The unseen gifts that light up our lives – (3 min read)

The Yuletide season is almost here, Christmas is so close, the Winter Solstice is even closer. And hopefully you are enjoying a relaxing wind down or start to your Yule holidays. In our house, bulging out under the christmas tree are many, many christmas presents. Yule has and still is a time of celebrating the living people in our life that we love. In fact even today Yule is one of the only times families gather together and one of the only times we consciously make it important to show the people we care about that they are special to us. And as we learn from childhood we do this by giving and receiving gifts. However we actually give and receive gifts every day of our lives, often unnoticed. Yuletide is perfect for taking time out to learn more about these gifts, to learn more about ourselves and to be even more grateful for those people that make our lives special and our own ability to light up the world.

The gifts we receive in our lives

The tradition of giving gifts is one that has grown and stayed with us for centuries. The people we give gifts to over Yule tend to be our nearest and dearest and often people who we share the same dna with. Giving gifts is in a way a chance to acknowledge the gifts these people bring to our lives. And I don’t mean the physical gifts we get, I am talking about the gifts of life lessons, support and characteristics that shape and guide our lives. The unseen gifts that are there everyday.

By looking at these gifts consciously we can begin to identify not only why people are important to us but also we can earn why we need to learn the teachings their gifts bring to us. At the same time we get the oppertunity to value more the gift givers of our lives. I mean how often do we take time to appreciate the gifts people bring?

Is it hard? Not at all. You just need to really look. For example although I had a challenging relationship with my Mother (who hasn’t) when I looked for the gifts she has given me I discovered that she has an overwhelming sense of empathy and kindness. She has an amazing ability to love and a huge heart. She would give a beggar her last 20p and still buys christmas presents for all the children in the family even though she doesn’t see them.  Meditating on this I can see how first this gift has influenced me in nearly every human interaction I have had in my life, and these gifts make me so much better at my chosen path as both teacher and healer. I am incredibly grateful for these gifts

Finding the gifts of others

Look at the people on your Yule gift list and brain storm the following:

  • Who are these people ?
  • What is their relationship to you?
  • What gifts have they brought to your life? ( This can be stability, lessons, love)
  • For each gift think about your life and why is this teaching necessary to you life today.

Choose one of these people and write them a letter thanking them for the gift they bring to your life and telling them how much they mean to you.

If possible spend time with them over the holidays. Get to know them on a  deeper level and you may find that you have only just scratched the surface in your understanding of the gifts they bring to your life.

The gifts you bring

Gifts do not only travel one way. As we receive from people in our lives we also give gifts from our own heart. It can often be a challenge to recognise our strengths we bring to others lives.  However your gifts are as unique as you are and they light up the world in their own way. By acknowledging and naming them you will get a wonderful sense of how amazing you truly are.

Finding your gifts

What gifts do you give to others? (If it’s hard to think of you can ask your family and friends to help you here.)

On a piece of paper draw three candles and  on each candle write the gifts that you give to people and the world.  If you like you can light three candles to represent these gifts. Toast yourself with a large glass of wine and spend an evening being good to yourself.

 

Identifying the gifts we receive in our lives and the gifts we give brings an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the greatest gift, the gift of life. At Winter Solstice after the longest night the summer is born as the days start to get a little bit longer. What could be a more perfect time to be thankful for our lives and the people we love.

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#lifelessons101 – Escape the social media vampire with THE SOCIAL MEDIA FREE CHALLENGE!! (2 min read)

Recently I have been trying to take more time out for myself. I have identified stress factors, planned rest days in between social activities and re-started a hobby that gives me so much energy. However I am still tired. Of course a lot of that is to do with winter , low sunlight (here in DK there is not much at all) as well as the busy pre christmas break schedule we all have. But there is something else. Something else that really drains me and until today I couldn’t work out what it was.

At the moment I am studying (amongst other things) digital culture. Today we were talking about the positive and negative effects of social media. We learnt that here in Denmark 7% of 15 year old girls don’t spend time physically socialising with their friends after school, they do it over social media. In fact 80% people actually interact with social media before getting out of bed or brushing their teeth. To me the message is clear.

