I don’t have time to be ill ! – The benefits of taking care of you(2 min read)

I have been really on point of late. I have been reaching my goals creating new ones and taking all opportunities life has thrown at me. Of course that means I have had no time so when my body decided it wanted a break it shouted very loudly and I have been flat on my back for a week. In fact I am gonna be here for a few more weeks -yay! My first reaction, after the initial three days of mugginess, was simply ‘I don’t have time for this!’ As an ambitious self employed person my business and progress depends upon me and me alone. And yet as my business is life coaching what kind of coach would I be if I didn’t take this opportunity to listen to the universe and learn from my experiences.

And what have I found out?  Simply that in today’s busy work culture there are many of us that feel that we don’t have time to be ill. We push, and push, and hop out of the sick bed as quickly as we can to get back on the treadmill. However realistically this just turns us into a person working at half of our capacity. We we aren’t working properly then our business isn’t going to work properly. Now if we want to be efficient with our time the best thing we can do when we are ill is to stop stressing about what we think we should be doing and put our energy into healing ourselves as efficiently and completely as possible.

So if illness has jumped up and knocked you down try these tips to get you off your sick bed in the best of health as quickly as possible.

Reschedule EVERYTHING

Get your diary out and reschedule everything for a week from now. If you can’t reschedule then delegate to someone else. Your clients and business partners will understand if you explain that you would rather be working at full capacity to do your job at your best and give the best service. Allow yourself a week to recuperate. Then make sure the first few days back at work are working from home. The meetings you have are on the phone so you can work from home. It helps. People are a lot more considerate than you give them credit for and honestly if you have something that can be passed on people won’t thank you for sharing your germs.

Flop like you did as a child

Being an adult (or a child) and being ill is frustrating and often boring. However we most of us have memories of illness from childhood of the things we did when we were ill. Allow your inner child to lead you. For me that meant a few days of 1950s musical marathon and toasted cheese sandwiches. Whatever you did when you were a child to amuse yourself on your sick bed then do that. It helps. 

Avoid Social Media

Avoid social media it’s frustrating. I mean who wants to look at posts of everyone else reminding you of what you could be doing. Switch off for at least 48 hours and give yourself a break. Your body and mind needs it.

Eat for your health

Due to the wonderful art of google-fu knowledge is at your fingertips. There are plenty of helpful websites out there that will tell you what you need to eat to boost your immune system and help heal whatever it is ailing you. I don’t recommend this as an alternative to doctors advise but it doesn’t help to give your body the chance it needs and the ammunition it needs to recover.

Call in the cavalry

Some of us are lucky to have a helpful partner to lift the slack and take over the reins when we are ill. I have been the most fortunate girl in the world to have Mr T who has been the most dedicated nurse in this last week. However if you are not so lucky call in the cavalry to help with the daily tasks of cleaning, washing and making food. People like to help and you would of course do the same for them. Just one word of advice make sure you are clear about what type of help you need. People often like to help how they want to help so get clear about who and how before you ask.

Take the easy road back

Once you have had your week go slow on the way back. You can’t expect to get up with the same energy you had before. Take it slow. Try half days, early nights and a few weeks of low activity. There is no point in winding up flat on your back again and believe me it hurts more the second time. Healing takes time so give it time. You can’t achieve anything with a half rusty motor so give yourself the time you need to get your oil changed.

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It’s so easy to put ourselves and our bodies needs second when we are striving to get to the top or make ends meet. However without you nothing is going to get achieved. If you want half-hearted success then do it when you are run down. If you want peak performance then let your body rest when the universe tells you it needs it. After all the next time it decides to tell you to take a risk it might be a lot more painful. Keep in mind the benefits for business of taking care of yourself reap the best rewards. And by putting yourself and your bodies needs first you are showing the world how much you respect yourself, which will inspire everyone else to respect you too!

Get better soon xx

 

You can't pour from anempty cup

De stress before your summer holidays!

