Instead of always trying to fix things, realise you deserve better.
Stop waiting for change. Make the change. Be the change.
You don’t need to FIX yourself. You are beautiful, loved and special just the way you are.
But you know something doesn’t feel right. Something is missing.
You blame your body.
You blame the food you eat.
You blame someone else for making you feel this way.
You blame the weather.
You blame a friend.
You blame the money.
You blame anyone or anything else for your feelings.
I used to do this. It was always someone else’s fault.
And then one day I woke up.
Well, it was more of a gradual awakening really.
I realised that I have complete and total responsibility for my own well-being. If I feel frustrated, sad, lonely, irritated, self-conscious, un-loved and un-special, then only I have the power to change that.
Every moment of every day, we have a choice.
And sometimes we’ll make the wrong choices – we are human after all.
I believe that even the wrong choices are the right ones because they give us a greater learning curve or send us on a journey to help us learn a specific lesson.
After all, we’ve all dated that guy we really shouldn’t have dated. We knew it wouldn’t work. We knew we’d get hurt. But we did it anyway.
And in dating the wrong guy it helped us reinforce exactly who the RIGHT guy is.
We’ve all done this with food too. Spent a whole holiday eating and drinking all the things we know our bodies can’t handle. But we’re ‘on holiday’, ‘life’s too short’, ‘everyone else does it so why shouldn’t I?’… Falling off the wagon can be a useful path too in learning exactly what does make our bodies feel really GOOD.
Remember that time you did that clean eating plan for a month? Remember how good you felt? Remember that time you had a personal trainer for six months and got the toned, fit body you dreamed of?
Take all those experiences and think about the times you felt REALLY GOOD in your life.
(And guess what? Some of those times when you were loving life may not have been your skinniest or when you were eating the ‘right’ food. It might have been when you just let go, embraced who you were and allowed experiences and love to take over!)
Grab some paper and a pen (or use your phone if you prefer) and write down:
1. The times in your life when you felt happiest. Include as much detail as possible. Where were you living, how old were you, what made you feel so happy/loved/special? What was your daily routine like? What kind of food did you eat? Did you do daily exercise? Were you learning a new skill? Who were you with? Try to bring the images to life with smells, colours, songs and words.
2. Now write down all the things that are good in your life NOW. Like a gratitude list if you like. All the things that make you happy and feel great.
3. What does your daily routine look like at the moment? Is that something that’s making you happy? Or is it causing you stress and fatigue? Write down all the good points of your daily routine; all the stuff you want to keep.
4. Now think about how you want to FEEL every day. Loved, nourished, special? Write a list of at least 10 words that describe how you wish to feel.
5. Next to each of those words, write down ways in which you can ensure that feeling happens every, single day. (Write in the present tense as if you’re already doing it)
E.g. I want to feel loved: I treat myself lovingly. I buy myself flowers. I wear my favourite colours. I wrap myself up in a warm blanket on the sofa. I spend time with my pets.
The final step is, of course, to take some action!
Ensure you treat yourself well every day so that you always feel loved/ special/ happy/ nourished/ appreciated …
Making a simple switch from a slice of toast and an instant coffee to making a fresh fruit smoothie or preparing a pretty oat bowl the night before will make so much difference to the start of your day.
Find the things that work for you, that fit in to your lifestyle/budget/family/values and that make you feel AMAZING!
Living, writing and creating in Jersey is a breath of fresh air.
From the rugged north coast to the palm trees of the south, the waves of the wild west to the glowing eastern sunrise, there’s something unique and special about every angle of our tiny island.
Our landscape is an endless source of inspiration for local creative artists, many of whom have successfully created products that are sought after worldwide for customers wanting to take a little of Jersey’s essence into their homes. Even if you’ve never heard of the island of Jersey, chances are you’ve tasted a Jersey Royal or can spot a Jersey cow!
When I first came to Jersey twenty years ago as a young personal trainer, nutrition consultant and massage therapist, I soon discovered a whole circle of incredible healers and practitioners whose magic hands were capable of transforming energy levels, health and well-being.
I intuitively felt safe, supported and inspired by their wealth of knowledge and experience and immersed myself in many kinds of treatments such as reflexology, chiropractic, cranio-sacral therapy and crystal healing.
Investing in our body’s health should really be a no-brainer.
Except we live in a world where obesity and chronic illness are prevalent in developed countries while malnutrition and preventable disease run rife in the third world. So, looking beyond diet, exercise and disease control, what else can we do to make our human bodies run more efficiently and enjoy happier lives?
Well, I believe that part of the secret lies here in Jersey.
Spending time being active outdoors in nature and breathing in our fresh, unpolluted air is one way to boost our health and spirit. However, there is one important thing that needs to be added here…
Too many of us simply take our island and our beautiful surroundings (and many other amazing things in our lives) for granted.