We are all being sucked in by the vampire of social media -fact.

And the worst part is we are all addicted to it. As I look around the train I am currently travelling on 15 of the 19 passengers in my carriage are on social media. (They are also giving me very strange looks as I have been standing up and counting them all!)

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike social media. I live in another country to my family, I have friends world wide. Social media helps me to keep in touch with the people I love over a distance. I even run my business and my study groups over social media. It opens a world of possibilities and keeps us all connected. However the addiction of staring into a screen, scrolling through pictures, comments and videos at every possible oppertunity , is physically and mentally draining. These days we receive the same amount of information in a year as a person 200 years ago received in their entire lives!! That’s insane and is sending us all into a mental overdrive. At the same time constant use of a computer, tablet or smart phone is physically draining on our eyes. If you think about it it’s a bit of a  mystery as to why we are addicted to something that drains us both physically and mentally.

So what to do? Well it’s simple.  We need to give ourselves a break and start to use our social media accounts in a healthy way.  Here is the 3 step plan to escaping the social media vampire and giving yourself some much needed rest and energy. I challenge you to try it with me this weekend and in the coming week to see how much of a difference it makes in your life.

Step 1 – Take a weekend break

Take a weekend off. Let your friends, colleagues and family know that if they want to contact you over a weekend then it’s sms and phone call only. Put the phone on charge and do something else. Give yourself a break and connect with people in person instead of over media.

Step 2 – Plan when to use your social media

For the first day just note down how many times you check your social media accounts in a day. Then have a look at your day and see when you can choose two periods of time that you can use on your social media account. (Three if you have a  work or business through social media.)

Step 3 – No, no and NO!

When you feel the itch to check into your social media outside of your planned times don’t. Tell yourself no and do something else. Get some support, tell people what you are up to and why. There are some great free programs on the tinterwebs that allow you to block certain web pages for a period of time and this really, really helps.

So I invite you to join me this week in the Social media free challenge. As soon as this article is up I will be telling all friends and family not to contact me on fb until sunday. And then I will be enjoying a weekend of hygge with Mr T with films and Yule markets.

Let me know how your challenge goes – I’ll check in with you on Sunday night

Have an awesome social media free weekend 🙂

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Improving your relationships : Part 3 – 8 tips for improving exsisting relationships, you get what you give (5 min read)

This is the final part in the 3 part series about how to improve your relationships. In part one we looked at the seed of any healthy relationship, the relationship with yourself. Last week we looked at the roots of growing a healthy relationship and this week we are going to talk about  how to create relationships that grow and blossom.

Starting a relationship is for the most part relatively easy. Whether with a lover, a friend or even a family member; there is an underlying attraction that draws people together. At the beginning. Often after the initial excitement the relationships energy trickles away.

Imagine two children on the playground they meet, find something in common, become best friends, the bestest ever best friends, two days later one of them meets another child and has a new best friend.

As adults our relationships often can and do follow a similar pattern (albeit over a longer period of time.) And after a while you may find yourself wondering where are these people who were once so special in your lives or why do your relationships start out with such promise and then turn into nothing. This is the point where you need to take action and get out of some destructive habits.

Someone once told me it takes more energy to work at having a healthy relationship than it does to make a successful business. And it’s true .However work does not need to be difficult, it can be easy when kept simple. You basically get what you give. With a little effort, patience and sometimes compromise your relationships will blossom. At the same time you will be able to identify if a relationship is good for you or not.

Here are 8 guidelines to having a healthy, happy relationship with anyone in your life – try them and enjoy the blossoming of beautiful relationships. For best results do this conciously with the person who you want to improve your relationship with, so you have the best chance.

(Remember these tips don’t just have to be for people you have an unhealthy relationship with, you can also use them to improve healthy relationships too !)

