particularly where people have been witness to or affected by what they’ve seen, heard or experienced.

All while parents, grandparents and care givers around the world will be trying to find the words to explain to young people what this all means.

The pandemic also brings consequences some nations have never seen before, when we talk of loss and bereavement. Families not being able to say goodbye at the bed side. The funeral being delayed as a result of the virus, and those closest not always able to attend. Daily death totals and worldwide images of mass graves can feel like they’re stealing our sense of identity and individuality, when grief is such a personal and unique experience for us all.

The media talks of a “new normal”, but normal will feel different to each of us, and how we feel now will be influenced by what life was like before the pandemic.

Your relationship may have broken down, or you’d started a new one. You may have been made redundant or started a new business. Events may have taken a turn for the worse, or things were starting to look up.

So grief can highlight how different we are, and that our situation can impact how we feel and respond to it. It’s not one emotion, but many that can change from moment to moment.

You might experience anger, frustration, a strong need to blame.

You might feel overwhelmed or completely numb.

You might have little concentration, or finding the simplest things a chore or challenging.

You could be having sleepless nights, or troubling dreams.

Perhaps you feel you’ve lost or are struggling with your identity, wondering where you fit in, in a world that seems unrecognisable right now. You might even feel like you’re “ losing your mind ” , with so much seeming out of our control.

There is no ‘right’ way to feel when you’re grieving. All of it matters, and our feelings help us make sense of what we’re going through. It’s what we do with those feelings and how we channel them that makes the difference to how we cope. But as Rachel Wilson says in this article, “Britain is woefully ill-equipped to cope with bereavement because our grief culture is a stifled one.”

So what helps (and what doesn’t) when grieving?

How you grieve will depend on many things including your personal circumstances, the amount and type of loss you’ve been through in life, what support networks you have, how close you were to the situation, any ‘unfinished business’, and how you’ve been able to process your emotions.

The following might not fit for everyone, but can give you a place to start if someone has died or if you’re recognising loss and feelings of grief right now.

1) Recognise the feeling

Pushing pain away rarely works in the long-term, it just finds a place to hide, and rises up at a later date. Grief, after all, is love with nowhere to go.

It can help to recognise you’re feeling something – even if that’s feeling nothing at all – and even if you’re not ready to process it just yet. Megan Devine explains the importance of acknowledgement in her video “How to help a grieving friend”. This is relevant to anyone who has suffered a loss, as it is if you’re trying to help a friend or family member who has.

2) Avoid minimising if it’s not helping

You might be tempted – or told – to feel grateful for what you have. Well-meaning people will tell you to “think of the good times” or “look on the bright side”, or start sentences with “At least…” that offer little comfort. Or you might soothe yourself by saying there are people “worse off”.

Whilst all that may be true, it can offer little consolation when faced with the rawness, complexity and confusion of grief. As Nora MicInerny says in her TED talk, “Grief is a multi-tasking emotion.” You can feel sad and happy at the same time, and what you experience won’t always make sense.

Don’t feel you have to justify or hide what you’re feeling to make others more comfortable. Tell yourself the truth, rather than telling yourself to shut up.

3) Give yourself permission to cry when it helps

When a grieving person cries in British culture, they often feel they have to follow it by saying “sorry”, as if it’s wrong. But we know crying helps.

Grief can feel like a wave of emotion; you might feel “fine” one minute, then hear a song on the radio and burst in to tears.

If you feel you can’t cry yet, that’s ok, just as if you find yourself laughing at something on the telly. Laughter helps too, and you don’t need to feel guilty for forgetting, in that moment, that life has changed.

It’s the same when processing feelings of anger. Know your warning signs of what anger feels like for you, and reach out to people who can help you channel the emotion in a way that’s healthy, rather than harmful.

Experiencing grief doesn’t always mean crying will help or feel possible, but it’s important you can when you need, rather than believing you shouldn’t.

4) Make room for self-care

Self-care looks different to everyone; it might be spending time in your garden, reading a book, watching a video that makes you chuckle, or having a warm bath. Create a well-being plan that’s tailored to you that you know feels manageable, which includes daily restorative acts of kindness towards yourself. Self-care doesn’t mean “Me first”, it means “me included. That means making your well-being – including sleep – a priority.

Practical things like childcare arrangements or social circles may have changed. It’s ok to accept offers of help where you can, even if it’s someone getting a few essential things from the shop for you.

Routine can be helpful, making sure you get up and dressed at the same time each day, eating regular meals, taking time for your daily allowed exercise when you can. But it’s ok to have a “duvet day” now and then too.

Speak to your doctor if you feel you’re having more bad days than good over time, or call the Samaritans on 116 123 if you need someone to talk with, especially if you’re awake in the early hours.

