Simple Self-Care Guide to Health

Following the Christmas holidays, it’s time for some self-care in time for the New Year. After weeks of eating and drinking to our heart’s desire in addition to numerous late nights, it starts to take a toll on our body, skin, and mood in general. Forget waiting for January, start feeling revitalised, and get glowing with energy today. Follow these five simple steps to see the New Year in feeling healthily replenished.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water may seem pretty obvious, especially as our bodies are 60 – 70% water. It’s essential to get the doctor-recommended two litres a day due to the healing and purifying properties water contains. In fact, if you find yourself with reduced energy levels, water may be the answer. That’s because our brain is around 75% water requiring a specific amount to function properly. Water is key as it enables the body to remove any unwanted toxins, which in turn helps boost our immune system.

clear drinking glass with lemon juice
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Get Moving

Earn yourself that downtime on the sofa by getting active beforehand. Movement, be it yoga or a gentle walk, encourages blood flow and the release of impurities. In addition, it increases energy levels, reduces stress calming both the mind and body. Plus, exercise stimulates the production of the brain chemical dopamine, also known as the “feel-good” hormone enhancing our mood and happiness levels. Be sure to make getting active part of your self-care routine.

rolled yoga mat and bottle of water in sunlight
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Rest Up

Be sure to get enough sleep, preferably the recommended 7 to 9 hours, in order to feel truly replenished. Sleep deprivation promotes low morale meaning it’s vital to get enough rest. Establish a good sleep routine or even throw in a siesta if needed. Sleeping is the best meditation after all.

apartment bed bedroom comfort
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Eat Smart

Christmas is renowned for indulging in sweet treats, alcoholic beverages, and an abundance of food as part of the festive fun. But now it’s time to slowly get back on the healthy bandwagon in order to get our body functioning optimally. Focus on cleansing your body with foods that help eliminate toxins. Any foods high in anti-oxidants are a great place to start, think fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Cut down on unhealthy snacks by substituting them for some food medicine. Blueberries, avocadoes (homemade guacamole definitely counts!) and apples are particularly good for cleansing the body.

fresh raspberries and blueberries in bowl
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Reflect

2020 has certainly been a different year with a rollercoaster of ups and downs for everyone. As easy as it may seem to write 2020 off as a year worth forgetting, take a moment to reflect on this year’s journey around the sun. Think about what you have accomplished and what you’re proud of. Were you kind to yourself? Have you helped others? Are you aligned with your values? Jot it down in order to analyse what went well and what could be improved. These reflections will act as a guide for next year’s goals. Remember, you can only ever be better than the person you were yesterday.

opened notebook with silver pen near magnolia
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As this year comes to an end, be sure to celebrate the completion of 2020 by feeling replenished and energised. Don’t wait for those New Year’s resolutions, boost your body and spirits before this year closes. What are your top self-care tips to leave you feeling revitalised and replenished?

Hygge – Fall in Love with Winter the Danish Way

Hygge is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture, one of the happiest countries in the world. Denmark is situated in northern Europe meaning it can get pretty cold and dark, especially this time of year. Yet, it’s repeatedly voted one of the places with the happiest citizens. Hygge, the Danish way to live life well, is the perfect way to learn to love the winter months. It’s all about cosiness and joyful experiences that can be achieved by anyone, anywhere in the world. As this season is full of festivity, snug surroundings and delicious food, it’s the perfect time to impart some hygge into your life.

What does Hygge actually mean?

According to dictionary.com, Hygge is “the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having good conversations, enjoying food, etc.” Hygge is much easier felt than described. It’s the art of creating intimacy and joy, the pleasure of comfort, and a cup of hot chocolate in candlelight. The beauty of hygge is that it embraces happiness in the little things in life.

