An easy ABC guide to making self-love a daily practise

One of my goals for this year is to work on my self-love and build self-love into my life routine. Luckily the internet has a mountain of advice and inspiration. However, a lot of it is very vague. I understand, and practice, the art of non-negative thinking. I remind myself to stop the guilt cycles and use gratitude regularly. And from this intermittent focus, I know that I love and appreciate myself more. I am more comfortable with who I am and where I am in my life. Yet something is still lacking.

Self-love needs to be something we can realize and feel on a daily basis. I realized recently that my self-love attempts we effective, but sporadic. I want to have a stronger foundation in loving myself- who doesn’t? And the only way to get better at anything is to focus and to practice. Like anything else in life if we make it important we focus on it and grow.  So I have decided to take the next step, level up at self-love, by making the art of self-love a daily practice.

Now as those of you who are regulars at Re:root know, I love practical actions. I think doing something practical enhances our focus and makes for a great reminder (albeit daily or weekly) to focus on personal growth. And like most of you, I have a busy schedule. So I needed to create a daily self-love practice which didn’t eat into my schedule but was manageable and easy to implement. Sounds impossible? Well with a little prep and commitment it’s as easy as ABC. If you would like to boost your self-love a little every day, here is a practical guide you can use to initiate your self-love journey.

A:  Analyse your options

First, do a little google-fu (or check out some of the self-love ideas on my blog by searching under self love) and find some inspiration of self-love practices you would like to try. Some of my favorites are:

However, there are millions of ideas out there so dig deep and find a bunker of inspiration. Now write all of your ideas down. And note what are things you could easily do on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis.

B: Build your practice

Now build a practice up for this month. Don’t try to do it all at once. I would recommend adding one simple self-practice into your morning routine and another into your after work/ end of the day routine. In your week try to add one bigger self-love practices and in your calendar plan one of the biggest self-love activities you would like to try. So you could end with a plan that looks like this

Daily:

Mirror work in the morning.

Give me a hand massage on the way home from work

Weekly:

Buy me flowers or give myself a facemask

Monthly:

Have an evening at home with a good book, music, nice food, candles and wine. Write me a love letter.

Try out different activities and find out what works for you.

C: Choose and continue

After a few weeks, you will have found what works in your life rhythm. So choose the activities that fit, that you like and that gives you the biggest boost of self-love and then simply continue your practice. Keep self-love activities an important feature of your to-do list and weekly planning. By making it important to love ourselves we show other people how much we respect ourselves and they will begin to mirror that behavior in the way they deal with you.

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Self-love takes time and dedication. You cannot get up one morning and say now I love myself completely and implicitly. However, with regular practice you will find that eventually loving yourself is as second nature as breathing. May 1st is the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, the festival of love. So I have decided to give myself a self-love boost with an intensive week of self-love practice just because I can! I can highly recommend it as a way of checking in and kick-starting a journey of making your relationship with yourself the most important one you have. Let me know in the comments your favorite self-love practices and lets’ inspire each other in love.

Have a beautiful week <3

To fall in lovewith yourselfis the first secret tohappiness (1)

#lifelessons101 -My Tips and tricks for healthy time management (3 min read)

Time is our most valuable asset. We all feel as though we don’t have enough of it and we all want more. However the fact is that you can’t get more, there are only 24 hours in the day. And everyone on the planet has exactly the same amount of it. Kind of mind-boggling when you of you think of it like that. So how is it some people seem to have bags of time to spare and some people are always playing catch up? The answer is simple. Time management. The theme of this week’s focus has been time management and one Monday I showed you a week by week process of how you can become a master at time managing and give yourself “more time” by planning your time. (Read on here…)

It’s great to find a system to help you with time management. However, managing your time is as much a  mindset as it is a practice. So this week #lifelesson101 is full of tips and tricks I have found that changed my mindset to improve both time usage and time management skills.

Use your surplus time

You might be thinking what surplus time?! We all do in fact have time that we can put to better use it just takes changing your attitude to it and being aware of the opportunities. So have a look at your day. Where are you surplus time blocks? Travelling to work? Eating breakfast? The 45 mins between ending work and picking up the kids. These small points during the day can become great assets if we use them wisely. Breakfast time is a great point to throw in day planning activities, listening to podcasts or checking your email (no answering just checking). Commuting time can be used for ringing people on personal errands or just time to relax in an otherwise busy life. I love how my 2 hours commute became me-time when I live outside of and worked in Copenhagen so much that I actually avoided people I knew on the train to get that time to myself! When your plans go awry and suddenly you have some surplus time ask yourself how can I best use this time?

