3 Things To Remember When You Feel Overwhelmed By Change

To say that 2020 has been a year of overwhelming change would be an understatement. It’s affected so many of us on so many levels.

In fact, for me, the last 3 years or so have be a roller coaster ride of various changes and my trying to cope with them. It started with my marriage ending, then getting out onto the dating scene, starting a new job, (and then another) and moving house. This year then brought a pandemic that forced me into redundancy and now into a freelance career. I bet that reading this, you’ve been through a similar amount of change in the last few years or so yourself as well.

Often, it can feel like big periods of change happen back to back to one another without giving you the chance to pause and regroup. That’s certainly how it’s felt for me anyway, and I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed all the time.

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Having spoken with some of my followers on Instagram, I’m understanding that I’m not alone when it comes to not knowing where to start in the midst of an overwhelming amount of change.

When you’re overwhelmed, it can feel like your frozen; so much is different that you don’t dare take another step in any direction for fear of toppling an already unsteady ship.

So how do you deal with feeling overwhelmed? In my experience it all comes down to mindset. If you can get yourself into a positive and productive mindset as much as possible, the rest will feel so much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days. Feeling down and not wanting to face everything that’s happening is natural. We’re not robots. It’s especially on those days that I remind myself of these 3 things to help me feel less overwhelmed:

It Won’t Last Forever

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I know this is a difficult one, because when you’re in the middle of it, it can feel like the fog of change and the uncertainty that it brings with it won’t ever lift. That’s all part of the overwhelm.

It might sound like a bit of an obvious or cheesy analogy, but just like the seasons change, so do our circumstances. If we embrace everything that those seasons have to offer us, it can be that much easier to make the transition into the next one.

Lock down has been a Winter for us all; filled with darkness and storms of uncertainty for us to weather. Winter is a time for self-care and to rest, to prepare ourselves for the fresh start that moving into Spring inevitably brings. Lock down definitely felt like the rest I so desperately needed after being busy, almost to the point of burn out, in my last job.

Navigating a new normal, and what it means for our work and social life, is us moving into Spring. If we look hard enough, there will be opportunities to be had and silver linings to be found.

You Have People To Support You

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I’ve said it before in a blog post that I wrote about feeling lost, but I think it’s definitely important enough to mention again.

You are not alone in this. You do not need to suffer in your overwhelm by yourself. You have friends and family who want the best for you, and who will be there for you. Given the hand that 2020 has dealt us so far, they are likely to be feeling a similar way to you themselves, and you’ll both feel better for getting things off your chest.

I’ve found so much solace in connecting with like minded people on social media too. Being able to consume content from people who are going through, or have been through similar things to me has been a huge boost. Find your online tribe by searching for and following hashtags that interest and inspire you.

Control What You Can Control

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I think that a lot of the overwhelm that comes from change is that it can feel like there is so little that we can control; so why bother trying to do anything?

In the initial weeks of lock down I felt frozen and overwhelmed in this way of thinking for sure. I soon realised this was making me miserable though. Feeling helpless isn’t a good starting point for being able to move forward.

What began to be, and still is, my mantra is; ‘just control what you can control’.

From a practical point of view with Covid, this has meant washing (with gel or water) my hands as often as I feel comfortable when visiting new places and wearing my face mask according to government guidelines. The rest I can’t control, so I try my best not to worry about it.

When facing redundancy, I knew that in seeking out a new working opportunity, the one main thing I could control was my mindset. So to reduce the overwhelm I doubled down on the amount of self development (you can read about my top self development books here) that I was doing, and actively sort out opportunities to be positively inspired.

Which of these things could you do with remembering the most at the moment?

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The 5 Motivational Quotes You Need In Your Life

It’s hard not to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest these days without being inundated with super motivational quotes; one’s shouting at you to take action and change your life. These motivational quotes cover everything, and promise success in work, study and life in general. Well, in theory anyway.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m a fan of quotes myself. However, words can seem empty if they don’t have any meaning behind them. (trust me, I’ve had enough dates in the past that promised to be in touch, but never followed through)

My top 5 motivational quotes are my favourites, because, rather than being an empty cheerleading cry, they inspire me to see my life circumstances from a different perspective. That’s what the best intentioned words have the power to do.

Quote by Confucius about rising every time we fail

Our Greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail” – Confucius

I’ll be honest, this is a quote that I’ve come back to A LOT, which is why it’s top of my list. It’s been the motivation that I’ve needed in so many situations. I love it because it inspires resilience. Which, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know is what I’m all about.

I’m a strong believer that life knocks us off course for a reason; it’s the nudge that we need to move off the path we were on, and take ourselves in a new direction. A direction that will make us happier in the long run.

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When my marriage was falling part, I felt like I’d failed because I hadn’t been able to make it work. Being divorced by the time I was 30 seemed like a massive fail to be able to rise from. At times, and certainly at the beginning, it felt insurmountable. I eventually rose, and am now in a relationship where I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.

My friends have had similar experiences. One of my best friends lost her job during lock down. She was devastated because she really enjoyed what she did and couldn’t see things getting back to normal in the industry she was working in for a long time. It felt like a massive piece of her life was missing, and still is.

However, her failure to go back to work after her period on furlough has meant that she’s been able to pursue a career path that her previous job didn’t really offer the time for. She got a job almost immediately in another area that she’s passionate about, that will end up giving her loads of valuable experience.

Quote by Marie Van Ebner-Eshen Bach about our strength to move mountains

If there is a belief that is capable to move mountains, it is the belief in our own strength” – Marie Van Ebner-Eshen Bach

This is a quote I turn to time and time again when I’m having a bad day, or it feels like nothing is really going as I want it to. We’ve all been there right?

It’s the nature of life that we will all go through difficult times. It’s unavoidable, and as much as it feels bad at the time, it’s experience that makes us stronger.

Reading this quote motivates me to think just how far I’ve come and the difficulties I’ve faced and overcome in the past; like getting divorced and being made redundant.

