Diana Olafsdottir
07522 062 338
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The beginning of a new year is synonymous with reflection and change – how can I positively change and improve my life from one year to the next? What do I want to achieve and how do I go about it?
We´ve looked at some of the top New Year´s resolutions made and look at how we can help you achieve them. We are certain that if health and wellbeing is a top priority on your list, acupuncture and/or coaching can help you achieve your goals.
Here is how:
Resolution 1: Weight loss / weight management
After a month full of gatherings, excessive eating and drinking, and complete disregard for whatever regime you may have had beforehand, losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution people tend to make. Acupuncture can assist you in reaching your target weight by encouraging digestive function, balancing emotions, improving metabolism, reducing appetite and managing cravings.
This is achieved through regular treatments, as well as dietary advice, which focuses on minimising any strain on the digestive system, thereby strengthening it. The points are chosen through identifying your individual imbalances, and from a Western medical perspective certain points have been shown to increase the function of the nervous, endocrine, and digestive systems, which in turn boosts energy, aids the absorption of nutrients, regulates the bowel, controls overeating and reduces anxiety.
Acupuncture can be a powerful tool for healthy weight loss, both on its own and as a secondary tool to other weight management programs.
Resolution 2: Learn something new
If you’ve decided to take on a challenge in the new year, such as learning a new language, or to further your skills in your chosen field, acupuncture can help. Various studies have shown acupuncture to improve memory, concentration and regular relaxation and good sleep facilitate general mental clarity.
Resolution 3: Feel better – pain free
If pain is standing in the way of you leading a healthy, happy life, acupuncture can help. Pain relief is one of acupuncture’s greatest accolades and the most recognised of its therapeutic benefits. It can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of origin or location. Acupuncture also increases blood flow and thus speeds up the natural healing process.
Resolution 4: Reduce stress
Stress is the root of all evil as they say, and so many of us suffer from it. In the short term it’s a driver to getting things done and therefore beneficial, but once it is sustained over long periods, it can lead to illness – both mental and physical. Acupuncture has been shown to have an effect on reducing stress and anxiety, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Various self-help techniques work well in combination with the acupuncture, such as yoga, breathing techniques, relaxation, and moderate exercise.
Resolution 5: Quit smoking
This is one of the ‘big ones’ on the list of popular New Year’s resolutions. In the short term, acupuncture can help reduce the craving. This applies mostly to the first 48 hours, when the nicotine is still in the system. However, most smokers will tell you that they’ve given up many times, without hassle, for weeks at a time. Some however, will report dull headaches, irritability, restlessness and a battle with increased appetite. In these cases, acupuncture has a role to play. It targets not the addiction but the symptoms of withdrawal.
The bigger problem is usually around the habit of smoking, rather than the physical withdrawals, so there may be other interventions needed or lots of will power!
The role of Coaching in facilitating change 
Coaching is all about enabling change. Often the goals we set ourselves are overly ambitious. Have you ever decided to run a marathon and stopped when you decided that 5k was already a bit hard? well so have I. The best way to ensure you achieve your goals is to make them SMART. Read how I tackled Stoptober if you want to know more.
Coaching holds you accountable for what you say you are going to do, helps you refine the goals, so you are actually addressing the right stuff at the right time, and makes sure you have someone with you every step of the way to support and challenge your thinking.
I use coaching with a lot of my clients who struggle with anxiety or pain to break patterns, enable them to see their ailments from a fresh viewpoint and help them find out what they don´t know they don´t know (think about it, how do you know what you don´t know?).
Acupuncture and coaching go hand in hand but I work with my clients to design a programme that suits their individual needs. I have clients that only come for acupuncture (if it really is just a back pain, plain and simple, well let´s not complicate it), and equally if you are healthy and just want someone on an equal footing to bounce ideas off and help you achieve your goals more effectively, well that works too! As an experienced practitioner in both physical and emotional wellbeing, I could be the perfect partner to making your 2015 a successful, healthy and fulfilled life.
I  would love to hear from you if you´re wondering how we could work together.
Happy New Year!

In September I looked at my to-do list and shuddered. I had set myself a deadline to get some work done by the end of October, and it didn’t feel realistic. With two jobs and an active social life, there wasn’t enough time! – sound familiar?