Energy patterns

You might not be aware of it, however, our physical energy usage has a pattern to it. And being aware of your energy makes for productive time management. For me, Thursdays are the day of the week where I have least energy so I minimize what I need to do on a  Thursday. Over a few weeks make a record in a diary of how you use your time and your energy levels. I recommend using the 1 (lots of energy) to 10 (no energy system). Just pop keywords in your diary and then note your energy down three times a day with a number. After 14 days have a look at your recordings and see if you can see a pattern. Knowing what you can and can’t do on certain days means you won’t plan in a way that pushes you into overwork mode.

Write it down

Whether you do this manually or digitally write your time management plans down. I use a combination of the two. I have a monthly to-do list in a book, a handwritten week schedule and then my favorite to do list app (Todoist) for my daily list. The point is you need to put your plans somewhere so you can free up your brain to focus on doing what you need to do.

Prioritise

Prioritise your time (and please relate it to how much energy you have). I recommend using the ABCDF system which is my own interpretation of Brian Tracey’s  ABCDE Priority system. It works as follows

A= has to be done today

B= can be done tomorrow

C= can be done next week

D= delegate

F= Forget it (this is not necessary right now)

However, I insist that when you use this system that A tasks also include self-care/ family time. We often tend to set work as an A task however you are the most important thing in your life. Without you these things won’t get done.  I use the 2 to 1 ratio. 2 A tasks for others (work/family etc) means one more A task to take care of me.

Do the worst thing first

We all have that big task hanging over us we keep putting off. Just get it done. Seriously nothing will make you feel better, lighter and happier than getting it out of the way. And when it’s done reward yourself by doing something you find fun!

Remember downtime

Take breaks. As I said earlier the commuting time might just be that you get 15  mins a day to read a book or talk with a friend. If you don’t plan and give yourself breaks you won’t have the time to recharge. If you are working on something that takes a lot of concentration take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes to keep yourself at optimal energy level. You can use apps such as Tide to help you remember when and how long for you need to take breaks.

Plan your social life as well as your work life

In a busy lifestyle it is easy to remember to plan work stuff, but it is easy to forget about your social life. How many parents out there schedule their children’s social activities but not their own? Pop social events into your calendar. Remember to include a skype or phone conversation with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time once a month.  Make sure your social activities are planned with breaks in between so you don’t get overloaded, or worse become that person that is always canceling. Buy planning your social life you keep it important.

Get support (remember to delegate or ask for help)

Being able to ask for help and delegate are two of the most important things we all need to learn. You are not a superhero (even though sometimes you are). Let me correct that,  you are not a superhero every day. Superheroes also need help, that’s why they have sidekicks. Delegating some of your load and asking for help when you need it is going to make your life easier and make sure you get more done. Your friends and family want to help and you’d do it for them. So ask.  

Saying yes to something means saying no to something else

As an entrapreneur this is hard to stomach. However, it is important to realise that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. As we said before time is infinite. You have to pick and choose your activities. Being aware of this simple fact will make you very conscious of when to say yes and when to say no. Use your ‘Yes’ wisely.

Remember you can’t do everything

Be kind to yourself. Time management is not about stressing you out or making you feel guilty for not doing things. The best-laid plans can go wrong. Life throws a curveball quite often. And we don’t have the same level of energy every day. So if you don’t manage everything it’s ok. I use the 70% is equal to 100% guideline. If I have done 70% of my days’ tasks I am happy with myself. Less than 30% is not the time to start beating myself up about not doing stuff. Less than 30% is a sign that I need to check in with myself and see if I am ok or not. It’s ok not to be able to do everything and if you aren’t able to do much then take care of yourself and your needs first.

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If you have a time management tip or trick that works for you please share it in the comments below. That way we can help ourselves and each other to make the most of the time we have

Have a great weekend <3  

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Lengthen your day with time management

Finally, the days are getting longer. The sun is shining and our spirits are lifted. However, for some, life still feels like a constant treadmill of never-ending tasks. There is never enough time to do all you need to do let alone, to do want to do. You can relate I’m sure. I have had many clients in the last few weeks who feel this way. They all want to be more productive. To step off the treadmill and feel energized and most of all have time to spare. The impossible dream right? Wrong!

The simple fact is that either the day runs you, or you run your day. If you want to have more time you need to be the boss of your day. And that means a structure, routines, and planning. I can feel some of you out there cringing. The idea of following a structure seems unnatural and constricting. However, I promise you that by consciously structuring your life and building routines you will actually free yourself up and give yourself even more time. Now I can also hear some of you saying I don’t have time to sit down and plan my day, week or month. To you, I say you these few minutes a day will give you more time than you thought possible.

