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:
Encouraging passions and personal growth
Nurturing the body with good food and rest
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
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.
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
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:
Doing one nice thing a day for you
Delegating and saying no
Let me explain…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
As some of you may have noticed, over the last month or so things have not been hunky dory in our world. In fact far from it. Since September I have been fighting for a project to work out that really meant the make or break of my career goals that I have been working on for 4 years. On top of which we have a family member who is dying and my beloved Mr T is going through something which has raised his anxiety levels to an all time high. Life has become a constant pressure pot where someone has been raising the heat just a little every day.
In short, it’s been hard…… Damn hard.
And for me the breaking of my career dreams has the point where everything simply boiled over and the walls came tumbling down.
After many tears and raging at the universe, Mr T and anyone else that has been willing to listen for the last 6 months. I have reached the enough is enough point. And today I have surrendered.
Even though many people believe what has been happening to me is unfair and wrong. I am actually giving up. I have fought long and hard, but nothing is budging. So I surrendered the fight.
And it feels great!
The funny thing is when we hear the phrase “give up” or surrender we often tend to think of it as a negative thing. “You can do it”, “Just keep believing in yourself”, “If you want it fight for it” is often the response to such a statement. And I would agree. At the beginning. But after 6 months of banging my head against the brick wall of bureaucracy. It is time for me to read the room differently. And when I took that perspective I could suddenly see that this blooming, frustrating brick wall of BS is actually a message from the universe that this thing you are fighting for is not actually right for me.
This stepping back perspective. This surrendering in the fight. Actually gave me complete clarity to realign with my original dreams. It has got me back on my path. And it reminded me that truly the only thing that really matters to me is enjoying my journey and loving my life.
Surrendering has actually given me the freedom to enjoy my life!
Now it has taken a huge leap of faith to do this. Faith that by stepping back the universe will provide. It basically means I have to trust that being put back onto financial survival mode is going to be a positive thing in my life. And that is not easy when my survival instincts are in panic mode.
However, if I am going to get any kind of win from this fight. That’s what I have to do. I have to put my faith in the universe first. Then find a logical way to deal with the mundane of less income. And take the opportunity it provides of more time.
Surrendering to accepting what I can’t change,
Stepping back and looking for the opportunity,
Rerooting in myself and my true path in life,
Has given me not only the best night’s sleep in months,
But also the drive and motivation to follow my dreams in a different way!
Now I am not saying you should not fight for you dreams. You damn well should. But if you find the universe keeps blocking you. That things are not working out to plan. Or you are ending up in the same old destructive cycle. This is the point where taking a step back. Letting go of the frustration. Trusting the universe. Re-assessing what it is you truly need and want and then looking for the opportunity to follow your dream differently, is the way forward.
You have to choose your battles carefully. And every good general knows that sometimes retreating, regrouping and reorganising is the way to win.
What is not working if you life right now? What it the universe trying to tell you? And how can you find the opportunity in this situation to find a new way of doing something ? What is going to give you the freedom to enjoy your life?
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!
Over the last few weeks I have been in the strange position to be surrounded by people who can not, or choose not to communicate openly about their feelings. I have seen people suppressing painful emotions, people refusing to believe the reality before them, people happily complaining about another person, but not clearly communicating with them what they want and need. It’s been surreal to observe. And in some cases painful seeing people hurting themselves and others by not being able to own their emotions.
It was amazing to see the excuses people gave themselves for not communicating their issues to the other people. “They wouldn’t listen” “They don’t need to hear this right now.” People actually preferred to not own their emotions not to be honest with themselves rather than communicating their needs honestly and openly. In some cases it seemed as though people would rather have the issue than seek the solution.
It baffled me that it seems to be a social norm that people avoid resolution by not communicating honestly and expecting it to get fixed without effort. My inner Vulcan was incensed by this illogical and irrational behavior. Until I realized it all boils down to honesty. Or rather our ability to be honest with ourselves and others.
So what is it that holds us back from being honest? Well there are many reasons. However, in my work I have found there are two common trends that stop you from being honest:
It’s easier to blame someone else rather than yourself.
