It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger

Anon

Happy April all. When I saw this quote I thought it was applicable for so many aspects of life, if not every angle.

From my own experiences of loss and grief, time doesn’t heal, in fact I usually find it bites me hard on the arse every time I drop my guard. Grief opens a void of possibilities within the mind; what would the loved one be doing now? thinking about how they would love or hate experiences you’re having…the list is never ending, anniversaries swing around and you feel a combination of confusion and sadness. Much like this quote, it doesn’t get easier but you do get stronger. You have to.

My son has just finished his first season of Rugby festivals, he has been thrown into a new set of rules around contact and him and his team mates have had to learn so many skills beyond the rugby ball…resilience, how to fall, how to get back up when you fall, gratitude, being humble (we’re working on this), techniques, finding your place to shine in a team…on the way home from his last game of the season he remarked how much easier it was becoming. I gently reminded him that if anything the matches he played today were harder as all the teams are improving but that he was stronger. Strength isn’t always physical (although it helps in a contact game of Rugby), but that his team had also become stronger in mind and emotional resilience. Experience helps to soothe the strain of making things feel ‘easy’ and I’ll never forget the children’s petrified faces as opponents tackled, pursued, blocked and dropped them on their first contact game.

When I’m facing something new, scary or preparing to take a next detour on the road of life, I often remind myself of other things I’ve done that felt similar and that I over came; new jobs, moving home, body changes or committing to a goal. Even with age, change doesn’t get easier but I do believe we get stronger.

This week as new challenges arise, new days dawn and opportunities knock on your door or you run down the street after them, remember that very little, that’s easy in life is worth doing, but effort, repetition and commitment can make it feel easier, why? Because we are always stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset

Quote Anon

Well-being websites have made ‘morning routines’ cliche and thinking about them can be another ‘to do’ on the list of ever growing ‘what we should do’ tasks. Do you have one? If you don’t have a conscious morning plan you probably have one through habit, as humans we tend to find patterns and stay in them.

Over the years I’ve had 5am starts with exercise, self care and nourishing food and much later wake ups with barely a comb through my hair before I’m out of the door.

If I’m honest I’ve only found a few things have stuck and enriched my life. I also think your morning rituals are only as beneficial as the quality of your sleep. Below are some things I found useful for an improved mindset

Gratitude journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal since 2017 and have written 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I also write down 3 intentions for my day; sometimes they are practical objectives like completing tasks and sometimes they are more creative or magical. There are two big lessons to take away from my journal, firstly it instantly makes me feel good, the second is that after about six months of this daily habit it became second nature and gratitude has become a super power. Having control of my mindset from the moment I wake doesn’t mean my days are hassle free, but I certainly have a positive disposition and I believe my journal helps support and nurture this habit. So even if things do become negative, my growth mindset means I can alter my own perspective easier.

Change it up: This goes for everything you may do in the morning, if you’re short of time then having your clothes out ready is one less dilemma for the morning, but sometimes (when time allows) it can be hugely joyful to try on different things and restyle old looks. When it comes to food I’ve always been a fad eater – one minute a certain food is my favourite and I don’t want anything else, the next I’m over it and it’s the last thing I want to eat. Whilst this was annoying for my Mum when I was growing up (particularly when she’s bought 20 boxes of my favourite snack, only for me to abandon the idea and move on) it means my body is getting a larger variety of nutrients. Currently I try to never have the same breakfast twice in a row and have found the variety also makes eating less predictable and more enjoyable.

Take time to adjust: most recently I’ve taken deliberate time to wake slowly. Again, growing up I was a pocket rocket and would instantly wake, jump out of bed and get on with my day. I know many of you may not relate and may find waking hard, this could include several snooze alarms and an eternal battle to motivate yourself whilst counter arguing about all the reasons you should stay put wrapped up like a burrito in your bed…somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Now I tend to wake earlier than needed but not move. I give my body and my mindset time to process the day, I drink tea or hot lemon water in bed and write in my journal. Since doing this I’ve found the flow of my day is more consistent and I don’t resemble an octopus trying to accomplish eight things at once, my mind is focused and I often flow with easy into my day

What are your top tips for an effective morning routine? Have you recently altered things? Would you agree that much like the changing seasons, different times of year call for different routines?

