Browsing Tag:

mindfulness

5 ways to practice being present in the moment

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There are some people in our lives who are so totally our opposite, it can feel as though the two of us come from different planets. 

 

We have our similarities of course – or we would never have become friends – but I often find it is our differences that bring us together.

 

Just like the old saying goes…Opposites attract. 

 

My boyfriend, Dom, and I are exactly like that.

 

I am a flurry of activity, prepared for every eventuality, constantly thinking about the next step. He is content to remain in the same place, isn’t worried about what’s next, isn’t in a hurry to get anywhere.

 

I am in a hundred places at the same time, whereas he is always present, living in the moment, inherently mindful.

 

These facets of our personalities clash spectacularly as you can imagine. 

 

I am tapping my foot, ready to go, waiting beside the front door. He is simultaneously putting on his shoes, checking the oil in his car and sweeping the kitchen floor. 

 

I am carefully writing out and sticking to a shopping list. He is excitedly stuffing things into the supermarket trolley like a kid in a candy store. 

 

I am making everyone dizzy with all of my plans. He is happily pouring his cereal and opening up the next chapter of his book.

 

How can he be so content just living from moment to moment? Isn’t he worried about the future? Isn’t he concerned about how much milk we have left or whether he remembered to turn the oven off or what he said to that person last week?


 

My frustration is pointing out what I need to fix, not with Dom, but within myself.

 

This desperate need to rush, this constant feeling of needing to get something done, the way I resist being still and captivated in the wonder of moments. 

 

Dom doesn’t need to speed up, I need to slow down. 

 

My laser-focus on tasks, productivity and organisation is causing me to miss the big picture or perhaps, the small picture. All those sweet, silly moments that I’m always bulldozing through in my hurry to stick to my rigid plans.

 

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers like grains of sand in a hourglass. If only I knew how to pause it for a second, to open my eyes to what is right in front of me. 

 

The precious hugs that I hold so briefly before I strain to get back to the vegetables I was chopping.

 

The satiny, morning sun in the living room that I glance over while I’m rushing to make the house perfect before our friends arrive for breakfast. 

 

That warm, cozy feeling of being snuggled in bed that I jump from so that I can tackle my to-do list immediately. 


 

And this constant rushing feeds my anxiety.

 

I am always afraid of what is coming next because I am always thinking about, and living in, tomorrow.

 

What I need, is to start living right here, in today. I need to practice being present in the moment. 

 

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So these are my tips for those of you who come from the same planet as me (the hyper-focused, super-organised, stressed-out one). Let’s try to slow down.

 

5 ways to practice being present in the moment

 

Stop worrying about tomorrow

 

I really need to schedule an appointment to get my wisdom teeth taken out and I have been worrying about it for months.

Almost every day I have been worrying about making the call, paying for the procedure, getting the teeth out and the inevitable pain I will feel afterwards. 

 

But the other day I realised something – I am not getting my wisdom teeth out today – and therefore I do not need to worry about all those things today.

 

Each day has plenty of worries without me adding tomorrows worries too!

 

So this is my question for you: Is the thing you are worrying about happening today?

 

If yes, then it is perfectly acceptable to feel concerned about it.

If not, then remind yourself that today you are safe. You have nothing to worry about today

 

 

Rest in gratitude

 

When something makes me feel especially happy, I enjoy it for approximately one second and then I feel terribly afraid that this thing is going to be taken away from me.

 

I call this self-sabotage, Brene Brown calls it ‘foreboding joy.

A way of protecting ourselves from the worse-case-scenario by playing it out in our heads. And according to Brene, the antidote to this miserable way of thinking, is gratitude. Daring to be vulnerable and choosing to feel the joy over the fear.

 

When you feel that rising panic about something going horribly wrong- give thanks. 

 

 

Notice your joy

 

So often, we don’t allow ourselves to fully enjoy a moment. We cloud our happiness with our pent up anger, sadness and fear.

