Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down!

slow down

To say that I’m a little bit hyperactive is probably an understatement – I’m very easily excited and I always like to be doing things, seeing things, making things…all the things, really! I’m definitely guilty of over-filling my days sometimes (I can’t help it!), how about you?

Recently though, I found myself having to slow down, stay home and not do terribly much for a couple of weeks. Ugh. Cut to me lying in bed, watching my usual range of high-quality movies like The Ugly Dachshund (in which a Great Dane pupper thinks he is a Dachshund…I swear this is a real film and NOT a fever hallucination!) and Cool Runnings (can I get a YASS?). I also drank endless cups of blackcurrant tea, barely looked at my phone and slept a lot – I think I got my sleep quota for the year in a very short period of time!

Usually, some down time would encourage me to be productive in some way. Makeup clear outs, reorganising the cupboards, writing and researching are a few of my usual go-to’s for a day at home. But this time, I just didn’t have the energy – and instead of feeling weird about doing nothing, there was something telling me that I needed it.

But despite having zero energy, I still almost found myself asking for permission to slow down – which sounds so silly when you say it out loud but I’m sure I’m not alone in this! How did we get here?

slow down

After a day or two, the guilt (again, so silly!) went away and I started to see the value in just relaxing and not filling my mind with activities. I felt like I was investing in myself for the first time in ages – something that (ironically!) I always encourage other people to do.

After this period of rest, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. I was recharged and refocused on what I wanted to do and, in a short period of time, I can already see the benefits on my work projects, my personal life and my overall health.

Slowing down truly allowed me to bounce back with more energy (I didn’t know that I had more energy, but there you have it!), so now I incorporate this into my weekly routine. I set aside time to relax, hang out on the sofa, watch something fun for a few hours and just enjoy being in the moment. And speaking of TV, can I share my latest Netflix obsession with you? Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee – get on this, friends!

I’ve found that this quiet time at home is the yin to my overactive yang – it’s that fine balance that allows me to give my best and feel good about what I’m doing. Give yourself permission to slow down and I promise you’ll see the positive impact it can have! And PS: if you’re looking for some extra tips, here are five ways to hit pause (written by yours truly in 2016!).

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

enjoy the ride

Success, in its many forms, is something we all aim for… but in our rush, have we started to forget about the journey?

Recently, I couldn’t help but notice many of the talented babes I know (through both internet and face-to-face friendship) express that they were feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and a little frustrated, because in aspects of their lives, things are still a work in progress.

It feels like there’s less talk about the exciting period of trial and error, of experimenting and getting a real sense of what feels ‘right’ and much more pressure to have ready-made success.

Not only have we given up on embracing the journey, but it almost has a stigma attached to it. We want our new ventures to be kicking butt (and so we should!), but we want it immediately – if not sooner!

Celebrating milestones – that first piece of glowing feedback that you feel like framing, exceeding small goals and seeing your seed of an idea grow into something amazing. It feels so rewarding when all the pieces start to fall into place and yet the process seems to have been left in the dust. Can we still enjoy the ride?

It makes me wonder where this intense feeling of urgency originates from: is it worrying about what others might think? Or does it come from comparing ourselves to people and the highlight reels we see on our social media feeds? Sure, putting in the hours doesn’t always look glamorous (even with a filter on it), but it’s surely something to be proud of?

It’s OKAY not to have it all figured out just yet, and it’s OKAY to have a work in progress. If we knew all the answers right away, life would be a heck of a lot less interesting. It’s kind of like picking up a book and skipping to the last page to see how it ends! Where’s the fun in that?!

I love a success story, and to see other people live their dreams, but I also really enjoy seeing HOW it happened. Like when you read about companies that started off in someone’s kitchen and went on to become household names – I can’t help but feel inspired by those kind of stories!

So here’s the thing: don’t forget to enjoy the ride. You’re on the road to something great, which is so exciting, but if you don’t soak up the little moments too, you’re missing out on what makes it so great in the first place.

Here’s to finding joy in the journey…


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

self care

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…

self care

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.

self care

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!