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Invest in your relationships not solely on making money- the rest comes naturally

We are living in a materialistic, commercial and money-orientated era and it’s hard not to get on the bandwagon of what it means to be successful, both financially and socially. We’re led to believe that success means having a ‘good’ career, a nice home and being a seasoned traveller. While all of these things are not intrinsically bad, and are actually good things to have and be; is money really the only catalyst for these supposed successes? Money is important and I’m not negating this but we often overlook other ways to create these opportunities in our lives.

 

Skill swaps

Does money really make the world go round? Remember good old-fashioned bartering? The exchange of goods and services for someone else’s. Skills swaps are now becoming more prevalent as people realise the currency of exchange doesn’t have to be money. It’s all about who you know, the relationships you build over time that lead to these opportunities and realising the value and potential in something other than money.

 

I recently did a skill swap with a friend; massage treatments in exchange for Spanish lessons. While I realise I paid for the training in massage in the first place to be able to allow me to be in this position, it means that this skill can be exchanged not only for money, but for other skills too. What could be more valuable than that? It doesn’t have to be a mind-blowing skill either that you have to offer, sometimes just doing the odd handy job or cooking a meal may just be the very thing someone else needs. Helpfulpeeps website is just one way this can happen https://www.helpfulpeeps.com

 

Make global friends to see the real world

I’ve been very lucky to travel to many countries over the years and it has definitely not been made possible by pots of gold, but because of the people I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. Of course I needed money for plane tickets and the essentials but having the bestest of friends to visit in their home countries means you can stay with them and see the REAL culture of the country.

 Invest your time in getting to really know people; be curious and make REAL friends. Not for the sole reason of getting something from someone, but just from pure curiosity and interest in someone and their life. It is a far cry from the traditional networking which can be a very detached business, but about making real solid connections that might even last a lifetime. You might be surprised what opportunities arise from that special friendship.

 

I recently visited my American friend of 10 years in Germany where she has just relocated, to be with her partner. As they didn’t live in the city, we did very few touristy things but found local restaurants, bakeries and even swam in a small lake. I got to see what ordinary German life is like with a visit to the local physio centre and the language school as my friend had few errands to run. I’m far more curious about what the GP surgeries are like over there and what people eat for breakfast than traipsing around somewhere that I could see on youtube. This is the stuff that doesn’t cost much money either.

 

I also met a girl on the plane who had also recently moved to Germany. She is British but her family is from Libya and she had a really interesting background. She told me it had been hard to make friends and I knew my American friend and her would get on because of their common interests so I linked her up. It never ceases to amaze me the opportunities we are given, if we only choose to take them up.

 

Good Neighbours shouldn’t be a thing of the past

We spend so much of our time nowadays making sure we can independently look after ourselves and our family unit. We have created an environment where each family unit has to physically own one of everything. Surely not every person in one street needs a lawn mower but that’s the norm. This not only means we need more money to sustain this level of independence but also means we’re creating a whole lot more stuff in the world. Yet, in the past we would have borrowed and shared garden tools with our neighbours (inter-dependence) or borrowed some sugar for that cake we were in the middle of making of rather than dashing out in the car to buy more.

 

I grew up with the neighbourhood culture but somewhere along the line it got forgotten. For the last 5 years I have been very lucky to have lovely neighbours either side of me and for which I’m so grateful. I have learnt a lot from how one particular relationship has emerged and what it means to be a good neighbour. It didn’t come naturally to me and I’m still learning, which may sound odd, but maybe these are unique relationships that perhaps we can rekindle. I have been invited into my neighbours’ homes and felt like part of their families when the children come round to play, I have been looked after when sick and brought an ice cream in hot weather. Phoebe, my cat, now has two extra mummies. To be invited into someone’s life in this way and know that you can call on someone can be such a comfort. Investing in these kinds of relationships brings so much more than might be anticipated.

Re-Root Yourself and invest in relationships of all shapes and sizes. It’ll make you and them feel great!

 

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Mindshift Miracles- what a simple mindshift can help you achieve

I recently started running again and I have noticed how some simple shifts in my mindset have been a game or should I say ‘race changer’ for me.

 

A few years ago, my mental continuum around the 5k Park Run route was mostly ‘ugh! they’re so much faster than me’, ‘must get a grip, I can’t do it!’, ‘I’ll never be as good as them’;  a pretty miserable activity if that’s the inside commentary.

 

I give up!

At the time, I did notice that my inner beliefs were less than flattering thanks to my knowledge of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and I did try to shift this. I began to tell myself that; ‘I can beat them’, ‘if I get past this person, i’ll be winning’, ‘I just need to push myself a bit more’. However, it just turned into a mental battle of ‘yes you can, no you can’t’ and i put way more effort into my mental energy than I probably did into my physical ability.

 

Since I have started running again, I have noticed that I’m enjoying the runs far more; it’s a pleasant experience, I feel stronger, more confident and I am actually getting faster results. This isn’t because I am any fitter but because it’s no longer mental torture. What I have noticed is, that actually it is down to a mindshift.

I have been practising gratitude a lot more over the last couple of years and as I run around the route I thank each of the volunteers, which puts you in a great mood anyway and… I have a completely different attitude towards everyone else who is joining in. They are no longer my competitors but people who are also there to enjoy their own race and achieve their own goals.

 

My inner mantra is now ‘I can do it too’, meaning I no longer come from a place of ‘lacking’ and competition but a place of striving and encouragement of others too. I watch the faster runners and it spurs me on thinking ‘I can have all their boundless energy too’ and miraculously I do, it’s infectious now seeing them stride past me!

 

I have spent many years comparing myself to others and put myself in a place of ‘lacking’ but now I can clearly see the detrimental effects of this. I think for some people, it is natural to want to others to do well and also for themselves to achieve. However, some of us come to learn things on a deeper level later in life and now I’m grateful I have managed to have this insight.

 

I recently watched a documentary about ultra runners who compete to get the fastest record on the Apalacian Trails but instead of seeing each other as competitors, they help each other to beat each other’s records by meeting them at check points on the route and giving advice. Isn’t that just the stuff of meaning! It’s not about winning; but the giving and receiving of strength from others.

 

It comes down to perception. A wise person I know said that actually most things come down to perception and he is absolutely right.

