Self Improvement

7 simple positive actions to try today.

Positivity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If it did we’d all be the same and fairly boring. For instance, I’m not naturally a positive person, but I do try. And it’s the trying which is the most important part.

If, like me, it doesn’t come naturally to you, then I’ve outlined a few actions you could take every day to make yourself a more positive human being. It takes work, but after a while it does become second nature.

But why? Well, being positive is adding something to a situation. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. Being negative detracts from the situation. And generally people don’t like being around negative people. Again, I know this from experience.

So, give it a go, see what happens.


Simple positive actions to take to improve your life


1. Smile more.

A pretty basic one isn’t it? Creep the corners of your mouth up and show the world a big juicy grin. It doesn’t cost anything and is generally pain free.

The more you smile, the more you believe the smile. Obviously there are times when smiling just isn’t an option, and you don’t want that smile to turn into a grimace. Just let you face relax a bit more. Allow it to come out naturally.

We can all be guilty of being guarded with our emotions, but we shouldn’t be.

2. Find a positive in every situation.

Life can be really rubbish sometimes. Horrible things can happen to people for no reason whatsoever. But how you deal with those moments defines you as a person.

Whatever may happen, say to yourself “Yeah, that’s rubbish, but…” and think of something positive to hang on the end of that sentence. It could be anything, even the smallest positive speck, but it still counts.

This way of thinking sticks with you. Before you know it your mind will automatically jump to the most positive response to any situation.

3. Say nice things to yourself.

Positive mantras are my jam. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why say it to yourself? It’s so easy being mean to yourself, but you can change that.

Find something nice about yourself and let yourself know you appreciate that about you. Letting yourself feel better about yourself is like the beginning of an avalanche. You’ll be less critical of your mistakes and you’ll feel more confident in your own skin.

And like an avalanche it only grows the longer it goes on. Saying one little thing today will turn into a massive growth in self-confidence further down the line.

This could either be things you say in your head (not like a crazy person) or you could even write yourself a list of all the things which you like about yourself. Whatever works for you.

4. Say nice things to other people.

I try to live by the mantra “Be somebody that makes everybody feel like somebody”. Building up the people around you through kind words is easy, makes them feel good, and will make you feel good.

It could be something really small like complimenting a new haircut, telling someone their outfit looks nice, or even telling someone that you really appreciate them.

It is little things like this which also makes other people’s responses to you more positive. Throwing out a little ray of sunshine once in a while lifts people’s spirits, and in turn will make your environment more positive. It’s a winner.

5. Give something away.

Go through your old belongings and earmark some items to go to a charity shop. Or if you have a friend who has been eyeing up some of your clothes, let them take an item or two.

Again, this makes you feel better and makes the other person feel better. You’re crafting a more positive environment. Particularly with giving to a charity you’re doing something to actively help, and that gives you a little glow on the inside.

You could even set up a standing order to donate to a charity regularly. This is something I’ve been looking into as we’re currently in the process of adopting a dog and want the shelter to know how much we appreciate them.

6. Get away from social media.

FOMO is real and has a negative impact on everyone. Through social media it is all too easy to compare your life to somebody else’s, even though we don’t live our real true lives out on social media.

Break away from Facebook and Twitter and all the other variations out there for a while. Give yourself a no social day. Or delete the apps from your phone so you’re not tempted to browse.

This is an instant positivity booster. For some people the compulsion to share and take in what everyone else is saying is huge so this could be difficult. But stick with it. After a while you’ll stop caring about what folks are eating for lunch.

I also find through sharing less of myself online my friends are much more talkative when we do get together. We don’t know all the ins and outs of each other’s lives and so spend more time actually discussing things.

7. Don’t get angry.

Whatever the situation is, try not to let anything get under your skin.

When we get angry we’re more likely to say and do things we will regret at a later date. This can undo all the good work you’ve done in the previous actions and do some serious damage to your relationships.

I’m a really hot headed person, so when my temper flairs those you know me know they need to run for cover. But I’m working on it. The main 2 things I do are:

Empathize with the other person.
Walk away from the situation.

Empathizing with the other person puts you in their shoes and makes you think a bit harder about why they are maybe acting in a way which will cause you to get angry. I find generally this diffuses any anger I have bottled up and we normally find an amicable way to resolve the situation.

