Kate Flory from Kapow Coaching.
This article has been written by local coach Kate Flory.
Have you ever noticed how people are either half full or half empty, happy or sad, rich or poor, full or hungry, or see life as a balance between good and bad?
We live in a diverse world with an abundance of choice and colourful living, yet for most of us we seem to default to looking at life from one extreme to another. Searching for the middle ground or balance in our lives is something that we yearn for when the scales are tipped firmly to one side. If you’ve ever found yourself at one end of these extremes, you’ll also be familiar with the experience of how quickly you can find yourself at the other end.
Finding balance is something that more and more people are striving for, including me, especially at this time of year. The concept of life being a seesaw can add excitement at first, but after a while it can make us feel quite queasy and unduly stressed. Yet the key to finding balance is not the science of equilibrium of where everything is equal, but more the correct proportions of key areas of our life, established by crafting our own rules and tolerances for what is and is not in balance.
The starting point is uncovering what balance actually means, specifically for you. For some it can relate to having time, levels of personal energy, degrees of happiness, or even the amount of choice we have. Once you have clarity on what balance actually means, you can start to assess are you actually in balance or not.
An old coaching favourite is the wheel of life. Draw a cross, then cross through again creating 8 equal segments. Take the word or statement that balance means for you, and now think which areas of your life and / or work do you want to measure it against. Add these titles to the 8 segments, for instance you might want to focus on family, health, happiness, fun, or consider motivation, opportunities or stretch. Now give yourself a score from 0 to 10. This will show which areas are feeling in balance, and which are needing a bit more attention.
Coaching follows the ACA rule of awareness, choice and action. Being aware is the starting point to change, then being motivated to consider new choices available, before moving into action. How often do you feel out of balance but don’t have the emotional or mental capacity to do something about it? Timing is everything, so if not now – consider when? How small can that change be? James Clear author ‘Atomic Habits’ suggests implementing 1% change – so tiny not huge changes. Support can make the difference, finding an accountability buddy to check up on you or just someone you can tell and hear yourself say out loud what you plan on changing.
We are never going to find our lives in perfect balance, yet, what we can strive for is less seesawing of the highs and lows in the key segments of our life. With greater awareness we can find our own balance, based on what is most important to us and what we are willing and able to do.
We can all become our own life-coach and create more balance in our lives.
You can read more from Kate at www.kapowcoaching.com
‘From Deep Time to Our Time’ – A new film from Bikepacking Scotland set in the Cateran Ecomuseum encourages people to change the ways they travel
Filmed in all four seasons across the Cateran Ecomuseum, the new short film ‘From Deep Time to Our Time’ encourages people to rethink the ways they travel. It features the people who live in the ‘museum without walls’ and its nature, with drone footage of the spectacular Perthshire and Angus scenery. The film from Markus Stitz, best known for cycling around the world on a single speed bike, can be watched on Youtube, see below.
Collaborating with communities, the Cateran Ecomuseum provides inspirational experiences through nature, culture and heritage. The ecomuseum is situated on the Highland Boundary Fault, the most important geological division in Scotland, close to the cities of Perth and Dundee.
A tourism destination that champions car-free holidays by providing an extensive selection of cycling and walking itineraries, the Cateran Ecomuseum is one of the first, if not the first destination in Scotland to expressly commit to a regenerative tourism approach to destination development. The ecomuseum provides a framework for ambitious sustainable and regenerative practices to support local communities develop resilience for the future.
As with recent projects from the Edinburgh-based filmmaker, Stitz is determined to demonstrate that using low-carbon ways to travel, like cycling and using public transport, can be a viable solution to produce films. ‘I can carry all filming equipment on the bike, which gives me much more access to the countryside than a car. I used the Ember electric bus to travel from Edinburgh to Perth, jumped on my bike at Walnut Grove and cycled to all locations. There was only one exception. Just before storm Babet I travelled by bus to Dundee, and on to Alyth, but cycled from there all the way to the Spittal of Glenshee once the weather had settled.’
