#lifelessons101- Use your summer to learn to be in the now

 

We all know that either being overly focused on the next thing we have to do or obsessing over past events is bad for our mental health. It makes for a busy mind, a lack of focus, stress and generally makes life less enjoyable for us and our loved ones. There is a lot of talk these days about being in the now, being fully in the present moment as the cure, the ultimate medicine for stress. I have even read on author’s statement that “You can’t reach your full potential until you learn to live your life in the present”.  Being in the now means to live consciously, to fully experience ourselves and our surroundings without redundant thoughts and other distractions. It brings to mind a life of mindful practice, meditation and balanced harmony.

 

Sounds great in principle. However, for me in the busy whirlwind of my life, I have found it increasingly difficult to embrace mindfulness when I am running from meeting to meeting, trying to remember the shopping list and call my mother-in-law simultaneously. I resemble less the peaceful Buddha more the headless chicken on a treadmill. Being in the now centres around habit forming and reprogramming the brain. And despite all of my good intentions, I don’t seem to be able to tune in to that inner calm in the middle of Bilka when I have a train to catch.

But now the summer holidays loom. The usual treadmill of my brain is slowing down and the outside pressures trickle away. This (I believe) is the perfect time for me to truly bring into practice the art of living in the now. It may seem like cheating. After all living in the now is supposed to be most useful in times of inherent stress. But I say balls to that! For me when I am relaxed connecting with the present moment is simply easier. Without the constant pressure of work or school trying out new practices and reflecting becomes 10 times more achievable.

The summer holidays brings ample opportunity to learn new habits and behaviours. And what could be better than returning to work armed with a pocket full of habits that you can draw on whenever you need them. So if you want to return after the summer with a stronger sense of inner peace and equipped to deal with pressure take the chance this summer to appreciate your now. And if you are not sure how here are 5 tips to get you started

Breathing

Taking time to close your eyes and breath is a wonderful way to centre yourself. To notice what is going on both within and around you. There are lots and lots of techniques out there. For example, the ‘mindfulness body scan is a classic. Personally, I prefer The easiest and shortest meditation technique as described by author Sherri Melwani:

Here’s the technique:

“1. Right here, right now, bring all your awareness to your breath. Shift your focus down to the belly and allow the belly to soften as you deepen your breath.

  1. Now mentally repeat to yourself, “Breathing In, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.” Say this like a mantra as many times as you need until you feel the shift.
  2. Notice the corners of your mouth begin to curl, even if just a tiny little bit, even if you have to pretend. Notice how your breath becomes a bit more even and deep. The subtle smile brings relaxation and carries the message “all will be OK” to your mind and body.
  3. That’s it! So simple and quick. Try it and feel free.”

Don’t try to quiet your mind

The hardest thing to do when living in the moment is, or trying to simply witness life, is to not have the urge to try to quiet your mind. When we try to quiet the mind, we just disturb it all the more. Witness your thoughts as if they are pure sound. Don’t try to judge your thoughts, there are no good thoughts or bad thoughts. Just notice what is there and what you are thinking.

Walk in nature

Go for a walk in nature and just observe. See, smell, listen. I highly recommend walking in bare feet or simply stopping and sitting. Nothing can be more peaceful than watching the ripples on water or the light dancing between the leaves of a tree’s canopy.

Disconnect for 1 hour a day

Get away from your phone, your computer and immerse yourself in something else. Reading is a great way to be present. As is being creative. Another great way is to have a shower and be conscious of the feeling. Choose an activity and really focus on that experience.

Slow down -actively listen and observe

How often do you truly listen when someone talks to you? How often do you see what is really in front of you? Try to hyper-focus in the moment. Slow down time in your mind. Take a breath before you respond in a conversation. Take a moment to drink in your surroundings. Give yourself the opportunity to feel alive.

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You and ICherish the Moment (1).jpg have this amazing gift called life. The present moment is the only real moment we can experience. Connect with that this summer and you will find not only do you feel more peaceful but your experience of contentment in your life will increase tenfold. Give yourself the gift of experiencing the now this summer

 

HAve an amazing week <3

 

Lifelessons101 – Are you stuck in a personal development burnout?

I love my life, I really do. I love my job, my home, my man. So it came as a shock when I realised I wasn’t feeling entirely satisfied with the way things are. Not only unsatisfied I felt drained of all energy and constantly tired, even though I am living close to my perfect life. I was perplexed! How could I not be feeling satisfied? Why am I so exhausted? My life is great. It simply didn’t make sense. I needed some objective perspective. So I contacted my amazing coach and mentor for help, and he came with a mind-blowing perspective. I am suffering from personal development burnout. And by burnout, I am not referring to the psychological condition caused by years of stress. I mean burned out by the effort of overworking yourself on the personal development path.