However, if this doesn’t work, remove yourself from the situation. Walk away from whatever is going on and no longer allow yourself to be part of it. And I mean physically remove yourself, not just stop responding. Removing yourself gives you time to calm down, and also gives the other person time to think over things. This always works.


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Self Improvement

101 happiness boosting actions

101 ideas for a happiness boost

1. Walk on the beach.

2. Spend time with friends.

3. Paint a picture.

4. Take pretty pictures.

5. Bake a cake.

6. Jump on a trampoline.

7. Complete something which you have been avoiding.

8. Write a nice letter to yourself.

9. Write a nice letter to a friend.

10. Buy a gift for someone you love.

11. Read a poem.

12. Dress up nice for no reason.

13. Eat your favourite dessert.

14. Watch your favourite film.

15. Walk a dog.

16. Pet a cat.

17. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air.

18. Drink a cup of tea.

19. Try different hairstyles.

20. Go to a shop, try on new outfits, but don’t buy any.

21. Book a weekend away.

22. Walk through a forest.

23. Go for a drive – anywhere.

24. Play board games.

25. Make something for someone else.

Happiness is a journey not a destination

26. Learn a new craft.

27. Light a nice smelly candle.

28. Tell someone you love them.

29. Make a list of nice things in your life.

30. Put your feet up.

31. Read your favourite book.

32. Pamper yourself at home.

33. Read inspiring stories.

34. Buy some fresh flowers.

35. Plant something in the ground.

36. Climb a tree.

37. Swing on a swing set.

38. Fix something that is broken.

39. Print off pictures of friends.

40. Forgive any mistakes you’ve made.

41. Reconnect with an old friend.

42. Do some gentle exercise

43. Find shapes in the clouds.

44. Look at the moon.

45. Write a small to do list.

46. Dance to your favourite song.

47. Sing at the top of your lungs.

48. Paint your house.

49. Make your bed.

50. Wash your PJ’s.

Happiness is a choice, not a result

51. Have a really warm shower.

52. Run yourself a bubble bath.

53. Burn some incense.

54. Wake up 10 minutes earlier.

55. Make a pitcher of ice tea.

56. Dunk your toes in a lake or the sea.

57. Wear odd socks.

58. Wash your car and make it gleam.

59. Brush your teeth for longer.

60. Dye your hair a different colour.

61. Paint your nails.

62. Pluck your eyebrows.

63. Give a friend a makeover.

64. Go the park with the kids in your life.

65. Pull funny faces at a toddler.

66. Read jokes online.

67. Watch a comedy show.

68. Have an ice cold glass of water.

69. Play pooh sticks.

70. Turn off your phone for an hour.

71. Go for a walk on your lunch break.

72. Ignore all emails for a day.

73. Wear your slippers for a day.

74. Buy comfortable shoes.

75. Wear slouchy clothes.

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy

76. Drink tea from a tea pot.

77. Have a candlelit dinner.

78. Eat outside.

79. Sit on the grass.

80. Hula hoop

81. Play hop scotch.

82. Make a fruit salad.

83. Buy some retro sweets.

84. Visit your family.

85. Take a day off from work.

86. Build sand castles.

87. Go on a date.

88. Visit a castle.

89.   Take an extra break at work.

90.   Reminisce over old photos.

91.   Visit a book shop.

92.   Plan a holiday.

93.   Buy lunch instead of making it.

94. Give to charity.

95. Buy a homeless person a hot drink/meal.

96. Volunteer your time at a charity.

97. Take your old stuff to a charity shop.

98. Host a car boot sale.

99. Rearrange your bedroom.

100. Walk barefooted.

101. Practice serious self care regularly.


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101 happiness boosting actions infographic

Self Improvement

10 easy ways to love yourself more

Self love has a bit of an image to it. You may think of yoga bending, crystal wearing, kale chomping hippy goddesses when you think of self love, but that isn’t so. Self love is the act of loving yourself, and so it is completely personal to you. You have to find what works for you.

Loving yourself isn’t always easy. We can be pretty harsh on ourselves sometimes, but why? Why do we say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to anybody else? I don’t really know the answer to that, but I know that it needs to stop.

Being horrible to yourself isn’t productive. It brings you down, knocks your confidence and stops you from living the good life you should be living. And the thing is, it’s easy to love yourself a little more.