When was the last time you found yourself stuck in traffic along The Avenue? Probably fairly frequently if you’re a rush-hour commuter. But did you take the time to notice the millpond-like sea in St Aubin’s bay, to watch the palm trees fluttering gently in the breeze or to look up and see a flock of birds or a ‘kiss’ of aeroplane trails in the sky?
Simple pleasures – Noirmont point, overlooking Portelet Bay, Jersey
Being thankful for our island’s natural beauty is a prerequisite for a more joy-filled existence.
We will all experience problems, challenges and pain in our lives, but how we choose to react to those situations will be far more positive when we begin to live every day from a place of love, kindness and gratitude.
As a writer and creative entrepreneur based in Jersey, I’m grateful every day for the inspiration I find in our island and how that translates into beautiful words for my clients.
Whenever my creativity gets stuck or my energy feels stagnant, a short walk in nature, a trip to the sea or some time in the company of animals reawakens my passions and stimulates my creative juices.
Here are my top tips to living life from a place of gratitude:
Keep a gratitude diary. Write down at least three things you’re grateful for every day and how they make you feel. Need some inspiration? Read on…
Take a few moments every morning to look out of your bedroom window. Notice the trees and flowers, the clouds, the sky, the sunrise and the birds. Watch how the seasons change the colours and textures.
Close your eyes in the shower and feel the warmth of the water trickling over your body. Whilst appreciating the availability of running water, heating, fluffy towels and clean clothes, think about your big dreams or life goals. What would you like to achieve? Where would you love to travel to? What legacy would you like to leave behind? Thinking about these things daily and taking small action steps towards achieving them is far easier when the rest of your day is rooted in gratitude.
Do kind things for others. It doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture, but perhaps something as simple as cooking a meal for an elderly neighbour, bringing fresh fruit into work to support your colleague’s health goals, passing on a good book or donating unwanted clothes or household items to charity.
Spend more quality time with your children, family or friends without the distraction of smart phones. Listen to elderly relatives’ stories and pass on their wisdom and history to the younger generation.
Our island’s natural beauty and heritage is not a separate entity. It’s interwoven into every piece of creative artwork and lives on forever through each one of us.
A Love Note to Jersey – First published in The Jersey Life Magazine May 2018
I am soooo happy to see that yesterday’s blog about meal prepping without plastic packaging was such a big hit with my audience! It hit the same level as The True Cost of Fast Fashion and Busyness v. Stillness which tells me one AMAZING thing about you….
That you’re looking for ways to help the environment, you’re compassionate and you’re craving ways to find inner peace in a crazy, messed-up world.
And if you’re taking the time to read blogs like this (thank you so much from the bottom of my heart) then chances are, you’re looking for ways to take action!
This makes me feel an incredible wave of excitement and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart.
The more of us who are making small, daily changes really are the ones who will change the world; reversing climate change and environmental damage and balancing wealth between nations so no-one dies of starvation while others are throwing billions of tonnes of food away each year. (Because that’s the naked truth right now.)
I’ve been lucky enough to make changes slowly and gradually, which as we all know is generally the way to make new lifestyle habits stick.
But right now we don’t have that luxury.
Recent reports state we may have as little as twelve years to reverse some of the damage to our planet to allow nature to replenish and repopulate itself.
So, what can you do to be part of the change?
Read, listen, watch, learn. Research the facts, follow people across social media who are taking action, making a difference and sharing their knowledge and love with the world.
Learnt something new? Found a great article? Watched a good documentary? SHARE IT! It only takes a click or two on social media and instantly it falls into the laps of hundreds of people. Creating a ripple effect is easy.
Stop buying food produce wrapped in plastic. Sure, the avocados may not be as ripe, but once you get into the habit of doing it every few days, soon you’ll find a routine where you always have ripe avocados at home!
Ditto for pre-chopped vegetables and fruit in plastic. Yes, it’s a time saver but making time to prepare and cook your own meals from scratch will help you find that inner peace you’ve been craving. It teaches patience and allows us quiet time in the kitchen to reconnect to our food.
Think before you buy, anything! Clothes, shoes, technology, take-out food, toys, make-up and toiletries…. Stop and consider (a) if you really need this item, (b) if this item brings you joy and makes you feel really, truly happy on the inside (rather than simply keeping up with the Jones’s or following a trend), (c) how you might dispose of it (or its packaging) when you no longer have a use for it, and (d) by buying this item, are you taking away from another dream? I.e. by spending money here and now on this item, will it stop you achieving another goal (like buying a house, travelling, saving for retirement, fixing the house, seeing the dentist etc.).
Following on from the above point, is there a way you can buy or acquire a pre-loved version of this item? Clothes and household items are easily available second-hand and often will be more unique and save you money. (Win-win for achieving those financial dreams!)