I don’t know about you but for years June has been one hectic, pressure pot waiting to explode, then at the end the glorious summer holidays arrived and I, would collapse. Worn out to the edges and totally over stretched when my body finally got told it was ok to crash, it did. Teachers I know especially can relate to this. Somehow as a teacher all the bugs you have been fighting off all year tend to hit you the first day of the holidays.

This year is going to be different. I have 2 and a half weeks until my summer starts so I am going into holiday mode now. This year instead of running on overdrive up until summer I intend to wind down slowly, consciously and get the most out of this precious time out as possible.

How to do it ? Well just follow these easy tips and slide gently into your summer chillax mode:

Know you have time

Yes you have deadlines. Whether it is the shopping for the summer holidays or the corporate merger meeting before your plane takes off to Bali. Know you only have a limited amount of time and that you will achieve what you CAN and NEED to achieve in that time.  make a list of your deadlines and then prioritize in the following way

A: What needs to be done now

B: What can someone else do – delegation

C; What can wait until I get back

Delegate and then focus on the A tasks.

Incorporate you time into your day

15 minutes you time a day will help with your wind down and will give you the energy to get the last things done. Try and take it midway throughout the day. 15 minutes meditation, yoga, nap, walk outside (in nature- it’s definitely the best) or reading will help your body and mind wind down,

For even better results plan a day off before the summer, and I mean a day off, no cleaning, no I have to I should dos. Nada! if you can’t manage a day try two evenings. Any break time you can give yourself do it, your body needs this.

Sleep

Get to bed earlier than you normally do. If you are over stretched then you need your sleep. It truly is one of the best healers in the world. Go to bed 30 mins earlier than usual. If you cannot sleep read or talk to your partner. I find doing mindfulness colouring books in bed (something I have done ever since childhood) is a great wind down. Just make sure you switch off all phones laptops, tvs and tablets. Make the last 30 mins to an hour of your day for you.

Plan your summer holidays

Motivation is what we need. So loosely planning your holidays and how you will use your free time will help your to get motivated and at the same time make sure your get the break you need when you get there. I plan to have the first two days of summer holidays to wind down. I have the usual cleaning, washing and a workshop to write but I am putting those on day 5 and 6. The first 4 days are for me. Then I am going to have a few days to enjoy being at home before packing and hitting the road. My wonderful friend once showed me her first day of summer holidays ritual. She made a poster with all of her things she wanted and had to do on it. She had a great time with it. Putting on glitter glue and drawing, her kid makes one too. With champagne in one hand and glitter in the other this is the start of her summer. However you plan your holidays just make sure there are some nothing days. Completely unadulterated days with no plans and complete freedom.

 

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Start your wind down to summer this week and feel the benefits of arriving on holiday stress free and ready to enjoy your freedom, however you choose to do it!

Relax Unwind

#lifelessons101 – So halfway through 2017 how are your new year’s resolutions going? (2 min read)

Ahh June! In some ways I love you and some ways I hate you. Mid point of the year and just before the summer holidays life is busy and pressured, yet the promise of the holidays coming hangs in the air. A combination simultaneous of stress and hope. However as it is the midway throughout the year June is a great time to check in with your New Year’s resolutions. I mean how is it going? My vision board is full of beautiful healthy pictures of food and people doing yoga and yet as I write to you I haven’t trained all week and I am eating vegan bacon chips.

Ho hum, time to go back and check in with this year’s goals. Checking in actually is one of the best ways to motivate yourself and especially before a holiday.  Why? Getting connected with your goals, refocusing before taking a break gives you the time to clear your head and clear away the clutter before taking a re-energising break. After the summer hols you can return to your plans refreshed and raring to go.

Actually checking your progress is a scientifically proved to increases your chances of reaching your goals. Lead author Benjamin Harkin, PhD, of the University of Sheffield has conducted a conducted a meta-analysis of 138 studies comprising 19,951 participants that looked at the effectiveness of an intervention or treatment designed to prompt participants to monitor their goal progress. They found that prompting participants to monitor their progress toward a goal increased the likelihood that the participants would achieve that goal.

