Going back to school in later life was the best thing I ever did!
Have you ever felt so unfulfilled in your life?
So confused and bored – thinking there must be more?
This is exactly how I felt over ten years ago when I decided to bite the bullet and go back to school.
I had worked in my office job for over five years at the time, and I didn’t hate it by any measure of a doubt – (I’m still working there part time over ten years later), but something didn’t feel right. It didn’t click and make me feel like I had a purpose.
I looked around for new job but I had no idea where to start or what I even wanted to do.
I felt so confused and anxious.
I then decided that Instead of looking for a new job, I would look at courses and groups – and when the next college open evening came round, I signed up for an English A Level Course.
I decided on English, purely because I liked it in high school.
One thing I have learnt since going on my (back to school) journey – is to always look at what you are naturally good at or what energises you in life.
It doesn’t have to be a subject that you took back in school; it can be anything – i.e. cooking, exercise, singing, dancing, gardening, reading, writing etc.
What I found is that when you follow what you are naturally good at or what energises you – your destined path will start to unravel, and everything will start to become clear, and click into place.
For example; The English course taught me how much I loved writing and what I loved writing about!
I.e. Real life – being open and honest about subjects that touch so many of us (anxiety, depression, grief etc.).
That’s when it finally clicked – I want to be a Counsellor!
I had always been in touch with my emotions; I was so sensitive as a child (and still am).
I have always loved those deep conversations you have with your friends over a glass of wine or over dinner.
Signing up for an English Course made me feel like my future had goals and something to aim for.
I finally had a purpose!
Since that course, with the exception of taking a few years off to have a child, and moving to a different city, I have now completed my Level 3 Counselling Skills Certificate, Level 4 Therapeutic Counselling Diploma, and I have just signed up for my Level 5 Relationship Diploma at Relate in the New Year (I want to specialise in relationships).
Going into my office job now (for a few days a week to pay the bills) feels like a relaxing break from all the exciting but challenging roles I take on throughout the rest of my working week.
For example; I have a number of clients I see every week at the two charities I volunteer for, I have essays and articles that I love to write in my spare time, and not to mention holding down a family and some well needed me time!
Our true passion in life doesn’t have to be paid work.
I know my new passion will eventually turn into my new career (at some point in the near future), but for now, I just love all the new people I get to meet on a weekly basis.
Also all the new information and training I receive – (when you are truly interested and passionate about something – our mind is like a sponge), and most importantly what I have learnt about myself – and the new, happy person I have become.
There is nothing more fulfilling in life than going on a journey of self-discovery and taking off the mask to become your true self.
This starts with deciding on what YOU want to do with the rest of your life, and where YOUR true interests lie – Not following someone else dreams and aspirations that may have previously been mapped out or decided for you.
“Go towards what you are most scared of because this is where you will learn the most about yourself.”
We are never too old!
Going back to school is one of the best things you could possibly do with your life.
I cannot express enough to all the people out there thinking about it, but talk themselves out of it…
Face the Fear and do it anyway!
You won’t regret it!
In all the classes I have taken – the ages range from people in their 20’s to people in their 70’s.
In my opinion, going back to school in later life is so much better because you are now following your own mind and your own interests.
Also it’s not just about starting a new career or getting that degree to impress other people; it’s about doing something for you and becoming a whole new person in the process.
Going back to school changes you. It makes you feel happy, because it increases your self-worth, and your self-esteem.
Also you are surrounded by likeminded people. People who inspire you and make you feel anything is possible.
Don’t worry too much if you are still somewhat confused on where to start – even if you sign up for a course that doesn’t necessarily serve your needs, it will lead you onto the path that does.
It will enable you to gain an understanding of where your true strengths lie, and when fear is holding you back.
For example; I hated interviews and I hated speaking in front of a group of people – so I just told myself I wasn’t good at these things and never pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
The thing is you never get good at these things by just running away; they just need practice and patience.
In college I pushed myself to talk in front of the class because I wanted to overcome this fear.
At first my voice would shake and I felt so embarrassed, but every week I continued to push myself and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I found I could talk to the class and actually enjoy keeping a room full of people entertained.