Time management is one of the most common challenges I solve with coaching. And one of the things to keep in mind is that there is no one fix formula that works for everyone. We are all different and therefore we need different systems. Some of us like to keep things regimented, some like more flexibility. Some people have a system but don’t know how to prioritize. Some people just need a regular routine. If you want more time I have a sure-fire strategy that will help you to approach the challenge of lengthening your day and creating more time for yourself in only 6 weeks. And why 6 weeks I hear you ask? Because to make the long-lasting change, you need to make strong foundations. 6 weeks gives you enough time to find out what works for you and how to fit it into your life. Here is the 6-week strategy to get you started.

Lengthen your day 6 week  strategy

Week 1: Create some routines

Have a look at your week. Write it down, What tasks do you have to do every week. How often do you do these things now and how often do you have to do them? If you shop for food every day, could you cut it down to 3 times a week or once a week? Can you do your washing in one day or two? Do you really have to hoover daily or can you do this once a week? Does it take time to decide what to make for dinner? Can you make a food plan or pre-make the weeks food on a Sunday? Make a week scheme for your weekly tasks. Put this somewhere you can see it and try it out. You may find you need to play with it a bit over the next few weeks to make it fit in a natural way but keep going. Routines save so much time. Keep this habit routine for the full 6 weeks.

Week 2: To do lists

Each morning at breakfast make a todo list. (Personally, I find it helpful to make a weekly to-do list just so I have a place to store all the things I have to remember and then I make my daily lists from this). Don’t overbook yourself. 3 to 5 things to start off with is fine. Don’t worry if you don’t get everything done. 70% achieved is perfect anything above that is a bonus. If you only manage one thing then check in with yourself. Do you need a break?

I highly recommend prioritizing your task load. Using a system such as ABCDF (see Step 4) or the Spoons theory (This is a system for people with mental health issues that ANYONE can use, just create your own spoons system). Both are great ways to check in with your time and energy. And use it productively.  

Week 3 and 4:  Try a time management technique

There are lots of great systems to help you manage your time. Choose one of the following and do it for two weeks. People say 14 days is enough time to create a new habit. I say it’s enough time to try out a new habit and see if you like it or not. Review the system you chose. Does it work? Can you tweak it to make it fit your life better? Or does it simply not work for you?

Time blockinghttps://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/ (Some of my clients like to block the hours to specific tasks others like to use colors to block out the day and then choose their tasks)

Todist aphttps://en.todoist.com/app?lang=en (I love this app, it has improved my efficiency 100%)

Do it tomorrow – Try Mark Foster’s simple and effective system https://www.time-management-success.com/how-to-improve-time-management.html

Zen to Done– a habit changing, flexible system

https://zenhabits.net/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-productivity-system/

 

Week 5 to 6: Try another time management technique

So if you have found a way to tweak last weeks system then try out the new version. If it hasn’t worked for you then try a different technique. Don’t forget to review it. By now your routine will be formed and you will have better prioritizing skills. You may find that that is enough for you to have more time. You may find that you really benefit from using a specific system.


Now all you have to do is continue the great habits you have formed in the last few weeks and enjoy the extra time you have on your hands and do something you really want to do. Or alternatively kick back relax and do nothing at all!  Tune in on Friday for this weeks #lifelesson101 with tried and tested tips and tricks for easing into healthy time management and creating the time you want!

Have a great week <3

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#lifelessons101 – Recovering quickly from a conflict at work in 8 minutes

This week I had the horrible experience of having an unexpected conflict with an almost stranger. I had begun a new contract and one of the employees I was working with decided to be very angry with me in public. I held my ground. Kept things civil. And managed to bring the conversation to a good and constructive resolution. However, as you can imagine it was not the nicest of experiences. I was shocked by the whole experience. I have never before met anyone who thought it was ok to be so rude to a new co-worker. However, that’s by the by. After this conflict, all kinds of emotions surfaced that I had kept under control during the conflict. I was angry, sad, a little scared, and worried that the incident had happened so publicly on my first day. All at once I felt a myriad of conflicting emotions and completely unsettled. However my work day had to go on and as a coach, I needed to get out of my stuff quickly and move on to hold the focus on the people whose lives I am supporting and empowering. Basically, I needed to process and feel grounded and secure quickly.  

We all have experiences like this that we don’t have endless time to process before the events of the day continue. And more often than no we suppress the emotional and rational thinking journey until much later in the day. When we are tired. And what happens? We either take it out on someone else, work ourselves up making a mountain out of a molehill or we blame ourselves and destroy our self-worth with negative thought spirals. Not handling with emotional incidents, such as a conflict at work, has bad consequences.  So ideally we need to process these events in the short time we have so they don’t build up into something much bigger later in the day.