So pull that dusty list out of your diary and check in with yourself before your summer break. If you are not sure how then follow these easy steps.

 Do a review of your goals on paper:

Do I want to realize this goal?

Look at the goal you set for yourself. Is it still relevant? Does your life need this right now? Does this goal seem realistic? Is your goal measurable? Is this goal in line with your life vision? Do some brainstorming / free writing around these questions. If you have made a list of steps to take to your goals then you can colour code the relevance of this goal or stage. For example right now making 4 completely new vegetarian recipes a month is unfeasible however concentrating on a regular eating routine is manageable.

How am I doing, what’s my progress?

If you worked with my steps to making New Year’s resolutions that last you will remember than one part of the process is defining the steps you will take to reach your goals. So where are you now? How many of the steps have you completed? Cross off the completed steps on your list. If you haven’t created steps or actions then free write which actions you have taken.

Adapt your goal

Some of your goals may have changed. Some might not be relevant or there has been a life circumstance that has changed your desired outcome. Look at your goals and see if you need to adapt your original goal.Write out your the adapted goals clearly so you can hold on to your vision.

Give yourself  a measurable unit to achieve your goal.

Have a look at each of your goals and define when you want to be complete with the goal or complete with the actions on the way to the goal. Make sure you prioritize your list. Somethings will need to be done now somethings can be left to August or later in the year.  

Call in the cavalry.

Get some help. Accountability is the best way to keep on task. Ask someone to act as your accountability partner. Let them know the goals and time frame you are working within. Ask them to help you keep on track. You can agree on a weekly telephone call or dates for them to contact you. And remember to reward yourself when you succeed. Arrange a celebration with someone for complete the assignments you have given yourself.

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Once you have organised your goals then put your dates in the diary and then get yourself ready for a holiday. Relax and rejuvenate and get ready to come back freshen and motivated!

BE Proud of your progress

Need more time, just plan your day and free yourself!

Planning. I know, I know we hear it all the time. If you plan your day life is simpler. I used to rail at the idea. I was absolutely no-one is going to tell me what to do, even if it is me telling me what to do! I wanted spontaneity. And I got it. Things popped up sporadically constantly and eventually I got bogged down by the chaos. In fact I got trapped by it. Ironically by not structuring my life I lost the very freedom I had been fighting to maintain. And along came the opportunity to structure my life and my days. And voila within a month or two I had more time, more energy, more breaks and was 10 times more effective. I felt freer than I had done for years. And I felt, and still do feel; in charge of my life, what’s not to love!

So how do you take charge and start to make order of the chaos? Well there are many brilliant books out there that will help you do this. My personal favourite is Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, an absolute master of planning. Not only does he offer effective and simple ways to organise your day, he advocates smart energy use which offers flexibility and the opportunity for spontaneity to come into one’s planning. And that really is the key to being organised is to be structured and flexible. I have used my system for at least 10 years now and I find it really helps keep me focused and has the added bonus of showing me my achievements every month. Here I outline the basic strategy I use. It sounds a lot at first but once you put this system in place it soon becomes a quick and easy habit and makes so much of a difference to your time and energy in the day.

My 3 part daily planning system

You might be thinking 3 parts wh, what! But don’t worry you don’t need to make 3 to do lists per day.  

Step 1 – The month list

The first part of the system comprises of making a monthly list of everything that you need to get done that month. And I am not just talking about what you have to do. I am also talking about the things you want to do. I have a notebook in which every month I use only 2 pages to fill out what I want and have to do that month. I divide it into sub headings of Work, Life (doctors etc), Me and Social. The Me part is really important it is sooo easy to forget ourselves in the planning so make you a focus.

Step 2 – The weekly list

The second part of my system is the weekly list. Every Monday with my morning barley coffee, I sit and make a week list from my month list.  Its actually really satisfying to cross off what I have achieved in my notebook and write a list for my desk for the whole week. I get to check in with my progress and remind myself how awesome I am for achieving so much!