 

So, if a simple mindshift can help a race become more enjoyable, how else can a mindshift help in other areas of our lives…

 

Intentional Lifestyle, Intentional Thinking, Relationships, Uncategorized

Small talk: why it’s more significant to our lives than we might think

“Brrr it’s chilly out there isn’t it!”, “The traffic was horrendous on the way here!” What exactly is this all about? A chain of pretty insignificant details that we probably already know or don’t really care about. Maybe it’s just a British thing, or maybe there is a lot more to small talk than we think.

I work in a clinic where I regularly engage with patients about seemingly minor things like the local traffic, the weather, the news, and often wonder what we both get from this exchange. Is it just pleasantries and the following of social norms that makes us do it, or is it something far more than we realise? After all, why say anything if it doesn’t add any value?

 

Some of us like it more than others

There is something about the unnecessary drivel of small talk that compels us to reciprocate. Some of us like it more than others and actively choose to keep it at that small talk level, happy to play about with pleasantries, the ‘banter’ and laughs that come with it.

I for one, being an introvert, have never really felt comfortable with small talk, it has always seemed pretty trivial and meaningless and I actually just prefer to get straight to the real stuff with a no messing about attitude. However, being in an environment where small talk is a necessity, I can now actually see the value of this so called ‘Britishness’ and what it ultimately gives us.

So why do we bother with small talk?

We are of course social beings; we go stir crazy if we don’t speak to someone for a few days, or at least know that someone is in the same vicinity as us. We seek interaction, exchange and communication of any form but what do we REALLY get from this?

We use small talk to form bonds based on some common ground- the weather is an experience shared by everyone, no matter who we are. No doubt, evolutionary, this was how tribes first formed; they had some common goal that brought them together. How did we get to know the people, we know now, without that initial small talk?

I often observe patients start up conversations with each other about how bad the traffic was and which way they came to avoid the worst of it. So, where does it lead? Well often nowhere in particular, but just that very possibility of being able to start communicating with a complete stranger offers some comfort and solidarity that we’re all in the same boat; essentially we’re not alone.

I’m sure we’ve all been in that place where the only person you’ve spoken to all day is the person at the checkout and we’re grateful for having had the opportunity to speak out loud that day. For some people, especially elderly people, you might be the only person that they have spoken to. So that small talk, even though ‘small’, may be far more significant than you think.

Nowadays, many of us rely on text messages as a form of communication and I don’t know about you but now I’m a member of various whatsapp groups. Just the mere fact that somebody might remember something that you’re doing that day and have the kind thought to ask how it went, goes a long way. So even digital small talk can be significant. I do wonder though about the dangers of relying on this digital presence, rather than a physical face-to-face presence.

So, small talk can be enjoyable if you can get to feel comfortable with it, it can help form bonds, give us a sense of belonging on a very subtle level and be far more significant than I’ve perhaps given it credit for.

 

How to use small talk as a bridge to something even more meaningful?

While small talk in itself is far more significant than i first thought, it can also be the bridge to something else.

Small talk isn’t necessarily engaging conversation, but nevertheless we can still be aware of someone’s tone of voice, the intonation, their facial expressions and this can be the very doorway that can lead us into meaningful conversation, should we choose to take it.

Even in the most trivial of talk most of us can sense when something has irked someone or that they are feeling ‘off’. We might not necessarily dive in with ‘so what’s up with you today?’ but we might ask a little more about their day, or where they’ve been, which gives us more of an indication of the path the conversation could take. Sometimes we let others lead or we lead it ourselves.

 

What do we risk if we don’t take the bridge towards deeper conversation?

“How are you doing?”, “Yeah, I’m good thanks”… and that’s the end of that. We all have a choice whether to probe further or whether we want to be asked more about our day and that is what allows us the self-protection that we need at certain times in our lives. We might be too busy, too overwhelmed or just not want to engage with that particular person and that’s ok.

Sometimes we have a sense that someone doesn’t want to open up, sometimes we take the choice to ask anyway and other times we respect and don’t probe further. What is it that makes us want to open up to some people more than others and what do we risk by not piping up about something that’s crossed our mind? Do we risk not knowing that nugget of wisdom, the chance to build a friendship or a connection that perhaps is on a whole different level to the ones we have experienced before?

Small talk also allows for quick judgments, it does not allow for realisations. (Recently, I went to a talk by a Buddhist Nun and even she said she makes judgements, so don’t worry, you’re not alone). I have been amazed how quickly my view of someone can change upon further insight into someone’s life. The other day, I was with someone I don’t know very well and took a chance by asking more about a namedrop. I found out that the name belonged to his first wife, who had sadly passed away. Without asking more, I would have not have the privilege to be invited into his private world and the experiences he has had to face.

 

What happens when we cross from small talk to deeper conversation?

Just by asking that one question that perhaps catches someone off guard, mentioning something that we both have in common, or asking further about a name-drop, means maybe they have no choice but to offer something more to you than just the small talk that masks what lies beneath. This is the exciting bit. This is the edge between knowing and not knowing, between distance and connection.

Recently, I have been trying to make a real effort to talk to someone I know, who lost his wife only 4 weeks ago. To give your full attention to someone for just 15 minutes can make a real difference. We have chatted about how they first met, the trips they used to go on together and the way he wakes up crying after just having dreamt about her. It would be so easy to stick with small talk even in sensitive situations and avoid having to ask difficult or uncomfortable questions but for that person it may be their only chance to say how they are REALLY feeling.

There is a fine line that is crossed into the more meaningful side of talk which offers us the opportunity to get to know someone a little better, their motives, their cravings, their joys and if we’re really lucky, to know a little of their very soul and what really moves them.

 

 

 

Ultimately we strive for a deeper connection with others whether we really want to admit it or not. Of course we are careful who we choose to let into our world; after all, there is nothing more sacred than our innermost thoughts, wishes, desires which often we find hard to share even with our most intimate partners, friends or family. The possibility though that we could be invited into someone’s private thoughts or that they would allow us to know a little more of them is a very humbling position to be in. Sometimes we have to take ourselves out of our comfort zone – whether it’s to share our own thoughts or feelings with someone else, or it’s to ask someone more about themselves – that is what takes you into a place you wouldn’t have otherwise known. That’s the stuff of meaning!

 

Links:

During my research for this post, I came across this Ted Talk on ‘Big Talk’ asking questions like ‘What do you want to do before you die’?

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Who are we to be perfect? – dealing with perfectionism

Marianne Williamson quotes ‘We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be?’ and rightly so. We should challenge and believe in ourselves, but it is one step too far to ask ourselves to be perfect which many of us can fall into the trap of? Not everyone suffers with the debilitating effects of perfectionism but some of us are more susceptible to it than others, so I wanted to share my experience of dealing with the fine balance of striving to better myself AND letting things go.

