Self Care Sessions: 3 Books to Nourish Your Mind, Body and Soul

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In my Self Care Sessions series, you’ll find me sharing ways that I’ve been investing time and care in myself, just in case any of you guys have been feeling the pressure and are looking for ways to balance things a bit better too! You can check out my last post here!

I’ve always been a bookworm and when I was little I’d read pretty much anything I could get my paws on, even if I probably shouldn’t have been reading it quite yet (a few Stephen King books spring to mind…). What I loved most was getting lost in novels and spending an afternoon wrapped up in music biographies. While stories – real life or fictional – still fascinate me, as I get older I find myself enjoying other people’s advice, experience and views on a particular topic.

Most recently, I’ve been enjoying a few titles that carry a similar theme of self care, yet they all seem to approach it from a different angle. Books ideal for keeping handy in case you need a little boost! Two of them are very handbag-friendly, whereas the other would be right at home on your kitchen counter.

I’d love to share the details with you, so here’s a round up! These are 3 books to nourish your mind, body and soul…

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For the mind: A Mindfulness Guide for the FRAZZLED by Ruby Wax. When I hear the name Ruby Wax, I instantly associate her with her comedy writing and performance. However, she has also done a great deal of work and studying out of the limelight – earning a Masters from Oxford in Cognitive Therapy and being awarded an OBE for her services to mental health awareness.

FRAZZLED is Ruby’s guide to shaking off stress, de-cramming our brains and living a happier life. From the science behind how our minds actually work, to dealing with relationships, this book covers a LOT but does it in an accessible way that balances razor-sharp personal anecdotes with practical advice. You’ve nothing to lose but your stress.

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For the body: Keep It Real by Calgary Avansino. Part recipe book, part guide to living in a more healthy, organised (and did I mention delicious?) way, what I love about Calgary’s book is that it seems to be compilation of so many subjects that are popular right now.

Covering plant-powered diets, meal prep, ditching refined sugar, the importance of fuelling our bodies correctly and actually pulling off a successful grocery shop (we’ve all made a few poor choices in aisle 12, am I right?!), this is a great go-to guide for anyone looking to explore any of these topics. Not only that, but Keep It Real is also stuffed with yummy recipes. This book was a lovely gift from my brother, and I always feel motivated to make healthier choices after flicking through it!

For the soul: Wake Up! Escaping A Life on Autopilot by Chris Baréz-Brown. This book is quite literally a wake up call, and a call to action for anyone who is going through the motions and missing out on real moments and connections as a result. The book is based on the theory that 80% of our time is spent on autopilot, a result of buzzing around, being tremendously busy and always thinking about the next thing on the list, rather than enjoying the present. Sound familiar?

Wake Up! is the most interactive book I’m sharing with you today, filled with stimulating exercises and activities to help us break free from the trap of autopilot. The book is also designed to act as a journal, with spaces to track our progress towards living a calmer, more memorable life. It’s all about making each day count and that’s something I can really get behind.

The last thing that these titles all have in common is that they are perfect for dipping in and out of, thanks to chapters structured in short chunks. It means that they will be easy to return to, if I ever need to, without reading from cover to cover.

I’d recommend the above books to anyone looking to practice a bit more self care, and want to know if you’ve read anything lately that you’ve enjoyed!

Love,

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3 Ways to Organise Your Life this Year

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I have to admit, typing a title with the words ‘ways to organise your life’ makes me feel like there should be a little fanfare at the start of this post, or at least a loud whistle – as though I’m a wise old teacher about to gather you all round to impart some special knowledge.

No pressure then, eh?

Keeping ourselves organised is nothing new, but sometimes we start the year with the best intentions only to find that by March a few things tend to fall away a bit (or at least, I know I do) . Before we know it, we’re right back where we started!

I thought it might be helpful to share a few ways that I like to keep on top of things, in case you’re setting yourself goals (well, it IS January!) for the year and need a helping hand to stick to them…