Step 3 – The daily structure

The last and final part is the daily plan. I actually have a table I made in word and have printed off so I can fill it out ( I love the old fashioned pen and paper) however you could do this on the computer or via an app. I simply block out my day in time slots and fill in the appropriate actions using my week list.  The form I have made has areas pre-made for breaks and relaxation such as my 30 mins reading before bed or 15 mins in the massage chair when I get home.

After this I just follow my day’s plan. It really is as simple as that. Of course sometimes things go wrong or the unexpected happens so adjust. The important thing to remember is the 70% rule.

The 70% rule of planning

I got taught this by a danish pædagog. He said that it is almost impossible to achieve 100% of our goals per day, everyday. Expecting this is setting ourselves up for a fail and we eventually lose motivation. So his take on it is that by achieving 70% on our days wish list that is the same as achieving 100% of all our goals. It should be thought of as being the same accomplishment and having the same value as a 100%. By doing this it relaxes the mind. You feel less stressed by knowing its ok to achieve only 70% and after while you find that you are actually achieving much more than 70% but without stress.

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Taking 5 to 10 mins every day to know what you are going to do and when in your day makes life easier. It frees you from the task of remembering everything in your head and frees you from making decisions when you are tired later in the day. By using the 70% rule and checking off your lists you become more grounded and conscious of your achievements. And if you plan for it you find that you will free up your time so that you too can enjoy your journey, re-energise and relax when you need it. Take 5 minutes for you today and see how much easier it can be when you make a plan.

Plan your life like you will live foreverLive your life like it will end tomorrow

#lifelessons101-When the sh*t hits the fan, stop running and read these 6 tips to help you turn it around (2 min read)

Sometimes things go wrong. It’s part of life. Actually its an important part of life that can bring us new possibilities. However when shit hits the fan it is a natural reaction to panic and run away, yet in the long run that gets you nowhere. Take it from one who knows, the problems follow you. At the same time when everything is going wrong it can demotivate you so much that you want to give up. What does that achieve? Well nothing. So when the shit hits the fan what can you do to ride the wave and bring your life back into harmony?

Here are six tips on how to take stock and take control of the runaway train in your life and come back into the flow.

Stop running

Firstly stop running. When things go wrong we can often keep pushing against the tide of chaos. A bit like a hamster on a tread wheel. It is exhausting and counterproductive. Stop. In order to see and solve a problem you need to get objective. So stop pushing against the tide and get some perspective.

Get objective

Whatever the problem is you need to break it down into edible chunks. Take a step back and get out your notepad and start to analyse. Ask yourself what exactly is the problem? What are the consequences of the problem? How do you want the situation to look? Sometimes just writing it down helps you to create structure in the chaos. And when you take a step back solutions will present themselves.

See the positive and learn

Although something has gone wrong, there will also at the same time be things that are going well. Make a list of what is going well and what is not. It can help to rebuild your motivation when you actually see in the midst of a crisis there is still things working. Looking at the positive and the negative will give you the opportunity to learn from the situation. I have a saying “Nothing is a bad experience if I can learn from it”, so use this as a learning opportunity.

What needs to be done ASAP

In a crisis situation there are things that need to be dealt with straight away and things that you can take your time over. Make a plan of the actions you need to take to solve the situation. Then look at each one and decide what needs to be done now and what you can leave until later on. Then follow your plan.

Take a break

Stress is one of the most demotivating factors in a crisis. With our body in fight or flight mode we are running on adrenaline and consequently cannot work at an optimal level. Take a break. At least 24 hours where you do something else and focus on something else. If you can do some exercise. It helps your body release the stress hormones and gives you dopamine improving not only your energy but your mood as well.

Trust and look for the opportunities that come your way

In any situation, especially a crisis, there is only so much you can do. Sometimes you have to sit back and cross your fingers. When you have done what you can to solve a situation you can simply do no more. At this time you have to be honest with the people involved, let them know you have done your best and look for the opportunities that come your way.

