I have decided to kick start the blog with a list of useful tips that can help you on the path to being your most fabulous self. I strongly believe that in order to be your best for your family you must first take the time to take care of yourself. I often compare it to the safety announcements on airplanes when you are instructed to put your own life mask on before attempting to help anyone else. This is necessary because you need to make sure you’re okay and operating from a position of strenght before you can hope to be of any real help to anyone else.
Time invested in yourself will benefit you and your family, so go ahead grab a cup of tea and make yourself feel fabulous with these top tips.
Don’t try to be perfect:
Just the thought of perfection brings me out in a cold sweat. Experience has taught me that the pursuit of perfection is the one sure fire way to make you feel inadequate underappreciated and stressed out. I made a decision a long time ago not to burden myself with such an overwhelming task which, no matter how I looked at it seemed doomed to end in failure. Instead I went with option B. Learn to love imperfection. It adds character.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in negative thinking. We start to focus on the things we don’t have or haven’t achieved. This sets a negative undercurrent to our mind-set that can have a knock on effect to our whole day. Instead we can choose to focus on all the things we already have. By making a conscious effort to start each day thinking about what we have to be grateful for in our lives we subtly shift our perspective from thinking about a lack of, to thinking about how much we have. When we do this we are able to start our day in a more positive and happy frame of mind.
Appreciate the moment.
Without even realising it we can get caught up in a pattern of feeling guilt over past choices or worrying about future events. At best focusing negatively on past or future events can be emotionally draining and in worse case scenario can leave us in a state of paralysis unable to engage fully in everyday activities because we are so lost in our thoughts.
As the mind can only hold onto one thought at a time, being in the moment allows you to let go of guilt and worry. By focusing the mind only on what we are doing at that very moment you can achieved a state of mind known as ‘flow’ in this state you don’t think of past or present and your mind is free to simply enjoy the moment.
One of the quickest ways to bring yourself to the present is to bring your attention to your breath. Close your eyes and focus all your attention on the sensation of your breath as it passes through the nostrils. This is the same technique used in meditation.
Really I cannot say enough about the benefits of meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet the mind, it allows you to be with yourself and understand yourself. Through meditation you learn to have more control over which thoughts you give your time too. When you are able to this you are able to change your whole outlook on life.
It is only when you first try to meditate that you realise just how little control you have over your own thoughts.
If you have 5 mins quickly try this:
- Sit with your back straight
- Close your eyes
- Breathe slowly and deeply in and out through your nose
- Focus all your attention on the sensation of the breath as it passes through your nostril
- Clear your mind of all thoughts.
It’s harder than you think isn’t it?
Try it again and this time rather than trying to clear your mind of all thought just sit and observe the thoughts you have. Don’t get caught up in any particular thought or idea, don’t use this as a time to analyse or be judgemental. Simply observe the thought as it arises and let it go as another rises to take its place. If you start actively thinking about a particular thought just bring your attention back to the sensation of the breath on your nostrils and start again. The purpose of the exercise to just observe and be aware of the types of thoughts that flicker across your mind without you even being aware. You’ll be amazed.
I’ll be writting more on how to meditate.
Health and fitness.
Well what can I say that hasn’t already been said? Eating health food and taking regular exercise just plain makes you feel better.
I know finding time in our busy lives to eat as well as we should and to exercise daily is hard for even the most dedicated among us but the truth is, it is something we should all try to make a priority in our lives. I don’t think there is any need to list the merits of a healthy
lifestyle suffice to say that if your body looks good you will have increased self-esteem and confidence and if it is healthy and strong you will have more energy and a greater enthusiasm for life. Yoga can be a great low impact fun way to ease you into a fitness routine.
Speak kindly to yourself
Be your own best friend. Don’t be hard on yourself or over critical. You have to spend a lot of time with you so the least you can do is make it an enjoyable experience. Accept your imperfections as the things that make you uniquely you.
People can often become dependent on others for recognition, approval and acceptance. We base our decisions on not what is necessarily best for us but on what we perceive other people will think of our decisions. In doing this we are inadvertently handing over responsibility for our decisions to others. Because we don’t feel responsible for our decisions it is easy to blame others when things go wrong.
The very act of blaming someone else puts us instantly in the victim mind-set. This is a very powerless place to be. The victim by definition feels they have no control over their fate. This can lead to frustration and resentment. Not such a fabulous place to be.