  1. Make time

In a busy daily life it’s easy to miss spending time with the people who matter to us. We often take the attitude that they know us so well that they will understand. However as I said in my previous article assumption is the mother of all fuckups. People do get fed up of being ignored and naturally drift away to find relationships where they are important to someone.  Mr T and I have increasingly busy lives, in fact some days we will only see each other for half an hour in the whole day. So we make a point of sitting down and eating dinner together every evening we are home, even if that is only for 15 minutes. It makes the opportunity for us to check in with each other. Another solution we have found is five minutes cuddle before sleep. And my favourite is date night. One evening a week just for us.

Of course not everyone can have the luxury of a whole evening together. For example my Mum and I live in different countries and our weekly time tables do not sync at all. However we make the effort to write to each other over facebook and skype once a month. So make time for your relationships, 5 minutes, fifteen minutes, an evening or once a month, it will make a massive difference with a minimum of effort.

2. Don’t expect – talk

Ugh Expectation. One of the major issues in every relationship. Have you ever planned an evening for you and someone special that was completely not how you wanted it to be and you ended up disappointed. Of course you have, we all have.

The challenge is that we all have our own expectations, they way we expect things to be. And we also have the expectation that those who know us  will automatically know and fulfill our expectations. Unfortunately they can’t. And at the same time they are expecting you to know and fulfill their expectations. A destructive catch 22. Or is it?

Of course its not break that cycle and tell them what you want. And ask them what they want. It’s really that simple. If you are going on a date or a holiday explain your expectations. I have an arrangement with Mr T that when I get upset about something he has to ask me do I want a ‘fix’ (a solution to the problem) or a ‘hug’ (comforting and listening). It saves the traditional “you’re not listening to me” conversation as a man tries to fix the problem while a woman pours her heart out.

Direct honest communication is a foundation to any relationship, explaining and discovering expectations takes communication to a healthier level.

3. Agreements

And this naturally brings us to agreements. Making an agreement and sticking to it goes a long way in any relationship. And I don’t just mean the we agree to meet at a certain time and place kind of agreements. I am talking about small agreements we can make to show others that they are important to us and that we are important to them. For example it could be that you like the bed to be made and your partner is the last person up so he does that and at the same time he loves smoothies so you make him one for breakfast and leave it in the fridge for him. Making an agreement is different to doing little random things to make people smile. It’s an agreement between two people that says I love you and I appreciate you, so even though I don’t care about the bed being made every day I do it to make you happy.

4. Compromise

Compromise. An oldie but a goodie. We are not all the same no matter how similar we might seem. Compromise is a nutrient to our relationships. It is a question of how important is it to be right or get our own way if this damages our relationship and hurts someone we care about. Suggesting a compromise solves arguments and discord. It is giving a little to create something stronger and more beautiful. However it is a two way thing, Both of you need to make compromises to balance the relationship.

5. Treat people how you want to be treated

It actually as straight forward as it sounds. Send out a loving vibration and it will get mirrored back to you. Fun Surprises, stupid notes in hidden places, an unexpected present or even a funny meme sent on facebook shows someone you care. The more you do it, the more they will do it for you. (And if they don’t then reconsider that relationship)

6. Sorry  and Forgiveness

We all argue. We all say hurtful things. We all hurt the people we love the most. For some reason it’s in our nature. Saying sorry should be the easiest thing in the world however sometimes it isn’t. You have to learn to let things go, it’s in a way the same as compromise. If you have done something to hurt someone, even if unintended say you are sorry.

At the same time if we hold on to something that hurts us we actually only hurt ourselves. If you want a person in your life that has hurt  you then you have to truely forgive them and tell them.

The best part about saying sorry and forgiving is the making up! Make sure you make up and create the happy energy between you, even if it’s just a tickle fight. Shifting the energy will make everything alright again.

7. Have fun, share experiences and make memories!

Not only is it important to spend time together, it is equally important to share experiences and make memories together. Of course this often happens naturally, however if you feel as though your relationship with someone is getting stuck in a rut then liven it up by making a memory together. I love this part. I especially like to do it on birthdays. They happen every year so if you try something new or do something lovely you will remember them all and make people happy.  Also try doing something you really want to do together. Last summer I invited my Mum and Brother Rob to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour. It had been years since we had last done something together as a family. Now we have had a day we will never forget. So shake things up and do something different together, it makes a memory that will keep you both smiling long after the actual day.