You are afraid of rejection
And I get it. I used to have these issues too. However that was the days before Mr T came into my life. Mr T has Asperger and for those of you that know a little about Asperger’s you will know that it is a strain of autism. Now autism can be seriously challenging to live with. However it does come with gifts too. One of the things that comes with this, at least in Mr T’s case, is blatant honesty. And by blatant I mean knows no boundaries and is incredibly blunt. The little blue lies that get other men out of trouble, do not exist for him. Obviously in the early days of our relationship this caused one or two issues. However, as I got to know him I began to realize that this blatant honesty was a blessing rather than an hindrance. In fact it is something all non autistic people can benefit from.
When I began to operate from the same level of honesty an amazing shift happened in our communication. For one thing it freed me up from the confusion of cross communication. If one of us didn’t understand then we said so. It made me more comfortable in expressing my needs and more accepting of hearing his. It saved a huge amount of time and emotional energy. And when we applied this honestly consciously to our actions we began to learn which dramas we were operating from it gave us a whole new understanding of ourselves.
These days if we get into a row one of us will ask ‘which drama are you operating from right now?‘ Drama being a code for a previous life experience, fear or insecurity that is being projected onto a current situation. This question gives the other person the opportunity to self reflect, identify what is really going on and to own it. Rather than projecting it. (It also quickly allows us to identify misunderstandings in our communication. An added bonus) It’s so empowering. By fostering this level of honesty in our communications it supports us to be honest with ourselves and each other.
And what I have found is that this magic question “what drama am I operating from?” is that it can also be used by myself on myself. I want to lose weight, but don’t want to stop eating junk food, well that’s straight away from my low self confidence and the hating people (even myself) dictating what I can and can’t do from my childhood dramas. Frustrated at my boss’s lack of positive feedback, there is my need for acknowledgement from my father drama. Once identified and owned, the solutions of how to solve the issue comes quite quickly. And as I always say if you can understand something, you can do something about it.
Of course honesty does sometimes hurt. Its part of the package. Mr T’s explanations of why he has not proposed yet hurt like buggery. Yet I knew that he wasn’t being malicious or intending pain, he was simply explaining his truth. Instead of letting the upset take over I was able to discuss it with him and actually we had a really enlightening conversation about it. Remember if you give honesty there are people out there who will give it back. If the honesty hurts own the feeling and find out why it hurts, see what it is you need to work with. And remember to respond not react.
Now I am not going to say communicating with another person, or even ourselves at this level of honesty isn’t challenging. It is. It takes a lot of bravery to take ownership of our insecurities at this level and a level of vulnerability to be honest in the face of potential rejection and societal norms. However what I know from practicing it is that it gets easier with time. And it simplifies life enormously. If I explode that Mr T yet again has not emptied the dishwasher I know that underneath it is a back history of frustration at partners who expected me to get on with everything even at the point of self destruction. This quickly reminds me that Mr T is not one of them and changes the explosion to me asking him how we can remind him to do his chores. If I use the drama question on myself then I quickly get to the root cause of whatever is bothering me. However I use it it quickly leads to the solutions phase.
Basically being brave enough to get over the blame game and our fear of rejection to be honest about what is going on with us and own it makes life so much easier. And who doesn’t want that. One of the best side effects of this level of honesty is respect. As you become more honest with yourself, you respect yourself more and other people reflect that too. Infact your bullshit sensors get so highly tuned that you tend to filter out unnecessary and unwanted bs, surrounding yourself with people who both respect and inspire you by saying what they really think.
Try it and see for yourself.
Let me know how you get on with your honesty experiences in the comments below
Have an amazing week and remember to enjoy your journey <3
If there is one thing certain about life it’s that there are ups and downs for all of us. And sometimes they come all at once which can result in a complete and utter total emotional meltdown. To be honest, I don’t think I have met a person who hasn’t experienced a complete meltdown. That moment where you are looking at everything you have to cope with and you simply can’t deal with it anymore. And something tips you over the edge
It could be a problem at work, at home, a dream that seems impossible to reach, or that day where everything goes wrong, when you are under an extreme amount of pressure the smallest thing can tip the balance and you find yourself in tears unable to see the way through and incapable of the most basic things on your to do list.