I think we’re the last to give ourselves credit for things we’ve achieved. Especially when it comes to scenarios that were emotionally challenging. Often we just pick ourselves back up, and although are grateful for having got through it, don’t celebrate just how much stronger it’s made us.

I bet you can think of at least a couple of situations that have made you stronger, and sometimes we need a prompt like this to remind ourselves just how much strength lies within us.

Quote about change by an unknown author

Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us” – Unknown

This is one of my top motivational quotes because I think it couldn’t be more relevant right now.

The global pandemic that we’re still continuing to go through has shown us that there is so much out of our control, and it could stay that way for a long while to come.

However, if I think back and compare myself to the person I was at the start of lock down, to who I am now, I’m not the same. I’ve learnt so much not only skills wise, but about myself as a person. I never in a million years would have thought it would have taken something as big as a global pandemic for me to see that.

I learnt all the skills I needed to launch and run this blog, I’ve learnt to slow down from the fast pace of life that was burning me out, and to stop and appreciate everything that I have. With my new found more balanced lifestyle, I’ve carved out a new career for myself too, rather than going back to a job that wasn’t doing my mental well-being any favours.

Even if it’s just a relatively small thing, I reckon that if you look back over the last 5 months, you’ve changed for the better too.

Quote by Peter Cohen about the little steps that get us to a goal

There is no one giant step that does it, it’s a lot of little steps” – Peter A Cohen

This is a quote that I find super motivational when I’m struggling to see my progress.

It’s like the saying; no one is an overnight success. Too often we end up getting caught up in comparing our lives to the highlight reels other people show us on their social media. We’ve not seen all the hard work, and the thousands of steps taken to get them to that point. Because undoubtedly that’s what it has taken, but it’s hard not to feel frustrated with ourselves.

It’s happened to me before with this blog; I’d been plugging away for weeks and weeks without really seeing any results, then all of a sudden I got a jump in Instagram followers or a big surge in my Pinterest reach.

In the midst of doing the do, it can be easy to forget that the habits that we’ve taken the time to cultivate, are moving us forward one bit at a time. We just can’t see those steps working in our favour, and it takes quotes like this to remind us.

Quote by Kurt Vonnegut about little things actually being the big things

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things”– Kurt Vonnegut

This quote has made it into my top 5 because it’s another one that I think is more relevant than ever considering the strange times we’re living through at the moment.

Being kept inside our homes for the majority of the day for weeks on end I think has forced us, me certainly, to appreciate and enjoy the little things in life.

The alternative was to wallow and morn the life we had before the pandemic took hold. Whilst I think we all did this on some level, adapting to the new normal we found ourselves in meant appreciating everything we did have rather than everything we’d lost.

Those little things in life for me looked like discovering the joys of Disney+, finding new corners of my city, ones that I only saw by getting out and walking, and the satisfaction of a new bake turning out well.

There have been days, and I’m sure you’ve felt it too, where the Corona-coaster has felt like to much to bear. It’s on those days that reading this quote has reminded me just how big those little things are for my mental well-being.

Which of these quotes do you find most motivating?

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Why Having A Planner Has Changed My Life

Disclaimer: this post features links to a PR product that I was sent to review. I do not get payment for you clicking on the links; I’m sharing, as it’s something that I genuinely enjoyed using, and think you will too.

I’ll be honest. Having a planner that I use on a daily basis has been a relatively new addition to my life. It’s only when I thought that my mental and emotional well-being were suffering that I started to really get into the habit of putting pen to paper.

When I was coming out of my marriage, I was feeling lost, and got into the routine of watching rubbish morning TV, or even worse the news, whilst I was getting ready for work. I could tell that it really wasn’t serving me. My thoughts were given too much time to fester, and I knew that I had to do something about it.

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This started with cultivating a better morning routine for myself. I’ve posted before about how to create a powerful morning routine, and that has always included writing of some kind. Getting my thoughts, ideas and plans down on paper has become one of the morning rituals I look forward to, and get the most out of, partly because those festering thoughts are given space to breathe.

It might sound a little dramatic, but I do think that having a planner has changed my life for the better. I’ve tried a couple of planners and journals so far, all with similar prompts and benefits, but I wanted to share with you a daily planner that is fast becoming my favourite. Here’s why:

My Daily Goal Setter

The Mal Paper Daily Goal Setter
The Mal Paper Daily Goal Setter

I was sent Mal Paper‘s latest planner to try, and I couldn’t snap it up fast enough. Their daily goal setter encourages you not only to nurture morning and evening routines that are good for your mental well-being, but is also structured in a way that will keep you moving forwards with your goals. Both of which are exactly what you need when you’re trying to navigate through a big period of change in your life.

It Keeps Me Focused

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One of the plus points that I’ve always found with having a planner or journal is that at the very least it keeps me focused for the day ahead, and at most, the month ahead.

The daily goal setter has sections at the beginning for you to write down your long, medium and short term goals. Although I’ve had goals floating around in my head of things I want to do and achieve over the next few years, I was actually surprised that I hadn’t formally written them down before.

I really liked how the structure of the planner then encourages you to review the month, and subsequently week ahead with those goals in mind.

I Can See My Progress

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When I sat down at the end of last week, I shocked myself with how much I had actually achieved towards my goals, and I definitely think the planner had something to do with it. It was a great way to end the week too; I felt so proud of myself.

In the past I’ve often set myself up with too many tasks on my to-do list for the day, and end up overwhelming myself before I even got started. By using the handy ABCDE method described in the planner for prioritising my daily tasks, it prompted me to think about which were the most important tasks, and to do them first.

It sounds simple, but I’ve realised that that when I’m feeling most overwhelmed, or having a self confidence wobble, that I’ll focus on the the little bitty tasks that feel easy, but don’t actually move me any further forwards, rather than the bigger, scarier tasks. That’s because those bigger, scarier tasks feel like too much of a step outside of my comfort zone.

Using the daily goal setter is helping me to get out of that bad habit, which is empowering. For the first time in a long while, it’s starting to feel like my goals are actually achievable, and it’s so satisfying to see the progress I’m making.