8. Check in with the status of your relationship

Throughout this series I have been using the metaphor of a plant to represent the healthy growth of a relationship. However there is one other important time to take into consideration, the time when the plant dies.  This does not necessarily mean that the relationship will die. After say 6 months  I use this as a metaphor for evaluation. What have my efforts manifested? It could be some of the things I have tried didn’t actually improve the relationship so I can drop those. Or it can be celebrating how my relationships have grown and blossomed in which cas it’s definitely a good idea to do this together.

However by conciously trying to improve your relationship with someone you may also have noticed that they are not putting in the same energy as you. It’s at this time you have to ask yourself is this reelationship healthy for me? Do I want this relationship in my life? Can this relationship be saved? (if so talk to the person and use some of the advice above) Or is this time to walk away from a relationship where I am not valued and find a relationship where I am. This is going to be a whole another topic for another article in the new year so if you need some help with this then keep your eyes peeled.

Give your relationship an evaluation after 6 months of using all the tips and advice in this series and see where the relationships in your life are going.

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So that’s the end  (for now)  of my series on improving relationships in 2016, more tips and advice will be coming your way in 2017.  Rememeber the basic road to improving your relationships are easy to remember just think of a plant’s cycle  the seed, the roots, the growth and the letting go.

Let me know how it’s going using these tools to grow a healthy relationship in your life and especially what you found the most useful in the comments below, or on the Re:root facebook page. And if you find something that works that isn’t on here, then please please share it so we can all benefit from your experience.

Have a lovely and loving week and just remember you give what you get, it’s that simple <3

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Improving your relationships – The roots of a healthy relationship in 6 easy steps (3 min read)

This is part 2 of the three part series on Improving your relationships. Last week was about you, this week it’s about other people.

The roots of a great relationship

People need other people. It’s the way we are made. We need each other to create, to support and to love. We need to connect and to be important to someone. Baumeister and Leary claim that human beings are “naturally driven toward establishing and sustaining belongingness.” As we all know relationships can be some of the most fantastic experiences in the world and some of the worst. It’s up to us to make them wonderful!

Last week we looked at your relationship with yourself, the most important of all. The seed from which every other relationship comes. But now it’s time to look further to grow the roots of your relationships. A relationship isn’t just between lovers, it’s between every one you are close to. If you grow deep healthy roots in your relationships you will be stronger and happier in your life. It’s as simple as that!

I know, I know  it sounds hellishly complicated, however I promise you it’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact in 6 easy steps you can grow the roots of healthy relationships with anyone in your life.

Know your boundaries

In any relationship you will have to make compromises so it’s important to know your boundaries, to know what you want, how you want to be treated. To know what you will and won’t accept. By loving yourself you know that you deserve to be respected. 

Remember this doesn’t just go one way. Other people have different boundaries and these also need to be respected. You may have heard the saying we hurt the people we love the most. Unfortunately it is true so you need to think about how you would like to treat them.

Think of a relationship you already have or one you want to have .Write a description of that relationship describing how it will be in the future. How can it be a healthy, respectful and caring relationship.

Don’t assume

An ex taught me the phrase “Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups”. It’s true. We know our internal world so well,that we often forget that people can’t read our internal dialogue. We know  exactly how we want to be loved and yet we forget that this is not always obvious. Stop assuming and start explaining. Instead of taking offence, ask if the person meant to offend. Explain to a loved one how you would like them to help you when you are having a hard time. And yes this does work with children and colleagues too. (Obviously with a change in how you use your language). However remember that this goes both ways so invite the other person to explain their inner world. It is a new habit to train, but once in place makes life sooo much easier.

Forget about perfection

In any relationship there will be challenges. People are different and we can’t always get along. So don’t expect otherwise. What you can do is choose how to respond to these situations. Do you react or respond? Can you agree to disagree? And most importantly can you take the move to communicate and heal the situation. In a healthy relationship our egos have to be put aside for them to work.

If this is not possible you then have to ask yourself how important is this relationship in my life, does it serve me and the other person. If not you know what to do..