I recently had a major meltdown. Overly exhausted, nothing was working out. Instead of the planned vacation I was looking forward to a family member suddenly was close to death which meant some seriously hard recurring visits to the hospital on top of which I was under immense pressure at work, I was getting behind on the simplest of tasks. My home was a mess. I was a mess. The exhaust fell off the car. And one evening when I hadn’t noticed the dinner I made was put on the table still half frozen it felt like the whole world came crashing down around me and I exploded in a flood of tears. I cried for about 2 hours solidly and by the end I felt like I had done 30 rounds with Mike Tyson and as a emotionally capable as a soggy paper towel. I honestly haven’t had such a big meltdown in the longest time. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
You might be shocked that I can still have these experiences. That somehow being a Life Coach means I’m immune to such experiences. It doesn’t. My overwhelm has lessened considerably over many years, but being human means that from time to time things inevitably pile up. For me being a coach doesn’t mean avoiding such instances altogether, but learning how to move through them with less suffering.
So once done with the cathartic tears, there I sat in the middle of the same situation. And the only person who could get me out of it was me. I needed to recover, to climb back out of the large hole and get it together again. And that’s where my coaching background is my saviour. I feel pretty lucky to have the tools needed for a quick recovery, and the understanding that while pain isn’t optional- suffering really is.
Recovering from a total emotional meltdown can seem like the most impossible of tasks. However, with a little conscious thought and gentle self care it is possible to get back on the horse again after a meltdown.
The first step to recovery is to know what not to do if you actually want to feel better:
Binge watch Netflix
Stay up all night reliving the horror
Eat junk food
Pretend you are ok – So Ignore, avoid, numb, deny your feelings
Try to get back up to full speed immediately
I know these because I have done them all in the past. And from experience I can tell you that all of these things will make you feel worse, keeping you in the black pit and ultimately delay your recovery.
Here is what does work to feel human and whole again after a meltdown:
Step 1: Get a 48 hour break
Meltdowns are a flashing neon sign that you are under an enormous amount of stress beyond your bodies capability. When you meltdown you need someone to help relieve you of your instant pressure. If you had a fever you wouldn’t be able to do everything a meltdown is an emotional fever. So its ok to ask your partner to take on the primary child care for 48 hours. You need a break to recover so do whatever you can to lighten your load. 48 hours of rest and self care will help you get back up again so delegate your major responsibilities and tasks that make you feel as though you want to cry and allow yourself this time you need to recharge.
Step 2: Self Care
In the initial stage of recovery you will be feeling vulnerable and that is totally ok. You cannot expect to cry it out and then hop up and say I am all good now. Initially you need a large dose of self care. Cancel your appointments. Take some time out to do what feels good for you. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to sleep, sleep. For me doing things I liked to do as a child really helps. Like playing tetris on the game boy. Hiding under a duvet on the sofa reading a book. Or even colouring books help me. My other go is yoga. (I highly recommend the Yoga with Adriene Head and Heart Reset video after a melt down). You might feel better from having a bath, going for a run. Find what feels good for you.
Step 3: Start with the basics
As humans are basic needs are food, water, sleep. After that being clean is a great help to feeling better. Take baby steps. Have some food. Drink some water. Get some rest. Then get dressed, brush your teeth. If, as is often the case during a melt down period your home is a mess and your fridge is empty ask a friend over to help you do the basic things like the washing, cleaning or food shopping. Getting support will help you feel that you are not alone and that is so important for recovery from a meltdown.
Step 4: Prioritise after your needs
So the long to do list is probably one of the main factors you had the meltdown in the first place. To recover you need to prioritise after you own needs if you don’t want to relapse. There is no point working to someone else’s tempo right now. Whereever possible cut out all social arrangements. Being around to many people won’t help you right now. (Avoiding social media helps at this stage too). Identify the things that are really important for your mental health to do. For me it included getting the house tidier, writing an article and focusing on my priority clients were what was most important at that time, so that is what I focused on. If I couldn’t delegate another task then it would have to wait. Simple as that.