Time is a precious commodity. But time is always measured in the same way; there are still 24 hours in a day and 1440 minutes. It’s how we use it and the relativity of ‘time flying’ or ‘time standing still’ that makes it so valuable.

I looked at how I was spending my time and where I could make better use of it to meet my deadlines. I hate to say it but cutting out alcohol was the obvious one. Nope, I’m not a daily drinker, nor a particularly heavy one. But I get caught up in Friday night antics and falling face first into a bottle or two of white wine to celebrate the personal time up the weekend brings. Ironically it was the weekends where my hours disappeared into hangovers and uselessness!

So for the first time in my adult life, I decided to take a break, reset my body and find out what the fuss was about. And 30 days later, I am surprised and happy to say it was really easy. But why? Why do so many of us go on diets, detox missions, set New Years resolutions and fail? I know that I’m not especially gifted with resilience in the face of temptation. So here’s what I learnt.

I was SMART about it

I honestly thought that the Friday night ‘demon’ would appear and get the better of me at some point, and if not my own demon, one of my friends would take that place and whisper sweet nothings into my ear. I’ll be honest; the ‘demon’ did appear, and a friend or two jokingly pushed a glass of wine under my nose. So why didn’t I cave in?

First of all, I had a goal. Not just any goal, but a SMART goal:

Specific – I will take a break from drinking alcohol for a month to reset my body and to meet my deadlines for coaching work

Measurable – Having completed my course work and not actually having a drink were the measures I used

Achievable – It was a stretch given that my longest ‘detox’ to date had been 10 days, but it was focused on an action – producing the course work, and I could visualise myself achieving it and being proud!

Realistic and Relevant – I chose a month where I had the least amount of social drinking situations booked in. And I didn’t miss out on them, I just didn’t drink

Time-bound – It’s a month. I wasn’t obsessed about whether that was 28, 30 or 31 days

I stayed curious

Instead of feeling like I was missing out, I decided to walk through that month with curiosity. Ever day I asked myself ‘what positive difference have I noticed today?’, ‘what have I achieved?’ and ‘what can I do more of/better tomorrow?’, ‘how is this experience different without alcohol?’. By focussing on that I reaffirmed my goal each day and as a result I enjoyed the journey. I went to the pub on a Friday because I like catching up with my friends and I left when I noticed that the conversations went from engaging to fairly one sided.

I had fun!

I associate drinking with fun, and therefore I associated not drinking with no fun. But in the last month I have gone to art exhibitions, immersive theatre, a morning rave, out for dinner, and found joy in exercise again. It’s been great! And more importantly, none of those were to avoid drinking. Under normal circumstances I would have squeezed in a glass or two at most of those occasions. It just didn’t need to be there for it to be fun.

It was really rewarding!

I stretched my capabilities beyond what I had done before, so every day after 10 days felt rewarding because it was longer than I’d ever abstained before. I have to admit, the first 10 days didn’t have much reward. I was tired, didn’t see any difference in my health and it was all a bit vanilla. But it was still pretty easy. As the days went on I started noticing a marked difference, which was the reward and encouragement in itself.

I feel less anxious and balanced emotionally

I get better quality sleep

I am more alert and engaged

I feel empowered

Exercise is easier

I have loads of time on my hands to complete what I’ve set out to do

I acknowledged my own strength, diligence in getting the work done, and for finding it easy.

I didn’t react

The one thing about cravings (we’re not talking about physical addictions here, let’s be clear) is that they are really all in our heads. I see my craving demon as a spoilt little brat that can’t have what it wants. And too many times I give into the kicking and screaming, but this time I just noticed it and like a patient mother in the supermarket casually ignored it. Surprisingly easy when you separate that aspect of yourself! For me giving it a visual image was useful because it meant it wasn’t me. The real me is actually pretty dedicated and determined.

All those factors made the last month EASY and really quite wonderful. I have to admit that my love affair with alcohol is far weaker and the reset has caused me to question the need for what I call ‘mindless’ drinking. Just reaching for it… well because that’s what I always do. I like having to be creative about how I spend my time and enrich my life. And now I know how being smart, being curious, having fun and acknowledging my positive moves all make me a stronger person on whatever journey I take!

If you want someone to bounce ideas off, to work with you to achieving your goals and affecting change in any area of your life, I’d love to do that with you and make sure we bring all those components along for the ride.