4 Tips For Building a Resilient Mindset

Building a resilient mindset is something that I’ve had to work on over the years. When my marriage fell apart a few years ago, I was at a complete loss as to how I should move forward. It felt like I had to draw upon every single ounce of energy I had just to remain positive.

Although I believe we all start with a level of resilience that’s cultivated through our childhood and teenage years, it’s taken practice and time for me to build my own resilience to a stage where I’m not that phased by big periods of change. I believe I can deal with it, just like I’ve dealt with change before.

So how do you go about building personal resilience?

Well the 4 tips that I’m about to share with you are things that I’ve had as part of my daily routine on and off over the last few years. I’m now in the position where I do all of them, and to say that they’ve helped me with all he uncertainty that 2020 has brought with it, would be an understatement.

I urge you to give a few of them a go (if you don’t do them already) so that you can build your own resilience; hopefully facing whatever life has in store for you next with a greater sense of inner strength.

Start Journaling

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This is something that I returned to earlier this year when lock down set in. I find that by noting down what’s on my mind, and how I’m feeling about it, helps me deal with it much better, and builds my resilience in the process.

By getting curious about why I react to situations in a certain way, or why I’m feeling particularly emotionally charged towards something, has been a great tool in me getting to know myself better too. And when I know myself better, I can trust that the decisions I’m making are the right ones.

It hasn’t always been that way though. When I first started journaling, I struggled with what to write. That’s where prompts can be really helpful. You can look on Pinterest or Google to find useful prompts to get to know yourself better, or reflect on how your feeling about the curve ball that life’s thrown you. I even made myself a jar full of prompts at the start of lock down.

Recently, I’ve been preferring just writing for 10 minutes first thing in the morning about everything that’s on my mind. That way it’s out of my head and on paper. And once it’s out, that’s when I can start to deal with it.

Listen to Inspiring Podcasts

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It might sound a little strange, but my favourite way to listen to podcasts is in the shower. I used to listen to them on the bus on the way to work, and once I was put on lock down started, I had to figure out another way to get my fix.

The main reason why I listen to podcasts is because they inspire me to see things from a different perspective, or they affirm something that I’ve already been thinking. Both of which builds my resilience because I learn to trust my judgement more, whilst keeping my mindset in a more positive place. Things always seem easier to face when you can find the silver lining, no matter how small.

The podcasts I’m loving at the moment are:

Practical Positivity with Sophie Cliff – short bursts of weekly advice to help you find joy in your everyday.

Deliciously Ella – the podcast series covers all aspects of wellness and well-being. I particularly love the episodes about finding happiness and the importance of sleep.

How To Fail with Elizabeth Day – Elizabeth champions things not going right in life, and everything that we learn from them. Each episode she speaks to a well known person about their perceived failures.

Read Self Development Books

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Reading is the first thing that I turned to on my quest to build my resilience because I enjoy reading so much anyway.

I’ve written a blog post (you can read it here) about the 5 self-development books that have had the biggest effect on my life. Like I say in the post, I a big believer that the book you need the most at any given point in time will work its way into your hands.

Just like with podcasts, books encourage me to view my life from a different perspective, and they help with building my resilience because I’m learning that there is always a different way to view or approach a problem that will lead to solving it. This inspires me not to give up when things feel like too much, because I know there will always be another way.

At the moment I’m reading Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein. It’s based around the idea of manifestation which is something that I’ve become more and more interested in. If you’re in need of some inspiration with what to read check out the ones I mention in my blog post that I’ve shared the link to just above.

Use Affirmations

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I’m admit, affirmations are something which I’ve only started to come back to recently. Mainly because I stopped them when they started working, not realising that for them to really work, you need to be saying them to yourself consistently.

Affirmations help to build a resilient mindset because they reframe negative thoughts you have either about yourself, or your situation into positive ones. When you say affirmations often enough you trick your brain into actually believing that they’re true.

I’ve been finding it tricky recently to really believe that I’ll make my freelance business plans work, but I’ve been surprised just how much affirmations have helped my mindset. I’m starting to believe in myself much more, and that makes it so much easier to face more challenging circumstances.

In case you were wondering, saying affirmations in your head works just as well as saying them out loud. (so no need to worry about the potential awkwardness of someone else overhearing you) And if you’re not sure where to start, I wrote a blog post featuring 5 affirmations to increase your positivity that you can read here.

Which of these tips for building resilience will you be trying first?