5 Simple Steps to Practice Hygge

Ambience

According to Meik Wiking, author of The Little Book of Hygge, hygge is nothing without candles. When darkness hits, it’s time to turn off the lights and brighten up the room with candles, lamps, and love. In order to create a hyggelig ambience, candles are essential. The concept of creating small flutters of light around the room captures the beauty and simplicity of the comfort and warmth light offers us.

candle lanterns with fire
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Conviviality

Denmark prioritises its social relationships and work-life balance. Chances are you’re already set to experience something hygge this season. Conviviality is a key concept which is the simple pleasure of spending time with loved ones. Time shared with others creates a feeling of warmth and closeness, particularly hygge when done in a pleasant relaxing atmosphere. In fact, studies show that the more satisfied with your social relationships, the happier people are in general. As a social species, our relationships affect our happiness. According to the Danes, the perfect hygge social events include an intimate amount of 3 – 4 close friends. Whether it be organising a games night, or enjoying some good food by the cosiness of the fireplace, creating hygge memories requires minimal effort. So, light some candles, put some relaxing music on and leave your phone in your bag to practice presence.

Pleasure

The hygge concept is all about being kind to yourself by allowing yourself to indulge in one of the simplest pleasures of life, food, and drink. Actually, the pleasance of good food and drink may mean taking a break from the healthy bandwagon. Stop seeing them as guilty pleasures and start seeing them as hygge inspired treats. For the most hygge food, think all things sweet such as cake, pastries and home-baked treats galore. Though hyggelig treats can be as simple as sharing a bowl of popcorn with friends. For the most hygge beverages, think warm drinks like hot chocolate, coffee, or why not go all out with some mulled wine to celebrate the festive season. Embracing a warm drink is a comforting way of warming yourself up and inducing an enjoyable hygge ambience.

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Cosiness

Getting snug and relaxing is a great wait to practice hygge cosiness. The wonders of hygge include some cosy attire, comfy cushions and a blanket. If you really want to hygge things up, you can take it to the next level and create a hyggekrog. This is a cosy spot at home where you can get cosy with a good book and hot beverage. The typical Danish hyggekrog is the most beautiful window ledge seat that we all secretly long for in our homes. It doesn’t have to be a window spot though. Take a part of a room and fill it with cushions, comfy seating, a blanket and some gentle lighting for the ultimate hygge feel. There’s something comforting about a small spot meant for moments of cosiness. Embrace the comfort of home in your new hygge hideout and get ready to relax with a good book.

Peace and Harmony

After a slightly different year, it’s safe to say many of us have learned to appreciate peace and tranquillity. At times, as interesting as debating politics may be or no matter how satisfying it can feel to brag about our achievements, we need moments of peace and harmony. Life is no competition and love has no price. Instead, in moments of hygge, we must share our tasks and embrace the time spent together in a peaceful manner. After all, we must be grateful to have our loved ones in our life and enjoy one of the most simplistic blessings in life, their presence.

white couch on wooden floor
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What better way to fully immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit than to create a hygge ambience? All these wonderful hygge concepts are taken from Meik Wiking’s award-winning book, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. This short summary was completely inspired by this wonderful book that quite frankly made me fall in love with all things hygge. It is thanks to Meik that I can see the beauty in winter, a season full of darker days and cold chills. Winter is the season which invites us to practice hygge to our heart’s desire.

Simple Self-Care Tips for the Winter Season

As winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to embrace the seasonal changes. Winter is rolling in which means our self-care routines and leisure activities, much like our wardrobes, are in need of a switch-up. Welcome in the beauty of winter with these simple self-care tips to embrace the chill.

christmas decors on winter background
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The Benefits of a Seasonal Routine

Did you know that the seasons affect both our body and mind? Scientific studies show that seasonal variations including temperatures, daylight, and weather conditions affect us. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is an example of human seasonality. Those with the disorder tend to suffer depressive episodes in late autumn or early winter, sapping energy and augmenting mood swings. One reason for this is that reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels.

Luckily, there are some simple steps we can take in order to stay in sync with the seasons. Our daily self-care practices help keep us happy and healthy. So with the arrival of winter, it’s time to prioritise self-care.

