How to kick fear away, embrace your power and be a badass! (4 min read)


As a child someone told me that I had everything I needed inside me to achieve whatever I wanted to achieve. That I had the power to be anything I wanted to be.  And I believed them. I dreamed. I dared. However, as life is as I grew older, because an insecure teenager and unsure young adult and made it to what I had always thought of the age of being a ‘proper grown up’, that belief had disappeared. Somewhere along life’s roads it had dwindled away a lot with my love of pink and Take That (a loss I have never mourned). Somewhere in all that living and growing I had forgotten that I have this power. That I was born with it.

I was re introduced to the idea again in my 30’s but instead of that rush of inspiration of belief in my own ability I had as a child, I didn’t feel powerful. I couldn’t believe. To be fair my self worth was at an all time low. Logically I knew it to be true. Every seed has the potential to grow, to blossom, to fulfill it’s potential. Yet I didn’t feel that I had that same ability. Something was holding me back. Where ever my power was, I certainly couldn’t access it.

Until one day I read these words of the inspiring Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. “

These words, for me were a eureka experience. They hit  the nail absolutely on the head.

I realised that it wasn’t that I am not powerful. I was simply too afraid to embrace my power

Wow!

It was an insanely intense revolation on a cold,  grey monday morning mid commute.

It was a revelation that  truly changed my life

A revelation about the power of fear.

Because when you get down to it fear is the great debilitator. It stops us doing so much. It takes over our minds and when we allow it, it screws up everything. The irony being that it is part of our survival system, designed to protect us back in the days when predators were really out to get us. However, it’s not like that today. In fact the only predator out to get us today is in actuality fear. Our own fears and other people’s. Consciously and unconsciously we are ruled by it. Which to be honest is really dumb.

We get this one life and we limit ourselves by being afraid. We don’t realise our potential because we are afraid of what that might mean. Where is the sense in that? Seems like a wasted opportunity to me.    

As I realised all of this I knew two things to be true.

I needed to embrace my power. And I needed to not be afraid of my own power

Now I would love to say that once I figured that out bibbidi bobbidi boo – I was magically empowered! I wasn’t. Not back then. And not entirely now. However, I am damn more connected to my power today than I have ever been before. And it feels great.

I shine, in a way I have never shined before.

Now Marianne Williamson didn’t just stop at pointing out our fear, she also suggested what we do when we embrace our power. She said

“ as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

And my friends it really is true.

When you can be comfortable with your power and embrace it, not only do you live a more authentic, responsible and freer powerful life, you inspire others to do the same.

Now you might be thinking well that’s lovely for you and Marianne Emma-Jane but how the heck did you do it?

How can I embrace my power?

Well, there is of course no one solution fits everyone. But  I did find a few tricks along the way and so here are 4 things you can do to begin your journey of stopping being afraid of your power and embracing it.

What is it that you are scared of?

Before you can start you need to know what it actually is that you are afraid of? What is it about shining and being the most powerful you that you fear? Identify your fears. Ask yourself if they are real? And ask yourself what you could do about it if they are? Knowing your fears gives you power over them. If you know what they are when they raise their ugly head you can in essence tell them to bugger off. It’s not real. It is just a fear. And being afrais is not a reason not to be powerful.

What does powerful me look like?

Ask yourself if I  embraced my power what would my life look like?  If I was not afraid of my own ability what would my life be like? By looking at this you are giving your brain a different option than being afraid of what could go wrong. You are reprogramming your brain to think about  what could go right.

How do I make that happen?

We often circle around the what could go wrongs rather than thinking about what we can do to make something happen. Think about how could you make it so that you are the powerful you? How can you create the life that you imagined by asking the last questions. What actions can you take?

There are many great ways to do this. If you look through my blog and search power you will find many tips and tricks to get you started. Alternatively sign up to Re:root your life’s Facebook page where for the whole of June we are dedicating to articles to help you be the most powerful you #bebadass !

Just do it!

My main life philosophy is “ Bravery is not the absence of fear. I t is having a fear and doing it anyway”. Fighting your fears is a challenging battle. It’s not going to be immediately easy. You will need to take a leap of faith and try. You will need to pick yourself up when you fall and try again. But believe me the rewards are worth it. The important thing is to commit. Commit to embracing your power. Commit to reaching your potential. And each time you leap, each time you dare, every time you tell your fears to shut up the easier it will be next time.

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Embracing your power, for me, is about having the freedom to enjoy your life, to grow and experience all possibilities and make the most of your short time on this earth. The greatest thing about doing this is that you get to inspire others to do the same, whilst enjoying your life.  Give yourself permission to break free from your fear and embrace your power and the world will be a better place, just because you were here to shine.

So be bad ass this June, embrace the power you have within you and allow yourself to shine!

Have a great week

Emma-Jane <3

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Love yourself the way you would love your child – Self love in action


If you have been following my ramblings this may you will know that this month I have dedicated may as the month of self love in practice. My journey with self-love practice changes each year. Some years it is all about pampering, some years boosting my internal sense of self worth, some years have just been about giving myself time to do what I wanted to do. But this year has been about self love on a time deficit!  I have had one of the busiest Mays in many a year and more than ever I need to take care of myself. And it’s made me realise something really important about self-love practice.

Love is the foundation upon which all healthy lives are built upon.

I mean it should be obvious -right? We all know that love makes the world go around. It is love that is the foundation of all of our most important relationships with our partners, our children, our family and the gods (however you dom or don’t define them.) It is love that nurtures powerful growth, allows people to thrive and blossom.