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Productivity: 7 Things To Help You Plan For A New Month

Any one else not quite believe that we’re half way through the year already? It’s so easy for the months to blend into one another without feeling like you’ve achieved anything that you wanted to at the start of the year. So what’s the best way to prepare for a new month so that you can get the most out of it?

At the start of this month, I was feeling like I lacked a bit of purpose – 3 months not working will do that to you! I’m also very much of the mindset that if you declare something on paper, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve it. There’s studies to back up that way of thinking too. So I decided to create a mind map of everything I would like to do this month. I intend on doing the same for the rest of the year too.

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It doesn’t matter if I don’t manage to do them all, but just writing them down has already got me feeling more motivated and intentional with my actions. It’s a technique I’ve used before with planning out my goals for the year ahead, and it can work for you too.

So grab a pen and paper, and use these 7 areas as a monthly planning template for everything that you want to happen in the weeks ahead.

Mental Well-Being

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A great question to ask yourself in relation to this is; how do I want to feel this month?

More than likely that will then guide you to the kind of activities you’ll want to be doing on a daily and weekly basis to keep you’re mental well-being in check. If you’re not sure what mental well-being is, I’ve got you covered in my easy guide here.

This month, I want to maintain my feelings of calm and being in line with the universe. (I bit woo I know, but that’s just me) Bearing that in mind, I’ve written on my monthly plan that I want to incorporate affirmations into my morning rituals, and to keep up with the daily meditation practice that I started last month. If you’re intrigued as to what affirmations are, and want to give them ago yourself, check out my blog post here.

Physical Well-Being

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Physical well-being doesn’t just cover moving your body, it’s what you put into it too, so it’s important that you consider both when you’re putting your plan for the month together.

Do you want to build strength with your workouts? Or feel like you need to stretch more and focus on your breathing? Or do you just want to drink more water?

Figure out what apps or equipment you’ll need in order to do what you have planned. Write these down too so that there’s no nasty surprises and you don’t end up feeling defeated before you start.

The likelihood is that your plans for your physical well-being will link in with what you want to do to aid your mental well-being. For me, I’ve really been reaping the mental benefits of exercising pretty much on a daily basis, and as part of my plan for the month I’m making sure I get in 5 short workouts a week. I’m a sucker for the endorphin high and just feel so much more motivated for the day ahead after I’ve worked up a sweat.

I have realised though that my body needs the time to recover more than I’m allowing it, so I’ll be making sure I fit in at least one session of yoga or stretching a week so that I’m not pushing things too hard.

Budget

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First of all, if you’ve not already got a basic budget of your monthly bills, other out goings, and how much you want to put away to save, I would definitely recommend that you get one sorted ASAP. This blog post should help with that.

There’s so much power to be had from knowing exactly what’s going in and out of your bank account on a monthly basis. Trust me, this comes from a girl who used to ignore her statements for months on end before she pulled her head out of the sand and started working to pay off her debt.

Once you’ve got your basic budget sorted out, you can plan what you want to spend your money on that’s fun. Have you got a Zoom murder mystery with you pals that means you’ll have to buy an outfit for your character? Or do you have date nights with your other half on the cards?

I’ve got my boyfriend’s birthday coming up, so I’ve taken the time to figure out how much I want to spend on gifts as well as topping up my skincare and book addictions.

Work Life

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Again, you can link this back to your mental well-being.

If you wanted to feel calmer, perhaps this means that you make time at the end of each week to plan out everything you need for the following week. This could be making sure you write a to-do list before you leave your desk on a Friday, or spending an hour on Sunday prepping your lunches for the week ahead.

On the other hand, if you’re after a sense of achievement, it could be that your plans for the month involve figuring out the steps you’ll need to go through in order to complete an important work project or goal.

As my work life is looking uncertain after my time on furlough ends, I’m going to spend time updating my CV and scoping out the jobs market in my local area.

Relationships

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Relationships don’t just mean your significant other. (if you have one) It’s your friends and family too. Take time to think about how you want to nurture each in the month ahead.

The likelihood is that your plans will link back to your budget too – so make sure they’re factored in. Now that we can go to pubs, are you planning a few drinks with friends? Or maybe a picnic in the park?

It could simply be factoring in time each week to catch up with loved ones over the phone, Face Time or Zoom.

My boyfriend is a key worker, so although I’m spending pretty much all my time at home, he isn’t. We’re getting to see each other pretty much the same amount as before lock down kicked in. I therefore make it a mission each month to make sure we get some quality time together.

This used to be a classic date night out for dinner, but we’ve had to get more creative recently. Last week we spent a lovely afternoon out in the sun drinking gin. We do also love a good Scrabble tournament. If you’re stuck for date night ideas at home this blog post has you covered.