 

Societal expectation to be perfect

 

We are surrounded by images of how we should look, ideals of what it is to be successful- a car, a big house full of pretty things and self-help that shows us how to be perfectly emotionally in tune or goal orientated. We’re told the best way to bring up children and run our families. We are also taught from a young age that we need certain grades to achieve, we need to be a certain way to fit in, we need to go to university and get a ‘good’ job. How much of this builds an expectation to achieve in every aspect of our lives and be the perfect model of society? While there is nothing inherently wrong with the above pursuits, it is the self-perpetuating need to be a 10 out of 10 at everything that can lead to disappointment, discontentment and disconnectedness.

 

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist ‘by nature’. I was brought up in a school that prided itself on its students’ high grades and pass rates and have always felt the need to perform well in front of others. I have always got good results but I can honestly say that never made me feel satisfied, it merely gave me a need to achieve the same standard in everything I did. I’m not the only one to feel like this.

 

Self-perpetuation

 

While I strive to lead a fulfilling and inspiring life and make changes for the better, there comes a point when I have to ask myself, how much of this is because I need to be perfect and how much is because I really do enjoy making changes. De-cluttering has been something that has added a huge amount of value to my life but at the same time I have found myself asking questions like; what would be the perfect amount of clutter? If I just got rid of this, would that be better?

 

Once I begin to recognise my perfectionism tendencies I start to wonder how to be ‘perfectly imperfect’, trying to do things that make me imperfect but just for the sake of it and so another spiral begins.

 

The balance

It often feels like there is a fine line between one thing and another, probably a result of my sometimes default black and white thinking but in actuality, there is a definite scale between perfectionism and the opposite of maverick/indifference. A blessing that means while I may want to strive for some things, it doesn’t mean I have to be an absolute perfectionist in everything that I do and that being at the indifference end of the scale in some areas of my life is absolutely fine and in fact very healthy- I just need to let some things go.

 

Letting go

I’m no expert but I’m sure perfectionism and control are inextricably linked, the need to control how something comes out or is, but with control thankfully there is always a choice.

 

Here are some of the things I do to tame the perfectionist in me:

(but remember you don’t have to be perfect and do all of them or any them, do what feels right for you!)

 

  • You can say ‘no’ and learn to say it more often than not. You don’t have to be the perfect friend or colleague. You can be a perfect friend without being perfect.
  • Do something that totally stops you from achieving or ‘doing’ something at every waking moment. I like doing logic puzzles or watching a film so my brain switches off now and again.
  • Sometimes I go with the ‘f**k it’ approach and see what happens rather than thinking it all through.
  • I used to plan a goal to the very last detail and convince myself it wouldn’t work because it wasn’t all in place and perfect. Now I know that I just need to take the next step and follow it with another step.
  • Remember that there are no failures, only feedback and lessons to learn so try it anyway and know that whatever you do is ‘just enough’.
  • ‘Let it go’ meditations – there are hundreds of guided meditations on Youtube- take 10 mins out every day and refocus on you.
  • Find a mantra that works for you, such as ‘I am enough as I am’.
  • Don’t let perfectionism stop you moving forward. Trusting in the process and knowing that things will never be perfect can be very calming.

 

Links:

Goodbye Perfectionism: I’m Done With The Anxiety You Bring: Why breaking up with perfectionism may be your best move ever

How to Overcome Perfectionism: 8 Strategies for Making a Better Life

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Re-connecting in a world of dis-connect

It’s no surprise to most of us, that we are suffering from some ‘dis-connect’. It’s everywhere in the news, but what are we actually doing to re-connect? As we spend hours staring at screens, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, watching videos that have gone viral, reading articles on the latest food fad, comparing the hottest deals and reviews to get the perfect product, we forget the person opposite us; we are dis-connected. I’m as guilty as anyone. It isn’t just our loved ones that we dis-connect from, it’s where our food actually comes from, it’s our communities, it’s the way we live our lives; it’s the meaningful stuff.

Many of us work long hours, are under pressure to succeed and feel the need to earn money to pay for the house that we need to fill with stuff (the false solution to consume more) and don’t feel we have time to eat nutritious unprocessed food. We tend to live in nuclear separateness striving in our own little units rather than relying on community spirit. Our dis-connect is on a much deeper level than I think most of us are even aware.

 

Technology has played a big part in our disconnect and while technology is amazing and it gives us the opportunity to have a voice, to organise, to create things we have never dreamt of its also important to be mindful of when to disconnect and re-connect to yourself.

 

While I am certainly guilty of dis-connect, I am now far more aware of the times when I have disconnected, when I don’t even take a thought as to where my clothes were made or who might have picked the banana I’ve just eaten.

 

My mission for the last 2 years has essentially been to Re-Root and Re-connect and I have found that some things do really work and have found myself coming closer to a more meaningful life than ever before. Meaning doesn’t come from the modern world of consumption, careers, corporations and processed custard- that’s for sure! What I have found is that the mind, body and spirit truly are inextricably linked and we need real connection to the world around us.

 

Ways to Re-connect and Re-Root

While some of these things may seem obvious, how many of us actually take the time to do them?

 

Do what you truly love to do- get back doing the things you used to love doing or take up something new you’d love to do; bike rides, dancing, painting, seeing some old pals. Get in touch with the real you under the distractions and busyness of the modern world. Strip back to the core of what you’re really about and believe in.

 

Switch off for an hour- turn off your devices, your laptop, phone, the TV, get off Facebook, Instagram, Netflix and turn to the people around you. Remind them what it is to have a real face-to- face conversation. Don’t get lost in the endless stream of photos and live feeds. Home is where the heart is as they say. I have deleted Facebook from my phone recently to stop the endless scrolling. I just log on now and again. I have since realised that I wasted sooo much time doing this without even noticing. I still catch myself about to click onto Facebook when I have a spare moment – a day is made up of many moments and I’m not prepared to waste anymore more of mine.

‘The problem is, our need to feel constantly connected has taken the concept of “constant” to a whole new level. We attempt to replace our boredom in mundane situations (public transportation, the three minutes we spend on the toilet) with the entertainment that our screens provide’.

 

Get outdoors- go for a walk around the block, notice the little things you’ve walked straight past during the day. Be in nature and breathe in the goodness.

