Your future self – more than self-care

The term self-care is being bandied about all over the place, and I sometimes wonder if I need to read yet another top 10 self-care list, although they seem impossible to avoid at the moment.

Having said that, there is something in it. It is really important to remember to be kind to yourself. To be as lovely to yourself as you are to your friends or family or partner. To rank your needs as highly as anyone else’s.

And we’ve all got a horrible little voice in our heads trying to tell us how rubbish/unattractive/stupid/idiotic we are. It takes a fair bit of effort to quash it. Sometimes it’s easier to give in, agree, and feel yourself fall into a cycle of nasty thoughts and self-loathing.

On top of that, with all the general busyness in our lives, it’s hard to listen to what we really need or want i.e. a rest, a break, a snack, water, a laugh, a hug, a break from the screen…

This results in feelings of stress, anxiety, not having enough time – and all seem to be pretty much the norm.

Maybe we’re not caring for ourselves as much as we could be.

Future me

Here’s something you can try. I think of it as being nice to ‘future me’. It consists of doing something small today that I know will make me happy tomorrow.

I remember when I lived with a teacher and his wife in the south of France for a few weeks at the start of my year abroad. Each morning when I got up they would have left for me some recently toasted bits of baguette, alongside some butter and a pot of marmalade for my breakfast. It was so simple and so sweet. An act of thoughtfulness.

So now I do the same for myself when I need a bit of love and care.

Before going to bed, I’ll lay out my breakfast things. First I’ll place my small wooden chopping board and a sharp knife ready to chop up my apple. Then I’ll add a favourite mug and a teaspoon for my tea. Finally, I’ll lay out a nice big bowl and a spoon for my porridge.

A simple act

Just laying out the simple implements is enough. It’s telling me that I care for myself. I guess it’s like the thought behind making breakfast in bed for someone else. I’ll wake up in the morning and smile to see that someone has thoughtfully left out these things for me – to make the morning that little bit easier.

It’s like a little reminder to myself. That I care.

It could also be laying out my outfit for the day, the night before. No more stressing and time wasted deliberating between these trousers or that jumper. One less thing to think about.

Or it’s tidying away the post and leaflets and scraps of paper and general junk on the kitchen table – knowing that your morning will feel a lot more calm when everything seems in order.

It’s thinking ahead – to one small thing you can accomplish now – which will act as a little hug to yourself tomorrow.

What can you do?

Maybe that’s the answer to bringing some joy into your life, being thoughtful to yourself. Doing something small that you know future you will appreciate, to show that you care. For you now, and for ‘future you’. What are you going to do?

You can contact me here if you are interested in life coaching sessions.

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Delight

I’ve started reading a book called Delight, by J. B. Priestley. And what a delight it is. Short chapters each focussing on something which brings the author delight. Fountains. Detective novels. Finishing a piece of work.

I love it because not only is it beautifully written and lovely insight into what makes another person tick, it makes me reflect on what brings me delight. And I think it’s one of the most important things we can try to do every day.

Delighting in the small things which can easily go unnoticed. The way the sunlight was reflecting off a building, giving a beautiful orangey glow. The sweet smile the street cleaner gave to me as I walked past this morning, as if we knew each other. My morning cup of tea in my favourite mug (at the moment, cream coloured with a fern leaf on it). Ever faithful, ever delicious, ever calming. The anticipation of family coming to visit me, and knowing that soon I can try to squeeze the life out of nieces with hugs.

When going through hard times, or just a particularly crappy day – trying to think of even one small good thing or delight in our lives can remind us that ‘this too shall pass’. Things won’t stay like this forever. Maybe the whole day wasn’t awful, for a brief moment there was also a spark of delight. And that counts for so much.

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If you’d like to try a life coaching session with me,  you can contact me here for a chat.

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4 tips to manage your energy when working remotely

I’ve been working remotely for nearly 3 years now. Over that period of time I’ve done a mixture of working from home, setting up in a co-working space, and tapping away in cafes. Now that I’ve found a lovely new co-working space I mainly work from there.

If you are considering working remotely, or just getting started, here are 4 tips I rely on to make sure I feel at my best throughout the day.

1. Set up a routine (and get moving)

Some people are happy rolling out of bed in their pyjamas, turning on their laptop, sitting on the sofa and off they go. I am not that person. I need structure, routine, and I really need to move my body and get some fresh air before starting work.

So, I have a morning routine that includes meditation, yoga, then either a gym class or a walk in my local park. For the meditation, I use the Headspace app – I normally manage 10-15 mins. I use Youtube for the yoga – YogawithAdriene and SarahBethYoga, also 10-15 mins.

I love this routine. It allows me to wake up slowly, without rushing, and then get moving. At the gym there’s music, a few friendly faces to say hi to, the rush of endorphins. Especially when working from home, it feels good to be around other people first thing.

Then sat at my desk to start work, I feel energised and happy, ready to go. It’s the same if I walk in the park; I always listen to a podcast or music as I walk, which inspires me and puts me in a good mood.