When we start taking responsibility for the decisions we also take responsibility for our mistakes and it is only when we do this can we start to grow and understand ourselves more deeply. Making mistakes is vital for our learning and understanding. Once you come to terms with the idea that it is okay to make mistakes there really is no downside to taking responsibility for our own experiences. There is only positive, every time you take responsibility for an action your self-esteem grows stronger, it pushes you to take more and more responsibility. You are able to learn your boundaries and your passions. It teaches you about who you are your strengths and your weaknesses. Many of us don’t want to look at our weaknesses and we hide away from them, but understanding your weaknesses does in fact make you stronger. When you start to take responsibility for your life and your thoughts you realise that you have the power to create the life you want.
It is all very well getting into the right mind-set but if this is not followed up with action it will lead to nothing. Pay bills straight away. Unpaid bills are a constant source of worry. You can waste days or weeks worrying about bills. You’re going to have to pay it anyway so you may as well do it straight away and save yourself the stress. For bigger tasks it can be hard to know where to start. In this case I would suggest writing down your goal or whatever it is you want to achieve. Then writing down 10 things that you could do straight away to work toward making this a reality. Before you do anything visualise your goal. For example if you have had enough of the chaos and clutter and you want to clear out. Visualise your room clean tidy and ordered. How does it look? How does it make you feel? Remind yourself that you can make this image in your mind reality, all you have to do is pick a couple of items from your list and do them now. It is ultimately through our actions that we are able to bring our goals into reality.
Create a daily routine
I used to hate the idea of routine it smacked of conformity and lacked spontaneity I resisted routine for a long time. But then it dawned on me I already had a routine. I had to do the school run, make lunches have dinner ready for a certain time. I had washing and ironing to do and gym kits had to be ready on Tuesdays. The only difference was that I just had a poorly managed routine that didn’t really work for me. Creating daily or weekly routines allows you ensure all the things you want to achieve get done. You can split large tasks and personal projects up over the week completing certain tasks each day. This can also be done with the house work so you don’t end up spending all weekend cleaning the house. On a daily level you should try to establish a good morning routine and evening routine. Your morning routine should be all about you getting you into the right frame of mind to start the day. Take this time to make yourself look and feel fabulous. Your evening routine should include tidying the kitchen and living room (no one wants to wake up to a mess) and planning your goals for the following day. Habits are created by doing something consistently over a period of time so daily routines can be a great way to formulate new positive habits. I’ll write more about routines in future posts.
Teach children simplicity
In today’s society children have so much. They have so many toys and gadgets that it often overwhelms them. They don’t know what to play with and they don’t really explore the possibilities of what each item can do before their attention is switched to something new. I have made an effort to have a few good toys for my children although the inevitable birthdays Christmases and gifts from grandma always ensure a good oversupply. I actively involve my children every few months in sorting through their toys. We go through and decide which items are important to them and which they can let go. We talk about why we don’t need all these things to be happy and how in life things come to us we can enjoy them for a time and when that time is over we should let them go. To let go of what is no longer needed allows room in your life for something new and exciting. In our society children will be fed the message that they need all things to be happy and successful. I think it is important to teach them from an early age that it is not material possessions that make us happy.
Listen to your children
Very often all our children want from us is to listen to them. By listening to what they have to say you are re-enforcing in them that their thoughts and ideas have value. Just listening allows them to vocalise issues they are dealing with and by doing so allows them to find their own solutions. Try to notice what time of day your children most open up to you (I know this can be difficult as it seems they always have something to say) but I noticed that my daughter was most likely to start talking about what had happened in her school day at the end of the evening. So after bath time I would hang out in her bedroom and listen as she talked about her world. I try not to offer her solutions but rather ask her more questions so she can find a solution herself such as ‘How does it make her feel?’ Or ‘What does she think she should do?’ When she comes up with a solution I let her know that it’s a great idea and that she always has the best ideas. As well as allowing her to feel her views are important this also acts to empower her.
It can be so easy in the rush of daily life to quickly do things for your children that they can actually do for themselves. Many doting parents actually do as much as they can for their children in an effort to show them how much they are loved but in doing this we are in fact robbing them of the opportunity to learn and achieve. A child feels a great sense of accomplishment when they are able to pour their own drinks (or whichever age appropriate task applies)It is the first step in teaching them independence which in turn will aid in the development of their self-confidence and self-belief.
Don’t worry, have fun
This brings be back nicely to my first point. Don’t try to be perfect. It’s not always possible to be able to spend quality time with the kids every day. It is not always practical to wait for 10 mins while your 4 year old struggles to do up his zip and some days it is really difficult to find anything to be grateful for but all that is all okay. Run with it and try to find the funny side of it all. Kids are a great responsibility but they are also great fun too. Remember all your kids really want is enjoy the time they spend with you.
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