It Sets An Intention For The Day

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I shared over on my Instagram recently that I’ve become a fan of mantras in the last couple of weeks. I’ve also written a blog post about affirmations, that you can read here.

The reason why I think mantras and affirmations are so great, is that when they’re written or said in the morning, they can set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Starting the day with a positive intention makes it that bit easier mentally to face what’s ahead of you, and each page in the daily goal setter includes space to write an affirmation for the day. One of my favourites that I’ve written for myself in the last couple of days is “I am excited for what is to come. I am allowing success into my life”.

It Encourages Gratitude

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If you’ve ever read anything about the law of attraction, you’ll know that our thoughts can be a lot more powerful than we think. The basic premise is that, what we think about, we bring about.

With that in mind, it makes sense that by being thankful for things that are already in your life, more things will come into your life for you to be thankful for. Noting down some of the great things in your life can give you a boost on days when you’re feeling a little ‘meh’ too.

The planners that I’ve had in the past have all incorporated sections at either the start or end of the day to write down a gratitude list of 3 things. The daily goal setter is no different, and it’s a habit that I’ve enjoyed keeping up with. One of the things that I wrote down that I was grateful for this morning was my health; I’m stronger than I have been for a long time.

Are you a fan of using a planner?

If you want to get your hands on a daily goal setter too, I have a special treat for you! Use the code BRSPECIAL15 at the checkout to get 15% off yours!

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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared Of Change

If there’s one thing that’s pretty much guaranteed in life, it’s that we’ll experience change on some level. Some change is expected, and some really isn’t. (erm, hello Corona) Getting nervous about change is definitely a feeling that I’m familiar with.

In the final year or so of being married, I spent what felt like thousands of hours agonising over the reasons why, even though I was desperately unhappy, I should stay in my relationship. Taking a big step into the unknown just seemed like too much change to deal with. I was anxious, and let the fear of everything that change represented keep me frozen where I was for too long. I was scared to walk away from the comfort of what I’d known for so long.

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When I did eventually get divorced, (you can read everything I learnt from getting divorced here) rather than feeling overwhelmed, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Now, I’m going to be honest and say that overcoming my fear of change didn’t happen overnight, in fact, at times it was it was emotionally draining, and it took some real inner work. Was it worth it though? For sure.

I was originally inspired to write this post after reading a blog on a similar subject by Jodie Melissa. She wrote about how our anxious reaction to change is natural because we crave safety, and I would agree with this for sure.

However, as with pretty much everything that I’ve learnt, seeing things from a new perspective really does help when faced with change. I wanted to share with you the reasons why I’ve found that stepping away from safety and into the unknown isn’t something to be scared of, but instead, is something we all have the strength to embrace.

It’s A Learning Experience

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Change knocks us off course, and as you try to navigate through it and out the other side, things probably won’t happen exactly as you want them to along the way.

But that’s okay, because it’s through that experience that you’ll learn. Some lessons will be harder than others, but ultimately they will help you grow.

When my marriage was ending, I made, in hindsight, some questionable choices with my finances. This included putting a long weekend in Ibiza, (my way of escaping everything that was going on) all on my credit card.

Whilst this didn’t put me in the greatest position financially, as I was saddled with a substantial amount of debt to pay off, it did teach me the importance of budgeting effectively. Meaning that I can now experience the events and parts of the World that will leave me with the best memories, not a massive hole in my pocket.

You’ll Grow Stronger & Wiser

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It’s through things not going right, that not only will you learn, but you’ll also become stronger. As Kelly Clarkson famously sings “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and by getting back up again, you gain the resilience to be able to face the next change that comes your way without feeling quite so scared.

I was terrified about getting back on to the dating scene after my marriage ended, but threw myself into the dating apps anyway. Through A LOT of trial and error, disappointments, and frankly weird experiences, I became wise to the behaviour of certain men on the apps, and the red flags to avoid.

I don’t view it as wasted energy though, because I became more resilient to rejection, and despite the ups and downs, I actually met my current boyfriend on a dating app.

What’s Meant For You Will Not Pass

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Although you may feel lost in the midst of all the change initially, I’m a strong believer that what’s meant for you will not pass. This can offer the much needed comfort that we crave as a knee-jerk reaction to change.

Forgive me for sounding a little woo, but, if you’ve set the intention for what you want from your life moving forwards out of the change you’re experiencing, and you’re doing the things that will get you there, then the Universe will step in and support you.

Even though I was stepping away from everything I had known in my marriage, I had a gut feeling that the pieces would eventually come back together again. I never imagined that those parts of my life would be gone, but I had faith that the new pieces would create a happier and more fulfilled picture for me.

What’s the biggest change that you’ve learnt from?

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4 Reasons Why You Should Make Self Care A Priority

As I spoke about in my last blog post, when you’re feeling lost, or facing a massive curve ball in life, it’s more important than ever to practice self care. Trying to navigate a challenging time is exhausting, so it makes sense to make looking after yourself a priority.

I think that there’s a lot of confusion as to the definition of self care, especially as it’s a phrase that’s thrown around a lot these days. What I do want to stress is that self care can mean different things to different people, and so doesn’t always have to include the obvious ‘pamper’ activities.

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What Is Self Care?

As I’ve already hinted at, self care isn’t all about bubble baths and face masks; although it can of course include those things if you want.

Self care is any activity that preserves or benefits our mental, physical or emotional well-being. Which means you don’t have to be sat quietly in a corner to practice it either!

Mental Well-Being

Self care activities that benefit your mental well-being can perhaps be best described as anything that helps to de-clutter your mind and reduce your stress levels.

As I’ve already talked about, this will look different to different people. To look after my mental well-being I prefer to do things that promote a sense of quiet. But hey, I’m an introvert and that’s just me.

Self care ideas that you can use to look after your mental well-being are reading, tidying up your home, doing a creative hobby, unplugging from social media or going for a walk.

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Physical Well-Being

Like the word suggests, self care for this type of well-being is anything that benefits your physical body. Although a lot of the examples that I’ll share with your may sound obvious, they are often the easiest to overlook.