5) Manage your environment

It’s important your environment lends itself to a place of sanctuary especially when you’re grieving and definitely during lockdown, when we are being told to stay at home unless it’s for one of four reasons.

You may feel under pressure from others to make changes or alter something about your circumstances, or feel the need to “do” something. People may tell you to dispose of your loved ones belongings, or you might decide to clean out old cupboards. An important thing to consider is that you go at your pace, and that how you cope feels within your control.

If you’re affected by domestic abuse, here is Women’s Aid Safety Advice.

6) Reach out

Connection matters, whether it’s having contact with the outside world or having the opportunity to speak with people who understand. There are organisations that specialise in feelings of grief and loss, and again the Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123.

You might decide to join an online bereavement peer support group, or connect with like-minded people who understand loss. You might consider a Death Café where you can talk about your thoughts and fears surrounding end of life. There will be people who understand, even when your situation is unique.

7) Take your time

People often say things like “you’ll get over it” and “time is a great healer”. Research by Dr Robert Neymeyer actually suggests that it’s not necessarily the passing of time that helps in our recovery from loss, but how we spend the time we are grieving.

Despite what some will try and tell you, there are no stages of grief (something misquoted for years). Bereavement is not linear; it might feel more like a rollercoaster than it is a flight of stairs so it will look different to everyone. Your grief is as unique as you are, but help is available.

Don’t feel under pressure to put a time frame on your grief. Be gentle on yourself. Take your time. And reach out if it helps.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020

Featured

Tips for Managing Anxiety During COVID-19 and Beyond

If you’re starting to feel the overwhelm of all the recent news, you’re not alone. The feeling is literally global.

People are taking different views, some are panicking, some are minimising – both are potentially responses to fear.

We know when we go through a prolonged period of stress, our brain and body will feel the effects. We also know that when we are in fight or flight – the body’s automatic response to feeling threatened – we don’t make good decisions. So here are some top tips that might help, if you’re feeling the strain.

1) Acknowledge how you’re feeling

All feelings are valid. Whether you’re feeling anxious, frustrated, sad or numb, it all counts. You may be grieving, even if no one has died. This could include the loss of freedom from self-isolation or holidays you had planned which have now had to be cancelled. You may be mourning experiences that happened before the coronavirus outbreak. Your emotions matter, and it’s helpful to find ways to express them in a healthy way that works for you.

2) Read and / or Write

Reading a good book is a wonderful act of self-care, but it’s not always easy to concentrate when your mind is doing somersaults. Some people find poetry helps for this reason, short stories or books with short paragraphs, like Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive.

People express their feelings in different ways, but getting the words out of your head and on to paper or into your laptop can help clear some head space. Mindful journaling can be a healthy way to download what’s in your brain in ways that you can process. The video below offers some ideas, particularly for people who are caring for someone else right now.

3) Get Creative

There are so many ways you can express yourself through creative activities from drawing, mindful colouring and dance. Whether it’s writing your own music (unless you have musical anhedonia), singing your heart out to your favourite song, or dancing if you can, see if you can find something that works for you. A recent report from the World Health Organisation found that singing, dancing and acting has positive effects on our physical and mental health.

4) Move Your Body

A lot of mental health professionals will endorse the benefits of exercise and it’s true to say this is good for you. But when we think of it, our minds often turn to thoughts about going to the gym, a Zumba class or going for a run. Thankfully, all movement counts, whether it’s having a boogie (see above) whether it’s watering your garden or going for a walk in nature (if you can). If you’re self-isolating, even having a good old clear out at home could count as some exercise. Fresh air is just as important, and remember you can currently spend time in your garden if you have one, even if self-isolating, but check the latest government stay-at-home guidance for details.

5) Focus on the basics

According to the Royal Society for Public Health there are three things we should do every day:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Drink water

and yet, these are probably the very things that suffer most when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. We know that around 70% (if not more) of the mood hormone serotonin is made in your stomach – so it’s more important than ever when you’re struggling, to try to eat. It doesn’t have to be big meals, but maybe eat little and often if it helps. You could practice self-care by planning your favourite dinners, or ask for further guidance from your doctor, especially if your eating habits are becoming unhealthy for you. You can drink water with flavoured juice, if it helps. Sleep is also something that we can find hard when our mind is racing. Here are some tips on sleep that might help, especially if you’re working shifts.

6) Stay Connected

It’s easy when you’re feeling overwhelmed to withdraw, including coming off social media and that can be a healthy thing from time to time. However, as human beings we are tribal by nature, and so it’s important we feel we have somewhere to belong. Sarah Millican creates the #JoinIn hashtag on Twitter for people feeling lonely every Christmas, and has recently endorsed using it for those self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to modern technology you can also keep in touch with friends and family via Skype, WhatsApp and other methods of communication if you have access to them. Talk to your doctor about accessing counselling if you think it would help.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the different news stories. So keep up-to-date via news sources that you trust and the latest government guidance.