Going back to my situation earlier in the week. I had about 8 minutes in between the conflict and my next client. A minute amount of time to process and realistically you cannot in such a short space of time really process the emotional impact of the situation. What you can do however by using some simple tips and tricks, gain control over your unbalanced emotions after a conflict in a healthy way. E.g NO SUPPRESSING! The great thing is that if you use these tools you can emotionally process the situation quickly, in the here and no so you don’t get caught up in the aftermath of stress later during your day.

Here is my guide to recovering from a conflict at work in 8 minutes, doing even just one of these things will make you feel better. However, combined they give you an extremely powerful experience just when you need it the most.

Get alone

Go somewhere alone as soon as you can. If you are feeling a bundle of post-conflict emotions you don’t want an audience. Take a quick break, go to the loo or shut your office door for 5 mins.

Have a blooming good rant

When we have been in a verbal conflict we need to process verbally to release the stress created. So have a rant. I find for me that contacting someone neutral, preferably a friend, not a partner, ask them for permission for a 2-minute rant and then some comfort. (You do not want to go on to solutions before you have processed your emotions). If you cannot talk to someone talk to the air as though someone was listening. Get it out of your system.

Swear like Father Jack Hackett

If you remember the iconic tv series Father Ted you will remember Father Jack Hackett. The elderly, senile drunk priest who swears loudly and constantly.  Swearing when we are in a temper somehow helps us feel better. I find a long list of profanities starting with Bugger F*** W**K and ending in Arse goes a long way to help me release frustration. Here is where FB is a godsend. If you can’t swear out loud at work typing with the caps lock on, to an understanding friend is a great alternative. Profane your heart out.

The Japanese self-relaxation technique

This simple easy and you can do it without anyone seeing you. To give a quick Screen-Shot-2016-12-22-at-11.06.32-AM-750x559background, in this Japanese self-relaxation technique each of the fingers in our hand represents a different kind of emotion or feeling. The concept is to balance all the opposing energy forces in your body. Start this by taking one finger at a time, grasping it with the opposite hand and wrapping every finger around it.

Hold each finger for one to two fingers. Wait until you feel the pulse. This is when you know it’s working. To aid in relaxation, apply slight pressure to the center of your palm with your opposite thumb and hold for at least one minute.

It’s quick, easy and it works. Follow this video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3-O7gPsQK0

8-minute rule

This is an extension of the 5-minute rule. Put your timer on for 8 minutes. Allow yourself to rant, to talk, to cry, to swear and to do your Japanese relaxation. When that timer goes off ask yourself 2 important questions.

  • Can I do anything about this? (constructively not destructively)
  • Do I need to do this now?

If you can’t do anything about it or you do not need to do anything about it right now then get on with something else. Do something you can be constructive and productive about.

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Of course, after 8 mins you will not be completely recovered from the conflict. However, you will have given yourself 8 minutes of expressing your emotions, your frustrations in a healthy way. By the time you get home, the incident will still bug you, but it won’t be emotionally running the show. Go home, talk to someone about possible ways of handling it and pour yourself a big glass of something nice and do something good for yourself. Conflict at work is inevitable. However, conflict at work ruining our whole day doesn’t have to be

Happy Weekend 🙂

a gift

How to live in the moment- little ways to find happiness every day

This weekend someone reminded me of this simple fact

”There are no ordinary moments”.

There are no two moments in life that are alike.

I will never sit here again and hear the birds singing outside my window as I write this.

You will never again be where you are, at this moment you are in right now reading this.

It’s a mind-boggling concept and reminds me how lucky we are to be alive, right here and right now. And although we all inherently know this how often do we live in awareness of the moment we are in.

And I don’t mean just nodding your head and acknowledging the moment you are in. I mean how often are we truly present in our lives. How often do we conscious experience something that we can, later on, recall in HD detail? Living in the moment means being cognizant of what is happening around us and what we are experiencing. Experiencing fully with all of our senses. Living in the moment does not mean that an individual should not consider their goals or make plans. For me living in the moment is taking the opportunity to be in myself, my surroundings and to be consciously part of life. Simply being.

Living in the moment is truly a gift.  It reduces stress, stops worry, increases both happiness and appreciation for life and amazingly in my experience at least, it slows down time. It is easy to get caught up in how we think our lives should be. The never-ending to-do list takes over our consciousness and we slog through from one task to the other. Always thinking ahead. How many of you woke up today and thought how wonderful it is to wake to another day? More likely you woke up thinking ugh its Monday and then half asleep and in a negative mindset you began your day.