Self care ideas that you can use to look after your physical well-being are staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, moving your body in a way that feels good to you, or fitting an extra portion of fruit or veg into your daily meals.

Sleep is something that I’ve been very up and down with throughout this pandemic, and I’m currently working on a routine that will help me wind down into an uninterrupted sleep.

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Emotional Well-Being

Going through a big change can impact how we view ourselves and our place in the World around us, and practicing self care for our emotional well-being can help us explore and come to terms with that.

Self care ideas that you can use to look after your emotional well-being are journaling, meditation (you can read my beginners guide here) and making time to talk through what’s going on with a trusted friend or family member.

I’ve done all of these things to differing levels myself, and know that I still need to work on opening myself up to others more rather than carrying the burden of what I’m trying to cope with on my own.

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Why Prioritise Self Care?

Being able to move forwards out of a time of big change or feeling lost takes so much energy, and you need to replenish that energy in order to keep on moving forwards into the future that you want for yourself.

I’ve found that sometimes devoting full days to self care can feel like an impossible task. Like any habit, in order for you to get into a routine with self care, you need to be able to fit in time to do it consistently.

With that in mind, I dedicate around an hour to self care each day. This is mainly made up of journaling, reading, meditation and exercising in the morning, and a soak in the bath with a book most evenings. I realise that isn’t realistic for some people, but I would definitely recommend carving out at least 10 to 15 minutes at the start and end of your day for your self care, and here’s the reasons why:

To Maintain A Healthy Relationship With Yourself (& others)

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One of the great side-effects of spending time looking after your emotional well-being is that you get to know yourself better. You begin to understand what makes you tick, how you react in certain situations that isn’t serving you, and what brings you joy.

If you understand yourself it makes it that much easier to trust that the decisions you’re making are the right ones.

It Boosts Your Confidence

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It makes sense that if you doing the things that attend to your well-being needs, that you’ll feel good. And when you feel good about things it boosts your confidence.

Knowing that you can navigate through a tough time mentally, (as feeling lost often is) and still show up for yourself on a daily basis, breeds a positive mindset too.

To Help Deal With Stress & Anxiety

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Again, it should hopefully make sense that if you’re doing activities that benefit your mental well-being on a regular basis, you’ll feel stress and anxiety begin to melt away.

You’ll also be better equipped to deal with periods of stress and/or anxiety when they crop up again in the future. (because let’s face it, they do) Knowing that you have a toolkit of actions you can go to when you feel the overwhelm creeping in will feel empowering.

It Promotes A Sense Of Balance

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By carving out time each day to take care of your self care needs means that you can take a step off the treadmill of ‘busy’ that life often becomes. I’ve been there myself, and it can be so easy to neglect your own needs when things get full on, when it fact it’s the time you should be looking after yourself most.

In doing small acts of self care on a daily basis, there begins to be a separation between the times when you’re serving others and when you’re serving yourself.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; you can’t give from an empty cup, especially when you’re trying to figure out a way to pivot through something unexpected that life has thrown at you. You need that extra energy to be able to move forwards, never mind the fact that you definitely deserve it.

Could you do with fitting more self care into your daily routine?

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5 Ways To Transform Your Life When You’re Feeling Lost

When life throws an unexpected curve ball your way, it can lead you to feeling lost. When everything you once knew is shaken to the core, it’s natural not to know how to move forwards.

I’m speaking from experience, because I’ve been there. When my marriage fell apart, I lost my sense of self. I had been one half of a partnership for so long (the best part of a decade) that I’d forgotten who I was outside of it. The future that I thought I had was taken from me, and I had no idea how to move forwards.

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More recently, my role at work was made redundant. (you can read all about it in the post I wrote here) Again, my preconceived ideas of what my work life would look like over the next few years was stripped away, and I wasn’t sure what the best way of moving forwards would be.

So, what do you do when you feel lost and confused in life? The 5 tips that I’m about to share with you below are based on what’s worked for me, and are a formula that you can return to again and again if you need to. After all, life does have a habit of keeping us on our toes.

I want to preface this by saying that I’m not a Doctor, so if these tips feel like too much, or you sense that there is something much deeper behind you feeling lost, please go and see a professional to work through it.

1. Focus On The Things That Bring You Joy

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When you’re feeling lost, it makes sense to return back to things that make you feel good. This is more than just self-care; it’s consciously seeking out opportunities in your day that bring even the smallest smile to your face.

This is a concept I first read about in the book, Light Is The New Black by Rebecca Campbell. This book is quite spiritually lead, but essentially focused on doing the things that ‘light you up’. (or bring you joy) For me, when my marriage was falling apart, the things that brought me joy were filling my bedroom with flowers, fairy lights and photos of the people I loved, and going to dance class to really let loose.

The things that bring you joy don’t have to just be activities. Like in my example, they can be things which bring you joy in your own home or space, and make it feel more like ‘you’. If you’re feeling so lost that you’re not even sure what might bring you joy any more, use Pinterest or Instagram as inspiration and try a few things until you find what the magic combination is that lights you up.

2. Use Your Support Network

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When things were starting to get rocky within my marriage I’m the first to hold my hand up and say that I buried my head in the sand with it all; which just made me feel even more lost.

If I didn’t acknowledge that things weren’t very good, or that I wasn’t happy, then I wouldn’t have to admit that it was actually happening. I kept my group of best friends in the dark for so long, that when I did eventually speak to them about it, they were surprised that I hadn’t said anything sooner.

When you’re feeling lost, it’s the time when you definitely need to be leaning on your friends and family most. They love you, so will be more than happy to be a shoulder to cry on. Ask them questions, listen to their advice, and make sure you schedule in time to spend with them either in person or virtually as much as you can.

They’re likely to be the people that know you best, and the more time you spend talking about how you feel with them, the more you’ll start feeling yourself again. They are you’re biggest cheerleaders after all!

3. Trust What Your Body Is Telling You

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My body has the habit of forcing me to submit when it’s trying to tell me something. When I was super stressed during my divorce process, it forced me to step away from things and rest by giving me a nasty viral infection that left me exhausted for weeks.