7) Practice Compassion for Yourself and Others

Kindness and compassion are not the same.
We tend to reserve kindness for friends and family – those we care about (that’s why we often don’t include ourselves). This is where compassion comes in.

Compassion is “wise kindness”. It’s being able to recognise our differences but still be able to work together. It’s helping someone you don’t know or like, but at the same time keeping boundaries. It’s helping in a way that’s meaningful, but knowing our limits.

You can show yourself compassion by writing yourself a love note (words of kindness that remind you that “This will pass”), or repeating a mantra like “May I be well, May I be happy, May I be peaceful”. Find ways to give yourself permission to relax, and drop some of the unhelpful commentary that’s spiralling in your mind. This is where techniques like S.T.O.P can help, or a loving kindness meditation to feel connected with those who do understand how you feel.

Make taking care of yourself a priority, and do what you can with what you have from where you are.

This article is aimed at people who are struggling with mild to moderate anxiety. If you’re worried about your health and well-being, speak to your doctor, you can ring the NHS on 111, and if you’re struggling with your thoughts right now, the Samaritans are available in the U.K. 24/7 on 116 123. Here are some links to other agencies that may be able to help.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020

Featured

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. Some people find things like going for a walk in the fresh air, watching a video that makes them laugh, and mindfulness helpful.

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

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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 Therapeutic Counsellor 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 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

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Online Services and Resources

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak my services are currently available online

These include:

Counselling – receive a 1-1 session for talking therapy over the ‘phone or via Zoom for just £25 (for 50 minutes).

Dream Interpretation via telephone (or Zoom) – an exploration of a dream or dreams you’re having for just £25 (for up to 50 minutes)

Workshops – a selection of training and ‘micro-sessions’ available via Zoom, Teams or Google Meet

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.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

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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

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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 – Embrace the Mistake

How do you feel when you get something wrong?

Before COVID, I would ask rooms full of people, “hands up if you’ve ever made a little mistake?” I’d stand there with my hand up and of course, the whole room would smile or giggle and put theirs up too. It seems funny at the time, that we have a shared connection as humans when we realise, at some point in our lives, we’ve all screwed something up.

But, as I then explain, when we mess up our inner critic can be brutal. Even if, in the end it was really “nothing” (like realising you’re wearing your top back to front – haven’t we all done that?):
We beat ourselves up.
Call ourselves names.
We worry “what on earth will people think of me”.
As Pema Chödrön says, sometimes the hardest times we have are the ones we give ourselves.

What if there’s another way?

This week, set the intention to Embrace the Mistake. Recognise that throughout this week (this month, this life), there may well be an occasion when you realise you’ve made a blunder. Instead of calling yourself an idiot (or worse), remind yourself “it happens”. Then maybe ask yourself the question as Tara Brach suggests “What would it be like, in this moment, to be kind to myself?” Pause before you judge yourself, take a deep breath and say something kind instead.

Of course you may hold in your mind a mistake that wasn’t as small. A time in your life when you got something “wrong”, you feel troubled by guilt or regret. Again, remember you’re human and then own it if you can. This article explains The Pratfall Effect, and how bizarrely showing up to our mistakes can make us more likeable to others. Give yourself a period – not too long – of reflection and compassionate self-correction if needed; the intention that whatever you may have done wrong that you’ll never do it again. As Maya Angelou once said it’s ok to “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it”.

For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

Monday Mojo – Bring In You

What does authenticity mean to you?

When we talk about being authentic, people might say it’s about being “the real you”. But what does that actually mean?

One of the things I talk about in my book Answers in the Dark is the “dark side” we hide away. Not Darth Vader dark, but the fact that we hide parts of ourselves from others because we worry what they might think if they knew. Things like hiding your passion for crochet, eating your kid’s Easter Egg once they’d gone to bed (then “helping” them look for it the next day) or that you can’t get enough of Love Island. “Guilty pleasures” that we tuck away because we think if people knew, they’d think the worst of us. (It might genuinely affect how we sleep, and even how we dream.

But these things, or course, don’t make us bad people; they are the very things that make us human. Each of us has our own gifts, strengths, qualities and quirks, that makes the rich tapestry of life, well… a bit more interesting.

What if, like empathy, authenticity isn’t a trait at all but a skill we develop?  Here’s something that might help:

This week, maybe set the intention to Bring In You. What would it be like to just show up at work – or at home – and talk about what you love and how you feel? To sing at your desk, to liberate yourself through laughter in meetings, and wear the clothes you love, whenever you want (this video explains more). How comfortable can you get, talking about – and being – the things that make you shine?

This article gives some top tips on knowing where to start. One is about your values, another is learning to Notice the Spark. Do your daily activities align with where you want to be?

