It’s that time of year again that loved up hopeless romantic’s love, and lonely singletons loathe – Valentine’s Day!
But whether you’re single, in the honeymoon period of a new relationship, or have been married for years, there’s one person that deserves your love more than anyone else – YOU!
‘You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.’Buddha
The best investment you can make in your love life is learning to love yourself again. (Yes, you did used to love every bit of you when you were born, even your own toes!)
Loving yourself doesn’t mean blowing kisses to yourself in the mirror in a narcissistic way (although that could be a good place to start?)
I mean healthy self- love. For example, speaking to yourself like you would a loved one, in a supportive, caring way, and taking good care of your health and well- being.
Below are a few loving pointers to get you started;
• IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, SAY IT ANYWAY!
Over the years as we grow up, we start listening to other people’s opinions about us, and any criticism received we tend to remember. Then when things go wrong or we make mistakes, we tell ourselves that others peoples negative views were right. We then add to them by mentally berating ourselves, turning other people’s false opinions of us into self -fulfilling prophecies i.e. a reality.
But we can all be more loving towards ourselves by remembering that any criticism from another person is just their opinion, and as long as we don’t believe it and join in with the hate campaign, then it’s not true. This means not ruminating over, or joining in with that negative mental chatter that goes on in our own minds, that never seems to shut up!
Instead practice talking to yourself lovingly. Affirmations are a great way to practice loving yourself more, they are simply positive statements said in the present tense.
E.g. whenever you make a mistake, instead of calling yourself ‘Stupid’ reassure yourself that you are always doing your best and say; ‘I am doing the best that I can at this time, and my best is always good enough’ and repeat this affirmation often. You can say it quietly in your mind or you can proclaim it out loud; whatever makes you feel most comfortable, but never underestimate the power of your words on your subconscious mind, affirmations work!
• PHYSICAL ATTRACTION
It’s a good idea to take good care of our physical bodies, after all they are the only body that we ever own. If we can start to notice the good parts of our body more than the bits we don’t like, then we can learn to love the skin we are in. Take a look at your body each morning in the mirror and focus on the bits you love; you might have nice legs or a nice smile?
Whatever you like focus on that, the more you can love and accept yourself exactly as you are today, the more likely you will be to take care of your physically body, and that means if there’s bits you dislike now, then in the future with time and loving care they will change for the better. Focusing on our negative aspects only makes us feel worse about ourselves, and when we don’t feel good, we are more inclined to poison ourselves with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and junk food.
• LOVE FOOD & FOOD WILL LOVE YOU
If we can form a healthy, loving, relationship with food, such as choosing to eat healthy, nutritious, natural foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and fish, and drinking plenty of water, then food will love us back. If we eat well then food will give us energy and nutrients to keep us slim and trim. If we constantly eat junk food however, we will gain excess weight through empty calories and will feel tired, sluggish, and irritable.
• WORK YOUR BODY
When we act and feel this way as well as looking and feeling unfit, we can lack health and vitality, and may find it hard to really love ourselves. To burn calories, increase our energy levels, and to release feel good chemicals in our bodies, then we need to keep as active as we can on a daily basis.
Our bodies are designed to move about, so move whenever you can. You don’t need to go to the gym to keep fit, just move. Doing house work, walking the dog, dancing, playing with the children, all burn calories, so get up and get going now, your body will love you for it!
• MAKE A DATE WITH YOURSELF
No Valentine to take you to the cinema?
Then go it alone, or make time for yourself to do those things you love that simply make you happy. A soak in a bubble bath with a magazine, a cuppa and a good book, painting, fishing, football, knitting, whatever you choose to do, schedule time in your diary to prioritise YOU Time!
• TREAT YOURSELF
You may not have a partner to spoil you this Valentine’s Day, but you are still worth treating, so spoil yourself.
A treat once in a while can make us feel good, so go and buy yourself some chocolate, perfume, aftershave, flowers, beer or bubbly and a take- away, and curl up on the sofa with yourself. This way at least someone loves you, and you’ll never leave you if you love yourself right, and once you truly love yourself, others will love you too!
Don’t forget there are a lot of friends, family and lovers you’ve yet to meet, who are looking for you.
Embarking Into 2020, a new decade, my only goal was self- love and nurturing. My New Year’s Resolution was clear, and unlike many I’ve made in the past I actually stuck to this one, which was no alcohol during Dry January.
As a result, I’ve not only detoxed my body of all those toxins but I’ve naturally ate a lot healthier and less than I would have, had I succumbed to my ruby rioja.
Now as I approach February the month of love, my focus is shifting to loving others. But we can only truly love others when we learn to love and respect ourselves.
LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF
There’s a true saying;
‘If you don’t love yourself, then who will?’
We must look after and love ourselves, mistakes, imperfections and all.
If there’s something we don’t love about ourselves, then others may not love that aspect of us either.
Not because it’s not lovable, but because we will transmit the message of how we feel about ourselves to other people that we meet.
Our partners may think we are beautiful, but if we think we are ugly, over time, we will start to dress and look the way we feel.
Self-love shouldn’t be reliant on others loving us though.
We should replace any damaging, empty, unhealthy relationship with another, for a more meaningful, loving relationship with ourselves.
Getting to know who we really are as individuals is self-love. The relationship we have with ourselves influences all the other relationships in our lives, and our love for ourselves is more important than any other love we may, or may not, receive from others.
Fat, thin, rich, poor, happy, or depressed, it makes no odds; you can love yourself regardless of who you think you are, or however your past may have been.
Loving yourself does not need to depend on past or future events or relationships. Anyone can start afresh today and learn to love themselves, no matter what.