Even now, I know that something isn’t right when my period is off. Basically I bleed when something big in my life is off-kilter. Getting this in tune with my body has taken years of practice though.

After you’ve started focusing on the things that bring you joy, you’ll start to know better what feels good and what doesn’t, rather than every day feeling like you’re stuck in a fog.

I’ve said it before over on my Instagram, but don’t be afraid to feel all the feels. If you’re noticing that you’re not feeling good; having a bad day or week, lean into it rather than fighting it.

By embracing your feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger or grief, and doing the self-care activities that make you feel better, you pave the way to eventually let them go and start moving forwards. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a good cry. You’ll feel better for you – I know I do.

4. Make Self Care A Priority

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To say that you’re emotionally drained when you’re feeling lost would be an understatement. Believe me, I’ve been there. Bearing that in mind, it’s so important to focus on the activities that benefit your mental, physical and emotional well-being as much as possible.

Don’t confuse this with my earlier point of doing things that bring you joy; yes there will be overlap, but for you to really feel like you’re getting some clarity, I would recommend that you do both.

Carve out at least 30 minutes a day just for you. If you have a busy work and family life this can feel like a lot to find time for. However, you could break it down into 3 sets of 10 minutes throughout the day, which is automatically more manageable. Plus, you deserve it.

Savour your morning coffee, dance like a loon to your favourite tunes, go for a walk, read, journal, meditate (you can read my beginner’s guide here), have a bath; basically any activity that will replenish your energy.

I add self care into both my morning and evening routines and feel so much better for it. If you need some inspiration for how to build a morning routine with self care that serves you, I have a blog post to help you out that you can read here.

5. And Finally….Set Goals For How You Want To Move Forwards

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The likelihood is, that after after a few weeks or months of consistently doing the 4 things that I’ve already mentioned, that you’ll be starting to feel a little more like yourself.

I want to stress that I wouldn’t advise that you move on to this final stage until you’re feeling stronger and ready to take some steps forward out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, you may well end up feeling overwhelmed.

To be able to set goals for how you want to move forward out of feeling lost means asking yourself some important questions. How do you want your work life and/or relationships to change moving forwards? And, what would having your mental well-being in a good place look like to you?

When asking yourself these questions, be completely honest with yourself. This is your life, and it’s down to you what you want out of it, not any one else’s, or society’s expectations. You deserve to be happy, and that starts with being true to yourself.

After you’ve answered these big questions for yourself, write a big goal (or two) down that will get you there. Even if it feels scary or unrealistic, and a long way from where you are now, go with it. Once it’s written down you can start to figure out the small steps to get you there. Start with small actions that will be easy for you to do consistently on a daily basis and keep on going.

When I was lost and coming out of my failed marriage, my big goal was to develop a relationship that was a true partnership, and to find someone who would love me for all I was, rather than just some of the parts. I realised that in order to expect this from another person, I would need to do some serious work on myself. I committed to getting to a place where self-love came easily, and day to day this looked like listening to uplifting and/or inspiring podcasts or reading self-development books and taking action on what I learnt.

Have you tried any of these tips before when you’ve felt lost? Let’s chat in the comments.

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You may also like: The Healing Power Of Forgiveness

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How To Create A Powerful Morning Routine

I first realised the importance of a morning routine after reading Hal Elrod’s book; The Miracle Morning. It’s also one of the self-development books that’s had the biggest impact on me, which you can read more about in this post.

I’d come across lots of morning routine ideas before then, but nothing really stuck. I’d got so used to the comfort of mindlessly looking at my phone, and watching either the news or morning telly before I got ready for work. I knew I wasn’t doing myself any favours doing this though.

In the years since reading the book I’ve honed the activities that I do in the morning before work (when I wasn’t on furlough) to include slight variations of what he shares. I definitely think it makes sense to set your physical and mental well-being up in way that will hopefully keep you in a positive mindset throughout the rest of the day.

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Before I share with you Hal’s advice from the book, I want to stress the key thing to remember when starting a morning routine is being patient. It may take trying different combinations of the the below ideas, or doing them for a different lengths of time in order to come to a set of rituals that works for you; that makes you feel powerful and ready to face the day ahead.

My top tip with this is not to over complicate it. Go with your gut instinct as to what feels right. Having an approach that is too regimented will make it feel like a chore, rather than self-care time.

Also bear in mind your own specific time constraints. If need be, you can literally just spend 1 or 2 minutes on each of these things, and they will still set you up well for the day. As you will see, I combine some activities together, as I feel that this really makes productive use of my time.

Silence (or Meditation)

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If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know from an earlier post that I did on meditation that this took me a while to get in to, but has definitely been worth while for the benefits that I’ve felt. The jumble of thoughts I have lifts, and I can gain a moment of clarity and calm. You can read my beginners guide to meditation here.

At the moment I’m spending around 5 minutes focusing on an affirmation or positive intention that I have for the day, closing my eyes, and breathing deeply. Sometimes I like to visualise how I want my future life to look – I really just go with what feels good on that particular morning.

As I’ve recommended before, you could try a guided meditation on an app like Calm instead. Or, you could try a breathing technique for a minute.

Affirmations

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This is another area that I’ve created a blog post about and if you don’t know where to get started with practising them, reading that is a great place to start.

Affirmations essentially train you to re-frame negative thought patterns that you might have into positive and motivational ones instead; setting you up with a powerful positive intention to start the day.

It’s best to make them as personal as possible, and address the negative thoughts that are really weighing you down at the moment. For example, you could transform the thought of “I’m always tired” into “Today I am full of energy and excited for what the day holds”.

I’ve only just started getting back into practising affirmations again, and I’ve written them out on a sheet of paper. I then read that sheet of paper several times and recite them in my head every morning whilst I’m eating my breakfast. A method I’ve used before has been saying them out loud in the shower too.

Visualisation

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Visualisation is a powerful tool for focusing on your goals, (just ask Olympic athletes) which is why it’s so great to do it in the morning.

By visualising our dreams and goals; how it will look, taste and feel when we achieve them, it motivates and focuses our mind on how we can take the steps to get there. By visualising a scenario in detail including all of the senses we would feel, it tricks our brain into thinking that it’s already happened. That’s why it’s such a great mental tool for athletes.