Something to keep in mind: being authentic and rigid at the same time – digging your heels in about who you are, rather than who you can be – can complicate things. The video below explains that if what got you here won’t get you there (ie where you want to be) you can try another way.

For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

Monday Mojo – Clear the Path

What’s in your way right now?

In a world that’s focused on moving forward (and increasingly at pace) you may have noticed things have felt more…complicated. Obstacles present themselves where we least expect; people are unnecessarily difficult and, sometimes we even get in our own way:
we procrastinate
say yes when we mean no
or avoid when we want to dive in. 

If we take procrastination as one example, we know now this is a form of perfectionism – setting punishing objectives and striving for flawlessness is a sure path to discomfort. As a result, we end up taking imperfect actions to deal with the difficulty.

Some things are easier to manoeuvre of course. We might placate to keep the peace, or we write another to-do list to set us back on track. But when it’s our mojo that’s blocked, if creativity has disappeared or we can’t see the wood for the trees sometimes we need a little more.

This week, maybe set the intention to Clear the Path. When tackling your to-do list, remember Eisenhower’s Principle: the difference between urgent and important. Important is what gets us where we want to be; urgent usually means someone else wants to make their problems (or goals) ours. This article offers tips on how to use the principle helpfully.

If it’s your own expectations that create a block, remember that good enough is enough; the relentless pursuit of perfectionism can be rooted in a fear of failure. So be compassionate with yourself, knowing we’re all just doing what we can, with what we have from where we are – and that’s ok. 

When other people are the obstacles, sometimes the only thing that helps is creating space between you. You can set the tone by articulating the boundary of what’s ok (and what’s not) and creating space between you when someone keeps crossing the line; it’s ok to say “enough” when something – or someone – is not good for you. Hard conversations by definition are never easy, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth having. Go at your pace, and take the next step when you’re ready.

For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here

Monday Mojo – Notice the Spark

How would you define “a good life”?

If you’re old enough, you might remember Tom and Barbara (from a U.K. TV show) who decided to give up extravagant living and go self-sufficient – much to the amusement (but most of all horror) of their posh neighbours Margo and Jerry.

Now I’m not saying in order to be happy, you need to give up the things you love; in fact quite the opposite. In various schools of thought, it’s actually the simplest pleasures that can bring us the most joy. It’s one of the reasons researchers can’t agree on a single definition of happiness – what makes one person happy, won’t be the same for someone else.

So in this context it can help us to step back and think about the small things that bring us a bit of sparkle. 

This week, maybe set the intention to Notice the Spark. Take some time to think about the little things that bring you joy and then find some time to do them. It might be spending time with friends or family, going for a walk by the sea or doing some mindful colouring.

You might remember Marie Kondo explaining what it means when something “sparks joy”. You might use this as an opportunity to get rid of some old belongings and see how each one makes you feel. (You could even apply the same philosophy when in the company of others). You could also create a jar of activities of places to go and things to visit, that when you just think about going there you feel yourself light up.

Above all, make it a priority to think about what your good life could be. Who are you with? Where are you living? What work are you doing? Start small and see where it takes you.

For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here

Monday Mojo – Celebrate a Moment

When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?

I’m asking because we might feel it’s “wrong” to blow our own trumpet. We worry it’s arrogant or self-indulgent, when in fact it might be an important part of progress. 

The brain is mysterious, but equally fascinating. For example, we know it has something called “the reward centre”. When something feels good (or tastes good), it’s like a fruit machine that’s just got three lemons in a row. We light up, get a “hit” of dopamine and the brain learns “that’s good”.

The downside is the brain doesn’t always seem to be able to differentiate between what’s healthy and what’s not. You can get a “hit” for example from someone liking your Facebook post.  As tribal beings, we need to belong, so our brain interprets a “like” as success – it translates this as “you fit in somewhere – keep doing that!”. In the same way, we “feel better” by having that slice of chocolate cake; this is how habit loops occur. We want to feel better so we have another slice of cake. 

Imagine then, if we rewarded our success, instead of numbing out fears or sadness; the brain might be motivated to get more done.

This week, maybe set the intention to Celebrate a Moment. Put one thing on your social media (if you use it) this week that you’re proud of – or just tell friends, family and colleagues what you’re glad you’ve achieved. If things to rave about feel a bit thin on the ground, write down one thing you want to get done today, this week and this month, then note how you will reward yourself for achieving it. It might be when you pay a bill, do your filing or have that tricky conversation you’ve been putting off – then tell yourself how great you are.

This article explains the benefits of celebrating accomplishments, including how recognising your success gives others permission to do the same. Be careful not to only measure your success on an oversized scale – the small wins always count.

For an expanded version of Monday Mojo™ straight to your inbox, which includes access to free resources, click here

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021

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