Let's beat stress together

Prescription hypnosis

let's beat stress together

prescription hypnosis

7 days to beat stress IN LOCKDOWN


As a nation we are all feeling the effects of lockdown with more of us feeling stressed and anxious than ever before. It’s so important, not only for our long term health, but also for our immediate health as we look to readjust to normality in the coming weeks and months.

So, I’m on a mission to help the nation destress and relax!

Join me over the next 7 days where I’ll be helping you understand what and how stress effects us, looking at practical tips to help you relax and get on top of your anxiety as well as chatting through how to recognise stress in children and the best habits to help you in working from home. There’s some additional resources you can watch and download too.

But for now, it all starts with Day 1

7 days to beat stress IN isolation

As a nation we are all feeling the effects of lockdown with more of us feeling stressed and anxious than ever before. It’s so important, not only for our long term health, but also for our immediate health as we look to readjust to normality in the coming weeks and months.

So, I’m on a mission to help the nation destress and relax!

Join me over the next 7 days where I’ll be helping you understand what and how stress effects us, looking at practical tips to help you relax and get on top of your anxiety as well as chatting through how to recognise stress in children and the best habits to help you in working from home. There’s some additional resources you can watch and download too.

But for now, it all starts with Day 1

Hypnotherapy SERVICES

Trained as a Doctor Aaron offers a unique approach to therapy, combining practical and hypnotherapeutic techniques for a range of ailments.


Prepare your staff. Help them readjust to the office post lock-down, look after their mental health and learn about infection  and prevention control with Aaron.


Work is the most common cause of stress in the UK & for 1 in 4 it’s THE biggest cause. Aaron offers workplace training for individuals & companies.


Stress is inevitable in everyday life, but right now it’s affecting more of us than ever. With two-thirds of us more affected by boredom, stress and anxiety than we are worried about our general health we’re all in need of a little mental TLC.

Day one on our journey to beat stress in 7 days starts with helping you to understand stress. If you can learn some healthy stress management tips now, and master them, heading back to reality will be a breeze.

There are many reasons why you may be stressed at the moment such as our lack of contact with the outside world, too much contact with people in our household, attempting to homeschool the kids, fear of the unknown, job insecurity, illness or financial worries.

One of the biggest things in life that causes stress is change which helps to explain why so many of us are stressed at the same time. We had a massive moment of societal change that directly affected our lives, so on top of the other things that are causing us stress right now the expectation of future change is also adding to that. It’s so important that you learn to manage your stress now to help limits its affects in the future when the next big change happens.


How does stress affect the body?

Stress is a natural response our body has to ready us for action be it to play the perfect game of football or sit an exam and even to protect ourselves in extreme situations. There are two main hormones that are responsible, cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper, all to get us to the top of our game.

This is all well and good for a short period of activity but when we are stressed over long periods of time, chronic stress, these hormones are continually released though in smaller amounts and their presence starts to physically affect our body and the worrying thing is that many of the effects we are unaware of. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body.

With an increased heart rate and raised blood pressure our cardiovascular risk increases, which means we are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, it suppresses our immune system making us more venerable to infections, and even affects our brains, shrinking it in fact, inhibiting our ability to remember, learn and leading to low mood and depression.

Stress also causes and triggers anxiety, with the two so closely linked it’s important to get on top of both.

What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress causes many effects, some of which we are aware of and some that we are not. Below is a list of some of the symptoms of stress. If you are worried or concerned about any of your symptoms you should make an appointment with your GP.

Physical symptoms:

Headaches, muscle tension, diarrhoea or constipation, chest pain, rapid heart rate, nausea, loss of sex drive, frequent infections.

Behavioural symptoms:

Change in eating habits, change in sleeping pattern (too much or too little), withdrawal and isolation for others, neglecting responsibilities, increased use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, nervous habits such as nail biting. In younger children behavioural changes may include acting out and return to bed wetting or toilet accidents.

Cognitive symptoms:

Memory problems, trouble concentrating, inability to make common sense decisions, excessive worry, negative or intrusive thoughts.

Emotional symptoms:

Depression, low mood, anxiety, irritability, agitation, moodiness, feeling overwhelmed, feeling lonely and it can also amplify other mental or emotional health problems.

These are generalised symptoms and can be the result of other pathologies. If in doubt always seek medical help.

How can you destress?

1. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, hormones to help lift your mood and reverse the effects of stress. Try a home work out, stream a fitness class or just dance around to your favourite songs. Or better yet get outside for a walk or a run and get some fresh air in the process. Try and do 30 minutes of pulse raising exercise per day.

2. Make time to relax: It’s important to make sure you unwind so relax so try doing something you enjoy, evening the most activity activities like running can help us relax if we enjoy it. Not for you? Try reading a good book, baking, play with your pets or if all else fails watch something funny and uplifting on the TV. Or try a relaxation session to zone out for 20 minutes and recharge – download one here. Day 2 is all about how to relax so make sure you check that video out too.

3. Change the way you think about lockdown and isolation. As humans we have a tendency to focus on the negative and being ‘trapped’ inside isn’t helping. We need to change how we look at lockdown from being a negative to a positive. We can use this time to spend with family, pick up new hobbies or titivate your home. I’ll be releasing a video on how to reframe lockdown this week.

4. Make a list. This is something you can do right now. Being aware of what stresses you out is so important and it can help you be clear in your mind as to why you’re feeling stressed. It also helps you to form an action plan. Look down the list of the things that cause you stress and start to work out how you can improve that situation.