The same goes with interviews, I wasn’t bad at them at all, I just needed to prepare myself with the questions and practice for ten minutes every day leading up to interview date.
We never lose – we either win or we learn!
Many of us out there are afraid of meeting new people and what other people may think of us, but I promise you everyone in the classroom feels the same, and after a few classes, all those worries will disappear.
In fact if I remember rightly, I’m pretty sure my sister had to walk me to the door of my very first college class because I was so afraid of walking into a classroom full of strangers.
But many of those strangers have now become my lifelong friends.
If we don’t face our fears, we just stand still in life, and this is when we start to feel bored and unsatisfied.
Now is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and become a whole new you – i.e. Join a choir, start a dance class, or simply go back to school and take an evening class.
There is nothing stopping you, apart from the voices in your head.
This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.
Coronavirus relationship advice as Relate Bradford moves counselling services to telephone and video call.
Counsellors at Relate, the leading relationships charity in England and Wales, have responded to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by putting together advice for maintaining healthy relationships during social distancing and self-isolation. The tips, which are available in full on Relate’s national website, cover topics such as how to stay connected, avoid falling out with your partner and family members, and how to talk to your children about the virus and reduce anxiety.
Relate Bradford has suspended its face-to-face services in response to the pandemic. However, to enable them to continue to support the community’s relationships, the charity has increased its capacity to deliver counselling via telephone and webcam.
Tabitha, Therapist at Relate Bradford said:
“The coronavirus pandemic is changing things for all of us on an individual and societal level. Some people are being thrown into being together 24-7 after previously having quite busy very separate lives this can bring new intensities and difficulties.
Others are separated from their loved ones and may not have physical connection with partners, family or anyone for months.
For some people lockdown is providing an opportunity to slow down, and for others, such as key workers and those working remotely, work stress has ramped up the pressures people are facing.
Anxiety affects everyone, and their relationships, in different ways. Relate Bradford’s Counsellors and Psycho-sexual Therapists are still here to help. People can self-refer, and receive tips on our website: https://relatebradford.org/“
– If you are self-isolating at home you may feel disconnected from others. Make use of social media, text, instant messaging, phone and video messaging as ways of keeping connected.
– Your routines and roles may change if one or both of you are working from home. This could be a challenge or an opportunity so try to make it work for you by checking in regularly about how this is going.
– You may need to get creative with the space if you are both working from home. Take turns to share the most comfortable spot.
– Stick to facts when talking to children and communicate with them calmly, consciously and responsibly, using simple language.
– Try to avoid using catastrophising language. Brushing things under the carpet can also increase anxiety so aim to strike a balance.
– If somebody says or does something to upset you, try counting to ten and taking some deep breaths. It may be that you no longer feel the need to ‘react.’
Visit http://relate.org.uk to find out more about their digital services and access a range of information and self-help.
Services available to you
Through the Bank Workers Charity, you may be eligible to free counselling at Relate Bradford, providing a range of relationship counselling services for individuals and couples, including family counselling, counselling for children and young people.
Face-to-face counselling is currently unavailable due to COVID-19.
Webcam counselling – work with a qualified counsellor via web camera.
Telephone counselling – work with a qualified counsellor over the phone.
Please contact the team on 01274 726096 or through the ‘contact’ section on our website, http://www.relatebradford.org or by emailing Information@RelateBradford.com
We can provide free relationship counselling and support for people, under our ‘grocery aid’ funding.
Healthy relationships with our partners and family are vital to our health and wellbeing. As we move through life, we experience changes and transitions that can put pressure on our relationships and it’s good to know that there is support available to help you, your partner or your family cope with both the emotional and practical impact on your lives together.
Services available to you
You can talk to a counsellor in a variety of ways and you may decide to use a mix of these services depending on your situation.
Face-to-face counselling is currently unavailable due to COVID-19.
– Work with a counsellor via web camera.
– Work with a counsellor over the phone.
Available to grocery colleagues, their spouses, partners and dependents.
Please contact us on 01274 726096 or via the contact section on our website, http://www.relatebradford.org
Low self-worth is at the root of all of our problems
For the past few years, I have been working as a counsellor for a number of different charities in West Yorkshire.
