Category Archives: New Year

“January’s Incremental Improvements”: (1). Eating Well & Enjoyably.

Sometimes I find incremental changes to be far more effective and sustainable than sudden energetic efforts to drastically change a particular area of life. Of course sometimes a large project needs to be planned and undertaken (such as de-cluttering you home, for example), wherein such energetic efforts for a short-term project are necessary and helpful in order to sustain new habits, a new system and new daily routines that will be sustainable in the long term.

However, unlike some, I’m not one to approach healthy eating in this way, and I wouldn’t jump on the January “New year, new start, new diet” bandwagon. From observation, such efforts often seem short lived, ending in discouragement, disappointment and a lapse into old bad habits.

I prefer to make incremental changes gradually and throughout the year, taking time to research healthy options and what will work for me in my life and routine. Overall, I find, small and consistent changes are more sustainable and can lead to a healthier lifestyle, rather than finding oneself struggling under the guilt of not achieving a particular diet or lifestyle goal.

And yet, they busy-ness of life does mean that at certain times of the year, and under certain circumstances, I do better than at others. Therefore, I find January and a new year to be a wonderful opportunity to think afresh about whether I can approach things differently to sustain positive changes and intentions on a day to day basis.

So, with that in mind, a new purchase I have recently introduced into my life is this lovely stainless steel “Bento Box” or compartmentalised meal tray.

Details and pictures from Amazon can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078RJPTY8/ref=twister_B0771KJXM9?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

How has this small change helped?

Psychologically: For some, perhaps idiosyncratic and childlike reason, I love airplane tray meals. Therefore, it gives me a little burst of joy to look forward to eating from this whether I’m at work, or at home curled up on the sofa while watching TV.

Portion Control: I am more aware of how much food I am eating, and these compartments certainly help visually in seeing this more clearly than on a standard plate.

Preparing and Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits in a Busy Lifestyle:

As a young, single woman, who works full time, 5 days a week, I often only get home from work after 7pm. This can mean falling into bad patterns of getting ‘quick’ options for food, including ready-meals for the microwave, or occasionally even takeaways when I don’t have the energy to cook a full and healthy meal for myself. This is fine in moderation, however, I’d like to choose the option intentionally, rather than by default because I’m too tired or not organised and prepared enough. However, now I only have to think of 5 things to put into the compartments, which means it is easier to have a healthier variety of food, eat well and be mindful of portion sizes, and save some money. I used to ‘meal prep’ for the week ahead on some weekends, however, this takes time and is something I tended to stop and start as I found it hard to maintain on a regular basis. This way, ‘meal-prepping’ feels far easier and more manageable – at least for me – you may have different and better ways that work for you.

The Verdict:

This little investment has already helped me to make healthier and manageable changes in my day to day life and I feel that I will be better able to sustain these changes than with good intentions alone. What about you? What fun things can you introduce into your life to help make and maintain positive changes? What things do you already do that you can share with the rest of us? xx

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Living your best life this year.

Another year rolls by (happy new year friends, btw). We each face this demarcation of time on our calendars and in our lives with a different point of view. For some among us, the year gone by has been a blessed one, and despite life’s daily and inevitable challenges, ups and downs, overall the happiness has been greater than the sadness, it has been a ‘good year’, and the future feels ripe with possibilities.

For others, the year may have been one with sorrows, loss, disappointment, from a variety of life’s hard challenges. you have made it through ….barely…and are not altogether certain just how to take that next step in life.

For many, perhaps, you feel the year has been pretty average, uneventful, nothing out of the ordinary, and that you have just drifted along, or just got on with what you had to do. Maybe your new year hasn’t been sorrowful, but rather stressful, busy, even chaotic, with barely a moment to yourself to think. Maybe it has just been ordinary, or a bit lacklustre.

I’m sure there are a myriad of ways in which we each reflect back upon the year gone by.

Regardless of how you feel about it, something that is certain is that going forwards, each of us have to make our way through this new year one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

So, no matter what your circumstances are, or what you feel inside, there are ways in which you can improve your day to day experience of your journey and find your ‘sweet spot’ in the day to day of living your life.