Home

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If you have home improvements planned, or a DIY project on the cards, this is another area that you’ll want to link back to your budget. Making sure you have the money set aside for all the supplies you’ll need will hopefully stop there being any road blocks further down the line.

Are there cupboards or drawers that are annoying you so much that you really want to get them organised this month? I find that when there’s a task that I’ve been putting off for ages, it’s best if I break it down into a few steps so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I also put my favourite music on whilst I do it!

Even though we’ve lived in our new flat for over a year now, there are still some walls that are looking a little bare, so my plan this month is to source some posters and frames to make our place seem that bit more homely.

Passions/Hobbies

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For the benefit of your mental well-being, I would personally recommend that you try to factor in time each day to do something that you enjoy.

One of the big lessons that I’ve learnt in lock down was that before the pandemic I wasn’t getting enough time to do the things I loved because I was too ‘busy’. I think that making time for ourselves is actually key to our overall happiness. I know I have a much better day when I’ve done something I’ve loved.

This could be as simple as reading each night for 15 minutes, or making a new recipe from scratch a couple of times a week. Or, it could be a bigger project that you’re working on such as embroidery or crochet.

As you’ll have gathered, I’m passionate about writing and helping others, so a big thing for me is making sure I have time each week to work on my blog content and the social media channels I use to promote it.

Have you ever made a plan for the month before? Do you think they help? Let me know what you want to achieve this month in the comments.

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4 Things We Can Learn From Monks

Since lock down started the clocks have moved forward to British summer time and we’ve welcomed some much sunnier weather. Well, in between all the thunderstorms that seem to be happening at the moment anyway. It feels like Summer is finally in the (muggy) air, and this time of year is often linked to fresh starts.

I think I’ve seen just about all of my friends clearing out their wardrobes or tidying up their cupboards on their Instagram stories. I’ve joined in on this too. It’s like the combination of lock down and it suddenly being Summer means we want to clean and sort everything!

We’re obviously no stranger to giving our physical space a spring clean, but what about our mental head space?

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I find that being reflective can often help me gain a new perspective on situations in my life, or those going on around me – a perspective that benefits me more mentally.

However, I’m also mindful not to let these reflections lead me into the negative self talk that I know I’m capable of. Without conscious effort otherwise, our brains will always latch on to the negative rather than the positive.

I read an article recently about a former Monk. I was really interested in how his studies influenced his approach to life now – in particular how to create purpose, reach his potential, and find inner peace.

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It got me thinking that this approach could be really good for our well-being; by taking the time to think about our passions and strengths it can actually mean having more of them in our life. For this, Monks believe that there are 4 areas for us to consider:

What are you good at, but don’t love?

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Unfortunately this can often describe someone’s job. This doesn’t mean you should automatically leave it though.

Think if there are ways that you could learn to love what your strengths actually bring you. Or, is there an aspect of your job that you love and could work towards doing more of?

To be honest, I don’t enjoy all the elements of my job, but (when I can go back) I plan on cultivating more of what I do enjoy and seeing how it can be incorporated into my other responsibilities.

What are you not good at, but love?

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This is a tricky one to admit, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t get better at whatever this is. You could use coaching or online courses to help you improve.

For example, although I knew what I wanted to achieve with this blog, I didn’t necessarily know how to get there. Not on my own anyway, so I joined the Grow & Glow Community.

I’ve been learning from the great resources they have, and the other members are really supportive too. I wasn’t going to let my lack of initial knowledge hold me back! (side note – if you’re a creative or blogger, and want to build a personal brand, I definitely recommend that you join – it’s well worth the membership)

What are you not good at, and don’t love?

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Hopefully it’s obvious that these are the kind of tasks that you should be spending the least amount of your time and energy on as they don’t give you anything back in return. More than likely they will be the daily chores in life that grind us down.

Things like keeping track of your monthly budget, or doing the ironing. Think about if a friend or your partner could help you with them. (if it’s something they enjoy) Or, could you invest in a tool or app that will make them easier to deal with? If you have the money, you could also out-source the task to some one else completely.

What are you good at, and love?

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This is ideally how we all want to be living day to day – spending time on our talents and doing the things that we love.

For me, it’s been finding that extra little bit of time each day to write, read, and dance about to my favourite tunes!

On reflection, what do you plan on adding more of into your life? Or trying to eliminate completely? I’d be really interested to hear, so lets have a chat about this in the comments.

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