Sometimes it ends differently and it’s better that way

Quote Anon

Unless you all know something I don’t, I don’t have a map for life…I don’t even have a guideline and sometimes the rules can blur and you can feel like you’re internal sat nav could do with an MOT.

I also find that if I do make a plan it very often doesn’t work out how I’d imagined? I’m not referring to popping to the local shops, although that often also goes drastically different and my 3 item shop for basic essentials quickly can become ‘please can I have several more bags’ at the checkout. What I’m really referring to are life paths and dreams of the future.

In my big plans for the future my family agree with my vision, wealth is abundant and everything clicks into place. If I reflect on when the pandemic first hit in 2020 I didn’t expect it to allow me relook at my careers, I didn’t think that within several months I’d be walking away from a school building as my job (a career I’d been in for over 16yrs) and working from home. I didn’t think someone would pay my fuel bill for my car (thanks Mrs Employer), I hadn’t considered in my dreams and vision of the small details; time to catch a cuppa with friends, or to hoover at speed between teams calls – leaving me house work free at weekends.

I thought I’d always work from a school building, now I get to visit many but never stay more than a few hours.

Last week I met a friend for dinner and she asked me what my next life goals were. I didn’t know, in fact I don’t think about it? Don’t panic I haven’t stopped dreaming (still currently stalking dream home on rightmove for example) but I’ve let go of the details. I don’t know what my next move will be, I’m not sure how I’ll get there and most importantly I’m ok with that.

Why? Because things often work out better than you’d expected and if they haven’t worked out then they’re still changing and altering as you read this. I believe the universe has my back, that it will all work out in the long run. It always does…not always better than I’ve dreamt, not always as I’d imagined it but often better.

Don’t think this post is about not dreaming and setting goals, I journal daily around my hopes for the future…but by letting go of the hows and when’s I get to enjoy the now a little more. I’ve realign in January 2022 and know there is more work to be done, my intentions are clear but the details of the journey I won’t sweat on, I’ll show up every day, I’ll dare to dream big and that house on rightmove might just become a click away from us moving in from circumstances I hadn’t even thought of. Enjoy the journey and give attention to things that are worthy of your time, energy and love.

Do your thing

Quote Anon

As I wrote that quote I could hear my Year 9 English teacher Mrs H saying ‘Don’t use words like ‘stuff or thing’ it’s not specific’…well Mrs H, everyone’s ‘thing’ is different and this covers all bases.

Sometimes in life we forget who we are or what we enjoy simply because we get caught in the flow of life. We crawl through Monday morning as we reluctantly get out of bed, blink and often it’s Saturday afternoon…time flies not just when you’re having fun but when you are caught in the momentum of hum drum life…shower, work, drive, prepare meals, sleep and of course repeat.

Or events throw us off course and sometimes we forget who we were before the event, that can sometimes be a blessing as we are here to grow and thrive, but sometimes we can lose the magical moments of joy that we use to have. I remember about four months into having my son and contemplating returning to work I had to write a list of the things I enjoyed – not us as a family or me as a mother, but Lucy…what did I do before parenting knocked on my door and caught me in a baby led tsunami of nappy changes and baby snuggles?

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to reflect on what you enjoy, the ‘things’ that make you happy – not other people, but hobbies, past times and ‘things’. Make time in the next few days to do some of these; stay true to your morals, values and political beliefs, faith and attitudes and just do you. Don’t also be surprised if you also can’t think of any, adulting has a habit of snatching these from us. You may need to take a few minutes alone, grab a pen and paper and jot them down. All of the ‘things’ may not be available to you in this moment due to finance or your current situation but staying true to your sense of self can mean these can be achieved down the line.