Light a candle– or get a fire going- there is nothing more therapeutic than watching flames.

 

Travel– go and see the world, be reminded that we don’t live in a bubble and that there are other people living entirely different lives to ourselves.

 

Read- take some quiet time, curled up on the sofa and soak up a novel or delve into something new you knew nothing about.

 

Make space- take some time to get rid of the excess, the stuff that you had to clean around, move around and make some space to breathe and feel calm.

 

Be-selective- when you need to be connected, be mindful and selective about what you actually engage with. Actively seek information rather than being bombarded with a passive stream of newsfeeds and emails.

 

Do nothing- I know scary right… I find this the hardest thing but just sitting with some music and maybe meditating or just watching the birds outside. The stillness…. Ahhh bliss.

 

Volunteer or see a neighbour- go and meet some locals, get re-connected with what it is to live in a community not just as a singular unit existing alongside others.

 

Cook a meal with the freshest ingredients you can find– avoid the synthetic chemical laden foods and choose simple, nutritious food and see what you can create.

The process of re-connecting with what is physically around us rather than focusing on the virtual world and the need to succeed can be a really grounding process and is something many of us are in need of without even knowing. Use your time intentionally; choosing carefully what to do with your precious time.

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Depression and anxiety – I made a promise to myself that I would make my life meaningful from now on

‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’-  Neale Walsh

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We’ve all been there at some point, blaming the world and others for what has happened in our lives. Some of us have had to break to realise that really the only person that can shape our lives is us. We make choices every moment of everyday in how we act, behave, react and live and yet sometimes we forget that those choices create the very life we live. Life can be a series of meaningful realisations, learning and growth if we are open to it.

 

Why I had to stop and challenge myself to make some changes

As you may know from previous posts I have suffered from anxiety and depression over periods of my life. I began to question why some people seemed to be more adaptable, confident, passionate and engaged than I was. I wanted to feel differently about myself because I was just stuck in a rut of comparison and putting myself down. I was miserable and depressed, yet I always tried to show my cheery happy-go-lucky side. My relationships suffered and I felt more detached from myself and others than ever before. I continued with life, doing what I thought I ‘should’ do, what society tells us will make us happy; get a job, find a partner, buy a house, travel, but none of this made me ‘happy’.

 

What happened for me to start making changes?

It wasn’t until 5 years later when a friend introduced me to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) that I began to have the tools and understanding to question my self-perception and the choices that were available to me. I learnt that beliefs and values were powerful tools that I didn’t even know I had, they were so unconscious that I hadn’t even known to question them. I learnt that I could put myself in a better state with just visualisation and associating using all the resources I already had within.

 

I realised that my internal dialogue with myself was less than flattering and showed up a whole heap of insecurities. I recognised that I was beating myself up on such an unconscious level that I had come to believe it myself. After all, what you focus on is what you get. It was time to change the language I used – instead of ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘who says I can’t?’ and ‘what can I do to make sure I do?’

 

I won’t tell you that I am perfect (as I have come to realise that is an endless pursuit), that I am free of feeling bad about myself sometimes or that I have perfect relationships (I’m continually adjusting and trialling and developing how I ‘do’ relationships) but I’m much quicker to spot my habit thoughts and I know how to get myself in a better place with yoga, meditation and focusing on making a difference. I now see it as an exciting journey where I learn something new everyday and continually change my perceptions, judgements and attitudes. I’m learning what really matters in life, what to focus on and where to turn my attention. I’m living intentionally, making deliberate choices about how I spent my time, energy and money.

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What does healing have to do with personal growth?

‘Personal growth’ is the buzz word used to describe what it is to start to make different choices, reflect and learn to be the best version of ourselves. To grow sometimes we also need to heal and unpeel layer upon layer of beliefs about how it is that we ‘should’ behave or how to do relationships and what we believe about ourselves. As children, we absorb ideas of how to live through our parents and guardians. We often unquestionably believe that this is the only way to do things, and why wouldn’t we? It is not that we should blame parents as they too learn their ways from their parents. This is where we have to step up and take responsibility for our own lives. We have to pave our own way, stumble when we make mistakes and get back up to rebuild and create a new path. It’s not easy and it’s not meant to be, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

 

It’s a unique path

This comes to some of us earlier on in life and others much later and really it doesn’t matter when, but what is important is why you decide to start to make changes. We have all led incredibly unique lives with their own challenges that cannot possibly mean we all should believe the same thing or that we should all live the same way.

 

Where to start?

Life’s most important things: Relationships, Personal Growth, Health, Contribution and Passion. Take time to cultivate growth in all of these areas of life; if we were to work on just one area, the others would suffer. For example, if we just worked on our health and spent no time with loved ones, our relationships would crumble or if we put all our energies into our passion/work we could easily become complacent in looking after ourselves.

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Time to Re-Root

  • There’s always something to learn

The biggest idea that has made a difference in my life is be curious and learn more through reading books, blogs, articles and listening to podcasts and TED talks. I can still remember the day when I decided that it was something that I wanted more of in my life. One of my biggest fears was to be boring to others. I knew deep down that I wasn’t but I felt it was hard to portray that to people, being an introvert. My general knowledge was pretty shocking and even now I will miss jokes (thankfully now I’m more comfortable with this) and the only way to improve that was to soak up information. The important thing was it had to be interesting to ME, not anyone else. I was doing this for me, so why would I read things that other people thought I should read (although obviously I am open to recommendations). Since then I have read more books in the last 2 years than I have my whole life before then. I naturally began to make connections between new and old information.

 

  • Get to know the good, the bad and the ugly about yourself

If you never question ‘why?’ or ask yourself ‘what the heck am I doing this for?’, it’s meaningless. Ask these questions and it becomes meaningful. Get to know the real reasons you do things, sometimes it’s not pretty and sometimes it might just reveal what you really are passionate about. Question your own beliefs, patterns and thinking.

 

  • Do things you thought you couldn’t

I didn’t think I could write. I was told I was ‘not much of a writer’ at school and of course I believed this for many years. I am certainly no expert but I have my own style and with editing support from Helen I am much better and I intend to improve. ‘How to write better’ by The Minimalists is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in writing.

 

  • Do things you thought you wouldn’t like

It’s easy to brush off the unknown, but whether you do or don’t like it, the thing that really matters is experiences and that you’ve learnt something new. Be open and receptive, do things that make you uncomfortable and challenge you; you never know what might come of it.

