Living your Truth in Life and Business

Our planet is in a mess, and so are we.

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.

It hurts.

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.

Lorraine xx

If you enjoy this blog, you might like my recent article:  How to Slow Down and Align to your Inner Truth

What does Freedom mean to you?

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.

Lorraine xx

 

Like this blog? You might also love Busyness v. Stillness

The Art of Resilience

‘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?

Lorraine xx

Messages from the Wind

When was the last time you noticed the breeze on your skin? Or the last time you stood by the sea on a stormy day and felt the droplets of salty water shower your body? Or the last time you were in a forest as the wind whistled through the trees?

It’s a strange phenomenon that despite living on a planet controlled by the forces of nature, so many people are totally disconnected from the world around them.

Instead of tuning into the cycles of the moon, the seasons or the rising sun, we tune into the blue screens of smart phones, the artificial stimulation of caffeine or sugar and jump straight from home to car to office without a passing nod to nature.

Of course, many of you reading this blog will not feel this way. Like me, you probably notice the colours of the sunrise, the formation of clouds in the sky, the fresh pink petals of spring blossom and the light of the full moon shining on the sea.

But there are times for all of us when life simply gets too chaotic, overwhelming or stressful and we revert to the pattern of the modern day human. We stop eating mindfully and choose less healthy foods, we get snappy and irritable with friends and family or we retreat inwards to our televisions or phone apps and lose connection to the natural world.

However you’re feeling today, whether it’s connected to nature or stuck in your own deep, dark hole, or maybe somewhere in between, take a few moments to stand outside and feel the wind or the breeze on your face.

What does the wind look like? Are the clouds rushing past or are the trees or flowers completely still? Are birds floating effortlessly in the sky or struggling to take off? Are the waves of the sea lapping up against the sea wall or is the ocean flat and shiny?

Now close your eyes and allow your other senses to take over.

How does the wind feel? Does it lightly tickle your skin or is it howling past your ears?

How does the wind sound? Is there a roaring, crashing ocean nearby or is there a serene stillness?

Stick out your tongue… how does the wind taste?

Take a few deep breaths and try to smell the wind. Is there a fresh salty sea air smell? Or an earthy smell from the forest?

Now open your eyes and have a walk around. What message is the wind bringing you today?

Perhaps ask the wind directly: ‘What message do you have for me?’

Take a mental (or written) note of the words or feelings that come up for you and come back to them throughout the day.

The messages, words, thoughts or feelings you received from the wind are simply a way to tune into your inner voice. They’re messages from your soul that you can use to shape your direction, your choices and your lifestyle.

What messages did you receive today?

Lorraine xx

Why Creativity is the Key to Saving Our Planet

When you were a child, did you used to enjoy making things just for the fun of it?

Did you find yourself lost in time building Lego houses, drawing pictures or creating collages with random scraps of material, buttons and ribbon? Perhaps you used to knit, crochet or sew, collect flowers for your flower press or make geometric patterns with a Spirograph?

Wasn’t it relaxing to just sit and make stuff?

And then…. we grew up. Our studies got serious, our jobs and social lives took hold and then we settled down with a mortgage, a puppy and a couple of children. Or at least some variation of that!

Suddenly we had no time or inclination to sit and create. The only time we read a whole book from front to back was on holiday by the pool. And then technology came along and swiped even more of our time away with videos and games we never even knew we needed.

Our whole lives became about consuming rather than creating.

We found ourselves on a treadmill of constant consumption. And it drained our energy, our life force, our innovation and our creativity.

In some strange way it’s as if we needed to get to this point today; a world in which Black Friday shopping madness, ocean plastic garbage patches and the highest rates of obesity and depression ever recorded are the norm.

It’s time for us to wake up and realise that we all carry the light within; the light that will save us and our planet from darkness.

“It’s only one straw. Said 8 billion people.”

Together, we are the catalyst for change.

United, we are the ripple effect.