There are definitely a few ways that you can approach visualisation. As I’ve already said, sometimes I combine it with my meditation, as it always makes me feel really positive about the day ahead.

Another method you could try is creating a slide show of images that fit with how you want your life to look in say the next 5 years. You could then play this slide show on your phone every morning whilst you’re eating breakfast. I’m also a fan of doing this the old fashioned way and creating a vision board out of magazine cuttings, and sticking it up somewhere that I’ll definitely see in the morning.

Exercise

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I have to admit that during my time on furlough, I don’t think I would have had the motivation to do very much at all if it hadn’t been for me exercising every morning.

The Body Coach (aka Joe Wicks) has a whole ethos around exercising for the mental well-being benefits that it brings rather than losing weight. He says that he’s better able to face any challenges that the day may bring because of it. This makes sense because the same endorphins that give you a high afterwards also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp with the tasks ahead of you.

How much exercise you do will obviously be dependent on how much time you have available. If you only have 10 minutes in the morning, you’re not going to want to try to schedule in going for a 1 hour run. As I’m on furlough at the moment, I’ve been doing 20-30 minute fairly high intensity workouts each morning.

When I was working, however, it would have been totally out of the question to exercise for that amount of time without getting up even earlier. Which, as someone who’s not a morning person, wasn’t something I was willing to do. I would just do a couple of simple yoga stretches instead to get my body moving, or dance about to one of my favourite tunes whilst I was making my breakfast.

Reading

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I love reading, and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I like to do a lot of it. In the mornings I think it totally makes sense to feed your mind something inspirational or motivational rather than the negative stream of stories that are on the news. It just gets you in a better head space to start the day.

At the moment I’m rotating between a couple of self-development books, as well as some anti-racism education for myself. Even just 10 minutes of reading something that encourages me to change my perspective helps me figure out how best to approach my day with that new way of thinking in mind.

Even on a day when I’m feeling less motivated to sit and read a book, I’ll catch up on my favourite blogs, as I find they’re a great way to inspire me creatively. Some of the ones I enjoy are Unexpected Adventures, Nicole No Filter, and Holly Soulie.

Writing

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This is an area that you could approach in loads of different ways. I think the real strength that lies behind writing things down is that it gets in out of your head and physically on to paper, and that can feel like a weight has been lifted just in itself.

Writing down goals and affirmations also helps them to be cemented in your subconscious and therefore that bit more likely to happen.

If you’re short on time I would really recommend starting the day by writing down 3 things that you’re grateful for. These can be as general or as specific as you like. The key is that it then starts you off with a grateful mindset for the rest of the day, and you’ll hopefully be more aware of things that happen during the day that you could be thankful for. I do this every morning and feel like it makes such a difference.

If you have longer, you might want to consider finding some journal prompts online to help you reflect and dig deeper into why you feel the way you do about certain things. I progressed from this into free writing just whatever is on my mind in the morning; things I might be worrying about, situations that have played out, and why I might be feeling how I am about them.

As I’ve said before in other blog posts, I find that if I understand myself and my motivations more clearly, then it allows me to show up as my best self. That’s why I’ll always ensure that I make time for writing at the start of the day.

Do you have a morning routine? And has this inspired you to give any of these suggestions a try? Let me know in the comments

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3 Unexpected Benefits of Being Made Redundant

The aftermath of lock down has unfortunately brought with it just as much uncertainty for businesses as there was going in to it. Many companies have had to drastically restructure to make up for the short fall in income. The harsh reality of this for many, has been that they’ve been made redundant whilst on furlough.

I’m one of the people living that reality. Going in to lock down I worked for a global hospitality brand. Although I knew that the pandemic would of course have a negative effect on business where I worked, I, perhaps naively, thought that working for such a large company would offer some job security.

My Experience

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My redundancy journey started with a very sudden (and unexpected) request that all employees at my work attend a Zoom call with the big boss. What followed was the announcement, that in no uncertain terms, there would be job losses in the coming months.

As is standard with redundancy in the UK, there then followed a consultation process, where each team that had job roles at risk could discuss possible solutions to help lessen the need for people to actually lose there job.

It was during this period of time that anxiety really hit me hard. After the initial announcement, I had a brief period of sadness. I was sad because I knew that the place I worked at wouldn’t be the same again for a long time.

It was a grief for the loss of my work life as I had known it pre Covid too, and to be honest, it shook me more than I thought it would. However, it was the uncertainty of everything that was to come afterwards that sent me into an anxious spiral.

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I definitely think anxiety is a perfectly natural reaction to have when faced with so much uncertainty. I soon realised that I needed to do some serious work on myself so that I didn’t wallow in anxious and fear laden thoughts constantly. I started to properly meditate, (read my beginners guide to meditation here) journal, and basically get more curious about the emotions I was feeling.

It was through this work on myself that I felt strong enough to make the decision to take voluntary redundancy. For me this was my way of taking control of the situation. As I had already grieved the loss of my pre Covid work life, it made sense to me that my period of furlough would end with starting a brand new chapter elsewhere. Was it a scary decision to make? For sure, but I felt in my gut that it was right for me.

It’s with this idea of a new chapter in mind, that I’ve been able to approach my search for a new job with a more positive mindset. Here are the 3 unexpected benefits of being made redundant that I’ve uncovered along the way so far….

An Opportunity to Evaluate What You Really Want Out Of Your Work Life

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Being made redundant is the perfect time for you to think about what you want out of your work life moving forwards, as you head into the next chapter of your career.

As I’ve already discussed before, spending so much time at home during lock down has brought a lot of things into perspective for me, and allowed a lot of time for self reflection. After being thrown into yet another period of uncertainty, it felt natural to start reflecting again.

I got initially upset at the prospect of losing my job because I really did enjoy it. However, there were certain aspects of it that I didn’t enjoy. They were seemingly little things that I put up with, but in hindsight I can actually see were having a negative impact on my mental well-being. (read my guide to mental well-being here)

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Things like only having 30 minutes for lunch, working in an office with no windows, and having a relatively long commute. When searching for new jobs I’m bearing in mind that I don’t want to have to put up with these things next time.