It’s the single most loving thing we can do for those we love.
We are ALL important in some one’s life, so we must take good care of our own health and happiness. Should we become ill, we would not be in a position to love and care for them. Surely If only to keep us in a strong position to take care of our loved ones, that’s all the motivation we need to ensure we love and care for ourselves?
We need to learn to love ourselves the same way we love our parents, children, partners, and friends.
We will always feel loving, loved, and lovable when we surround ourselves only with people and things that we love.
As babies, we love everything, even the ordinary is extraordinary.
Yet, somewhere along the line, as we learn to compartmentalise and realise what things are and what they do, we lose our love. It’s as though the magic is lost.
The secret is to start to notice, love and appreciate it all again.
Even the neglected old dried out potted plant in the corner and the junk in the drawer.
If we don’t, then we are going to let it go and release it to someone who will give it the love and attention that it deserves. Leaving us only with those things that we love.
LET IT GO
When we are surrounded by love, it flows freely to others, so it’s time to let go and free up some more space for things we love, as opposed to hanging onto things, we’ve accumulated for no reason.
Look at your house hold belongings and choose a category, such as books, and go through your whole house looking for books, discarding or giving away those, you no longer want or need.
Then store the rest in one place in your home, ideally on a bookshelf.
It’s easier to choose categories, rather than individual rooms, as most of us scatter our belongings throughout the house. This is especially true if, we share our house with others such as our children.
Clutter can zap us of our energy and old things can stagnate.
After this de cluttering process, we will feel good, it’s not only quite cathartic but it frees up space for nice, new things.
Having fresh space and only surrounding ourselves with things we love, we look and feel better. From now on promise yourself that, you will use and love everything you own.
Surround yourself with beautiful furniture, music, ornaments, paintings, photos, books, candles, scents, pets or plants, that uplift you, and use them all.
LOTIONS & POTIONS
Next go through your make up collection, throwing out any make up passed its use by date. Most cosmetics have a twelve-month shelf life.
Then jewellery boxes, discarding any fashion items that may have changed colour or gone out of fashion.
Potions and lotions such as perfume and shower gels or fancy soaps, need to be used.
Don’t keep them for special occasions, every day you are breathing is a special day, so look, feel and smell special.
Soaps are meant to dissolve and candles are meant to be burnt. When kept for any other purpose they go off and gather dust.
When we hold onto things, it’s like saying we don’t deserve them, or we are unsure if we will ever be able to afford them again?
But we are special, and we are deserving of everything we own.
That’s why it’s ours in the first place. We can always replace what we use in the future, for something even better.
When we are surrounded by love, it flows freely to others and by making space in our environment we are inviting love in by creating room for it.
Looking for love?
There are 7.7 billion people in the world as of October 2019, according to the most recent United Nations estimates. Just ponder that thought for a moment.
That’s a lot of people.
A lot of friends, family and lovers you’ve yet to meet, will never meet and who are looking for you.
Wrong … this year there’s going to be a difference … it’s the old YOU we want back. Flat belly, super sexy, slim, confident, and stress-free, you remember how it used to be?
Well 2020 marks a new decade, it’s a big milestone so it’s time for big changes!
January, we turn to resolutions to make changes in our lives, and the number one for most of us is to lose weight or eat healthier.
But usually by February, that all falls by the wayside as motivation wanes and our old habits return to comfortably seduce us back to the familiar foods we know and love.
As a busy, self-employed Mum, juggling businesses, and as a qualified nutritional therapist myself, I know how all too easy it is to do. I may want to change but my family may not, and staying strong and encouraging them can be a difficult task when I’m also craving certain foods and drink.
Most of us know that we should exercise, eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and get a good night’s sleep, its common sense, but how many of us actually do that every day?
Just knowing what to do, doesn’t make it automatically happen.
As Voltaire’s dictum goes;
‘That common sense is not so common’
We know what we should be doing to help ourselves but often we just don’t know how or where to start?
Simply starting is key, and here are 7 tips to get you started in 2020.
No plan is a plan to fail – Snacking and eating at irregular times of the day stimulates weight gain. A good regular mealtime routine is important, so, plan ahead, decide a menu of meals in advance and write a list of ingredients before you shop, this means you’re more likely to stick to the plan. Preparing meals in advance and batch cooking with a few key ingredients helps, as well as taking your own packed lunch to work. Stocking your kitchen with healthy snack options and discarding unhealthy options is advisable too, when we are starving it’s easy to reach for a quick fix in sugar or salt. You can’t rely on will power in those moments of weakness so best not to put temptation in front of you. To boost your motivation, keep a journal of everything you eat and drink, either buy a nice notebook or use an app on your phone, there are some really good free ones where you can scan bar codes on food to keep track of every calorie or oz of fat. This can be a real eyeopener. I use MyNetDiary https://www.mynetdiary.com/ on my iPhone s its free, quick and easy!
Research has proven that those who write their goals down meaningfully increase their chances of success in achieving those goals by 30% and keeping track as in using the above app and measuring your progress along the way, helps you to increase your chances of success by a whopping 60%!!!!
Reviewing your goals is a must, it keeps you motivated, on track, and shows you what changes need to be made and helps you to see your progress. You can’t conveniently forget when you record what you are eating and drinking. Being honest with yourself is essential to maintaining or losing weight.