Join in with a community project. We’re all passionate about different things and some will tug at your heart more than others. Follow your heart and make a difference in your community. Beach clean ups, cooking for a homeless charity, supporting a screening of a documentary about refugees, giving your time as a volunteer…. or even starting up your own local project or awareness campaign. The choices are endless. But stop sitting around talking about it and just do it!
When you take consistent action on these seven steps, then not only will you feel more contentment and peace in your life, but you’ll have helped others and you’ll know that, even when the results are not yet visible, you’ll have made more than a dent in planet Earth’s recovery.
If we all come together to make a difference, collectively we can make our grandchildren’s future a far more exciting prospect.
Today, I thought I’d share something a little different; an insight into my meal prep Sunday and food shopping over the past few days.
Now, I don’t meal prep EVERY Sunday,in fact, I’ve been pretty rubbish about planning in general lately which has led to rather too many simple meals of pasta in tomato sauce, or noodles with vegetables or yet another lentil curry. (Nothing wrong with lentil curry but it can get a bit monotonous!)
Now Jersey has not one but TWO package free / zero waste shops to enhance our sustainable lifestyle goals, I decided now was the time to put my money where my mouth is and buy ONLY package free (or recyclable/compostable materials) ingredients and cook or prepare meals and snacks in advance.
On Friday, I went out armed with my mesh food bags and canvas shoppers to our great new cooperative initiative – SCOOP – based at Vermont Farm in St Peter. They stock a selection of seasonal, organic vegetables plus a whole host of dried ingredients to scoop straight out into your own jars or containers. We came away with some beautiful cooking apples, a giant bag of dark green kale, cashew nuts, almonds, broccoli, toasted coconut and dried mango (which won’t last long in our house!). I also treated myself to a new bamboo toothbrush (ahem – I may have had my last one for over a year) and some Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. All excellent value for money and you can walk away with that sweet smile of smugness plastered across your face!
My daughter and I then headed off to one of our friendliest farm shops on the island, Lucas Bros on La Haule hill, St Aubin. Here you can get the most delicious fresh flat leafed parsley (I literally eat it by the handful) as well as beautiful locally grown lettuce, fresh tomatoes of all varieties, giant mushrooms and so much more. We stocked up on lots of our favourite ingredients -like avocados, cucumber and ripe bananas – and my daughter is always astonished by how cheap it is compared to buying the same items in packaging in the supermarket.
First stop on Saturday afternoon – a local health food store (Barannes) for raw, organic apple cider vinegar and almond butter. Both in glass jars – check!
Then I headed off to Mini Mall, a fantastic new shop in the centre of St Helier, Jersey, where you can take your own jars and stock up on all your dried goods, plus olive oil, teas, spices and more. Oh, and they stock the most delicious raw vegan and gluten free treats from Wild Health. I couldn’t make up my mind so came away with a mint-matcha-chocolate slice and a chocolate-raspberry torte. I’ve sliced each one into three pieces and frozen the leftovers to share with my teenage daughters. (But only if I don’t eat it all before they find out!) *cue evil laugh*
In Mini Mall I bought chia seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs, hazelnuts and organic ground cinnamon – yummy! It works out so much cheaper buying everything this way, plus, you’re helping to save the planet from unnecessary single use plastic and packaging. Win-win. They also have strong paper bags should you ever be passing by without your own jars.
Today (Sunday) I’ve been to Rondels’ farm shop in Trinity for more ripe bananas (did I mention they’re my favourite food?), frozen fruit, some other veggies – including a giant 2.5lb sweet potato – and more avocados. The only items that had to be in a plastic bag (because I’ve run out of containers – they seem to enter the void known as ‘school’ and never return…) were the frozen berries, but I reuse the bags as many times as possible for covering food in the fridge. (Note to self, buy more large Kilner jars.)
With all the shopping out of the way, I started my Sunday morning with 500ml water, a small glass of water with apple cider vinegar, then a freshly made apple and ginger shot which boosts immunity and warms you up on a cold day. This was followed by a giant blood-boosting juice of the organic kale and carrots from Scoop, fresh parsley, a little apple, fresh lemon juice and a giant raw beetroot. Dee-lish-uss!
Our main breakfast was a chocolate-oat smoothie bowl topped with toasted coconut, almond butterand cacao nibs – a nutrient rich start to the day.
Smoothie recipe: almonds, chia seeds, water, vanilla powder, ripe bananas, maca powder, ground flaxseed, cacao powder and medjool dates. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and whizz until smooth and creamy. I made a thick smoothie with less water than I would if I was going to drink it. Pour the smoothie over the oats (gluten free) and top with fruit and toppings of your choice.
Lunch: A fresh bowl of raw salad ingredients with stuffed vine leaves (bought from Waitrose in a tin = recyclable) and a home made tahini dip.
ThenI started with all the food prep for the week ahead.