 

When a moment strikes you as being absolutely delightful, when your chest swells and your laughter rings out, take a second to soak in that joy.

 

Notice how it makes you feel. Stay here awhile instead of rushing off to do the next thing. 

 

5 ways to practice mindfulness and being present in the moment. As someone who tends to rush from one thing to the next I need to consciously choose to slow down and rest. Being present has helped me feel less anxious and much happier. I hope these 5 tips will help you too!

 

Be intentional on social media

 

It can be all too easy to use social media as an escape. A chance to numb ourselves and avoid whatever is going on in our real lives.

 

We can sometimes let hours slip by as we scroll mindlessly through our newsfeed, without even stopping to notice or connect with anyone else.

 

Try to be intentional when you are online. Use those apps to actually connect with people. Leave thoughtful comments, share something you found valuable, add to the community rather than skimming over the posts you see. 

 

 

Focus on one thing at a time

 

We like to think that if we do two things at once we are being more efficient but in reality, we are more likely just doing a bad job of two things instead of a good job of one.

 

I am not a fan of multi-tasking. I say focus on one thing and give it your full attention.

 

When I am driving, I can’t also be texting (mostly because that’s illegal but also because it is distracting.)

When I am talking to someone, I can’t also be editing a photo for Instagram.

When I am studying, I can’t also be on Facebook (although, if I am honest, I never really adhere to this.)

 

You just can’t be in two places at once. Be all here.


 

You know I am glad that we aren’t all the same. The world needs both of us. People to make things happen, to plan ahead, to get the job done today. And people to encourage us to rest, to keep us grounded, to remind us of the importance of being present in the moment.

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting

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Most of us now understand that dieting doesn’t work. We’ve stopped drinking the awful meal replacement shakes. We don’t weigh ourselves every single morning. We do our best to eat more healthy food, to eat less unhealthy food and to move our bodies more. 

 

I’m delighted to see this shift in attitudes toward our bodies and the way we take care of them. 

 

And yet, sometimes I still find myself frustrated with the way diet culture manages to sneak back into people’s way of thinking. 

 

Occasionally I will have to bite my tongue to prevent myself getting ranty when people start telling me about their “healthy eating plans.”

 

These scientifically-proven, weight-loss claiming, celebrity-endorsed ways of eating that people are quick to defend, ‘it’s not a diet!’

 

I get the struggle though. It can be really confusing to know what to eat and what not to eat when there is so much information and misinformation bombarding us every day. 

 

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting, intuitive eating, mindful eating, eating mindfully, mindfulness, practicing mindfulness, intentional living, simple living, diet culture

 

How do we avoid dieting while still eating in a way that nourishes our bodies?  I have a few thoughts on the subject that I’d like to share with you today, informed by my Bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition.

 

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting…

 

Dieting: You can’t stop thinking about food

 

One of the issues with dieting is that it creates a feeling of scarcity. If we restrict what we can and can’t eat then it has this effect of making us want it more. 

 

For example, on a diet you may tell yourself you can’t have any sweet things and you’ll often find that all you can think about is chocolate, cakes and cookies. As though your body is trying to sabotage you!

 

The thing is, when you can eat sweet things any time you want, you don’t feel those same intense cravings and you are less likely to binge on them when you do eat them. 

 

Mindful eating: You don’t think about food until you feel hungry

 

Because you are listening to your body and eating what you need, when you need it, you aren’t constantly yearning for the next time you are “allowed” to eat.

 

 

Dieting: Ignoring hunger/fullness cues

 

On a diet you no longer trust your intuition or listen to your body for cues on how hungry or full you may feel.

 

Instead, you rely on a carefully constructed (although often not personalised) meal plan to tell you when, what and how much to eat. 

 

It is fairly obvious why this could be a problem. You are relying on someone else to judge how much and what type of food you need when they likely have no idea what your personal lifestyle looks like.

 

Some days you will be more active and therefore, require bigger/more energy dense meals. Other days you may be more sedentary and require less energy. A generic meal plan simply isn’t flexible enough to accommodate individual lifestyles and needs. 