Apparently, personal development burnout is a thing and actually quite common. (Phew good to know I’m normal). Just as with any hobby its possible to go too far over the edge. Or worse make your development into a chore, which then initiates the shame cycle when you don’t do it. For me, my dissatisfaction was coming from a universal classic. I am not yet exactly where I want to be. The exhaustion is simply that in my quest to improve myself I have been pushing myself to my limits and beating myself up for not being where I want to be right now. That cycle of self-blame took my energy and because I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted all had become a chore.

Personal development burnout seems to be an integral part of the journey. As my coach said life can’t be perfect and blissful all the time. The burnout comes when you need to shift. To create a balance. To grow in a different way. It’s a level up on a computer game. The frustration before the prize. However, unlike in a computer game instead of pushing ourselves harder, personal development burnout creates the opportunity to let go.

If you relate to this, you’re not alone. I and many others get you.

While personal development can provide valuable resources to get you through some challenging times, if you find yourself falling into the impatient, frustration trap and cycle of guilt as I did then it’s time to recoup, reassess and change what you are doing so it works for you. After this is your personal growth no-one else’s. So it has to work for you.

Recovering from a burnout at it’s worst can take a long, long time. However, with the kind of personal development level up burnout, I am talking about it is possible to recover quickly if you consciously take actions. Here are the phases and actions I am working through to get me back on top in a healthy path of natural growth.

Phase 1: Stop reaching for whatever you have been reaching for

The first order of business is to interrupt the pattern. Once you stop the pattern of thoughts and feelings that got you to burn out, that’s when recovery begins.

Ask yourself:

  • What have I been obsessed with that feels unreachable?
  • What is my biggest fear if I stop reaching?
  • What would it look like to surrender?

The scariest thing about letting go is that you don’t know how the world will look afterwards. Allow this process to calm your nerves to letting go.

Phase 2: Acknowledge how far you have come

If you have got into this burnout you will have grown. Although you are feeling worn out there has been progression. Look at when you started your journey and write a list of your achievements since that time. Sometimes just seeing what you have done already will help to boost your energy levels.

Phase 3: Take a break

Now stop take a break. As soon as you can. Book a holiday or a few weeks off. Make your health priority number 1. You need to refuel and do some serious TLC work. Cancel social arrangements. I don’t give a damn about how people may feel let down you need a break. Getting into the guilt cycle is all about your ego. It’s your ego that wants to be recognised to get the prize. Right now you need to feed your soul not your ego Step away from social media. Read a book. Get a massage. Sit in your garden. Sleep. Train. Swim. Do what gives you energy and peace. At this stage you need to make your health your priority. Without you nothing works. Your body is your team and support system. So take care of you and your health.

And for at least 14 days do not think about your personal development or your goals. Just be you for a change. You are perfect as you are.

Phase 4: Clear out

One of the things that feeds the guilt factor is the constant bombardment of social media and in our inbox of all the things we could be doing to be better or have greater lives. I have found it incredibly refreshing to unsubscribe from 90% of the personal development newsletters I belonged to. My inbox is clearer and it is surprising how less pressured I feel. Have an electronic clear out and choose what influences you want in your life and what is suepurpulus. Do the same with the books. (All of us personal development junkies have a pile we haven’t read yet). Choose one. Just one and put the rest away.  Have a look at your daily and weekly habits. Which ones make you feel good. Which don’t. Guess what you are gonna do? That’s right get rid of all the ones that don’t make you feel good. Clearing out makes everything feel better and less pressured.

Phase 5: Appreciate your abundance

Gratitude is one of the simplest and most powerful tools we have. Being grateful makes us appreciate our here and now. And if you like me have been focusing on the end post, then you have forgotten to enjoy your journey here and now. Practise gratitude for your life at least once a week and appreciate the abundance of your now.

Phase 6: Listen to your inside voice

Make sure you are listening to you inside voice. It is there to guide you. One of the reasons burnout happens is because we don’t act on the signals our body is giving us. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Follow your gut feelings before you say yes. Your gut knows what you want better than your mind does. So for once let it lead you.

Phase 7: Refocus

As you begin to have more energy (as a constant presence, not just on intermittent days) you are ready to refocus your personal development ideas. Look at what you were doing. Remove anything that was either setting off your guilt complex, you I should be doing this voice and especially anything that drained you energetically. Be HONEST with yourself. Don’t keep practices because other people have told you they work or you need to do. Keep what works for you.

Now choose one, (Yes I said one), area of your personal development you would like to work on and honestly feel energetically able to commit to. (Again listen to your gut). Make this the priority for the next 6 months.  I would also recommend here trying something new. It can be an energy boost to use a new technique for personal growth after burnout.

Phase 8: Take baby steps forwards

You cannot jump from burnout back to full power. It doesn’t work like that. If you try and throw yourself into a massive lifestyle change all at once you will end right back at burnout. So take baby steps. Do one little thing each week, Then each day. Build up slowly and you will find it becomes manageable. Baby steps make us stronger.