Our overthinking mind has a lot to do with not living in the moment. When we are not aware of it we can dwell on the past or the future. However, when we stop and be present where we are, we get out of our thoughts, out of our heads. It allows you to be truly thankful for where you are in life and gives you peace and contentment. And who amongst doesn’t want a peaceful and content life?

I challenge you to make this week, this day, the next hour of your life a time where you choose to be present to live in the moment and enjoy the magic of being. And if you don’t know how here are some of my favorite ways of choosing to be in the moment.

3 deep breaths

Just stopping and taking 3 deep breaths will bring you out of your mind and into your body. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and then open your eyes again. Take in the world around you, the people, the smells, the sounds and appreciate.

Stop judging yourself

We all do this and it is one of the most destructive habits on the planet. I should do this, that. Why didn’t I? The negative catchphrases of negative self-judgment are endless. Now, look at nature. Do you think a cat wonders if it should or shouldn’t do something? What about a tree? Does a tree worry about when it should grow the nest leaf, release its seeds or when it’s sap should rise? No. Nature just it. You just are. When we judge ourselves it is because we are not living up to our expectations (or other peoples). This is one of the biggest tricks that pulls you out of a moment and into your brain. When you feel the negative judge, the ‘you shoulds’ appear I recommend using a trick of Louise Hays. Thank it for its feedback and let it go.

Use your waiting time

Waiting time is the worst right? No, I disagree! All those moments that you feel get wasted. Standing in queues, waiting for a bus, in traffic. These are prime opportunities for you to be in the moment. To observe the world around you. To see the small moments that will never be again. If I am waiting outside one of my favorite things to do is to look up. Just look up and see the sky, feel the air on my face. Looking up at the sky is a great way just to connect with yourself and the world around you. And is much more energizing than scrolling through your Facebook feed.

Slow down

I know it sounds easy to say. But in reality, many of us find it hard to do. I don’t mean you need to completely slow down (it would be so healthy however not always entirely realistic). What I am talking about is slow down certain moments. Take a breath before you speak. Slow down your mouth so your thoughts can catch up. Slow down how you eat, savor the taste sensations. Slow down how you wash in the shower.  Focus on building little rituals in your daily habits that bring you into being present. Just by slowing down and truly experiencing these little moments in the day you will boost both your personal energy and enjoyment of life.

Randomly spread kindness

Being kind brings us ample opportunity to appreciate life. Random acts of kindness are just that — random. They are spontaneous, in the moment, and a great addition to your daily life. They not only support you to be in the moment but also improve the moment for someone else.

Practice gratitude

Take a moment to be grateful. Mentally or physically list a few things you are grateful for every day. And remember to practice gratitude. When you feel it say it. If someone opens the door for you, thank them. By hearing ourselves say thank you we recognize more how much we have to be grateful for every day.

Look for things that make you smile

I used to say that if I saw something beautiful in a day then that day was a perfect day.  It is possible to see something beautiful every day when we look for it. The sunlight hitting a tree, a person’s laugh, a painting, a building, a sleeping cat, people in love, a story in the newspaper. Look for things each day that make you smile and enjoy the contentment the smile brings to you and to others.

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There are many other ways to live in the moment. Mindfulness, meditation, dance, running, creativity the list is endless. One of the best is to get into nature and take a walk. Find ways that fit into your lifestyle and believe me you will reap the benefits. Living in the moment is essential to be happy. The more you practice the happier you will become.  

If nothing else do one thing for yourself today. That is right now. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths and open them again. Listen to the world around you, see the world around you and remember how lucky you are to be here. Here and now and in this unique moment.

Have a beautiful week <3

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#lifelesson101-Quick ways to boost your energy throughout the day

Some weeks fly by. Some weeks go so slowly you feel as though you are dragging your feet through a quagmire of treacle.  You know the feeling. For me, this has been a treacle week. It’s now early on Friday morning, I can hardly keep my eyes open and even though I have cut my days to do list down to the bare minimum I have no idea how I will make it through.

It’s at times like this it is tempting to reach for the coffee and the energy drinks to get you through. But as we all know the short fix boost has consequences. Caffeine and energy boosters give you an energy spike that ends in an almighty crash.  Bad for your body and your mind. Added to which will leave you feeling rubbish over the weekend and ruining your much-needed downtime.

So what do you do when after a long week you can almost see the Friday 5 o’clock finish line and you just need to boost your energy to get you through this one last day without messing yourself up?  Well, the great news is there are lots of small quick ways to boost your energy. Most of them are free. All of them are healthy. And best of easy to do.

If you need to find some extra energy from nowhere to get you through to the weekend try some of my favorite hacks to give yourself the boost you need!