 

Mindful eating: Being aware of hunger and fullness cues

 

Eating mindfully means you are listening to your body and you are aware of your needs.

 

You’ll stop to eat lunch when you feel hungry. You’ll eat a snack in the afternoon because maybe you’ve been especially active. You’ll put down your fork and push your plate away when you feel full. 

 

 

Dieting: Labelling food as good or bad

 

Sugar is the devil. Carbs are the enemy. Fat will make you fat. All of these ideas are not healthy nor helpful if you are wanting to eat well. 

 

No one food is bad and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad for eating it. Diets tend to label certain foods as good and others as bad. Some you can eat and some you can’t.

 

But as we talked about previously, restriction leads to cravings and ultimately bingeing. 

 

Mindful eating: Food is just food

 

You see no food as better or worse than another and you feel no guilt when consuming food.

 

You understand that some foods make you feel sick or bloated if you eat too much of them, so you tend to eat less of those. You know that other foods make you feel really good, so you tend to eat more of those. 

 

 

Dieting: Eliminating whole food groups

 

First of all, for certain individuals these eliminations are necessary – For example, if you are allergic to dairy or don’t eat meat for ethical or religious reasons.

 

For most other people however, eliminating whole food groups is totally unnecessary and is a sign of some unhealthy attitudes towards food. 

 

Mindful eating: You can eat anything

 

You don’t cut out food groups entirely, instead you eat more of what makes you feel good/what you enjoy eating. 

For example, I personally don’t like meat very much. I won’t call myself a vegetarian because I find the label too restrictive but I tend to eat less meat and that works for me. 

 

 

Dieting: Ignoring your cravings

 

When you find yourself desperately craving chocolate after dinner, you’ll eat a “healthy” snack or drink a glass of water or make a cup of tea to distract yourself from what you really want. 

 

You refuse to indulge your cravings and try to substitute with things you don’t really want. 

 

Mindful eating: Allowing yourself to indulge your cravings

 

Instead of ignoring your cravings you will indulge them. But when you do so, you indulge mindfully. You take your time and pay attention to what you are eating. You enjoy every bite and stop when you feel satisfied. 

 

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Dieting: Tracking what you eat

 

You’ll have some method of measuring every single thing that touches your lips. Whether that be weighing your food, tracking calories or using a point system. 

 

You are aware of everything you eat, which may sound mindful but is really just restrictive and controlling.

 

Mindful eating: You don’t track your food

 

Instead, you trust your body to give you cues about how much and what sort of food you should eat.

 

 

Dieting: Making your social life a struggle

 

Eating out will be nothing short of a nightmare for you. Your dietary requirements will make ordering a difficult and uncomfortable experience.

 

You probably won’t end up eating what you really want and will spend the evening hungry and/or eyeing the delicious food your friends ordered. 

 

You may even find yourself feeling anxious or avoiding social situations that involve food altogether. 

 

Mindful eating: Socialising is enjoyable

 

You impose no rigid restrictions on food. You don’t have to wait for a cheat meal or cheat day to enjoy good food or hanging out with your friends.

 

You order what you feel like and enjoy every bite because you recognise that this is simply one meal and not a reflection of your overall eating patterns. You know that life is too short to miss out on delicious food and fun times with friends.


 

I hope this helped clear up some confusion for you. For more tips on how to eat mindfully, check out Kylie’s blog – immaeatthat.

Also, take a look at my previous blog post- mindful eating: 5 simple ways to be present while you eat.

How to develop an abundance mindset | Community over competition

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This world struggles with a scarcity mindset. 

 

There is this underlying belief that there isn’t enough to go around. That we must be the first in line, the highest ranking or the most impressive in order to be successful. 

 

It feels like we are always trying to outdo each other, in our careers, in our home décor, in our families and in our quirky hobbies. 