I haven’t made a specific meal plan, but I have made a selection of individual ingredients that my daughter can use for school lunches and I can eat at home for lunch to save precious writing time.
(Note: While I’m completely plant-based, my daughters do eat some meat, fish and eggs, though primarily it’s when they’re out with friends or with their dad. However, on this occasion I bought some skinless chicken breasts – straight into my own glass container – from the friendly couple who run The Country Butcher at Rondel’s Farm Shop so that my eldest daughter has a little more protein in her school lunches. I rarely cook meat for my kids at all so this is a rare occurrence!)
Here’s what I’ve been busy making, chopping and cooking all afternoon (is it bedtime yet?!):
Apple compote (stewed apple) – a great addition to breakfast dishes, as an ingredient in healthy muffins or to use as apple crumble… yum! Peel and chop cooking apples straight into a saucepan. Add a little water (about half a cup for 3-4 small cooking apples), and your choice of spices. I added cloves, star anise, ground mixed spice and cardamon seeds. However, a dash of cinnamon works perfectly well if that’s all you have. I don’t tend to sweeten my cooking apples but feel free to add a little maple syrup or agave if desired.
Cacao energy balls – a perfect mid morning snack for busy teenagers or an after dinner treat if you have a sweet tooth. They’re also great as a post-workout snack alongside a ripe banana. In a food processor add gluten free oats, chia seeds, cashew nuts (or any nut of your choice), cacao nibs, ground flaxseed and cacao powder. Blitz until it’s a coarse consistency but not a powder. Add soaked medjool dates and coconut oil and blitz until it starts coming away from the sides and can be easily rolled into balls. Roll the mixture into balls and store in the fridge or freezer in a container. I made about 15 balls which should keep us going for a few days!
Brown rice and bulgur wheat – staples for a plant-based diet, I made these in bulk and separated into portion sizes so that my 17 year old can easily put together her own lunches (dream on, mummy!). Cook until al dente, then rinse in cold water, drain and store in the fridge immediately. *Note, bulgur wheat is not gluten free.
Sweet ’n’ spicy roasted sweet potato cubes – another family favourite, I roasted peeled, cubed sweet potato in a little olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika, turmeric, chilli flakes and cinnamon. Once cooked, allow to cool and store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Roasted pumpkin and courgette – the last of the Halloween pumpkin has now been cooked!! I peeled and cubed the pumpkin and chopped the courgette into chunks and popped them in a roasting dish together with sea salt, black pepper and a tiny bit of olive oil. Again, once cooked, allow to cool and store in the fridge in a sealed container.
Dehydrated pineapple slices – Am I the only one who buys pineapples with good intentions and then watches them slowly become overripe…?!! This one needed eating asap so I peeled, sliced finely and dehydrated in the oven on about 50 degrees celsius for a few hours. (While I was cooking the roasted vegetables I sat these in the top oven which gets slightly warm from the main oven anyway. Then I returned them to the lower heat once the oven had cooled down.) I never manage to make these as dry as the ones in the shops but they’re so yummy (and so small) that they generally last all of about 4 minutes anyway….
Chopped red bell peppers and organic carrots – washed, sliced and ready to use in salads or as a snack.
Soaked almonds – soaking in water ready for tomorrow morning’s almond milk (because I’m trying not to buy cartons of milk anymore as they’re not recyclable …)
Plus, for those of you not yet on a plant-based or vegan diet, you probably need time to transition. So here’s what I did with the chicken and eggs… (and I’m not even going to crack a joke… *groan*)
I roasted the chicken breasts in turmeric, sea salt and black pepper, then sliced into lunchbox chunks and popped half in the freezer and half in the fridge in a large Kilner jar. I hard-boiled two of the eggs and saved the others for omelette or cakes. (Just for the kids…) If you want more meal-prep inspiration for meat and fish based dishes, just search on YouTube as there are soooo many vloggers and fitness experts who share their tasty, healthy recipes.
Hopefully you’re exhausted (but inspired) just by reading this… and I’m now off for a long soak in the bath with candles!
I’ll leave you with a couple of questions to get you on track with meal prep and planning.
How could you be more organised this week and plan ahead to give yourself more time?
What meals or snacks could you prepare in advance? Even making a slow cooker casserole is a great way to free up the early evening when everyone is tired and hungry after a busy day.
Have you got any local sustainable shops near you? If you’re not sure, your challenge this week is to do some research.
If you live in Jersey, do pop in to the shops I’ve named above and tell them they were featured in a local blog. They’ll be really happy! Or share your photos on Instagram and tag me @lorrainepannetiercreative or @bowlsofsoul. I’d love to see your take on meal prep.