Meal Monotony – Eat the same meals, boring I know but that’s the secret to eating less, your taste buds are less likely to overeat when you’re full, if what’s on offer is a boring plate of food that our taste buds are used to, and this will stop you over eating. Plan meals in advance and shop online for the ingredients, this way you won’t be tempted to buy the foods you don’t want or need, saving you money as well as calories, opt for soup, salads, fish pulses and drink plenty of water. You may not like fish or salad for example, but love chicken and vegetables and that’s okay, just eat lots of veg instead. It’s important to find those foods that you do like, not to eat things because you think they’ll help you to lose weight. Don’t deny or forbid yourself- this is important because the reason diets don’t work long-term is because, we can’t deny or deprive ourselves forever and why should we?
The key to permanent weight loss is finding a healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy and live with forever, not until you reach your weight loss goal.
EAT MORE- For most of us it’s not how much we eat that causes us weight gain it’s what we are eating. Ironically another key to losing weight is to fill up, when we are hungry, we make unhealthy choices. Bulking up on healthy, nutritious food, prevents us feeling ravenous.
Foods that are filling are those that weigh more, have larger volume and a higher water content (more on this later under Water). Fruits and fibre, beans, lentils, quinoa, oats and barley absorb water and are high in fibre. Water and fibre add bulk making you feel fuller for longer and the good news is, water and fibre have zero calories. To lose weight we need to choose more slow carbs too, these are known as low glycaemic foods or low GI foods, these make you feel full for longer, as they keep your blood sugar even, preventing cravings, regulating your appetite and helping you to last longer between meals so you are less inclined to snack. These are what we call ‘good carbs. A low GI meal inhibits a spike in insulin, promoting satiety and rate of weight loss. You can find some low GI Recipes here https://www.gisymbol.com/low-gi-everyday-meal-plan/
You will consume more volume and weight without feeling hungry by adopting a low-density diet.
RESISTANCE EXERCISE- Now I need no excuse to resist exercise, this is something that comes naturally to me, in fact out of all the possible addictions in this world I could have, this is probably one of the only ones I don’t have!!!
But I’m only joking, when talking about resistance exercise I’m referring to muscle strengthening. We need to work our arms, shoulders, legs, hips, back, chest and abdomen, at least twice a week to be of any benefit, using heavy weights to lift or using our body weight such as, push or sit ups or using resistance bands, if you’re a scaffolder or do manual work you’re ahead of the game. Also, if you do sporting activities regularly such as rugby or gymnastics. But you do need to push yourself when strengthening those muscles, to the point where you feel you can’t possible do one more lift of crunch. But this muscle building needs to be done gradually so you progress over time and eventually 15 repetitions turn into 50, as your strength and stamina increase. Important as we age as resistance exercises can help to prevent brittle bones and increasing your muscle mass helps you to burn more calories so the more muscle the better, and if you are reducing your calorie intake you will lose muscle as well as fat. However, by including muscle strengthening exercises you keep hold of more muscle and end up losing more fat. It also accelerates your metabolism which means that you continue to burn calories hours later following exercise, according to Melby et al., 1993 your BMR is elevated for up to 15 hours after exercise due to the oxidation of body fat and it increases the effectiveness of your nutrient uptake in your muscles, reducing insulin-related fat storage.
Seems there’s no better reasons to use weight resistance training to burn fat and build muscle – this doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym lifting heavy weights though, getting to a gym can become an obstacle to exercise in itself for some and for we just don’t have the time, but don’t worry, all you need is a couple of hand weights (or tins of beans) and a resistant leg exerciser that can fold away or some stretchy bands. Even if you only have ten minutes a day, that’s all you need to feel and see the positive changes that can occur over time, with consistent use. Excuse me while I convert my clothes horse back to the weights bench, I bought one January aeons ago….
Anyone who knows me will know I love a drink, but I know that although alcohol is socially acceptable and even associated with good times and celebrations, it’s still a neurotoxic, psychoactive drug that depresses the central nervous system. That’s why the government offer guidelines for how many units we should drink a week, but who pays attention or really knows what they are? Well in the UK it’s no more than 14 units per week for both genders last time I checked https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcoholic-drinks-units/latest-uk-alcohol-unit-guidance/
Still means little to me, after a few I’ve lost count of how many glasses of wine I’ve drunk let alone units per glass. But if we are counting calories shockingly, for anyone trying to lose weight, there’s approximately 500 calories in a bottle of wine!
Add to that the fact alcohol makes us feel hungry and crave unhealthy food types, then its best to stay away completely if we want to be slim and trim in 2020. But I’m no party pooper, if you socialise there’s great alcoholic beverage alternatives these days or low alcoholic ones.
Low alcoholic drinks are poised for big business in 2020 but I don’t particularly like the taste of them in fact, most of us drink for the buzz not the flavour we get from booze, so many of us will be better off with a normal soft drink, my favourite is flavoured fizzy water, it still feels like a treat compared to the plain still water I drink all day, as it’s got the sweet fizz to fool my brain into thinking I’m having a reward. This is important as having rewards is vital to changing our habits. Some of us may not be motivated by rewards so we may want to focus on avoiding a negative consequence instead, such as a hangover. As we age, we do tend to suffer more with hangovers as our bodies struggle to metabolise alcohol and we fight intoxication and dehydration, then as soon as our liver has had enough, we get a headache.
WATER – WATER THE ELIXIR OF LIFE
That’s when our faithful sober friend, water helps, by drinking buckets of the stuff, we dilute that alcohol and relieve that banging head.
Our bodies are around 60% to 70% water in weight a day. Some of us can be carrying an extra 10 to 15 pounds of excess water daily, which has become trapped in our tissues.
This excess water causes abdominal bloating, face & eye puffiness and cellulite, and it can be caused from many things such as;
• Food sensitivities
• Nutrient & antioxidant deficiencies
• Hormones i.e. menstrual cycle
• Not enough protein
• Not enough WATER!!!