Change begins inside you. It starts small. One less cheap t-shirt, one less plastic bottle, one less car on the road.

But just as most people fail in food diets because they focus on what’s being removed from their lives – the things they’re no longer ‘allowed’ – it’s important that we switch our mindsets away from scarcity and lack. Instead, we must focus on abundance, ease and flow.

And the easiest way to switch your mindset is by starting with gratitude.

Feeling grateful for all the small things naturally steers you away from over-consuming – in any form.

And once you stop consuming so much, you re-awaken your creativity.

You’re drawn to pottering in the garden, buying a set of paints or dusting off the old camera.

You feel an urge to declutter your wardrobe, take up hiking or start a vegan diet.

You’re inclined to spend time outdoors with your children or joining them in art and craft fun.

What have you felt drawn to?

I’ve noticed a big shift in our consciousness since 2012 – although I wasn’t aware of what was happening at the time. So many people I meet in person and through the online space have been on a journey of awakening. We’ve quit corporate jobs, taken our children out of mainstream schools, started our own businesses and begun a path of creativity and innovation. We’ve not been afraid to step out and show our unique gifts, talents and lifestyles to the world.

Perhaps you feel like you’ve been riding the same wave too?

It’s a wave of love, honesty, integrity and authenticity.

It’s a wave of connection, community, collaboration and compassion.

It’s a wave of self-awareness, reflection, personal growth and alignment.

I may not be a surfer chick, or even a water baby, but I’m riding this wave all the way!

I’m actively swapping my consumption for creation. I’ve got out the sewing machine, I’m digging out the knitting needles and I’m keen to try making a macrame wall hanging. (My godmother once taught me macrame knotting with the cords attached to her spiral staircase back in the late 1970s – how hard could it be now?!)

I feel a deep desire to create, from a place of love and meaning, every single day and I’d love to know if you feel the same?

Lorraine xx

If you’d like to read more about this subject you might like my recent blogs: The True Cost of Fast Fashion or Greed, Consumerism and the Era of Change

New Moon Wishes, Intentions and Goals

When the new moon comes round every month, it’s the perfect time to tune into your wishes and desires, set goals and intentions and then sit back and watch the Universe use its magic.

You might think that manifesting on a moon phase is a load of spiritual woo-woo, but if you’ve never tried, you might just be surprised to see what happens when you align your actions with the cyclic power of nature.

I always knew that I had more late night energy and a bigger appetite around the full moon, but I’d never even contemplated why that might be. Until a few years ago when I started following people online who used oracle (or tarot) cards and talked about the influence of the moon. I was hooked!

I started reading more spiritual books and began to use the oracle cards myself. Before long I was writing new moon wish lists and burning them in the fireplace with my cat always by my side, curiously watching the flames.

It wasn’t long before I realised the dreams and intentions I was setting were coming true. Of course, you can’t simply wish to win the lottery or have a brand new Mercedes, and you can’t make wishes to change other people or attract them to you if the universe has other ideas. But you can (and should) wish for a feeling…

Your wishes must always start with you. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel?

If you’re craving a new lover, then think about how you want to feel in a new relationship. What qualities and values will you bring to the relationship and how will your new partner’s traits work in synergy with yours? What do you want this relationship to look like and how will that make you feel? So, for example, instead of wishing for that hot guy in the coffee shop, wish for a man with whom you feel safe, loved, special and sensual. See the difference?

Before you make your wishes spend some time relaxing, listen to an online guided meditation and light a candle. (There are more advanced New Moon manifestation rituals available online should you want to take it to the next level. Links at the bottom of the blog.)

When you’re ready to start writing, start with a gratitude list. Tuning into gratitude was a complete life changer for me. I was able to shift my mindset away from scarcity and lack and into abundance and flow. It’s a proven fact that people who think more positively generally tend to be happier and more content with life. If you find it hard to think of anything you’re grateful for, start with the obvious things: a roof over your head, heating, hot water, electricity, wifi, food in the cupboards, money in your purse, family, friends, a job… Then each time you write a gratitude list (which you can do every day if you wish, not just on a new moon) get a little more specific. Think about why you’re grateful for those things. Add in little things that happened that day or the previous day: ‘I’m so grateful for the daisies my daughter picked from the garden yesterday. As she handed them to me my heart filled with love and fuzziness.’

After you’ve written all your wishes and a gratitude list, you can either burn the list (to send the wishes up to the universe and release attachment to them), or simply keep them in a journal to refer back to months later. The most important part is to release any expectations and not constantly ask the Universe ‘where’s my wish?’!

Wish, then let it go. Just like you might on your birthday candles or a dandelion clock in summer.

Living with the rhythms of nature and the moon phases will allow you to feel more in tune with your own body; more aligned to your inner voice and true desires.

It’s time to stop living the life that society thinks you should live, and start living for you.

New Moon blessings,

Lorraine xx

 

My favourite New Moon resources:

Yasmin Boland’s Moonology – I refer to sections of her beautiful book every two weeks, but you can find daily updates here at moonology.com.

Brittney Carmichael – Brittney was one of my first online spiritual go-to gurus and I love her attitude to life and manifestation and all things woo-woo! Read her New Moon in Scorpio blog here.

Leah Cherry Kent – Leah is a beautiful, soft, kind, spiritual soul who is the perfect fit for women wanting more sacred femininity and reflection in their lives. Leah and I met through the online space and I love her Intuitive Moon Rituals Guidebook, it’s simply stunning!

Stop eating (and buying) so much!

If constantly consuming social media reduces our creativity, then does constantly consuming food reduce our ability to tune into our own bodies and understand what we really need?

Marketing and advertising have incredible power in our modern world. The images we see every day on advertisements seep into our minds so that when we’re ready to buy, certain brands or products are our first choice. Advertising (and culture) drives our purchasing habits. When you throw in a little perceived obsolescence, suddenly we’re buying, consuming and eating 24/7. For the younger generation, that’s all they’ve ever known.

We’re so used to having the ability to eat at any time of day or night – thanks mainly to fridges and freezers – that the idea of not eating for a few hours draws many people into stockpiling food ‘just in case’.

But do we really need to consume as much food as we’re led to believe?

You and I both know the answer to that one, yet we continue consuming.

While I was writing some notes for this blog, the word GREED kept popping into my head and spilling out onto paper.

Greed can be defined as an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food; a desire to possess more than one needs.

What images does greed bring up for you?

I think back to the times I’ve watched people in buffet restaurants pile up their plates with mountains of food and stuff their faces. It made me feel sick so many times but it’s only now I realise that it wasn’t actually about the food or some strange phobia of watching people eat.

The nausea I felt was a nudge from the universe to keep me heading in this direction; a sign that I was following the right path.

It’s a journey that has brought me to this place, today, in an era of consumerism and massive environmental issues, so that I can share my knowledge and experiences with others and play a small part in creating change.

In hindsight, it’s no surprise that I was drawn to vegetarianism in my early teens and that I’ve since stopped eating meat, dairy, processed foods, gluten, refined sugar and alcohol. It’s a lifestyle of physical, emotional and spiritual health that awakens my soul with every breath.

If you feel you’re ready to jump off the consumerism train and live a lifestyle that will benefit your personal health and the future of our planet, here are some simple steps to begin incorporating into your life:

  • Practice moderation and self-restraint. Before you buy (or eat) anything, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this? Will this benefit my life in some way? How will I dispose of the packaging or the product after use?’
  • Reduce your consumption of meat. There is plenty of scientific research that can show you how processed meats play a part in cancer. Plus, in terms of environmental effects, every kilo of beef produced requires over 15,000 litres of water compared to 1600 litres for 1kg of cereals and just over 300 litres for 1kg vegetables. We could eradicate mass starvation and water shortage simply by producing less meat and growing more plant-based produce (and sharing it more equally).
  • Reduce your consumption of dairy produce. Casein, the main protein in milk, has been linked to cancer. The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell is a great book to read to educate yourself about meat, dairy and plant-based diets. In addition to the worrying aspect of disease, there’s a compassionate element to reducing your dairy intake. Millions of male baby calves are taken from their mothers at just a few hours old and slaughtered. The reason? To keep the cow producing milk. These calves are born and bred with the sole purpose of keeping mum constantly lactating to fuel the modern world’s desire for milk, cheese and cheap chocolate. I wish I’d had access to this knowledge thirty years ago as I know I would have bypassed the whole vegetarian part of my life and switched straight to a vegan diet. Plus, there are so many dairy-free alternatives now. I remember a time when soy milk tasted pretty bad and soy yogurts were packed with sugar and had a strange consistency. Now you can even get vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – what’s not to love?!
  • Learn to cook. Seriously. Stop using the ‘I can’t cook’ or ‘I don’t have time’ excuses! Get in the kitchen and learn how to peel and chop vegetables. Learn how to soak and cook beans and lentils. Learn how to create incredible salad dressings and vibrant pasta sauces. Learn how to make sweet treats with oats, dates and cacao powder to reduce your need for processed cookies and cakes. Get a recipe book, sign up for a course, join an online group – just do something every day to boost your skills. Plus, being able to put a meal together with basic plant-based ingredients will boost your health and your bank balance!
  • Eat mindfully and share food with others. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, eat dinner with family or friends and share stories over dinner. Have a glass of water with your meals instead of fizzy drinks or alcohol. (Pure, fresh pressed fruit or vegetable juice is great too, especially if you have low iron levels or are under eighteen.) Chew your food well and put down your cutlery between every few mouthfuls. Who else remembers their grandma saying you should ‘chew your food twenty times’? She was probably right….

I’d love to know where are you on your food journey right now…

Does greed make your stomach flip?

Does consumerism make you want to put your credit card away and go for a walk in nature instead?

Are you ready to step sideways and forge your own path ahead?

Get in touch and let me know!

Lorraine xx

The True Cost of Fast Fashion

For Shima and Nadia,

Last night, armed with a bowl of homemade pumpkin and sweet potato curry, a warm blanket and my fluffy house bunny hopping around, I sat down to watch The True Cost documentary by Andrew Morgan about fast fashion and its effects on the environment and human suffering.

Having seen the trailer beforehand, I knew it was going to be difficult viewing in places, but I hadn’t anticipated being so touched by one particular story: the life of a young woman named Shima and her daughter Nadia.

If our world has got to the point where a 23 year old woman in Bangladesh has to give up her daughter just so we can have cheap clothing, then something has gone seriously wrong.

And I, for one, don’t want to be part of the problem.

In the west, we have choices and a voice. Not everyone is so lucky.

Have you ever been to your boss to ask for a pay rise? If so, you were probably asked a few questions about why you thought you should be paid more and then went on to negotiate the exact sum. Worse case scenario, your boss would have said ‘no’ and that would have been the end of it.

In Bangladesh, by contrast, when Shima and her fellow union workers asked for a pay increase they were locked inside the garment factory and physically beaten. All for asking for just a few dollars more a month to be able to live with dignity.

Many of these workers (85% female) are working long shifts, day after day, in poor, crowded conditions for less than US$150 a month. Of course, you can argue that living costs are lower in other parts of the world, and that’s true, but when other human lives are paying such an enormous cost and living in suffering for our short-term pleasure (how much joy does that £5.99 t-shirt bring you anyway?), then the system is seriously broken.

While we as individuals may not be able to change the world, together we can make a difference.

  • The first step is education and awareness. Watch documentaries like The True Cost (and other environmental movies such as Cowspiracy, A Plastic Ocean and Before The Flood) to learn more about the bigger picture. It’s so easy to think that this one plastic bottle or this one cheap t-shirt won’t have a negative effect, or to believe that your positive contribution won’t make a difference because millions of others are still trashing the planet, but it’s not true. Every little step we can take makes us part of the bigger picture and part of the change.
  • Every time you learn something new, share it! Talk to your family, friends and colleagues. Share a photo on social media, write a blog, post a video or organise an event to bring your community together. Spreading awareness is vital and will make you part of the catalyst for change.
  • Vote with your money. The plastic problem has now been headline news for some time and we’re all becoming more aware and (slowly) changing our daily habits. However, the true cost of fast fashion isn’t such a widely acknowledged problem. In the western world we simply want more and more stuff at a cheaper cost. And somewhere in the supply chain, something has to give. For fast fashion, it’s the lives and suffering of garment factory workers. In order to drive down costs factory bosses have to skip vital health and safety precautions, putting lives in danger every single day. (The Rana Plaza building collapse in Dhaka in April 2013 killed 1,134 workers.)
  • Change your mindset. We’ve become a throwaway culture due to the marketing practices of the last fifty or so years that brought us both planned and perceived obsolescence. For the younger generations, that’s all we’ve ever known. Things break, we replace them. In the past we used to repair goods and clothing and pass furniture down through generations – now it’s a quick trip to the shops and we have something brand new. But what do we do with all our old stuff? The vast majority simply gets thrown into landfill and as it takes hundreds or even thousands of years to break down, it’s still sitting somewhere on the planet, even if you can’t see it. Perceived obsolescence makes consumers believe that they need an updated version of a product, even though theirs works perfectly well – e.g. cars, smartphones, computers and fast fashion. Before you buy anything new, consider how you may dispose of it after use and whether there’s an alternative that’s better for the planet (even if that means spending a little more money).
  • Support people and organisations who are striving to make a difference. Seek out local environmentalists and activists who are organising events and either share the details with others to reach a bigger audience, or go along in person and meet like-minded people. Buy from organisations who share the same ethics and values as you: companies that are reducing packaging, supporting fair trade and workers’ rights and lowering their carbon footprint.
  • Before you buy any more clothes or shoes, empty everything from your wardrobe (including coats, accessories and bags) and take an honest look at everything you have. Donate things you no longer wear, repair anything you love that needs fixing, and cut up old, stained shirts into squares to use as cleaning cloths. Reduce the amount of clothes you have and then only buy specific items chosen on purpose to be part of your new capsule wardrobe. Don’t forget to look in charity shops or buy second hand or organise swap parties with friends.

You can buy The True Cost on iTunes for just £5.99 or visit truecostmovie.com.

Lorraine xx

How do you consume social media?

In the last twenty years our lifestyle habits have changed beyond recognition. Gone are the days of large bulky television sets with metal aerials and manual buttons or chatting to your friends after school in a cold hallway with a bulky telephone and stretchy, coiled cable twirled around your fingers!

Instead, we stream music and movies via cloud services and communicate via video and photo messaging apps on tiny devices more powerful than we ever imagined possible.

While the enormous benefits of technology continue to enhance our modern lives and make communication instant and effortless, there is a darker side that can swallow our souls and drain our creativity, leaving us feeling empty and more alone than ever.

While I was in England recently, I did a little bit of research into people’s social media habits on public transport. (Ok, yes, I was a little bit nosey!) It happened purely by chance as I was sat behind a young girl on a bus. I noticed in just a few seconds that every picture that came up on her Instagram feed was of young, glamorous women, many in semi-naked, sexual poses and all wearing a lot of make up and sporting the essential pout. As the mother of teenage daughters, I instantly felt a sense of sadness that so many young women need to feel validated by portraying themselves in this way. Their self-esteem is boosted with Likes and Followers – but, just like an Instagram post, this feeling of elation is short lived.

It was this experience that led me to ask the question:

How do you consume social media?

If I’m totally honest, I think that if I was a young woman today, I’d probably consume social media in exactly the same way. In my late teens I was confident yet insecure, dressed for sex appeal but hated parts of my body. With the benefit of hindsight I can see how my behaviour, lifestyle, actions and beliefs all stemmed from that insecurity.

If you’re a woman over about 35, you’ll probably feel lucky that you grew up in an era pre-social media, where you weren’t bombarded with unrealistic images every few seconds; an era where you just simply hung out in pubs and clubs with your friends and chatted to people face to face.

But back to the question… how do you consume social media?

For many millions of people, their smartphone is the first thing they look at in the morning and the last thing they look at before bed. Couples and families are messaging each other from different parts of the house (or even next to each other in bed!) and commuters are plugged into their devices while shoppers walk down the high street sending text messages. Even drivers risk their lives using mobile phones while they’re on the road (if that’s you, please stop!).

I think it’s the word CONSUME that’s important here. We live in a consumer-led world where almost everything is available 24/7. We’ve become impatient, greedy, needy and always searching for the next fix.

When we consume constantly, we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to think and form our own opinions; we simply regurgitate what we’ve heard, read or seen.

If you stop consuming, you give yourself the opportunity to create; to be innovative, adventurous and excited.

When I made the decision to stop watching the news, reading newspapers and mindlessly consuming junk TV, something amazing happened…

My creativity skyrocketed!

Suddenly I could hear my inner voice and felt more aligned to my core truth and values.

I rediscovered all the things that fuelled my creativity as a child. I realised I had a whole unique set of gifts and talents that I’d never used before or had kept locked away for years.

I actively sought out the things, places and people that made me happy and in doing so, I became happier and happier. The need for instant gratification on social media waned as did the desire to watch mainstream television.

As a teenager, if I’d missed out on watching the programme that everyone was talking about I’d have felt left out and different. But now, I revel in the fact that I create the life that I want to live. I don’t mind being different because what I’m doing lights me up.

If you dream of living a different life, start by looking at how you consume social media and mainstream television, radio and press.

  • Do you use social media for more than 2-3 hours a day?
  • If you use social media for business, do you have a specific boundary between creating content and consuming? (FYI: Action taking helps you grow your business, not simply consuming more and more content.)
  • Do you watch television simply because it’s there and because you always have done?
  • How do you feel about switching your phone apps and notifications off for a day?
  • Do you charge your phone or other devices in the bedroom and use them when you wake up and before you sleep?

Switching your lifestyle is not something most people can do overnight, however, it is possible to make one switch at a time until you get to a point where you feel that your creative mojo is back in the building!

  • If you’re a sensitive empath, cutting out news bulletins and papers with horrific headlines from your life will make a massive difference to your energy levels. (I never realised how much I was affected my whole life until I stopped for 6 weeks. Even now I can still remember major news events of the 1980s that have stuck with me for life.)
  • Cutting down on blue screen usage before bed improves your sleep pattern and relaxation – so stop using your laptop or phone an hour before bed (at least) and charge it outside the bedroom if possible.
  • Switch an hour of evening television for an hour of your favourite creative or sporty activity. Or go for a walk, meet friends, do some gardening or declutter a cupboard in the house.
  • Set yourself time limits for scrolling social media or answering emails. As soon as you realise that you’re deep inside a video loop of cute kittens, kitchen gadgets or random people doing silly pranks, it’s time to step away from the phone!
  • Call friends and family instead of using messaging apps. It gives you time to focus your love and energy on that one person instead of multi tasking between tabs. Wouldn’t you rather feel special too?
  • Have a ban on smart phones at the dinner table – kids AND parents! Talk to each other….

If you’ve been feeling like you need to boost your creativity, energy and happiness, then maybe today is the day to ask yourself the question:

How do I consume social media?

Lorraine xx