How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We are taught from a young age not to compare ourselves to others. Yet, it’s much easier said than done. There are endless ways in which we tend to compare ourselves including our jobs, income, house, grades, likes on Instagram, and the list goes on. Not only are there an infinite number of areas in which we can compare ourselves to others, nowadays because of social media, it would appear that there is also an infinite list of people we can also compare ourselves to.

First-hand experience has taught us that comparison leads to unhappiness. It allows us to focus on what we don’t have or what we aren’t happy with about ourselves. It’s true that there can be some benefits to comparison. For instance, it could drive you to succeed in fulfilling your own goals. It may even reassure you that if it’s possible for them, it’s possible for you too. Nevertheless, it often leaves us feeling frustrated, “why not me?” It can also make us feel anxious – “am I doing enough?” The energy we spend on these thoughts is predominantly negative. It eats away at our precious time, zaps at our motivation and fills us with self-doubt.

This reaction is not unusual. According to a study concerning envy in adulthood, more than 75% of people reported feeling this way in the past year. Below are five proactive approaches to stop comparing yourself to others, and regain control to focus on your own path.

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Establish the triggers

The first step is to acknowledge when these feelings of envy generally come about. Is it after a session of scrolling through your LinkedIn feed? Perhaps it’s after glancing at your friends’ Instagram stories. These observations teach us a lot about our values. Let off some steam or seek to understand these comparisons by getting it down on paper. Write about how they impact you, is there a goal that you could perhaps establish in order to achieve that in your own life, or is the comparison simply a waste of time. Become aware of the triggers and analyse them accordingly.

Practice Gratitude

Thankfully, practicing gratitude can override these negative emotions. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, take a look around you – think about who and what you’re grateful for. It may help to write these down or even make this a collective activity. With your family, friends, or partner, create a gratitude jar. Find a mason jar, decorate it to your liking, and fill it with at least one thing each day that you are grateful for. With the current situation, you could consider creating a virtual gratitude jar through a Whatsapp group. When you find yourself slipping into comparison mode or self-doubt, reach for the gratitude jar to uplift you.

Identify your Achievements

When focusing on others, we tend to focus on their strengths and, consequently, we ignore our own. This is a lose-lose situation that can be proactively turned into a win-win situation. Go ahead and identify your own achievements to reflect on your skills and talents. Begin to list all of your recent (or not so) achievements, no matter how big or small. From helping a friend to doing a workout with zero motivation, take pride in your achievements.  

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Embrace the Inspiration

Behind everyone’s success is a story. We tend to focus on the outcome as opposed to the hours they spent working hard and making sacrifices for their achievements. Instead of focusing on envy, embrace it as a form of motivation. Who are the people you aspire to be like? If you know them, reach out to them. If it’s someone in the public eye, do your research and find out about their story. Let them be the inspiration for what you can be, do and achieve.

Friend or Foe?

There are two options when it comes to self-talk – friend or foe. You know that voice inside your head that tells you every insult under the sun? This one’s the foe. If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, don’t say it to yourself. When you succumb to comparison mode, be your own best friend. Be kind to yourself by acknowledging and reminding yourself of your unique values. Give yourself pep talks that build up your confidence, and instill you with positivity.

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.” – Zen Shin

There will always be someone more successful, more intelligent, or more beautiful than you are. The key is to appreciate your uniqueness, focus on strengths. Take control of where you put your energy. Use it to believe in yourself and create the life you desire and deserve.

You’ve got this!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.”

Wellness and the Weekend: Finding Balance

Many of us can relate to maintaining a healthy lifestyle Monday to Friday. Our routine, limited social events, and a productive mindset help us to stay on track. Yet the moment that the weekend arrives, it can be easy to slip up, right?. Here are some tips to promote balance and avoid jumping off the health bandwagon completely.

Buy Healthier Alternatives

Healthy eating is all about the balance of enjoying food responsibly. Bear your food cravings in mind when you do the food shop because let’s be honest, we all get them. The key is to opt for healthier alternatives. If you are a chocolate lover, opt for dark chocolate, if you are a pizza lover, make your own pizza without processed ingredients. By investing in healthier alternatives for your guilty pleasures, you are setting yourself up for a happier, healthier gut. Do some research and find out what alternatives are available. OK, so you may be thinking it’s the weekend so technically pigging out should be allowed. Treat yourself for sure, just in a smarter way. Liberate yourself from the guilt and sugar rush. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Get Excited about Exercise

It’s the weekend so the last thing you want to think about is having to drag yourself to the gym when you’re just not feeling it. That’s completely fine because we all need a break and, hey, it’s the weekend. It’s all about the balance of having fun and not completely neglecting our health. If no form of exercise excites you yet, it’s time to get experimenting. Try out a new sport or even take a trip down memory lane and opt for a childhood classic like roller skating. Why not get the best of both worlds by getting outdoors too. Try going on a bike ride, hiking in the mountains, or taking a walk to watch the sunset. Embrace the activities that excite you and get you moving in the process.

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Give Yourself Some You Time

So Monday to Friday we work, we study, we run errands and we reap productivity. The weekend is the perfect time to reward yourself for all the hard work you have put in and take time to focus on yourself. Do something that makes you happy or makes you feel alive. It’s OK to say no to events to prioritise yourself. Actually, you are doing them and yourself a favour in order to replenish and feel like your best self.

Spend Time with People that Bring Out the Best of You

According to Jim RohnYou are the five people you spend the most time with.” This is the perfect reason to hang out with the people that make you feel happy and uplift you. Social interaction, when done right, triggers positivity and releases endorphins. Spending time with friends that spark joy is a win-win situation, resulting in an increase in well-being for all.

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Learn Something New

Who said that learning was boring? Learning doesn’t have to be tedious. In fact, when you find something that sparks your inner curiosity, learning becomes a pick-me-up. From reading a gripping book to listening to a podcast that inspires you, the more you learn, the more you keep your mind engaged. Embrace unconventional learning by watching a video on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, or by reading your favourite magazine.

You cannot buy your health; you must earn it through healthy living.” – Joel Fuhrman