More information

If you are worried about finances please check out https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/

Want more on stress, check out the NHS website for mental health helplines: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

day TWO - RELAXATION in isolation

Some bad news you are 40% more likely to die if you have experienced a high level of stress over the last 12 months (spoiler that’s all of us)

Important good news if you learn to relax and master your stress you completely reverse that risk.

Even better news, we can all learn how to manage our stress with some simple relaxation techniques to limit its effects on us.

Many people function in high stress environments and live long and healthy lives, so what separates them? They’ve learnt to manage their stress. It’s so important to balance our stresses in life with our recovery from them, otherwise it has a negative effect on our health both mentally and physically. In my former profession as a doctor we were exposed to massive amounts of stress from patient care, deaths and even to exams and one of the things you learn very quickly is how to handle that stress and more importantly how to make the stress work for you.

To clarify the statistic above you are 40% more likely to die if you have experienced a high level of stress in the last 12 months compared with someone who has experienced low levels of stress, but that is only the case if you perceive that stress will have a negative effect on your body. If you believe that stress will have a positive effect then you are no more likely to die than someone who has experienced low levels of stress. Changing how you think about stress is absolutely life saving.


What causes stress?

Everything in life causes stress but not all stress is bad. Some stress is good stress such as exercise, this stresses the body but in a positive way and even helps with recovery from stress further down the line, even eating and having a hot shower causes stress in the body. But regardless of whether it’s good stress or bad stress it drains our ‘battery’ and we need to recharge that battery by relaxing, doing things we enjoy and sleeping. Sleep by far is our biggest recoverer from stress and so a great night sleep genuinely works wonders.

For more example of what causes stress see Day One.

Why is it so important to recharge?

If you imagine our bodies like a battery and 100% would be full energy, full mental capacity, best immune system, basically the best you firing on all cylinders… Each day as we experience various stresses our battery begins to drain and so at the end of each day we need to recharge that battery back to 100%, otherwise we’re starting the next day at 90% or worse. Over time if we continue not to recovery from stress, such as when we are experiencing chronic stress, we begin to function at lower percentages and start to notice the effects of stress in our lives.

Occasionally we can feel like we’re on top of our stress, but we could be oscillating at 30% of our potential best self which isn’t good for anyone. So each day it’s important to recharge.

Recharging isn’t just limited to an evening when we are sat down relaxing or even when we are sleeping, you actually recover from stress when you do things you enjoy be it reading, listening to music or being creative. In fact if you enjoy your job you can actually be in recovery from stress for a good chunk of the day.

That’s why it’s important to make time during your day to relax, recharge and do things you enjoy.

recharge your batteries stress picture for relaxation

Become a routine guru

As creatures of habit having a routine is incredibly important to our mental health. It will help decrease tiredness, improve your mindset and it is proven to keep our mood up.

Morning rituals are so important because they get you ready for the day, they signal to brain that the day is beginning.

So get up, have a shower, clean your teeth, get dressed and have breakfast and make sure you put on clothes and not just change your pyjamas to ‘daytime pj’s’. If you’re working from home maybe put on something semi-formal to help you transition into that work mode.

Avoid staying in bed in the morning, try and wake up at a normal and regular time. If you feel that you need to recharge a little with sleep then by all means knock off your commute time that it would normally take you to get to work for your alarm, but keep getting up at a regular time.

Set yourself goals in the morning for each day. This helps to give your day purpose and when you complete those goals you’ll get a dopamine kick that will help lift your mood and spur you on. Having a routine and goals throughout the day will help past time and break the monotony of lockdown.

Try and change up your routine from week to weekend, this is incredibly important if you aren’t at work or working from home.

You should try and keep to your normal routine as much as possible and if you can’t create a new routine for lockdown. This helps create a sense of normality.

Factor into your routine some of these relaxation techniques we’ve been working on to help you destress. You can start a new quarantine ritual like going for a walk at 4 pm every day, doing a mindfulness session or relaxation session after lunch or FaceTimeing mum and dad or siblings every evening. It helps to have something to look forward to during the day. 

Massage the grey matter

It’s so easy to sit in front of the TV and vegetate on the latest Netflix series, binge watching 3 entire series without realising it, particularly if you are stressed and you’re feeling a lack of energy. But it’s now more importantly than ever, especially if you aren’t currently working, to keep our brains active

It’s important to keep our brains stimulated otherwise your mood decreases, putting you at risk of depression. We feel restless and frustrated and it affects our sleep, you won’t sleep as well if you aren’t mentally active during the day and it may increase that tired feeling that’s been putting you off being active in the first place.

We’ve already mentioned when talking about routine about a to-do-list for the day, but it’s time to inject a little creativity into our days. Try learning something new, challenge yourself, take up a long desired hobby, re-decorate your home or anything that spurs on your imagination and you’ll feel much better. On that note make sure you set yourself achievable goals so if for instance if you are looking to learn the guitar set a goal of learning a new set of chords, not the whole ACDC album ‘Back in Black’ in one week. You could challenge yourself to read one book per week or even master that new PlayStation game, whatever it is challenge yourself to feel better.

Make time to switch off

As well as stimulating your brain you need to balance that activity and generally the stress you are experiencing during the day with some relaxation. This is particularly important at the end of the day to help ease you into a good quality sleep.