2. Have a change of scene

I’ve also found that I’m best suited to a few different work locations in a day. Back when l started working from home all day, it got too much for me and by the afternoon I’d start to feel cut off from the world. I discovered that going to sit in a café for an hour or so was like a massive injection of energy; suddenly I was part of the world again, and I’d become super productive.

In the current coworking space, I work at a desk where I can stand or sit, and I’ll sometimes switch to a quiet meeting room, or the in-house café, depending on what I need. I really appreciate being able to change my position and my surroundings, depending on what I’m working on and my mood.

3. Take a proper lunch break

If you’re not in a traditional office set-up it can be easy to just keep on working… But it’s good to get away from your computer – ideally away from any screen, even better if you can take a walk outside… and drink lots of water!

4. Break between work and evening

I think it’s important to make a distinction between your working day and the evening.  My number one favourite thing to do after work is to go for a walk. As was the case when I worked in an office, it feels so good to get outside, move and leave work behind. Going for a walk does wonders for your energy levels and can help you to relax.

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I hope some of these tips help or inspire you if you are new to working remotely or looking to change your routine.

If you are considering a change of direction in your career or life in general, feeling stuck, and struggling to work out what to do next, I can help you. Send me a message here and we can set up a chat about life coaching.

Photo by Emmanuel Kontokalos on Unsplash

How do you listen to your own voice, when others speak so loud?

It’s really difficult. You’re unsure what to do. There’s a decision you have to make and you’re not clear on which direction to take. There are several options.

Naturally, you want to talk to the people you are close to about this. You want to hear other people’s opinions, get their advice. Maybe they have more experience than you and therefore can offer you words of wisdom. It helps to talk things through, clarify your own thoughts by talking to others.

But, fundamentally, your own thoughts and opinion are what really matter.

You know yourself best. Deep down you know what feels wrong or right, good or bad. You have a gut instinct, that perhaps you’ve been ignoring. You have intuition to guide you.

I remember reading a quote which is along the lines of “listen to the advice that helps you, ignore the advice that doesn’t.” You have to get good at not letting someone’s flippant comment niggle away at you. What do they know?

I sent a message telling some friends that I was quitting my job. One replied with a message saying “well done, if that’s what you really want.” I was mortified. Reading between the lines, she didn’t appear to agree with what I was doing. That stayed with me. Why – I don’t know. It’s not her life. It’s not what she’d choose to do.

So what? It doesn’t mean it’s wrong or a bad decision.

Some time later, I sent her an interview which had been published about my career transition, and she was very supportive, saying she’d shown it to others to inspire them. Had she changed her mind? Or had I misunderstood her first message? It really doesn’t matter. What someone else thinks has no reflection on what I choose to do.

So if you’ve got something on your mind, and you’ve shared your issue with those close to you, perhaps try adopting the “take only the advice that helps you” attitude. Anything that makes you feel bad, and is unfounded, let go of. However if there’s an inkling of truth in someone’s advice, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, is it something you need to address? Is there something you’re not facing up to? This can really be helpful in pushing you forwards, in making positive changes.

To book a coaching session with me, click here. We’ll talk things through, I’ll listen, then together we’ll come up with a plan to get you where you want to be.

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Things pass – a bit of perspective

Some days you just wake up feeling a bit anxious, a bit unexcited for the day. Nervous. Apprehensive. You know that chances are it’ll all be fine, it’ll be a nice day, normal. But there’s something you’ve got to do that makes you uncomfortable. That you’d rather not do. But you have to. And that paints a big cloud over your whole day. When, in actual fact, we’re probably talking about a 10 minute phone conversation. Or a 2 minute email exchange.

Then it’s dealt with – you know where you stand. And you probably feel better. Even if initially you’re disappointed or upset, before too long that emotion is in the past and you’re moving on. So to let it cloud over your whole day is a bit silly.

But, it’s not easy to see things like this. To rationalise. When we’re talking about feelings, well, an uncomfortable feeling can be hard to shift. And the thought nags at you, chipping away, ever present in your thoughts. You keep circling back to it. Going over the potential conversation or your potential response, editing it, adding to it, mulling over it. Obsessing over it.

It makes it so much bigger than it probably is. It doesn’t have to be this big of a deal. It’s a minuscule part of your life, let alone your day. It’s 10 minutes out of 24 hours. It’s 10 minutes out of 60 minutes. Before you know it, it’s done with, and you’re nearing the end of the day. Did  you waste it worrying? Or did you get on with enjoying it?

Did you seek out the good? The moments of peace, the moments of comfort, the moments of safety and security. The moments of knowing who you are and where you are in the world. The small pleasures. The sip of coffee. The first mouthful of dinner. The glimpse of sun. The freshness in the air. The smile from a stranger. The entertaining dog. The words of encouragement. Knowing someone is thinking about you.

Knowing that things pass. Problems, issues, emotions, time…it all passes. Nothing is forever. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Opportunities arise. Solutions present themselves. New ideas form. Perspectives shift. Feelings evolve. Memories form, and fade.

If you’d like to set up a coaching session with me, click here.

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