Doing ‘you’ is your superpower and the world needs more of your unique vibe. Stepping into your sense of self, your happy place also makes you a better person when you return to your loved ones. Happiness leads to more moments of joy and don’t we all need a little more of that as we step in to 2022. Well, I’d love to write some more (because writing is another joy of mine) but I’m off to walk in forests, sip tea, light candles and eat cake.

Life is what you make it

Anon

Imagine if I told you that you’ve been selected to write and direct your own film. You may react by saying that you have no experience? I then go on to tell you that you’ll only get one shot at the film, we won’t have time to edit or reframe any scenes and I’d really like you to act in it, to be the star of the show.

By now you may be overwhelmed, with no experience in the industry that’s a lot to take on. I’ll then tell you it’s called ‘your life’ and hopefully you’ll smile and see the metaphor.

Each day, a scenario unfolds. Some days the drama is larger than others, be cautious – it’s the mundane moments that will pass you by the quickest.

There doesn’t always need to be a climax, action or plot twist…if there is always horror you may be doing things wrong? What you do have a duty to do in each moment is act truthfully, you don’t want to look back on a season where you lied to yourself or said things that weren’t true. It’s also worth speaking to the costume department too, sometimes we can get stuck in an era and it ages poorly on us.

You get to decide who features alongside you, you get to influence them and in turn they will advise you. Make sure your cast is faithful, funny and trustworthy…it’ll get you through the dark times easier and sometimes end with a smile.

….lastly, my film has already been ‘live’ for 14211 days. You can be cut at anytime and often you don’t realise it’s the end, so make the next day count, then the day after that. Each day is what you make it and you really do get to control so much of it, there is no dress rehearsal. Action.

Just enjoy where you are now

Quote Anon

Whether you are living your best life right now or rising from the ashes, the chances are you are hoping tomorrow will be better, that ‘soon you’ll be there’… it’s human nature to want better, most parents want better for their children, most people would like better for themselves.

The problem is we often look back at photos and realise those little moments in the past were perfect just as they were, we just didn’t realise it.

I don’t know where you are on your journey, to be honest I’m often lost in my own world but I do know that the secret to a better tomorrow is to feel good right now. No matter what’s happening, no matter what curve balls life has thrown you…consciously decide to feel better. Below I’ll share some methods that I use to help me to raise my vibration, but wherever you are in the world you get to decide how you feel. When you feel good, you attract good….and guess what? You’re life perspective improves.

Earlier in the week I was late to meet a friend, stuck in some serious traffic…I couldn’t do much about that, I texted my friend to tell her I was delayed and then rather become frustrated I looked at the views…

I’ve been stuck in many traffic jams in the past, but how could I feel anything but gratitude when this was the view out of my car window. Reframing my thoughts is a learnt behaviour and you can give it a go to…it’s a PollyAnna recipe for a better now.

Methods:

* meditate *name 10 things you love * visualisation things you’d like to manifest with feeling – no lack! * sleep * clear away clutter (a small draw) * try the power stance – this one is awesome and it’s instant * dance party * breath work * look around and appreciate what’s around you, it could just be the colour of the grass * divert you attention to something that makes you smile, giggle or belly laugh

Warning: improving your life and knowing you’re responsible for all the joy that surrounds you is highly addictive, doesn’t require checking with your GP and leads to more happiness, a better perspective and you may well sweat gratitude.

Better an oops than a what if

Quote Anon

I have a huge fear. It consumes my soul and often makes me take huge leaps, challenges and when other people step out of their comfort zone I like to run, jump and pliat.

The fear that eats me up, is I can’t live with a ‘what if’… when I was younger I dated a lad that worked for the BBC, at the weekend I’d often go to work with him and sit in a black box all day whilst he worked. Amongst all of the knobs, buttons, twiddly things and general sound equipment… was a giant red button in a protective casing, it called my name and said ‘push me’ at the time, the lad realised that this button was too juicy for my ‘what if’ fear and he let me push it…it stopped the broadcast for several seconds *sorry Radio Oxford. Once I’d pushed it I was never interested in it again…I’m that person that needs to push a button or two.