Have a wonderful, slow, relaxing Sunday evening,
Cacao energy balls sprinkled with toasted coconut… just because 😉
I know you had dreams, desires, goals. Maybe even just a knowing feeling that somewhere in life there would be more than this. But, at some point you gave up. You settled for less than you deserved. Less than you were meant to be. Less than you dreamed of.
Why did you do that?
Because the fight got too hard. It was easier to live a quiet, simple life. It was easier to stay in the job you hated. It was easier to let the kids eat oven-ready dinners. It was easier to just throw on the same jumper and jeans. It was easier to go for the natural look. It was easier to live with someone who made you feel rubbish than to put yourself back in the dating pool. It was easier to keep driving the old car that kept breaking down. It was easier to rely on your husband for money. It was easier to book the family holiday to the same place every year where the kids would be safe and entertained.
But what happened when you stopped fighting and just lived the easy life?
You resented the job you were in. Your kids didn’t thrive as much as they might have on home cooked, real food. You felt frumpy and plain and maybe invisible too. Your self-esteem took a nose dive. You didn’t trade in the car for a more reliable one. You didn’t have any need to take a risk. You didn’t travel to places that really lit up your heart.
Did that feel good?
I’m guessing not. While you were in that phase (or maybe still are) you switched off your dreams and goals buttons and forgot all about them. At least, you thought you had. But deep inside there was always this gnawing feeling that you weren’t quite in the right place or living the life that was right for you. Sometimes these feelings disappeared for months at a time. Maybe you embraced a new partner, a new baby, a new house, a new job, wonderful friends, dieting breakthroughs and fabulous new clothes. It wasn’t all bad. Hey, from the outside your life even looked great.
But then, out of the blue came one of those lightbulb moments. A realisation. A feeling. A sensation.
You began to feel fired up; that warmth in your belly and tingly pins and needles down your limbs. Your mind raced as you pieced together a few more parts of the puzzle. Yes! I can do this! This is for me! Why didn’t I see it before? And then, like a shooting star that fizzles before your eyes, the fears are back and your dreams are lost.
You pick yourself up and fall back again.
And again. And again. But just like a baby learning to walk, you have to keep trying. You really do. If you don’t try to live the life of your dreams someone else will. Someone else will be there, shining bright, on your podium. It’s your step. It may be a big one, but you have to climb it and stand on top and take your rightful place in the world.
Because, as a wise person once said, you were born for greatness. You were born to shine brightly. You were born to be you.
Don’t ever let anyone else tell you you can’t do something.
You can achieve anything you put your mind to. What would really make you happy? What makes your light shine brightly inside? What lights your soul and brings about that sparkle that others notice in you?
We make the mistake of believing dreams and goals have to be BIG with expensive material items; flashy cars, big houses, jewellery, clothes, a jet set lifestyle. But really, what lights you up might be something relatively small: spending your evenings knitting and creating gorgeous baby shawls, looking after your animals at home or spending an hour interruption-free with your children every evening working on their homework and inspiring them to take up extra learning in non-academic areas, in things that light up their little souls.
If this is you, somewhere between rock bottom and totally motivated but not sure where to start, then take a tip from all the amazing entrepreneurs out there who are making it big, succeeding in their personal and business goals and living their dream life – and not being ashamed to hide how fabulous that looks.
Prioritise self-care – Whether it’s regular beauty appointments or simply exercising, taking a shower and popping on some make up, just do the stuff that makes you feel good. The things that make you feel feminine and ready to kick some ass.
Start every morning with journaling and gratitude. Write down the things you are grateful for. The things that light up your life. The things you love about yourself. The things (or people) you’re proud of. (Note: include yourself in the ‘proud of’ category!)
Create a vision and set goals. Make a vision board, use Pinterest, change your laptop screen saver, stick a picture to the fridge door…. Keep your goal visual and in your space every single day.
Don’t be afraid to go left when others go right; to NOT be a sheep. Follow yourdreams, your goals, your beliefs and your values. If you want to set up your own business, homeschool or your kids, stop drinking alcohol or travel the world for a year, find a way to make it happen regardless of what everyone around you might say or how society makes you feel.
Take action. While the Law of Attraction is a powerful force, you still have to take consistent action to achieve your goals and your dream life. After all, if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket! Make the time to do your research, learning, networking, saving money or whatever it is that you need to do to get that little bit closer every single day.
If you could go to bed every night knowing you were closer than you were yesterday, wouldn’t that feel amazing?
If you enjoyed reading this blog you might like this one….
It’s a true fact that we’ve all got too much stuff!
We have too much stuff in our homes that we’re constantly moving around from room to room, from small box to big box, from one pile to another.
We have too much stuff in our minds that leaves us feeling overwhelmed, drained and unable to think clearly or truly relax.
We have too many tabs open on our laptops, too many unopened emails and constant digital overload.
It’s time we stopped collecting, consuming and drowning in possessions.
It’s time to make our lives more simple, more rewarding and more healthy – for our own well-being and for the health of our planet.