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Give yourself time to recover from personal development burnout. At least 6- 8 months to work through the phases Burnout is a sign of not listening to yourself. It is the most important lesson we gain from this experience is to centralise and make ourselves important. There’s a fine line between self-improvement and personal development burnout. Allow your burnout to show you where that line is and learn how to keep your balance for healthier and stronger growth.

Have a happy weekend <3

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#lifelessons101- Are you having enough fun in your life?

Recently life has been getting to me and I have had no idea why. My business is great. My home (although probably needs a clean) is lovely, Mr T is wonderful, my friends are great. I am doing what I want to do, aligned with my life purpose and yet I felt unsatisfied. (And cross with myself for feeling that). Then I spent a wonderful day in Copenhagen alone doing some of the things I love. I got brunch, shopped and then had a wonderful trip to a Royal palace where I got to dance in an empty ballroom (well, the guard wasn’t there and I had it all to myself!) and spent the rest of the day in a tiara. It was lovely, spontaneous and fun.

And then it dawned on me. I am seriously missing fun in my life. In my hyper-focused goal-oriented life I had forgotten the key component. Fun. I had fallen into the Entrepreneur trap of existing. Existing isn’t about material needs. You may have a Ferrari in the driveway of your beautiful home overlooking a majestic view. It isn’t about family either. You may have a wonderful and loving family. It isn’t about health; you may be very fit. So what is Existing? It is an inner void – a lack of inner joy. For the most part, you are successful. Yet, you still feel like there should be more to life than this. And there should. Life should also be fun.

So me being me, and loving google-fu, I began to do a bit of research online. And I feel across Daniel Kahneman Ted Talk The riddle of Experience vs Memory, which reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. Teh “experiencing self” defines our happiness in the moment. Whereas the “remembering self” defines happiness in our memory. I realised that my remembering self could look over my life in the last year and remember that I have been happy in my abundant life. Yet at the same time due to the focus, I put into my work, by overly focusing on the goal posts of this year’s plans I was on a day to day basis experiencing more work than fun. No wonder I wasn’t feeling great, even when things are going to well.  And of course, if you don’t feed your “experiencing self” enough fun then your “remembering self” has nothing new to remember, resulting in frustration.

 

The irony is that society rather frowns on having fun when it is actually one of the most fundamentally important building bricks of a happy life. (Something society knows is incredibly important. Having fun balances the mundane activities such as paying the bills or cleaning the house. Fun produces happy hormones which in the face of adversity allow us to strengthen our resilience. And not in the least it makes us more productive. Think about school, the lessons you remember and learnt the most were the ones you enjoyed. Fun is essential to happiness and a balanced life.

Are you having enough fun in your life? And I am talking about real fun not the fake “fun” activities such as spending the holidays with your in-laws or the team building days. I am talking about real fun. The kind that makes you smile from ear to ear, your eyes light up and your belly hurt from laughing. Or even just the kind of fun that gives you a wonderful feeling of contentment with the world.  Research professor Brene Brown, Ph.D., writes in her best-selling book The Gifts of Imperfection, “A critically important component of wholehearted living is play… Play is as essential to our health and functioning as rest (but) spending time doing purposeless activities is rare. In fact for many of us it sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen.”

Is it really so difficult to have fun?

Well for some of us it is. I decided that enough is enough and I want to reclaim the fun in my life. To allow my experiencing self to have fun. Great plan! But how? I have currently little time and limited resources. A challenge to be met! A few hours later I had created a process to stop the anxiety attack of having fun. Consequently, I am feeling happier and healthier already. Not that every day is perfect. It’s just now that every day has some fun in it that I can experience in the now and remember happily after.

If you need to have some more fun in your life try my process, put it into action and within hours you will begin to feel the fun factor exploding into your life. A fabulous way to feel happier, enjoy your journey and love your life!

Find your smiles

Sit down with a notebook and list things you enjoy—anything from scratching your head to dancing in a palace. As you write down each item, consider doing that very thing later today or this week or this year. You’ll have different emotional reactions to each idea. One emotional reaction, in particular, will signal that your sense of fun has been awakened and is pointing the way to a joyful, meaningful life. Do that thing whatever it is as soon as you possibly can!

Remember fun through the eyes of a child

In your notebook, begin listing things you remember enjoying as a child. Pay particular attention to things that made you “lose time,” so that hours seemed to disappear in seconds. What absorbed you that completely? Look for patterns in this childhood fun. Choosing activities that fit this code will make you happier and more purposeful across the board.

Fun journal

Keeping a fun journal is a great way you remind you of the fun you are having in your life.

Every day jot down a brief list of your major activities. Give each experience a fun “score,” with zero meaning no fun and ten is the MOST FUN EVER! As the days go by, you’ll begin to see which activities and people yield the most fun—and you’ll be surprised

Make time for fun

Block out time for fun each week. It can be a day, an evening, or even a lunch hour, but you should set aside some time to do some of whatever you came up with as a pure fun activity. You don’t have to do it by yourself, but if you bring along family members or friends

Randomise your fun

Write down all your ideas for fun activities and put them in a hat. Pick out one and do it. Just go for it. Trust the randomness of the universe to give you an amazing time.