So it makes sense that loving ourselves in the way we love, say our children is the foundation for us truly growing, blossoming and reaching our full potential.

And from this thought I have been cultivating a new approach to self-love.

What if we loved ourselves the way we love our children?

Now wouldn’t that be something!

Think about it. We love our children unconditionally, despite their flaws, the tantrums, the mistakes and the frustrations. Why not apply that same grace to ourselves? I found this idea has completely turned around my idea of self-love adn how to put it into action. All of a sudden the face masks and candles have gone out of the window (well back in the cupboard). And what has replaced this surface level self love practice is a deeper rooted, more nurturing form of self love than I have ever experienced before.

And it’s based on the roots of good parenting!

There are certain absolute truths that are the keys to being a good parent, and raising your child- despite the lack of a handbook. The ones I think we can all agree on are the following:

  • Loving unconditionally
  • Encouraging passions and personal growth
  • Setting boundaries
  • Nurturing the body with good food and rest
  • Fostering self-responsibility
  • Forgiving and accepting
  • Supporting the through the bad times
  • Celebrating their achievements
  • Telling them how proud we are of them.
  • Putting them first
  • Believing in them.

Now imagine trying to apply these truths to how you raise and take care yourself. Would you allow your child to binge watch netflixs until 3am? Or could you never forgive your child for making a mistake? Of course not. So why do we let ourselves do this things?

Mr T has a saying that can be applied perfectly to that kind of behaviour.- “Det dumb” (That’s stupid).

How about instead you ask yourself

Would I treat my child the way I am treating myself?

And if the answer is no, then change your behaviour. True love is not just all about the roses and the candles. It’s about doing what is right. Taking responsibility. Caring and supporting. And above all accepting someone is exactly as they are. And loving it.

Try loving yourself the way you love your child this week and see how your relationship with yourself changes

Let me know how it goes in the comments below

Have a wonderful  week

Love Emma xxxx

Love yourself as you would love someone else

#lifelessons101 – How to cope when you get a diagnosis


Getting a diagnosis is an emotional roller coaster ride. Whether for a mental or physical health issue, you could be standing amidst shock, disbelief, epiphany, clarity, confusion or even a huge dollop of why the heck did this happen to me! This is a roller coaster I have ridden 4 times in my life. And I can still remember how each and every time I have stood there, with my new label wondering how the heck I was going to cope and what this label was going to mean in my life.

My diagnosis roller coaster started at school with dyslexia. Then about 20 years  later I was in hospital the day before my 30th birthday on an insulin drip fighting for my life against ketoacidosis being told that I had diabetes type 1.  Obviously this was a life changing diagnosis. It changed everything. My diet. My sleep patterns. It affected my hobbies, my social life and even my sex life. It was traumatic and scary. I still have challenges dealing with it today. But that was only the beginning of my roller coaster ride.

A few years later after a bad head injury, a bad break up and losing my job i hit probably the lowest point in my life.  Everything became too much and I couldn’t go on. So I tried not to. Luckily I had a wonderful person in my life who stopped me and got me the help I needed. Eventually after doctors meeting and psychiatrist meetings I found out what was going on. Bi-Polar  (type 2). I think this was one of the hardest moments in my life. Being told that my brain simply worked differently and that the only way to cope with it was to be on meds for the rest of my life. I remember thinking not more meds. I knew nothing about Bi-polar. But it scared me. Mostly because of the stigma attached to it. Of all of my diagnoses this was the hardest one to accept.

But I did and life carried on. The meds worked. I am stable and to be honest all these diagnosis have made me more self-aware, take care of myself better and my life has actually never be so good as it is now.

But apparently I like collecting labels because a few years ago I got one more.

My psychiatrist told me that as we have many people in my family with autism she wanted to test me. Sure I thought. I was surprised to get the results. I have Aspergers. I am surprised I didn’t realise myself honestly. I have a long history and relationship with Autism. Not only have I grown up with a sibling with autism, I have also worked in schools supporting and teaching children and adults with many different diagnosis including autism and ADHD. Despite all my knowledge I had never made the connection that I could be on the spectrum too. Now in contrast to the last diagnosis this was the easiest to accept. It made sense. In fact it explained so much. And in many ways has made my life so much easier.

These days I just say I have a label that fills each box. I am thankful for the support I get and the understanding of those I live and work with. Infact as a life coach my diagnosis are a strength rather than a weakness. Aspergers does wonders for time management and practical action solutions. Where as having both mental and physical health issues really makes me understand the importance of work/life balance. Of course there is the stigma that comes along with it, however that does help me prioritise the people I want in my life, taught me to set boundaries and has encouraged me to work on my self confidence.

Now I know I am truly lucky to live in a country where the public services have an amazing health system compared to many other countries in the world. I got and get a lot of support to understand and live with my diagnosis. Today I feel so blessed to  work with many adults who have diagnosis or labels around the world. Supporting them to accept, live and work with their diagnoses. Understanding their labels and empowering them to get the best out of their lives whilst taking the best possible care of themselves.

However, today as I came away from my recent check up at the doctors I thought about the rest of you who live in one of these countries where I understand the experience can be to be diagnosed and then in essence dropped afterwards. Basically congratulations you have a new label now off you go with no help!

It must be so hard and so scary for you. So I would like to help.

In my personal and professional experience there are a few things you can do when you first get your label to start getting on the road to recovery or stability depending on how your diagnosis works. And no matter what you have been diagnosed with all of these actions will help.