Since working as a therapist (and seeing many different clients of all different ages, gender, ethnicity, race etc.) I began to notice a familiar pattern arise with everyone I came into contact with (and in this I also include myself).
What I began to notice is that no matter what problems are presented to me (inside and outside the counselling room – the underlying issue will always come back down to one thing and one thing only…Becky
In short – Low self-worth is at the root of all of our problems.
(Even right down to the way we cope with grief).
And if you focus solely on building up your self-worth – your whole life will change!
I like to look at life like a boot camp – as the real test to our happiness and contentment (in life) is actually in how we respond to the daily challenges that are forced upon us, and in how we respond to other people.
For example; If you have low self-worth, you will respond and cope in a completely different way (to every situation), to someone who has high self-worth.
In short – everything comes down to how we feel about ourselves and how we feel we come across to other people.
In this article, I will firstly explain, why we all suffer with low self-worth (at some point in our lives), and secondly how we can build up our own self-worth and live more in the present, instead of continuously living in the past, or trying to control our future.
When we first came into this world, we loved ourselves for who we were. We didn’t care if we had chubby little arms and legs, and our parents or care givers took hundreds of photos of us.
As we grew up however, significant others, such as our parents, siblings, teachers, other schoolkids in the playground, work place boss/superiors – (the list goes on), would control us, criticise us, belittle us, judge us, and (at times) make us feel worthless.
We then adopted these false beliefs as our own and eventually learn to become self-critical in a bid to shield ourselves away from other people’s comments.
(Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, over eating etc., are also ways of beating ourselves up for not being perfect).
We become our harshest critic, and constantly tell ourselves to do better and strive for more, otherwise we are a failure.
“All humans have the same need – to feel like we are enough.”Carl Rogers
What’s important to understand however, is that these voices that we are still hearing, and the messages that we replay in our heads (over and over) don’t belong to us, they belong to the people who made the comments in the first place.
i.e. Insecure people, who most likely hated themselves!
“Every word that comes out of someone’s mouth belongs to them.”Anon
The reason I know this to be true is because…
When a person has high self-worth, and is truly happy within their own skin, they will barely judge others at all.
They go through life only looking for the good in other people, and the silver lining in every situation they are faced with.
People with high self-worth will also only surround themselves with a small amount of friends who are genuine and trustworthy, because they value themselves too much to get caught up in other people’s drama and negativity (and learn to walk away).
They will also make quick decisions because they trust themselves enough to cope if things don’t work out the way they had hoped.
People who suffer with low self-worth are the opposite.
They will struggle to make decisions, because they are constantly worried about the repercussions (i.e. if they are perceived to have made the wrong one).
They will also feel guilty, and rely on other people’s opinions to guide them through life.
They will also judge others and thrive on drama and negativity.
So if you are someone who is judgemental of others, or if you find yourself caught up in a lot of drama and chaos in your life,
If you are someone who struggles to make decisions or fears missing out – then please read on…
Having been on the self-discovery journey for a number of years now, I have captured what I believe to be the most important tips and techniques (that you will need) to completely transform your self-worth for good.
How to overcome low self-worth.
Going on a journey of self-discovery is one of the most exhilarating experiences you could possibly do with your life, and the only way, you will ever find true happiness.
“We need to know ourselves inside out in order to make changes.”Anon
1. Start by taking off the mask and owning up to your fears and insecurities.
Don’t be afraid of judgement – people who criticise or judge other people, are really just talking to themselves.
“Everything we see in another person is just a reflection of us.”Anon
(Please remember however – do not play the victim).
If you have made a mistake, hold your hands up – don’t look to blame other people.
“Genuine people are actually more likeable and therefore more attractive to others.”Anon
This is important, because if we spend our time blaming the people we perceive to have done us wrong – then we stay stuck in victim patterns, and constantly live in the past.
Talk about the people who have wronged you (preferably with a therapist) and get all the anger and resentment out of your body…
Writing things down can also help to release old, suppressed, feelings and emotions.
Once you feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders, learn to forgive others.
(If you are finding this hard, please bear this in mind – if these people were happy, they would not have wronged you in the first place. These people are already suffering on the inside – more than you could possibly know, so seeking revenge is not necessary.)