 

  • Ask questions, remain curious

We assume so many things about people, we mindread and we judge; we’re human. However, if we can be curious and ask questions, this automatically places us in a more accepting state. I’ve often dismissed ideas and concepts that I don’t think fit with my values as I can be very black and white, but I’ve come to realise there is some value in everything as long as I am open to it.

 

  • Spend time with people that inspire you and don’t be afraid to let some people go

I spent a long time holding onto friendships and relationships that weren’t really adding to my life and often were more draining than anything else. Seek out people who make you interested in life.

 

  • Model people

Is there someone that does what you want to do, really well? Watch them, ask them questions, find out their beliefs, listen to them and begin to model some of their behaviour in your own life.

 

  • Keep fit, eat well

Without health we have nothing. I eat well so that I feel good. Remember food is fuel, first and foremost; it is not entertainment. Don’t diet, just eat well and don’t totally deprive yourself of treats now and then. Exercise so that you feel that buzz, that achy feeling knowing you’ve worked hard and keep up those serotonin levels that keep us happy!

 

  • Question the conventional- there is always another way

I spent a long time thinking that there are ‘right’ ways to do things but in reality, people do things very differently but get the same results and it means do what is right for you and not anyone else. Trust in your own instincts.

 

  • Work on your priorities

We have limited time, so make that time count. That time should include down time and time to focus on your priorities. Our relationships, work, health and passion should all be a part of this. If we simplify our priorities, we can focus on them.

 

  • Be creative

There is no point in growth if it is not utilised- get creative, use your right brain and your left brain equally. Marry them up and see what can be created.

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.26.43

Want some more inspiration?

Check this article out for 50 ways living life on your own terms.

Happy Re-Rooting people!

 

Uncategorized

Stress – my experience, and the rollercoaster of a ride that is the journey back to wellness

For someone who spends a huge amount of time focussing on wellbeing and mental health, it comes as a shock to me to find myself signed off work with stress.

I am a huge advocate of good mental health and actively practice many ways to keep myself well. I exercise, eat healthily, and walk everywhere, I regularly do yoga and I meditate every day. I am especially conscious of the impact of work on wellbeing, and as a preventative measure I opted to reduce my working hours this year so that I now work over 4 days, having a regular day to myself to focus on self-care. I also have a very supportive and caring network of family and friends who I surround myself with. I even blog about intentional living and the importance of wellbeing! All in all, I am pretty good at taking care of myself and frequently remind others to take care of themselves too, so how on earth did I end up here?

The combination of a low immune system coupled with a huge amount of pressure at work has gradually spiralled (without me really noticing) to a point where, despite all my wellbeing strategies, I could no longer cope. All the physical symptoms of being run down (lethargy, headaches, exhaustion, etc.) had been manifesting for a long time, but I pushed through and kept plodding on. Breaking point for me came in my mid-year review at work when I was able to articulate all the things that were affecting me negatively and to admit that I felt totally overwhelmed. Encouraged by my line manager, I agreed to take a few days off to get myself well again.

However, I don’t think at that point I actually had any idea of how bad things really were. It was only when I had acknowledged out loud to another person that my current work situation was unmanageable that it dawned on me – it really wasn’t manageable, and I wasn’t managing! My body had been trying to warn me for weeks (maybe even months) and I was only just beginning to listen to it.

I don’t really do ‘ill’, and prior to this current stint I have only taken a handful of sick days in almost 15 years at my current workplace – I just get on with things. So after 3 days of ‘recovery’ I planned to return to work. The night before going back I felt anxious and I couldn’t eat. The day of return I got up, got ready, but couldn’t bring myself leave the house. I tried calling the doctor’s surgery to get myself an emergency appointment that day but couldn’t get through, so not knowing what else to do, I set off for work. I didn’t make it to the end of the street before I had tears streaming down my face and it was at that point I realised that I was nowhere near ready to go back to work.

After a tearful appointment with the GP the following day, I emerged from the surgery with a diagnosis of stress, a 2-week sick note and instructions to have immediate blood tests to rule out any physical causes. The first few days I felt fairly good and began to convince myself that I shouldn’t be off, I should be at work – I was fine really (cue huge waves of guilt!) However, I know now that the good feeling was just relief at not having to even think about work for a while, and being able to focus instead on getting myself well. This was also temporary as only a few days later I felt awful. I was suffering with symptoms of an infection, was totally wiped out and had no motivation to do anything. This was only a few weeks ago, but that time is a huge blur. I know I got up each day, I went out regularly for walks, I definitely ate (mainly because my husband cooked and fed me!) and I slept – a lot. But I was not myself at all. I had been feeling low for a long time, but now the world was entirely flat and grey, and I felt numb.

At a further appointment, it was revealed that my blood test results had identified a substantial vitamin D deficiency – something which my doctor explained would be the likely cause of someone feeling exhausted, run down, picking up constant infections, unable to cope at work … pretty much everything I was experiencing! Armed with a 15-day course of industrial strength vitamin D, and various other medications for the multiple infections I had acquired, I left the appointment with renewed hope. It was a huge relief to know that there was an underlying physical reason as to why I felt so low. I knew that I was already doing all the right things to keep my mental health in shape (exercise, diet, fresh air, yoga, meditation, friends, etc.) and was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t emerge from the bleak place I found myself in.

Retreat

 

An off-grid coastal weekend retreat with one of my best friends in the world was something I’d already booked before being signed off work, and it felt like exactly what I needed. So a few days later we set off to Anglesey with a small bag (filled mainly with medication, vitamins, natural remedies and essential oils!), walking boots and our waterproofs. The weekend retreat, led by Helen of Venture7Coaching, enabled me to totally switch off and I returned feeling refreshed and revived. The following day I met up for a meal with my close friends, and still feeling positive I reassured them that I was much better, and would no doubt be back at work a few days later when my sick note ran out …

Then I crashed, quite spectacularly! Whilst the weekend had done wonders for my mental wellbeing, physically it had probably been too much, too soon. By Tuesday I was utterly wiped out and back to functioning on a basic level – just getting through each day again. I extended my sick note and began to wonder if I would ever feel well again. This persisted for almost a week before I felt like I could do anything useful. The following Monday (this week) I cleaned the bathroom, and still had energy when I’d finished (small victories!) – it was a good day. Tuesday, and Wednesday have also been good. By Thursday I was even up and out of the house before 8:30 am for the first time in weeks! I’m now getting back into doing ‘normal’ things on a daily basis. I am also starting to think about the future again (planning a girlie holiday with my amazing friends) and after weeks of grey it feels like the sunshine is finally starting to peek through the clouds. And this brings me to today – today I feel really well – I feel much more like ‘me’ again. Today I am actually writing this blog post, something which I love doing but haven’t had the energy or motivation to try for months!