After spending time reflecting on what I wanted moving forwards, I also realised that I’m at a point in my life where other things are more important to me than my work. I want a job that yes, I enjoy, but also allows me the balance to live life how I want to, rather than just being stuck in a monotonous work routine where there’s little time or energy for anything else.

Identifying Your Skills

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One of the good things about sitting down to freshen up you CV is that you actually realise just how skilled you are.

Listing your employment history and your career achievements needn’t be a dull process. I found that putting down everything that I’ve done made me see just how much I had learnt over the years, and how I had applied what I’d learnt in each role change I made. It felt good to see just how far I had come.

It’s with this perspective that I could also see all the transferable skills I had gained, like excellent interpersonal skills, and working well in busy, hectic environments. It’s with these kind of insights that you can see how you can really add value for prospective employers and sell yourself on that all important cover letter.

Knowing your transferable skills can also be useful in the current job market. Although I have initially started to look at jobs related to my more recent experience, having transferable skills in my back pocket means that if need be, I can look at other options further down the line that still play to my strengths.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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I’ll admit that this one doesn’t sound like it would be a benefit, but bear with me.

Opening ourselves up to new opportunities can feel uncomfortable for sure. Stepping away from what we’ve known for so long and putting ourselves in situations that make us feel vulnerable (hello awkward Zoom interviews) is scary, and frankly, triggering.

If we’ve got limiting beliefs about ourselves this is when they’ll crop up. For me, my initial barrier with job hunting was actually believing I would be a valuable asset to the organisations I was applying for. Yes, I had written down everything that I was skilled at, but I still needed to make the connection with my inner self to actually believe it was true. That’s why I’ve been doing so much work on myself recently.

What I’m saying is that all the new experiences you’ll be having as part of your redundancy journey, although probably won’t feel great, will definitely help you grow. We don’t learn anything if we keep doing the same things day in, day out. Being thrust into a new environment forces us to adapt, develop, and ultimately grow into a better version of ourselves than we were before.

Have you been made redundant during the pandemic? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Truly forgiving someone can be difficult. Believe me, I’ve been there. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll already know that I got divorced a few years ago, and one of the biggest lessons I learnt from it was the art of forgiveness. (you can read the full post here)

I also think that forgiveness has different levels to it. Forgiving a friend for turning up an hour late to meet you is very different to the level of forgiveness required if your partner has cheated.

I personally thought that I didn’t have a problem with forgiveness, until it came to my ex-husband. I’ve been reflecting on this a little recently, and it’s only with the hindsight of being 3 years further along with my own self-development, that I can see more clearly why it became such an issue for me.

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When I was actually going through the practicalities of getting divorced, I felt like I was losing myself to the stress of it all, so I invested in a course of life coaching with some one I trusted. My coach was great, and she posed some questions that felt very difficult to answer at the time. One of them was; ‘How would it feel if you forgave him?’

Although initially painful, that one question felt like a key that would unlock a door inside me that had been keeping all my painful and difficult feelings at bay. By choosing not to forgive him up until that point, I was also choosing not to properly deal with the rawness of what I was feeling. I was keeping it bottled up, and the negative effect it was having was actually making me physically unwell.

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Forgiveness allows us to grow, move on, and ultimately be happy. I was holding on to my hurt, resentment and anger so tightly that I couldn’t see that it was doing me more harm than good; I wouldn’t be able to properly move on until I let them go.

By giving so much of my energy to feeling that way, I was giving my power to him, not to myself. I definitely didn’t want him to have power over my life any more, so I knew that by forgiving him I would feel better.

‘Forgiving doesn’t make you weak, it sets you free’

This quote resonates with me because I felt that by forgiving him, I would be giving in or giving up; something that I saw as a sign of weakness. It’s funny to think now, that all these negative thoughts were pretty much born out of my own stubbornness. In a relationship where it felt like what I wanted always came second, I wanted to win for once.

Woman stood by the water with her arms out, feeling free
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The first step in the process of forgiving my ex was writing him a letter (that he will never see) as if he was an old friend, thanking him for everything he had brought into my life, and offering understanding for why he had acted like he had. That first step felt like a massive one. I could feel the tension lifting from my shoulders straight after I had written it.

Rather than holding on to bad memories and feelings of resentment from the past, forgiveness frees us to live in the present. I now focus on my life and what I want to achieve from it, rather letting myself feel like a victim for everything that happened in that past, frankly toxic, relationship.

Woman in a field with her arms in the air, feeling free
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‘There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love’

This is another quote that I emphatically feel is true. Although I no longer love my ex-husband, there was of course love in our past, otherwise we would never had got married in the first place. I believe it’s the memory of that love that’s allowed me to forgive completely. I realise he was trying his best at the time, and so was I. We just couldn’t be what each other needed any more; we had grown, but in different directions.

As I had written in my letter to him, there were certain things that he did, that although hurtful at the time, brought me to where I’m at now in my life. I’ve returned back to my maiden name, and feel more myself and content than ever. I see that our relationship was the journey I needed to go on in order to get to this point. The journey may have been painful, but it taught me a hell lot about myself on so many different levels. He was my teacher, and that is why I forgave him.

Is there someone you need to forgive for your own mental well-being? How would it feel if your forgave them?

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5 Self-Development Books That Changed My Life For The Better

Thankfully, I think that the stigma that there was around reading self-development books is fading. More so because of the wealth of different kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, and with a variety of experiences, sharing what they’ve learnt, being so prevalent right now. This has lead to thousands of self-development books on so many different topics.

I also think that, even if it isn’t necessarily a strictly conscious feeling, we all want to feel better on some level. Reading about other people who’ve made their lives better inspires us. We know that better is out there, we just have to be willing to see situations, and ourselves, from a different perspective.

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So what are the best self-development books and where do you start I hear you ask?