Winter Walks

Nothing is quite as refreshing as a winter walk. Not only is it a wonderful way to get a dose of fresh air, it also provides us with the natural light that our body craves during the winter months. It may seem less appetising during the cold months, especially on those frosty mornings. Even so, you won’t regret it. It’s a wonderful way to get exercise and even enjoy the company of a loved one. Or, to make the most of some alone time, why not make it meditative by giving a walking meditation a go?

green pine tree with white snow
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Vitamin D

During the winter months, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. Yet, vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and strengthening our immune systems. Studies actually show that vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression. Luckily, between 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight several times a week is a great way to get your dose of vitamin D. And, for those gloomy days, there are some delicious sources of vitamin D including: fortified soy, almond and rice milk, mushrooms, fortified orange juice, oily fish and fortified cereals and oats.

Soak in Hot Baths

Soaking in a bath is a pleasant way to relax and, according to the Healthline, it can also help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. Basically, a relaxing bubble bath can be used as an excellent antidote to a stressful day as well as warming you up amid the winter chill. Soak in a hot bath whilst soothing your senses with some scented candles or fragrant bath salts. Or why not make a day of it and schedule a spa day for the ultimate relaxation.

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Ayurvedic Rituals

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of holistic health, which embraces natural practices to nurture the body and mind. In Ayurveda, wellness is known as the absence of disease and the vibrancy of being at ease with yourself and others. Although Ayurveda focuses on three different body types, there are many lifestyle practices to benefit from regardless of our dosha. Tongue scraping, for example, first thing in the morning is an effective way of removing toxins and bacteria accumulated overnight. Drinking warm water first thing also has incredible benefits including hydration of the body’s tissues, aiding digestion, and, of course, keeping you warm and cosy on those winter mornings. For more amazing Ayurvedic practices and an in-depth guide to rituals and recipes specific to your body type, check out this Ayurvedic Beginner’s Guide.

Journaling

Momentaneous sadness or irritation is normal irrespective of the seasons. Yet, those rainy days or winter chills can take an extra toll on our mood at times. This is when journaling can come in handy. Relaying your thoughts on paper is a great way of coping with fleeting negativity. It can help to understand the reasons behind these emotions, or even enable us to stumble upon some solutions. Positive affirmations are also a great way to stay on track in moments of self-doubt or worry. We are what we think, and in turn, our moods, days, and lives stem from our thoughts. Release some “feel-good” hormones with the help of psychologist Doctor Carmen Harra’s expertise in affirmations.

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Music

Did you know that your brain actually releases dopamine, also known as the feel-good neurotransmitter, when you listen to music? Pleasurable music induces release of dopamine, contributing to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. So, if you’re looking for an instant mood-boosting hack to cure your winter blues, it’s time to put your favourite playlist on. And what better way to get in the Christmas spirit than dancing, cooking or showering to some Christmas classics. Because, who doesn’t feel happier after listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, right?

Ignite Your Inner Creativity

Getting creative is entertaining and provides us with an abundance of benefits. From stress relief to increased confidence, we have all experienced first-hand the feeling of accomplishment that creativity brings. Whether it be some mindful baking to whip up some tasty treats, reading in a cosy corner of the house or drawing and painting to your heart’s desire, the options are endless. To practice some seasonal creativity, why not create a beautiful hand-made gift this Christmas or have a go at making some delicious wintery drinks to feel replenished.

brown pastry and cupcake in chopping board
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Winter is a wonderful season that has so much to offer. From snuggling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate to exhilarating winter sports, this season deserves to be celebrated. Wintertime is renowned for its frosty mornings and crisp air, yet it’s also a time to embrace the beauty of winter walks, cosy corners and festive spirits.

5 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues

Do you feel a sense of sadness, stress, or anxiety? Are you in pursuit of motivation? Are you finding it hard to get things done?

If any of the above apply to you, you may have a case of the Monday Blues...