“If you can’t change something, change your mind-set.”Anon
2. Work on making the inner child feel safe.
One thing to be aware of when going on a journey of self-discovery is that old feelings and memories will resurface.
For example; childhood memories.
This is all completely normal.
Don’t be afraid – let the childhood memories come.
“If you can’t get close to other people, it’s because you don’t know how to be close to your inner child.”Louise Hay
One way to really face this fear is to find an old photo of yourself as a child and look to see what feelings come up for you.
Many people will push these feelings away as this may bring up a lot of guilt, shame, resentment, fear, panic.
Try not to be afraid of the sensations, accept them, and allow them to come.
Feel the fear, don’t fight it – and it will go away.
(i.e. take slow deep breaths and reassure your mind and body that you are safe).
Now imagine hugging yourself as a child and reassuring your younger self that you are safe and loved.
Now imagine (yourself as the adult) forgiving your younger self and apologising for being so hard on them all of your life.
Now do this again but imagine yourself as a teenager, and repeat the process.
This may sound silly or embarrassing but I promise you – it’s life changing!
“Connecting with your inner child is the only way to heal old wounds from the past.”Louise Hay
In some cases, if we suffered a particularly traumatic event, we can stay stuck in that period of our life, until we talk about it and allow our brain to process it properly.
If you feel that some of the memories are too traumatic to face on your own, book yourself in for some counselling sessions.
Don’t be afraid of the stigma attached to therapy – judgement is just fear.
And in my opinion – Everyone Needs Therapy!
Therapy is so effective because you are talking to someone who is non-judgemental and is really listening to what you have to say.
You won’t get that kind of attention from family and friends because everyone wants to pass on their opinions. You may even end up more confused.
A therapist knows that we are the best experts on ourselves, and once we start talking (out loud) in a space that feels safe and non-judgemental, all the answers that we will ever need will start to become clear.
If you have tried therapy before and didn’t feel that it was right for you – it may have just been the connection and rapport with the therapist.
Always try another therapist – because the relationship you have with the therapist is the most important aspect of therapy success.
Not one therapist fits all.
As Humans, we love what is familiar, and are programmed to love routine because it makes us feel safe.
We often fear change
Also everything we do is learnt behaviour, and is often learned within the home.
Therefore, if our parents panicked when faced with a challenging life event, then it is likely that we respond in the same way.
If our parents or caregivers worried about their weight or were negative and self-critical, then it is likely that we will follow suit, because we haven’t been taught any different.
We have the power to break the cycle.
This is important to remember because everything we do is just a habit – and habits can always be broken.
Breaking a habit however, takes time (i.e. small steps everyday), patience and consistency.
Here are some tips to really help to get you started with changing your mind-set…..
Don’t scare yourself.
If we are constantly reading online newspapers, watching the 10 o’clock news, or scrolling through social media sites (just before bed) – that are filled with negative and frightening stories, is it any wonder that we are constantly living in fear?
There is nothing worse than lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep, when all those awful thoughts come to the surface.
This causes the panic and anxiety to rise within our bodies, and then we are caught in a cycle of fear, adrenalin, fear.
What is so important to remember is that our mind responds to the words and pictures in our head, so if we spend all of our time filing it with fear and negative words and pictures, then this is how we will live our life.
Try and watch light hearted programmes before bed (or a light hearted book or magazine).
“Every time a thought pops into your head that doesn’t serve you, replace it with one that does.”Mel Robins
At night time, as you lay in bed, if you can feel all of that anxiety rising –take ten deep breaths (in through the nose and hold for 5 seconds and out through the mouth slowly) and repeat to yourself, “I am safe.”
When we are anxious – we forget how to breathe properly.
When your mind and body can see that there is no danger – it will eventually learn to calm its self-down, and you won’t need to do this exercise quite so much.
Meditation videos are also good to listen to before bed.
Please remember, doing something once will not retrain your brain…
If you are really serious about changing – consistency is the key.
Be kind and patient with yourself.
Stop criticizing yourself and start praising yourself!
I understand this is hard; you have spent a lifetime calling yourself all the negative names under the sun but the thing is…
Your mind doesn’t know who is giving you the compliment and it doesn’t care, so give yourself the compliment.