Little changes can build up and make a huge difference. And before you know it they will become second nature.


10 steps to better self love


Know that you are important.

You may not be the leader of the world, but your opinions and your feelings are important. Tell yourself regularly that you matter, and that your opinions count. This will grow and give you confidence in what you are saying, and also what you are feeling.

Know that you are worth it.

Not only are you important, but you are worth something. You are worth the effort it initially takes to love yourself. Understand that and before long self love will be complete second nature.

Surround yourself with good people.

We all have those friends that are complete drama-llamas, nothing is easy and there is always something major going on. Those people are not the best kinds of people to be around. You’ll always be brought into the latest drama, which is no good for your well being.

Make sure to spend plenty of time with those people who raise you up rather than knock you down. Supportive people are sometimes tricky to find, but once you do, hold onto them.

Recite positive affirmations.

I love positive words. They have power. It’s one of those things that you won’t believe the difference they can make until you try it. I’ve written a couple of other posts about this, specifically affirmations for the morning and for night time.

A quick google search will show you tonnes of others, or write down some words which have meaning to you. Making it personal will make it more likely those words will have a deeper effect.

Indulge in gentle exercise.

We’re not talking running marathons or 2 hours at the gym here, we’re talking gentle stretches, yoga or a fast walk. Do whatever feels comfortable for you based on your current fitness levels or abilities.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, and these endorphins give you a more positive feeling. You will also find your stress levels reduced and you will feel more awake during the day. Incorporate small levels of exercise into your daily routine.

Learn to own your flaws.

Nobody is perfect, nobody can ever be perfect, perfection is not humanly possible.

Write a list of your strengths and your weaknesses. Take those weaknesses and put a positive spin on them. For example, I have very curly hair which is a pain in the bum to style. But not many people have such naturally curly hair like mine, it is unique and makes me stand out. See what I did there. I have taken ownership of what I consider a flaw and put a positive spin on it. Give it a whirl.

Make time for self care.

Oh I love self care! Read my other post I’ve written about it with tonnes of ideas on things you can do to look after yourself a bit better.

The most important thing about self care is making it personal to you. What relaxes one person could have completely the opposite effect on someone else. Find the things that work for you and stick to them.

Forgive yourself.

People make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up about them. This could be past mistakes made years ago or something that has just happened.

Let it go. It has happened and cannot be changed, no point wasting time dwelling on it. You’ll feel so much better for it, like a weight has been lifted.

Identify things to change in your life.

Look through the various aspects of your life and decide what isn’t working for you. This could be your career, your eating plan, or even a partner. If it is something detracting from your life then change it.

It can be a bit scary to begin with, making some serious life changes, but in the long run you will feel better for it.

Create attainable goals for the future.

What is important for you and where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Having attainable and manageable goals will keep you focused and make your life more meaningful.

It will also give you a clear idea of what is actually important and what you want to spend more time on. If you’re like me and a bit of a dreamer it also gives you something to stare out of the window and think about for a while.

Give these tips a go, see how you get on, and let me know if you have any luck in the comments!