What are the Monday Blues?

A Blue Monday is defined as a Monday that is “depressing or trying especially because of the return to work and routine after the weekend.” It’s knowing that a weekend of fun and relaxation is over with the work week looming ahead.

So, what are some quick fixes to get over a case of the Monday Blues?

Make a List of Things to Look Forward To

Instead of focusing on the mundane or difficult tasks that lay ahead of you, think about all the good to come. Make a list by writing out some things that you are currently looking forward to. A good place to start is to think of one thing you are excited about for each category: at work, after work, and at the weekend. If it’s hard to come up with three things to look forward to, get planning ASAP! We’re not talking about anything extravagant, just simple things that uplift you like meeting a friend for coffee.

interior of stylish room with elegant furniture and mirror in frame
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Prioritise Sleep

Sleep has a tremendous effect on our mood. According to Harvard Medical School, “poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being.” So, if you find yourself a little more short-tempered than normal, sleep may be the answer. Take a nap to reenergise or get to bed earlier tonight to make up for lost sleep. It’s worth taking this into account on Sunday to avoid a lack of energy on a Monday morning.

Do a Good Deed

Doing something good to make someone else happy is actually a win-win situation. Chances are you will end up feeling better for it too. According to Psychology Today, there’s a “direct correlation with overall well-being and giving out time, money or other resources to a cause.” This doesn’t have to mean investing lots of time and money. Why not help someone close to home? If someone could do with a helping hand, be that person. Want to go above and beyond beating the Monday Blues? Engrain a sense of fulfillment and happiness in your schedule by volunteering. It’s a great way to help others, especially if you choose wisely. Do something your passionate about, or a cause close to home to make it all the more beneficial.

Dress to Impress

Though this may seem trivial, don’t underestimate the power of an outfit. We have all experienced those feel-good vibes a killer outfit can bring. It makes you feel good, right? Well, it can also help brighten up your day. In fact, “psychologists conclude that the strong link between clothing and mood suggests we should put on clothes that we associate with happiness, even when feeling low.” In short, what better day than a blue Monday to wear what makes you feel great!

clothes hanged on clothes rack
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Keep your Schedule Light

After a weekend of fun and taking it easy, it might be best to keep Monday’s schedule a little lighter than other days. This doesn’t mean sitting around and drowning in your Monday Blues. It means that instead of facing the most complicated stuff on a Monday, put some time into the easier tasks. Diminish Monday Blues and any anxiety or stress by allowing yourself to do Monday with more ease.

Wishing you all a happy Monday. Of course, constant Monday Blues may be a sign of something serious like maybe your work doesn’t bring you joy. If that’s the case, it’s best to be proactive and think up a plan of action. Though if you are feeling a little lost, talking to an expert is a great way to gain insight. These quick fixes are intended to beat the Monday blues, boost your mood and set you up for success. Let me know in the comments below what your Monday Blues prescriptions are.

Why Autumn is the Best Season: 5 Reasons to Get Excited About Fall

Each season has its perks, but none are quite as magical as autumn. The days draw in, cool weather kicks in with perspiration becoming a thing of the past, and crunchy colourful leaves brighten up our pathways. Let’s take a look at why fall really is the most magical season.

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Warm Wardrobes and Cosy Clothing

Wave goodbye to flip flops and sandals as socks embrace your feet once more. The warmth and comfort of jumpers and layers make a return meaning you will be extra snug this season. Plus, jumpers don’t succumb to fast-fashion as much meaning that you probably already have a base of stylish wear for this season’s fashion

Cool Nights Call For Optimal Sleep

Did you know that the ideal temperature is between 15.6 and 19.4°C (60 and 67°F) for optimal sleep? This makes fall the perfect season for a great night’s sleep. The heat is replaced with cooler temperatures and, as a result, it is easier to fall asleep naturally without hot sweats. Cuddle up with a duvet, a hot drink and some comfy PJs to truly embrace the cool nights.