Have a spontaneous day

Set aside a day to be spontaneous. Wake up and ask yourself what you want to do (and hiding under the duvet or on the couch is a non option). Now go do that activity. When it’s done start again from the beginning. The rules of the day? Simply follow your heart and your instinct.

Create a new holiday

Why not create a National Girlfriends’ Getaway Day or mango eating day, or finger painting day? First, define what  the day means to you and then invite others to join in the fun!

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If I have inspired you then I would love you to return the favour by telling me how you are bringing more fun into your life! Together we can make our lives happier and each others

Have a weekend filled with fun <3

 

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#life lessons 101 – 3 step process to take care of yourself and get things done when you are overwhelmed

Being an Entrepreneur can be overwhelming at time. Heck being human can be overwhelming at times too! No matter who you are some weeks are just harder than others and in the last week, I have been feeling overwhelmed by everything. And this feeling has some pretty nasty side effects if you allow them to run you ragged.

You know you are feeling overwhelmed when life is like a constant trip on the never-ending hamster wheel. The diary is full of things you have to do and you have no idea where the energy is going to come from. The smallest tasks become insanely difficult. The more you try the more you just want to curl up under the duvet and do nothing until it all goes away. And I am sure you know from experience At these times it’s easy to allow the negative feelings to take over. To feel nonproductive, useless, not as good as everyone else. The guilt cycle gets triggered and alongside the hamster wheel, the negative thought spiral creates a hurricane in your brain.  When you get there you are in the danger zone for a stress meltdown.

And the strange thing is that when we are in all of this mental and physical chaos the majority of us still carry on forging ahead in the storm. Why? Well, sometimes you have to. Students, for example, can’t get away from the exam deadlines. Brides can’t give up on the wedding plans when they have a month to go. And as an entrepaneur, you know the only way to succeed is to keep on going. So  when we are totally overwhelmed how can we stop hitting the meltdown danger zone whilst still carrying on?

Can it be done?

Yes!

I have found a way to do exactly that. It’s a 3 step process that will get you through these times and bring you out the other side with the minimum of damage. With a little conscious awareness and a few actions you can and will get through this and this weekend is the perfect time to start.

Minimise

There are things we have to do, need to do and want to do. And we only have 24 hours in the day. So in order to get stuff done, we have to minimise our expectations to get things to fit into the time we have. Minimising seems hard but it isn’t I promise you try this process

Hit the calendar – work out how long your busy period will be. Now in that period remove everything that is unessential. This does not mean just getting rid of the things you want to do. Delegate tasks that you have to do or postpone the non-immediate ones. Now look for some spaces where you can do self-care and block those in.

Use your spoons – if you are feeling overwhelmed you will have low energy. Spoons theory was created for patients with mental health challenges. However, I find that it is applicable to all of us. Especially when we are overwhelmed. The basic principle is that you have 10 spoons of energy in a day. You take 10 minutes to work out which are 1 spoon, 2 spoon, 3 spoon and 4 spoon tasks. So doing the washing might be a 3 spoon task, food shopping or work a 4 spoon task. Now the idea is that you have 10 spoons in one day. When you make your to-do list make do a quick analysis and allocate the spoons accordingly to your tasks.

So my day today looks like this:

  • Pædagogisk meeting – 2 spoons
  • Work – 4 spoons
  • Quick clean – 1 spoon
  • Washing 1 – spoon
  • Bbq with friends – 2 spoons

That’s all I can do. Anything else has to be either delegated or left for another day. It keeps my energy use in check. I also do the same process for work tasks and allow my self 10 work spoons for each work day. Using spoon theory minmises your day and will give you time to relax.

Routine routine routine- Follow a fixed routine for the weekly chores. Make a food plan for the week and shop once. Do your washing on the same day. Dedicate x amount of time to the children before bed. Force yourself into a routine and the chores will become habits. Then the habits take less of your energy and become easier to do.

Energise

When you are overwhelmed you need more than ever to recharge. So energising yourself where ever possible is really important. Eat well. Get your 7 – 8 hours sleep. Help your focus by using focus music. Do 10 minutes exercise or walkievery dayday. Give yourself blocks of time dedicated to self-care. That can be anything from a facemask, to a netflix binge. Anything that will give you a good amount of downtime. Make recharging a priority in these days and grab every opportunity for relaxation you can get. I know you might want to go out and party, or socialise every evening however if your body doesn’t work nothing will. Make taking care of you a priority when you are overwhelmed and you will have the energy to come out the otherside

Self-care and success

I love personal development and in a perfect world, I would have my hour a day dedicated to this. However, in the next 2 months, it’s just not an option. Yet without this, I don’t feel as though I am succeeding and growing in my life and my motivation and self-confidence goes downwards. The last thing I need in a period of overwhelmedness. A simple tool has really helped me to get over this problem. Everyday I ask myself:

  • How am I going to challenge myself today?
  • How am I going to take care of myself today?