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Self Improvement

101 ideas for simple self care

101 ideas for simple self care

1. Eat lots of fruit and veg.

2. Drink plenty of water.

3. Pick a “guilty pleasure” and indulge occasionally.

4. Practise yoga regularly.

5. Pick some affirmations, and believe them.

6. Go to the beach.

7. Have some time alone.

8. Make sure you get a full night’s sleep.

9. Have a bubble bath.

10. Speak to the people you love who support you.

11. Listen to your favourite song.

12. Watch your favourite film.

13. Watch a funny video on youtube.

14. Visit an art gallery.

15. Go to your favourite coffee shop for a drink.

16. Visit your local park.

17. Enjoy the sunshine on your skin.

18. Go star gazing.

19. Go on day trips to somewhere beautiful.

20. Don’t feel bad for saying no.

21. Keep a journal.

22. Have a no screen night 

23. Spend time around animals.

24. Have a nap.

25. Burn a nice smelling candle or incense stick.

Self love self care inspirational quote

26. Cook your favourite meal.

27. Find a hobby you love and make time for it.

28. Declutter your house.

29. Do some baking.

30. Change your bedsheets before bedtime.

31. Put your PJ’s in the tumbledryer for just a couple of minutes before putting them on.

32. Do some painting.

33. Plant some flowers.

34. Wear your favourite perfume.

35. Get dressed up for no reason, just because.

36. Have a pyjama day.

37. Close your eyes for 5 minutes.

38. Meditate.

39. Turn your phone off for a few hours.

40. Visit a forest.

41. Organise your work space.

42. Throw away old things you no longer need.

43. Look through old photographs.

44. Take pictures of beautiful things.

45. Have a candlelit dinner.

46. Create something.

47. Start an evening course.

48. Have a lay in at the weekend.

49. Create a relaxing music playlist.

50. Buy yourself a treat.

Self love self care inspirational quote

51. Put your feet up for an evening.

52. Take regular breaks from your work.

53. Write a list of your favourite things about yourself.

54. Write yourself a budget.

55. Have a spare change piggy bank or “fun fund”.

56. Colour in a colouring book.

57. Pop some bubble wrap.

58. Be mindful of what you’re feeling this precise moment.

59. Write a list of the things you are grateful for.

60. Buy yourself some flowers.

61. Do some gentle exercise.

62. Have a pamper day.

63. Put a pin in a map for all the places you would like to visit.

64. Create a new Pinterest board dedicated to self improvement.

65. Bundle up in your duvet and scoot down the stairs.

66. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air.

67. Make a gift for a friend.

68. Tell someone you love them.

69. Create a space of peace at home.

70. Take a dog for a walk.

71. Get a haircut.

72. Clear out the old clothes from your wardrobe.

73. Do some deep breathing exercises.

74. Give yourself a pep talk.

75. Drink a warm beverage.

Self love self care inspirational quote

76. Make some alcohol free cocktails to have at lunch time.

77. Sell some items online.

78. Go browsing in a book shop.

79. Leave the house for a spontaneous adventure.

80. Rearrange your furniture.

81. Paint your toenails.

82. Make a face mask and put it on.

83. Pull funny faces at yourself in the mirror.

84. Run up and down the stairs 10 times to get your heart pumping.

85. Buy some new extra comfy slippers.

86. Hold hands with a loved one.

87. Draw a silly picture.

88. Bake a loaf of bread.

89. Clean your windows to let the sunlight in.

90. Find shapes in the clouds.

91. Find some daisies and make daisy chains.

92. Climb a tree (if you can and it’s safe).

93. Re-purpose some old clothes into something new.

94. Run outside when it’s raining.

95. Jump on your sofa’s and pretend the floor is lava.

96. Get yourself a massage.

97. Do something new: visit a new place, go a different route to work, anything.

98. Set yourself an attainable challenge for the next day.

99. Take a moment to let go of past mistakes.

100. Remind yourself how important you are.

101. Remember how important it is to look after yourself.

Self love self care inspirational quote


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101 simple self care ideas

Self Improvement

10 simple self care ideas in 10 minutes or less

Self love, self care, inspirational quote

What is self care?

Self care is small actions you take to look after yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. These actions are intended to increase your overall sense of well being and make you a happier healthier more giving individual.

Why does it matter?

As the quote says, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Much like on airplanes parents are told to secure their breathing apparatus before their child’s, you must take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. You can’t give away something which you don’t have, so if your mental energy reserves are running empty this could be a problem for you.

But I don’t have time!

Oh, you really really do. Self care doesn’t have to take much time out of your day. It can be small actions which you do daily to help replenish your mental and emotional stock. Stick to it long enough and before you know it self care will be a habit, a natural part of your daily routine.

Okay, how do I start caring for myself more?

I’m so glad you asked! Self care is a pretty general term, so there are a lot of ways you can look after yourself a bit better. All of these are small ways you can practice self care, so should be easy to implement into your routine.


Simple & quick self care inspiration

Take time to freshen up.

Spend 5 minutes extra in the shower, brush your teeth in the evening, wash your hands with some nice smelling soap. Literally remove the grime from yourself and it will make you feel a lot better.

Listen to your favourite song.

Music is powerful. Put your favourite song on and have a dance, sing along, enjoy it. Choose a song which holds particular meaning to you to really feel the benefit.

Look away from those screens.

It doesn’t have to be for long, just a 5 minute break every hour if you work in front of a computer. Or pack away your phone for some time. It’s like a reboot for the mind.