Step 1: Get informed

I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand your diagnosis. Ask your doctors. Ask the internet. Ask the charity organisations. Find a book on amazon. Remember with any diagnosis the conditions and advice varies depending on your own biology. However the more informed you are the more you will begin to understand yourself. I always maintain if you understand something you can do something about it. This is your body and your life so don’t wait for someone to tell you how it is going to work. You can start finding that out straight away.

Step 2: Get a support circle

Support is the next thing. When you first get diagnoses you might not feel ready to shout it out on social media or tell all your colleagues. However, you do need support. Choose a few trusted people who you can rely on and talk with them about your diagnosis. When I got diabetes I found it really helpful to have someone sit and take notes for me. There was so much information to take in without those notes I could never have remembered it all. To this day Mr T comes with me to the diabetes nurse. He often remembers the questions I forget to ask. When I began the process of meds for Bi-polar a good friend came with me. And when I got the Aspergers diagnosis I asked for help from a colleague that worked with special needs to help me figure out how I could do my job without having meltdowns. My family I told although they didn’t really understand. Some people won’t. But don’t think that is true for everyone. It is ok to ask for help and the people that love you will want to help.

At the same time have a look at what help there is in the public sector. I would really recommend contacting the charity organisations they have the best knowledge of public support, educations or support groups etc.

Step 3: Routine and breaks

No matter what diagnosis (or for that matter non diagnosis) for a healthy life balance you need to have structure in your life to help you be the best person you can be. I found understanding what gave me energy and what doesn’t a good way of planning my week, delegating  or just accepting and letting go I can’t do it all on the bad days. Creating healthy boundaries for breaks and recharge days is a another good tip. I refuse to do anything organisational, work or chores after dinner most weeks of my life. It gives me that mental health time I need and seriously makes me effective in my time management. I also find that having a plan on how to cope on the bad days makes it easier too. (I will write more about this in another article to share my tips and tricks.)

Step 4: Talk with people in the same boat

No matter what diagnosis you got there is 99% chance that someone else in the world has the same one. And the great thing with the internet is that we can connect with them. One of most empowering experiences I had was through a diabetes forum during the first 6 months of my diagnosis. There may be local groups who meet up and these can be great sources of inspiration and laughter. Which honestly is one of the best ways of coping with your diagnosis. And there are also groups and online forums for the people in your life who are supporting you with your diagnosis. There is a lot of inspiration out there on what you can do to make your life easier. Not all will work for you but somethings will.

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How you choose to follow these steps is up to you. Although I would recommend not doing it all at once. Choose one that you feel comfortable with and try that first. And I am very aware there are many more phases of coping with a diagnosis. Accepting is a long process this is just my recommendation of where to start.

The most important piece of advice I can give to any of you who has recently received a new diagnosis and is sitting with a new label in hand is to work with your diagnosis at your own pace.

I have seen first hand the awful things that can happen when people live in denial of their diagnosis. In my experience learning about it, being honest asking for help and working with diagnosis makes it manageable. And most importantly makes your life better.

If you have had a diagnosis how did you cope with it. Please share your tips and stories below and help people who are going through what we have been through

Love

Emma-Jane <3

How to put Self-love into action today!

We all know that loving ourselves is important. It is the foundation of self-acceptance, any loving relationship and ultimately our self confidence. But as the internet throws this phrase around it can seem quite vague and fluffy.

Now anyone that knows me knows that I like tangible ideas and practical actions, not vague elusive concepts like the phrase self-love. And tangible and practical is something I feel is missing from the self-love concept bandied around out there. And from talking with others I know they feel the same too.

It is easy for us to think of actionable ways to love others—listening to them, helping them, appreciating them—but when it comes to ourselves, love is often just a feeling and not something we can figure out how to practice. So we don’t

And that sucks!

What we want and need the are of self- love to be is something we can put into action every day – but how on earth do you do that?

Well I think I have cracked the code to actionable self love!

Here are my guidelines to putting self-love into action everyday:

Check in with you

We ask our children, our friends and our partners how are you? Did you sleep well? How’s life? But how often do we do that with ourselves? Take time to check in with yourself and see where you need to take care of yourself.

One practical tool you can use is the wheel of life which can help you identify how different areas of your life are going so you can see where to direct your energy.

Another tool is to check in with your self esteem by doing free writing. This is basically automatic writing. So in this case you could try checking in by answering these 3 questions-

  • How do I feel about myself right now? (Be honest write the good and the bad.)
  • Why do I feel like this about myself?
  • What can I do to feel differently/better about myself?

Check in with yourself every day

Prioritize yourself

The most important factor in your life is you. And I don’t mean in a me, me, Me, MEEEE way! Quite simply if you don’t function mentally or physically nothing else will function. Putting others first to the detriment of you is the opposite of healthy living. It is not a sign of being a “good” person. It is an indication of a person who is not living life fully.

So put yourself at the top of your to-do list.

If you need sleep then schedule some. If you need to feel better about yourself make sometime for affirmations or eating food that makes you feel great.

Remember caring for yourself is self preservation.

Reprogram that internal dialogue

We believe the voice we hear the most and the phrases we hear most often. The voice we hear the most is our own inside our head. If that voice is constantly telling you that you suck, are not good enough or don’t deserve  good things, well just guess what you will believe?

Reprogramming our internal dialogue to being kind and loving is one of the most powerful self love tools out there.

Personally I use this amazing worksheet by Jessica Mullen as a weekly reprogramming session. This a great tool as it hits all the learning and therefore remembering tools. When you write it down, read it and speak it you are giving your brain a chance to hear love and REMEMBER it as truth. The more often you do this the more you will find you really feel more comfortable in your own skin!