I only dedicate one task as a challenge one task as self-care. Some days it can be as simple as go to work and read a book for 15 minutes, other days the actions are bigger. The success of achieving these two actions makes me feel as though I have climbed a gigantic mountain. Which is exactly the dopamine hit my tired and overwhelmed brain needs! Success is one of the best motivators. For me, this has been the best tool I have ever found to survive the feeling of being overwhelmed. Try this tool every day for a week and you will feel on top of the world!

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When using this 3 step process you take charge. By taking charge you are in control. And that in itself stops the feeling of being overwhelmed. I recommend if you like me have a busy 6-8 week period coming up then please please book yourself a few days r and r at the end of it. Recoup and recharge and you will avoid the meltdown danger zone. Above all take care of yourself and be conscious of how you are treating you at this time.

Have a great weekend <3

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#lifelesson101 – 9 steps to recreating your body image by honouring your body with self-love

As I sit here at the end of a week where my self-love is in focus I am surprised to find myself feeling sluggish and worn down. Surely I should be feeling energized and in my inner goddess? I was highly confused by this predicament until I began working on the coming new moon ceremony for our local women’s circle. The theme this month is honoring our body as a sacred temple. It was a Eureka moment! I realized that whilst I had been working on my mental self-love processes all week I had forgotten one very important element of self-love. Honoring my body.

Now we all know that body image crisis is a huge modern crisis today. Schools are filled with unsure teens with low self-confidence, numbers of people with eating disorders are on the rise and yet the fashion and image industry dominates all forms of media. It is insane. (Yes that is my professional opinion). However, it is not a new phenomenon. If you look at cultural propaganda, even in the stone age, we as a species promoted our idea of the perfect male and female form. (Only then for women bigger was better. Male body image fashions have always leaned towards the strong and muscley, which proves women are more consistent in their tastes!)

So if we have this inbuilt need as a species to define which body type is attractive at a particular point in time how then do we break with this cultural tradition and honor our bodies as beautiful. Just as they are. Not as how society tells us we should be. Wauw well that’s a can of worms to open and one that could keep us here all week. However, I believe there is a simple answer. Really I do. I believe that by taking small practical actions we can recreate our own body image, find a comfortable place where we can honor our beautiful form and be confident in our bodies despite the world telling us we should be different.

Now, this is not a process we can do overnight. We can’t wave a magic wand and hey presto you love your body. Honouring your body is a process that comes with practice and commitment. Small baby steps, that eventually become habits so familiar you do not notice them. If you are having body image issues and want to resolve them or like me you have simply forgotten to honour your body in the turbulence of a busy life here is a guide to those baby steps to recreating your body image through a practice of self-love.

Remove the outside negative voices

Time for a media detox. Body guilt often gets ignited due to media. If you subscribe to magazines that promote a body type you will never have, then get rid of them. You do not need to consciously or subconsciously compare yourself. Subscribe instead to magazines that nourish your soul. Minimise your social media input, cut back on feeds that you can feel set of your body image guilt.  And Talk back to your TV when you see commercials that use body image to sell products. Talk back to companies with your wallet by NOT buying said products. Buy products that nourish you and you feel good about. Turn off the ads. Remember media pushed body image guilt is just as unhealthy for you as a toxic relationship. When you stop feeding it, it cannot affect you.

Remove the internal voices

The internal negative body judge is in all of us. And it’s a battle to get it to shut up. However, it is possible. One of my favorite ways is when my mind says I don’t like …. I add but I do like…. Sometimes I need to write this down to reinforce the process, it works.

Compliment yourself in ways that have nothing to do with your looks. We tend to focus so much on what we see in the mirror and overlook our many other amazing qualities. Are you a good cook? A successful person? How about a warm, caring, friendly, or positive person? Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your looks.

A great way to change your thoughts is to change your passwords. Imagine typing in ilovemybody 20 times a day. The more you use it the more it sticks in your mind.

Ask your body for forgiveness

If we hurt a friend we apologise so why not do the same with your body? By apologizing to your body for ways you may have neglected or abused it, you communicate to your body genuine affection. Your body has a consciousness of its own and you can expand your body’s consciousness in positive ways by writing a letter of apology to it. Don’t get into your guilt, focus on responsibility for your actions.

Nourish where it’s needed

We often neglect parts of our body in our busyness. Think about how you shower. Your self care routine. Do you stand on your feet all day but don’t give your tired feet a foot bath or a massage? Do you work at a computer all day but forget to stretch out? Do you work outside and not mosturise your skin? A foot massage, mousterising or even stretching can take s 10 minutes out of your day max.  Nourish the parts of you that need it daily and you will feel reengerised and cared for.