Be honest

Healthy relationships just don’t work without honesty. If something is bugging you about the other person and they ask you what is wrong, don’t answer “nothing”. How is that supposed to help? The problem can’t be fixed if you don’t explain what it is. And obviously lying is a complete NO GO!

Be kind and loving

It sounds stupid to mention it but be kind and loving. We often forget to be kind to those we love or are close to. Kindness with no thought of a return goes a long way. After all it’s the little things in life that count after all. Mr T for example today posted on Facebook how proud he is that I passed and exam. It meant so much to me and has made me feel happy all day 😀

And laugh!

Laughing, taking time for each other and making it important to have fun with the people in your lives is what makes wonderful memories and  relationship so worthwhile. So arrange to have some fun with someone you care about and be as silly as you can!

Find someone who you want to improve or build a relationship this week and try the six steps. It’s amazing how our relationships can be enriched with a little effort.

Tune in next week to find out how to grow and blossom your relationships until then have a wonderful week getting closer to the people you love.

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#lifelessons101: December without stress (2 min read)

The Christmas lights are going up everywhere, the shops are full of songs and adverts with pictures of relaxed happy people drinking hot chocolate around the perfect yuletide fire surround us.  Well if you are like I used to be then although these pictures light up your inner child’s face, your outer grown is saying “naaaargggh I only have 23 days!”.  Relaxing and enjoy the winter hibernation is unfortunately a casualty of our modern life time where pre Christmas deadlines and commercialism dominates.

But does it have to be? Of course not! Winter is one of nature’s most beautiful seasons and hibernating is important to our physical and mental well being. I know you have a million and one things to do, buy and make BUT my friends if you turn your christmas planning around, prioritising you and activities that give you energy, life this month will go flowing by without the need to drink 3 bottles of the christmas Sherry before you get to Christmas Eve!

Don’t believe me then try my guide to upside down december planning, I know that you will have more energy, be relaxed and revitalised.

What gives you energy

Sounds strange but bear with me. Just make a quick list of everything that gives you energy.  A walk, a bath, reading, meditation, watching tv or even cuddeling. Make a list.

What do you have to do?

Now the slightly overwhelming part, what do you have to do? Again make a list of what you have to do. Try and group the activities so for example if you have to buy presents in different shops can you bundle it together easily. And double check your list do you really need to do all of these things, can you eliminate of delegate tasks?

Keep it simple

Look at the task you have to do. What can you make easier? Do you have to go out and shop for food and presents or can you buy on the internet and delivered to your door. If you have to bake do you have a friend who needs to make a hundred mince pies, pebernødder and so on, well then can you do it together, half the work double the fun!

Make a list of important dates leading up to New Year’s Day

What needs to be finished at work before the holidays? Which days so you have parties, family dinners etc. Check that if you have anything to do for these events you have it on your to do list

Putting it all together

Now to make your battle plan. Firstly print of a december month table from the internet (and make sure the boxes are big).

Firstly Energy boost

First divide your day into 3 parts morning, lunchtime/afternoon and evening.  

For mornings and afternoons lunchtime/afternoons find a quick activity from your list that gives you a 5 ro a  30 min energy boost or time out. Write them into the relevant parts of you day EVERY DAY

What you have to do

Firstly plot in your activities into your calendar

Divide what you have to do for christmas into 15 parts and plot them in.

After every day of doing events plot a christmas free day me day- these are days where you just do something good for you.

(Free day me day – free me day is a day just for you and it’s important you take them because as december gathers speed you are going to need them!

Have a wonderful december with a minimum of stress and a maximum of fun 😀

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Now group your have to do tasks into the number of days you have left after your freeday me days and your events.

Plot them into the calender as you see fit. Remember if you don’t have enough days delegate or drop them.

DON’T do more than one task a day if you can help it and definitely NOT more than two

And that’s it now you have a rough battle plan follow it. Take breaks when you need to, make having fun as much as a priority as getting stuff done and remember to make this as nice for you as you do for others.

And Voila! a Christmas month with less stress more energy and happier memories.

Have a lovely December!