Do some stretches.

Yoga is amazing and a proper routine is something you try and do as much as possible. However if you’re short of time just pick a few poses which you really enjoy and go for it.

Get into nature.

Find 10 minutes to go for a short walk outside and take in the beauty around you. Literally smell the roses. Fresh air is amazing. This could be a bit trickier if you live in a city, but work around your surroundings, even the most built up areas have some green areas.

Talk to someone you love.

And I don’t mean just text them. Either see them, or ring them. Spending time speaking to someone who matters to you will make you feel better about yourself and also about life in general. These are the kinds of people you should keep close.

Close your eyes for 5 minutes.

You could really do this anywhere (unless you’re driving, don’t do that). Stop and close your eyes, let them rest and your mind reboot.

Read inspirational quotes.

There are tonnes of them on Pinterest, or even a quick google search will pop something up. Find word’s which have meaning to you, read them, absorb them and take them to heart.

Write a journal entry.

Write out the good and the bad aspects of your day. Let any emotions you may have about them flow out onto the paper. The positive memories will be collected, and the negative thoughts taken from your head and planted onto paper. Win win.

Say some positive affirmations.

Positive words have a positive impact, tell yourself something nice and you will feel nice. It really is as simple as that. I have 2 posts I’ve written about this:

Give them a read through, the only way to find out is if you try it for yourself


These are just a few ideas, it is not exhaustive and it’s also important to work out a routine for yourself. There are a lot of resources out there surrounding the topic of self care.

If you have any other ideas please share them in the comments!

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Self Improvement

10 steps to becoming a happier person

I’ve often thought about what makes a happy person. Is it money? Is it good looks? Is it just plain old good fortune? And do you know what? Its none of those things.

Life isn’t easy all of the time, but what is easy is changing your outlook. You have the power to make yourself a happy person, even if some days you just don’t feel like it.

But flapping around in the dark is no use, you need guidance for this kind of thing. An idea on how to make yourself happier.

So, I’ve had a good think about things, and these are the 10 steps I have used to become a much happier person.

10 steps to becoming a happier person

1. Let go of the past.

Stop looking back, you’re not heading that way! We’ve all heard it, time to start embracing it. Whatever may have happened, whether it be large or small, is behind you. Some things can’t be forgotten, but you can train yourself to stop thinking about it.

Next time you start thinking about something you didn’t like about your past make yourself think about something you are excited about for the future. You can train your brain this way to stop dwelling on negative past experiences.

2. Be present.

Don’t let moments pass you by, embrace them. Whatever is happening right this second is important and you should take part in the moment wholly and completely. Allow yourself to take part in whatever is happening around you.

Letting yourself enjoy the moment is a game changer. Being more involved in your present self stops you from thinking back, and from also thinking too far forward. It is important to have a plan but not everything needs to be work for a single minded goal. Let the moment take you where you should be.

3. Put a positive spin on everything.

Something really rubbish has happened, how easy is it to dwell on just how rubbish it is? Not any more. Look at what has happened from all angles and find a positive one.

A good example for this is at work. Us humans weren’t built to live the way we are living, but for most of us we have to do something we don’t actively enjoy to get by. Instead of focusing on how much you don’t enjoy it, focus on the aspects which you do enjoy. It could be as much as the people are really lovely, or as little as the coffee is strong. Take whatever you can from every situation and put a positive light on it.

Your brain will soon become trained to looking at things positively, and it will become second nature.

4. Get out into nature as much as possible.

If you’re like me going to a country park is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny weekend. But even if you wouldn’t consider yourself outdoorsy, just try it.

Leave the confines of your house and take a walk to a local park. Sit in your garden and read a book. Plan a weekend escape to a local camping ground. You need to reconnect with nature, even if you don’t think this is something which applies to you.

5. Unplug.

I wrote another post recently Why you need a no screen night which details why you need to unplug from social media, television etc. And also another post 10 things to do on a no screen evening with some ideas as to what to do on these evenings.

The proof really is in the pudding with this one. Getting away from technology as much as possible is great for your sense of well being. It also gives you time to focus on a hobby or spend more present time with loved ones.

6. Stop comparing yourself to other’s.

The rise of social media has made it all too easy to grab an insight into other people’s lives, and we automatically compare their lot to ours. Stop doing this. It isn’t productive, and normally people only post the very very best aspects of their lives on social media. It isn’t realistic.