Reward and celebrate yourself

One of the reasons we knew as children we were loved is by praise. But as adults we get this mostly in the form of a pay rise or winning awards. And there is a lot of competition out there. That’s why we all love our likes on social media. But do we remember to do it for ourselves? Well no not often.

However, nowhere is it written that you can not reward, praise and celebrate yourself!

Write a list of all your awesome qualities, write daily 3 things you are proud of yourself for or give yourself something to look forward to for being the amazing wonderful person you are!

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Before I started to conciously put effort into practicing self-love in action, I really did hate myself. Why ? Because the opposite of self love is comparing yourself to others. And that breeds discontent.

Now of course I do that sometimes, we all do. Yet now I can regroup and remind myself easily why I am awesome, unique and what I give to the world. And that feels amazing!

And even better since really practicing self-love became part of my everyday I can see the vibrations of that energy around me. I have finally found someone I love that loves me the way I deserve to be (and of course I him), I am respected by my peers and colleagues. And I know straight away if someone is a toxic influence in my life and set the healthiest of boundaries.

By putting self love into action I am happier, healthier and I love my life even more than before!

And I know 100% that if you throw yourself into the deep end and practice self-love on a daily basis this will happen to you too!

Come on in the water is lovely! 🙂

Let me know how you are going to make Self-love actionable in your life today in the comments below

Have a beautiful week

Emma-Jane
<3

#reroot #selflove #emmajane #monthofselflove #enjoyyourjourney #loveyourlife

#lifelessons101 – Self love- a little goes a long way

Right now my battery is close to running on empty.  I haven’t spent one weekend at home in 3 weeks due to work and there has been little to no down time. In some ways it might seem ironic that this has been at the start of my self-love month. Such intense working conditions hardly follow the traditional take care of yourself and practice self love advice. Far from it in fact!

However, sometimes that’s life. It can’t all be long bubble baths and weekends in the woods. No matter how much our soul yearns for it.

Yet at times like this we all need TLC and a loving boost. So how in a week where having the time to  brush my teeth and make sure I have trousers on before I leave the house has been nearly impossible have I found time to keep my much needed self-love commitment?

My personal recipe to self-love in an insanely busy schedule focuses on the principle a little goes a long way.

It is comprised of 4 baby steps:

  • Acceptance
  • Doing one nice thing a day for you
  • Delegating and saying no
  • Prioritising sleep

Let me explain…

Acceptance

To alleviate frustration you have to first accept that during this busy period you are not going to have a lot of ‘me time’. That cabin in the woods will, temporarily have to wait. If you get frustrated about not having the time you need for yourself you are creating a whole lot of stress for yourself that you really don’t need right now. Accept that maybe right now you can’t get to the gym as often as you like and enjoy it when you can. Accept that right now you might not be able to make all the healthy meals from scratch we all know we need, grab a pre- made salad and give yourself the love that way.

Remember this does not mean life is always going to be that way. Plan that trip to the cabin in the woods for after your busy period and accept life as it is right now. Accepting you cannot do it all right now is a huge act of self love. Give yourself that gift.

Doing one nice thing a day for you

The key here is keep it simple. This week I have made a daily commitment to moisturising properly after my shower. It is  a little loving thing which takes me maybe 3 minutes and makes me feel great! Self- care is one of the first things we tend to neglect when we are busy so making the extra effort to do something nice for our bodies with minimal time and effort is a real treat during these times. But it could equally be your favorite frappuccino before work or hearing your favorite playlist on your way home.

Commit to doing one nice thing for you every day

This small action will go a long way to boost your energy.  Whether you feel like it or not, making the commitment means you’ll remind yourself on a daily basis to treat yourself with loving kindness.  

That’s pure self love right there!

Delegating and saying no

Lightening your workload and setting healthy boundaries when you are hella busy is an act of self-love. You do not have to do it all and be the superhero all the time. Sometimes it’s good to let someone else have a hero moment too.

Delegate and let someone else be the hero for once!

Last weekend I found myself overwhelmed in my social circle as everyone I hadn’t seen all winter wanted to confide in me or get some advice. Normally not an issue, just not right now. After talking with a few I was so exhausted so I checked in and set a boundary.  I politely told everyone ‘Hey guys, no offence but what I need right now is a short people break”. People respected it and knew it wasn’t personal. In setting my boundary in this way I not only showed people I trust them enough to be vulnerable and that I love myself too. A total win-win!

If you saw a friend or colleague overloaded you would want to help (if you could) so don’t be afraid to love yourself enough to ask for help.

Prioritising sleep

Prioritise your sleep

There is no argument that we all need sleep. Even more so when we are working in hyper drive mode. Prioritising sleep, at a busy and stressful time is simply good self love in practice. Yes there many other things you might want to do.  But if you don’t sleep you can’t do anything! Prioritise your shut eye now and you will not collapse during the first rest break you get. Quite simply love yourself enough to allow yourself to rest.

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Self -love practice doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially when you are run off your feet a little truly does go a long way. So instead of dropping self love and kindness during your busiest times, simplify. Follow my recipe and you will find it boosts your energy without loosing you time or complicating matters.

What little act of self love can you commit to today? Let me know in the comments below

Have a lovely week

Emma-Jane <3  

Keep self love simple – tips to being kind to yourself when you don’t have much time!

When we think of self love  it often conjures up images of massages, luxury, pampering and oodles of time to invest in ourselves. However, when life is busy time to invest in self love can be the last thing on our minds. And that is often when we need a little self-love the most. Yet we don’t all have the luxury of booking a day off in the spa.   