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Shitting hitting the fan can create crisis but it is our reaction to it that can turn it from a negative situation to a positive one. After all a crisis can sometimes be the catalyst to open up a whole new avenue of possibilities, you just need to be open to them.

If you are having a bad time of it right now. Don’t give up or runaway. Take stock and create a clear plan of action. Nothing is impossible and I know you can turn this situation around to be a fantastic opportunity for you.

Your Setback

 

 

How to relax when the pressure is on! 5 easy ways to relax in only 15 minutes (2 minute read)

So here we are at the start of June. I don’t know about you, but I often find that this month is one of the busiest and most tiring of the year. If you are at school then exams are looming, at work there are deadlines to be finished before the holidays. Everywhere people are rushing about like worker ants determined to have everything place before that precious resting time of the year the glorious holidays. In a way this hive of activity is completely natural as in the wheel of the year we are coming closer and closer to the height of the summer, the summer solstice. However if we don’t want to crash and burn when it comes to our holidays we need to make sure we remember to take breaks and relax. After all life is all about enjoying the journey and what better time to enjoy it than when the sun is shining!

So for those of you, who like me are feeling a little overwhelmed with all of this activity here are my tips for helping you to make time, infact only 15 minutes a day to relax and recharge during the pre summer rush!

Spend your time wisely

As Tony Schwartz, the founder and CEO of the Energy Company says “Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.”  Just as I recommended at Yule planning the month or time up until the holidays is the best way to get what you need to do done without burning yourself out. For ideas look at the Yule planning guide. Try and see if you can set a block of time aside to do something rather than doing five minutes here and there. Having the time to immerse yourself in a task will get it done quicker. 15 minutes of planing for the month is gonna save you a lot of time and stress during the month.

Plan breaks

In your monthly planning plan your break times first. There is only one you and you need to take care of you, otherwise you ain’t gonna be going anywhere or doing anything. Remember the art of not doing anything promotes prosperity. Take a break. Give yourself 15 minutes every day just to unwind and recharge and you will soon notice the difference.

Re charge on sleep

The pace of life we set for ourselves today is unsustainable. When I first moved to Scandinavia I was surprised the the concept of the afternoon nap is socially acceptable for all ages of adults, as well as children. To me it was a waste of time. Yet I have discovered the power of forty winks in the middle of the day is actually one of the best lifestyle treatments you can give yourself (with the added bonus of being free!)  Arianna Huffington  co-founder and editor of the Huffington Post says “Sleep makes us more productive, creative, less stressed and much healthier and happier,”  and she, as “sleep evangelist” ,believes this so wholeheartedly that she provides places for her employees to power nap at work and other companies are following her lead. Book yourself a power nap everyday. Even as a busy Mum it’s possible just get the whole family involved and introduce power napping to the daily routine.

Get outside

Nature is one of the best possible re energisers. It’s official. Rochester university has done extensive research to find out that “Nature is fuel for the soul, “.Nature energises us, making us more resilient even to illnesses.Research showed that 90% of the participants felt more energised after 15 mins in nature. So instead of reaching for another coffee go to the park on your lunch break or take the kids for a walk after school.

Have time in the sun

Right now the sun is shining and this does wonders for us. Humans and the sun have a relationship that is similar to a solar panel. The sun’s rays actually helps lower blood pressure and increases oxygen content in our blood. The increase in our vitamin D actually strengthens our brain’s cognitive functions and helps the part of our brain which stores our memories! And of course on sunny days our brains make more serotonin which makes us feel happy. So while we have the sun around us get outside and recharge (although do remember to use sun block etc). 15 sunny minutes can make a huge difference during a busy day.

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Use your 15 minutes wisely. If you can’t do any of the above one of the simplest ways to relax is to have 15 minutes on no connection. No phones, computer no nothing with anyone else, just you. Make a commitment to making relaxing important this month and give yourself the gift of 15 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to cost anything however you will gain the boost you need to get you to the summer holidays without wearing yourself down.

On that note it’s power nap time – Have a relaxing and productive week !

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