Now is a good time to catch up on sleep, re-energise and also help you ballistically recover from stress, really get hold of that stress life balance.

To help you into that recovery phase there are plenty of things you can try for instance yoga, meditation or a relaxation session. In fact you can download one right here.

To be absolutely honest doing anything that helps you switch off or that you enjoy will help you into that recovery phase so try picking up a good book, putting on your favourite tunes or zoning out to that latest Netflix series (but make sure it’s something uplifting or funny to help you into that positive mood)

Now is a good time to practice mindfulness, it’s not the mumbo-jumbo you might think it is. It’s all about slowing down and thinking about the world in the present, focusing on the things that you can control and avoiding catastrophic negative thinking.

Exercise, the key to relaxation

Another great way to relax is to exercise, to get the blood pumping. It will lift your mood, help you stress and burn off some steam.

If you are exercising I would recommend doing high-intensity exercise in the morning as initially following exercise your body enters a period of stress, so if you do it late in the evening you’re soaking up recovery time, but by doing it in the morning by the time mid afternoon comes your body will be benefiting from the positive impact exercise has had and help you into recovery.

Don’t worry it needn’t be running a marathon or doing a one hour HITT session, going for a long walk or dancing around your house will do the trick as long as you’re raising your pulse. Ideally you should look to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.


A survey last week revealed that, for at least half of us, lockdown has had a massive impact on our mental wellbeing and that number is climbing.

As we look towards returning to work and some resemblance of normality it’s imperative we get on top of our anxiety so that it doesn’t spiral out of control in the coming months.

There are many things right now that may be causing us to feel anxious, generalised stress as mentioned in the video, lack of social connection, fear of the virus, fear of the unknown, cabin fever, working from home, working in general and even homeschooling.

As we look to the future it’s easy to let our anxiety spiral with the thought of returning to work in groups, virus secondary spikes and even heading out to social locations for fear of infection. So dealing with your anxiety head on it important. Don’t forget if you need support with anxiety you should reach out to your GP, the early you reach out the better. And even for people not currently suffering with anxiety should approach it with a preventive is better than curative mindset.

If you follow the simple tips in the video and more in-depth tips below they will help you to take back control of your anxiety.


Anxiety - self preservation gone wrong

The human body is a marvellous thing but occasionally it gets things a little wrong or misinterprets something and this can be the case with anxiety. There are of course various anxiety disorders that within their own right cause generalised anxiety or an increased sensitive to anxiety triggers resulting in an anxiety attack, but for the general populous, and with regards to the general health of the public in lockdown, anxiety is becoming a learnt response.

If you think about this within a common anxiety problem such as fear of flying, we can explain how nervousness and fear can transform into full blown anxiety. Say for instance you are on a plane, it’s a pleasant flight and you fall to sleep. A sudden jolt of turbulence wakes you but it’s all over before you are conscious. Your body has already entered survival mode and flooded your body with adrenaline and stress hormones, your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes short and rapid and your brain is firing on overload.

Suddenly you notice your heart beating particularly fast, its weird because you can feel your heart pounding and that’s not normal, you notice your short of breath and start to feel like you’re struggling to catch your breath and you begin to fire thoughts around in your head at a very fast rate and come to the conclusion that you could be dying… panic sets in and you worry about it more, increasing your heart rate further and becoming increasingly short of breath. There’s no obvious threat or trigger around you so you begin to feel that impending sense of doom and a panic attack erupts, all logical thought leaves your brain and as you hyperventilate oxygen to your brain decreases and you progressively feel like you’re going to pass out – then either the attack resolves or you pass out. Afterwards you feel exhausted because your body has used up its energy stores, one of the effects of adrenaline. For many people this is how they experience a panic attack.

Now, because there was no perceived threat to attribute these feelings to, no one was threatening you or anything like that, the panic was internalised and associated with being in the air. If I were to ask you to sprint 100 meters and you felt short of breath and your heart was pounding you’d reason out that was because you ran 100 meters, but because you haven’t done anything like that on the plane it becomes difficult to understand why your body is reacting like that.

This results in the body associating the adrenaline fight or flight response to being on a plane. Subconsciously we are designed to protect ourselves from danger. So the next time you start to board the plane your body trigger the adrenaline response to get you ready for action, and the following time it starts in the waiting lounge, then security, then home, then a week before your trip and that sphere of anxiety increases as does its impact. And each time we let the anxiety get the better of us and stop us taking the action we want to, like getting on the plane, it reinforces to our subconscious that it has done right to prevent us from taking that action.

That’s why it’s so important to face anxiety head on and to use various techniques to help calm you in the month as soon as you feel it starting. Try and remain logical from the off and try breathing exercises.

This applies to lockdown because when we first go back to reality, when we first head outdoors for a social gathering or back to the office we are going to be hit with a natural feeling of anxiety from the worry we hold inside about it, this may trigger anxiety in that moment but its important to overcome it and minimise it so it does trigger a cascade of events like I listed about.

Chronic stress and anxiety

As mentioned in day one, understanding stress, the release of stress hormones triggers the release of adrenaline, one of the hormones responsible for anxiety.

When we are stressed over long periods of time this causes a low level of adrenaline to be continuously released as such we have a elevated heart rate, it takes less to get a spike in adrenaline as we are on edge our bodies constantly ‘ready for action’ and can make our brains fire on overtime amplifying our worries.