Last week a lovely lady on Instagram did a story that resonated with me, I private messaged her and asked her if she’d like to do a ‘live’ with me, simply because I wanted to talk to her, to engage, to inspire others. The plan was to chat for about 20mins at 7pm this Thursday. It sounds fun right? The great news is – it was, we hopefully will do it again soon BUT the truth was I didn’t have a clue what I was doing…I’m comfortable in the uncomfortable. I think it comes with age, with caring a little less about what others think and also by knowing that the ‘good stuff’ in life tends to not come when you are comfortable, it usually follows when you wonder ‘what’s if’ and act on it. It’s true that sometimes you get a ‘ops’ that follows. But it goes with the territory of thriving.

As I watched our live back there are a few things I’ll be altering next time, the biggest ops being that I didn’t speak for about 30 seconds whilst I pushed buttons, blagging to make the live work. That’s how we learn, I’m very much a kinaesthetic learning, I learn best my doing. Some people prefer to watch others and then replicate, to listen, to read…me, I like to jump in and try, even if it results in a few ‘oops’ along the way.

At primary school my parents were often told I talked too much and asked lots of questions, in that respect nothing much has changed. However, I wouldn’t change it, it forces me to analyse, to work things out and to improve. Isn’t that why we are all hear? I should probably add that personally my ‘leaps’ are usually calculated. I don’t take high risks with high ‘ops’ results…I don’t jump without a parachute.

This week I’m sure there will be a few more challenges as I avoid the inner voice that says ‘what if I had…’ and I’m sure an occasional ops will also follow. When was the last time you stepped, or leaped out of your comfort zone? If it hasn’t been for a while – this post is your sign to live a little braver, be a little boulder and smile a little more. *The smile is just for fun.

I’m too magical for your bullshit

Quote Anon

Where ever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you are wearing a smile.

Smiles go with all outfits, occasions and climates…they improve your wellbeing and overall health, it’s true! Smiling boosts your immune system, are contagious to those around you and according to studies women smile more than men, babies are born with the ability to smile and there are 19 different ‘types’ of smile. Who knew?

Today I’m encouraging you to dust off your ‘seeing the silver lining smile’, why? Today I’m looking at a rainy Saturday ahead, the grey clouds can make us feel low and bring productivity to a huge low. I know I have some ‘messy jobs’ ahead of me…bathrooms and 2 toilet cleans, fridge needs a wipe over, my sons homework needs ‘managing’ and we’ve run out of food, so a supermarket trip is required.

However, today I’m magical.

I’ve stayed in bed (where I’m currently writing this post) for two cups of tea and a long scroll through Pinterest *mainly looking at pretty things I don’t need nor will ever purchase. Next, I plan to tackle the bathrooms and toilets, I will then reward myself by painting my nails and pulling on an outfit that makes me feel beautiful (I rarely dress practically, comfy or appropriate to the weather) feeling good and accomplished I’m going to seize the day and get my sons homework done and dusted, this will need heavy bribery of cake and treats later as he is currently absorbed in Saturday morning cartoons.

I’ll come back and wipe the fridge shelves down (whilst listening to some vinyl for upbeat vibes), this task is never as horrendous as I think it will be and I’m already picturing in my head how pretty it looks when it’s clean…then to the supermarket, where I can’t tell you I won’t put items in my trolley that I don’t need, today I will embrace the middle isle and may come away with a hot tub, a frying pan and a face mask…the middle isle is a magical place of endless possibilities.

Today, I will seek out the magic in every task, I’ll look for the joy, I’ll reframe moments of bull shit with sequins, polish and glitter. Perhaps you’re thinking she’s fooling herself, the plan will unravel and the rain clouds will become thunder, alas this is how I live most days…of course I see and feel the shit moments, I can’t avoid the storms…but I get to choose how I feel in every moment and today is a magical, blessed Saturday of house chores, cake and smiles. Sign me up.

Self care is the new health care

Quote Anon

Apparently in parts of Asia, you pay your doctor until you get sick. When you are ill it’s considered they aren’t doing their job well and you stop paying until you’re better…that makes sense to me. It’s the doctors financial incentive to keep you healthy.