Also, we grow as people at different rates. Have you ever heard the phrase “an old head on young shoulders”? Some people are naturally very good at life and succeed immediately. With other’s it can take a while. And that is great! If everyone was exactly the same life would be completely boring. Just because someone the same age as you has a fancy house or the latest car doesn’t mean you should have those things too. Focus on yourself, not on other people.

7. Stop caring what people think.

Oh, this is such a big one when it comes to happiness. How many times have you avoided doing something you would enjoy because you thought other people may look down on you or make fun of you for it? We’re all guilty of this, but it is time to stop.

Do you know what I really like doing? I love singing along to my music as loud as possible whilst driving in my car. I used to only do this at night for fear of someone pointing and laughing. Do you know what I do now? I don’t care! I’ll sing along, and no one has pointed and laughed yet.

Do what makes you happy and stop considering other people’s opinions when it comes to things you enjoy.

8. Leave yourself with time to be spontaneous.

My partner and I looked at our calendar recently and found we have so many different events and gatherings on that we don’t have a free weekend for some time to come. Which is nice, but on the flip side we also now have a really rigid structure to follow for the next few weeks. Which sucks.

Leave yourself some days to do exactly what you want to do at that exact moment. Look back up to number 2, be present and let your path flow where it wants to for the day. The day’s will feel so much more natural, and you then don’t have to do anything you’re not really looking forward to.

9. Learn when to say yes, and when to say no.

This is so important. Dependent on where you look you’re either told to say yes to everything, or say no to everything. But you need to learn how to accept offers and decline them in equal measure.

When it comes to saying yes, you need to decide whether it is something you actively want to do. And also whether it is something which will expand you as a person. Will you meet new people? Will you learn a new craft? Weigh these things up.

Likewise with saying no, is it something which will detract from your sense of well being? Will it put you into a situation which you would rather not be in? I’m not keen on partying or night clubs and so avoid those as much as possible. But you do have the power to decline any event you don’t want to go to.

10. Learn how to be alone.

Being alone is brilliant. I have a wonderful partner, lovely friends and amazing family. But I still ear mark time from each day where I will be alone and can do my own thing.

Your happiness is not dependent on somebody else, and it is empowering to realize this. Particularly with romance it can be all too easy to rely on other people for your happiness, but this is co-dependency and no one comes out of a relationship like that unscathed.

If you’re not used to being on your own, try it. And turn your phone off whilst you’re at it. You’re not completely alone if you are still contacting people.

 


 

True happiness is a difficult thing to achieve, I don’t think anyone ever is truly happy all of the time. And there is nothing wrong with that. But aiming for happiness is a brilliant thing and will change you as a person along the way. Let me know how you get on in the comments.

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Self Improvement

Important life lessons I’ve learnt on the path to happiness

If you’ve read any of my blog posts before you’ll know that I am a self made happiness millionaire. Life wasn’t always like this. Only a few short years ago I didn’t really like myself, I wasn’t happy in my situation, and it was all too painfully obvious to the people around me who cared.

I like to think back to those times to remind myself just how far I’ve come in such a relatively short period of time. I also like to think about what sort of person I would be today if my life hadn’t changed so drastically. It makes me shudder, but all the more pleased to be exactly where I am right now.

Anybody else beginning this path to happiness needs to know it wasn’t easy. Along the way I had to face up to some pretty harsh yet pretty basic basic truths about life. A very wise lady I know told me “You don’t have to be happy all of the time” which certainly rings true.

Life lessons from the path of happiness


You’re not entitled to anything.

This counts for happiness, for love, for affection, for money, for food. You are not entitled to it. Just because you are walking this planet doesn’t mean you are entitled to it’s resources. You are not just a taking machine, you have to give something back, that’s the only way. You cannot expect someone to expend all their love on you without giving some love back. You also cannot expect money to be given to you, you have to work for it.

This is probably the biggest realization I faced during my darkest times. It is humbling, and inspiring. There is so much more going on in the world aside from your issues and needs. Take solace in this fact. Give something back.

People are not mind-readers.

