We all have stories we tell ourselves; that we’re not quite good enough, clever enough, confident enough. And sometimes, we convince ourselves that these stories as fact. We can start to hold ourselves back, keeping ourselves safe, never stepping out of our comfort zones so we don’t get the chance to reach our full potential.
The frustrating thing is, the personal narrative we often have for ourselves isn’t how other people see us at all. How many times have you coached a friend to apply for that job, message someone back, or push themselves out there in some way because you can see what they’re capable of, even though they can’t?
The language we use with others
None of us are born with self-deprecating qualities. We pick this up through our interactions with the world.
I was born in an era where there weren’t a lot of positive reinforcements in childhood. I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about my talents or wanting to try and nurture them. I’m not trying to cry me a river here; I feel like my experiences are pretty similar to most people my age. It just wasn’t a thing.
If we compound childhood with other life experiences; toxic relationships, bad workplaces, mental health issues, then it’s not a surprise we start to create negative stories about ourselves. And actually, I don’t think a bit of self-criticism is necessarily a bad thing; the issue is when the balance tips so far towards the negative, you lose all sense in who you are.
Now, if I spoke to other people in the way I spoke to myself, I would rightly have zero friends and be a person you’d cross the road to avoid.
That doesn’t give me a free pass. There have been countless times when I’ve made little digs because I’ve felt a bit jealous or insecure. Or I’ve felt the need to take a snipe back at someone. It’s not behaviour I’m proud of. But, this is something really crucial to recognise – it was always about how I was feeling, never about them. People who feel good about themselves, are more compassionate towards others. They don’t tend to behave like dicks.
The impact of using the right language
Now, colour me needy but I respond (as I suspect nearly all of us do) far better to positive, empowering language than lots of criticism. That’s not to say there’s not a place for feedback, I don’t think it’s healthy to misguide people either but commenting on my strengths goes a long way with me.
Think about it. Most of us tend to work far harder for bosses that are encouraging, rather than bawling us out every 5 minutes. We want to spend time with people who raise us up, not knock us down.
Language really matters. The words we use to others have an impact; not only on the way we make people feel – but we can literally change the neural pathways in their brain. Talk down to someone and eventually you’ll chip away at their self-esteem. Use the right language and watch someone fly.
The science behind positive language
As humans, we’re predisposed to keeping ourselves safe. This is one of our primal responses; we’re hardwired to recognise fear. This is one of the reasons why negative language resonates with us, it’s a fear-based response. And like anything, the more you hear it, the more it starts to stick.
However, the more positive language you hear, the more it starts to retrain those beliefs, actually changing the neural pathways in your brain and the way you talk to yourself. In other words, surrounding yourself with the right people, can actually change how you feel about yourself.
How can you rewrite your personal story?
We’re only responsible for how we behave, we’re not responsible for the behaviour of others. I can’t always control who I spend my time with or if they use the right language towards me. Sometimes, we’re able to recognise a toxic situation and either leave it, or understand someone’s opinion is not fact. However, more often than not, these things have an impact and we have to spend time getting ourselves back on track and make a conscious effort to reframe some of our negative beliefs.
Oh sure, I hear you say… Undoing years of put downs and not being recognised by the world? How am I supposed to do that? Well, science shows it takes approximately two months to retrain your neural pathways, which are responsible for sending signals to your brain. These are the signals that tell you, you’re not good enough or you can’t do that (amongst other things). They are unconscious habits so you’re not necessarily aware all the time that it’s happening. But, like any habit, you can change it.
Affirmations are a way of reframing a situation to help you change the way you feel about yourself or about a a particular issue. The way I like to do is to take a situation that I find challenging and write a statement to encourage me to feel differently. I like to write them down and really reflect on them. Other people say them to themselves in the mirror. One of my friends puts post-it notes up around her house so she has a constant reminder of her positive points. The trick is to look at your affirmations little and often so you start to retrain your brain.
Speak it into existence
We all know the phrase, ‘fake it, til you make it’. I actually think there’s an element of truth in that – the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Speaking it into existence is also another way to focus on your strengths and can give you the confidence to go ahead with things. I had thought about writing a blog for years, but never did it because I was worried about what people would think. I mentioned the idea to a friend and once I said it aloud, it suddenly seemed possible. That’s what speaking it into existence can do.
Human Design is a way of understanding our own energy and how we should respond to the world. An in-depth reading can also help you understand a lot more about yourself, why you might respond to certain things when other people don’t, what’s important to you and your life purpose. It gives you a blueprint to understanding who you are.
Using the right language yourself
Using the right language yourself is almost one of the hardest things to do. But every time you catch yourself making a negative statement, try and pause. We all have periods of self-doubt or lack confidence especially after having a bit of a knock. These things don’t have to be our life story though. We’re all capable of more.
Human design is a system which helps you understand how you respond to the world – and the role you’re designed to play in it.
It brings together the principles of I Ching, astrology, kabbalah, the hindhu-brahmin chakra systems and quantum physics using the date, time and location of your birth to reveal your unique human design.
Still with me? Good. So, what Human Design really gives you is a practical guide to who you really are. It’s almost like being given a road map to yourself.
Learning to understand your Human Design means you’ll start to become in alignment and live your life in the way that you’re designed to. It won’t make your life easier in a sense because we will all have struggles and challenges to deal with, however, it will help you understand how you should respond and make decisions enabling your life to flow.
We’re all born with our own unique design and the more we go through childhood, the more we lose the essence of our real self. Human Design brings us back to ourselves so we can start to live life as we’re meant to.
Making decisions based on our Human Design
I think we’ve probably all been in situations where we’ve felt we’ve pushed into a decision and it hasn’t been right. Or wanted something so badly, we’ve tried to force it to happen and felt like we’re swimming in treacle. What Human Design does is show how best to make decisions aligned with who we are – so we’re going for what’s right for us at the right time, rather than chasing what isn’t.
Human Design is a really complex system that can give you guidance on pretty much every aspect of your life: relationships; careers; diet and what you’re here on earth to do.
You can have your full Human Design read by an analyst. However, there are also some free tools you can access to give you some information about your design. These tools include your Human Design type and your strategy, which gives you an introduction to your energy, your aura and how best to use both.
Human Design types and strategies
Finding out your Human Design type helps us understand our energy and how we’re designed to move through the world. We all have different levels of energy and some of us can keep going and going – whilst other types are not designed to do this. Human Design helps us understand this and determine what works best for us.
There are four different types that each have their own Strategy. Your Strategy gives the information we need to make decisions most aligned with who we are.
So what are each of the Human Design types?
Generators represent about 75 percent of the population. They have a consistent energy source which means they can keep going when they’re doing work they’re aligned to. The flip side is, they can also get burnt out when doing work that they’re not.
Generators have a big powerful aura which affects the people around them. So when they’re doing work or living in a way that lights them up, then it lights up other people too. But the harder question really is, how do you identify what lights you up? Generators should try to listen to their gut (sacral centre) and make decisions from your instincts, trying not to overrule it with your mind. They’re here to master a skill and sometimes that means feeling fed up or stuck, however, mastering something does mean sticking at it. Generators should listen to their sacral response before making a decision as to stick or leave what they’re trying to learn.
The strategy for a generator is to wait to respond. So rather than going out there hustling and trying to make things happen, generators should just wait and see what happens. Now, I’m a generator and this goes against everything I know. I feel like the only way things have ever happened for me is when I’ve worked for them. But, is that really true or is it just a story I’ve told myself? I’m learning to take a step back, set intentions and put ideas out there – whilst giving space for opportunities to come to me, rather than trying to force them to happen.
The design of a manifesting generator isn’t dissimilar to that of a generator. They have the energy to keep going when they’re doing something that’s right for them. Again, their work lights them up and they have the ability to keep going. They move faster than other people and can juggle lots of plates at once but they have to be careful not to overcommit. They should use their sacral response to guide them to the right decision.
Manifesting generator strategy
The strategy for a manifesting generator is slightly different though. Like a generator, they should wait to respond but they should also think about who else might be impacted before taking action and then inform them. This isn’t about asking for permission – it’s just simply letting other people know what you’re going to do because this will lead the way to less resistance.
We’ve all been taught that we should choose one thing and stick with it. This is different for manifesting generators who are designed to try lots of things and let go of the ones that don’t work. They just need to inform people when they do.
Manifestors are here to initiate. They’re the ones who get the ball rolling. They don’t need to necessarily finish what they started – other human design types are here to help with that. Their role is to act as a creative force and get things going. Don’t feel bad if you start something and don’t finish it – this right for you. You’re designed to initiate and then move on.
Manifestors can have a powerful aura which sometimes causes people to react. This isn’t your fault or something you should feel the need to control – just be aware of it so you learn not to take it personally. Manifestors actually don’t require external input or inspiration – it all comes from within. This means you need to maintain a constant connection to your internal voice and find peace within.
The manifestor strategy is to inform others before taking action. Just like the manifestor generators above, this isn’t about permission, it’s just letting people know what you plan to do. It’s about creating less resistance so you can move forward with ease. You may also find your relationships become easier too.
Projectors have a focused and penetrating aura which gives them the ability to see deeply into others. They need to be thoughtful about how they use their energy. Society has told us that we need to be always go-go-go. However, this isn’t always the best way to be for a projector and can lead to burn out. Projectors work in bursts of energy, which allows them to get a lot done in a short space of time. However, they need to also take some time to recuperate.
Projectors are at their best when steering and shaping the ideas and energies of other people. They’re good at seeing the big picture and are able to recognise talents and gifts in other people bringing them together.
Their Strategy is to wait to be invited to share their wisdom. They should wait for big life decisions such as relationships, career/work and where to live until they get an invitation. This is so there’s the right energetic exchange. Don’t worry about not getting an invitation, the Projector’s aura is so powerful, it drives the right people to you – and once you’re in, then you can start manifesting and intitating and driving things forward.
Reflectors represent about 1 percent of the population. They process and experience energy very differently from the other Human Design types. Reflectors are here to be wise observers by sampling, magnifying and reflecting people’s auras back at them. They’re really gifted at being able to detect when something is out of line or unusual. In an ideal world, each community would have a reflector who can act as a barometer for the health of the collective.
Reflectors are able to read other people’s auras and understand who they truly are. This makes them extremely empathetic. However, their own aura is actually quite resilient. It’s important though that they have the right environment and community to call home. They need the right people about them who will listen and support their decision making.
For reflectors, their strategy is to connect to lunar energy. So this means waiting 28 days before making any major decisions and use this time to discuss your options with trusted friends. A good peer group is really important for reflectors so they can discuss decisions and use them to reflect ideas.