This brings with it symptoms of restlessness, tension, can cause problems with focus, make us feel tired and give us a constant feeling of impending doom. These feeling perpetuate our stress elevating our anxiety. The incurred heart rate also leads to increased risks to our health and our brains working overtime begin to ruminate over negative thoughts and worries.

That’s why it’s important to decrease our stress to help decrease the symptoms of and our overall anxiety.

Mindfulness & relaxation

Not the mumbo jumbo you may think it is, it’s all about slowing down and thinking about the world in the present, focusing on the things that you can control and avoiding catastrophic negative thinking – there’s no tree hugging involved, unless that works for you.

Mediation, self hypnosis and relaxation sessions are all forms of mindfulness, they can help bring your mind back to the present, to things you can control, when you feel yourself getting antsy.

If you’re new to mindfulness breathing exercises are a great place to start and to just take your mind off whatever is causing you the anxiety. Try sitting down, closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. Then slowly and deeply take 10 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay particular attention to the air as it moves in and focus on pushing the air back out as you breathe out. Doing this a couple of times a day can help you reset.

Change how you think about lockdown

Reframing how you think about lockdown will have a tremendous impact on how you’re feeling. A video on how to do this will be released as an additional resource later in the week. As a start try and look at all the good things you’ve manage to achieve in lockdown, maybe you’ve finally made your way through a long forgotten to-do-list, learnt something new or event reorganised the home, whatever it is focus on your positive achievements from this time at home.

Be aware of self care

Self care is something that we aren’t particularly good at talking about and it may mean different things to different people based on your background, community or beliefs. But the essentials are universal.

You should look after your mental health, eat well,  get plenty of sleep and exercise. This is year round not just during lockdown. Keeping to a routine is a good anxiety balance, it helps give a sense of normality but it is also something that you are in control of. Exercise obviously helps look after you physically but it doesn’t have to be running yoga has proven benefit for mind, body and soul and doesn’t require too much space to practice in.

Get dressed up, it’s tempting to put on our comfies and fester on the couch but getting dressed up for the day can help lift our mood and vernally make us feel better about ourselves. Try it.

It’s important to make time to connect with other people but it’s also incredibly important to make sure you’re taking time our for yourself. If you are living with other people make sure you get some much needed alone time as well.

The news

With doom and gloom across the news it’s easy to become over saturated with all things virus. So to help stop anxiety kicking in try to minimise your news intake to one session a day for a short period of time looking at no more than one or two reputable sources. Ideally around 5pm, not the 10pm news where it will linger in your mind as you are trying to go to sleep.

That way you are suitably informed with what you need to know and not overwhelmed. Switch off news notifications on your phone, as well as avoiding scrolling too much through social newsfeed as it can lead to misinformation and panic. By all means use social media to keep in contact with friends and family, it’s important to keep in touch and not feel lonely but try and limited your exposure to the constant Facebook newsfeed.

Further help

Reach out to professionals if you need to, GP’s and A&E’s are still open. If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to call your GP or another health professional. The same services that are available in person should be able to assist you via telephone or by video call.

Also check out the NHS mental health helplines – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/


And no, I’m not talking about the kids stressing you out… Kids are amazing at appearing ‘ok’ but with everything that’s going on they’re going to be feeling the stress too.

There are some simple telltale signs and behavioural changes you can look out for in your children and teenagers to let you know if they are stressed.

Parenting is tough at the best of times, let alone now when they are the only other humans we see constantly, we are busy trying to work from home and become makeshift teachers all at the same time. It’s stressful for us but it’s stressful for the kids too. More over children are sponges and if we are stressed they become more stressed too so it’s important we set a good example, have good stress management practices and help them learn good stress rituals that will benefit them.

Emotional hygiene is something that as a general public we’re not particularly good at talking about or teaching. We should talk with our children about how we are feeling and we should encourage them to talk back to us too, now more than ever. Helping your children express their feelings will help them deal with pent up frustration and make them overall less stressed. So make time just to chat with the little ones and the bigs ones too.

Keeping the kids engaged, in a routine and giving them goals and a sense of a achievement has become important to help our kids through the day and prevent them just festering, now is the time to spark up some creativity with them and not just locking ourselves away in our ‘home offices’.


Signs of stress in children and teens

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. This is particular true for young children who learn how to cope with stress later in life in the early stages of their development. When parents and important adults in their lives deal with stress calmly and confidently, children learn from that and it provides a good foundation of support for your children. You can be more reassuring to others around you, especially children, if you are better prepared.

If you can recognise early signs of stress you can help your children process it and manage it. Signs that your children might be stressed:

Younger children – 

Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
Returning to behaviours they have outgrown bedwetting and toileting accidents
Excessive worry or sadness

All children –

Starting unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
Increased irritability or “acting out” in teenagers
Difficulty with attention, focus and concentration
Poor school performance or avoiding school
Avoidance of activities they usually love
Sudden unexplained headaches or body pain

Homeschooling Tips

The first thing to remember is you are not a teacher (unless of course you are in which case happy days) but the vast majority of us aren’t. It’s important to do the best you can for your children encouraging them to learn and trying to help them find a passion for education. And that’s tough for many of us that don’t have that passion.

The first thing to remember with homeschooling is not to get stressed. As the weeks go on many of us will have a shorter temper for children under performing or avoid school work – but remember this is a sign that they are stressed. You need to create a stress free and encouraging working environment. Creating a learning space is also good as it means they associate sitting down in a particular space as a place to do work, much like they associate with going into the classroom. Try and limit distractions around the learning area, keep it all about learning. Don’t make the learning space somewhere they normally play and don’t make it their bedroom – this can lead to poor sleep hygiene.