Apart from the big life decisions, changes or challenges you may be facing, what in the ordinary day to day can you approach differently, to make your life better?

In the next few posts I will be exploring some of the little ways I am making changes in my daily life, to make the ‘ordinary’ a little more inviting and special, and to bring more pockets of joy and feelings of connectedness in my every day living. I’d be delighted if you join me and even more so if you want to share your own insights too. Here’s to a blessed 2019 to us all. xx

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Slow down, just breathe, & live a little deeper this year… Part 1 & 2 — Life as it happens to be

It’s January 7th 2018, and I don’t know for how long it is reasonable to talk about the ‘New Year’. One thing I do know however, is that it is always a good time to reflect upon our lives, and to consider whether there are ways we can do things differently, and to look for […]

via Slow down, just breathe, & live a little deeper this year… Part 1 — Life as it happens to be

Part 2 –

And so it continues. We embark upon a new moment together. I wonder what you have wondered about since reading my earlier post (above). I left you considering that perhaps universal childhood sense of a slowness of time, that somehow evaporates as adulthood rushes us from one fleeting year to the next, sometimes causing us to crash and burn through sheer exhaustion of the many things we need to get done in such a little amount of time. 

And yet, perhaps we have more time than we think we have, as short as our lives may be. We fail to leave margins at the edges of our lives, and cram them so full that we can never keep up with ourselves. I’m not saying that as adults we should abandon our responsibilities so that we can gaze in absent minded wonder at the stars of our own imagining, but that perhaps we could…and should…be doing things a little differently, especially as we embark upon this new year. 

What if being always active and busy with our ‘to dos’ is actually counterproductive? Perhaps all of our multitasking means that we are less focused, more anxious and more prone to making mistakes and taking longer in getting things done and having to redo a task to undo our mistakes. What if unchecked we let ourselves ‘burn out’ and in fact lose far more time than all that time we were trying to save in the first place?

There is something to be said for planning and preparing and knowing our responsibilities and dreams and setting goals to achieve them. And there is also something to be said about slowing down, and taking our time in each precious moment of our often busy and hectic lives. I can all but guarantee that if you do take your time, and see the opportunities in life’s simple (sometimes perceived as ‘mundane’) happenings, then you will find more enjoyment as you move through your days. 

Maybe you can’t ‘get away from it all’, but can you get some of it away from you? Can you leave wider margins at the pages of your life as your days unfold so that you can slow down and live deeper rather than faster? Can you cut down the incessant stream of information you absorb through social media so as to be able to breathe, centre yourself and think more clearly, and perhaps spend a few more moments of your adult life enjoying the beauty of the simple things as you did as a child? Maybe instead of seeing all the chores that need to be done as a burden, you could change your perspective to gradually be able to see them as a joy? When you are present in the moment to be thankful for the ability to be able to perform such tasks, and even perhaps listen to some nice music or encouraging talks while you are doing what you are doing? I have started listening to my MP3 while vacuuming, and finding that I end up doing a more thorough job because I am enjoying myself and want to make the experience last a little longer – strange but true, I know! Or that when doing the dishes I might slow down to notice the warmth of water  and the playfulness of the foam bubbles, and might be listening to something encouraging or inspiring at the same time. You might have a busy and hectic life, but there are ways in which all of us can widen those margins in our lives, and take time not just to exist, but to LIVE. 

When thinking about your goals for this year, if you think that way in the first place, you might find that a more intentional way of living and doing the things that you otherwise would just like to get out of the way actually frees you to be more present, feel more connected with yourself and those around you, and be far more productive and efficient as you begin to learn and find new imaginative ways to enjoy the process of the everyday things of your life. 