I am hopeful that this means that I’m on my way back up now, but I’m also aware that there may be further lows, and I may crash again. Recovery from stress is a rollercoaster. My mental and physical health are up and down, often not in tandem with each other. While the ‘sunshine’ moments have not endured, they are far more frequent and reassure me that I will once again return to a place where happiness is my natural state. I am due to return to work soon, but I am not making any immediate decisions, or taking any feelings of wellness as a sign that I’m better. I have begun to realise that wanting to be well enough to go back to work, is not the same as actually being well enough to go back to work.

Stress can, and does affect anyone. It is not a sign of weakness, but can leave you feeling drained and powerless. I am lucky that I have amazing friends and family around me as I work on getting myself well again. So as I fight off the tail-end of this infection and recover my energy levels, I will keep on taking the vitamins, walking, meditating and being around positive people. Here’s to more days where the sunshine breaks through, and the hope that before long I will again feel well and joyful every day 🙂

Full of Joy

Useful Links:

Coastal retreat: Venture7Coaching https://www.facebook.com/Venture7Coaching/?pnref=story

Meditation: Calm https://www.calm.com/

Uncategorized

Why and how I’m making a move towards Zero-Waste

I was never a big one for green issues despite growing up in a household where composting and recycling have always been the norm. I thought it was just a goody two shoes phenomenon. It’s only in the last year or so that I have become more interested in a zero-waste lifestyle.  That isn’t to say I lead a zero-waste lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination, but I am much more aware of what I’m using and wasting and consequently now I’m working towards having much less of an impact on the environment.

 

star fish

I have wondered in the past how much of a real difference one person can make when it comes to ‘saving the planet’ but I’ve come to realise that:

  1. a) one person really can make a difference to their own life and contribute to saving the planet at the same time – bingo!
  2. b) the more I have become aware of the excess in my life, I can now see it in all aspects of my life.

 

Some perspective in the form of number crunching

  • The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year. Put together, this comes to a total of 31 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the weight of three and a half million double-decker buses, a queue of which would go around the world two and a half times.
  • We produce and use twenty times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago.
  • UK households throw away between £250 and £400 of potentially edible food every year
  • The UK produces more than 100 million tonnes of waste every year, one tonne is about the weight of a small car. In less than two hours, the waste we produce would fill the Albert Hall in London, and every eight months it would fill Lake Windermere, the largest and deepest lake in England!
  • At least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
  • 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found.
  • Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic.
  • A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. An animal that dies from the bag will decompose and the bag will be released, another animal could harmlessly fall victim and once again eat the same bag.
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Rubbish captured on Thailand beach that I visited

https://www.cbenvironmental.co.uk/docs/Recycling%20Activity%20Pack%20v2%20.pdf

Plastic Statistics

 

Is zero-waste a step too far?

 

Zero-waste implies the obvious, absolutely no waste. To achieve that in today’s modern world, would be quite impressive. Wherever you go it is hard to avoid encountering items that essentially will become landfill, right from the coffee cup you grabbed on the way to work to the milk carton that you used to make the cup of tea when at work. Plastic and other non-biodegradable items have made their way into every aspect of our lives making it hard to even contemplate going zero-waste; kids toys, drinks, convenience food, food packaging, bathroom products, stationery, furniture… the list goes on. Nevertheless, ‘less is more’ and if we can create less waste, make more meaningful decisions about how we consume and live our lives, we and the planet will be all the better off for it in the long run.

 

I certainly didn’t approach my journey with this head on because it was just far too overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. However, once I became aware of the concept I started to see waste everywhere! This post is designed to inspire you and offer ideas about how you might start to make a difference in your own life and local community.

 

 

Waste you might not have thought about before?

 

In our fast-paced, convenience driven world it’s easy to go through our day without even questioning what disposable stuff we have used. Its only when we really start to think about it, that we realise how waste ends up in landfill or in the sea.

 

  • Tissues – until this year I never really thought twice about going through a whole box of tissues while I had a cold.  They just decompose right? Well yes they may do but if you put them in the bin they go to landfill where it probably takes longer for them to decompose than they would in your own compost bin full of rotting veggies. That’s my not so scientific take on it. The zero-waste option you ask? The good old handkerchief has made a comeback in my life. I bought 15 organic handmade cotton super soft small hankies from Etsy which I can bung in with my washing once a week. These are so soft that disposable tissues just don’t cut it now! They may have come from across the world (I didn’t really factor those environmental impacts in which I will now try to consider in future purchases) and cost me a small fortune in postage, but I have saved at least £30 year and saved the planet from my snotty tissues.https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/94636645/12-perfect-little-cotton-hankies-organic?ref=similar_listings_row

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  • Cotton wool pads – I now use fewer chemical cosmetic products in my daily regime but I was using cotton wool pads to remove my make-up (note: coconut oil is a great natural, cheap non-chemical alternative). Every day I would use two pads that would get thrown in the bin. Since starting my zero-waste venture I started to feel guilty about this and looked for alternatives. I came across these great UK handmade washable super soft cotton pads (6 for £7 including postage) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Earth-Softly-Washable-cleansing-pads-NEW-Washable-Face-Pads-/231062347591

 

  • For the ladies out there – moon cups! A revelation to me when I started researching alternatives and feeling guilty about the tampons and sanitary towels that end up in landfill. Surely there has to be a better guilt-free way? Yes there is, in the form of a moon cup. This is a small silicone menstrual cup that can be emptied into the shower. It takes a little time to get used to but there are even videos on YouTube to help you avoid any mishaps! Although I haven’t experienced this in my short trials, some ladies have said they get less period pain – bonus! http://www.mooncup.co.uk/?gclid=CjwKEAiArvTFBRCLq5-7-MSJ0jMSJABHBvp0Q-ReLucdaXbPUZ4-A8040ForsA3Ez1IgV__eO6xFkhoC-Rvw_wcB

 