Set a schedule for when you will be doing school and keep to that schedule on a daily basis. For instance we do school 9am – 12pm Monday to Friday, with 2 short breaks. Kids thrive on routine and it means each morning they will be mentally prepared for school.

Putting them in a school uniform or having them call you Mr Calvert (please use your own name if you insist) is probably a little excessive, you’re there to help them learn not to ‘teach’ them.

Many schools are now issuing work sheets and tasks for the weeks which is great, it gives you a good idea of what they should be learning and how to help them do that. If they finish that encourage them to complete other additional resources if they’re enjoying it.

I know it can be tough, it’s very easy to get stressed with learning time, particularly if you don’t know what it is your teaching them… hello trigonometry and phonics (if anyone would like to remind me of ever doing phonics when I was in school I would love to remember). Try and find resources that can help your child if you don’t know the answer.

If they aren’t taking to home schooling then it’s not advisable to force them to learn, in fact it can cause immense stress for the pair of you. But that doesn’t mean you should stop learning all together find other more engaging education tasks such as reading a good book or building lego. Getting creative and engaging the brain can significantly help learning. They might not want to read Biff’s latest adventure but Harry Potter or the instruction to build the perfect paper aeroplane may be more appealing.

Time to get creative

If homeschooling isn’t working out then it’s time to get creative. Equally if homeschooling is going great encourage further learning in your afternoons by getting creative! Creativity works wonders for the brain and its development, plus it’ll get your grey matter working too and enable you to spend some much needed fun time with the kids.

Involve the children in things that engage their brains from building lego to family board games (Not monopoly that’s banned it always ends in a family argument).

Take the kids outdoors and get them active outside, try and get them to identify plants, trees or animals, get them a magnifying glass and send them on a bug hunt or plan a treasure hunt for them. Anything that gets them up, moving around and learning doesn’t feel like ‘school’.

We recently built a robot with our 6 year old from bits of left over wood (see picture) and the next thing is for him to paint him. Messy yes, but a whole lot of fun. In the process he learnt how to measure, how to draw a design, assemble the design, ‘helped’ build it, named it, spelt the name, invented things that the Robot could do and wrote a letter to him about what they would do together… And he didn’t consider it school learning so win win.

If you’re struggling to get creative here’s some great starter ideas: https://www.smartschoolhouse.com/diy-crafts/ideas-for-kids?fbclid=IwAR0mcXu2iPmrijLs2hYBXBuGDckNM9F0tvur5v0HBBOcp51ez6H675Dq9j0

Prescription hypnosis stress robot

Make a schedule

As humans we thrive on routine but it’s even important for children. Kids NEED a good routine, it helps them develop, it creates a structure for them and it even helps them develop a sense of order that will come in handy when they are older.

In a nutshell it’s about replacing that school week schedule which tells them when they are in school learning and when they are having fun with a makeshift one.
Here’s ours (this is roughly the same Monday – Friday for our 6 year old)

7:30 – Wake-up & Breakfast
8:30 – Pre school workout – Joe Wicks exercise
9:00 – 12:00 School work + two short 10 minute breaks
12:00 – Lunch
12:30 – BBC Bitesize episode
13:00 – Family walk
14:00 – Creative hour
15:00 – personal fun time – iPad, TV, Games – this often invovles us playing with him too if he wants us too.
17:00 – Dinner
17:30 – Family time – movie, board game, garden time
19:30 – bed time routine with story

This is our rough schedule but he clearly understands when it’s time to learn and when it’s time for fun. It looks pretty full on as a parent and it is so the wife and I take it in turns for full days or partial days depending on our work schedules.

Top tip for parents struggling to get children into a good sleep pattern, we used the Gro-Clock and amazingly worked wonders overnight.

Mindfulness for kids

Mindfulness is a powerful technique we can all use to help us destress but it can be difficult to explain to a child to sit with their eyes closed and focus on they breathing alone… good luck with that. But there are plenty of therapeutic exercises you can do with them to help ease them into that way of thinking. The better kids learn to deal with stress when they are younger the better they are at handling it when they are older. So here’s 2 techniques.

Colouring is incredibly therapeutic, not only does it help motor control develop the act of producing a piece of art work, and yes those scribbles are art, can help calm a stressed mind.

Encourage them to stand outdoors and try and tell you what they see in as much detail as they can. Then have them close their eyes and tell you what they can hear, then what they can smell. Just slowing down those moments helps them calm down. Then why not have them go in and draw what they sae from memory.

Talking about the coronavirus

The thought of talking to your kids about the corona virus can be quite daunting and our first instinct may be to shield them from it, but it is a good idea what ever ages your children to talk to them about what is going on.

First up ask them what your child already knows.

I talked in the video about telling younger children it’s a cough as this is something they can easily understand, so ask them if they have any questions about the cough. Often it’s when it’s going away… what ever their question do your best to reassure them and remind them they are safe.

Teens are a lot more aware of what is going on so ask them too, what have you hearing about the coronavirus? Many teens get their news from social media and there can be a lot of misinformation so it’s important that you help them understand the facts.

During the conversations ensure you are speaking calmly and reassuringly, be truthful but focus on making your child feel safe and make sure you’re talking to them in a way that they can understand.