 

We are afraid of cheering each other on or sharing the lessons we’ve learned along the way in case it helps someone get ahead of us. We want to keep everything under wraps, close to our chest, tucked away so that maybe we will have an advantage in this race for the finish line


 

When I think of having an scarcity mindset, I am reminded of this quote that my mum loved to tell us as kids…

 

“Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make mine burn brighter.”

 

Because scarcity leads us to believe that other people’s candles get in the way of our own. That in order to shine the brightest, we have to dampen their light. 

 

And whatever we do, we should definitely NOT stoop down with our own lit candle and help someone light theirs. 

 

how to develop an abundance mindset, how to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, mindfulness, personal growth, personal development, scarcity mentality, lack mindset,

 

Learning how to develop an abundance mindset is so important, especially in this world where success often looks like trampling over anyone who might get in your way.

 

Where we are all in constant competition with one another. Where everything is measured, monitored and evaluated to calculate how much it is worth. 


 

I recently listened to an episode of The Little Chapters podcast on abundance vs lack.

 

The hosts spoke of the common misconception that everything we want out of life can be represented by this metaphorical pie. A pie that everyone is fighting to get a slice out of. A pie that depletes quickly and once it is gone, cannot be replaced. 

 

 A lot of us tend to live in this fear that if someone takes a slice of pie before us then we will miss out. 

 

So we scramble to get in first, to be the best, to be different to the rest.

 

We live in this place of lack, of scarcity, of fear that we might miss out.


 

I’m an Enneagram four so for me, the scarcity mindset plays out in my need to be special. 

 

One of the characteristics of fours is our deep desire to be individuals. This makes it really difficult for us to share.  

 

I want to be the only one with that exact brand of shoes so I don’t want to tell you where I got mine. 

I want to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies so I don’t want to share my recipe with you. 

I want my blog to do really well so I don’t want to share the brilliant marketing tips I’ve read about. 

 

 

I have been working really hard to develop an abundance mindset in my own life. It is so counter-cultural, so vulnerable and so not how I usually think. It takes work every day to remind myself that there is enough

 

I thought I would share some advice for those of you who are struggling with a scarcity mindset…

 

How to develop an abundance mindset:

 

Give positive feedback

 

When you read something you really like, tell the author. Leave a review for them on Amazon so their book will rank higher. Write them an email and let them know you are a fan of their work. 

 

Leave comments on your favourite blog posts. Reply to blogger’s stories on Instagram or send them direct messages.

 

Or in the real world, be kind to people. Share the lovely things you think about people instead of keeping those thoughts to yourself.

 

Remember: Other people’s success does not indicate your failure.

 

 

Share other people’s work

 

Tell your friends about the things you love. Give people recommendations on podcasts, books, Ted-talks or shoe brands that you think are brilliant. 

 

Word of mouth is such a powerful marketing force. You never know how much that exposure could mean to a small business or artist.

 

Remember: The world needs more creativity, innovation and vulnerability. Sharing other’s successes won’t mean there is less space for you.

 

 

Do things just for fun

 

Make time for things that have no external purpose outside of the moment.

 

Do some things just for the sheer joy, without needing to be productive, or perfect or feeling like you have to share the moment with anyone else. 

 

Remember: Collect moments, not things. At the end of the day, the most precious things in life can’t be measured by wealth or fame.

 

 

Stay in your lane

 

Focus on your passions and strengths rather than comparing yourself to others. You have a unique story and way of telling it. 

 

Don’t get so caught up in trying to be better than your perceived “competition” that you lose sight of yourself. You simply cannot be the best at everything. So be the best at YOUR thing.

 

Remember: We need YOU. Your gifts, your story, your unique way of creating something of beauty, inspiration and encouragement.

 

 

Say these abundance mindset affirmations:

 

  • There is enough space for everyone 
  • There is only one of me, I am a one-off
  • The way I tell my story is unique
  • Community is more important than competition
  • Creativity is endless

Do you struggle with a scarcity mindset or have you figured out how to master an abundance mindset?