Beautiful Brightness

Moreover, everything looks so much more magical in fall. Your daily walk or run is now coated in crunchy layers of colourful crispness. Not only are they super fun to step on, they also create the most beautiful scenery. The fall foliage makes a much-awaited return presenting us with golden tones of yellow, orange, and red. Such colourful radiance is enough to brighten up, literally and metaphorically, anyone’s day

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Autumnal Delicacies

Chestnuts, mulled wine, Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, and well anything pumpkin-related really… These delicacies make for an excellent reason to celebrate the autumn. The season in which plenty of vegetables are cultivated means we are blessed with lots of goodness for cooking. Get ready for hot dishes like soups, stews, pies, and home baking – perfect as the nights draw in.

Night’s In: Hygge Comforts

Now that it’s getting cooler, it’s the perfect time to make the most of a night in. Light some candles, and snuggle up in front of the fireplace, enjoy a hot chocolate. Embrace the hygge way of living by enjoying the autumnal magic and all it has to offer. Cold showers can be replaced with warm, bubbly baths followed by the comfort of slippers, fluffy socks, and dressing gowns.

Without a doubt, autumn is full of things to look forward to. So many other amazing things have been left off the list such as bonfires, fireworks, Halloween, thanksgiving, Oktoberfest… Best of all, fall really is such a comforting time – think endless supplies of hot chocolate and snuggling up with a blanket.

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Autumn Is Here: How to Stay Balanced and Energised with the Change of Seasons

Autumn is finally here meaning an array of crispy leaves will fill our paths as soups, hot drinks and snuggly jumpers make a welcomed return. Not only does autumn have an effect on the weather, our wardrobe and cooking choices, it also brings a change in energy levels as light hours are reduced and the nights become longer. Keep reading to find out how to stay aligned with the ebb and flow of your energy levels during this seasonal transition.

EAT HEARTY NURTURING FOODS

In order to keep energy levels flowing and build up our immune system in time for winter, it is essential to nurture your body with healthy, seasonal foods. Avoid processed foods and always opt for organic options where possible. Eat seasonal fruits and veggies as many of these are excellent sources of the immune-boosting vitamin C. In terms of vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and green and red peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Citrus fruits and the berry group: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries, are also rich in Vitamin C as well as pertaining to foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants do wonders for the body. According to expert Christopher T. Reilly, “antioxidants remove free radicals from the body which can run rampant and actually damage cells, causing serious illness.” This makes for an excellent excuse to do some healthy, nurturing cooking.

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EMBRACE THE HYGGE AUTUMN FEELS

If the book The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by happiness researcher and expert Meik Wiking doesn’t get you excited about the cosiness of autumn and the nights drawing in, I don’t know what will. The Danish concept, Hygge, embraces all things warm and wintery including: candles, blankets, baking, hot drinks, warm clothing, books, and nature. Autumn is the perfect excuse to mindfully relax and practice presence by taking a warm bath whilst enjoying some aromatic oils and lighting some candles. Create a hygge ambient by sitting back and relaxing with your favourite book, podcast or film. Or why not enjoy a morning of baking followed by an evening featuring your favourite movie accompanied, of course, by the hygge essentials: a hot drink, a blanket and somebody you love (a pet counts too).

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SCHEDULE IN SOCIAL EVENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

At times, it is much less enticing to organise meet-ups and attend social events with shorter days, cooler temperatures and darker evenings. Yet, reminding yourself just how much fun you will have with your friends, family, or partners makes for the perfect reason to schedule in activities that bring you happiness. From a dinner or games night with friends, to an outdoor cycle or an autumnal family walk, fill your fall social calendar with events that you can look forward to all week.

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PRIORITISE SLEEP

Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle meaning that a decrease in light exposure causes “an increase in melatonin production, which results in a feeling of sluggishness or being tired” according to experts. In order to avoid this seasonal tiredness, ensure that you are consistent with your sleeping pattern with the aim of achieving between 7 to 8 hours of sleep depending on what your body requires. Limiting screen time and artificial lighting about an hour before drifting off is also a fundamental part of getting a good night’s rest. Remember, you are only as energised as your previous night’s sleep.