If your child or teen asks you something you don’t know the answer to it’s ok to say you don’t know, but go and find out if you can and then relay the information to them, don’t just make up what you think is right.

Give them an opportunity to tell you their fears, don’t dismiss them or trivialise them they are important to them and they’ll need reassurance.

Help them feel in control, teachthem how to wash their hands properly and help them learn about viruses if they are old enough.

Lastly take your child’s lead on how often they want to talk about it, don’t force them to talk about it everyday, that’s not healthy.

Homeschooling resources

For everyone that is homeschooling right now, I know many schools have now caught up and are issuing weekly work, but I thought I’d put together a few useful resources if you needed some additional support from what I have found useful with my little ones.

BBC Bitesize:
The BBC are now doing daily episodes of bitesize Monday – Friday for all age groups to help educate the kids.

Ruth Miskin Training are running a YouTube channel full of free phonics resources plus more videos on their Facebook page. They even have videos to explain to parents what on earth ‘phonics’ are…

Maths, english and more key stage resources:
Sign up for a free account with Classroom Secrets for hundreds of resources and worksheets to help support your children’s learning.

Homeschooling hub:
Twinkl Resources have a whole section on homeschooling full of advice and resources and offer lots for free plus further resources for a membership fee and there is currently an offer on too.

Get Active:
Joe Wicks has stunned the nation neigh the with his daily PE classes for kids… But we highly encourage adults to get involved too, it’s tougher than it looks. Stay active daily with Joe!


We have a big problem… many of us are running on a dopamine excess and that can have catastrophic effects for our mental health.

Constant notifications on our phones from emails and texts combined with our overuse of social media is driving a seriously unhealthy habit that is altering our brains.

Doing anything we enjoy gives us a dopamine boost, it helps to motivate us to continue to do the things we love. There are things the boost are level of dopamine in a positive way and over long periods of time such as reading a good book, listening to music or achieving a goal. However very short sudden boosts in dopamine can become negative such as the boosts we get from social media.

I want you to think for a moment how many times a day you look at your phone and ‘accidentally’ click Facebook and how often you’re half way down your news feed before you realise you’ve completely forgotten to do what you came on your phone to do in the first place… Far too often, it’s because things like social media suck us in and give us lots of small boosts in dopamine, after a while the brain gets used to a certain level of the happiness drug and needs to sustain it so we head back to socials to see how many likes we’ve got.

But over time if we aren’t getting the dopamine boost we used to from socials, i.e. we aren’t getting as many likes on our status, then we end up in a dopamine deficit which can lead to low mood similar to having an excess of dopamine that overloads our brains. The lack of dopamine leads to a lack of enjoyment in activities where as the excess of dopamine actually inhibits our emotions and behaviours.

It’s not just social media, it’s the whole quick fix society that we’ve got, instant notifications to your phone throughout the day from various apps give us that rush. Think about when you have a phone in your pocket and someone texts but you have to wait to check it… feels wrong to wait doesn’t it? I mean Amazon next day delivery is a prime example (pun intended) of how we’re used to things now being instant. Rather than these short intense bursts its much healthier to find and do things that make us happier over long periods, this will help with a sustained and healthy level of dopamine.


What is dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that helps our nerves function, and it plays a really important role in how we experience pleasure. Essentially it’s released when we do things that we enjoy and gives us that warm feeling or buzz. It’s why we continue to do things we enjoy, it motivates us, helps us to strive and to focus and makes us find certain things more interesting that others.

Importantly it is a big part of how are humans we are able to think and more importantly plan.

Having too much dopamine or too little can have a massive impact on our minds and our bodies. Sometimes the reason for these changes in levels is due to clinical condition such as Parkinson’s Disease, but often it’s due to over or under stimulation of the ‘pleasure pathway’.

The excess or absence of dopamine is also responsible for a number of mental health conditions.

How does it affect our bodies

Dopamine affects a whole range of functions in our bodies. Some physical symptoms of dopamine excess/absence include alter our heart rate and kidney function and cause problems with movement and lactation and give us a feeling of nausea and cause vomiting.

It also fundamentally affects our pre-frontal cortex affecting our mood, attention, sleep, motivation, inhibits our ability to learn and make decisions, to problem solve and to regulate our emotions and behaviour.

How do we 'break up' with our phones?

Breaking our phone addiction is a tough one, many of us won’t even admit that we have an addiction. But think back, and be honest, have you found yourself paying attention to something on your phone when someone is try talking to you? Did you snap at them when they asked you were you listening and you didn’t hear them? Chances are you’re addicted. Most of us are. The moment our phone buzzes we want, no need, to see who text. We’ve been conditioned that way since we started using our phones.

The simplest way to deal with this habit is face on. Simply don’t use your phone for 2 hours of the day. I can already hear the excuses coming. Fine ok, not the day, just start with the evening.

When you sit down of an evening to relax with family, leave your phone in another room. Engage with one another and talk. Make sure it’s somewhere you can hear it ring or vibrate too.

‘But I need it in case of an emergency.’ Is a common excuse, do you, do you really? Question yourself on that belief.

Many of us go to sleep looking at our phones and its the first thing we do when we wake up. Both are bad for us, particularly waking up and looking at our phones, it doesn’t engage our brains into a normal waking pattern and so we can be more sluggish if we wake up with our phones. So when you go to sleep leave your phone downstairs…

Cue a whole hoard of excuse… ‘but what if someone needs to contact me?’ Get a landline. ‘What if someone breaks in and I need to call the police?’ Get a landline. ‘But I use it as an alarm clock.’ Buy an alarm clock.