Yes, ironically not drinking enough water can actually cause water retention.
Our kidneys need water to flush toxins and waste from our bodies, but when water reserves are low i.e., we haven’t drunk enough water, our kidneys end up storing water.
On top of that, not enough water and our lymphatic system slows down too.
When this happens and our bodies can no longer carry waste away, that waste then accumulates in fat cells leading to cellulite, particularly in women.
And what better reason do we need to increase our water intake, than the fact that it suppresses our appetites, and naturally helps our bodies to metabolise stored fat?
As an added bonus drinking enough water gives us clearer complexions.
And of course, when we are drinking plenty of water then we are not drinking too much caffeine, fizzy drinks and fruit juices. All of which cause us to gain weight and increase our daily calorie intake considerably.
WEIGHING ALL THIS UP
Our weight changes due to our hydration levels.
Therefore, if you do weigh yourself regularly, for accuracy make sure you weigh yourself at approximately the same time of day, with similar hydration levels. For more in-depth readings you can also buy Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis [BIA] scales, because these can measure your body fat percentage and hydration levels.
HOW MUCH WATER DO WE NEED?
Water is essential for survival.
We can live without most things but not water.
It maximises our muscle functions, rids our bodies of excess water, and increases our metabolism. But to do all that efficiently we need to drink about two litres [or eight glasses of water] a day, for our bodies to function properly.
On top of that, in hot weather we should all be drinking more than the recommended daily amounts.
And did you know that if you are overweight, you will need an extra glass for every twenty pounds of excess weight you carry?
HOW CAN WE INCREASE OUR WATER CONSUMPTION IN ORDER TO LOSE WEIGHT?
– TOP TIP 1
Get into the habit of always carrying a bottle of water with you wherever you go!
– TOP TIP 2
ADD WATER TO MEALS
To help with weight loss, drink plenty of water prior to and during meals.
Also, drink your daily calories in vegetable soups, because soups fill up our stomachs more and for longer.
Research has also shown that low energy density foods- that is foods that have a high-water content such as stews and soups, and foods such as salads and fruits that are naturally high in water; reduce appetite and make us eat less high calorie foods.
So, we need to increase our intake of water rich foods, as well as foods that absorb water during cooking, such as rice and pasta, if we want to lose weight without feeling hungry.
WATER THE ELIXIR OF WEIGHT LOSS
So, there you have it, weight gain can be attributed to water retention, and paradoxically water can be the answer to weight loss.
So, in either case drink up if you’re trying to lose weight!
SLEEP- We are all different and the amount of sleep each one of us needs will vary, some will bounce out of bed after 6 hours of sleep others need 9 hours to feel refreshed. Quality and quantity of sleep is important. Usually these are both in short supply, but if we scrape by on a couple of broken hours here or there, we are likely to find ourselves overreacting to every -day life, leaving us stressed and anxious.
Everybody experiences times when they can’t sleep at night, but if its ongoing with no apparent cause, and it isn’t to do with physical factors such as temperature or something we can identify with such as pain, then we need to be proactive and find out what the cause is.
Our work and family can seem more challenging at those times when we are tired, and problems can seem worse than they actually are.
This is because the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain, is more active when sleep deprived.
Lack of sleep can be detrimental to overall health and wellbeing, none of us should be deprived of the basic necessity to sleep. Lack of sleep is also accumulative, and it’s much harder to catch up on missed sleep than you may think. That’s why we have to catch up on sleep whenever we can. Even if this means a nap in the day to make up for lost sleep at night.
How do you feel when you do not get your nightly quota of sleep?
Do you ever feel so tired you struggle to get through the next day, only to go to bed that night unable to go to sleep?
Then you’re overtired and stimulated, resulting in unhealthy sleeping patterns. The only solution is to sleep whenever you can, to restore the balance and improve your sleeping habits.
We need sleep to normalise hormones: melatonin and cortisol. Cortisol regulates our immune systems, metabolism, blood sugar and stress response any lack of sleep will instantly impact your cortisol levels. Melatonin regulates our sleep-wake cycle and is needed to regulate metabolism, the immune system reproduction and co-ordination. Not having a regular sleeping routine or for those who work nights or shifts, change these hormones. If trying to lose weight sleep deprivation won’t help, research shows when you sleep less you eat and drink more calories and if you are fighting to stay awake you are probably going to turn to high sugar and high fat foods and drinks.
Unfortunately, for many of us we spend that tossing and turning. Comfort is crucial for this heavenly retreat we call bed, so investing in this is a true investment in our health and wellbeing. Satin sheets are great anti-aging, skin creasing fabric for looking younger, for longer and also for cheeky sensual early nights with a loved one, but for comfort, cotton in the highest thread count that you can afford is the best chance of a soothing, peaceful deep sleep.
It’s also advisable to get into a regular sleep cycle by going to be bed and waking up the same time each day, including weekends (forget those lazy Sunday lie ins!)
And don’t eat big meals where you are stuffed, or drink alcohol for at least 2 hours before bed. Poor nutrition can also cause chronic fatigue, so avoiding sugar and stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, tea and chocolate is recommended and include more vitamin C into your diet along with healthy antioxidant-rich foods.
Keeping your bedroom around 16°C to 18°C degrees is the best temperature for encouraging a good night’s sleep.
I spent years reading, listening, and wondering about magic
Six for silver, seven for gold or was that for a secret
never to be told?
There was evidence in my daily life when I saw those around
me that they didn’t exist, yet as the magpies danced on my decking, I read
about writers’, musicians, artists, gurus, professionals and the like, who told me in no
uncertain terms they existed, they were possible and real.