Another huge realization for me. I used to have the tendency to be passive aggressive, assume that everyone should know what was wrong with me, and get upset with them when they didn’t fulfill my needs as I thought they should. That’s because I never told them what my needs were! This is so important across any relationship you have, whether with a partner, a friend, a family member, even work colleagues. Remember that they don’t know what is going on in your head, and vocalize your concerns.

This doesn’t mean fly off the handle. This means calmly explain what you need. Even if it just to have someone acknowledge your feelings. If you explain this to them you are more likely to get the outcome which is best for both parties, and be happier all round.

Pain is relative.

How many times have you complained about something, only to be told there are starving children in Africa who have it so much worse? I think this may be a British thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are starving children in Africa and my heart breaks thinking about it, but it isn’t fair to dismiss someone else’s pain just because another person’s is greater.

For some people big life events like death are easy to handle, for other’s they may not be able to cope with even the slightest disruption in their normal life. Dismissing someone’s pain is an awful thing to do, and it is awful to have it done to you. It doesn’t matter what their pain is, you should listen to them. And when it’s your turn they will be more likely to lend a shoulder to cry on.

Negativity is more contagious than any disease.

This one was a tough pill to swallow. I was a constant spewer of negative vibes. Work was rubbish, my friends didn’t care enough, wah wah wah. What I didn’t realize was that I was making the people around me unhappy too. They would begin to think about the negative things in their life, and I would bring the atmosphere down. This is probably why my friends didn’t always want to be around me.

But this is an easy one to take hold of. Instead of complaining I made myself look at the positives in every situation. This was effort at first but second nature now. My colleagues at work have better days, my friends are happy in my company, life seems a little brighter. All of that just from one person trying to see the positive in everything.

Only YOU are responsible for YOUR happiness.

You can choose to be happy or to not be happy. Its pretty simple. You also shouldn’t rely on happiness coming from somebody else within your life, especially a partner. This is codependency and no one comes out of a relationship like that feeling pretty great. You need to make conscious actions within your own life to improve your own happiness. Indulge in a new hobby. Make time for yourself every day. Do the things that you like to do.

On the flip side this also means you are not responsible for anybody else’s happiness. If there is a choice between their happiness and yours you must weigh up all options, outcomes and responsibilities. For example, you and a friend are both romantically interested in the same person. The person is only romantically interested in one of you. Its a tough situation but one that is all too easy to find yourself in. This is the kind of situation where weighing up your happiness and somebody else’s can be tough, but you can do it.

These are just some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.

Life is big and beautiful, but challenging. It can sometimes seem like you are being tested, but you need to remember you’re not alone in this desire for happiness. This is the number 1 thing most people want, and by putting out the right message yourself you’ll find the response you get back is more aligned to you. Stay strong people, it does get easier.


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Self Improvement

How I used Hygge to survive winter

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How I used hygge to survive winter

Winter is a struggle. The days are shorter, the nights colder and life just seems a little grey. With all the positive thinking I can muster I manage to make it through, but this winter was slightly different. I stumbled across hygge.

If you’ve been on my blog before you’ve probably seen my other post, My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life, but now as winter is starting to draw to a close I thought I’m summarize just how hygge has helped me cope.

If you’re not sure what hygge is please read my other post as I explain in some detail what it is, and what it means. Its a total buzz word at the moment, and those who have embraced the spirit of it can testify as to the difference it can make in a person’s life.

I’ve still struggled with the winter blues somewhat, but it hasn’t seemed as hard. Here’s just some things I’ve found which have helped.

Always have a comfy blanket to hand.

We have a tartan blanket, not too thick, not too thin, which stays on the arm chair in our living room. It is always to hand. Whenever I start feeling chilly I pull the blanket over and snuggle up. It’s pure comfort and cosiness, and getting wrapped up makes me feel safe.

Plenty of cups of tea.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, I’ve always preferred tea, whether that be PG Tips or something fruity. Something we invested in was a teapot, which is pretty amazing, and makes the process of having a warm drink just a little more special. It kind of reminds me of being at my Nan’s house. She always makes tea in a teapot, no exceptions. I don’t think she’s ever bought tea bags in her life! And it is the best tea. After being outside for any time during the winter a hot beverage is essential for warming the bones. Love it.

Alone time.