Other areas to consider

  • Bottles drinks and cans – get a favourite plastic free bottle and let it be your best friend.
  • Packaging on fruit and veg – If you are shopping at a supermarket put your veg and fruit straight into the trolley or basket, (you’re going to wash it anyway!), use paper bags if you have to, or even better shop locally at a farm shop to support your local community (they use less packaging usually too!)
  • Cosmetic bottles – If you make your own cosmetics you can re-use your bottles/jars to store them in. Also, buying ingredients in bulk causes less waste or you can source what you need from somewhere that uses less packaging.
  • Plastic free cotton buds
  • Carrier bags – take a thin fold up bag when you go out for any purchases that you make, so you are not taking a disposable plastic carrier bag each time you purchase something.
  • Buying hot drinks – what happens to all those disposable cups for your coffee or tea? We throw away 2.5bn cups in this country every year. Cups that have been treated with something called polyacetylene, making it coffee-proof but also very hard to recycle. Take a cup with you. Helen bought an Ecoffee cup and which she takes with her when out and about http://ecoff.ee/
  • Cling film/foil- this is something we often use without even questioning the impact plastic has on the planet. Think of those cute sea turtles! Instead why not try containers or jars or over bowls with plates.
  • Takeaway cartons-  be a devil ask for your takeaway in your own container!
Helen and her Ecoffee cup
Helen and her Ecoffee cup

These are just some examples of where you can make positive changes really quickly and simply. Once you start to adapt to these steps you will no doubt find yourself identifying more areas in your own life where you can consider zero-waste alternatives.

 

To maintain this:

  • Remember, having less stuff means we have less waste to consider.
  • Non-essential items ultimately create a waste product, so buy intentionally – fully consider the impact if you don’t use the item.
  • Recycle what you can (see your local council website for what you can and can’t recycle in your area).
  • You will need to carry some essential items with you: carrier bag, cup, container, so consider what you will need before leave the house/planning and preparation.
  • You won’t be able to stop waste all at once – ease yourself into it gradually.

 

People who are really going for gold with zero-waste, some producing only a jar full of waste per year:

http://www.trashisfortossers.com

http://robgreenfield.tv/trashme/

http://myzerowaste.com

http://www.zerowastehome.com/about/bea/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/22/zero-waste-millennial-bloggers-trash-greenhouse-gas-emissions

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

 

Uncategorized

How adding one habit to my day turned into a routine and now a lifestyle-Sally

Having suffered with depression and anxiety for periods of my life, I now recognise the importance of routine and habits in keeping those feelings at bay. I now have more get up and go, I’m fitter, I’m healthier, I look after myself and even more importantly for me, I have more time to create my purpose/passion in life. It doesn’t mean I jump out of bed everyday bursting with energy but it does mean most days I wake up, I do less thinking and more ‘doing’. I’m actively choosing how I spend my time so that my needs are met first before my day even starts. Guess what… this even means I now have an early night routine too with plenty of reading and down time!

Break down

I didn’t fully appreciate what is to live intentionally until a year ago when I had a break down. I had to stop, really listen to myself, pay attention to what I felt and re-evaluate. Living intentionally means to make deliberate choices that ultimately meet your values in life. By re-evaluating I knew I needed to re-root myself in who I was and decide how I was going to live my life day to day to reflect that.

Stop and re-calibrate

I had enough self-awareness by then through previous counselling to know that I needed to make some changes. I knew that I needed to take time off work and re-calibrate. I did just that. It was a few weeks in, that I made a conscious decision to honour myself and give myself time and space each day to reground myself and reconnect with where I was. I had never felt comfortable in my own space and would always look for something to do, something to distract myself. I was rarely just being. This was what I needed.

Freedom

Starting small

I knew I had to make this a regular thing to be able to sustain my equilibrium. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with more things I ‘had to’ do but I just wanted one thing that would give me this time. I started by choosing to do yoga for just 10 mins every morning.

 

One habit turned into a routine

This one habit turned out to be the best thing that I could have done. My routine turned into a longer routine (into a number of habits) and is now a lifestyle choice. At the end of my yoga session, I have added a 10 minute meditation and I also set an intention for the day. I then sit down for my breakfast, really taking my time and enjoying good healthy food to start my day.

brekkie

Making exercise part of my routine

Everyone knows exercise is good for us, it’s everywhere in the news and on social media. Despite knowing this, I wasn’t doing regular exercise. I even knew how important exercise was for depression and anxiety from my psychotherapy training but I didn’t fully understand just how important until experienced this for myself.

Just by adding 10-20 minutes of yoga including stretches and abdominal exercises I feel massively better in myself. Abdominal exercises are so important for things like depression and anxiety to release the build-up of toxins. I’m no yoga or exercise expert but these particular exercises in this video really helped kick start me into feeling more myself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nq_SkQHmvA

 

Passion and purpose

In making time to feel healthier and more myself, I began to want to work on myself-esteem and this meant finding something I was really connected to and that I felt gave me a purpose. That’s where Re-root comes in.

Having seen myself, friends and the students I supported at university struggling with mental health, I wanted to find a way to help. I wanted to share different ways of thinking and living that might inspire people to make changes that will have a positive impact on their lives. So here we are- making time to write blogs has now become part of my routine. I’m working on making it a more regular habit so we’ll see how that goes. Experiment commences!

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What else do I want to become part of my routine?

Humans are naturally social animals (even introverts) and it is important for us to belong to groups and quite often believe in something bigger than ourselves, so it is no surprise that many of us are drawn to giving back to our communities. The Minimalists, who both Helen and I listen to on a regular basis, call this ‘contribution’. Research shows that this can give us far more happiness than extrinsic things like money and stuff. So as part of my routine, I am working on building in time to volunteer at my local community farm, Burscough Community Farm (a fantastic place if you want to see people coming together to grow organic food and learn new skills).

Burscough community farm

 

To re-ground and reconnect with yourself, in whatever way, is to live intentionally.

These habits are all things I can control and I have a choice about. I have made myself stronger and healthier both physically and mentally and I now build in time for the things that give me purpose. To live intentionally is do things that add value to your life and purpose is what makes life meaningful.

IMG_8043

 

How to?

While I want to share some of the ‘how to’s’ on habit forming, please be aware this isn’t a post about ‘how to’ recover from depression or anxiety as there are so many factors that come into play when working to treat this.

If you want the ‘how to’ and science of how to form habits, this blog post is excellent. He clearly explains how habit forming can be broken down into 3 R’s, the reminder, the routine and the reward http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change.