Step 5: Get some vitamin D
As soon as you can and no later than 48 hours get outside and go for a walk. If you live in a busy area then shut out the noise with some music or an audiobook. A sunny boost Vitamin D helps no matter what time of the year it is. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming and restorative benefits to be achieved. So find a place in nature or even a park where you can take a gentle walk and feel rejuvenated.
Step 6: Take each day one step at a time
As you feel stronger don’t take on too, much too soon. Recovery from a meltdown takes time. Follow you needs. Just take one step at a time.
Step 7: Give yourself moments of peace
And as you get stronger remember to give yourself moments of peace. Meditate, read a book, have a 20 minute rest lying in bed listening to music, exercise, be creative, give yourself a foot massage and get to bed before 10pm. One of the reasons the meltdown occurs is because in the situation you have been in you haven’t been taking care of yourself. An emotional meltdown is a VERY loud universal message that you need to take care of yourself. It is important to hear and heed that message.
If you find that after the 48 break your are still weeping and under the duvet this is the point where you are probably in need of professional help. There are many wonderful practices out there from counselors, therapist, doctors, alternative medicine that are ready to support you. It is OK to get help when you need it.
What are your go to’s for quick meltdown recovery? What helps you move from from breakdown to breakthrough? Let me know in the comments below
Breakups are the worst. Not much more to say about that. The healing process after can be really tough if you have spent so long being us that you can’t remember how to be me.
After a break up you can feel a bit lost at first. Over the years, your thoughts and lifestyle patterns have been in unionism with another individual and once that habit breaks, it’s almost feels like you have lost a bit of yourself in the process
We’ve all been there. Finding your identity again after a breakup can be a real challenge. Yet remembering who you are and discovering who you are now, knowing who you are and what you want out of life is one of the most important steps to healing and growing. And is one of the gifts of learning you get from a break-up.
Now I have had my share of failed relationships. Yet through the many trials and tribulations and I have found a fail safe formula to get back on track and find myself again. Knowing who you are and where you want to be relatively quickly. Sounds unbelievable right? Well it works. It’s worked for me. And it works for every client I have ever had in a breakup situation.
The process has 3 steps. Do them at your own tempo. Moving forward is a process not an on and off switch you can flip. So just take each step when it feels right.
So if you have come out of a relationship and can’t remember who you are anymore and want to move forward please just try this method and I hope from the bottom of my heart it helps xxx
Step 1: Find your dreams
I discovered this during my divorce. It was a relatively short lived marriage and stopped so abruptly I was still full of the dreams, goals and hopes I had for our future. I couldn’t actually remember what I had wanted before. And I had no idea what I wanted at them time. So I made a list. (If you are regular here you know that I LOVE lists!) This was a special list. PArt bucket list and part goals. I wrote down everything I could thing of I wanted to do, had dreamed of doing, wanted to learn or try. The list included learning to skateboard, getting an education, baking my own bread and travelling alone to a foreign country. Once written I looked at what I could put into action straight away. I grabbed a skateboard and in my suit I skated to the office every day. I went travelling around South Africa. I booked surfing and motorcycle lessons. Now to be fair I was overly trying but it helped. Everytime I felt despondent I looked at my dream list and worked out how to make something happen. Within 3 months I was enjoying life again and felt more empowered than I had done in so many years. In Fact I am still working out of that original list today. Just 20 minutes in one of my hardest of life moments became a total game changer.
So grab some paper and a pen and start to write your dream list. Include both stupid things, practical things and things you think might be unachievable. The sky’s the limit. Once written fulfill one of them. Make it happen.
Step 2 – Find your passion
So a little while after you have started to live out some of your dreams. You might find yourself wanting something more substantial. It’s at this point I recommend finding your passion in life. If you already know it you can choose to either skip this stage or use it to check in that you are on the right path. The 7 strange questions created by Mark Manson is the most effective method I have found to identify what it is that really sparks your passion. Originally created to to find your life purpose these questions are a no bs way of cutting straight to what is important, in an easy and accessible format.
The 7 strange questions – The questions were invented by Mark Manson however they are slightly adapted.
1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?