I pondered, maybe I didn’t need a miracle or to experience
magic as all was going… well …. normal and good in my life?
Or maybe I’d missed them?
Maybe they were there but I couldn’t identify them?
Until recently, when I won a writing competition to get my
book published worldwide. In that moment I felt synchronicity, that serendipitous,
deliciousness when I had taken action at precisely the right time, and my path
had crossed another who was looking for someone like me. I felt it must be a
miracle as my book had sat idle on my laptop for ten years. Now before my very
eyes two books had blossomed over -night, and in that moment when I won, I knew
there was magic in the air. I felt excited, even more so than any child could
ever on Christmas morning. This was a long-awaited moment whose time had come.
But to any other on looker, stranger, friend or family
member, it was just an ordinary, mundane moment in time. Not for me, I for the
first time felt the magic, experienced a miracle slowly unfold and now, I could
at last join those other positivity preachers, who gave me faith and hope along
my way, when years went by that were certainly grey. When progress never
shifted, not even an inch and I dreamed of the life I felt I should be living.
Do you have a dream in you?
Do you want a miracle or a sprinkling of magic to shimmy up
What desires have you put off over the years that need
You know, the ones you feel sad to recall, the ones you feel
jealous and envious that others have achieved. The ones that ignite anger or
injustice for escaping you. The ones you feel you’re too young, too old, too
poor, too uneducated, too unexperienced to begin now?
The dreams buried so deep not even an excavator could dig them
That’s your miracle waiting, that’s your magic!
It’s time to start your enchanted journey. Discover for real
what’s possible for you and what’s not, there’s value in both, for when the day
arrives and you’re forced to look back upon the days when anything was possible,
you’ll wonder why you never proved yourself right or wrong?
Why you did nothing.
There’s pain and suffering in the not knowing and the
inertia of not even trying. So, by going for your dreams and desires or simple
fleeting fancies, what do you have to lose right now?
Don’t cling to regret like its going to justify your
existence, it won’t. Grab hold of your destiny where ever that may take you,
pick up that paint brush, open that gallery, chuck clay on your wheel, shoot
that landscape, open that cake shop, scribble in the coffee shop or sing in the
choir of your local church.
Take the risk. Make the steps you walk count and the words
you utter matter. Because they do, if not for you for all those you encounter!
On my daily
commute today, I’m reminded how autumn teaches us to let go and release what’s
no longer needed.
As the trees drop their dead leaves, they leave bare their branches, cold and naked they sway, not one fearing the inevitable, of exposure, of change, or of being left outside in the cold. They realise the beauty of the seasons, the purpose of life and why they change colour, and lose a part of themselves in autumn.
not isolated or alone, but are aware of the many other trees who just like them,
are leaving their branches bare. They are growing, they are changing and soon
they will blossom again. But for now, they leave a crunchy, carpet of golden
and red leaves beneath our feet, a sign for us to see, hear or even feel their presence,
or maybe a gift for us to notice them and what they have to offer our world?
We can see
their offerings as mess and clutter on our path?
Or we can be
grateful for the reminder that its time for us to change too?
We have the
option to release the old version of ourselves and face our naked fears, and in
doing so, we realise we are not alone. We can accept the releasing of others
and the changes they are going through, without pushing those leaves aside, as
disregarded debris on our journey. As winter turns the days dark, and the
bitter bite of cold chills our souls, we are comforted to know, others too are
keep safe, keep yourself connected to nature and the real world, of real people
you love, have loved or want to love, and know that spring is already on its
you must, but don’t forget to sow some seeds, ready to bloom when the summer
sun makes you feel young, free and full of zesty energy once more.
For like the
seasons emotions come and go, the environment changes too, and this is true not
just for You but for everyone You know.
Life has a funny way of slowing us
down and making us conscious at times.
Recently I had a minor operation on my foot, which forced me to literally keep my feet up for a few days. I was frustrated by the inconvenience to say the least!
That was until I realised the
perfection in the problem.
I had been struggling to find time to focus on my accounts and finish editing my latest book for months, and I was almost worn out with everything I had to do, then suddenly I was forced to put my feet up and relax.
And guess what?
I finished those accounts in a weekend
and made significant progress with my book, and I had a lot of shut eye to
I also had time to think and to appreciate all those things we usually take for granted. Hidden treasures such as; the sound and glow of a crackling fire on a cold day, the taste of tea and warm toast dripping in butter, the smell of clean fresh laundry blowing on the washing line, and the comfort of crisp cotton sheets on your bed at night.
Each day presents us with an array of beautiful moments, that can easily go by unnoticed by our every day senses.
Our health is also something we rarely consider when we are so busy, and it’s certainly something we all take for granted until we become ill, or are unable to function physically or mentally in some way.
I constantly see individuals apologising that, they need a break from helping others and from social media, but it’s not something any of us should feel guilty about.
Self -care should be our priority
first and foremost, I mean who cares for YOU if you don’t?
Feeling our body’s discomfort and not
be able to do what we want, is the surest sign from Life that, it’s time to
slow down. It also gives us the space and time to think about our daily lives,
including those habits we rarely, if ever notice.
And these habits are not all bad!
Today I’m finally going to be free of my stiches or should I say sutures?
At last I will be able to enjoy a nice warm bubble bath again. Ahhh…. the bliss hidden in the simple things in life, that we all take for granted.
Next time you have a bath feel the warm water surround you, notice the sparkling bubbles, floating on the surface, and the smelling scent of the soap. Feel your skin wet and soapy and take in the full experience of having a bath.
Luxuriate in this refreshing
How often do you bath without thinking
about these things or without really enjoying or appreciating the experience?