Here are 5 easy steps to bringing more ease and flow to your life …
Step 1 – Decide how you want your life to look.
I realised many years ago that I didn’t want to spend every evening sat watching television. I needed to find activities that stimulated my mind and my creativity. I slowly replaced my previous TV favourites with a combination of learning new skills (tech stuff, graphic design, an Open University degree, courses in sales, money mindset and more…) and eventually sold the television set! (You don’t have to be that extreme, but it worked for me!) Looking back, all I did was to swap the things I didn’t want in my life for the things that made me happy. Now I get to spend all my time doing the things I love and in turn, I’ve been able to create a business that helps other people and together, we’re part of a ripple effect that’s slowly changing the world. What could your life look like if you made simple changes every day?
Step 2 – Declutter your home
Whenever we think of decluttering, we tend to visualise a garage or wardrobe filled with junk and objects we’d long forgotten about and we feel a sudden sense of dread about the enormity of the job. Which is probably why we put it off for so many months (or even years) and why DIY shops sell so many storage boxes! But there’s so much more to the decluttering process than simply reorganising possessions into neatly labelled boxes. There’s a lovely little book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo which shows us how to sort our belongings by type instead of by area. (E.g. clothes, books, stationery and paper items). Kondo believes we should hold each item and ask ourselves whether it brings us joy. Of course, there are some essential exceptions to this, but on the whole, we should be surrounded by possessions that we love or that make us happy or our lives easier in some way. When we reduce the amount of clutter around us we feel a sense of lightness and renewed energy. This is particularly true of the things we notice every day, like the clothes piled up on the exercise bike in the spare room, the kitchen cupboard that is so fill something falls out and smashes or makes a mess every time we open it, the boxes in the corner of the bedroom that were meant to be sorted when you moved in … a year ago.
Step 3 – Digital declutter and detox
If you run your own business you’ll know what I mean about having multiple tabs and documents open all the time, endless pings of notifications and an inbox with unread emails in their thousands. Even if you’re not a business owner, chances are a lot of your world now revolves around technology – everything from controlling your heating to planning your holiday, reading a book or keeping in touch with friends. It’s healthy to schedule plenty of time away from your devices as it will bring you better sleep, a calmer mind and better posture. Check your emails just once or twice a day instead of responding to every notification; ditto for Facebook and other social media. Have a strict no-phones rule at the dinner table and try to charge your devices away from the bedroom. Once you remove the temptation you’ll soon realise how much you don’t need to grab your phone the minute you wake up!
Step 4 – Think about food waste
So while we’re busy over-consuming on a daily basis, we often fail to consider the amount of food that gets wasted every year in our homes. From food scraps leftover when we’re full up (because we cooked too much) to bendy carrots and mouldy lemons or packets of unused dried food or spices that’s sat at the back of the cupboard for years! There’s a healthy balance somewhere in between being overstocked and understocked. No-one wants bare cupboards, but equally, having a fridge and freezer so overstuffed is often a recipe for stress and the quickest way to get a family ordering a take-away because the cooking choices are overwhelming. Plan your meals ahead of time and take a shopping list to the supermarket to ensure you’re not buying stuff you don’t need. Also, run a quick audit of your fridge before you go out so you don’t double up on items that perish quickly. Use up slightly-past-their-best produce in dishes such as curry, casserole or pasta sauces.
Step 5 – Gratitude
In fact, this really should be step one because we’re all guilty of forgetting how much we value the simple things in life. Starting now, write a short gratitude note every day to allow yourself time to reflect on what’s really important in your life and the things that light you up. You may choose to start a gratitude journal, write little notes and fold them in a jar or perhaps you want to share them with the world on an Instagram page. It doesn’t matter how or where you write them, what matters is the intention behind every word. The more you approach life from a place of gratitude, the more you’ll realise that you don’t need things to make you happy.
It’s taken me a really long time to realise that the answers were inside of me all along.
But I played small.
I didn’t shout about all the gifts I could offer the world.
I wrapped up my self-worth in qualifications, relationships and (if I’m honest) my kids.
I always knew that I had knowledge that would benefit others but it would frustrate me when they wouldn’t buy my stuff.
Of course, many people did work with me, how else would I have remained in business for so many years….
But they didn’t flock to me in their hundreds.
They didn’t throw their credit cards at me.
They didn’t flow to me with ease.
Because I made it easy for them not to!
I discounted my offers before they’d even asked the price.
I posted adverts in FB just once or twice, not consistently.
I threw money at FB post boosting without any clue what I was doing (actually FB ads is still on my to-do list to learn properly!)
And….I was living a life of struggle.
Not enough money to pay bills in full and on time.
Not enough money for holidays, meals out, new clothes and shoes.
Not enough money to eat an abundance of healthy food, nor supplements to help my health issues.