Most of us know why we aren’t healthy. Whether we stayed up too late and lack sleep, our diet is out of balance and the local take away service knows your first name…or perhaps the only exercise your body has seen was in Year 9 at secondary school.

That said, looking after your health in the circumstances that you are in, with the time and finances and time you have is a wonderful start.

Self care for me, is a little deeper. Making time to prioritise myself, listening to what I need at any given moment and leaning in, rather than ‘I’ll do that tomorrow’. The balance of self when done correctly isn’t selfish, it actually means those around you, those closest to you, thrive from you being a better version of yourself. Last night I was exhausted…I went to bed at 6:30pm. I woke at around 5am, with nearly 11 hours of sleep under my belt, I was like an upgraded me! Even if it did mean my family went to bed after me.

The other crazy thing about self care is it often has little cost attached to it, of course a spa day at an exclusive resorts can be fabulous, but taking time to look after your skin, to paint your nails, wearing clothes that fit you well and make you feel awesome can serve you on a daily basis.

My favourite self care tip is talking kindly to yourself. Totally free and easy to begin right now – no excuses, except in reality many of us struggle with ‘thinking’ kindly about our own looks, actions and dreams. We allow our negative bias to stop the power of what we could do and often want to do. Within seconds we feed our minds negative thoughts and halt any potential progress or growth mindset before we’ve even realised it. To alter this you need ninja responses – when you think a negative thought, you instantly need to say ‘I see you naughty negative, and I raise you three positives’ then drown the single negative thought (my bum looks big) with three positives (the dress looks lovely on me, my eyes are sparkly, my eye brows are on point) or you can reframe the initial thought ‘ my bum looks big in this dress and it makes the outfit pop, I look wonderful and curvy’….

Self care begins with the simple step of allowing yourself to be happy. Next to allow happy thoughts, happy dreams and the self belief that you can achieve them. Despite evaluating self care in 3 lines – it takes most people a life time to do, sadly most don’t even try.

I double dare you this week to show yourself DAILY self care – book something to look forward to, create five minutes each day to do something you enjoy ‘just because ’ and if you are feeling truly rebellious, stop the negative ninja moments and watch your life and those around you become totally awesome in under a week. *side note: if you miss a negative ninja moment, allow it. Don’t fuel yourself with more ‘ I can’t even do that right’ negative fuel.

Have a wonderful week and make time for you…off to do a midweek face mask my lovely friend gave me.

You will forever be my always

Quote Anon

Love. It’s complex…or is it really simple? I’m drawn to the latter, that’s it’s all the other aspects of life that make life complicated but actually, love is simple. Held by baby – BAM felt a rocket of love…simple, being pregnant – nightmare. Met the Mr and got knocked sideways with Cupid’s arrow…wasn’t looking for it, wasn’t the right time. Cupid said ‘sorry, that’s not how we play this game’…twelve or so years later it’s working out well.

At the moment in the UK we are being teased with glimpses of prepandemic life. Family and friends can gather in your garden and it was in one of these gatherings that I realised some of the things I’ve missed in the last year or so, mainly loved ones. Time with people I care for, to laugh, to cry and to keep a chiminea going (Frankly the UK isn’t warm enough in April to sit and relax)

If there is someone you loved and no longer are in touch with, perhaps that sits well with you. Perhaps you outgrew each other, time doesn’t always heal or maybe you think about them because they will forever be your always. If that’s the case and I realise I’m over simplifying the complexities of human life BUT there are very little things in life more important that love.

What’s really important to you? Who’s really important to you? My advice; spend more time with those people, build more memories and never settle for people who aren’t your people, who don’t help you to be and become the best version of yourself. Wealth isn’t found in the car you drive, the career you create or the positive digits that show up on your bank statement, love in its simplest form is the richest currency. Love forgives, love heals, love knows no boundaries and ultimately they are forever your always. Count your blessings in the people you love and not the change in your pocket, you may already be a millionaire.

Forever and always, Lucy x