Make self-care a regular thing

On the subject of care, how often do you do it? I have in the last few years got into the regular habit of self-care. A face mask, a hair mask, a trip to the sauna. (Gods I am grateful for the Scandinavian habit of having a sauna at every swimming pool!) I aim to do some physical self-care every 14 days and I feel great at the end. All rejuvenated and loved. Set some dates in your diary for your self-care days and treat your body as well as you would treat a loved one.

Bless your food

Honor your body by honoring your food. Take time before meals to be grateful for the food you are about to eat and the effect it will have on your body.  As you do this mindfully and positivity you will notice a calming inside of you as well as a feeling o. This honors your relationship with food, with your body, and with yourself. As well as gently making you conscious of what you are putting into you body and why you need it.

Dress to honour your body

Dress for the body you have today, not the body you will have or had before. You deserve to look and feel your best right now. Clean out your closet and donate all of the too-small , don’t wear anymore or used to wear clothes to others in need. Keep only the clothes that fit and flatter you and most importantly that make you feel good.

One of my favourite sayings is “What thoughts am I wearing today?” If you want people to be positive, treat you with the respect and value you for your true worth, then you need to show them how you love, respect and value yourself.

Look in the mirror as you dress in the morning. Ask yourself –

-What thoughts am I wearing today?

-What am I telling the world about me?

-What message do I want to send into the world today?

Show the world the beauty you see inside you, how much you value you, externally. You will find that people reflect it back to you. Dress  to honour the body and thoughts you have.

Treat your body with love

We all know that exercise and eating healthily is good for us. Personally, I suck at this. Mr. T is one of those uber healthy people that can avoid everything that is bad and do a lot of exercise. I am more of a Dawn French chocolate loving, duvet on the sofa kind of person. However, our bodies both deserve love and respect.  If you like me cringe at the thought of a gym and love the salty fattiness of Chips, then here is a trick that will help.

Listen to your body and make conscious choices. Eat when you are hungry. Eat until you know you are full and not more. Ask yourself if you are eating from physical need or emotional need, from habit or boredom? Importantly notice how you feel after you eat. If a certain food makes you feel bad then don’t eat it.

Similarly with exercise. Listen to you body. If you feel tired when lifting you need to build strength. If you are having back pain it is likely yoga and stretching will help. Stairs are hard work then you need some cardio. Find exercise forms that fit into your life and follow your needs. Change the focus of your exercise from I have to do this to be healthy to this is an act of gratitude to your body for it allowing you to be alive and experience life.

Thank your body every night

Before you go to sleep at night take a moment to check in with your body. If you like you can do a body scan. Thank your body for being there for you. It could be you say something like. ‘I am grateful to my heart for pumping my blood around my body’, ‘I am grateful to my lungs for breathing in oxygen’. Or you can be more general. Just take a moment to recognise what you body has done for you today and be grateful

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Honouring your body will recreate your self-image to one filled with love and beauty for your physical form. Remember without that form you would not be here. It is your responsibility to take care of it. Not in the way society tells you to but in the way you know to be right for you. Treat your body with respect and it will respect you, and so will other people.

So the question remains, how will you honour your body today?

Let me know in the comments

Have a lovely weekend <3

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#lifelessons101 – 5 incredibly powerful self love habits

This week has all been about self-love for me and my clients. We have been committing to the act of loving ourselves and making that our primary focus of our week. It’s been amazing and I do feel filled with confidence, empowered and in that pink hazy bubble of love you get in a relationship, the only difference is that this time it is with myself!

Over this week we have been trying different practices. Simple, easy and practical actions we could take to strengthen our self-love. And the results are in! Here are the most powerful 5 self-love habits that you can practice to connect with the powerful and magical force which is loving yourself.

Changing that negative dialogue

That voice inside of your head that keeps telling you that you are no good. That voice needs to go. But how? One of my clients this week had great success with a written exercise that drowned out the negative voices into nonexistence in only a week!

She carried a small notebook wherever she went and as soon as her brain said I am not good at…. She wrote in her book 2 sentences.

I am not good at …………………….. But I am good at ……………………………

The things she was good at, did not have to be gigantic things. So, for example, a sentence could be;

I am not good at sales but I am good at helping my colleagues

I am not good at dancing but I am good at baking.

Quick simple and very ,very effective.

Be proud

Ohhh. Not many of us find it easy to be proud of ourselves. Others, yes. Ourselves, no way. So I challenge you to try this. Every day write down in a notebook 2-3 things you are proud of yourself of. It doesn’t have to be huge. Maybe you went to work even though you felt ill. You did the washing up when you wanted to sit and do nothing. Or it could be something big too. In your journal write out each sentence within full – e.g.

I am proud of myself today for……………………..

Being proud of ourselves gives us a little dopamine hit (similar to the feeling of leveling up in a game). A little positivity boost to brighten your day and your self-love at the same time.