There will be plenty of excuses your dopamine ridden brain will give you not to leave it downstairs but try and question its logic.

If leaving it downstairs REALLY isn’t an option, try putting it over the other side of the room so you would at least have to get out of bed to look at it.

And the break from technology isn’t just limited to our phones, iPads, laptops and TV’s count too. Try and get a break from screens and instant notifications.

So what’s the secret to breaking the habit? Will power and determination. Slowly but slowly spend more time without your phone and focus on doing other things that make you happy and progressively you’ll become less dependent on it.


Human connection is fundamental to our survival and our mental wellbeing. Moreover, it’s not just the presence of those connections but the quality of them, that affects our mood, motivation, self esteem, feelings of trust and is essential to feeling satisfied with your life.

At a time when we are required to be socially distant it’s now more important than ever that we are still creating, forming and building our relationships with other people, creating personal and social connections.

And make sure you continue them into the future post lock down too.

Studies have found that people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of depression and anxiety. Those connections are even more important now because there are so many other factors affecting our mood and anxiety.

Spending just 2 weeks in the same place can take its toll on us, never mind 8 weeks and counting. This combined with social isolation with a complete social isolation for many of us, a lack of connection between us and society, and generalised loneliness are massive risk factors for our bodies. Further studies found that those that suffer from chronic loneliness are 25% more likely to die with increased risks of heart disease, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

With a deep sense to be loved and belong an irresistible need for people now is the right time to make sure we’re still being social! Remotely social of course and that is something we have been training for for years since we made the ‘world small enough’ to be instantly able to communicate with someone on the opposite side of the world.

So let’s use it, reach out to family, old friends or make new ones using the resources at our finger tips. Of course social media is a double edged sword for our mental health but many platforms like messenger have separated from Facebook, so if you are struggling with social media exposure you can delete Facebook and keep messenger not cutting yourself off entirely from the world.

If you are using Facebook try joining groups with similar interests to yourself to help to engage with other people and make new friends. Or join a group that is positive focused such as the Positive Vibes Community of Facebook who are all coming together to share a positive message. 

With new regulations the chance for human interaction has increased. Remember keeping a social distance is imperative but you can now go out for longer and further reaching walks so say hello to people as you pass them at a safe distance or arrange to see friends at the local park or in an open space to get some much needed face to (2 meter gap) face time. And you should use these opportunities as the good it does for that inner feeling of connection goes both ways.

During your routine make sure you schedule time to chat with friends and family on a regular and daily basis, not only will it give you something to look forward to during your day but it will give you an opportunity to talk about how you’re feeling and you should use it.

Talking to others about how we are feeling helps us to mentally process our own feelings and lifts the weight off our shoulders but it will also help the people you’re talking to to know that someone else is feeling the same way they do and vice versa. You are not alone in how you are feeling. The shared experience is something that has enabled humanity to trump for years. The art of story telling and to share an experience to communicate has been around for millennia and is at the heart of community.

Of course it’s not just about being remotely social, if you live with other people in your house it’s a time to strengthen those bonds too. Sit down, talk, chat, smile, laugh, cry whatever helps you through these times. It’s all good for the soul. And hugs of course, they are essential!

An important thing to remember is that it’s not the number of friends you have but the quality of those friendships that are important.

Whilst you’re using this time to build on your connections with other people remember to lean on them as we transition back to normality, it will help stem that anxiety in the future. Remember by having these meaningful connections with other people you are protecting yourself both physically and mentally.

day Seven - SECRETS TO Working from home

40% say work is their biggest cause of stress and for many of us there’s now no escape as we’ve literally brought work home with us.

As many of us look at working from home for the weeks or months to come we’ve started to become more comfortable and with that comes some inevitable bad habits…

To help you get into a rhythm of healthy work behaviours and help limit that big cause of stress I’ve put together my top 7 tips to minimise stress when working from home.

Working from home can be tough at the best of times there are distractions at home that there simply aren’t in the office. Many of others are combatting a full house, attempting to homeschool and managing the daily Amazon deliveries, it’s definitely adding stress to an already stressful situation.

But one of the most dangerous areas for our mental health right now lies in the fact that we have brought that big cause of stress into our homes, our sanctuarY, our stress free environment… well our less stressful environment at least… And that’s why it’s important that we are managing our work stress, minimising the impact it has on our home and the disruption it has on our family, whilst still maintaining a good level of productivity.

It’s going to help if you are on top of good working habits now and developing a healthy routine for the transition of the return to work over the next few months. And something employers should think about is looking after their employee’s mental health not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because when we return to work a happy workplace is key to a health and productive work force. Taking actions now to help with the situation is key, things like adjusting targets and expectations, providing home support and the equipment you need to work effectively. And now is the time to begin to consider an effective back to work plan.

If this is something you’re worried about as an employer, both managing staff, their anxieties and the practicality of infection control within the workplace by all means reach out to me. As a doctor turned hypnotist with multiple published papers on infection prevention and control I’m in a rather unique position in the current crisis. Find out more by contacting Prescription Hypnosis directly.

But, right now there are two things you can do immediately… Firstly check you’re working from home in most effective way possible and eliminate bad habits by implementing the tips in my video about working from home. Secondly if you are concerned with anything, need extra support or are anxious about a return to work, talk to your employer they can only help you if you let them know what your worries and concerns are.