  1. Invest in a diary and be sure to use it! Call it a planner, a diary, a journal, an electronic agenda app or just a notebook – whatever name it goes by, this little baby is my number one, can’t-live-without-it organisational tool. When I was a kid, I had a furry Dalmatian-patterned Filofax and it was one of my favourite possessions. Granted, I didn’t have THAT MUCH to plan in it (unless you count ‘going to the caravan’ and ‘Dad’s birthday’) but still! There are endless styles of planner available from all kinds of brands, but my current favourite is the Ban.do agenda, as I loved using it last year and have recently treated myself to a new one to kick-start 2017 (pictured above). Bonus tip: take fifteen minutes and mark in important events for the entire year so they don’t sneak up on you later…
  2. Get on board with meal planning. Food is such a big part of life, yet when I think about how little time I spend thinking about what to eat I feel a little bit embarrassed (who’s that at 5pm cruising the M&S aisles on an empty stomach about to make a silly dinner choice? Oh, yeah – it’s THIS GAL). So I’ve come to realise that with some slight preparation in advance, my meals for the week will be sorted so that I don’t even need to think about it later. Winning! Depending on what you like, you could make a big batch of something at the weekend and incorporate that into your meals for the week. Making the plan really doesn’t take long. Then it’s just a case of buying and preparing the food so that you’re ready for the week ahead. Bonus tip: this is especially helpful if you’re switching up your diet and trying to eat more or less of a certain thing – incorporate this goal into your planning.
  3. De-clutter your day-to-day. De-cluttering is such a wide-ranging topic that it’s perhaps best to be more specific here! When I say the day-to-day, what I mean is, the meaningless messages that take up your time and energy every single day. Unsubscribe from those newsletters, catalogues and email updates that – let’s face it – you delete without opening anyway. That daily email that you get from a company you bought a sweater from one time five years ago? Buh-bye. By all means stay signed up to anything that is of value, but be brutally honest with the rest! You’ll be surprised at how satisfying it will feel and the best part? Making more room for all of the stuff that you enjoy! Bonus tip: for anything you DO decide to stay subscribed to, make a sub-folder in your inbox to keep them in check.

I hope that you achieve everything that you set out to do this year, and that one or two (or perhaps all!) of these tips help you get to where you want to be! And if you have any must-do’s to share when it comes to ways to organise your life, please let me know in the comments below…

Let’s do this, team!

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Self Care Sessions: Setting Challenges at The Color Run

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In my Self Care Sessions, you’ll find me sharing the ways that I’ve been investing time and care in myself, just in case any of you guys have been feeling the pressure and are looking for ways to balance things a bit better too! You can check out my last post here!

There’s a lot to be said about setting personal goals – challenging yourself in a positive and healthy way. Some people try to read a certain number of books within the year, whereas others decide they want to learn how to bake. Above all, it’s about deciding to do something, anything you choose, and seeing it through!

At the start of the year I signed up to take part in The Color Run, also known as ‘the world’s happiest 5K. Now, full (unsurprising!) disclosure: I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination but I have been taking steps to be more active and, seeing as The Color Run involves running (or dancing, or skipping or moving in any manner you like, really!) through the city while being pelted with a rainbow of powder paint, I felt like it would be an enjoyable way to set myself a new goal.

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The Color Run is all about promoting positivity and not taking things too seriously, which made it sound like the right 5K for me!

So, after signing up, a few months passed and I kind of forgot all about it. It wasn’t until the runner’s pack arrived on my doorstep that I suddenly remembered: Girl, you’ve got a 5K in two weeks.You best get reacquainted with that treadmill!  

I’d asked Elaine to come and run with me and, with my gal pal Kate signing up to the event a little while after that, I felt even more motivated to be participating as part of a team.

As well as taking place in Glasgow, The Color Run events visit cities around the world. Looking on Instagram, I could see that the Brisbane run was happening on the same day as ours – search #thecolorrun if you’re curious!

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I thought that getting up early on a Sunday to go and exercise was going to be tough but, the truth is, I bounced out of bed and couldn’t wait to see the girls before travelling to the start line. On arrival, we headed to the warm up area, where there were lots of excited faces and activities taking place with the event’s sponsors. 4000 people had turned up to run and the atmosphere was amazing.

One of the events themes was Tropicolor, with giant inflatable pineapples, hawaiian skirts and fruity puns a-plenty. I put my sweatband on and got into the sporty spirit right away. Eat your heart out, Mr Motivator…

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We set off and decided to dance our way through each zone. By the time we reached Merchant City, there were crowds of encouraging passers-by giving us a big wave and a thumbs-up.

The route of the 5K was a great snapshot of the city – starting along the River Clyde before heading up through the city centre, Merchant City and the Saltmarket. Every so often we travelled through designated Colour Zones where we were covered in powder paint before continuing on our route.

I love that it did not feel like a competitive race – it was more about having fun and getting a bit messy. OK, a LOT messy! And after we crossed the finish line, it was time to celebrate at the after party.

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This was one of my favourite parts of the whole day as everyone was in really good spirits. At 15 minute intervals there was a massive countdown before a ‘colour drop’ – where a rainbow of coloured power was launched into the air and floated down onto the crowd as we danced. Sunday funday at its best!

As well as having a ton of fun, I was really proud of myself for completing the 5K and sticking to my guns with this one. It would have been easy to switch off my alarm and roll over, but I felt really positive about setting a challenge and pushing myself to try something new. I’d definitely sign up for The Color Run again – maybe I’ll see you there?

With running shoes and yellows, pinks and blues…

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