That’s because when bathing, we are
usually somewhere else in mind.
Instead of relaxing in the present moment and enjoying the pleasurable experience, we take it for granted, and it becomes another habit, or as I like to call them Auto Pilot chore.
In fact, anything we do often tends to end up this way. We become desensitised by its familiarity.
We all need time out now and again. Even the most gregarious amongst us need some alone time to; plan, ponder, reflect and recuperate.
But we needn’t wait until we are
forced or it’s too late!
Making ‘U Time’ should be our every
day priority. And that includes taking care of our physical health and
appearance, sleeping well, eating clean, exercising, meditating, learning, laughing
and spending time with those we love, doing what we love most.
Something life was telling me to get back into alignment with, but I hadn’t been listening to while I was chasing my goals.
Are you a bag of nerves when it comes
to job interviews?
Do you wish you could turn your
anxiety and fear into courageous confidence instead?
Then read on to discover how, when it comes to job interviews, getting hired is an ‘inside job’ that can work for you.
YOU’RE WORTH MORE
When clients who are looking to find a new vocation, come to me for coaching, they nearly all have one thing in common; they never set their sights high enough.
When looking for employment, people tend to stay within, financial income comfort zones, and cap the amount they think they are worth, overlooking those positions offering higher salaries. Don’t just limit your search to a job that is in your current earning bracket, when you realise how precious your time and skills are to others, your earning potential increases.
However you must want the career, not just the money it brings. If your motivation is job satisfaction, then you’re more likely to get the job you want, and to do it well. Know what you want from an occupation and what you have to offer. Think of things you enjoy doing, past, present and future, and seek possibilities in those areas.
Interviewers can smell the difference between candidates desperately needing a job, and enthusiastic people who passionately want the job. So take a deep breath and relax!
BE SELF- AWARE
That is why, being self- aware of your own motives can help in getting hired or not, it can also help in coming across as confident.
Interviewers want to see how quick you can think on your feet and how self- aware you are. It’s not what you say that counts, but how you respond to a question, so be conscious of your strong and weak points in advance, because they will ask you about them. Ideally think of a weakness beforehand, that you can turn into a positive, for e.g. you could say:
‘In the past I always had to work late, but now I’ve learnt how to prioritise my time more effectively.’
This will say a lot more about your strengths than your weaknesses, and will help you to stay present in the moment at all times. If you’ve planned well, then there will be no need for you to think of an answer, while the question is still being asked.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin:
‘If you fail to plan, you are
planning to fail!’
So be prepared and research the
company and role, the more information you have the better. Also look at what
similar posts and other companies have to offer, this is useful to know,
especially if you get offered the position.
Beforehand visualize the interview in every detail as you would like it to be, and focus only on what you want to achieve. Arm yourself with an abundance of your strengths, so you will be ready whenever an opportunity arises to tailor your skills to the job role.
Buying a new suit or getting your
hair cut will also prepare you and boost your confidence, and will be one less
thing to worry about. Moreover, when you are looking good your confidence will
shine through, and building rapport will be easier.
Remember you are both there for the
same reason- to fill the vacancy, so relax and show the real you. If you are
feeling anxious and nervous take some deep belly breaths, and say to yourself
ten times ‘I am the right person for this job’
Subtly match the interviewer’s body posture, tone and speed of speech, this way you will build rapport a lot quicker. And once that connection has been made, you will feel more comfortable and able to concentrate on the conversation.
A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t
get the job though, it’s not always the best candidate that gets the position;
it’s who the interviewer feels is the best interviewee on the day.
Afterwards ask for some feedback, and when you get home write a few notes on what did or didn’t go so well, so you can refer to them in preparation for next time. Remember to keep things in perspective, it’s not a life or death situation, no matter how important it may feel to you at the time. View it as practice and experience leading up to the real thing- your dream job.
What one thing do
you do every day that restricts you in some way?
For me I wear
knickers every day.
Today I’m going to break that habit and go commando?
Sounds silly to
declare but we all have daily habits. Some are good for us, like brushing our
teeth, some are bad for us like smoking, others are just, well, neutral, like
wearing knickers, neither good nor bad… just habits.
But do we ever
Rarely, in fact, we do them automatically, without even realising we are doing them.
Today, let’s take some
time to, consciously think about our daily habits and ask ourselves;
Are they helping or
hindering us in some way?
Where did they come
from and why?
Are they still part
of the person we have become today or are they out dated and rooted in our
Now, let’s take some
action to do something to change the ones that aren’t helpful, and replace them
with new beneficial, healthy habits instead.
It’s not always as
easy as deciding not to wear knickers, sometimes we need help.
The good news is,
there’s always help out there, we just have to seek it.
and Coaching are great ways to help change, unhelpful, unhealthy habits,
self-help books can assist too.
Whatever you choose to help you, the first step is becoming conscious of those habits and admitting we have them. Good Luck!
Sometimes in life we all find ourselves swimming against the current, and that’s okay, as long as we keep swimming!
As long as you do not allow your negative thoughts
and feelings, to drown you to the point that you feel like giving up, then you
will somehow, from somewhere, find that inner strength that you need to bring
you back to shore safely.
Since you once were the strongest swimmer of sperm, please know you have a purpose. You’re luckily unique and yes, the world needs YOU, more than you’ll ever know. You are always loved by a force you’ll never be able to see, hear or always feel. But that love once made you, no matter how you were conceived? And that love is going to find you again, when you have faith, hold on, and believe.
So, when that tidal wave surges towards you full force, keep swimming, no matter what, or float with the current until it weakens. Going with the flow is sometimes the only option.