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The beauty of autumn deserves to be celebrated, so here’s to cosy nights in, delicious warm recipes and beverages, and enhancing the hygge ways of happiness. What are your top tips to staying healthy, happy and energised in autumn?

Silencing Your Inner Critic – 5 Simple Steps Towards Self-Love

We have all been held back at some point by our inner critic as its innate negativity eats away at our self-confidence and self-love. The question is: how can we silence that critical voice and achieve inner peace?

Ackowledgement

Recognise that it is just a thought. A thought is fleeting and, as they come and go, negative ones are bound to arrive at some stage. The first step is to recognise that it is a self-constructed thought and that only we are in control of our thoughts.

Name your Inner Critic

Give your inner critic a name. So, we’ve all heard of negative Nancy, right? Not only is it super catchy, but it also acts as a reminder to stop us moaning eventually because nobody likes a complainer. So why is it OK to be negative in our mind, to feed our inner critic? Let’s not give way to such a voice. Giving your inner critic a name will make it easier to recognise, thus becoming easier to silence. This technique further solidifies the fact that the inner critic is not you.

Negative Nancy who?!

Do not give the thought/your inner critic importance. The more you fret about it, the more you succumb to instilling the negativity in your mind. For example, if you find yourself thinking “I am so useless. I always mess up” listen as it comes to your consciousness, and let it go. That thought, “negativity Nancy” only grows if you let it.

Replace Negativity with Positivity

Override the negativity with positivity. The garden analogy works perfectly here: we remove weeds to stop them from stealing the sun, nutrients, and water from the plants and flowers we wish to grow. Watering the weeds would just be counterproductive. Instead of watering the weeds, we must remove them in order to let the flowers grow. The same situation exists in our minds.  Upon recognising your inner critic, that unwelcomed weed, be sure to replace it with a positive thought.

Highlight your Strengths

Invest in a self-love journal. Every time someone gives you a compliment, write it down. Every time you recognise a personal strength, jot that down too. Give examples, elaborate, big yourself up. This will act as a strong DIY weed killer in those times of need. If one day you are facing a fierce battle against negative Nancy, the self-love journal is there to lend you a helping hand with your struggles. Take a glimpse, or read through as much as it takes to silence that dreaded (but completely normal!) negativity.

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity – it’s sanity.” – Katrina Mayer

A Powerful Mind-set For Success – Earl Nightingale’s Wisdom Shared

According to Earl Nightingale, “success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal.” Earl believed that the biggest societal failure was conformity. He argued that this mind-set is formed through the belief that life happens to us. Instead, he defined the successful as those who are progressively realising a worthy ideal. Quite simply, success is if we work in a certain profession because that’s what we truly want, that we form a family because that’s what we truly want, and that we buy things because they’re what we truly want. Let’s dive into Earl’s nuggets of wisdom to find out how to strive for the right kind of success, not the success that we think we want.

Don’t Compete – Create

We are not here to compete, we are here to create. To avoid conformity, think about what you truly want in life, your own priorities. Each individual has different pleasures, passions and perceptions. Do not choose a career based on another person’s definition of success. Choose a career that aligns with your passions and interests.

Set Goals

The key to success is setting goals. Goals ensure that we have something to work towards, thus enabling us to constantly make progress. Goals provide us with guidance in order to create the life we truly desire. Think about what you truly want in life, and make that your goal starting from today. It’s important to set attainable goals and work towards them each day.

We Are the Seeds We Sow

The difference between success and failure is mind-set. Life is what you make of it. So, if we are what we think about this means we can alter our lives. We become what we think about. What we plant, we reap; if we think it, it will materialise. Planting your goal in your mind is of vital importance to your success. Visualise the moment of reaching the goal; imagination is key. Focus to determine the future because our mind is our guidance. By controlling our thoughts, we control our mind. Ensure that positive thoughts override any negative ones, self-disciplining the mind is key.