The perfect workspace

As I mentioned in the video your workspace should be the only place you do work. This helps provide a much needed separation in your mind between ‘when you’re at work’ and when you are at home. Because we don’t have that clear definition anymore as we are working from home it’s even more important. As is setting a schedule and not just picking up your laptop here and there to get tasks done.

Things like working from your bed can very quickly affect your sleep as your mind will associate being in bed with being active and switched on, so when you are trying to fall to sleep you may struggle and as such you’ll become tired and frustrated. Neither are good for a positive mental health.

It’s the same for working on your sofa. If you sit on the sofa to relax of an evening but you work from that same sofa during the day there is no separation for your brain, it can either struggle to get into the working frame of mind and you’ll struggle through the day or it can struggle to switch off at the end of the day eating into your recovery time from stress, leaving you stress for longer.

If you haven’t got a room you can dedicate to an office, somewhere you can shut the door and lock it away at the end of the day, create an office like space in the corner of a room and put all your work stuff in that area and keep it there. Decorate it where you can like your desk at work, stationary, photos of the family, your laptop and notebook and that will help you with that work mindset when you sit down to start the working day.

It also means when you get up and walk away from the desk it helps you into that transition of ‘being at home’. If you can set up your workspace in a room you don’t use very often, box rooms are normally a good place if there’s space, again being able to shut the door on work for the day will help decrease your stress levels in the home.

The kid deterrent

Make time for the kids, we talked earlier in the week about setting them a schedule for when it’s time for work and when it’s time for fun, you need to make a similar schedule for yourself. It will help to let the kids know when you’re free to play and when you’re not.

I’ve also implemented and open and closed office door policy with my 6 year old. It took a couple of days for him to take to it but he’s now got the hang of it. He knows when my office door is closed he needs to be quiet walking past and he cannot come in, he can’t knock and he can’t shout for me. I explained it to him as I’m on a call and it’s rude to interrupt the call… that’s something he can understand. If I said I’m just working on my laptop that feels like a free-for-all.

To balance the success of the close door I also have periods of the day where I have an open door where he can come in and talk to me, show me things and ask questions. So when I’m doing tasks that don’t require absolute silence or my full concentration I leave my door open and occasionally he wonders in.

Since implementing this strategy he actually disturbs me a whole lot less when I have my door open and not at all when it’s closed because he now knows clearly when he can and can’t come and talk to me.

I also balance this by attributing some time to fun during our lunch time together where he has my full attention and I try and take the odd afternoon off too for some creative time with him, whilst obviously maximising my weekends with him too. And most importantly when my alarm sounds to signal it’s 5pm and work is over, he knows that’s our dedicated fun time.

Make a schedule and take your breaks

Making a schedule and sticking to it is important. Where possible sit down and work your 9 – 5, keeping  that routine will help you get into ‘work mode’ and also help you readjust to working from the office when the time comes.

It can also help to have a schedule if you’re home with multiple people that way they will know when you are working to leave you alone and when you’re available to chat and enjoy time with one another. This is particularly important for households with children. Highlighting play time and work time can be crucial to being able to work from home.

You should schedule breaks throughout your work day, obviously there’s lunchtime, which you 100% should take and take it away from your desk. It’s time to give the brain a break, recharge and reenergise it ready for the afternoon. It can also help clear your head of stress or give you a fresh perspective on a problem.

The government recommends that you should take a 5 – 10 minute break every 50 – 60 minutes if you’re working in front of a screen. Research shows it’s much better taking shorter, more regular breaks than it is taking long breaks less often.

During your breaks you can try some relaxation. if it isn’t a full relaxation session like the one you can download here… You can try closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths. Focus on the breath as it comes in through your nose and you exhale out through your mouth. Just breathing slowly and deeply will help real lease naturally relaxing hormones to help you destress.

Return to work considerations and support

It’s really important that you feel prepared to return to work. For some of us that will be happening in the immediate future and for others it’ll be happening a little later in thew year.

Some level of anxiety is to be expected but your employer should be helping in any way they can to minimise that stress and ease you back into your return to work.

The first thing employers can do is to set out a plan that is accessible for all staff, something clear and concise to help people understand what the working environment will look like when they return to work.

Secondly they should highlight the precautions they are putting in place to keep you safe during this time. Are there new infection control procedures in place,

Thirdly they should make additional support available to employees where needed. Readjusting to work is going to be harder for some than others either due to anxiety or due to increased risk of infection, whatever your fears and anxieties are there should be an open door policy for you to get the assistance you need. Trust me everyone on some level with be feeling it, even if they are ready to return to work just to get a break from the kids…

Lastly all of this should be communicated clearly and be easily accessible to all employees.

If you or your work place require any assistance on easing the return to work then drop me a line, I’m currently consulting with a number of businesses both on the mental health side of the return to work but also with a background and publications in infection control and prevention I’m in a unique position to help prepare the work environment for the regulations that are being outlined.

Hypnotherapy SERVICES

Trained as a Doctor Aaron offers a unique approach to therapy, combining practical and hypnotherapeutic techniques for a range of ailments.


Prepare your staff. Help them readjust to the office post lock-down, look after their mental health and learn about infection  and prevention control with Aaron.


Work is the most common cause of stress in the UK & for 1 in 4 it’s THE biggest cause. Aaron offers workplace training for individuals & companies.

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