Own Your Fears: My First Session with AXA PPP Healthcare
Last week I had my first session with an AXA PPP Healthcare expert to discuss how to tackle my fear of rejection. As part of this six month partnership, I will be working through this fear and figuring out how to live with it in a productive way.
I have come to this process with a totally open mind and open heart. I am keen to try anything the experts suggest and I am more than willing to chart my progress here on my blog. As we’re still at the beginning stages of the process I am still not entirely sure what will happen. But I suspect it will involve homework and shifting my mindset.
The first session
I spoke with a physiologist with AXA PPP Healthcare over the phone last week. The call was just under an hour long and during that time we discussed in detail what my fear was, and how we could start tackling it.
The act of just speaking about this fear out loud helped spark loads of thoughts of how it was connected to certain behaviours, where it might stem from, and how I know I react to particular situations.
It felt quite cathartic to speak about the fear out loud as opposed to just writing it down as I did in the previous blog post on the subject. It’s almost like speaking out loud about the fear made it more tangible, it took it out of my mind and allowed me to see it clearly as it was. Just that in itself was useful.
During the session the expert made several suggestions on tasks I could undertake. Each of these tasks were posed to me as a question, there wasn’t any pressure, rather it was suggested and for me to decide whether it was something I felt comfortable in doing, and whether it would work for me.
It felt like I had ownership of the process and that was empowering. I was able to think through what would work for me and how to fit it into my life.
Goal #1 – Set time for wellbeing
The first goal for me to work on is to make 9-11am on a Monday morning a time for me to be totally focused on my wellbeing.
In particular I wanted to use that time to go swimming. If not swimming than using that time for yoga, or journalling, or something unrelated to work or the home. My aim is to be able to set aside regular time, either daily or every other day, to focus solely on my wellbeing – both mentally and physically.
I have found that over years of working for myself and being at home constantly that I struggle with allowing myself nice things, or things for myself that aren’t work-related. I’m sure many self-employed people who work from home struggle with the same thing – I find the boundaries blur between work and personal life. This is especially so when my job is to share quite a bit of my personal life.
As such, I often tell myself that I shouldn’t be going to the gym because I should be working. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be wasting my time meditating when I should be working. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be going for a walk when I should be working. I constantly talk myself out of wellbeing activities because there is always work to be done.
The result is that my wellbeing has suffered. I have got to a point where I sometimes don’t leave the house for days on end because I believe I should be at the computer. My body is weaker than ever before, I have put on weight, and I regularly feel lethargic.
My mental health has suffered. I find my self-esteem is low, I don’t feel confident in my body anymore, I don’t feel good.
Likewise, my relationships have suffered. I often find I cancel plans, or put off meetings because I have work to do. I constantly prioritise work to the point that I rarely hang out with friends. I moved to a new city a few years ago and haven’t made many new friends because I don’t go out often, and every time my excuse is because I have work to do.
The result of this is, I feel lonely and disconnected from the world. My work is on my computer in my home. I have tied myself to this work and the home, and other areas of my life suffered.
Goal #2 – Daily Positive Observations
The second goal is at the end of each day I need to list 3 positive things from day. These positive things can be anything from a compliment received, something I’ve enjoyed, or something that I felt went well. The aim is to reflect on the day and seek out positive moments on daily basis.
I feel like this goal is going to be a useful way to shift my mindset to one that is predominantly positive, and one that builds my self-esteem.
I think that reflecting on a daily basis will not only help me recognise the positive things in life, but will also be an act of gratitude. I believe that expressing gratitude is a great way to embrace positivity, particularly when times are hard or I’m not feeling good about myself.
Positivity can take practice, particularly when you’re coming from a place of fear, or feeling low. But with practice comes the mindset shift, which is what I am aiming for.
Goal #3 – What Do I Like About Myself?
The third goal is to write a list of things I like about myself. The list can include my values, aspects of my personality or appearance, or what I enjoy doing. The expert suggested asking a friend or loved one to help if I’m struggling with the list.
I feel like this goal is going to be a useful exercise on self-esteem. It’s about focusing on the positive parts of myself and recognising what makes me who I am. I think self-esteem is going to be a big part of this journey in working with my fear of rejection, so this goal is a good starting point.
Task – Avoidance Diary
The expert also suggested keeping an avoidance diary. In this diary I have to record every time I avoid something. In this diary I will note – what did I avoid, when did I avoid it (date and time), how I felt emotionally and physically at the time, what went through my mind, and any other things I did to cope.
For example, if I avoid going swimming I need to record why I avoided it, how I was feeling, and what was going through my mind. Likewise, I might make a note of avoiding meeting a friend for coffee – I need to write down what was going on in my mind and how I was emotionally and physically.
I feel like this will be a useful exercise in understanding the internal and external factors affecting me when I avoid situations that might otherwise have benefitted me, particularly when they might have helped my wellbeing. I am guessing this might reveal why and how I am sabotaging my own wellbeing.
AXA PPP Healthcare Gateway
The final suggestion from my call with the expert was to register on the AXA PPP Healthcare Gateway. Here I am able to register my goals as listed above and I can use the system to track my progress.
I have only just gone through the registration process so I will feedback next time on how I get on with using this tool. But from first impressions it appears like the AXA PPP Healthcare Gateway tool is a comprehensive website which allows you to register, track and get inspired to improve your health.
Part of the dashboard includes a toolbox which covers health goals, nutrition, fitness, lifestyle and mindset. Within each of these categories you can pick a goal and it will take you through suggestions for improvement and how to use the goal to track your progress.
In other words, depending on your health and wellbeing needs you can great a unique set of goals within the toolbox to help you stay on track.
Thoughts on first chat with expert
I felt really good after my first chat with the expert. It felt good talk about my fear out loud, and I was encouraged by my expert to pick goals that were small enough to implement straight away, not too overwhelming, but ultimately will help with the bigger goal of facing my fear.
I will be speaking to her again in a month’s time and will feedback with how my progress working towards this goal has gone. I’m sure, from there, we will together figure out the next set of goals on this journey.
Likewise, I will share the next update in a month’s time to let you know how I got on with the goals and tasks I’ve mentioned above, plus what I will work on for the following month.