Where can you find out more?
You can get a simple and free Human Design birth chart from:
If there’s one thing that rattles my cage (and trust me, the word most people use to describe me is ‘calm’), it’s the commodification of self-care. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good bath lotion, I adore candles and I spend money on yoga and breath work classes because they make me feel a million times better. However, what I don’t like though, is the feeling that if you can’t buy these things (and let’s face it mes amis, we’re heading into one of the biggest recessions in years), then somehow you’re not investing in your self-care and you’re not looking after yourself properly. In the same way, that exercise shouldn’t just be about the gym, self-care isn’t about consumerism either. We need to separate what are luxury products and think about what self-care is especially when you have no money.
Consumer culture and self-care
Truth time, I’m very easily influenced – no pun intended – and it’s something I really have to keep on top of. I’m really susceptible to branding, latest trends and the higher the price tag, the more I seem to place value on it… Honestly, I’m a marketer’s wet dream, to the degree, I would buy snow from eskimos if it came in good packaging. This is why I know how well self-care has been commodified and tbh, being able to treat yourself is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
However, fundamentally, good self-care should cost nothing. Buying a good candle but then not giving yourself space and time to relax and enjoy it means that investment hasn’t really been worth it. Good self-care is fundamentally about space and time and the rest is all gravy. Drops the mike.
Self-care when you have no money
So what do you do when you’re need for self-care is high but your cash flow is low? Because let’s be honest here, being skint is stressful and this is when you need to look after yourself more than ever. How do you make that happen when money is tight and I’m not talking just because you’re saving for a holiday…? Well, here are some simple ideas on how to still invest in your self-care when you have no money.
Switch off social media (for most of your day)
I’m not suggesting switching off social media so you don’t see lots of adverts or people doing nice things… I just think we need to be aware that social media is a noise and it can make you feel a bit shit about yourself. I allow myself 70 minutes per day to look at all my social media channels and then my phone switches them off. We’re not good at being in our own thoughts and allowing ourselves to just be. So this is why I suggest manually limiting time on these channels and giving yourself some headspace.
Be at one with nature
I can only imagine what my neighbours must think when they see me kicking off my shoes and embracing a tree in our communal garden in Peckham. However, one of the best things you can do for yourself is spend time in nature. I’m not talking about roaming the Norfolk broads or wild swimming, just spending time tending a house plant or being in your local park will do. Seeing just a bit of nature makes the biggest difference to our wellbeing and it costs nothing.
Listen to a podcast
Now, I tried to google this to prove my theory and didn’t find much scientific evidence… HOWEVER, I fully believe listening to a podcast takes a lot less out of you than watching TV and so is therefore better for your wellbeing. Fully open to being shouted down by a scientist… But the best thing is podcasts are free.
I wonder if it’s because it’s more of an intimate relationship? It’s more conversational? Or it only requires one of the senses to concentrate? Anyway, regardless, here are some of my favourite wellbeing podcasts (placed in the order that I thought of them in). Just as an FYI, I only listen to the edited highlights of Russell Brand’s Under the Skin because I don’t want to buy a monthly subscription… I know we should pay for content (she says writing a blog for nothing…), however, needs must and this is a blog about self-care when you have no money after all 🙂
I’ve written a lot about practicing gratitude and the difference it makes to your mindset. However, what do you do (and I’m not correlating this to having no cash) when things are really shit? And you feel like you don’t have anything to feel grateful for? Well, in those circumstances – and we all have them – then cast your mind back to things you were grateful for in the past and think of those examples until things start to feel a bit better.
Practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do for your outlook. Plus, all you need is paper and pen.
One of the best things all of us can do is make sure we get enough sleep. The amount you need varies from person to person, but for me, eight hours is the dream (pun intended). Get into good sleep habits and give your physical and mental body time to recuperate and replenish. Sleep is honestly one of the best things you can do for yourself and it’s free.
There are a lot of cosmetic products on the market that are designed and made entirely in labs, with very little attention paid to the natural side of the goods. While this isn’t always a problem, a lot of people like the idea of using natural products on their body, and it can be a lot easier to feel comfortable knowing that your routine is based on the natural world. To help you to achieve this with your own routine, this article will be exploring some of the best natural alternatives to the chemicals you use each day.
Moisturiser: Oil & Honey
Moisturiser is an excellent tool that can keep your skin feeling soft and smooth well into old age. You can find all sorts of complicated products on the market that can do this job, though you need only use a little bit of olive oil or honey to achieve similar results. While options like this won’t be as potent as something you buy off the shelf, they will provide you with a natural way to approach your routine.
Foundation: Mineral Foundation
Foundation is very common in the world of modern makeup, and a lot of people use chemicals like this to make their skin look smoother. A lot of the options you find on the market have been designed in a lab using harsh chemicals, but you can still find plenty of mineral foundation products on the market that provides a different take.
Stress Relief: CBD
It can be hard to escape stress when you’re living a busy life, and a lot of people rely on chemicals to help them to get through each day without having a breakdown. A lot of tools like this will alter your mind in other ways, though, and this can be hard when you’re trying to live a normal life. Having a bit of CBD honey on your toast each morning could solve this problem, giving you a natural way to alleviate your stress without having to deal with other complicated issues in the process.
Finally, as the last option to consider, it’s time to think about the soap you use. Strong anti-bacterial soap is great when you’re fighting viruses and trying to avoid outbreaks, but regular use of substances like this could make it hard for your body to fight bacteria naturally. Soaps made using butter and other natural ingredients can be found all over the web, offering a much lighter way to keep yourself clean.
There are a lot of cosmetic chemicals out there, and many of them offer great benefits. Of course, though, not everyone wants to have their body covered in strong products all the time, and it can be a good idea to look for something more natural if you want a change.
I think we’ve all heard phrases like, ‘realigning the chakras’. But what does that actually mean? What are our chakras and why might we want to realign them? Well, here’s a beginner’s guide to the chakras where we look at what they are – and how understanding them might be able to help us.
What are the chakras?
The concept of chakras originated in India many centuries ago. Chakra translates as wheel in Sanskrit and the best way to think of them is as wheels of energy. This is because the life force, or prana, that moves inside of you is spinning and rotating. This spinning energy has seven main centres in your body (there are others), starting at the base of your spine and moving all the way up to the top of your head.
Your chakras can be too closed or too open (overactive), as well as perfectly aligned or in transition. You can learn how your chakras are functioning once you become more in tune with the natural energy cycles in your body (easier than it sounds…) and use it to focus on any physical, emotional or spiritual imbalances. And when all your chakras are aligned, then energy can move freely throughout the body – enabling you, my friend, to live your best, most spiritual life.
A beginner’s guide to the main chakras
There are believed to be many chakras but there are seven which are the most important. Each one possesses its own colour and vibrational frequency. They can’t be felt by touch but your chakras can be sensed. Their location varies, however, they’re often shown in a straight line (with your root chakra at the bottom) running up the spine, all the way to the crown of your head. This is why you might sometimes see mobiles or charms representing the chakras in their different colours all hanging in a row.
Each chakra has its own characteristics relating to the part of the body it represents. This is why, when your chakra is blocked, then you might also feel physical discomfort or pain in that part of your body. However, our chakras are really based around our spiritual self. So whilst, you might get some related pain that manifests, it’s more likely you’ll have some blockages in your spiritual energy.
Each chakra also has a symbol. When trying to heal a particular chakra then it helps to keep the symbol for that chakra near you. There are also crystals, essential oils, particular meditations and yoga aligned with each chakra too giving you a multitude of options. A pick and mix for your spiritual wellbeing.
The lower three chakras (root, sacral and solar plexus) are considered our physical chakras. They connect to the heart through the upper three. The physical chakras are responsible for our self-image, our physical and emotional identity.
The three higher chakras are your spiritual chakras (throat, third eye and crown) and connect to your life purpose. When you begin to reach the higher spiritual chakras, then you’re able to get in touch with your higher self.
Why should I care about the alignment of my chakras?
Well, all this is very interesting I hear (hope) you say…. But why should I care? Well, quite simply, when our chakras are blocked, we’re not living life to our or its fullest capacity. Now, you can be living a healthy, emotionally balanced and mentally creative, amazing successful life – and still have your chakras too open (overactive) or too closed. The purpose is to go beyond the ordinary domains of human life and seek our highest truth.
However, on a day-to-day basis most of us probably do have blockages. This is a beginner’s guide to the chakras after all.. I defy anyone who’s living through COVID-19 (when this blog post was written) to not have a closed root chakra. All our security has been taken away from us, which is what our root chakra is all about (it’s all in the name).
And that brings us nicely on to our seven main chakras.
What are the seven chakras – and how do I know if they’re blocked?
Base or root chakra (muladhara) – red
Our root or base chakra (as it’s also called) is our first chakra. Its location is at the base of the spine in our tail bone area. The root chakra’s role is all about our security. It looks after our emotional security, financial security, physical security and our basic needs (food, water, shelter). When our root chakra is open we feel safe and fearless.
How do you know if your root chakra is overactive?
An overactive root chakra causes anxiety and overthinking. This is because fear is fundamentally designed to keep us safe. This is why cavemen took it in turns to sleep (I haven’t fact checked that…) because they needed to keep everyone safe from attack. An overactive root chakra will send out messages of survival, even when there might not be any real threat…
Physically, you might have digestive problems, lower back issues, hip pain, and ovarian cysts in women or prostate issues in men.
How do you know if your root chakra is underactive?
Until now, most of us (and I appreciate this is speaking from a privileged perspective) have probably had most of our survival needs taken care of. We’ve had access to food, shelter and safety throughout our lives. So this chakra might not have ever needed to be very active. That’s why, you might daydream, have trouble concentrating or have your head in the clouds. And whilst a bit of escapism is a good thing (IMO), being balanced and connected to what’s going on around you is really important.
Sacral chakra (svadhishana) – orange
The sacral chakra is located right below the belly button and above the groin area. It represents our ability to accept others and new experiences. It’s also the home of your creative life force energy – and motivates you to enjoy the fruits of your labour including indulging in pleasurable activities like sex and intimacy.
How do you know if your sacral chakra is overactive?
The sacral chakra is often overactive when we’re overindulging (booze, food, shopping, social media etc…). You should always have time for pleasurable things. However, if you’re overindulging in things that aren’t healthy for you (as I have many many times), then it’s likely your sacral chakra is out of balance.
How do you know if your sacral chakra is underactive?
Basically, if you’re always spending your time focusing on very practical things, but never really taking the time to do anything fun or pleasurable, then your sacral chakra may be underactive. Symptoms include depression, impotence, decreased sex drive and a lack of passion and creativity.
Solar plexus (manipura) – yellow
This chakra is in the centre of the belly button and extends up to the breastbone or where your two sets of ribs connect in the centre of your chest. This is where your self-confidence, identity, and personal power are born. Now, how many times have you been in a situation that wasn’t right for you? Did you feel those cues in your body? I often think we know far quicker than we’re actually able to make ourselves do anything about it. And that’s ok… Judgement free over here, yo. However, I think when we leave a situation, it’s generally because we hoped it would get better (whilst knowing it’s not right) – and there’s nothing wrong with trying. It doesn’t make you a weak person; it makes you someone who does their best 🙂
How do you know if your solar plexus chakra is overactive?
The solar plexus chakra becomes overactive when we try and extend power over other people. If it’s too overactive, then you might get angry quickly, be controlling and a micromanager and/or lack compassion or empathy. You might suffer from digestive issues or even imbalances in your internal organs like the appendix, pancreas, liver, and kidneys.
How do you know if your solar plexus chakra is underactive?
There are situations where our personal power is taken away from us either by another person or through extenuating circumstances and this can leave us with a closed solar plexus chakra. If this happens, you may feel indecisive, insecure, timid and needy.
Heart (anahata) – green
The heart chakra is all about love – giving and receiving love from others and ourselves. It looks after our ability to love, forgive, show acceptance and compassion.
How do you know if your heart chakra is overactive?
When the heart chakra becomes overactive, we lose our personal boundaries and start to make unhealthy choices, all in the name of love. This is why we let people treat us badly at times because we want so badly to be in a relationship.
One lesson I’ve learnt / still trying to learn is that yes, it’s important to treat others with compassion and kindness – but you need to extend that to yourself to. It’s not ok to always put others first and yourself last. You matter too. Physical symptoms can include a fast heart rate, palpitations, heartburn, and relationship issues.
How do you know if your heart chakra is underactive?
Many people have an underactive heart chakra. Most of us have had to deal with heartbreak – whether through failed relationships or losing people close to us. Some of us deal with that by building up barriers and not allowing people to get close to us. We have an outer self and an inner self. This can manifest physically too by feeling disconnected from your body or having circulation problems.
Throat (vishuddha) – blue
The throat chakra gives us communication. It enables us to express ourselves and speak our personal truth with clarity.
How do you know if your throat chakra is overactive?
Your throat chakra can become overactive when you feel you’ve had to try and make your voice heard. You’ve felt ignored or that people didn’t give what you said enough credence so you raised your voice to make sure people hear what you said. This might manifest itself as always interrupting people, not letting other people speak, raising your voice and talking over people.Physically, you may suffer from throat pain, frequent infections, cavities or mouth ulcers.
How do you know if your throat chakra is underactive?
Sometimes, we feel we’ve been ignored and invalidated so much that we just give up trying to make our voice heard. We keep quiet and never speak our truth. We might struggle to express our emotions or just generally speak up because we’re so used to not being heard. Physical symptoms often include digestive issues, because energy diverted away from the throat chakra often ends up being ‘swallowed’.
The third eye (ajna) – indigo
The third eye is located in between your eyebrows. It radiates down to your mouth and up to the top of your head. The third eye helps us to see the bigger picture and deepens our intuition. It also influences our psychic abilities.
How do you know if your third eye chakra is overactive?
To be honest, it’s very unlikely your third eye (6th chakra) is overactive. This is a beginner’s guide to the chakras – and not written for people immersed in the spiritual world. Most of us are very in tune with our physical reality but not so much with the psychic realm. However, there are some people who are very absorbed with their spiritual work and communities. So in these cases. it might be that this becomes very overwhelming and they lose touch with the day to day and what’s happening on earth.
How do you know if your third eye chakra is underactive?
We live in a world that often invalidates intuitive development. So because of this, we close off our third eye and are closed to any psychic experiences. This might lead to headaches or allergies.
Crown (sahaswara) – purple/white
The Crown chakra is at the top of our head. It’s known as the higher chakra and represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. Achieving a balanced crown chakra is the goal of every spiritual warrior, however, really it’s the journey of trying to achieve this that brings us happiness, good health, and wisdom because we’re living life as we’re meant to.
How do you know if your crown chakra is overactive?
It’s actually impossible to have an overactive crown chakra. You can’t have too much spiritual connection.
How do you know if your crown chakra is underactive?
Well, the good news is having an underactive crown chakra makes you a human. Some may be closer to achieving their spiritual awakening,; others, further away. But just trying to reach it is a positive thing.
How do you unblock your chakras?
There are lots of ways to check your chakras and unblock them (if needs be). However, I’m conscious this is a beginner’s guide to the chakras so I’m going to keep it light. Start with your root chakra and work upwards. seeing if any of the descriptions above might fit with how you’re feeling.
Meditation is perhaps the most powerful tool for opening the chakras. Chakra meditation is calming and can improve the overall quality of your life. There are lots of guided meditations on youtube.
Mantrasare sounds, word, or phrase that you can chant during meditation. Each chakra has its own mantras so don’t be afraid to experiment with them and see how you feel.
Crystals are a powerful tool for opening chakras. You can place them on the part of the body the chakra relates to and let the crystals work their magic ✨
I don’t know about you, but some days my motivation is sky high and I feel I can take on the world, and on others, every little thing is a struggle. Whilst, I do think this is natural (we can’t maintain working at a fast pace 365 days a year); there are certain things I do to raise my energy on days when I feel a bit flat. I use essential oils for motivation; using them to kick start my day and upping my productivity levels.
How essential oils work
Essential oils work through our olfatic system, the part of our body responsible for our sense of smell. Our sense of smell evokes memories and feelings. It also triggers our emotions and can really impact our mood. There’s been lots of scientific research on the power of essential oils and how they can help with both our physical and mental wellbeing. This is what makes them such a great item to have in our self-care tool kit.
Creating good habits
A lot of our lives are built around routines and rituals. We start the day with a tea or coffee looking for that caffeine fix to get our brains into gear. We walk to the station, get into our car without really thinking too much and spend most of our day operating on auto-pilot. The current situation with COVID-19 means a lot of our routines and rituals have been thrown up in the air. We can’t operate on autopilot at the moment – and that’s exhausting. So please be gentle with yourself if you’re not firing on all cylinders right now. However, this is also giving us the opportunity to reset some of our old patterns and get into new habits because we’re being forced to think about what we’re doing.
Starting the day with an essential oil blend
I start my day thinking about the mood I’ve woken up in and how I want to either maintain it or improve it. If I’m feeling a bit down, I’ll think of an essential oil blend to help raise my spirits. If I’m feeling tired and sluggish (also occasionally hungover…) then I use oils to make me feel more alive. I set my intentions for the day: do I want to feel relaxed or do I want to be motivated? What do I want to achieve?
I either put my essential oils into a diffuser or I light a candle infused with oils. You can also make an essential oil blend into a little bottle mixed with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil or even olive oil will work too) and add to your pulse points so you can carry it around with you.
Essential oils for motivation
There are lots of reasons why your motivation might need a boost: you might be tired, feeling down or just lower energy than usual. Let’s be honest, there are also some tasks that just aren’t that exciting: tax returns for one…
Best essential oils for motivation when you’re tired include:
Personally, I like rosemary and peppermint together and find it really uplifting to start the day.
Best essential oils for focus and mental clarity are:
I love pine and eucalyptus first thing in the morning and it gives me such a boost. I really associate it with getting things done.
Lemongrass and black pepper are a great combination for people moving on from old situations and will help you focus on what’s coming ahead.
Best essential oils for lifting your spirits
Essential oils from citrus fruits are great for helping to lift your spirits. They’re the first oils I turn to when I’m just feeling a bit below par. I mix sweet orange and bergamot for a boosting blend. I also really love grapefruit.
How to blend essential oils
You don’t need to be an aromatherapist to blend essential oils. As a general rule of thumb, oils from the same family work together. Citrus oils pretty much work with anything. You also don’t need to always have a blend – sometimes it helps to make one scent too over powering – but focus on how you want to feel and choose an oil to support that intention.
With so much stress and worry in the modern world, it can be tough to uncover ways to stay calm and collected amongst the chaos. Leading a natural life can lead you to seek out alternative options to the common stress reducing solutions – but how and where do you start? If you would like to find out a little more about how you can utilise natural steps to improve your positivity and keep a level head then you’re in luck, as there are a few simple tips and tricks that you can make the most of to ensure to start reaping the benefits in no time at all.
Get In The Mood For Meditation
One of the very best options that you might like to explore to increase your levels of calm is meditation. Meditation is a practice that has been utilised by millions of people for thousands of years, and the tradition hasn’t gone out of fashion for many good reasons. You don’t need any special equipment or skills to start your meditation journey, just a quiet spot to sit comfortably and the determination to focus. Start off by closing your eyes, letting the tension go from your body by unclenching your jaw, relaxing your muscles and breathing deeply. Next move onto your mind, letting all passing thoughts drift out of your head, potentially picturing a calm setting such as a beach to help stay focused. Meditation isn’t something that can be mastered on your first go, but the patience you must develop to be persistent in your efforts is part of the process. Regularly meditating will help you to keep a balance, calm aura and aid you in dealing with situations in a rational and thoughtful manner.
Explore Some Modern Methods
In recent years there have been many new inventions and discoveries that have allowed us as a society to advance forward and uncover different methods to deal with stress, and experimenting with one or more of these options could be the perfect solutions for you. One particular topic that’s gaining more attention is CBD products, as their ingredients are being made legal and somewhat readily available in many states and countries across the world. A CBD beginners guide is the best source of information to aid you in finding the ideal product for your individual needs, so always do your research before investing in any related items. There has also been an increase in studies related to the benefits of essential oils, as well herbal and fruit infused teas such as chamomile, so there are many more companies popping up that offer relaxing blends.
Hopefully this guide can help you to uncover the best natural options that can encourage a feeling of calm, from those that have been around for many years to new age options that have recently gained popularity. Meditation is the perfect practice after a long day, whilst a calming cup of chamomile can help to soothe your stress at any time!
This post was written during the coronavirus crisis. However, the advice on how to stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart can be applied to most challenges in life.
It’s ok not to be ok
When we first went on lockdown in the UK, hundreds of posts appeared on social media suggesting we use this new found time on self-development. I saw posts on learning a new language, decluttering your house and finally doing the creative project you’ve been dreaming about for the last two years.
The posts made me feel angry; partly because the nature of my job means I’m really busy so I don’t suddenly have lots of hours free. Mainly though, because my brain felt like it was swimming in treacle. I’ve been utterly exhausted, had brain fog and any motivation went completely out of the window. Getting through the day felt like an achievement in itself.
The simple truth is none of us have ever been in a coronavirus lockdown before. It’s a completely new situation and there isn’t a coronavirus rule book on how to handle this well. Some people will focus on being busy, others will need to rest, and most of us will flip between the two. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster. We just need to get through it the best way we can trying to stay sane even though it feels like the world is falling apart.
We need to recognise life is really hard right now
I can spend the day working away in my office and other than the fact that I’m sat at home on conference calls with the sounds of my husband and son in the background, life could almost be normal. But every time I read the news or step outside, I’m starkly reminded that it’s not. Waves of anxiety wash over me and I feel moved to tears really easily.
I don’t think there’s a perfect antidote to this. It’s not ideal to keep yourself so busy that you’re blocking your feelings because all you’re doing is stalling the inevitable. It’s also exhausting to live in a permanent state of fear. We need to recognise life is really hard right now; we’re dealing with the unknown and trying to get through it the best we can. This is new to all of us.
So how do you stay sane when it feels like the world is falling apart?
Control only what you can
It’s really difficult when you’re used to having a good degree of control over your life to suddenly have that relinquished. Try to control what you can (how often you go outdoors, what you eat (unless it involve flour and eggs) etc) and let the rest go (as much as you can).
Structure your day and get into a routine
Getting into a routine is pretty easy when you have a job you can work from home to do and a child that wakes you up in the early hours. However, for some people, lockdown has completely thrown their lives up in the air. Try to get up at a similar time, see some daylight and put some structure into your day even if that just involves maintaining a regular tea break.
Aim to do one thing a day
I really admire people who have the mental focus to start their own podcasts and novels during this period – but they are not my people. I have all sorts of ideas on things I’d like to achieve. However, I can’t say I’m a fountain of productivity right now… In my case, I do have a full time job (I know that makes me extremely fortunate) and a family so I don’t have hundreds of hours spare. I try to do one thing per day outside of my work so I feel a sense of achievement. Lockdown isn’t about getting as much done as you possibly can; it’s about getting by.
Build in time for self-care
Now more than ever is the time to invest in a bit of self-care; by which I mean, look after yourself. Make sure you rest and build in time to give your brain a break.
Be kind to yourself and those around you
We’re all living through an uncertain time. Lower your expectations and give yourself a break. You don’t have to deal with this perfectly. Watching the entire back catalogue of Netflix doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things… You were following government advice by staying indoors and that makes you a legend my honey p.
Do remember though that everyone else is in the same boat so this doesn’t give you the licence to be an arse either. We’re all trying to stay sane even though it feels like the world is falling apart and it’s not fair to add additional stress on to others. Be kind to everyone else too.
One of the best techniques I use when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to focus on my breath. I breathe in for four seconds through my nostrils and exhale for four. It makes a whole heap of difference.
And for anyone suffering with indigestion or acid reflux (which is often stress-related), then breathe in through your nose for two seconds and exhale for four. Repeat until you feel better. You will thank me.
We all go through stressful periods: relationships, work, home, all come with their ups and downs – and part of the human experience is to learn how to navigate the rough with the smooth. Right now though, the coronavirus situation means we’re all collectively experiencing stress, admittedly with varying degrees. For some this, is living through one of the most challenging periods of their lives, but for many of us, it’s recognising that we’re living with continual underlying feelings of discomfort and uncertainty.
Stress manifests itself in physical ailments or mental symptoms, or both. Since the onset of the coronavirus situation, I’ve experienced tremors, headaches and brain fog. I’ve had to really think about my stress levels and put measures in place to help ease them.
So what can we do to alleviate stress?
One of the best things we can do (in my non-medical opinion) is recognise life is really tough now. We’re all grappling with a very different way of living and worries for our loved ones. We don’t know when or how this is going to end. This is bringing up lots of emotions and our stress levels are higher as a consequence. We all have various coping mechanisms and some people will be able to deal with this better than others. However, if you can, try to think about self-care and how best to look after yourself.
Above all though, be kind to yourself and those around you.
How essential oils help with stress
We’re all aware of the power of music and how listening to a song on the radio can transport you back to a different time in your life. Blondie will always remind me of long car journeys to the south of France listening to it over and over again because my parents only had one cassette tape and it was the 70s.
Our ability to smell is linked to our limbic system, which triggers emotions and evokes memories. The sweet sticky scent of suncream will always remind me of holidays. Dew of the first days of spring. And cinnamon of Christmas time. This is why certain smells trigger emotions in us, which is where essential oils come in.
Essential oils help with stress because they influence our emotions and our mood. They can lift us up, energise us and equally help us to relax, all through the power of smell.
Stress can make you very tired, and where possible then I would suggest leaning into your body and resting. However, that’s not possible for everyone. I’m still working full time, I have a child and I need something to help me focus during the day. Essential oils can revive us, as well as calm us down.
Best way to use essential oils
To build up a collection of essential oils is expensive and most people right now will be experiencing some sort of financial hit so I’d suggest buying just one or two. You don’t need several. Just look for pure grade essential oils. Tisserand, Absolute Aromas are brands that can either be bought directly, from a health food shop online or another big retailer.
Use one or two in a diffuser if you have one, add a few drops to a bath, mix with a carrier oil (you can use olive oil) and massaging into your skin or add a few drops with water into a spray bottle and spritzing yourself and the air around you. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long way.
Best essential oils to help with stress
Below are some suggestions of essential oils that are known to alleviate stress – some will help revive you and bring around feelings of joy. Others will help you sleep better at night when you might be struggling to switch off. I’ve also included oils that are good for day and night. Most oils are fairly versatile.
Essential oils to help lower your stress levels during the day
Scent from citrus fruits
Any ‘zesty’ essential oils such as bergamot, lemon, mandarin, orange and grapefruit are all great at lifting your mood and making you feel more positive about life. Citrus fruits tend to be a little bit cheaper so are a good buy. I prefer to use these first thing in the morning to set me up for the day.
Rosemary has a reviving effect, which is useful for people feeling overwhelmed by tiredness or stress and great to use during the day.
Patchouli is a natural anti-depressant and is useful for treating exhaustion, stress and anxiety.
Basil is good for clearing the air and refreshes the mind. It helps to calm anxiety and revives the body combatting exhaustion, anxiety and depression.
Essential oils to help you switch off at night
Lavender is one of the most versatile of essential oils. It helps alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and help with sleep. Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on your pillow and bed sheets for a restful night’s sleep.
Ylang ylang helps ease feelings of anxiety and will help you feel calmer overall. It’s also the base for Chanel no 5.
Sandalwood has a restorative effect on our emotions helping to dispel anxiety and lift depression. It’s a good sleep aid and can help reignite a passion for life. Sandalwood is endangered so check that any essential oils you use are from a sustainable source.
Clary sage is great for moods. It lifts feelings of depression, calms nerves and creates a sense of peace.
Vertiver is from a grass native to India and works on an emotional level helping people feeling distressed or panicky. It’s a natural sedative so helps promote relaxation and restful sleep.
Marjoram is a gentle sedative that is good for dealing with anxiety, reducing insomnia and helping with a restful sleep.
Good for day and night
Frankincense is really good for lifting spirits, increasing energy and focus. It’s ideal when feeling stressed, overwhelmed and overtired, which is me about 90% of the time…
Rose is the scent of love and creates a sense of relaxed wellbeing, taking the edge of stress-related conditions.
Geranium is both calming and uplifting, making it a really good oil to help ease anxiety and is also said to reduce feelings of restlessness. It’s actually one of my favourite oils. I think it has a really gentle scent, which leaves you with a feeling of gentleness – much needed at the moment.
The importance of self-care when dealing with uncertainty
I’ve felt like I should write a blog post acknowledging the situation with coronavirus / COVID 19 – but truthfully I haven’t felt able to. I’ve been really anxious and teary – experiencing the same emotions I know so many of us are feeling right now.
I don’t want to go into lots of details about the waves of emotions I’ve been going through because we’re all in the same boat trying to navigate what this new uncertainty is. I’m just hoping we get through this quickly.
However, I do believe it’s fundamentally important to feel your feelings. It doesn’t help to button everything up because it comes out in different ways: affecting your relationships with people; and manifesting in physical and mental health conditions. If you feel upset, then cry. If you feel angry, think about how best to channel it: journalling, exercise or evaluating where you can put some control back in your life. The best thing we can do is be aware of our emotions.
It’s also really important to look after ourselves more than ever because we’re all experiencing high levels of stress right now. So how do we do that? This is why we need self-care for dealing with uncertainty.
Self-care strategies when dealing with uncertainty
Maintain a routine
There’s been quite a lot written online about how important it is to maintain a routine. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to leap out of bed at 6am. Some people are night owls and some people aren’t. I function far better first thing in the morning and it takes me twice as long to do something after 6pm. Just try and find a time that works for you and stick to it. It’s useful to have a sense of normality in a rapidly changing world.
Obviously some of us are working throughout this period, but for others, you might be working from home for the first time or in a role that’s impossible to do during lockdown. For people who have a lot of freedom to structure the day, some advice I’ve heard is to break down your day into hourly chunks to create a routine. This also (sort of) helps when looking after kids too.
I feel like a gratitude bore sometimes… BUT IF THERE’S ONE THING I’D LIKE YOU TO TAKE WAY FROM THIS BLOG IT’S TO THINK ABOUT HAVING A GRATITUDE PRACTICE. It’s such an easy thing to do and doesn’t cost any money.
At the moment, while things are shit in the world, then it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves of what’s good in our lives and celebrate moments of joy. Write down 10 things you’re grateful for and the reasons why, then say thank you for each one. It makes such a difference, I promise.
Mindfulness has a number of benefits for both our physical and mental health, helping to reduce stress, overthinking and even lower blood pressure.
I used to have a regular mindfulness practice and it made such a difference in my life. However, life got in the way and it fell by the wayside. My self-care to do list ended up becoming a stick to beat myself with. So one thing I try to do instead is focus on what I’m doing in that moment. I try and eat mindfully – thinking about the food and concentrating on the enjoyment I get from food, instead of necking it in five minutes. We all have varying amounts of free time so I think it’s good to focus on what works for you.
We’re allowed to go out once a day to exercise in the UK. We need to use it. Now, I’m not talking about donning your lycras and becoming the next Usain Bolt. Just go for a walk round the block, have some fresh air and a break from being indoors. Look at new leaves sprouting from the trees and flowers starting to bloom. Go outside for your mental health, as much as your physical health. Extra points though if you hug a tree.
We’re social beings and even people like me who enjoy their own company need interaction. So make sure you ring people, set up zoom/skype/face time calls – anything just to make sure you’re staying connected. No man is an island and we need to talk to other people.
Get enough sleep
One of the best ways to look after yourself is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. The amount you need varies from person to person. I’m an 8 hour girl. Try and put a good sleep routine in place: avoid too many glasses of the vino blanco and aim to go to bed at the same time each evening.
You may also notice you are feeling tireder than normal and need naps during the day. If you do, then sleep. This is your body’s response to stress so listen to it and don’t give yourself a hard time for sleeping more.
Carve out time for you
People juggling jobs, kids, homeschooling, houses and working out where you can still buy food from: I hear you. It’s really hard to cram everything into one day. Try to carve out some time for you. Read a book, take a bath, light a candle, listen to music. It doesn’t matter what it is, just put in time for you too. We’re all trying to keep ourselves going so please put in time for self-care when dealing with all this uncertainty.
Alternative self-care ideas to support yourself through uncertainty ✨
Putting a cloak of protection around you
One of the ways we can help ourselves to feel protected is to put a cloak of protection around our aura. This simple meditation helps you put an invisible cloak of protection around you to keep your energy safe.
Frankincense, black pepper, geranium, sandalwood and juniper are all essential oils which are thought to help with protection. Or try one of these essential oils to lift your mood.
There are still some places that you can buy essential oils online – Tisserand are a good brand to look out for. Just look for pure grades and nothing that’s been mixed already.
Crystals for protection
Now because I’m what could be described as a little bit ‘woo woo’, then I feel drawn to certain crystals at different times. So for anyone with a crystal collection, then try seeing which crystals are giving out the most energy (yes, I’m being serious).
As a general rule of thumb though, black stones are considered to ‘soak up’ or deflect negative energy more powerfully than other stones. Black tourmaline is a good all-round stone for protection. Or hematite stones are also known to create a protective shield around the body.
Above all be kind to yourself
If you sleep all day, drink more than necessary, or spend your days watching Netflix, then don’t give yourself a hard time. Honestly, we’re all just trying to get through this in the best way we can. Yes, I really believe in the importance of self-care when dealing with uncertainty. But if it doesn’t happen, let it go.
Do you ever have those days where you wake up and feel a bit blah? You’re not tired because of a late night – but your energy is low. Nothing is going particularly badly but you’re still not feeling great. You just can’t really identify why your mood is lower than usual?
This is the time to reach for a citrus essential oil. They’re characterised by their ability to uplift, energise and invigorate our senses. Plus citrus essential oils tend to be a bit cheaper to buy than some essential oils so they’re an easy way for a quick wellbeing boost.
One of the rules I live by is, if it’s a zesty fruit, then it’s going to fill you with zest. Yes, I really am full of pearls of wisdom… However, it’s an easy way to remember what essential oils are good for mood boosting.
Citrus essential oils are best used first thing in the morning (rather than last thing at night), or when you’re feeling below par to lift your spirits and put a spring in your step.
What are citrus essential oils?
Citrus essential oils are:
Mandarin (red or green)
Blending scents with citrus essential oils
The scents from essential notes are characterised as top, middle and base notes. Citrus fruits are top notes which means whilst their initial smell is strong, they do evaporate quickly. It’s worth mixing with a middle or base notes to help the scent last longer.
Spices and citrus blend well together, such as ginger and lemon, cinnamon and sweet orange.
Woody scents and citrus also work well together. Try rosewood and bergamot or cedarwood and lime.
Seven benefits of citrus essential oils
They’re antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body, which can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. However, free radicals also serve important functions that are essential for health such as fighting infection so we need them too. There are lifestyle and environmental factors that can promote excessive free radicals so antioxidants help balance them out.
They eliminate germs. Citrus essential oils are a natural disinfectant. Mix with water for a natural cleaning spray or you can use orange peel and vinegar too.
They act as a natural air freshener. Mix citrus and peppermint essential oils with distilled water and grain alcohol and add into a spray bottle for a natural air spray.
Use to wash off insecticides and pesticides from fruit and vegetables by adding a couple of drops to water.
Ease anxiety and irritable moods by creating an uplifting blend to use in a diffuser. Orange and bergamot are one of my favourites.
Improve circulation by adding to a carrier oil such as argan oil and massage on to the skin.
Give yourself an energy boost by either adding to a carrier oil or I add a few drops to a crystal I wear around my neck. What can I say? The hippy life chose me… 😉
Many of us (me included) are guilty of not really treating ourselves with the level of kindness that we should. So if it’s something that you’ve been neglecting; you’re certainly not the only one. But it is something that you should try to change. Being too hard on yourself doesn’t really change anything and it certainly won’t solve your problems.
So how do you become kinder to yourself?
Being kinder to yourself is about changing your habits. It’s about starting to recognise when you’re simply being too harsh on yourself. We all do it but it can really drag us down and stop us from tackling the challenges of life with a positive attitude.
If you’re looking for ways to change things for the better, here are some ways to be kinder to yourself each day.
Find time for yourself and your hobbies
We all have our time taken up by things that are not really that important to us. That could be life admin, projects at work that spill over into our personal lives and all kinds of different things. But amidst all that, it’s important to find time for yourself and what is important to you. If you can’t find time for those things, you’ll be neglecting your own needs and happiness and that’s not ok. Being kind to yourself means understanding that it’s ok to take time out for yourself and addressing your own needs.
Recognise your achievements and successes
When something goes well, you should recognise that success and celebrate it. Now, this is something I really struggle with because it feels like I’m blowing my own trumpet. It makes me uncomfortable and I worry that people will think I’m showing off. However, this has meant people often underestimate my capabilities because I’m not telling them about it so it’s something I need to get better at.
The reality is there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your success and achievements in life. In fact, you should absolutely feel comfortable celebrating those things. After all, most people find it easy to criticise themselves but not so easy to recognise when things are going well. It’s time to redress that balance.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s human nature to compare ourselves to other people. But try to limit it, as much as you can because it’s not helpful. What other people are doing doesn’t need to impact your life and what you’re trying to achieve. And it’s also true that when you compare yourself with others, you often gloss over their problems and magnify your own. We tend to see the result of someone’s success but not the challenges that have gone into it.
Forgive your errors and mistakes
We all make mistakes and get things wrong from time to time. That’s simply a part of being a human being: life is all about growing and evolving. Beating yourself up over past mistakes gets you nowhere and achieves nothing in the long-term. So, rather than doing that, try to forgive yourself for mistakes and then simply move on.
Take care of your body and mind
One way to be kinder to yourself is to try to treat both your body and your mind better than you’ve treated them in the past. It’s easy to take the focus off your health when you get stressed with work and life more generally, however, it’s never too late to try again. You’ll start to feel so much better about yourself when you begin looking after your mind and body more. Think about how you can protect your mental health better as well. It’s something we should all try to do.
Remember to treat yourself
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time and rewarding yourself – even if it’s just for being you. It can be as simple as investing in embroidered bathrobes or high-quality towels for your bathroom. Or it could be something else entirely; it’s up to you.
Be as compassionate to yourself as you’d be to others
Most of us are far kinder and compassionate towards other people than they are to ourselves. If you feel that this is something that applies to you too, bear it in mind and start doing things differently. A good rule of thumb to live by is to try and treat yourself the same way. This means forgiving yourself for mistakes, understanding that you’re human and giving yourself a second chance.
Remind yourself of your positive qualities
Everyone has positive qualities and these should be what you focus on when thinking about what’s good about yourself and your life. By focusing on the good, you’ll find it easier to be kinder to yourself as well. If you’re constantly focusing and lingering on the negative things, you’ll always have a negative mindset and you’ll treat yourself worse as a result, and that’s not what you want at all. Take the time to regularly remind yourself of your positive personal qualities.
Keep working towards your dreams
Doing what’s right for you and working towards the things you most want to achieve in life is important. That means working towards your dreams and doing everything within your power to make them happen. There’s no reason at all to give up on them when there’s still so much time and opportunity to take advantage of.
All too often people are more than capable of being kind and generous to the people around them but can’t treat themselves with the same level of kindness. That’s something that you should now look to change now that you know exactly how to start being kinder to yourself.
Like most people, I felt really shocked and sad about Caroline Flack’s death. In all honesty, she wasn’t someone I had a huge opinion on. Yes, I knew her from Love Island but my focus has always been more on the contestants and who I think will stay together long term.
I felt particularly sad though because it seemed so easily avoidable. If only there’d be less press attention, trolling on social media, cancel culture and speculation about her life. If only people had been a little bit kinder.
How do we become kinder?
In my opinion, most people set out to be kind. I think it’s a rare beast that wakes up in the morning thinking, I’m going to be deliberately unpleasant today.
Most of us can be both. I may write a wellbeing blog, but I’m not Gandhi. I get frustrated and lose my patience just like everyone else. There are hundreds of conversations that I’ve walked away from, thinking I could have handled that better.
We can probably all make gentle steps towards being a bit kinder – me included. So how do we do this?
Others judge our behaviour, whilst we judge ourselves on intent
How many times has someone apologised to you using the words, that wasn’t my intention? The truth is, it doesn’t matter if your intentions are as pure as freshly driven snow; you’ve still hurt someone’s feelings.
Take two seconds to think about how you’re coming across. Do I really need to send this tweet? How will my email come across to the recipient? Maybe you’re intending to be funny, but your joke makes someone feel flat?
Of course there are always going to be misunderstanding and miscommunications in life – but let’s try our best to choose our words with kindness.
Many years ago, I had a manager who would regularly say to me: I’m not interested in your opinion. What a rude man, I hear you say. How could he have said such harsh words to you? Well actually, he did me a favour. For the purposes of transparency, he also said it nicely.
He did me a favour because I was in my first job and whilst I thought I knew everything, I didn’t. I had lots of opinions on how we could do things better but I couldn’t substantiate them because I had nothing to base it on. Basically, I was trying to tell people far more experienced than me how to do their job and it must have been incredibly annoying. We live and learn…
The rise of social media has made it easier for us all to share our opinions. We can tweet and share how we feel in seconds. For the most part, that’s useful. I like to know recommendations for books, films and places to go. There are certain topics though that I question why we should feel it’s ok to have an opinion on? Is other people’s weight really a topic of conversation? Should other people’s problems become our entertainment?
Now, what I’m not saying is, we should all keep our thoughts and feelings to ourselves until one day we explode and no one knows why… I’m just saying do we always need to vocalise our opinions? Could we try and be a bit kinder?
Check your privilege
One of my personal bugbears is rudeness towards people in the service industry. I’m talking about being short with waitresses, not taking off your headphones when buying a coffee and getting shirty at cabin crew because we’re late to take off. Paying for a service doesn’t give you the right to be rude.
There are power dynamics at play in most situations in life. I’m sure some of us have been in relationships where one person likes the other one more. In work, the higher up the food chain you go, the more influence you have over people lower down. Age, class, sex, race all come with their own dynamics.
There are absolutely times when you do need to assert authority. There are just ways of doing it where you can be a bit kinder. Treat people as you’d like to be treated.
Putting other people down does not raise you higher
Honestly, whenever I witness someone putting somebody else down, my reaction is not, what a clever person that is. I just think, you’re a prat. It’s not a nice character trait to humiliate someone in front of other people.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not perfect… I find it cathartic to have a bit of a moan behind someone’s back from time to time and get a few things off my chest. Where I try and watch myself though is where it goes from a one-off into becoming a bit of a habit. It’s easy to comment on other people’s relationships, children, lifestyle choices – but personally I don’t feel I’m winning at any of those so I need to remind myself to wind my neck in.
Putting someone else down does give you a momentary boost but not to other people. It just makes you seem overly judgemental.
Think about your personal brand
I know talking about personal branding makes me come across as though I’ve just read a ‘How to be a CEO’ handbook. However, I think there are principles we can apply to everyday life. Personal branding is essentially reflecting on a) how you come across to other people; and b) how you want to come across to other people.
Let’s face it, humans are complicated creatures and we tend to have all sorts of light and shade within us. None of us are perfect. It’s worth reflecting on if there are parts of your character you’d like to dial back on and others you’d like to share more. What is your personal brand?
Your vibe attracts your tribe
I know your vibe attracts your tribe sounds like a motivational quote that circulates on instagram. I do believe strongly in it though: like attracts like.
So if you raise your vibrations, treat people like you’d like to be treated and focus on the good things in life; then you should meet more people like yourself. And you’ll have less time for those that don’t. Simples.
5 simple ways to be a bit kinder
Say thank you. Two small words that make a big difference – try to say thank you as much as you can.
Do you have someone in your life that has the ability to take the wind out of your sails? They seem to suck the joy out of any situation – and you end up walking on eggshells around them all the time…? Well that, my friend, is an energy vampire.
The problem with energy vampires
Energy vampires essentially drain all your energy. They tend to be selfish – because they only care about their feelings, and not the impact on yours. They manipulate, gaslight and deflect so they don’t have to acknowledge their own behaviour, instead making out they’re reacting to you. In my experience, they tend to have Jekyll and Hyde personalities; turning on the charm when it suits so you’re never quite sure what version you’re going to get.
Frankly dealing with energy vampires is exhausting.
Behaviour is a mirror of internal feelings
One of the most crucial things to remember in life is that people’s behaviour is a reflection of their own internal makeup – it’s not to do with you. I know that every time I’ve had an attack of the green-eyed monster and been snarky about someone else’s success; it’s completely down to my insecurities and feeling that I’m not doing as well as I could or should be. It’s never to do with them.
Now that doesn’t mean we should condone poor behaviour thinking, well, it’s ok because they’re clearly miserable about their own pathetic life. They’re making you feel unhappy and that’s not ok.
I’m just using this to show that it’s not to do with you – it’s to do with them.
We can’t control other people
If I had a pound for every time I’d thought of a withering put down after a difficult conversation, then I’d be sipping cocktails by a Hollywood Hills pool right now instead of drinking herbal tea in Peckham. However, the reality is the slightest hint of confrontation makes me want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter how much of a sassy honey pot you are, we can’t change how people behave. We can only control how we react.
Taking the emotion out of the situation
Sadly, I do believe the lower you feel about yourself, the more susceptible you become to energy vampires. It’s like they feed off it.
However in the name of balance, I also feel we can turn it into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy for ourselves. We start to look out for incidents where we feel this person is picking on us to confirm our thinking. It may be that we misinterpret situations because we’re reading too much into it. Just playing devil’s advocate here…
This is one of the reasons why it’s good to take out as much emotion as possible and protect your own vibrations.
How to protect yourself against energy vampires
As much as we can’t change people’s behaviours and how they treat us, there are some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves from their negative energy.
The biggest myth about boundaries is that they’re some magical potion that will change how people behave towards you. They’re not. What setting boundaries does, is help you determine at what stage a line has been crossed and what you will do about it. For some people, this is second nature. For other people, such as me, this comes a bit less naturally and I have to think about it.
In my experience, patterns of behaviours aren’t just exhibited towards one person – people are generally quite consistent. By this I mean, if someone’s rude to you, the chances are they’re rude to other people too. Try to depersonalise their behaviour and not let it dull your sparkle.
Equally, sometimes there is truth in what someone else is saying. So have some self-awareness where you’re able to reflect on your own behaviour too. Take responsibility for what’s yours – and let the rest go.
Recognise it’s not for you to make the situation better
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we cannot control other people’s behaviour. Yes, we can change how we react – and to a degree how we feel. But, it’s not down to us alone to make things right. There are some relationships / friendships / situations / delete as applicable that are just not meant to be and are never going to get better. You could give every ounce of your being and it still wouldn’t be enough. Recognise that and move on.
Trust your instincts
How many times have you had that uneasy feeling in your gut telling you something isn’t right? That’s your gut instinct. Trust it. Now this doesn’t mean, be suspicious of other people’s motives or looking for signs that someone’s out to get us: always assume best intentions until shown otherwise. It just means that if your instincts are telling you something is off, then it probably is.
Alternative ways to protect your energy ✨
Create an aura bubble
Stand up with your feet on the floor and imagine white light coming down from the Universe. It comes down to the crown of your head, then flows down over your body and down under your feet. You’re now surrounded by a white light bubble. This will help protect you from any negative energy around you.
Carry a piece of black tourmaline crystal with you
Black tourmaline sucks up negative energy and transforms it into positive energy. It’s relatively inexpensive and worth carrying around when you feel you need some protection.
What’s the difference between wellness, wellbeing and self-care?
Modern life means we need to look after ourselves. Changes in technology make us always on and always available. We’re juggling lots of different things at once so we’re tired. We’re looking for quick fixes and solutions to try and ease the pressure. Yet we all have limited time and resources; whilst more and more is sold to us promising to make our lives happier.
We’re told we need wellness products for our self-care in order to positively impact on our wellbeing. But, what does it all of this mean? And what should we really be focusing on?
So let’s break down three of the biggest terms and work out what’s the 411 when it comes to wellness, wellbeing and self-care.
What is wellness?
Wellness in its most basic sense is the opposite of illness. It’s looking more at our physical health and what can be done to improve it – however, there are wellness practioners focused on mental health. Wellness is input driven and really involves an active pursuit of activities that promote physical and mental well-being, as well as proactively making choices to live a happier, healthier life. It’s about feeling and looking healthy – rather than a state of being.
Perhaps unfairly, wellness has been linked with consumerism and selling products that we’re told will make us feel better such as spas, supplements, and CBD. Please note, I’m not saying any of these things are necessarily bad – I love a spa day. However, it can’t be underestimated quite how huge the wellness industry is representing 5.3% of global economic output.
We have wellness tourism, wellness fashion and what now seems to have been termed as the Goop economy selling a lifestyle of luxury items. Anyone else watching The Goop Lab and wanting to try everything they review?
One criticism of the wellness industry though is that perhaps it doesn’t always reach the people who need it most. Personally, I hope this is something that changes in the future.
What is wellbeing?
Wellbeing is a more holistic approach. It
involves looking at the mind and body together with the understanding that the
two are intrinsically linked, as well as influencing life factors.
Wellbeing is not
just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a
person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is
strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. In short, wellbeing could
be described as how you feel about yourself and your life.
Every aspect of your life has an impact on your wellbeing: job and career, or lack of; money; relationships with partners, family and friends; whether or not we feel we have a sense of purpose. This is why it’s so important to review your whole life and not just part of it.
The factors that influence wellbeing are interrelated. For example, a job provides not just money but purpose, goals, friendships and a sense of belonging. Some factors also make up for the lack of others. We don’t have to tick everything off the list to look after our wellbeing.
What we do know is that certain factors have more of a positive impact than others. Wealth, for example plays a lesser part in our wellbeing than strong bonds with friends and family.
What is self-care?
Self-care seems to conjoint up images of Candles and hot baths – but actually is so much more than that (although time to nourish yourself is critical too). Self-care is any activity we do; preventative and healing to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook.
Self-care is about recognising what factors contribute to our emotional and physical wellbeing. This might mean learning your emotional triggers so you can understand why you react to certain situations. It might be exercise because you know it has a positive impact on you mental health. Spending time with friends is also an act of self-care, as well as spending time alone.
Although self-care means different things to different people, there’s some basic areas that affect all of us:
Balanced diet (it
doesn’t mean you can’t go out or eat takeaways; just throw a few vegetables and
non-processed options into the mix)
Sleep (aim for
good for both our emotional and physical health)
Take time out to
do things you enjoy so you’re investing in yourself too
(think about relationships with others but also ones for yourself such as not
checking email after a certain time)
I must admit, I was never a huge fan of lavender. I associated it with overly perfumed soaps and a fragrance only an elderly woman could love.
But, I’m happy to report, I was wrong. Completely wrong in fact. Lavender is one of the most essential of essential oils. It’s highly versatile and can be used for everything from boosting your mental wellbeing to cleaning your home.
Lavender essential oil is a must have in your aromatherapy tool kit.
What is lavender?
Lavender comes from the lavender plant. It can be grown as a shrub in your home garden (even in the UK) and commercially is grown as a crop most famously in Provence, France.
It’s actually one of my dreams to cycle through the lavender fields in Provence on a vintage bike with a baguette in the basket. Yes, I really am that basic…
Lavender has tiny violet coloured flowers which can be dried and used in beauty products and around the home. The essential oils are created through steam distillation, which is quite a long, technical process. Apparently, you can do this at home – however, I’ve never tried it so can’t vouch for this DIY lavender extraction method.
Top 10 benefits of lavender essential oil
Anxiety and stress – Feeling stressed and anxious? Lavender can help calm and relax the mind. Inhale lavender oil right out of the bottle or use in a diffuser.
Sleep – Lavender oil is proven to help induce sleep. Try putting into a diffuser whilst you go to sleep or adding a few drops to your pillow.
Pain relief – lavender is an anti-inflammatory. It can help reduce redness and pain from insect bites and try adding to a carrier oil such as wheatgerm for muscle pain.
Cold relief – lavender can help with respiratory infections by loosening phlegm (apols if you’re reading this first thing in the morning…) and providing soothing relief. Add hot water to a large bowl and add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil and 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and breathe deeply.
Wounds – lavender has antimicrobial properties which have been shown to speed up the healing of cuts, burns, scrapes and wounds. Mix with a carrier oil like coconut oil and use a cotton ball to apply to the bruise.
Cleaning the home – did you know lavender is antibacterial and a natural disinfectant? Mix with water into a spray bottle for laundry and with white vinegar for a natural chemical-free cleaner.
Skin – there’s a reason why lavender can be found in so many beauty products. Try mixing with a carrier oil such as argan oil and massaging into your skin.
Hair – lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal so helps in reducing dandruff and supporting scalp health, which can stimulate hair growth. Add a few drops to your shampoo.
Stimulating the brain – lavender can improve cognition because it helps remove stress. Try diffusing when studying or working.
Detoxifying –lavender contains antioxidants and is a natural way of removing toxins from your body. Just add a few drops into a hot bath.
Subtle (spiritual) properties of lavender
Essential oils can also be used as part of a spiritual practice. Use lavender for balancing, calming and to clear a house of negative energies.
Easy ways to use lavender essential oils
The power of smell is linked to the brain’s limbic system. It triggers positive and negative reactions in us. Smell can help provoke memories and emotions, which is why it impacts on our wellbeing.
A good essential oil should have ‘100% pure essential oil’ and the proper name on the label. In lavender’s case this is lavendula. If you see the word ‘fragrance’ it almost always means there are chemicals added in.
The best essential oils are therapeutic grade, which means they are unfiltered and untreated and really good quality.
Essential oils are natural but powerful. Some people may develop an allergic reaction so it’s always best to do a patch test. If you’re pregnant, nursing or planning on using on a small child, then check beforehand. Lavender is safe in all of these instances though.
Where to buy lavender essential oils
I buy my essential oils from Baldwin’s or Tisserand. However, there are lots of suppliers around – just follow the advice above to ensure you’re buying a good product.
You can buy a 10ml bottle for around £5-7. A small amount goes a long way.
I first found out
about slow living on Instagram after seeing beautifully whimsical images of
open fires, berry picking and crafting from natural sources.
There are different
terminologies: slow food; slow fashion; slow travel and slow living. Terms that
imply to me slow cooked stews and hand-knitted jumpers. Two things I love just
in case it looks like I’m throwing shade…
Slow living looks
like an attractive lifestyle: people are connecting with nature, making the
most of natural materials and enjoying the simpler activities in life.
But what do you do when your view from your bedroom window is overlooking the wheelie bins and the closest you get to nature is seeing an urban fox eating the dregs of a dumped takeaway? Your daily commute consists of wedging yourself underneath someone’s armpit so you don’t have to wait for the next train. And making sure your 3 year old gets to nursery on time takes skills professional hostage negotiators would be proud of.
Is slow living even
possible for city dwellers?
“We were never meant to live life accumulating stuff. We were meant to live simply enjoying the experiences of life, the people of life, and the journey of life – not the things of life.”
Joshua Becker, the Minimalist.
My research showed me that there isn’t one clear definition of slow living. There’s not a rule book or a manual that can be applied. However, people tend to agree that it’s the exact opposite of fast: fast living, fast food, fast fashion.
There also seem to
be some consistent principles based around:
Moving slowly and taking the time to notice the smaller things.
Being mindful and consciously thinking about what you’re do and why.
In the moment. Being aware and giving something your full attention
Living sustainably and naturally (where possible)
Connecting with nature.
Why slow living?
Towards the end of last year, I felt I was going through the motions to
a degree and had lost connection to what I enjoy. Life was really hectic and it
felt like I was working through a never-ending tick list. My priorities seemed
wrong and I was struggling to get a work/life balance.
I’d got into bad habits. I multi-task to cram more into a day. I write blogs on my commute, researching and editing them when the 4G symbol appears on my phone. I try to use my time wisely and get things done. However, this does come at the expense of focussing properly. I take on too much and don’t always have the headspace or time to really commit to them.
I’m in good company
when it comes to feeling burnt out. Arianna Huffington (ex-Huffington Post) set
up Thrive Global after collapsing
with exhaustion. She wanted to promote the importance of sleep, rest and
living more intentionally with a view of changing how we measure success.
The 90s and 00s were all about time and efficiency. However, we did get a break because there wasn’t the technology that we have now. These days we’re always on. I can shop, write emails and edit blogs on my journey into work. In my case, being able to maximise time means I very rarely give myself the chance to switch off.
I’ve decided to make more conscious decisions about how I’m living my
life. I’m trying to slow down and be more forgiving of myself. I haven’t failed
if I don’t develop an Instagram strategy or read 12 books in a year. After all,
the only person I’m competing against is myself.
How does slow living work for city dwellers?
In a city, it’s more important that we slow down. A faster pace of life demands more from us. We need to build in time to rest and re-energise.
Yes, we can’t go out foraging for berries on our lunch hour and I’m pretty sure an open fire in your local park would be breaking all sorts of council guidelines. Are there some simple things we could be doing to enjoy slower living?
Slow living ideas for city dwellers:
Think about why we’re doing a task – and what the benefits are. Does it really matter if we don’t do it?
Give ourselves permission to rest.
Be in the moment. Notice the tiny moments in life.
Take a break. Go for a walk at lunchtime.
Try to get out in nature where possible – even if it does mean leaving the city for a day.
Enjoy what you’re doing. Savour that coffee. Nourish yourself.
Winter time can be tough. It’s cold in the UK. We’re stuck inside and the lack of sunshine (and let’s face it, sometimes life) can cause us to feel down. So other than a trip to a sunny destination; are there any natural remedies that can help lift our spirits? What can we do to give ourselves a boost when we’re feeling low? Some essential oils have been scientifically proven to lift your mood. Research shows inhaling their scent can raise our spirits and make us feel better.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils contain the scent of the plant they come from – their essence. They work through the body’s olfactory system (our sense of smell), which is directly linked to our limbic system (the part of the brain that controls our moods and emotions). This is why a scent can bring back happy memories, as well as sad ones too.
It’s been proven that music can trigger our emotions. How many times have you cried to a song because it reminds you of a break up or a difficult time? I genuinely can’t listen (and I don’t mean this in an ironic sense) to ‘Everytime’ by Britney Spears without it transmitting me back to the 00s when I was putting my heart back to pieces.
There’s less research on our reaction to smell. However, in the same way as sound, it can trigger a personal response or revoke a memory. This is why essential oils impact on our mood.
10 best essential oils for lifting your mood
1. Lavender Essential Oil
I’ve always been a bit judgemental towards lavender feeling it was a scent for the older woman… However, I’ve done a complete 180; it’s one of THE most useful essential oils to have in your collection. It’s calming, balancing, and promotes a sense of wellbeing.
2. Orange Essential Oil
All the citrus essential oils have a zesty smell and have a zesty effect on our mood. They’re uplifting and make us feel more positive.
3. Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot is one of my favourite scents. It’s refreshing, uplifting and can help diffuse stress and tension.
4. Frankincense Essential Oil
Helps to balance our emotions and create a sense of inner peace.
5. Cedarwood Essential Oil
Soothes away tension, as well as being calming and relaxing.
6. Lemon Essential Oil
Another zesty scent which invigorates, uplifts our mood and energy levels.
7. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Calming and relaxing. It may also help alleviate anger.
8. Vetiver Essential Oil
Calming, grounding and balancing. Helps with stress and anxiety.
9. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Helps emotional stress, soothing, warming, feeling of self-confidence.
10. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Uplifting, providing relief from mental fatigue and enhances our mood.
How to blend essential oils
Oils from the same family (citrus for example) tend to blend well together.
Spice and citrus blends work well together, such as ginger and lemon, cinnamon and sweet orange.
Woody scents and citrus also blend well. Examples are rosewood and bergamot, cedarwood and lime. Woody scents are said to be grounding and in combination with zesty essential oils will lift your mood.
Add 4 drops of lemon essential oil and 4 drops of ylang ylang to a warm bath just before you step in for a quick pick-me-up. Or if you need an extra boost, try adding 4 drops of mandarin with 4 drops of bergamot to the bathtub to feel wonderfully rejuvenated.
Add 6 drops of lemon, 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of bergamot to a burner or diffuser to lift your mood and make your spirits soar.
We all have to navigate through stressful situations in life. Sometimes by choice: we take on new jobs knowing it might be challenging at first but hope it’ll get easier once we learn the ropes. We move houses and cities, packing up our belongings and living with temporary uncertainty whilst searching out new adventures. We also open our hearts; knowing there’s a risk involved but willing to take it for happiness and what might be.
However, there are other times when life is chaotic and falling apart – and it’s not through choice or decisions we’ve made. We’re a victim of circumstance and what’s happening is out of our control. We can’t control life or death. We can’t always control our health, our financial circumstances or our living situations. We certainly can’t control the actions and behaviours of other people. Sometimes, we have to deal with the cards we’ve been given and it’s not always pretty.
Stress, anxiety, fear and uncertainty become constant companions. We’re only able (at best) to get through the day and it can feel like things will never get better. It’s hard to switch off, give yourself a break or rest enough to be able to think clearly.
Whilst, sometimes those challenging situations can lead to major life changes; often we just have to try and work our way through it until chaos subsides and things start to get easier.
So what do you do when the shit is hitting the fan? Is there a way to navigate choppy and uncertain waters whilst still maintaining an element of calm? How do we create calm amongst chaos?
You can only control what’s in your control
When life feels chaotic; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the smallest decisions. Even simple decisions such as what to eat for lunch can feel difficult and it’s hard to focus when you can’t think clearly. Or the flip reverse happens. We try and control every decision and everyone around us subconsciously feeling it’s the only way we can create some order.
One thing we cannot influence is other people. We can’t control their emotions, behaviours or life choices. And whilst we can point out the impact their behaviour is having on us – we’re not responsible for their actions – only they are. If your focus is trying to diffuse someone’s negativity; your energy will be depleted because you’re fighting a losing battle. Focus on you.
It’s important to recognise we’re only able to control what we’re able to control. Try not to overthink what you can’t. I appreciate that’s easier said than done…
All we can do is try and take responsibility for what’s in our own area of influence. Take baby steps into making smaller decisions and gradually take some control back.
Prioritise what really matters
I know prioritising what really matters sounds like I’m a zen master trying to help you understand that inner happiness is the only real way to find calm out of chaos. However, what I’m talking about is when the chips are down and all you want to do is lie on the floor and let out a guturell roar.
In those circumstances, try and prioritise basic self-care. Remember to eat, get some fresh air and try to do the minimum to keep yourself going. You need your strength.
Try to stop overthinking and over-analysing
I almost feel guilty writing about trying not to overthink or over-analyse because I’ve not yet learnt to do this really myself. Telling me not to overthink is like telling my toddler not to eat sweets put in front of him. What I do know though, overthinking is exhausting. I can spend hours thinking and analysing situations but the reality is, it doesn’t change anything.
What I try to do is everytime one of those thoughts comes into my head is label it with ‘you’re overthinking’ and try and recognise it for what it is. Just being more aware of my thought patterns is helpful.
We have choices in how we react
Whilst we don’t have control over the actions and behaviours of other people, we do have a choice in how we react. Now, again, I’m conscious of not trying to sound like a zen master and suggest you should deal with every situation quietly and calmly. It’s hard to not react when your emotions are triggered.
However, I am suggesting you spend time thinking about those reactions and if you’re making the right choices for you. Can you try and deal with things differently? As much as you might be dealing with a difficult situation, remember people are trying to help you. Or conversely, if you feel you’re triggered by certain people, can you limit the amount of time you spend with them? Can you take some time out for yourself?
Be kind to yourself
The one thing I know about life is that blaming yourself when situations are hard, gets you nowhere. Life is difficult and beautiful – generally at the same time. Beating yourself up will not make the situation any better. It will make you feel far worse.
There may be a chance for self-reflection later down the line where you can think about what you could have done differently. But wait until after the chaos has subsided so you can look at events more objectively and with compassion. Until then, give yourself a break.
Things will get better
All is flux, nothing stays still
As hard as it can be to imagine sometimes, things will get better. The one constant about life is nothing stays the same. You’ll have a good hour, then a good day, and in time you’ll realise the pain isn’t as constant and you can start to move forwards.
Remember challenges lead to growth
The simple truth is none of us want to have to deal with challenges other than the ones of our own making. Most of the time, they’re pretty horrific and it feels like life has dealt us a shitty card. I don’t know if I believe things happen for a reason. What I do believe though is that we learn from difficult situations and they help us grow. We develop resilience. We learn how to navigate our circumstances and come out of the other side. We also know the next time something happens, we’ll be able to create some calm amongst the chaos.
I’m a different person since my Dad died. I look the same (albeit with more grey hair and wrinkles) but my sense of empathy has expanded a hundred times fold. I’m far less judgemental and I understand people better.
I was recently asked to try the Kalme Chameleon Concealer, which promises to take the red out of your face and even out your skin tone. I must admit I had visions initially of a product I tried in the 90s which made my face look so white everyone thought I’d fainted. However, I’m always keen to look for new natural products so decided to give it a whirl.
I’m glad I did as the Chameleon Concealer is a really good product that has now become a make up bag staple.
Dealing with older-age skin (cries)
I’m lucky enough to have skin that doesn’t need foundation, but these days I do find I need some additional coverage to smooth my complexion out. I’ve bought lots of different primers, bb creams, cc creams, you name it – but I tend to find them really drying for my (soon to be) middle aged skin sinking into my wrinkles making me look older. I need a product that smooths over my skin, whilst adding moisture giving me a bit of a youthful glow.
I’m not sure entirely how the Chameleon Concealer works. The product comes out bright green yet blends to your exact skin tone. I’m reasonably pale but I do have an olive undertone to my skin. This product took all the redness out of my face and helped to smooth out any wrinkles and enlarged pores (of which I have many…).
I now use this most days. I’m a lazy make up wearer, however, this is easy to use. It comes in a pump top bottle and all you need to do is rub it into your face. Easy.
It includes a pure mineral SPF20 giving my skin natural protection from the winter sun. It’s free from parabens, perfumes, MI and SLS. It only contains naturally active ingredients formulated for use on very sensitive skin.
However, don’t just take my word for it. Kalme Chameleon Concealer has also won awards in the Independent, Daily Telegraph and Beauty Shortlist awards.
Kalme Chameleon Concealer is available at the Skin Shop and costs £19.99 for 50ml.
I was gifted the Kalme Chameleon Concealer but the words are my own. I don’t recommend products I wouldn’t buy for myself.
It’s not me; it’s you. How to stop someone else’s behaviour from affecting you
I’m sad to say I’ve spent far too much of my life analysing why someone spoke to me in a certain way. What was it about me that made them feel that behaviour was ok? Was it because I lacked confidence, was too young or came across as stupid? Why was I being singled out for negative attention?
I would spend hours thinking of the most withering put downs. Ones where my oppressor would crumble in front of my eyes and I would walk away victorious safe in the knowledge that this would never happen again.
Or I’d daydream about bumping into a billionaire on the street and he’d immediately become so infatuated with me that he’d whisk me away. I would leave the situation behind, whilst putting my virtual two fingers up.
The simple truth is, there are certain characteristics that make you more vulnerable for negative attention. People speak to me FAR differently in my 40s than they did in my 20s. Being young does mean people don’t always treat you with respect. Likewise, I’m sure times when I had less confidence also meant people thought they could get away with it a bit more.
We can’t really control how someone else behaves (sadly) and there are difficult people everywhere. The only thing we really can do is stop someone else’s behaviour from affecting us.
As an aside, I find picking on people who are vulnerable such a horrible thing to do. It says so much about the person doing it and their own weaknesses. We should try and lift people up always.
Bad behaviours are about the person, not you
There are times in my life when I’ve been shorter with someone than was necessary; I’ve taken my frustrations out on someone; or I’ve been a bit of a dick for no real reason.
I can try and justify to myself why I reacted; they were being annoying or were making me feel uncomfortable. But if I’m being really honest, it was about me and how I was feeling about myself at that moment in time. I wasn’t behaving well because I was pretty messed up and rather than dealing with it, I deflected my feelings on to someone else.
If I feel happy and good in myself, I’m kinder and more forgiving towards others. I’m less irritable and less concerned with what other people are doing. I see the best in people and want to support them.
Now, I’m not saying that every time someone behaves badly towards us, we turn the other cheek because we shouldn’t invalidate our own feelings. We matter too. I’m saying this to illustrate poor behaviour is a reflection of the person doing it, not us. Recognising this helps us stop someone else’s behaviour from affecting us.
In my opinion, part of reaching maturity as an adult, is recognising you still need to behave properly towards other people regardless of how you feel inside. There is no excuse.
Recognising toxic situations for what they are
I’m a massive people pleaser and I really want people to like me. I’m lucky in the fact that for the most part they do – which is good, given I work bloody hard to make it happen.
The downside of being a people pleaser is that I don’t always recognise toxic situations for what they are. I’m so used to putting myself second that I forget I have needs too. I will always try to turn things around and make the situation better.
There are some situations that will never get better.
We’re conditioned into believing that if we leave a relationship of any description; romantic, friendship, familial or work, then somehow we’ve failed. We couldn’t make it work.
We haven’t failed. It’s not down to us to fix every situation. There’s more than one person in a relationship and we can’t control how another person behaves no matter how hard we try. We can talk differently, hide ourselves away, walk over eggshells, google how to deal with certain situations and shapeshift as much as we like – but we cannot change someone else’s behaviour. It’s down to them.
Most negative behaviours aren’t that obvious. They’re a slow, steady drip feed of negativity. I’m talking about moodiness, snappiness and generally having to deal with someone else’s BS.
Over a sustained period of time, dealing with another person’s mood swings can be draining and confidence sapping. It’s hard not to take it personally – particularly because our feelings are being completely ignored and that it has an impact on your emotional wellbeing too. This is why it’s really important that we protect our energy field and stop someone else’s behaviour from affecting you.
At the risk of sounding like I’m channelling Harry Potter; this is when we need a cloak of invisible protection.
A cloak of invisible protection is one you put around you to deflect negativity. Every time, someone says something or does something that upsets you, imagine the energy from their words, body language or actions bouncing off your invisible cloak and reflecting back on them.
Boundaries are the equivalent of putting a line in the sand where we say to ourselves; this behaviour has gone too far. They’re individual to all of us because we all have our own ideas of what constitutes poor behaviour. However, it’s really important to have them so we can recognise when our boundaries are being crossed.
Setting boundaries won’t stop poor behaviour or change how everyone behaves towards you. Other people’s choices are outside our sphere of influence. What they do is give you the tools to recognise poor behaviour when it happens so you can think about how or if you want to respond. They also help you stop someone else’s behaviour from affecting you because you can see it’s about their poor choices, and not to do with you.
When speaking up falls on deaf ears
In an ideal world, you would speak calmly towards anyone who’s crossed your boundaries and explain how it made you feel. They would respond maturely because we’re all adults… AMIRITE?
Well, the world isn’t ideal and people aren’t always going to take responsibility for their actions and respond in the way you want them to. However, I’m not sure that fully matters because you’ve still asserted your boundaries, told someone how they’ve made you feel, and who knows, perhaps made them think…
Ps. if the thought of going up to someone to talk about their behaviour makes you feel sick, then it does get easier the more you do it, I promise.
Not everyone is going to like you – and that’s ok
There’s a woman at my nursery who was really friendly to me initially and now is quite rude. I’ve spent time thinking about it and wondering if I’ve talked too much to her husband or done something to offend her.
The simple truth is, it doesn’t really matter. We’re very different people with nothing in common and we never had a friendship in the first place. She doesn’t have to like me and I don’t need to try and work out why. We’re not for everyone – and not everyone is for us.
It’s not me; it’s you
I’m not suggesting that we automatically attribute every situation where someone has behaved badly towards us as being entirely about them. A bit of self-reflection is good – and, gasp.. sometimes we may be at fault or had a part to play ourselves.
What I am suggesting though, is that we don’t automatically use someone else’s behaviour as an opportunity to put ourselves down, zap our confidence and make us feel that somehow we’re not enough.