So do you manage to be kind to yourself when you don’t have much time?

Keep it simple!

Being kind to your self and practicing self-love doesn’t need to be time consuming or elaborate. There are many little things you can do to take care of yourself in a busy time consumed schedule.

Here are my 5 top self love tips you can put into action straight away and give yourself the kind treatment and love you deserve.

Take 2 minutes to appreciate yourself

A little appreciation goes a long way. Grab a journal, google keep or a post it and write down 3 things you appreciate about yourself.

It could be that you are a good friend or partner or that you are doing well at your job. The things you appreciate don’t just have to be big things. Maybe just that you made yourself dinner or went to work even when you wanted to stay home.

The important thing is to appreciate yourself both for the little things and the things you may take for granted and not just for the bigger accomplishments.

Get the big tasks out of the way

If you have a busy overwhelming schedule you might have a big task you really don’t want to do. For me this often looking a my finances. The challenge is that by not doing it you are not taking care of yourself and it can sit like a pit of stress in your stomach. Grab that big task get it done and over with is an act of self-love. By doing it you will make your load lighter and easier to bear. What could be kinder.

Nourish yourself

We know that good food and nourishment is important so make that an act of self love. Whether it is your favourite cup of tea in the morning, a walk at lunch or eating your favourite dinner, give your body something to lift the spirits and nourish your body will always make you feel better.

Make time for a mini pamper session

Now you may not have time for the full routine. But using 1 more minute to moisturize, use a little hair oil is not going to wreck your day’s plans. Giving yourself a 5 minute hand massage or even  doing 10 mins of yoga will make you feel taken care of. An investment in your own health.

Sing along to your favourite happy song!

Indulge yourself by listening to your favourite happy song and sing along! Allowing yourself to be happy in a busy day is an act of self love. So while you are making dinner or driving to work bring a smile to your face with some music you love.

There are many little ways in which we can be kind to ourselves and make self love a simply daily practice. These are but a few suggestions.

What can you do in 3 minutes today to give your self a little love and kindness?

Share your self love rituals in the comments so we can inspire each other !

HAve a wonderful week

Emma-Jane <3

Take a little time to make your soul happy

My top tips for getting back to the roots of daily life post- holidays!

Ahhh holidays! That epic time of not having to the things we normally do and focus on having fun. What’s not to love. A break from the norm and hopefully a fresh boost of energy to guide us through until our summer break. I don’t know about you but I always find getting back into the daily routine a challenge after a break. This year more than ever as Mr T and I had the luxury of 10 unadulterated free days at home.  Long mornings sleeping late, lazy days of pottering about at home in the garden. We gave ourselves permission to relax and simply do nothing. As care-free as chilhood Lovely!

But now the holiday is over and real life is looming I find I don’t want to lose that feeling of peace. As much as I love my working life I really don’t want to adult!

Of course the perfect scenario would be to combine the two the carefree attitude of a holiday with my passion and intensity of my career. I mean who wouldn’t love that!

But how can we do that? As the vacation comes to an end, routine starts to impatiently bugging you, nagging you to give all the the things you have set aside for a week or so need your undivided attention NOW. Personally I am back at work facing the busiest 2 weeks of my year so far. Basically I am coming back to the ultimate recipe for stress.

Years ago I would have ploughed through and burned out rapidly. But now I am older and wiser, and have got the art of returning to daily life down to a fine art. It is of course impossible to have the exact same carefree lifestyle a vacation allows us.

However, IT IS possible to minimise the abrupt harshness of going back to normal life and bring some of your holiday spirit along with you.

It is all about how you approach the transitional week. The first week back or in some cases the first month back. You need to warm up the engine slowly to get things running at optimal capacity. With a little for thought, a shift in your focus and above all letting go of the chip on the shoulder that the holidays have to end you can get back into a healthy rhythm and minimise stress along the way. Even if like me, you have a busy or stressful time coming up after a vacation.

Here are my top tips on get back to the roots of your daily life after a vacation and bring a little holiday vibe into your normality.

Prioritise your Frogs and important tasks.

There will be somethings you are really not looking forward to doing after a vacation. That’s life. I call these my frogs. The jobs I have to do that make me squirm in my stomach. You know the ones that you really want to put off. You may also have deadlines that are a lot closer now than they were before the holidays. What I do is to prioritise my focus areas for the coming months. I allocate work bursts (or home bursts). Each week I know what areas of my work or life I am focusing on. It stops the feeling of being overloaded. I know what I am going to handle and when. Now with those pesky frogs, I get them out the way as quickly as possible. I literally swallow my frog by getting on with doing what needs to be done. And then once it is done the stress is gone and I feel lighter!

Make a game plan for your emails / life tasks

Hopefully, before you left for your vacation you turned on out-of-office replies on your work email. But there are still likely are a backlog of emails that need catching up on which could provoke some stressful thoughts and unrealistic pressure on yourself. Remember you don’t have to get everything done at once. Take a deep breath and arrange the messages into folders based on urgency, and give yourself a couple of days to get back up to speed. Do the same thing with your life tasks. Chipping away at stuff rather than trying to do it all at once is a much more effective and manageable way to get back on task.

Prioritise Sleep

Upon returning from holiday, make sure you prioritize sleep. If you don’t, you might start blaming everything else in your life for your internal chaos, when really all you need is a blissful night of slumber. Rest is one of the things we prioritise in a vacation. And as  getting the proper amount of shut-eye can be the “magical” cure to a lot of things, do the same in your daily life. If you have a busy few weeks coming up make the time to carve out some sleep and even a lie in or two, failing that someday time naps.

Make your slumber important

Get back into your wellness routine

Stop feeling guilty. It is good for you to take breaks now and again. Now its time to get back on the horse again. Think of it as an act of self care as opposed to something you have to do really helps your mental energy levels. The important START SMALL. If you normally take a 5-mile jog in the morning, start with 3 this week. If you have a strict diet routine you broke during the holidays then start with breakfast this week then breakfast and lunch next week.

Don’t expect yourself to automatically jump right back into to your old routine because your body won’t be able to handle it, and you’ll end up getting more frustrated than feeling good.

Give yourself some fun

The post holiday blues are rubbish. So make sure you have some fun and something to look forward to. Getting coffee with a friend . . . having a sauna . . . allocating a couple of reading hours for yourself – be sure to have some fun things to lift your mood.

Get outside

One of the things most of us do more of on our holidays is to be outside. For me this week I set up my new vegetable garden. Today the majority of us work inside. Maybe you had a picnic or went to the beach or just a walk. While the sun is coming out go outside and great it. Eat out on your lunch break. Take a walk in the park on the weekend. Getting the sun on your head and the wind in your hair always makes you feel good and it’s a free way to boost your energy – Bonus!

How do you guys settle in to the roots of your daily life after some time away? Do you have any tips you can share which make the transition smoother and more enjoyable for you?

Let me know in the comments below

Have a lovely week 🙂

Love

Emma-Jane <3

#lifelessons101 – How to ask for help – reaching out to your community

We often hear in the news today that people are more isolated and that community spirit is something of the past.  People often blame overpopulation, the rise of crime and the classic – social media.

However, while all of these obviously important, I have another suggestion. It is my belief that we have simply stopped reaching out for help. That may seem strange. The idea of the breakdown of community because we don’t ask for help is not a traditional idea. However community has been supporting each other, helping each other since the dawn of time.

We know from research that our long gone ancestors lived as tribes. And why? Because with one pair of hands we simply could not do everything we needed to survive. We needed both hunter and gatherers. As we developed farming we needed a community to bring the harvest in. Imagine trying to build a house alone, it would be near on impossible. Not to mention work would go a lot slower if you had to keep stopping to make your own cups of tea!  

So why is it today are we has such as issue reaching out for help?

Garret Keizer, author of “Help: The Original Human Dilemma” (HarperCollins, 2004) said

“There is a tendency to act as if it’s a deficiency,”. The most common factor why people don’t like to ask for help today is that we are either worried about people judging them or because we feel incompetent if we can’t do it alone. Another reason is that we often move away from our established communities and we stop making new friends. Are the old classic is that we are too proud.

The challenge is that seeing asking for help as somehow making us less or being seen as less, is a destructive pathway. At work it can lead to us not getting that promotion because we don’t get any better at what we do. At home it can lead to building us feelings of resentment and frustration which can in turn lead to the breakdown of a relationship.  At school we might fail exams because we didn’t want to explain that we didn’t understand. And in extreme cases it can lead to drastic consequences of self harm when we don’t reach out in times of extreme psychological demise. Just think back for a moment. There will be a negative situation in your past that could have been easily solved just by asking for help.

I am lucky in that I am not a person who has difficulty in asking for help. Having moved countless times in my adult life, having lived on the streets a few times and now living in a completely different country leaving my communities behind and building a new one has become one of the most important tools I have in my arsenal for helping me get the best out of life.

Nancy Astor once said “I have always relied of the kindness of strangers” and I adopted it as my mantra at an early age. I have been so lucky to have met so many amazing people who have helped me in one way or another throughout my life. And I am forever grateful. As I write I am awaiting a wonderful team of 18 amazing people who are coming to help us this weekend dig out our vegetable garden and help us manage the huge garden we have that we simply cannot manage on our own. (We in turn are feeding and watering them and giving them the opportunity to learn to plant dye.) However, I wouldn’t have their help if I hadn’t searched for the people and simply asked.

The most important thing I have learnt about asking is not only that if you don’t ask, you don’t get (another of my Mum’s pearls of wisdom) but that if you as you also have to give. Many of my clients who struggle with asking for help forget that people do actually like to help people. It is one of the bonuses of giving help. People like to feel needed. They also like to feel appreciated. The thank you note, the return favor or the little surprise gift goes a long way to building the bonds of community and friendship. If give as well as asking, it makes the ask easier and the results so much more powerful.

However, I do realised that many of you do not find this as easy as I do.  And although you haven’t asked for my help I would like to do just that and give you a few tips to help you get started:

  • Identify what help you need. And then look at your network and find out who is best suited for the job. If you have to keep off your feet would it be best to ask your scatty best friend or your neatfreak sister to help you clean the house.  Does the person you are asking have the life experience and the skills for the job?
  • Have a think about how you could help them. Don’t offer it as a trade when you ask for their help but keeping it there in the back of your mind and look for an opportunity to give back when you can.
  • Don’t forget to rely less on the obvious people. When seeking a doctor, for example, do not just ask your friends, but go to a nearby gym and ask who the athletes see. Personally whenever I move to a new place I always visit the tourist information. They always seem to be able to help if others can’t when finding the info I need.
  • When asking be straightforward and honest.  Ask in specific terms.
  • Bypass phone calls or e-mail messages if at all possible and make your request in person.
  • Don’t feel bad if they can’t help. It’s not personal (99% of the time) the other person just can’t help you right now. Maybe they will know someone who can.
  • Say thank you when the agreement is struck, when the need has been met and when you next see the person who helped you.
  • Look for opportunities to help other people, not just the ones who have helped you. Paying it forward is a great way to spread the love around. I was lucky enough at one point in my life to have a friend who emptied her cupboards of all food she didn’t need when she found out I didn’t have enough money for food. 10 years later I was able to help somebody else in a similar situation. What goes around comes around.

Helping each other out is a great way to build community. Communal success is a team building and bonding experience. When we all roll up our sleeves and pitch in the accomplishments are shared. So weather its a study group, a project with a deadline that seems overwhelming, a mental health issue that is overwhelming or simply building a garden; when you reach out for help you are also allowing people the opportunity to share in your success. You are not just asking you are also giving!

Have a great weekend <3

It’s so much easier when we talk! -Taking the difficult conversations

When people understand each other amazing and inspiring things can happen. Unfortunately the reverse of that statement is also true. When we don’t understand each other negative and sometimes destructive things happen. Relationships and conflicts, whether at home or professionally can be a minefield. And often it is one of our own making.

(Now if you are reading this in the hope you can resolve a conflict that point of view might surprise you, just hear me out.)

The bottom line is that most conflicts are caused by lack of communication.

We have all been there. There is an issue in a relationship. It could be something small, but it bugs you. But instead of communicating this, you avoid it. Over time it builds up. It becomes and unspoken issue. One person is aware of it. The other possibly not. Eventually it explodes. And then you can either talk it out or shy away from the hard conversation by avoiding it. And that only makes things worse. The situation can end up unsolvable

When we don’t talk we can end up feeling isolated

You are not alone if you don’t like to take difficult conversations. The majority of people don’t like it. And biologically our survival instincts go crazy when we are in a potential difficult communication situation, making it even harder for us to communicate effectively.

It is understandable that we sometimes avoid conflict because we do not want to hurt others or cause relationship problems. In the short term, we may feel relieved because we do not have to face the other person.

NOT talking NEVER solves the problem.

The truly amazing thing is that we all have more power than we think in these kind of situations. Think back through your life. How many situations could have been different if you had communicated? How many conflicts could have been avoided if you had taken the leap to have a difficult honest conversation and worked towards a solution? Wouldn’t it have been great to feel empowered by one of those situations instead of feeling frustrated or like a victim.

The great news is you can feel empowered if you dare to take the difficult conversations.

When you take a difficult conversation it empowers you to:

  • Stop the build up resentment and frustration
  • Acknowledge and give space for your feelings
  • Create a space of honesty and direct communication
  • Understand and be understood
  • Look for and reach solutions easier

And I KNOW it’s not easy.

Personally I hate taking difficult conversations. I find it enormously challenging at work and much easier in a relationship. For others it is the complete reverse. And for some of you it’s both environments that you find hard.

The good news is that there is a simple strategy to taking the difficult conversation whether at work or at home- if you dare!

This is a step by step guide to having a difficult conversation aiming to find a solution and clear communication. And trust me in 99% of situations is works. I have tried this in both professional and personal situations. From the boss that belittled me, to the boyfriend that simply couldn’t understand why I got sick of his computer gaming every night, to the friend who I needed to create healthy boundaries with, this process has seen me through and made my life so much easier.

STEP 1: Working on Yourself: Prepare for the Conversation

Prepare for the conversation and work on you

Before going into the conversation, prepare. You need to watch out. You might actually have a hidden agenda. Remember the majority of the work in any conflict conversation is work you do on yourself.

Ask yourself some questions to be clear:

About you:

  • What is your purpose for having the conversation?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What would be an ideal outcome?
  • What assumptions are you making about this person’s intentions?.
  • What “buttons” of yours are being pushed?
  • Are you more emotional than the situation warrants?
  • What personal history or back story is being triggered that is under the surface of your reaction?
  • What are your needs and fears?
  • How have you contributed to the problem?
  • What would a solution look like for you?

About them:

  • Who is the opponent?
  • What might they be thinking about this situation?
  • Is he aware of the problem?
  • How do you think they perceive it?
  • What are his needs and fears?
  • What solution do you think he would suggest?
  • How has the other person contributed to the problem?

And importantly ask:

  • Are there any common concerns? Could there be?

Here you are looking deeply into your responsibility and trying to place yourself in the perspective of your opponent.

Sometimes if I find this method doesn’t quite help me understand my reaction in a situation I use John Gray’s Feeling Letter technique to help me get clear about my emotional state, and release negative emotions before taking the difficult conversation.

Step 2: Starting the conversation

Ask, don’t confront

Have the conversation sooner rather than later. Don’t spring it on the other person. Remember you have prepared, they haven’t had the same opportunity. They may not even know the situation is going on.  Opening the conversation in a non confrontational manner is really important.

There was something that bothered me at the meeting yesterday , and I’d like to talk with you about it.

As opposed to

Look, I don’t like what you said at yesterday’s meeting  and we have to get that sorted, now”

An  even better way is to give them an opportunity to prepare.

There’s something I’d like to talk with you about from yesterday’s meeting. When would be a good time to do this?

Step 3: The conversation

In the conversation use

  • Inquiry
  • Acknowledgement
  • Advocacy
  • Problem solving

Inquiry

Explain the challenge and then pretend you don’t know anything (you really don’t), and try to learn as much as possible about your opponent/partner and his point of view. Let them talk until they are finished. Don’t interrupt except to acknowledge. Try to learn as much as you can in this phase of the conversation. This part of the conversation is about you understanding the unspoken dialogue and perspective of the other person.