The rise of influencer marketing and what it means for authenticity online

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For some time now, Instagram has been my least favourite social media platform.

 

When I first started blogging, I jumped on absolutely every social media platform –like you do–  and I treated Instagram like a visual diary.

 

I used it to document all of the sweet, funny, lovely moments of each day and I would connect with other bloggers who were doing the same. 

 

But A LOT has changed since then.

 

These days, with the rise of influencer marketing, owning an Instagram account comes with a lot of responsibility.

 

As a member of the platform, if you want to be taken seriously, you are required to curate an aesthetically pleasing feed for your followers.

 

There is no room for spontaneity or images that depict real life anymore. Influencers have created a world where everything needs to be colour coordinated, perfectly proportioned, edited and filtered so that it looks like something you would find inside a glossy magazine. 

 

I really struggle with how fake some of these accounts seem to be. Authenticity is something I value a great deal, as I talked about in my post- authenticity and finding happiness by being myself.

 

the rise of influencer marketing, how to build an instagram community, remaining authentic online, honest blogging, authenticity, vulnerability, blogging tips, building relationships with your followers, mindfulness,

 

At the beginning of this year I found that logging into Instagram made me feel not only bad about myself, my home and my life but also about my creative endeavors.

 

I felt that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get a perfectly curated feed. I never knew what to say in my captions. And recording videos for Insta-stories made me feel terribly awkward. 

 

Instagram reminded me of the way I used to feel in high school.

 

How there were all those little cliques and segregated groups. The sporty kids, the nerdy kids, the quiet ones and the popular ones.

 

No matter how much I told myself we were all just PEOPLE, I always felt intimidated by the popular kids. There was something about them that I could never match up to. They always made me feel inferior with their designer jeans and the effortless way they managed to always be the centre of attention. 

 

That’s how I used to feel on Instagram. Small. Insignificant. Impossibly confused. 

 

My feed seemed to consist of influencers with hundreds of followers whose picture-perfect lives were a billboard for everything I am not.

 

For the longest time I have just felt left out and left behind. 

 

I am no supermodel. I don’t have abs worthy of bikini-on-the-beach shots. I don’t go out every Friday evening to share snaps of my cocktails. I don’t have a beautiful all-white, marble counter-topped kitchen.

 

I’m just well, ordinary. 

 

Most days I go without wearing make up. I prefer to make coffee at home rather than spend money going out all the time.

 

I feel embarrassed taking pictures of myself in public with everyone looking at me. And my bedroom is dark, cozy and totally un-aesthetically pleasing. 

 

But nobody wants to see ordinary on Instagram. They want flashy, beautiful, and air-brushed. They want a real-life fairy tale all sparkly and tied up with a bow. 

 

So it leaves me wondering, where does someone like me fit in? What have I got to share that people would actually care about? 

 

I couldn’t answer these questions for awhile so I just stayed away.

 

I hardly ever posted. I became an Instagram lurker, one of those people who likes pictures and watches everyone else posting but never participates. 

 

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But slowly I drifted back and decided I would take Instagram seriously again.

 

If I wanted to be a serious blogger, then I needed to not just lurk online but to participate, to share and be part of this world.

 

So I started editing my photos to make them a little nicer. I started putting in a bit more of an effort to figure out the colours and style that I wanted to display in my feed. 

 

I started to see Instagram as just another outlet for my creativity

 

I discovered it could be another place to be curious, excited and inspired. 

 

And in the process I found there was a community of people just like me. People who weren’t there to make sales, who didn’t look like models, who weren’t portraying these impossible standards. 

 

I found people with the same values as me.

 

Who were passionate about mindfulness and living intentionally and being present in the moment.

 

People who weren’t pushing consumption, asking their followers to buy more and more and more. People who just wanted to share their art, their words and their pictures with the world. 

 

My kind of people.

 

And so Instagram has become one of my favourite social media platforms. I place where I can connect with other creatives. I place where I can feel inspired and uplifted. I place where I can create and share my work. 