Make time for yourself important

On the todo list what we really want to do (and often what we really need ends up at the bottom of the list). You make your partner, your kids, your work important, without you none of this could work. So why not make yourself important too. Setting time aside for your day and planning how you will use that time is really important. I find that making one evening or a couple of hours for self-care a weekly activity is a beautiful way to show yourself some love and give yourself so need r and r.

Daily self-love worksheet

My new favorite thing! Jessica Mullen made this wonderful concept. It is a great way to start or end the day by being kind and loving to yourself. I would highly recommend doing this every day it takes 5 mins and is an amazing self-love booster.

http://jessicamullen.com/2011/02/19/the-daily-self-love-worksheet/

Love letter to yourself

We all love reading letters (especially as letters that are not bills are so rare these days). On the 1st May every year I write myself a love letter. And then I read it out loud. It always starts “Dear Emma-Jane” and it always ends “I will always be here for you. I love you

Writing and reading yourself is incredibly powerful and moving. I would be lying if I said I had never cried during this process. When you write to yourself you know exactly what it is you want someone who loves you to say and then you say it.

If you could write yourself a letter, what would you tell yourself?

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When you hold yourself in high esteem, you tend to have more enjoyment and a more positive attitude toward the future. And so do the people around you. When you love yourself, you accept yourself. You take pride in yourself.  And other people will too. Self-love not only feeds your soul, but your spirit, and emotional well-being. And most importantly it frees you up from the negative extra weight low confidence brings, allowing you to do, be and have whatever you want from life. Try one of these today and I guarantee you will want to do one tomorrow because they feel great!

Have a beautiful weekend <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

#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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#lifelessons101 Stop and smell the flowers

After all the hustle and bustle of the start of the year here we are at the Easter weekend. It’s been an amazing 3 months here at Re:Root with the launch of the Re:Root Coaching Solutions, prepping for the new radio show, as running up and down country teaching and coaching. I have loved it. And I am also exhausted and in need of a break. Although thanks to one very important life habit I have I am not as exhausted as I could have been. It’s what Mr. T calls stopping and smelling the flowers.

The idea is simple and easy to do and won’t cost you a penny. Stopping and smelling the flowers is about just taking a moment to stop and notice things in life. Children do this instinctively. For them, the world is a place of wonder and marvel. Yet as adults we lose that fascination with the world we live in. We become blasée. Seen it all before, done it all before and we are far too busy. We even teach this to our children rushing them along to playschool, playdate not giving them the time to marvel. It’s such a shame. And such a waste. Because by taking a moment to look up and appreciate the world around us can give us such an energy boost. A moment of recharge in an otherwise busy life.

I love to look for the little things that make life beautiful. The light dancing on the water of the fjord, a bird of prey hovering above a field and the fresh shoots and plants emerging right now in the spring. Every year the same and every year different. When you begin to look for it the world is full of beautiful moments. Here is a list of my favorite ways to look for the special moments in life. The bits that make every day a gift and boost my spirits no matter what. Why not take a moment this Easter to look for the special moments around you in life and take a moment to enjoy the gift you have of your life

Take the train

When we travel by trains we get to see the world a new. Train tracks travel the country differently to the motorways. They provide us with a different viewpoint on life (And often a sneaky peak into peoples back gardens!)

Look up at the clouds

Do you remember looking for pictures in the clouds as a child? I loved this game. As an adult, we forget to exercise the muscle of imagination. Practice next time you are waiting for the bus and see what you can see passing by above you in the wind.

People watching

I love this. People are the most interesting form of entertainment. If you have the time order a drink in a cafe, sit outside or by the window and watch the world go by. If you don’t have time for a long break then enjoy people watching at work, on the bus, in the supermarket.

Smile at babies and say hi to dogs

Babies have the most beautiful smiles. Playing peek a boo with a baby in the supermarket queue can’t help bring a smile to your face. Equally greeting dogs or cats (depending on your preference) gives a comfort and joy.

Look for nature’s beauty

Fill your life with nature’s beauty. Have lunch in the park instead of a restaurant. Walk to work through the park. Get outside the world is full of beautiful things we just have to find them. Take a moment to sit on a bench and look at the trees, the birds, it really is amazing to see how much life there is around us that we hardly ever see.

Pick flowers

The world is a different place as a child as we spend more time with our nose closer to the ground. As an adult, this is rather hard. However, picking flowers will bring us back there again. Of course, make sure you are allowed to pick them and if nothing else make a daisy chain. Get in contact physically with nature just by lying on the grass and you will find that life feels amazing again. (Personally, I love to climb trees but do make sure it’s in a place where you are allowed!)

Watch a sunset

I love sunsets and sunrises. Although these days I tend to see more sets than rises. Find out when sunset is, find a good viewing point. Pour yourself a glass of something nice and sit and enjoy.