You can’t stop it, and you can’t control it.
Just keep going through it, or surf the crest of
that wave until you get over it.
Often the hardest thing about my job is, encouraging clients who are feeling down, to stay positive. Especially when they are over coming traumatic events or suffering physically in some way.
But even harder still, is trying to encourage
clients who are feeling down to stay positive, when I am feeling down or going
through a crisis myself.
We all get them days or periods in our life, they
are unavoidable at times.
Yet, they are the times more than anything else,
that require a positive perspective.
Everyone has stress, worries or challenges in their lives, no one is immune, but its attitude that helps us to overcome them.
A negative, defeatist attitude, is never going to help to make things better. In fact, it makes things worse. On the other hand, a positive, ‘I can deal with this and get through it’ attitude’ Will make things seem better, and will in most cases make the outcome better too. This doesn’t mean there will always be a happy ending but it’s never actually what happens to us that’s the problem, it’s how we react or respond to it.
Stuff happens in life to all of us, good and bad. We
just need to start noticing the good more, and not let the bad get the better
I know first- hand that that is easier said than
done, but what are the options?
Feeling sad and miserable, powerless and negatively
defeated, doesn’t bare thinking about, but understandable and naturally normal
at challenging times in our lives.
We can help to decrease those times and increase the good times though. By simply trying to feel positive, motivated and thankful at those ‘normal’ times in our life, when nothing is going wrong, but when we tend to find ourselves worrying about things going wrong, before they have.
This can help us to deal with things, if and when they do actually happen, without that feeling of heavy overwhelm. Stress is not the problem, constant, compounded stress is!
So today I challenge you, in your ordinary day,
full of the usual financial / family/ work/ relationship woes, to be mindful of
all the good already in your life, right now in this moment.
Appreciate if you can, the perfection in the normal,
boring and the mundane?
Be grateful if nothing else for your health. And if your health isn’t all that healthy at the moment, know that feeling bad won’t make you feel better. However, appreciating the fact that we are breathing, is enough when we think of those we have loved, who aren’t any longer.
And as long as we are breathing, and coming up in
between for air, that’s a sign that we’re alive, and things can always get
better in the sea of life!
As a Hypnotherapist, clients often ask
me how they can ignore or switch off their thoughts and feelings?
But as a Therapist, I advise them
never to ignore them, as they are vital and are actually trying to tell us
We don’t want to stop them completely, like we wouldn’t want to stop physical pain, pain prevents us taking a risk too far, for example if we didn’t feel pain when cooking, we could take things out of the oven like we had asbestos fingers, but those fingers wouldn’t end up looking too pretty or lasting very long.
Pain is our signal that something is
wrong and needs our attention. If we ignore physical pain and carry on, it gets
worse and we may miss something that needs medical attention.
The same with our thoughts, over time
constantly ignoring them may lead us down a dark road to depression.
And we certainly don’t want to stop eating food to lose weight, because if we didn’t eat, we’d eventually die of starvation.
But that’s what clients think they
want, to stop feeling the pain, or stop eating to lose weight, or stop thinking
to feel good again.
Truth be told, we simply can’t ignore what we think and feel for long. Unless we listen and make changes, then those thoughts and feelings will persist until we do.
They are so useful in letting us know
things need to change or we do.
Its not a case of eliminating the pain
but addressing it, taking steps to ease the pain, and if possible, removing the
source of the pain, so the pain disappears naturally.
We can’t stop those thoughts completely
Try now not to think of the colour of
your front door.
Its impossible because you have to
think of the thing first, that you don’t want to think about, to consciously
try not to think about it.
Your mind doesn’t differentiate between
the positive and the negative, the do and the don’t gets lost in translation,
it just registers the image of your front door in your mind. Whether you want
that image or not?
And anyone who’s ever gone on a diet
will know that, the one forbidden food you are trying to avoid, is the one
craving that’s driving you insane.
We have to make friends with our thoughts, feelings and pain, and thank them for bringing light to an area we have been trying to ignore for too long. They are, believe it or not, trying to help us?
You can’t always eliminate people from your life, just like pain you have to find out where the pain is coming from and why? Then ease it or remove yourself from the cause of the pain whenever you can.
But how can you make friends with unwanted thoughts, feelings and pain? Especially when they are so negative in nature and hard to understand?
Just like you would any person you wanted to get along with in life, that you didn’t particularly like or understand.
We simply need to listen. Really actively
listen. Give our thoughts, feelings and pain our full attention.
What exactly are they trying to say?
Where are they coming from and why?
What’s caused them to manifest in our lives at
this particular point in time?
THE POWER POSITION
To truly listen we have to become objective.
Listening and observing ourselves from
the outside, like an outsider looking in. Here we’ll discover the lessons our
soul urges us to know or understand.
But we won’t be able to hear anything,
if we identify with ourselves and those thoughts, feelings or pain.
So, we must pretend they are not a
part of us. They are just momentary experiences passing through, that have come
to teach or redirect us in some way?
When we learn how to do this, we neutralise
the emotions attached to our thoughts, feelings and pain.
And from this position, we have the
power to challenge those unwanted, unwarranted, negative thoughts, feelings and
perceived pain produced by the mind and body.
Replacing them with more loving ones, that support positive thoughts, producing good feelings and emotions, and easing some of that physical pain.
Tweeting Out Loud
On Twitter last week I read a tweet that asked;
‘Do you ever want to talk to someone but you feel like you just annoy them so you sit there and don’t say anything and wait and see if they’ll message you first? ………’
And I felt compelled to reply;
‘If you annoy anyone that’s their problem not yours!’