 

 

I think the rise of influencer marketing is a double-edged sword.

 

I hate the way it encourages mindless consumption. The way it makes us feel like we are always lacking something. The way it portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic, even for those taking the photos.

 

But I love that it enables small businesses and lesser-known creatives to shine. I love that it makes connection and community possible. And that this form of marketing gives power back to the people.

 

How do we choose authenticity over perfection online?

 

By following people who are genuine.

 

Those who share their behind-the-scenes and aren’t afraid of the messy aspects of life. Those who are honest about which of their content that is sponsored. Those who only share what they truly love and believe in.

 

By un-following people who make us feel less-than.

 

You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. It doesn’t matter how cool or popular they may be, you don’t need to compare yourself to them. There are only so many people’s pictures you can scroll through in a day, so they might as well be people you actually LOVE to follow.

 

By choosing community over competition. 

 

Search for people who care about the same stuff you do. Find your community and build them up. Comment on, like and share others accounts, there is enough space for all of us to be creative and successful.


 

Let’s chat about this in the comments…

 

How do you feel about Instagram, influencer marketing or social media in general? 

 

The best simple living podcasts to encourage mindfulness

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I love podcasts. I love that I can take them with me wherever I go. I love that they are filled with such inspiration, humour and wisdom. And I love that they have this magical property of turning any dull task into a delight. 

 

I used to try listening to podcasts on the bus to university but I found myself getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t turn the volume up loud enough so I could hear them speaking without bursting my eardrums in the process. 

 

So I stopped listening altogether for a while. 

 

Then, when I started driving myself to and from work, I rediscovered the joy of podcasts. They gave me something to look forward to as I left the house, in the dark, at an ungodly hour and joined the humming, early morning traffic. 

 

Podcasts have this way of making mundane, daily tasks a pleasurable experience.

 

Suddenly, cleaning dishes, commuting to work or brushing your teeth becomes a time to relax and reflect. What once felt tedious becomes a routine I thoroughly enjoy.

 

I now find myself itching to go for a walk each day so that I can slip my earphones in and start listening to the next episode in my queue. 

 

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It’s exciting to me that podcasts are so rapidly growing in popularity. I’m delighted that more and more creatives are using this platform to share content. 

 

I love reading blog posts but I find there is something really special about hearing a person’s words in their own voice. 

 

As you know, I am a simple living enthusiast. I am passionate about slowing down, being mindful and living in the moment. And I love nothing more than connecting with or discovering other people who feel the same way. 

 

I wanted to share with you some of the people who inspire my writing. These are my go-to podcasts, the ones I’ll always make time for. Some of them I’ve been listening to for years and some are fairly new to my collection.

 

All of them will inspire you to live intentionally, to not take anything for granted but instead to appreciate every precious moment you have.

 

The best simple living podcasts to encourage mindfulness:


 

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Image: Christy Nockels

The Glorious In The Mundane- Christy Nockels

 

Christy is a Christian musician and I’ve mentioned her lullaby album before in my post about ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason. I listen to her album on repeat on bad days.

 

And her podcast is just as beautiful as her music.

 

Each season she has a theme which she centres the episodes around such as ‘home’ or ‘postures of the heart.’

 

In every episode, she starts by telling a story from her everyday life. I know a lot of people who hosts podcasts do this, but I think Christy does it the best.

 

Her stories captivate your attention like your teacher did as she read to you while you all sat cross-legged on the mat. Her words have this way of making you feel lighter, softer and closer to God.

 

Christy will remind you to gently look for the beauty in the ordinary (hence the name, ‘glorious in the mundane.’) After listening to this podcast you will have a greater appreciation for the wonder of life, even in the dull moments. 

 

My favourite episode: Build my life | Episode 25

 

 

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The Next Right Thing- Emily P. Freeman

 

I came across this podcast last year when I was in the middle of job hunting and feeling so terribly lost (the theme of my twenties I feel.) I was drawn to the title because boy, did I need some help figuring out my next right thing.