The Test

Earl encourages a 30-day experiment to work towards success. The experiment entails doing your best, forcing yourself to think positively, and believing that it is impossible to fail. Firstly, write down what you want more than anything else on a card, a single goal. Carry this with you and look at it each day. It gives you something to get out of bed for and strive for.

Mind Over Matter

Think about it and soon it will be yours. Stop thinking about what you fear. Each time fear strikes or you feel like giving up, take control of your mind and remind yourself of your goal and why you want it so much. Know where you are going and ensure that you don’t get distracted. Do your best to focus on this purpose and progress towards it. Give more of yourself every day, do more than is expected.

According to Earl, “you get back what you put out in life” and remember, you are what you believe yourself to be.

Check out Earl’s audio here to learn more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbBHR_CD56M

How to Feel Happy

Happiness

noun

  1. the quality or state of being happy.
  2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

Happiness is what everyone strives for in life. It is what everyone tells you to be, but no one really tells you how to be it. Happiness is subject to every individual making it a rather complex topic. Luckily with in-depth research and hard-work, we now know the hacks to lead a happier life so let’s dive into different ways to increase our happiness!

Avoid the “if when” Mindset

In a world in which we are surrounded by social media and glamorous ads, we are susceptible to superficial ideas of happiness. Just scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or passing commercials in the street, we constantly see people, products, and services that make happiness seem so achievable. If you book that holiday, you’ll be happy. If you get that promotion, you’ll feel happier. It gives us hope that we will find happiness if or when this happens – it’s a waiting game. The problem with this “if when” mindset is that we are constantly depending on that future moment for our happiness. We are aware of what we lack, thus failing to see what we actually have. The best way to tackle this is by replacing the “if when” mind-set by counting your blessings and thinking about everyone and everything you are fortunate enough to have in your life right now.

Gratitude

The infamous gratitude list is the BEST way to really think about what we have and embrace it with open arms. Start the day on a positive note by making it the first thing you do in the morning. Look around you and start to think about your blessings: nature, food and drink, pets, family, friends, beautiful places, access to water, safety, good health, wildlife, a home, entertainment. Make a concerted effort to see all the good that encompasses you. Check out this free five-minute morning journal below to make gratitude a daily ritual.

Connecting With Others

Spending time alone is great and definitely needed, but spending time with others should also be a priority. As an introvert, this can be a struggle. Reminding yourself that we humans thrive off social interactions and supportive relationships is a great reason to organise a get-together with loved ones. The most important thing is to be sure that you are making real genuine connections that contribute to your psychological well-being. Organise something you enjoy with someone you get joy from being with in order to boost those feel-good vibes. Notice how you feel after certain social activities and interactions and aim to fill your social schedule with the ones that leave you feeling great afterwards.

Go Easy on Yourself

Sometimes you will feel down and that’s completely normal. Just like every other emotion, happiness is fleeting. This means that those bad moods will end and those moments of joy too. Psychologically speaking, there are two types of happiness. Hedonistic happiness is the fleeting kind such as that first bite of chocolate, receiving a compliment, or going on vacation. Hedonistic happiness is about experiences of pleasure and joy.

close up photo of stacked chocolates bars beside raspberries
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Diving Deeper

On the other hand, eudaimonic happiness is the purposeful, long-lasting type. When your values and beliefs are expressed in your choices, habits, and actions, you are practicing eudaimonia. Those that experience this type of happiness enjoy life and all it has to offer. This sense of fulfillment is reached from the pursuit of meaning and virtue.

Eudaimonic Happiness

Eudaimonic happiness offers a completely different perspective on what it means to have a good life. It involves discovering our purpose and investing in personal growth. This sense of fulfillment will enable us to feel more content and purpose. The concept contains six pillars that experts deem to be crucial in the pursuit of lasting happiness.