In fact, my nutrition business became about helping people to eat on a very small budget.
I was doing the very opposite of EXPANDING.
I was shrinking.
And it had to stop.
Ironically, I’d been doing all the ‘right’ things for years.
Positive mindset, learning about money blocks, staying away from energy vampires…
But it wasn’t enough.
I had to look INSIDE ME.
Angel cards and moon rituals helped me to RECONNECT to me. To the spirit deep inside me that had been crying to get out for so long.
I talked to her. I cried. I journalled. I had lightbulb moments.
And then I had a dream…
A dream that confirmed what the angel cards had been telling me repeatedly:
‘Your life purpose involves reading, editing, writing or selling spiritual books.’
There it was.
I’d spent 21 years writing all my own content for my nutrition and fitness business. 21 years of being published in magazines, speaking on the radio, running a local magazine, writing nutrition programmes, creating recipe e-books and, of course, typing thousands of words every week across social media platforms.
I knew how to write! I even had qualifications in English language, literature and creative writing.
I loved to write…. even engaging with other people’s posts I’d always write the longest responses (sometimes more is more, honest!).
So why was I holding back? Why wasn’t I using these skills to help others? What could I offer the world? How could I best serve my purpose?
Suddenly everything became clear. The kind of clarity that makes you wonder how you could ever have NOT seen this before!
And of course, once you SEE, you cannot un-see.
The Soulful Word was born.
No more procrastinating and playing small.
No more keeping my talents hidden from the world.
No more struggle and scarcity.
It was time to help other women shine brilliantly by helping them get their passion, mission and dreams into words so they could share their gifts with the world and create the impact they longed for.
In helping others, I shine brighter myself.
So, if you’re struggling, ask yourself ‘how can I best serve?’
Then listen carefully to what your inner feminine wisdom tells you.
Don’t shut her out.
Don’t block her voice any longer.
She wants to be heard.
Then take those words, combine them with your natural, intuitive gifts (and all those qualifications and courses you’ve taken over the years) and share your amazing energy with the world.
Stand up proud.
Look everyone in the eye.
And shout from the rooftops with love and integrity.
Every day we see images of war torn countries, extreme weather conditions and the visible impact of human destruction: oceans filled with plastic, rainforests stripped bare and animals hunted to the point of extinction.
Just as the damage to our planet runs deep, so do the wounds that break our hearts.
If you’re a compassionate human being or an empath with heightened sensitivities, you’ve probably reached the point where you know that you have to do something to make a change; that you can no longer simply sit back and let someone else sort everything out.
It’s these small changes that help us to move forward and, collectively, will really make a difference.
So, at a time when you may well be choosing to buy less plastic packaging, opt for secondhand clothes and furniture or switch to natural toiletries and cleaning products, I want to ask you to stop for a moment and take a breath.
A deep, slow breath in…. and out.
Then ask yourself this question…
What makes me feel really good inside?
The things that make us feel good stem from the choices we make that are aligned to, or in tune with, our core values. The things that make us feel bad, icky or angry are usually the things that are the polar opposites to our values (or trigger a reaction to make us take a moment of self-reflection).
In the same way as our planet has come so far from the natural, unspoilt world it was just a few hundred years ago, we too veer off course and find ourselves living a life that sometimes feels a bit wrong.
It may look like a perfectly happy, normal life to others, but on the inside we aren’t feeling fulfilled.
And frequently we feel guilty for not feeling fulfilled when clearly we have so much more than others – like a roof over our heads, a healthy bank balance, happy children and a regular, well paid job.
The same can be true in business. We may have left the security of a corporate role to set up our own small business from home and yet it isn’t paying off with the freedom and joy we expected.
Or perhaps our business is thriving but we feel like it isn’t making us truly happy; like it’s gone off track and become something we had never expected.
In both life and business, we can easily end up living a life that pleases other people (or our customers) and forget about what really lights us up. What makes us feel good inside?
The secret to living your truth in both life and business, is to always come back to your inner truth and core values.
Think about what really lights you up – the things that give you a giant warm, fuzzy heart or butterflies in your stomach – and then do more of that!
Every time things start to feel difficult, perhaps with money problems, arguments with loved ones or frequent illness, take an honest look at what’s been going on in your life and how you may have strayed from your true path and values.
It’s not a bad thing to veer off course, if anything it can actually be helpful in giving us clarity around the things that really matter. It’s the same with following a healthy eating plan – you don’t realise how much your previous unhealthy diet was making you sick until you slip off track and resume your old habits. Each time you revert to the fresh, whole food, healthy diet you feel great again.
Time and time again we repeat this pattern and each time our commitment grows stronger.
If you feel like your business, personal life, relationships or health have gone off track, take some time today to consider what really matters to you and how you will take action to get back on course to living a life aligned to your inner truth.