 

Every episode of this podcast feels like a warm hug. A pat on the back. Someone giving you a little cheer as you drag yourself closer to the finish line.

 

Emily provides guidance and wisdom as we try to work out what to do next. She reminds us of the gentle nudges we often miss that are also known as our intuition. 

 

This podcast will encourage you to take things slowly, to give yourself a little grace, to take the little steps that lead to big steps until you eventually find your rhythm. 

 

My favourite episode: Stay in today | Episode 36

 

 

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Image: Apple Itunes

Hashtag Authentic- Sara Tasker

 

I stumbled across Sarah’s book and subsequently, blog through another blogger I follow.

 

Sarah is what you might call an Instagram guru. She runs her own beautiful blog, Instagram and a super successful business teaching others how to do the same.

 

Her podcast is so down to earth. You get the impression that she is one of the sweetest people on earth. She talks about mindfulness, creativity and social media in a way that brings together what can sometimes feel like polar opposites.

 

You will love this podcast if you are a fellow creative, a business owner, or someone who finds Instagram beautiful but impossibly confusing!

 

My favourite episode: Live in Manchester | Episode 67 

 

 

 

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Image: Katie Dalebout

Let It Out- Katie Dalebout 

 

You may have seen Katie’s book ‘Let It Out’ around online. It’s a guide to journaling and one of the BEST journaling tool kits I’ve come across.

 

Her podcast has been one I have followed for a long time. What I love about it is that she doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. She mainly focuses on health and well-being with topics such as self care, therapy, and body positivity.

 

Katie talks earnestly about a lot of things that are really rough about your twenties. She makes you feel like you are not alone. Her gentle, warm voice leaves you feeling comforted like you just caught up with an old friend.

 

 

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Image: The Commoner’s Communion

The Commoner’s Communion- Strahan

 

Strahan is another Christian musician but he’s actually from New Zealand which makes me really happy. Not only does he create fun, folksy music but he is also an incredible speaker.

 

I’m disappointed to say he hasn’t released any new episodes of his podcast in quite awhile but I highly recommend you go and check out his older ones.

 

Strahan is one of those beautifully articulate, poetic, wordsy people who reminds you that everything is sacred and special. His podcast makes faith and Christianity more accessible and less old and stuffy.

 

My favourite episode: New | Episode 4

 

 

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Image: Jessica Rose Williams

The Little Chapters- Jessica Rose Williams & Kayte Ferris

 

This is one I only just came across recently but I loved the episode so much I had to add it to this list. 

 

I love how chatty and friendly these two ladies are. The conversation I listened to was really interesting and encouraging. 

 

This podcast is very real and authentic, it will inspire you to reconsider some of the beliefs you hold and take actions to improve yourself.

 

My favourite episode: Abundance vs Lack | Episode 15


 

What are your favourite podcasts?

8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason

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I originally sat down to write a post on perfectionism but as soon as I started, I realised something. I’m not really a perfectionist and I don’t have much to say on the matter. 

 

I would be of no use to you. I don’t have any advice for people who obsessively use rulers and match the colours of their clothes pegs. I am not that person. 

 

What I am however, is highly strung. I know all about feeling anxious for no reason. 

 

I carry anxiety around with me like most ladies do a purse. 

 

I am hopeless without structure and routine. I need to be able to plan ahead. I need to make sure I am adequately prepared for any and all eventualities. 

 

Spontaneity, completely throws me off, it rips the rug right out from under my feet. 

 

The older I am getting, the better I am becoming at letting go of control. I am slowly learning how to cope with uncertainty so that it doesn’t paralyze me. 

 

But sometimes when we feel ourselves slipping, we need strategies to help us calm down. 

 

We need tools to help us cope after a stressful day. A routine that can help us to prepare ourselves for something uncomfortable like a dentist visit or awkward phone call. 

 

We need to have a way of cooling off and resetting, a way of bringing harmony into our every day lives. 