Which in turn ultimately means that you have more ‘breathing space’ to be able to more intentionally pursue those loftier goals that you may have, and to use your time on this earth each day as wisely as you can. For I assure you there is no one else on earth like you, who can express life the way you can and with the uniqueness that you have. And perhaps someone else in this life’s journey needs to hear what you have to say, or see that smile you have to offer when you have time to notice the beauty around you which you could not offer when otherwise stressed, anxious or preoccupied. You have something so special to give each and everyday, so first give yourself that breathing space, slow down, live a little deeper, so that this year ahead you will live more fully and deeply rather than just existing or getting by. I would love to see what you have to offer the world, and to hear of your hopes, dreams, goals and plans, and wish you wisdom, love and blessing in the year to come. x

Slow down, just breathe, & live a little deeper this year… Part 1

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It’s January 7th 2018, and I don’t know for how long it is reasonable to talk about the ‘New Year’. One thing I do know however, is that it is always a good time to reflect upon our lives, and to consider whether there are ways we can do things differently, and to look for new opportunities and new beginnings. 

I don’t know about you, but I tend to find that as I get older the years seem to hurtle by (at least they did until more recently) in a way in which they didn’t when I was very young. Summers seemed to last forever, and every experience had  a certain weight to it. I can remember squinting against the sun, and collecting molten droplets on my eye lashes. I remember sitting on the floor in the gym hall in primary school where we also had to wait in line for lunch, and where we had school assemblies, and noticing the way in which shafts of sunlight streaming through the high up windows caught falling dust particles that wouldn’t otherwise be seen. Sometimes experiences and boredom seemed to drag on, such as on rainy days when my parents were sleeping and I wanted to play, or sitting a test or waiting for that friend to come out to play. And yet, even in these times, I can remember being able to find simple, imaginative solutions to the problem of boredom by becoming wholly engrossed in my own playful reveries. Sometimes on days spent outside, and especially with friends, the possibilities of adventure seemed endless. And on rainy days inside playing by myself, I distinctly and vividly remember the worlds and adventures that I created all by myself and became engrossed in. Perhaps you can relate to these feelings from your own earlier experiences. Don’t get me wrong, my childhood wasn’t always a happy time, and sometimes not by a long shot, but still there were times when I was present, absorbed in the moment of play or adventure, and oblivious to the passing of time. 

Perhaps you think, that’s all well and good, but as adults we can’t spend our time staring off into the distance when there are so many responsibilities and so much to do, and with every passing moment, and accumulating task, so little time. To which I’d like to remind you of those two little words that mean so much to so many of us, with a weight and force to stop us in our tracks: “Burn Out”. 

Ironically enough, I have returned to my blog and am commencing this paragraph after stepping away to check on the food in my oven, when my leg brushed against the front of the open oven door causing me to gasp at the burning sensation! If ever there was an appropriate and timely lesson in mindfulness and avoiding burn out, that was it! Don’t worry, I’m ok 🙂 ….. 

Taking this to be a natural pause in ‘Life as it happens to be’, I’ll leave you momently to consider your own thoughts as I concentrate on monotasking and enjoying my dinner, so that I can focus all of my thoughts on part two of this post, to be continued later…. x

 

From the Old Things to the New…& Out of Hibernation….

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Happy New Year Dear Friends,

I apologise for the hiatus in blogging, and have come out of my blogging hibernation to wish you all the very best of life’s lessons and blessings in 2018. I haven’t been in hibernation completely, as the wintery / festive season is quite a special time for me, and after some difficult years I have had a more peaceful and cosy season, and have been busy living life.

It’s a funny time of the year, isn’t it? I am a planner, and tend to set goals throughout the year rather than have new year’s resolutions as such, but I do love the time of more intentional reflection that this time of the year can bring, and feeling that other people are also reflecting upon their own lives, and seeing opportunities in which we might learn together.

And yet, this can also be a time of undue pressure and self and other imposed expectations to somehow transform our lives, set goals, meet goals and make big changes. So, instead of posting along those lines, I just want to offer you a big New Year hug, knowing that we all have our ups and downs, good days and bad, times where we feel motivated, and others where we just want to squirrel away into a little ball and hibernate a bit longer.

So here’s a hug. I hope that you will have someone else to hug this week. And that you take the time to just pause, reflect, and simply ‘be’ knowing that you are unique and awesome as you have been made, regardless of whether you hit those targets or not.

And while you take a deep breath, with all the lessons you have learned from the year gone by, and looking forward into the unknown of 2018, don’t forget to have some ‘down time’ to relax, rest and be thankful, and take time to heal if need be – afterall, it is the season to by COSY.

Much love.

xx