Minimise you task load

When you are low on energy time management becomes even more important. Minimise your workload for the day and just deal with the priorities. I know it would be great to leave work with everything done. However, if you are trying to do it all on a tank that is running on fumes nothing you do will be done well. You may even find you have to redo the work again at a later period. A few tasks done well is better than lots of things done badly.

Boost your focus

The brain fog after a treacle week means it can be seriously challenging to concentrate for longer periods of time. In this state you need to give your brain all the help, it can get to focus. If I have to write a report or an article I put on an hours concentration music. If I am in a meeting I will doodle, or get up. Another great hack is to lower the temperature in the room you are in.

Use your acupoints

In the middle of your hands and feet are acupoints you can activate natural energy from. Try one of these and feel your brain awaken.

Sit down in a position as if there is a string atop your head pulling upward. Then use your thumb to gently rub the bottom (center) of each foot.  Make sure you do both feet. A couple of minutes each side really helps wake up the brain.

Put your right thumb into the center of your left palm (it is in the right place if your thumb is aligned between your ring and little fingers). BRing your left thumb and your left ring finger to touch. Apply a little pressure on your right thumb and just hold it for a few moments.

Watch this video to see how it’s done https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhGNFLfmCKw

 

Stimulate the brain

I have been using this trick for years. (Although honestly, I don’t exactly remember the science behind it.) Put your hands together in a prayer position and rub your hands up and down quickly until you can feel a warmth between your two hands. If you want you can raise your arms up and down as you do this. If memory serves correctly this is supposed to stimulate both sides of the brain by stimulating nerves. I find even 30 seconds of this gives my brain a boost.

Get outside

If your brain fog is becoming overwhelming change your location and ideally get outside for some breaths of fresh air. Take a walk on your lunch break, have a five-minute break outside the warehouse and take deep breaths. If you can’t get outside then open a window and stick your head out for a few moments. Deep breathes of non stale indoor air revitalizes the body quickly.

Cold water

A great trick I use often in the summer but also when I need to wake up is to run the cold water tap over my wrists. It lowers the body temperature and stimulates the brain to wake up at the same time.

Eat energy boosting food

Some foods are great to give a quick energy boost. Try and steer clear of the sugary foods and instead give yourself a healthy fruit sugar boost with an orange. Personally, I find my body responds best to bananas. And nothing works better as an energy booster than a ginger shot. Fruit is great when you have low energy as often your appetite is not very large. Fill up on fruit and avoid the heavy foods which your body has to work hard to break down.

Gift yourself some dopamine

Dopamine, body’s natural happy hormone, is one of the best energy boosters. Laughing and movement create dopamine. Pop on some funny videos on youtube and get giggling. The best way, of course, is exercise. However, if you don’t have time for a work out then put on some happy music and have a quick singalong. Or simply take five minutes to do some yoga stretching. There are some great videos out there with yoga poses for work.

Give yourself something to look forward to

When you have gone through a treacle week, having something to look forward to makes it all seem worthwhile. Plan a little treat and make sure you get it. Receiving your reward will also give you a little dopamine boost a great way to go home after a tough week.

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These are just a few hacks I use to boost my energy and I find they all work for me. Of course, these are all quick fix methods. Nothing is going to make you feel better and recharged again than a good sleep and a relaxing weekend. If you rely purely on these methods you will eventually burn out. So use these techniques when you really need them. And as soon as you can possibly do it give yourself a longer period to get revitalized and recharged again.

Have a great weekend <3

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How to take care of yourself and your relationship when your partner suffers from Stress

Stress, mental health issues and depression are part of modern life. And there is a lot of help out there for people who have to live with these conditions. But what about the other people who live with them, whose lives are affected everyday by the stress of having a partner with a diagnosis, stress and depression. If you are in,or have ever been in a relationship with someone who suffers from a diagnosis you will know how hard this can be. There is not only the pressure of supporting your partner emotional, often all the nuts and bolts of life, normally shared between two people are weighing on your shoulders. In affect you become the primary adult in the relationship. The strain of being in a relationship with a partner affected by stress or another mental health issue is enormous. You are under constant pressure, rarely get time to recharge your own energy and burnout looms regularly on the horizon. Added to which your relationship suffers as un intentionally your partner’s condition takes your energy and wears you down.

Yet despite all of this pressure, the mental, and sometimes physical draining lifestyle,you stay in this relationship. You of course love your other half. You hate to see them suffer and want nothing more than to make it all better for them. It’s natural. However in order to be there for them, you need to be there for you. Very often the non diagnosed partner is the axis upon which your life spins. The rock and foundation. So if you are this person you need  more than most of us to take care of yourself.