Think about the worst possible life style you could have that you could tolerate and find some happiness in. So not the worst lifestyle you have, but what is your bottom line?
2. WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?
We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it. However our 8 year old self didn’t think like that. The did things for the sheer joy of it. What brought you joy then that you don’t do now?
3. WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT AND POOP?
Maybe for you, it’s computer games. Maybe it’s organizing things efficiently, or getting lost in a fantasy world, creativity, sport or teaching somebody something, or solving technical problems. Whatever it is, don’t just look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthrall you. Because they can easily be applied elsewhere.
4. HOW CAN YOU BETTER EMBARRASS YOURSELF?
Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing. That’s pretty obvious. And in order to suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. And most people try to avoid embarrassing themselves, namely because it sucks.
Right now, there’s something you want to do, something you think about doing, something you fantasize about doing, yet you don’t do it.You have your reasons, no doubt.if your reasons are, “My parents would hate it,” or “My friends would make fun of me,” or “If I failed, I’d look like an idiot,” then chances are, you’re actually avoiding something you truly care about because caring about that thing is what scares the shit out of you, not what mom thinks or what Timmy next door says.
5. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD?
Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.
6. GUN TO YOUR HEAD, IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?
7. IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DIE ONE YEAR FROM TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO AND HOW WOULD YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?
Most of us don’t like thinking about death. It freaks us out. But thinking about our own death surprisingly has a lot of practical advantages. One of those advantages is that it forces us to zero in on what’s actually important in our lives and what’s just frivolous and distracting.
So what would you do if you knew exactly when the end was nigh? What is your legacy going to be? What are the stories people are going to tell when you’re gone? What is your obituary going to say? Is there anything to say at all? If not, what would you like it to say?
Now before moving on to the next step, have a look at your answers and see if you can find reoccuring themes. What words crop up again and again? And once you have looked once, look again.
Step 3: Start to build the life you imagine for you
So now you know your passions and your dreams, it’s time to start thinking about the life you want for you. Grab the biggest piece of paper you can find and create a vision of your ideal life.
Throw out all reality and allow your fantasy to run riot. This is you creating your universal recipe for how you would like your life to be. Every time you think no that’s not possible ask yourself do you want it? If the answer is yes, then it goes on the brain storm.
There are four sections to this brainstorm and I would recommend imaging your life 10 – 15 years from now.
Lifestyle – This includes where you live, what in, do you own it, countryside, city, what style of accomodation, what decorations. What is your life style like? Your hobbies, do you eat out every week? Do you travel 3 times a year? Do you own a summer house? Do you have a pet? Do you have a car, a motor bike, a boat? And how much money do you have in the bank? Also do you want alot of social or is me time very important to you?
Career – Describe your job, the hours you work, your responsibilities, your working environment, your ideal colleagues and of course your ideal pay.
Achievements – This is basically a bucket list for the next ten years. Achievements do not need to be just finished university, got married with two kids, it can be something like being an extra on a marvel movie, volunteering in Nepal, riding a bike across the great wall of China or doing a parachute jump. Remember no limits and that fun is a hugely important part of this journey called life
People – This section is about the people and relationships you want in your life. And I don’t mean just names. This is about the quality of your relationships. And this can also be the relationship you have with yourself.
Do this brainstorm on paper, the bigger the better. Follow the order and do each section one at a time.
Then take a step back. This is the life you want. And this is the life you are going to create for yourself. How does it feel to look at it? Are the themes from the 7 questions involved in your plan? If not how can you include them. These are your passions and if you suppress them you won’t feel happy or fulfilled in life.
When you have finished this is the time to start making goals and a plan to create this life for yourself. If you like you could create a vision board or use some of the goal setting techniques here.
By the time you reach stage 3 you will find that you are starting to feel like you again. There are of course many other parts of healing that need to happen after a break up. Finding yourself is but one of those. However when you know who you are and what you want, it is a heck of a lot easier to move forward and gives you something to keep aiming for when the saddness or memories make that day tough.
Let me know how you get on with the steps and how they helped you in the comments below.
Wherever you are in the world I wish you a beautiful weekend <3