And then I wrote this blog as a
Because what you think of yourself is
your REAL problem.
Luckily though, it’s easier and
possible to change how we think of ourselves but not so easy or even always possible,
to change another person’s mind.
JOURNAL YOUR JOURNEY
Writing down our thoughts and feelings
every day in a journal, is the most beneficial thing we can do.
It may seem like a chore but how badly
do you want to feel good?
I like to do a couple of sentences
before bed each night, and again each morning. This way I recap on my day before
bed, and wake up emptying what I don’t need to carry in my mind throughout my
You don’t have to be good at writing
and no ones going to check your spelling, grammar, punctation or even the content
you’ve written. Its just for you to write, read and reflect back on personally.
It can be one word or one hundred
pages a day. There’s no word counting here.
Just write down basically what you are
thinking and how you are feeling. This can help us process the events of the
day and the interactions we’ve had with others. Writing things down also puts
things into perspective. Things that in the dark of night can keep us awake
with fear and worry, can seem trivial when we wake in the light of day, and write
these thoughts down. Nothing is ever as bad as our mind likes to magnify
Your mind though may resist this new journaling habit, as the minds function is to keep you safe, keep you on alert, and alas, keep your worrying and analysing the past, present and future.
When you write things down, there’s less in your head clouding your judgements. Your mind may worry about losing its control over you and purpose in your life. It’s a faithful friend and servant, but the more friends we make on our journey the merrier, and of course, the easier life becomes. So, introduce your mind to the power of the pen and get those thoughts out of your head and down on paper.
But you can reassure the worrier in
you that, you can still have moments in your day to ruminate over the debris of
your mind, when you re read your journal and reflect on what you’ve written and
what you are going to do about it?
That’s the journals purpose, to show
you patterns in your thoughts and behaviour, highlighting when pain is
heightened or joy expressed?
Keeping a journal of our thoughts and feelings, can really help us to understand and notice all the above, in our daily lives. Writing down each time we over react, feel angry, stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated, happy or calm, and recording the circumstances that led up towards that reaction, will help us to understand, not only our own reactions, but other peoples too. Including how they felt as a result of how we behaved?
That’s why it’s not only good to understand how we feel, but it’s also useful to know how the impact of what we feel, is having on others.
In the heat of the moment, it is hard
to think clearly. On reflection, it’s uncomfortable to see how that has made us
behave, and the impact that has had on other people, especially those we love.
This can be shocking when it’s written down and read after some time has elapsed and we have cooled down, but knowing our motives and why we react as we do, helps us to positively change.
When going about our daily business,
it’s difficult to decipher what and when exactly we react unconsciously? That’s
because much of what we do on a daily basis is unconscious. We live out of
habits. Often responding on auto pilot mode. We are in essence oblivious to
what is going on around us much of the time.
But when we keep a journal, we notice
those responses more and can look for any patterns forming. For example, do we
get angry with our children first thing in the morning when we are in a rush to
get to work, or last thing at night when we are tired and want to relax?
Armed with this knowledge of why and
when, we’re likely to react on Auto Pilot, we can become more aware of when
it’s about to happen?
Noticing ourselves getting to that boiling or breaking point, before we erupt or crumble, allows us time to stop ourselves, and decide not to over react.
Then we can start to shift our focus to a more, conscious in the present moment mode.
THINKING OUT LOUD
Writing down how we feel may not come
easy, but everyone thinks. So, sometimes when I find a brave, courageous soul
in need of help, I ask them for one whole day, to think out loud.
That means instead of hoarding all
that negative, mental chatter in their mind, and tightening their muscles with
physical stress and dis-ease, to say out loud every thought that they are
This is extremely hard, as we are so
used to thinking inside our head, often the automatic habit goes on unnoticed.
But this exercise helps us to stay
present and conscious and to take notice.
It’s good to do when around other
people that we interact with on a daily basis. It’s a bitter honesty pill to
swallow, both for the giver and receiver of the honesty!
If lived this way everyday as some do, not from choice, others from choice, we’d have no friends or family left. I mean, honestly replying to your wife ‘Yes your bum does look big in that dress!’ Never helped any man or woman ever!
So, choose a day to do this ‘Thinking Out Loud’ exercise, when you won’t be in this position if possible?
But this exercise is good because it
means we must either be honest or think nothing at all (which we know, not
thinking is impossible)
This can clearly show us who we no longer need in our lives, because we will try to avoid those people on our ‘Thinking Out Loud Day’ through fear of what we might say aloud to them.
Normally, our emotions usually do this
job for us, they do the talking without us, especially whenever someone makes
us happy or upset. Its illustrated by how angry, upset or happy we react.
But thinking out loud frees our pain, emotions and thoughts, eliminates those negatives we no longer need, and keeps us present in the moment, which in itself, is the best gift to give or receive!
At the end, I just feel a bit deflated. A little sad even. It’s like getting to the end of a good book or film that you wanted to go on forever. The truth is motivation doesn’t last. It’s just like brushing your teeth, it’s a habit you have to acquire over time. You wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth because you couldn’t be bothered though, would you?
Dreams take love, commitment, motivation and dedication.
It’s working happier not harder. And as long as progress is being made so will mistakes. But it’s the fun, enjoyment and anticipation of a goal or dream that’s far more exciting, than the goal or dream itself. Continue reading →
Writers write! Singers sing! Actors act! Painter’s paint!
Perfectionism is the weed that thinks it’s a flower. So, lets waste no more time striving for it!
When you find the right person to be accountable to, your commitment and success ratio will increase considerably.
As long as you don’t give up! And never repress your dreams as unachievable right now.