In my life I have had one partner who, despite being the sweetest most wonderful person on the planet had three mental health diagnoses which often gave him stress and depression. I knew this when entering the relationship and I was willing to support him. And I did. I took on the household, our calendars. I organised, supported, cared for, helped and guided. In essence my partner entered into a unhealthy co-dependant relationship. Eventually (and inevitably) I hit burn out. My patience became non existent. My energy was lower than it had ever been.  This manifested in resentment , frustration and our relationship began to deteriorate. At first I hit the blame cycle and blamed his diagnoses, his stress in general him. However luckily I took a step back an realised it wasn’t his fault it was mine. I had lost me in his problems. Forgotten to take care of me, to prioritise myself, my needs and my own health. He hadn’t entered into a co dependant relationship alone. I had encouraged him, created it. It was a wake up call and a half. And led me to learn a manual of self care that saved the relationship.

If you have a partner who has mental health issues and you feel as though you are drowning in responsibility then here are the steps I took to recharge myself and our relationship.  

Don’t blame

It is easy to point the finger of blame when we feel hurt, let down or rejected by our partner. However it’s not your partner’s fault he hasn’t got the energy to go to your friends wedding with you. It’s not your fault that you haven’t been having sex lately. It is a by product of your partner’s condition. Most people who are suffering with mental illness would give anything to be normal and love and care for their partners, 100%. Unfortunately they can’t. Living with mental illness takes a lot of energy. On the good days your partner will be able to be caring and loving. On a bad day they won’t. It’s not personal. They still love you they just don’t have the energy to show it. Blaming them or yourself just starts a negative spiral which is hard to get out of and will waste your own personal energy reserves.

Structure and share

Daily life can seem overwhelming when living with a mental health problem. One of the ways to make both of your lives easier is to get into a routine. Make a week plan each week and follow it. Try and make life as easy as possible for you both. Go shopping once a week. Wash your clothes on the same day. Walk the dog at the same time. Even having a fixed date night time once a week will help as your partner will know they have to save energy for you.

Don’t expect your partner to be able to do and give the same energy as you can (this is just going to lead to disappointment).At the same time your partner will want to help and be giving in the relationship too. Share the chores and responsibility areas based on what your partner can do. This is also a great way for you both to see and appreciate what it is you both do for you as a couple.

Get support

You both need it. If you are your partners only form of support you are going to burn out fast. Your partner needs someone else there for them. At the same time so do you. Typically in life when we have issues it is our partner that we turn. However if our partner has a mental health issue they might not be able to cope with hearing about your problems let alone support them. Explain to friends and family the situation at home and contact them when you need to talk or get help. If you know you have extra pressure at work one week ask people to help you look after the kids or the house. It’s ok to ask and receive help. You do not have to be superman/woman 24/7. It may also be wise to get some professional help for yourself as support for when the going gets rough or simply just to keep an eye out on potential burn out.

Get breaks

When your partner gets flu you become the caretaker. Mental illness is just the same. You need to take breaks. To do things for yourself. Go to a spa, to the gym, to a cafe or even have a weekend away from home. Wherever you can relax and however you relax make it important to do it. I found that one night off a week at home was something I really needed so I made sure my partner visited family once a week. It got him out and gave me my much needed downtime.

Take Care of the basics

Take care of yourself on a basic level. Sleep well, eat well, keep up your personal hygiene. Remember to dress up once in a while. Sometimes, in the harder periods it can be difficult to eat so graze (healthily) instead. You need to take care of the machine in order to be the strong rock you and your family need.

Remember you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness

Even though you want to do as much as you can to help your spouse, you need to remember that neither their condition (nor their recovery) depends on you. You cannot fix your partner. What you can do is encourage them in positive directions and coping mechanisms. Whatever they need, you can encourage them in that direction.

Remind yourself why you love your partner

Sometimes the condition can take over and you feel as though the person you love is gone forever. They are still there. Sometimes you just have to work harder to see it. Make a list of all the the things you love about your partner. Just giving yourself a moment to step back and really see the person you love will give you a boost of energy.

Remind your partner that you love them

It can be hard for your partner to see and recognise everything you do for them. A mental health issue can make you blind to what is really there. At the same time your partner may hate themselves for being the way they are. Remember to tell them that you love them on a daily basis, it helps.

Communicate Clearly

Communication is important in any relationship but even more so in a relationship with diagnosis. Don’t assume anything ask. Ask your partner what they need, what they mean. Communicate what you need from them. Don’t be ambiguous be direct and concrete in your communication.