 

Morning and night routines

If you want a morning routine to set you up for the day whether it’s just an extra 10 minutes of your morning, it will more than likely mean going to bed an extra 10 minutes earlier. I decided to go to bed at 10:30pm, read for 15 mins and get up at 6:45am but choose what is right for you. A night routine is as important as a morning routine. Scrolling through Facebook at night before bed or catching up on that last episode will only keep your mind active. Have an hour before bed of ‘no screen time’, have a bath, make time to read (get interested in something new) or just lie on your floor with some chill out music. Do whatever will give you down time so you get a good night’s sleep and feel fresh in the morning ready for whatever you CHOOSE to do with your time.

 

Good questions to ask yourself

  • What do I want to do more of in my life?
  • Is my motivation clear in my head?
    • Why am I going to spend my time this way?
    • What value will it add to my life?
    • If I do this, what will it give me?
  • How do I want to fill my time?
  • What short terms actions can I take to meet my long term values? (The Minimalists)
  • What habits do I already have in my life that I can use to remind me to do my new habit?
  • We also have habit thoughts – are there some thoughts that you wants to change?

 

Remember these things:

  • Start small, one habit at a time.
  • Be patient with yourself, some days you just won’t want to do it (you’re human!) but don’t let that be your excuse for giving up on your ‘you time’.
  • Remember that once you have formed a habit or routine that they don’t have to be set in stone and you can change and adapt them as your values and beliefs change.
  • Accept that sometimes changes in circumstances or situations can interrupt routines – flexibility is key. Sometimes you gotta go with the flow and that’s ok!
  • Happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a vacation, a job, or money. It starts with your thinking and what you tell yourself every day- Marc Angel.

Please share any ways that you create habits or routines- we want to know how you do it too!

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Everyday Practices, Healthy living, Intentional Lifestyle, Natural Beauty, Uncategorized

Natural Beauty

My journey into Minimalism has had many unexpected benefits, including making more intentional and deliberate decisions about purchasing the products I use, both around the house and the cosmetics I use. Whilst I am well aware of the detrimental effects of chemicals in our foods and other products, this has not always been  reflected in my actual purchases.

 

The move towards intentional skincare

I have always tried to purchase natural and organic products, but usually resort to standard mass produced hair care products, shower gels, hand creams, etc. This summer however I decided to be more intentional in my skin care. My first act was to replace my shower gels with an organic bar of soap. The benefit of using a good quality soap is that not only does it work without all the additional chemicals that a shower gel contains, but it lasts for ages too. I am now a convert to soap and am enjoying trying out various different organic varieties to find out what suits my skin best.

 

Creating my own natural products

One major source of frustration for me for many years has been the lack of a good natural deodorant that actually works! After much research I found a simple recipe and decided to try and make my own. Consisting of only 3 ingredients (coconut oil, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils) it is homemade, organic and smells divine! It is without a doubt the best, and most effective, deodorant I have ever used.

The experimental deodorant was so successful that I then decided to see how easy and beneficial it would be to make my own natural facial skin care products. Research revealed many varied and wonderful ways of creating natural skin care, so I decided to start simply and create things with just a few ingredients. I read a lot about the oil cleansing method (both good and bad) and decided to give that a go to start, creating a cleanser out of coconut oil and lavender essential oil. As noted when I did my research, it can take a couple of weeks for skin to adapt to the change, and this was the case as my skin initially broke out. However it was definitely worth persevering with as now my skin is incredibly clear and soft. While I realise that this won’t work for everyone, it has worked really well for me so far.

Even with home-made natural products it is still important to find what works best for your skin, and this may involve a bit of trial and error! I did find that sometimes I wasn’t quite clearing away all the dirt, so I investigated alternatives and finally settled on an apple cider vinegar based toner. Using this in combination with the oil cleanser has worked brilliantly.

img_3295

I have since created and tried out various other products too, so I am now using;

Face:

  • Lavender Coconut Oil Cleansing Lotion
  • Green Tea Exfoliator
  • Honey and Aloe Cleanser
  • Green Tea Exfoliator
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
  • Cocoa Butter Moisturiser
  • Tea Tree & Lavender Facial Oil

Body:

  • Chocolate and Peppermint Body Butter
  • Vanilla Body Butter
  • Green Tea Body Exfoliator

Hair

  • Lavender and Peppermint Conditioner

 

How have my routines changed?

Before changing to this natural skincare regimen, my morning routine used to consist of; foaming face wash, milk cleanser/toner, anti-aging serum and a moisturiser. Today I use a vegetable fibre sponge with water – that’s it! My previous evening routine was similar to the morning routine, with the addition of a face oil before the night-time moisturisers. Now I use one of the natural cleansers (lavender coconut oil, or honey and aloe) and a bit of homemade toner to clear any extra dirt from the day, and I’m done. Occasionally I use some lavender and tee tree oil overnight which ensures that my skin feels extra nourished and soft. Not only is my skin benefitting from the change to natural, homemade skin care, but I am also benefitting from extra time in my day as my skincare routine is so much quicker and easier. Less is most definitely more!

 

What I have discovered about my skin:

  • My skin looks and feels the healthiest it has ever been (people have even commented on how good my skin looks now!).
  • My skin no longer needs an extra product to moisturise as it always feels hydrated and healthy. I no longer have flaky patches of dry skin anywhere (I occasionally use a cocoa butter based cream to moisturise if I have just been in the shower or swimming, but I do not need anything on a day to day basis).
  • My whole skin tone looks healthier. The patches of discolouration I had have reduced, and my skin tone has evened out, being smoother and softer than it has ever felt before.

img_3294 

Making my own natural skincare products has been an eye-opener. It has always made sense to me that natural products with fewer ingredients would be better for skin, however it has still taken me by surprise how well my skin has responded to the change. I can’t believe that I didn’t do this sooner! Creating and using these recipes has given me the confidence to research more into natural skincare and I’m planning to develop some of my own products soon.

As with any type of skincare, it is important to find out what works best for you. But if you want to give it a go yourself, why not check out some of the recipes I tried, (see below) or find your own?

Lavender Coconut Oil Cleansing Lotionhttp://newleafwellness.biz/2014/05/15/lavender-coconut-oil-lotion/

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner http://cocnutandkettlebells.com/diy-apple-cider-vinegar-facial-toner

Natural Deodoranthttps://www.davidwolfe.com/homemade-coconut-oil-probiotic-deodorant/

Green Tea Exfoliatorhttp://livesimply.me/2015/07/03/diy-homemade-green-tea-exfoliator/