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There are a million and one ways to stop and smell the flowers. These are just a few I love but I hope  you take the time to find your own and fill your life with the energy-boosting moments that make life even more wonderful

Happy Weekend <3

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#lifelssons101 – How to persevere despite it all?

Another brilliant mind left the world this week as many mourn the death of Professor Stephen Hawkins. And I assume that your social media like mine has been exploding with memories of his incredible achievements, quotes and above all his lifelong battle and astounding success with his illness and subsequent disabilities. It’s inspiring. To see perseverance in the face of such hopelessness, reminds us that we can achieve no matter who we are and what we face.

And of course Proffessor Hawkins is not the only person to have persevered despite it all. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories in the world where people have overcome amazing difficulties, challenges and situations and persevere to create something wonderful.

From Joan of Arc, to JK Rowling, JIm Carey, Chris Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, BIll Gates, Oprah, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Einstein, Edison, Walt Disney, my Great Grandma. The list is endless. But what is it that all of these people have incommon? What is it that makes their stories the hardship to success stories that we love? In min opinion it is their stubborn, bull headed, determination perseverance.

The power of perseverance is a gift for humanity and one we can all tap into. It is not some magic thing that the above mentioned have that  we don’t. Perseverance is something they have learned to turn on and the great thing is we can do it too. Why? Because perseverance is actually a basic part of human biology.  Which means we can tap in to the physical and mental processes that help us overcome adversity in whatever form it enters our lives.

Physically according to Neuroscience dopamine, the a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers (our internal happy drug)  is the fuel that keeps people motivated to persevere. And the great news is that you have the power to increase your  personal production of dopamine by changing attitude and behaviour!

Mentally perseverance is about the power of pushing yourself when you have nothing left to give. The Finish have a word for this. Sisu. Roughly translated “Sisu is the concept of taking action in the face of significant adversity or challenge. It is not so much about achievement as it is about facing your challenges with valor and determination.” Sisu is your mental strength, your tenacity that allows you to bear your responsibilities whatever they are. It is the ability to sustain your action and fight against extreme odds.

If you are feeling overloaded here are some great ways to help you persevere and overcome in the face of adversity.

Deal with the practicals

Whenever I have hit adversity in my life my first point of call is to deal with the practical side of things. No matter what is happening in your life the sun will still come up tomorrow and you will need to eat, have an income, brush your teeth. These things may seem like huge milestones. I have always found that when I have been hit hard the first thing I need to do is make a short term survival plan and focus on that. Step by step. Being able to wash up, cook food and even have a shower when the world is crumbling around is a small success.  Successes create dopamine and give us a feeling of control no matter what.

Look for the meaning

If you can understand something you can do something about it or accept it. By looking for the teaching in any situation we get clarity and a ha moments. By getting clear in a bad situation you pull yourself out of your “panic” reaction to the adversity and that helps you take control of the stress and ultimately calm yourself. If you can’t find a meaning yet you have to trust that there is one and eventually it will become clear.  

Failure is an event not an identity

Many people allow their failure, their trauma or their situation to become their identity. It is not. To help increase your sense of perseverance and help you engage, to keep moving forward. Did Hawkins allow his illness to become his identity. No. He then himself into his work and allowed that to become his identity. So recognise that this adversity is simply an event in your life, it is not who you are.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Persevering means sometimes you need to get a form of tunnel vision. Zoom in on the prize. It might be something as simple, it might be something huge. Whatever it is you have to achieve go for it. With determination it is possible to achieve anything. Whenever you feel unsure ir doubt your ability to overcome or succeed go and look at the stories of others that have managed. Let their stories inspire you. Persevering means overcoming our personal limiting fears. Remember that bravery is not the absence of fear it is have a fear and doing it anyway despite of your fear.

Keep your dopamine up

Through exercise, laughter, music, achieving tasks these things give you dopamine. If you are having a hard time persevering then make sure you have a focus on creating increased levels of dopamine. Your body is your engine and you can’t persevere if you don’t take care of it. So if you are feeling overwhelmed get back to basics, sleep, eating right. Get your body moving and you will find that it gets easier and easier to persevere. Make time to do things that are good for and things that you enjoy and it will lighten your load.

Find your Sisu

 Sisu extends beyond perseverance. It is the final push in the face of adversity which means we carry on even when the odds are against us.  Finding your Sisu means you have to dig deep. Look through your personal history and identify the times where you have used your Sisu. What is it that made you carry on and get that job, get over that break up? Whatever it was you faced and pushed through how did you do it? What was your motivation. We have all used our Sisu before. Tap into that determination use it to spur you onwards.

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Persevering is one of the toughest things we have to do as humans. However as with Professor Hawkins life shows it is possible to make a powerful life no matter what the circumstances. As Julie Andrews says” Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” So keep going allow your sisu to lead you, your dopamine to motivate you and above all remember to look for the beautiful moments that make the journey from adversity to overcoming one of the most worthwhile experiences of you entire life.

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet