How to find your personal power during depression?

Depression, as you will know if you suffer with it is one of the most draining experiences you can have in life. It is one of those times where when we most need to find our inner power and yet that power seems so far away, or it feels as though it doesn’t exist. The trouble is that we are the only ones that can connect to that source, find it and access it. How the heck are we supposed to do that when the world is caving in, when we can’t stop crying or worse when we feel nothing at all.

If you are there I really get it.

As someone with Bi Polar I have fought with depression my whole life. And recently after a long break (2 and a half years) it has come back with avengence. And at a really stupid point in time. Because actually everything is going well in my life. My business, my love life, even my garden is blooming and yet here I am constantly on the brink of tears and struggling to even make a cup of tea and write this article.  It sucks.

So how do I get through this? How is it despite feeling all of this you find me still here sitting and writing to you all?

I get through it by connecting with my power source and by not giving up.

Now when I say power source I don’t mean I plug into the battery and hey presto! I am super woman! Instantly feeling better. Nope. Finding your personal power and drive during a depression is nothing like that. Infact some of the things I need to do other people, people fortunate enough to not get like this would not see them as powerful actions. But for me they really are.

What I mean by power source is finding that bit of you that knows deep down under it all that this will pass. No matter how long it takes. It will pass. Your power source is there under all the emotions, the exhaustion, the hurt, the darkness. In the core of your very being there is a little voice that knows that this is temporary. The more we try to connect with this voice the stronger it becomes. And it is this voice, this power that will carry you through to the other side of your depression. It’s god damn hard. Believe me. But those of us that get depression. We are tough. Our emotions have power which is why they are sometimes so incapacitating. When you have power in one part of your personality, it is safe to assume that you have strengths in other parts of you. Even if you don’t really feel like it right now.

So in practical terms how can you access your power source?

Well this is what works for me

Check in with your body

Ask yourself:

When did I last eat?

When did I last sleep?

When did I last have a drink of water?

When did I last have a shower?

Depression will often stop you taking care of your body and that just makes it worse. So if you haven’t eaten all day eat. If you haven’t slept. Sleep. If you can’t sleep then do something which allows you to rest. Not staring at blank walls but laying on the sofa with a good book or some tv helps. (Even better lay on a blanket outside and get some vitamin D). Taking care of your body will recharge you. Just get yourself to do one thing. Start there.

Know what not to do

There are things that will make your depression worse. Drinking alcohol is one of them. Over working or lots of social arrangements are others. You want to feel better not worse. So don’t do, or at least do as little  as possible of the things that will make it worse.

Get Help

In the long term a doctor or medical practitioner might be necessary, but for right now tell someone how you are feeling. Someone who you know won’t just tell you to buck up.  And ASK THEM FOR HELP. Whether it’s help you to make food, tidy up, help with a work project, get the kids from school or just come over and give you a hug. I had a friend I called when the emotions were too much and i had to attend a family funeral. I just said ‘I need you to distract me from feelings’. She did. It helped me regain my strength to face all the people.

Do what gives you energy

This can be anything. Crying. In my case doing the washing or gardening. Hugging a pet. 5 mins of exercise. I had a friend who once told me if you can’t do anything, do the washing up. It might feel like a mountain, but when it’s done you will have achieved something and feel better for it. There are many ways to boost your energy in a positive and healthy way. Which is really important, by the way. Healthy boosts. Basically don’t do a lot of drugs, alcohol, coffee and impulse buying, it will just make you crash harder after it. Do go for a walk (you can ask someone to come with you to help you get out of the door), listen to you favourite music, have a shower and put on some clothes that you feel good in.

Cut down and delegate

I know there is a lot to be done. But right now you can’t do it all. Cut out what is not necessary, delegate, even if it is something as small as filling up a hot water bottle for your bad back ( MR T is doing that right now bless him). Basically right now you need help. You are not weak, you are indisposed and that’s ok.

Tire yourself out physically

Seriously you need to get physically exhausted. I don’t mean to breaking point. But getting physically tired is going to help you sleep better and that is going to help you feel so much better. You need rest right now. So get a good quality of rest by being physically not mentally tired.

Keeping Going

Some days it will be easier. Some days it will be harder. Some days will start hard and end good. Whatever happens. Find your Sishu, your resilience and keep moving forward. Personally I believe a person suffering with depression who gets out of bed, makes a cup of tea, makes food, gets into the shower, loves their kids, and manages to do maybe one of the things that needs to be done IS a Superhero. Take it one step at a time. Do something. Check in with how you feel. Ask yourself what do I need now? What can I do now? Then do that whether it’s crying, making dinner or resting. Put one foot in front of the other, don’t burn yourself out, slowly just keep going

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As I said I know it’s tough. But I do firmly believe that despite it all we will get through this. And I promise you we will be stronger for it. Only we can tap into our power source my friends. It’s a choice. Ask yourself – Do I want to feel better or not? And then take a step forward. And eventually you won’t need to think about the steps. You will agree with that voice inside of you and you will be guiding yourself out of the dark hole stronger than before.

Storms don’t last forever. They take the time they take

You will get through this, eventually

I believe in you <3

How do you access your inner power when you have depression ? Let me know in the comments below

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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

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  

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

How to get around self doubt in your abilities and believe in yourself just a little bit more.

No one is YOU and that is YOUR super power

This morning I saw a quote that really resonated with me. “The light you see in others is shining brightly within you”. So simple, yet logical and indisputable. Everyone has a light within them. And all of us find it easier to see it in other people than within ourselves. This is at its most obvious when it comes to our abilities. No word of a lie I think nearly every person in the world (excluding Trump) doubts their own ability.

The funny thing is that the things we feel the least confident in the people around us,  have no doubt in our ability to succeed.

This past weekend I had an experience just like this.

I had really challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and teach a workshop in an area I would not consider myself an expert. In front of my peers, people I know well and my wider social community I volunteered to put myself out there. And boy you can believe me when I say I was hella scared. Like heart pounding, blood pumping, butterflies in the stomach and wanting to be sick nervous. Yet my lovely Mr T, and my right hand dwarf, just laughed and reassured me. They were cooly confident in my ability to pull it off. They were, to my surprise right. And afterwards the feedback I got was great. (Whilst Mr T and the dwarf grinning as baboons both said I told you so.) Everyone loved it. I had succeeded. And yet as I think back over the whole experience I know I would be just as freaked out and full of self doubt the next time round.

This is something that happens to me, and almost everyone I know on a regular basis.

Why is it we doubt ourselves so much?

Is it due to an increase in low self confident and comparitus with the rise of social media in our lives? Possibly. However I don’t think self doubt is synonymous to the 21st century. I was alive in the analog 20th century and I  am pretty sure it happen then too. Almost everyone struggles with self-doubt at some point or another. And almost everyone thinks they’re the only one who does. I believe it to be part of our survival mechanism. Part of the system that judges whether or not we will make it through a challenge. And at the same time I see i self doubt as part of our ability to learn process. Now I know some of you out there have truly terrible and life crippling self-doubt. And if you do please reach out for support.

But is self doubt really a 100%  negative thing?

I don’t believe so. I like to see my self doubt in my abilities, as a positive trait, rather than a negative trait. As a guide and alliee instead of an enemy. Just imagine this if you will. How about you start to see your self doubt as:

  • A gut instinct telling you this is the way you need to challenge yourself to grow.
  • An acknowledgement of how much you have to learn
  • You really care about whatever it is you are doing and want to do it well.

Now when you look at self doubt in that light it doesn’t seem so negative. Right?

It is amazing of how a shift in thinking, seeing self doubt as a friend can change the ball game. Instead of being all consuming it becomes something you can work with and do something about. These days if I feel the depths of self doubt forming in my stomach I 9 times out of 10 will say yes to whatever it is that I am being challenged to do.  After all one of my life’s philosophies is:

Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is having a fear and doing it anyway

However, I know it can be hard to boost yourself up sometimes, even when you know self doubt is your friend. Its at times like this you need to see that reflection of belief in your ability that everyone else has. Basically be able to see yourself through even one else’s eyes

Confidence is all about feedback mechanism

What I mean is that in order to feel more confident you need to change the negative loop running around your brain and turn it in to a positive feedback playlist. At times like this I have 3 tips that can help you believe in yourself just a little bit more.

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

This is one of the simplest tricks I have found to kickstart a positive playlist in my mind. Basically you tell yourself I am not good at …………… I am good at …………….. So if it was a Maths test I had to do (ugh – who actually enjoys those if they are not called Sheldon Cooper?!)  I would write I am not good at algebra,  but I am good at addition. It is reassuring and calming, and ultimately makes you smile!

Ask for moral support

Remember the light you see in others they can see in you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and tell people I am freaking out I don’t think I can do this. And although it is amazing to hear “you go this” It is ok to ask for more of a boost.  You can ask them why they think you can do this? Why do they believe in your ability. Its okay at this point to ask what they can see in you because you need to believe in what you can do to overcome your doubt. So callin your own personal cheerleader squad.

Dive in and do your best

Ultimately, you can only ever do your best. You don’t have any more to give. So prep as much as you can. Get your cheer squad to egg you on and take the dive. If you let self doubt be the reason you don’t do something this is going to be a life regret. No matter how scared you are the thing you are doing, it won’t last forever. At some point it will be over. You will have learnt, grown and stretched your comfort zone a little. Even if it takes you 20 times to feel good in that zone. It will get a little less scary each time you do it so just do your best.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

So to conquer your doubts just enough to get you through remember to treat them as a friend and motivation. To create the positive feedback you need internally and externally and lastly do your best and dive in. No these are not long term strategies to curing self doubt. But at times where you are feeling challenged, like an exam, an important presentation or even daring to do something different in front of your peer group, these 3 tips will help you through. And you will find that self doubt can become your friend that supports you to widen your horizons.

How do you cope with self doubt in your own abilities – let me me know in the comments below

Have a great week <3

How I organise my life – Time management that works

For years my personal time management sucked.  I couldn’t remember appointments, struggled with daily tasks and felt overwhelmed. I procrastinated, I just accepted the negative consequences and lived in a constant state of feeling guilty.  Then I became self employed first time round and there was no-one else to pick up the pieces. I had to do everything. My work day suddenly started at 9:00 and finished at 00:00. I was constantly stresses, everything felt like work and I was even more overwhelmed than before. After five years and one too many head injuries (I get clumsy when I am exhausted) I finally had a breakdown. The business had to close and I needed to take a step back.

Today I am considered a time management expert, I still find that strange. However a huge part of my job is guiding people in how to get the most out of their 24 hours in a way that means they get stuff done and have a balanced, fun life. Learning from my mistakes I have created a simple system of time management that works for me and my clients. It is simple it is fast and it feels good.

So this is how I turned one of the most disorganised stressed out people I knew, myself, into a person who has got their stuff together, gets the most out of their day and even though busy always has time to do what they want to do. This is how I organise my life.

Step 1: Yearly Goal setting

Knowing what I want in life and how I want to grow makes life so much easier. I set goals at the beginning of each year. 8 personal and work goals. I keep it at 8 so that it is manageable and achievable. Now I do this in January for business and in February for personal goals but you can start right now. Once I have made my goals SMART I create action steps, baby progress steps,  for each of the goals I want to achieve. So a goal of I want to take care of my physical health becomes – I want to do 10 mins yoga everyday, I want to eat 50% less Junk food by Christmas etc.

I highly recommend investing some alone time into this process, with a glas or a cup of something you like and good music on in the background this can be an inspiring process.

Step 2: Monthly Goals

I group the important areas of my life into 4 sections. Work, Me, Life, Social. Basically work is obviously for work related tasks, Me is for my own personal development, dreams, or fun stuff I want to do. Life is the other stuff. Doctors appointments, organising holidays, important things that I need to do at the house or in the garden. Social is the social appointments I have that month. Then I fill out the monthly spread below in a notebook that I can close and it sits on my desk.

Some of the monthly goals are set by the calendar, Dad’s birthday, group meetings etc some of the monthly goals come from the yearly goals action steps I have created.

Step 3: Monthly overview

One of the issues I had with time management was my unrealistic expectations of how much time I really had. This monthly overview system works wonders for me. And has the added bonus of me remembering to take self care breaks.

In the form below you simply fill out first the fixed activites you have such as work, training, food shopping. Then fill in the monthly appointments, social events, such as dentist visit or girls night. After that block out a break of at least one evening after tiring social activities or weeks with a lot in them. Lastly put in stuff that you want to get done. Scrapbooking or weeding the garden. Don’t put more that one task into the 2 boxes. The top box is for activities before 17:00 the bottom on is for activities after 17:00. This helps keep the overview and reminds me what is the main focus area for each day.

Step 4: Weekly plan

Instead of creating a weekly todo list I use my monthly goals and monthly overview to plot out my activities for the week. I know exactly when I am writing an article or putting the washing away. It is scheduled not by time but by areas of the day, morning, afternoon and evening. One of the things I am really strict about is making a cut off point of my day. Basically the time where I am not willing to work over AND the time where I am not willing to grown up (ie washing, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc). After my break down I insist on at least a full 1 down time. In Fact these days work stops at 17:00, grown upping at 18:30 -19:00, after dinner is down time.

Step 5: Daily plan

Some people love to time block their to do list, personally I love to use the  Todoist app. Basically once I have made a week plan I plot the activities into my app and prioritise them. If you don’t time block I highly recommend prioritising your daily to do list. It helps you be realistic about what you can do in 24 hours and to plan after how much energy you have.


The biggest thing this system has taught me is to accept. Accept what I can do and what I can’t do. IT makes my planning realistic, my stress less and I am a lot happier in my life. Now as you read this you might be thinking doesn’t this take a long time. Honestly I probably use 1 hour per month on this process and considering that the average month has 730,001 hours I think it is time well spent as I not only achieve what needs doing and I  have at least 50 hours a week to invest in myself doing what I want to do. Now who wouldn’t like that?

If you would like more time management tips and hacks check out my time management tips article here!

What time management systems work for you?

Let me know in the comments below

Have a great week <3

How to create Work / Life balance by taking 5 simple actions

Getting a good work/life balance is one of the eternal questions of all post Yuppie generations in the affluent West. We all want it. We know we all need it. And yet having it is a challenge for most. This weekend my taxi driver was one such hopeful Or rather stressful. Living in a busy city he is in full time education and then works nights and weekends to make the money he needs to live. The poor guy said himself” I am close to burning out” and I could tell that he was close to giving up his education dream. As we talked I asked him about what was it he wanted and how he would like his life to be different. And, because I am that sort of person, I suggested a few strategies that might help him.

Now my driver actually vocalized one of the main issues most people have with achieving a good work/life balance. Our perception. You see my driver told me, “When I do something. I want to do it all in.” So if he wanted train then it had to be full on. Or school. Or work. And this is the major issue people often have with getting things balanced. Simply by aiming for too much all at once.

If you want to really get your life in balance you need to change your perspective and focus on the path to getting there. As I said to my driver. “The goal is not to be in training. The goal is to start”. 10 minutes each day is better than none. Once you have the habit then carve out 5 mins more. Then 5 minutes more. Often it’s not actually that we don’t have enough time it is that we are assuming that we need a lot more time than we really do to do the things we want. And therefore we don’t do them. It feels like an achievable mountain to climb. And honestly becomes an excuse.

So we have this block we need to get past. However if you can be honest with yourself and use (I am sorry to say) a smidgen of realism the way to finding work life balance can be found by taking just 5 simple actions.

Press the STOP button

So if you are also feeling that close to burnout sensation then you have probably spent a lot of time obsessing over the issues and the problems. Well that just makes them even harder to deal with. When that happens imagine you pressing an imaginary big ready STOP button. Put the breaks on. If you concentrate on how hard it is it will be hard. You and only you can pull yourself out of this negative cycle. But when you do it will give you space to think more clearly and thus take the first step to work/life balance, simply because you will have the head space to be able to start addressing the challenge.

Know what you want

So once you have pushed the big stop button it is time to fill your head with new thoughts. Solution thoughts. Take a quite coffee break brainstorm and write out the ways you would like your life to be different. What is it you actually wish you had the time to do? Give yourself an idea of what you would like your balanced life to look like. Here you can dream big. This is the space where you are allowed to describe the mountain of desires you have for your life.
Throw in the realism

The busier your life is and generally the more roles you adopt in your life, Boss, Mum, Volunteer, Team member the less time you have. You have to accept that right now this moment you cannot do it all. You cannot do 3 times a week at the gym for 2 hours at a time, or take that holiday abroad every year when you still have student debts to pay of and you are unemployed is not realistic. Yet. Now I don’t mean to say you can’t have everything you want. I truly believe you can live the life you imagine for yourself. However, part of the fun is the journey. Have a look at what you want and choose 1, 2 or 3 desires to focus upon. Make sure its something your soul really needs and will feel energized from. Remind yourself you are not giving up on the rest just putting them on the back burner for the moment.

Find the first step

So right now you are still looking at the whole mountain. Now you need to work out how you are gonna get there. Look for the first baby step you can take. So for example, if you want to start training again, decide which part of your day you can start to do 10 mins of training a day. Want more you time. Where can you have 15 mins in the week and what exactly will you do in that time? What is the first step you need to take to reduce the never ending to do list. Carve out just a little time each week to take that first baby step. You only have 24 hours a day, you can afford 10- 15 mins. Choose a first step for your desire.

Get going

Now you know what that first step is you have to take it. You have to give this to yourself. If not you can slump back into the woe is me live is so hard hole (sorry to be blunt but that’s the truth). You can either do what you can to solve the issue or you can blame someone else and feel rubbish. What do you choose? Get started on your baby steps and after a period of 4 weeks try and up the time by 5 or 10 mins. The more you carve out the time you need the more of a habit it becomes. It makes the time fly by easier and you not only feel less stressed you will feel empowered by taking charge of your life.

Manage your time

For me the ultimate work/life balance tool, and I suppose step 6, is time management. Managing your time supports you immensely to balance what is important to yourself, create healthy boundaries and maintain both self care and personal growth. There are lots of time management articles on the blog. Try starting here if you want time management tips

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And just remember the most important thing is to not overestimate what you are capable of doing in the time you have. Rather accepting the first steps, carrying them out, creating habits and then upping the bar. Slowly, slowly working your way to wards re balancing your life.

Have a great week <3

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.png

#lifelessons101 – Tell me something good – How the power of a good story can turn your day around

Yesterday my work life just went FUBAR (And for those you not in the know that means Fucked up beyond all recognition.) Needless to say it was a bad day. It has been a long time since I cried solidly for an hour. However despite how I was feeling I still had a job to do. Which meant clients that were in need of support, empowerment and inspiration. And yet there I was struggling to keep it together. (Remember your life coach is human too and sometime shit just happens). I needed to turn my energy around and get to a place of, if not happy, peaceful.

And that’s when I remembered something my BFF/ accountant / crafting compadre/ mini mom taught me. A line from one of her favorite films Me before you. And it is simply,

“Tell me something good”

I can’t remember the whole plot. As to this day I have never seen it.  (I promise I will mini mom). But for me ‘tell me something good’ up to this point had always been a way of celebrating in circle our achievements. It had always brought a smile to my face and a glow to my heart. Only there I was. In that moment not able to find anything good in my sadness and frustration. So I reached out.

Using the power of Facebook I made a post. Not asking for sympathy. Asking for stories. This is what I wrote.

Having a bad work day today and need some cheering up until I can get to through to the happy place later on tonight. So I am asking you all to “Tell me something good”

I want to hear all your good news and stories.

It always helps me when I am down to know that the people are love are having an awesome time of it “

The response was amazing.

Instead of the usual lovely hearts or hugs people send when you are having bad time. I got over 80 stories and pictures of people sharing with me the good in their lives. There was everything from spending the day with your daughter in the snow, to getting a new job, to loved ones coming home. People sharing lovely moments from their day and the things they were looking forward to. It was beautiful. Every time I checked back in someone else had posted something that made me smile. I saw conversations starting as people began to enjoy the moments everyone had shared. A from that reach out the sadness, the frustration began to transform. The good moments from everyone’s lives transformed both my dark moment and spread a good vibe into their days too.

It was so powerful. By the end of the day I was able to add my own something good story images (7).jpegfrom that day. The frown had been turned upside down and my tears to laughter.

Now I have always been an advocate of the healing and teaching power of stories. But yesterday was the strongest experience I have had of this. The transformation was so subtle and yet so powerful.

The only magic I can compare it with is how you feel when you see a small baby smile or a toddlers face light up with joy at snowdrops and puddles. It was incredibly inspiring.

And it made me want to share this moment with all of you. This is me telling you something good. Now it’s your turn. Transform your day, your mood by asking someone to tell you something good. On social media, or around the dinner table, or even a complete stranger. Let’s take the power of tell me something good around the world this weekend and see how many smiles we can inspire.

So before you go and begin this quest , please just take a moment here to tell me something good. Not because I am down or because you are. Just because sharing a good story is a beautiful thing to do.

Have a lovely weekend <3

Stories are medicine Tell me something good.....png