 

Because sometimes there is a clear and obvious reason why we are feeling anxious, but sometimes we are feeling anxious for no reason at all

 

These coping mechanisms are especially important for highly strung people, those of us who are always just teetering on the edge of becoming overwhelmed. 

 

We need to know our limits and make sure we take extra special care of ourselves. 

 

So as a highly strung, often anxious person, these are my personal coping mechanisms. These are the ways I practice self care. This is how I manage to stay sane. 

 

8 ways to calm down when you are feeling anxious for no reason…

 

Focus on your breathing

 

When we get very stressed we tend to take short, shallow breaths. The problem is, this only encourages our body’s ‘fight or flight‘ response which ends up prolonging our feeling of stress.

 

The very best thing we can do in any stressful situation is to focus on our breathing.

 

Make a big deal of both your inhale and exhale. Pause and try to count a few seconds after each. Make your breathing as long and deep as possible.

jessica hagy illustration

Illustration by Jessica Hagy.

 

Listen to gentle music

 

Although technically not music, I love listening to nature sounds, especially rain or thunderstorms. There is something soothing about hearing the rhythm of nature. (Unless you look up whale sounds, there is nothing soothing about that!)

 

My favourite album to listen to when I am feeling anxious for no reason is ‘Be Held‘ by Christy Nockels. This is a collection of lullabies for adults which never fail to bring me back to a place of calm. 

 

I also made a playlist of slow, peaceful songs which I’ll put on in the car or as I am working to put myself at ease. Music has a way of reaching us that words simply cannot. 

 

 

Try using a relaxation exercise 

 

In one of my tutorials at university we spent the whole hour learning different relaxation exercises. At the time I thought it was a bit kooky but now I can appreciate the value of it. 

 

The only one I can actually remember involves your five senses. 

 

It goes like this… Find yourself a quiet space and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply. Then start to take notice of each of your senses individually.

What can you hear around you? What can you smell? Open your eyes and what can you see? 

 

Slowly become aware of your surroundings and allow your tension to dissipate.

 

 

Just write

 

I always find healing in writing. I always manage to un-twinge my tension and stitch up the wounded bits when I write out exactly how I am feeling.

 

The most important thing to remember is that your journal/laptop/back side of a napkin is a safe space. Allow yourself to write freely without judgement.

 

You cannot fully let go of the built up pressure inside you if you are fretting about the things you are writing. So no judgement, just write.

 

 

Paint, draw or colour-in

 

Those adult colouring-in books became really popular a few years ago for a reason. Being creative is relaxing.

 

Painting, drawing and colouring-in bring us back to the present. They allow us to be adventurous and playful, to make a mess and just have fun.

 

They also distract us from the fears and worries that can overwhelm us. Sometimes what we need is a little distraction, a little moment of rest from all the hustle and stress.

 

 

Go outside

 

I am a nature girl. My happy places are all outside. I love the softness of the beach, the ruggedness of the mountains, the quietness of the forest.

 

I need greenery and I need wide open spaces. Nature is soothing for our souls.

 

While you are outside, try out the relaxation exercise I mentioned above. There is nothing more uplifting than listening to the early-morning birdsong.

 

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Get clean

 

Have a shower or run a bath but make it an experience.

 

Fill the bath with bubbles, allow the steam from the shower to soak into your pores, bundle yourself up in a warm, fluffy towel afterwards.

 

Often it is the simple things that bring the most pleasure. For example, when I want to feel especially luxurious I take the time to moisterize properly. I find the nicest, sweetest-smelling body lotion and I make myself soft all over. Simple, but delightful.

 

 

Talk about it

 

Bottling up your feelings will never do you any good. Be brave and open up to someone.

 

It often will feel like the last thing you want to do, but the effort it takes will always be worth it. Just make sure you speak to someone who is gentle and understanding, no judgement in your writing, no judgement in your speaking.


 

I’d love to know, how do you practice self care when you are stressed?

Do you ever find yourself feeling anxious for no reason at all?