Live your life

When your partner is struggling it may feel unfair to enjoy your life outside your relationship. But it is important for you. You need to laugh, to do the things you love and spend time with the people you care about. Your entire life cannot an should not be ran in accordance with another persons needs. Remember also to make time with your partner aimed at what they can cope with. Live your life with them and away from them

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It is not easy to be with a person who has a short or long term mental illness. However when you take care of yourself, encourage them to get the help they need and your relationship will become stronger. You are both on the same team. By taking care of you, you will create the mental and emotional resources that will take care of your relationship and builds a secure base you can both count on.

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Balancing challenging yourself and taking care of yourself for healthy personal growth

As I sat down to write this week my mind was a blank, so I turned to two of my friends in despair and asked for inspiration. One came back with the answer: Write about how you shouldn’t be afraid of your own limits, challenge them. The other came back with: Write about that about you need to be in balance before you can you grow stronger in your day to day life

I know chalk and cheese right?

Or maybe not….

I realised that both of these answers were actually about the same thing growing in life by challenging yourself and by taking care of yourself. But how do you walk the fine line between the two? How do you both challenge and take care of yourself?

We all know that challenging yourself and taking care of yourself are essential parts of life. Without challenging ourselves we don’t grow and without taking care of ourselves we don’t have the energy to grow.  Both boil down to self-care. Many people think that self-care is simply remembering to take time out or have that me time. However, self-care is also about stretching ourselves, overcoming challenges and pushing ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. In pushing yourself to grow you explore the full being of your potential and by doing that from a healthy place of balance in your life you give yourself the best possible foundations to grow from.  

If you want to push back your boundaries and meet a new challenge head on this spring then here is a guide to how you can create a balanced foundation of self-care so you can grow healthily in your life today.

Identify how you want to challenge yourself

Be very clear about how you want to challenge yourself. How do you want to grow? We all have limited or limiting beliefs. By pushing them we expand our boundaries. So where is it you want to grow too? Brainstorm all the possible things that are challenging for you in your life and then from each challenge identify where you want to get to with each challenge. Is it you want to lift more weights at the gym, even though right now 2 kilos feels like 100, or do you want to go to more social events, despite your shy introvert nature? Get clear about your goals.

Are you in a strong place right now?

Look at your life. Really look. How much time do you have? How much energy do you have right now? What are your responsibilities? How much time and energy have you got that you can dedicate to meeting a challenge right now? Really analyse what is going on for you. There is no point in saying you will go to the gym for 2 hours every day if you, in reality, can only fit in 2 trips a week.  Do a life MOT and clear up your life a bit before you decide to plot in your challenges.

Choose 1 or 2 challenges to start with

Don’t overload yourself. If you try and challenge everything at once this is a recipe for failure. Choose 1 or max 2 challenges to go for right now.  Make sure they fit in with the time and energy you have available. Or that you can make the time and energy available.

Plan your baby steps

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes small actions to overcome a challenge. What are the baby steps? What will be the level-up landmark points? Make a timeline of how you want to meet your challenge and put the dates in your diary.  Check in on your progress each week.

Get support

Pushing yourself can be scary. Sometimes you will get demotivated. Sometimes you will fall off the wagon and need help to get back on. So make sure you have someone to support you.  Before you choose a person work out how you might need them to help. Do you need someone to help you be accountable? Or do you need someone to help motivate you when you want to quit? Then ask for the help you need before you need it.

Plan some rewards and some breaks

When we have achieved something we feel great. And nothing gives a good hit of dopamine-like a reward for a job well done. Plan some rewards for when you have successes. And make sure you celebrate your achievements. Equally important is to plan breaks. Pushing yourself is all well and good but push too hard and you will snap. Plan when you will push and when you will press pause.

Keep an eye on your energy levels

If the car isn’t running at optimal it will be harder to get up the hill. Keep an eye on your energy levels. It may be that you need to have a downtime day or that what you thought was a baby step is actually a mountain you need to scale. Take your time and listen to your body. Physically and emotionally. Just because you have low energy doesn’t mean you quit you just move the finishing line a little.

Keep it real

Don’t get complacent keep checking in with your goals. Be aware of what you are doing and how you are moving forward. If you are not making headway, find out why not. What can you do about it? Do you need to push harder or in a different direction?

Daily check-in

Each day, at the beginning of the day, ask yourself two very important questions.

  1. How will I challenge myself today?
  2. How will I take care of myself today?

Decide on the actions you will take that day for both and do them. This keeps the challenge and the care relevant to your energy levels on a day to day basis.

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The biggest trick to finding the balance of self-care when challenging yourself is to be conscious of your progress and conscious of what you need. Don’t expect to move mountains in a day. Keep a steady pace and keep going.  With conscious planning and attention, we can eventually move mountains whilst taking care of ourselves.

HAve a great week <3

Challenges are what makes life interestingovercoming them is what makes life meaningful