Start by standing in front of the mirror and look at yourself – repeat out loud or in your head…
‘I love and value myself.’
‘I am a wonderful and kind person.’
By doing this on a daily basis – (just for a few minutes), we retrain our brain to receive positive messages about ourselves, and then in turn, our brain will eventually start to believe them.
Instead of looking for all the things you dislike about yourself, learn to love your negatives.
When you feel that panic and anxiety rise within your body (i.e. when you look in the mirror) and you go to insult yourself – tell your brain something different this time.
i.e. I love my body shape and my curves (one of mine).
I know this is hard and we don’t feel like it sometimes – but what’s the alternative?
To spend the rest of your life hating yourself?
Habits take time to break – but once they are broken, we have a whole new perspective on life.
We must remember that only we can meet all of our needs…
Don’t rely on someone else to fulfil you and make you feel valued.
It’s not someone else’s job to validate us.
Let go of the negative people in your life.
If you find yourself surrounded by people who constantly make you feel on edge, or anxious when you are with them – and when you come home (from an evening out etc.), you are second guessing yourself and replaying conversations over and over in your head, please pay close attention to the company you are keeping…..
“We are a reflection of the 5 main people around us.”Mel Robins
If you surround yourself with people who attract a lot of drama and negativity, and they love nothing more than to gossip about other people, then this will have a massive impact on your mental health.
You will never be able to please these types of people – so stop trying.
These types of people dislike themselves so much – that all they know how to do is to attack others.
Until they are ready to face up to this and make changes of their own – distance is the key, to maintaining your own sanity.
It you struggle with the guilt of walking away or letting people down
Practice saying no – you may feel anxious at first but the more you do this, the easier it gets.
When people can see that manipulating you doesn’t work, they will stop doing it.
People will only control you as long as you allow them to.
Every morning I wake up – I look around and state at least 5 things that I am grateful for.
This can be anything from my morning coffee (I love coffee) – to my wonderful family and home that I live in.
As well as getting into a habit of being kinder to ourselves – try and get into a habit of seeing all the positives you have in your life right now.
Focus on the things you do have – not the things you don’t have.
Again it’s retraining your brain to see the positives in your life, instead of always looking for the negatives or things that might go wrong.
For example; when things don’t work out the way you had hoped (i.e. you don’t get the job, you get caught in traffic, get a speeding ticket for example) – try not to fly of the handle (so to speak) and then go into victim mode (i.e. I can’t believe this has happened to me)…
Instead try to look at what you have learnt from the situation –
These daily challenges are forced upon all of us and are trying to teach you something…
They help us grow as people.
“We never lose, we either win or we learn.”Nelson Mandela
This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 and limited resources, the office landlines have been transferred to a work mobile.
Whilst we are continuing to deliver a counselling service between the office hours of 9.00am to 9.00pm, the mobile phone is staffed within the following days and times:
- Monday: 10.00am – 3.00pm
- Tuesday: 4.00pm – 9.00pm
- Wednesday: 10.00am – 3.00pm
- Thursday: 9.00am – 1.00pm
- Friday: 9.00am – 12.00 noon
Emails are monitored and checked during our normal working hours.
We apologise for any inconvenience you may experience. If you cannot get through (if the line is busy) please try again, leave a message or, if you are able to, please email the team on Information@relatebradford.com or use our ‘contact’ us section on our website.
It can be hard to know when to start something as committed as therapy. Like all those decisions, everyday life often gets in the way of the longer term changes – from finally fixing that wobbly table leg or that wobbly relationship.
With Coronavirus causing us to spend more time at home, our busy schedules – and the things we do to distract ourselves – might be lost, temporarily. We are perhaps plunged into spending more time with our loved ones: and what about when it is our loved ones already driving us up the wall? Whilst we worry about the health of the nation, our immediate concerns might be how do we cope with the people we’re now spending so much time with?
The lockdown just announced, will be bringing new challenges and pressures on our relationships. The intense proximity to our partner might bring new frustrations, arguments and lack of passion. But this is also an opportunity for exploration. Slowing down, without the gyms and the pubs and the long commutes, might be just the time to look at ourselves, our family, our relationships and our sex lives. This could be just the time to seize the day and enrich the quality of our lives. With the space to contemplate what matters.
RELATE BRADFORD has responded to the public health conditions and has trained up all our clinicians to offer you webcam and telephone counselling from the security of your home. We can offer expert intervention, of the same quality of service, to make this a time of transformation and personal growth.
We offer telephone or webcam on all the following:
- Relationship Counselling
- Individual Counselling
- Couple’s Therapy for Depression Counselling
- Sex Therapy
- Children and Young People’s Counselling
- Family Counselling
- Telephone Counselling
- Training and Education
“We are STILL here for you.
Relate National has increased their availability of highly trained counsellors to support everyone’s relationships during this unprecedented time. More details about our Live Chat, telephone and webcam counselling services can be found here. Following the government’s latest advice on COVID-19, most face-to-face services are temporarily closed.
We have also put together some advice and tips for keeping relationships healthy during self-isolation and social distancing.
Together we will get through this. Stay at home, stay safe. “
Please contact us for an appointment or to find out more on 01274 726096 or email us at Information@relatebradford.com
Clients often come to us and say “I WANT to want my partner…” feeling frustrated they don’t know how. And there’s nothing that pleases us more as psychosexual therapists to see people leave with richer, warmer relationships and desire itself rekindled. Nobody needs to resign themselves to a partner that’s more like a Friend… with No Benefits. Whilst we can’t replace the solid work we can do in psychosexual therapy at Relate Bradford here’s some starting points for those of you wondering about this very thing.
Long term relationships
The Honeymoon Period is ACTUAL SCIENCE. There’s a load of chemicals that collude and collaborate in the early days of a romance, all the stuff that makes you unable to focus on anything else, and daydream about the next time you’re together. This period usually lasts between 6 months and 2 years, but some couples ebb and flow in and out of the honeymoon for decades by maintaining curiosity and awe for their partner. Embrace change and adventure, keep having new shared experiences, and remember to flirt. You don’t finish romancing your partner after the first couple years, instead keep on doing it.
You’ve got 2 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 jobs and a mortgage between you, and you wonder why it doesn’t feel buzzing with passion? The joys of the long term bonds you have together may mean that some of the spontaneity has gone. But everyone else is spontaneous right? No, it’s a myth that sex is spontaneous, there’s usually some planning in it somewhere! Scheduling a time you can actually have it doesn’t mean you can’t also keep up seduction. Adjust your expectations and flex to changes like the natural process of ageing.
Couples can often fall into patterns of unhelpful behaviour, and one of the most common ones we see with desire issues is one partner always saying no, and the other partner always chasing. This can become a vicious cycle of pressure, rejection and everyone feeling bad. Both roles are uncomfortable. Nobody can want something by being told they should want it. In fact, for the pursuer of sex to step back and give the other one space is an essential part of the distancer being able to feel want. It’s good to get a little hungry before a meal, right?
For manycouples, not-so-good communication can be a key cause of low desire, bad sex and general relationship issues. Try using “I feel” statements in discussions – “I feel hurt when you don’t kiss me back” is less blaming and shaming than “you never kiss me back” explains what is going on for you. Swap negative feedback for positive: “mmm yeah, I like it gentle like that” reinforces and compliments rather than gives rise to a row!
Closeness can be a passion killer too! Sometimes a couple know each other too well, are too much best buddies, too fond of all the same things. Security and cosiness feels wonderful and safe but to feel desire you need to feel a bit hungry…and wanting requires a leaning toward someone rather than having it on a plate served up already. This doesn’t mean playing ‘hard to get’ but rather understanding you and your partner/s as separate people with different lives.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Whilst partner’s feel rejected by your lack of desire, it is often the ‘low desire partner who is struggling with rejection of their own sense of worthiness or attractiveness. Not wanting anyone else can often be a defense against feeling so unwanted themselves. And unfortunately feeling unwanted or unloveable can’t be substantially resolved by someone else – rather it is inner work to transform the person’s own idea and vision of themselves.
If you want to go a bit deeper we love…
This TedX Talk by Esther Perel…
Blog written by Relate Bradford Therapist, Tabitha