The theme of FREEDOM has come up so many times for me recently that I’m taking it as a nudge from the Universe to write about it today!
In the online business space we hear (or read) the word freedom a lot…
Freedom from financial stress.
Freedom from insecurities and fears.
Freedom from feeling stuck with no clients.
Freedom from tech gremlins.
Freedom from the corporate lifestyle.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling a desire to break free from the consumerism culture that dominates our modern world.
Perhaps you’re thinking about how you can celebrate Christmas without the endless amounts of plastic packaging and buying presents just because you feel you should.
Or maybe you’re trying to step away from negativity and toxicity to give you the space and freedom needed to connect with more people who hold the same values as you in terms of authenticity, integrity, honesty, love and compassion.
So what does freedom mean to you in your life?
On Instagram, the hashtag #freedomlifestyle has over 145,000 posts but is dwarfed by #laptoplifestyle with 1.2 million posts! A sure sign that more and more people are looking for an existence with meaning; a lifestyle that allows them more time to do the things they are passionate about and less time simply working to pay the bills.
Do you feel you have enough freedom in your life?
Time to grab a notepad and allow your thoughts to spill out onto paper…
Do you have time freedom to do all the activities, sports, hobbies and courses you’d love to do?
Do you have financial freedom to live the lifestyle you desire, or to travel on wild adventures?
Do you have health freedom to live every day to the full, free from pain or illness?
Do you have voice freedom to speak up and share your truth or stand up for what you believe in?
Do you have spiritual freedom to just be yourself; to be comfortable in your own skin and shine brilliantly as who you really are?
Are there any areas where you feel you don’t have the freedom you desire?
If so, what could you change?
How could you make today different?
Remember, you are the only one with the power to change your life. External events may test us or take us to deep, dark places, but ultimately, you are the only one who can shift your mindset and live the life that makes you truly contented and filled with joy.
I’d love to hear what freedom means to you.
Do hit reply and share your thoughts, I personally respond to every email I receive.
‘It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty.’
How resilient are you?
Do you crumble at the first sign of difficulty, or do you dig deep, stand strong and tap into every ounce of wisdom, strength and courage?
The art of resilience grows from looking at situations from a different perspective. Resilient people will reflect on the problem and what it’s trying to teach them.
Instead of simply wishing to get through the tough times, they actively find ways to thrive.
Today, I have a question for you…
Rather than wait for the next challenge to appear in your life, why not work on building resilience now?
Just as you wouldn’t start a 500 mile car journey without checking your car was working properly, filling up with fuel and ensuring you had all the supplies you needed en route, why would you go through life, relationships or running your own business without gaining all the essential tools required to enhance your inner strength and capabilities?
5 Top Tips for Building Resilience
Live each day with gratitude. It’s a well known fact that happy people are healthier. But what makes people happy in the first place? Rather than being ‘made’ happy by external events, happy people start with a positive mindset; they understand that happiness truly does come from within. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, start by writing a short gratitude list every day. Every morning when you wake, or every evening before bed, write down three things you feel grateful for. Start small with obvious things if you struggle: children, pets, a secure home, and build up to including small things that happened in your life, or opportunities that arose that gave you a warm, fuzzy heart. When you recognise that you’re noticing (and feeling thankful for) the small things every day, that’s when you’re truly living with an attitude of gratitude.
Extend your learning. Education and learning should not be confined to our school and college years. The most resilient people understand that learning is for life – whether that’s in the form of qualifications and training or simply the personal growth that comes from falling down and getting back up again; for feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Learning new skills that develop emotional intelligence enhance our sense of empowerment, inner strength and courage.
Play and have fun! Playing just for the fun of it isn’t limited to childhood. Breaking out of our daily routine to play simple games or have a little creative fun boosts our physical health and mental wellbeing. Add in some regular laughter and joy with friends, family or community and you have a recipe for resilience success.
Build relationships through kindness. Acting from a place of compassion, thoughtfulness and warmth is the best way to build strong, nourishing relationships. Step away from expecting anything in return and instead give your time, love and energy to others selflessly. It’s not about being a martyr or a doormat, it’s about being the best version of you. Be kind, come from a place of love and integrity and build your own web of supportive relationships and connections.
Boost your physical health. In addition to building emotional health as mentioned above, it’s important we keep our physical health in good condition. Having a strong body boosts our physical recovery through times of illness and stress. When we fail to look after our physical body, we may find that we keep getting knocked down again and again after every setback. Start by getting regular physical exercise – including cardiovascular activity and strength training – as well as plenty of time in fresh air and nature to boost overall wellbeing. Relaxation and sleep are essential too, so do schedule plenty of time for self-care. Adding meditation and yoga to your life will also enhance your physical and emotional health.
Are you building resilience on a daily basis?
If not, what can you do today to boost your inner strength?