The elements are autonomy, personal growth, environmental mastery, positive relations, self-acceptance, and purpose in life. To clarify, autonomy refers to the ability to feel confident enough to pursue your own path in life and build yourself a life without getting wrapped up in other people’s opinions. Environmental mastery is the ability to create a suitable environment to accommodate personal needs and values. By taking on these challenges you are investing in your long-term happiness which, needless to say, will definitely be worth it.

“Happiness is not out there, it’s in you.” – Louise Armstrong

6 Simple Ways To Effectively Enhance Productivity

If you are lacking motivation or looking for ways to enhance your efficiency, look no further. Productivity is all about diligence and establishing good habits. This guide is full of practical tips to effectively enhance productivity, and can be tailored to each individual’s preferences.

Start The Day As You Mean To Go On

Firstly, aim to start your day feeling refreshed. Make yourself a nutritional breakfast, a warm drink or just a glass of water to stay hydrated if you don’t have much of an appetite. Healthy habits are best achieved with a healthy diet, providing us with optimum nutritional value and energy for the day. In order to start the day well, try doing something you find uplifting. That might be spending time with your pet, going on walk or journaling. Focus on feeling replenished and ready for the day ahead.

Motivational Mentors

Secondly, find a mentor. This does not necessarily have to be the conventional mentor, it could be something like a podcast, a book or even a YouTuber that motivates you. Look for something uplifting that leaves you feeling energised to enhance your productivity. Remember, even on the days in which you struggle to find motivation – mind over matter. Find a mentor that leaves you feeling inspired, empowered and motivated. Take a task like cooking or having breakfast and listen simultaneously. Another tip for increasing your motivation is to decorate your most-used spaces, e.g. your office or bathroom, with some beautiful quotes or affirmations to keep the positivity flowing.

macbook pro on white table
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Achievable To-Do Lists

Thirdly, create a to-do list and ensure it is realistic. Sometimes our optimistic selves write out unrealistic to-do lists. This ends up creating pressure and stress as we try to squeeze everything in. Write your list the day before and ensure that it’s reasonable. Finding out what is too much and what is not quite enough is all about trial and error. There will be days when you run about like a headless chicken but get everything done. Then there are days where you might aimlessly stare at the screen and wander around filling your day with distractions. Experiment with how much you are capable of doing in a day. Do not beat yourself up about the not so productive days – learn from them. Maybe you need a more in-depth to-do list or maybe you just need a break, this happens to the best of us.

Create An Enjoyable Work Space

Ensure that where you work, study or get things done is a pleasant, inspiring environment. Have all the necessary things at hand like some water, your laptop, your books and whatever else you deem crucial. Then, think about what you can do to make it a space that inspires productivity; design an aesthetically pleasing space for yourself. Of course, this is subject to the individual’s taste. It could be anything from buying a nice plant, adding in a family photo or even a motivational quote. Keep it tidy by dedicating five minutes at the end of each day to organising your space and, voila, keep up the flow of productivity!

himalayan salt lamp near laptop on wooden table
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Avoid Social Media

Avoid social media, and yes, that includes WhatsApp. It’s considered a bad habit due to its addictive nature, while it also serves as a distraction to productivity. If discipline is something you are working on, it might be a good idea to put your phone in another room, put it on flight mode or even just keep it in another place entirely. Save yourself from losing time and only check your phone after the working day or during your breaks. You could even consider a digital detox. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in viewing people’s Instagram stories, but distractions lead to lower levels of productivity.

Have Something To Look Forward To

Always have something to look forward to. Healthy habits must be rewarded! After all, self-love is taking care of your happiness. It is so important to reward yourself for all your hard work by doing something fun after work, or making some exciting weekend plans. When times get hard and all you want to do is turn off your laptop, instead of focusing on your momentary lack of willpower, focus on how much fun you can have when you finish.

woman turning around on green fields
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Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, productive day. Remember, as Sean Covey says, “depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.”