Stitz applauds the Cateran Ecomuseum for championing a different way of tourism: ‘People have been travelling for centuries. But travelling with tourism as a primary motive has only developed into one of the most important economic sectors worldwide over the past few decades. This hasn’t been without negative impacts. Tourism has major environmental impacts, such as biodiversity loss, landscape impact, and so on, and social impacts such as overtourism. Regenerative tourism and the idea of ‘building back better’ is a concept that has increasingly received attention as a new way to travel, and it is great to see the Cateran Ecomuseum championing this approach.’
Funding for the film has been provided by Inspiring Scotland and Paths for All, through Smarter Choices Smarter Places. The film includes footage from the inaugural Lezyne Cateran Dirt Dash, an overnight gravel bikepacking event that took place at the end of August. Taking riders on two days around the ecomuseum with a campsite and food provided at the Spittal of Glenshee, the grassroots event received great feedback from participants and the community, and will return to Alyth on 4 May 2024.
All walking and cycling itineraries developed by the Cateran Ecomuseum are available online at www.cateranecomuseum.co.uk/explore. More information about the Lezyne Cateran Dirt Dash can be found at www.dirtdash.cc/cateran.
Dana Drzikova MSc. Certified Menopause Support Coach and Henpicked Workplace Trainer.
Dana Drzikova was driven to set up Purple Light Midlife by her own largely negative experience of the menopause.
As a young child in Slovakia, she and her sister watched their mum suffer terrible perimenopausal symptoms undiagnosed by healthcare professionals.
When Dana herself began to experience heavy bleeding in her early forties, visits to her GP led to biopsies and other tests, with talk of her symptoms being perhaps those of cancer or fibroids. The fact that Dana might be entering early perimenopause was not addressed at first, despite her mum’s medical history.
But Dana’s symptoms – including brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, reduced confidence, low mood, anxiety, heavy and irregular bleeding, anaemia, hair and skin changes, difficulty sleeping and night sweats – worsened. Suffering each symptom at varying degrees and different times made some days very challenging.
While even healthcare professionals remain hazy about the symptoms of menopause and how they affect women, employers often have even less understanding or knowledge of the menopause and how it affects their workforce.
A stigma surrounding the menopause, and assumptions made about the impact of this life stage on women’s abilities in the workplace, can see women losing out on work and career advancement.
But women of menopausal age are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce today – and one woman in 10 resigns due to menopause symptoms. Companies are at huge risk of losing talent from the workplace – women who have amassed knowledge and experience. The cost to employers of hiring new workers to replace these women far surpasses the cost of supporting women employees through the menopause.
Having lived and worked in different countries for several different companies, Dana has seen how women are treated in the workplace – and not one of her own employers has had a menopause policy.
“Women need support,” says Dana. “The stress of menopause can have an impact on both work and your relationships. Anything out of the blue can annoy you! You can wake up in the morning feeling anxious for no reason. You can start crying for no reason – all because your hormone levels are going up and down.”
Having studied chemistry at university, and graduating in food technology and cosmetic science, Dana’s science-based background led her to research more about this midlife phase. With more information on the treatment and lifestyle options available, and with support from her GP, coach, husband and colleagues, Dana began to feel better.
And she knew she wanted to help make the menopause a positive experience for other women. For Dana, understanding menopause matters.
She launched Purple Light Midlife as a menopause coach and trainer in the workplace to spread awareness, generate understanding and provide support.
Dana is unique in the service she offers, as not only does she deliver Henpicked-accredited training in the workplace, she also offers coaching to individual women – offering one-to-one sessions – and practises the Access Bars® technique, a light-touch treatment that helps to ease menopause symptoms.
Dana brings a science-based perspective, learned expertise and a personal experience of perimenopause. She loves to educate, support and inspire individuals and leaders so they embrace this phase of life with confidence and vitality. As an ESL speaker who has moved across countries, she understands the challenges that come with cultural differences. She knows that everyone’s menopausal journey is unique. Dana’s goal is to help you not just manage symptoms but to thrive – and enjoy your midlife in a way her mum was unable to.
Why Purple Light Midlife? Because purple is Dana’s favourite colour, and is associated with knowledge, wisdom and spirituality; and light because though it might feel as though the menopause is the end of a phase of your life, it is actually the light at the start of the next one.
You can find out more at www.purplelightmidlife.com