I’m a strong believer that the book that you ‘need’ most will present itself at the right time for you. There’s some books (a couple of them are on this list) that I started reading and couldn’t get in to simply because in hindsight I can see they weren’t right for me at the time. I kept them knowing that I would be able to benefit from their wisdom in future.

Basically, the message I want to get across is that don’t give up on self-development if a book isn’t right for you. Try a different one instead and come back to it when the time feels more fitting.

1. The Universe Has Your Back – Gabrielle Bernstein

Read it if you’re struggling with feeling abundant.

Image to portray the idea of spirituality
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‘The more joyful we are, the more light we shine on the world, the more power we have to express our presence, and the more positive energy we put out’

I’ll be honest, I’ve probably started this book about 3 times, but never finished it any of those times, simply because I couldn’t get into it. As I’ve already said, I definitely think that the book you need to learn from the most will fall into your hands when the time is right.

I’m reading this book at the moment for that very reason; it just feels right. Gabrielle is an author and international speaker, and is all about transforming fear into faith. Faith in the Universe to be exact.

A word of warning; due to the spiritual nature of this book, you’ll probably only take something from it if you’re open to that kind of thing. Through the universal lessons that she shares, it can help us relinquish our need for control and relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. This is definitely something I’ve needed recently.

Image of a book
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Covid-19 has brought with in so much uncertainty on so many levels, and given that I’m currently facing redundancy, I knew that I needed to loosen my grip if I wanted to feel less anxious.

At the moment I’m getting so much benefit from the meditation and affirmation based exercises in the book. When I come away from the meditations I feel like I’m tingling all over and so much lighter; most likely because I’ve raised my positive energy. It’s the tonic I’ve needed to maintain a positive mindset as I move forward into a different chapter post lock down.

2. Rising Strong – Brene Brown

Read it if you’re finding it hard to overcome past struggles.

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‘If we’re brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability’

I finished this book earlier this year, and it’s another one that when I tried reading it before, I could never get into it. The reason why I gave it another go was because I knew that I still had some resentful feelings lingering towards my my ex-husband.

If you’ve not heard of Brene before, her TED talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched TED talks of all time. She’s spent years researching vulnerability and being brave, and shares what she’s learnt, as well as her personal stories in her books, including this one.

Rising Strong presents a powerful process to rise from falls, overcome mistakes and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and meaning into your life.

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I found the most useful part of this process what she’s called ‘the rumble’. This is the part where you do the work; facing up to all the uncomfortable and difficult emotions you feel as a result of falling, as well as the mindset that got you there in the first place.

If would perhaps be hypocritical when writing about vulnerability Brene isn’t vulnerable herself, and I enjoyed the fact that she shared so much of her personal experiences in the book; it made it that much more relatable. I especially like the lake swim story that she circles back to.

I gained a much kinder perspective towards myself from reading this book, and it’s for that reason that I’ve recommended it several times, and even bought it for my friends.

3. The Goddess Revolution – Mel Wells

Read it if you want to repair your relationship with your body and food.

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‘The scales will tell you the numerical value of your effect on gravity. They will not tell you how beautiful you are, how loved you are, or how amazing you are’

As I’ve already gone into more detail of in an earlier post there was a point a few years ago when my marriage was breaking down that my eating became disordered. It’s taken quite a long time to heal my relationship with food and how I view my body, and it’s something that I do still have to check in with from time to time.

This book, as well as her second book, Hungry for More, has really helped me. If you’ve ever struggled with diets, food, body image or your weight, then The Goddess Revolution is for you too.

Mel’s face is on the back cover, and you might recognise her, as she used to be in Hollyoaks in the early 2000s. She used to be a model too, and had an unhealthy relationship with food and her body image for years. In the book she shares techniques that she’s used herself to transform our relationship with food, and have healthy, satisfying, guilt-free relationship with our bodies.

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I think this book is a breath of fresh air in a society that is still very much focused on fitness and reaching that ‘goal weight’. A society that basically shames women into feeling inadequate. Mel is so honest with the way she writes; sharing her own experiences with openness, kindness and passion. You can tell it’s something she really cares about.

Since reading her books, I can 100% say that I am so much more comfortable around food. I’ve stepped out of the guilt/shame cycle and now trust my instincts with what I put in my body, knowing that I’m nourishing it in a way that feels right for me, and maintains the natural weight that I’m meant to be at, rather than what society deems to be acceptable.

4. The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

Read it if you’re wanting to create a set of habits that will benefit your mental well-being.

Image to show what the start of a day typically looks like
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‘In order for you to stop settling for what you deserve….you must first dedicate time each day to becoming the person you need to be’

I’m not usually a fan of the direct, ‘get your act together’ type of self-development books as in the past they’ve tended to trigger limiting belief that I still have that I’m not good enough.

I managed to see past the writing style with this book though, as I could really see the benefits of the method that Hal shares. He calls them 6 life S.A.V.E.R.S, and by doing them each and every morning, it will take you that bit closer each day to what you want to achieve.

S = silence (or meditation)

A = affirmations

V = visualisation

E = exercise

R = reading

S = scribing (or writing)

Although over the years the time I’ve spent on each of these activities have varied, having them in my morning routine every day has really helped me to face the day with a more positive mindset, no matter what’s been going on in my life.

5. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey

Read it if you’re a fan of self-reflection.

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‘And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance’

This book is just so beautifully written; it’s one of the ones that I keep on going back to, especially if I’ve going through a period of feeling a little bit lost.

The book is a collection of all the best bits from the column that Oprah has in O magazine. It’s a delightful mix of personal anecdotes and life lessons that make you feel warm and fuzzy, and for me have often sparked bigger light bulb moments.

The sections in the book cover the big self reflective topics of joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. I flicked back through the book before I wrote this post, and literally every other page is turned over because I’ve taken something from the words written on it.

Every bit of wisdom that Oprah shares encourages you to lean into the messiness of life and embrace the lessons that it teaches you. It’s for that reason that I dip back in and out of it at least a couple of times a year; through her words I’m reminded that things will only change if I change the way I look at them.

Have you read any of these books? What self-development book has had the most impact on you?

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