Acknowledgment

Show that you’ve heard and understood. Acknowledge whatever you can, including your own defensiveness if it comes up. Acknowledgment can be difficult if we muddle  it with agreement. Keep them separate. My saying, “this sounds really important to you,” doesn’t mean I’m going to go along with your decision.

Advocacy

When you sense your opponent/partner has expressed all their energy on the topic, it’s your turn. What can you see from your perspective that he’s missed? Help clarify your position without minimizing his. Be honest without being confrontational. Allow the other person to understand your hidden perspective.

Problem-Solving

Now you’re ready to begin building solutions. Brainstorming and continued inquiry are useful here. Ask your opponent/partner what they think might work.Asking for the other’s point of view usually creates safety  Whatever they says, find something you like and build on it. If the conversation becomes a conflict, go back to inquiry.

Step 4:  Look for the positive

Celebrate the positive outcomes

Even with using the formula it can be harrowing to take the conversation. I find a good way to make my peace and feel good about the conversation is afterwards to collectively or alone identify what the positive outcomes were from the conversation.


These steps have helped me and I hope they will help you. Let me know how you get on in the comments below

Have a great week <3

Spring is here, it’s the time for action!

Well unless you have been asleep for the last few weeks you can’t have failed to notice that Spring is well and truly here! Bringing with it a burst of colour and energy. It is time for us to shake off the sleepiness of winter, discard our winter warm layers and step into this time of action.

When you look around in nature Spring is simply a hive of activity. Everything is growing, new animals are being born and the birds are busying about. Spring must have come as such a relief to our ancestors. Imagine being stuck inside during the dark of winter. The house full to burst with people and very little light. Getting back to the longer and lighter days must have been a blessing in itself. Not to mention the promise of good food to come as the ploughing and planting season begun.

Hello Spring!

Of course in our lives today we are far removed from that cycle of land and the necessity of following the farming year. However, we still feel the energy boost that spring brings to our lives. The energy of growth and renewal. And when we harness that energy and connect with it the Spring brings with it so many opportunities. Primarily the opportunity to spring into action!

So how to harness the exhilarating renewal and growth energy of Spring? There is no better way than mirroring what is happening in nature and applying those principles to your own life.  Spring energy is threefold it includes:

  • Clearing
  • Renewal
  • Growth / action

To help you get connecting to Spring, here are some ideas of how you can practically apply and harness this energy within your own life and spring into action!  

Clearing

The Spring Clean. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Humans have been Spring Cleaning this for centuries. On the land gardeners and farmers are clearing the winter debris so they can plant the new seeds. So too can we shake out the debris of our winter hibernation and simplify our lives. There are many ways to do this here’s a few ideas to get started:

Clear out the clutter and make space for something new
  • Spring clean your home, your wardrobe or your garden.
  • Empty out the drawers in your office desk and only put back in what you really need.
  • Clear out your handbag or your car.
  • Clean up your digital files and post those numerous pics on Facebook you have meaning to do for months.
  • Get your diary organised and get a handle on the year to come
  • Do a diet cleanse and clear up your body from the inside out
  • Clear up your relationships and cut away the toxic relationships that don’t serve you
  • Clean your windows
  • Unsubscribe to excess newsletters
  • Make a budget and clean up your expenses
  • Start meditation in the morning or evenings to clear your mind
  • Clean up your day by following a time management plan or just cutting down on social media time.

Renewal

Many of last years, bulbs and plants are beginning to grow new shoots. Stretching for the sun’s warmth. Similarly we have the need to reach for the sunlight and renew our energy a fresh. Renewal in life means that we need to check in and reassess and then commit to new actions to move forward. Plus taking a little r and r along the way to boost your energy.

You could:

  • Allow yourself to let go of the past to make room for new things to come into your life.
  • Commit to making decisions you’ve been putting off.
  • Challenge limiting beliefs about yourself and about how things should be.
  • Do an an integrity check and make sure that you are really on track in your life.
  • Assess the progress of your yearly goals and make commitments to their manifestation
  • Go outside and soak up the sun whenever it is shining for an energy boost
  • Take a weekend break and indulge in a little r and r
  • Try a different daily or weekly routine
  • Share tasks out that drain your energy to make them easier to get done
  • Adopt an attitude of optimism for a week
  • Dedicate 10 mins every day to doing something that brings you joy
  • Give your diet of boost of nourishment
Soak up the spring sun and renew your energy

Growth/ Action

The energy boost of growth in nature is insanely powerful at Spring. There is an almost overwhelming urgency to grow. Often around Spring people desire change in their life. But we cannot wait expectantly for our lives to change if we are unwilling to take some action.

As Henry Rollins said “In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” So it’s time to harness the power of urgency and get moving!

You could:

  • Revamp that fitness routine
  • Recommit to the new year’s resolutions you have forgotten to follow through with
  • Focus on one project to completion.
  • Adopt a self care routine
  • Get broken stuff fixed albeit it physical or emotional
  • Break out of your comfort zone and try something you have never tried before
  • Expand your social circle or see some friends you haven’t seen for a long time
  • Plant some seeds
  • Feng shui your house
  • Do something you always wanted to do, but never dared to
  • Start an appreciation or gratitude practice
  • Change your morning routine
Connect with growth energy by planting something

Just like Spring cleaning your home, connecting with Spring energy doesn’t have to be a ton of work, you can pick and choose the areas that need cleaned the most (or are the most urgent). If you can only commit to doing one thing then do that thing to the fullest. Most importantly embrace the season. And let Spring be your season of simplifying, change and action.  So that you can grow and blossom as your most beautiful self.

How will you connect with Spring energy this year?

Let me know in the comments below.

Have a beautiful week <3