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From Frazzled to Free

frazzled 2 free

There’s no doubt the summer break is perceived as a time to re-boot and recharge but what to do if you’re exhausted and are facing into the last quarter of the year completely frazzled and drained? Having the mental ability to manage the existing pace, overcome challenges, create a vision and achieve results requires mental energy- is there something we could be doing more of to cultivate this?

Here are my tips to eliminate  the ‘frazzle’ and free yourself to reap the fruits of the months ahead:

  • Go Back to Basics

Self- care is not selfish, it’s necessary to sustain us both mentally and physically. Be mindful of the change in season ahead characterized by a change in routines and pace. Sleep has transformative power. It renews us.  Healthy eating and regular exercise are also essential. Our needs are individual and no ‘one- size fits all’ but do take a personal pit-stop and evaluate if you are getting what you need.

  • Beware the Smart phone

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.  What’s your relationship like with your smart phone? Do you take it on holiday? Consider turning off after work or charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night. Perhaps, if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in your pocket/ a bag. Earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to remove email from my phone, preferring instead to access email at a time convenient for me. It has proved transformative.

  • Get busy doing nothing

The business ‘epidemic’ is rampant. Yet, given that we are human beings and not human doings- the danger is that by having no time to ‘switch off’ we are actually depriving ourselves of the art of thinking. In fact, the over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect.  We fantasize about having ‘down time’ but how are we using the ad hoc pockets that come our way during the day? Smartphones? Facebook? We all whinge about how busy we are but give us the chance to do nothing and we baulk!! Interesting isn’t it? Lawton Urnsey said “Idleness isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity to keep you at your peak… “ The challenge? Let’s Unplug and Be Idle- it really will make us all more effective!

  • Get Creative

Prior to the internet, an unanswered question would be met with pause for thought: can I work it out? Where can I go to find the answers?  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 20- 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun? I’ve taken inspiration from Julia Camerons “The Artists Way” by journaling first thing in the morning. While I did find it challenging to rise a little earlier initially, I am reaping the benefits of having a clear head as I start my day feeling light and free.

  • A Perfect Pause

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life.  In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Critical to this is pausing to notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you. I try to incorporate breathing exercises into my working day. Anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes can have an impact.  Sometimes, it can be hard to sit still so I will savour a walk. In fact, research suggests that when we walk we are engaging in a bilateral movement (eg moving our right leg, we stimulate the left side of our brain) which enables us to use all aspects of our thinking abilities. Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being.

  • Forge Meaning in your Goals

September is an opportune time to embrace change. Know that you’re statistically more likely to achieve results if the change has meaning for you. You need to understand your ‘WHY’ . Equally, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your plans for the year and ask yourself if the path you’re taking is still relevant for you. Connect with your vision.

To finish…

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ and our forensically focused days are preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself both mentally and physically for the months ahead. Remember, a busy mind is an unhappy mind. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, go to


Revive to Survive

“What do you mean the summer is over??!”

If you’re like me, you galloped towards the mid- year point with an equal measure of frenzy and excitement as the children finished school. The summer was a cocktail of work commitments, play dates and a fantastic but ‘intense’ overseas holiday. We’re now at the end of August, on the verge of the autumnal transition, immersed in the hive of activity that is back to school, more work deadlines and let’s throw in a bit of home decoration for good measure!

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits, that will boost our resilience for the invariable hustle and bustle that this time of year brings. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ is preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. By missing out on pausing, we are missing out on the opportunity of getting ‘unstuck’! By ‘stuck’, I mean immersed in that task list; the one that features, the things we ‘have’ to do, the things we ‘need’ to do and of course, the things we ‘should’ do.  Do you ever find yourself saying “There’s just not enough hours in the day” or “I need space to think!” or even” I need a break!!!”

Here are my tips for new habits to embrace to help you revive and survive (and they don’t involve a sun lounger!)

  1. Change your Routine– be proactive and look at clawing back nuggets of space in your day. Would you consider getting up an hour earlier? Wouldn’t an early morning walk or a cup of tea in peace where you have time to think be blissful before the carnage of the day?! See my previous blog for more on this:
  2. Switch off and reconnect– enforce a digital detox for a morning/ afternoon or a day if you can manage it! A conscious decision to put away your phone and tablets because you want to be more present and engaged with yourself/ your family / friends can be both empowering and transformative. Our connection with ourself and our closest relationships are key in surviving life’s challenges.
  3. Do less to achieve more– multitask less – experience has taught me that this is an incredibly ineffective way to function. When we multi task, we ‘skim’- we cover quantity and not quality, and our mind is always on the next task. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself.
  4. Get creative– the change of season often inspires and the benefits of engaging our creativity are well documented and include relaxation and escapism! Don’t worry- you don’t need to be arty, it could be crafting, photography or anything else! Last week, I took the children to the local beach where we picked stones and painted them! (see pic. at top of blog)
  5. Declutter – for some, decluttering a space can be enormously cathartic/ therapeutic. Pick a cupboard, start small. You’ll soon see the benefits of these teaspoon size changes.
  6. Practise gratitude – helps to refocus especially if you’re feeling a little frazzled or stressed. Distill your thoughts and focus on 3 things that you are grateful for (perhaps buy a gratitude diary to write in a few times a week) This helps to cultivate a positive outlook and reminds us that all is well in our very busy world!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and is founder of Change Grow Succeed. For further information, please contact her on