I’m an introvert. I used to hate saying that, but I’ve learnt to accept it about myself. I find spending time around people tiring, even close friends and family. Normally I also struggle to say no to social events (life’s too short am I right) but this year I decided to say no, to saying yes. I made sure to give myself plenty of time alone (or with my partner, his company isn’t tiring ever) doing what I like doing the most, drinking tea and reading books. It has been invaluable time to re-charge my batteries, and also gave me the time I needed to start this blog, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time.

Christmas scented candles.

I know, I know, Christmas is only one part of winter. But, the best kind of candles are Christmas scented candles. We bought a huge gingerbread scented candle and left it burning for pretty much the whole season (it had a much longer burn time than I expected, brilliant!). Every time I walked in the house it smelt like freshly baked ginger bread men, I couldn’t think of anything more comforting or homely. Even just thinking about it makes me want to get a new one.

Simpler food.

Since meeting my partner he has gone vegan, and I’ve mostly followed in his footsteps. This has opened our eyes to a whole new outlook on food. The meals we prepare together are generally much healthier, heartier and satisfying than anything I ever cooked before. I’m not going to preach that veganism is the answer to all of life’s ills, but it is definitely something you should look into as the food is so much simpler to prepare. Check out the Vegan Cookbook for beginners, it gives you a lot of information on the important questions people worry about, like where do you get your protein and calcium from. It has some pretty tasty recipes too.

A more basic home.

Back in November we moved into our first place together. We both had bits and pieces of furniture and art but nothing particularly cohesive, so we’ve had the basics but have expanded a lot over the last few months. We’ve stuck to neutral natural tones, dark wooden furniture and a few cacti and succulents. The place feels more homely than any other place I’ve lived in. We’ve kept everything basic, only “splurging” on a new sofa and arm chair (it barely counts as it was over 50% off, with a 15 year guarantee and fits in like it was meant to be).

These are just some of the ways the spirit of hygge has impacted my life over this winter, and has genuinely helped bring some sunshine into some pretty gloomy days. I genuinely believe everyone should take some of the basics and bring them into their lives. It really does make all of the difference.


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Self Improvement

10 things to do on a no screen evening

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10 things to do on a no screen evening

I wrote another post recently about why you should have a no screen evening, but now here’s some ideas for what you can do on these evenings.

No screen evenings are a fun way of unplugging from the modern world and spending some time with family and friends. You can remove yourself from distractions, like TV and phones, and enjoy the company you are in. Or, just enjoy your own company.

These are some of my favourite things to do on a no screen evening, hopefully you can find some inspiration to plan a no screen evening of your own!

1. Read a book.

Not just any book. Its that book which you’ve read a few pages of, but have gotten too busy to read anymore. Mine was The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (a brilliant read about some really interesting case studies of very unusual neurological disorders, check it out if you like the weird and the wonderful). I managed to finish the book through a no screen evening. Make time for those unloved books.

2. Cook a new recipe.

Top tip for this one: make sure you either have the recipe written down or have a cook book to hand. The no screen evening can be ruined if you have to fire up the tablet for the next step. At Christmas one of our gifts was a vegan friendly hamper (my partner is vegan, I’m mostly vegan), which included The Vegan Cook Book for Beginners, perfect for us as I’m still coming to terms with vegan cooking. Get yourself a copy though as it is full of really handy tips.

3. Play card games.

Buy yourself a deck of cards. You know have the capability to play hundreds of card games. You can play Solitaire on your own, or invite some friend’s around for a game of poker. If you’re like me and have a wicked sense of humour then check out Cards Against Humanity. If you’ve not heard of it before then tread with caution. It is essential a question and answers game, you have to come up with the funniest answer from your hand of cards. However the answers are rude, crude and sometimes down right offensive. I find it hilarious.

4. Have a board game evening.

I have some really fond memories of playing board games with my family when I was a kid, bring some nostalgia into your life and find some of the old board games you used to play. We recently invested in Monopoly, and have spent a few evenings playing, although I am slightly over competitive and a sore loser. I’m working on that though.

5. Pamper yourself!

Turn off the TV, run yourself a bubble bath, pour a glass of your favourite drink and treat yourself. You could always get some face masks, hair treatments and really pamper yourself! One of my favourite things to do is pluck my eyebrows, they always seem completely untamed so this is a good opportunity to get on top of things.

6. Pick up a new hobby.

You’ll need to do some groundwork here, figure out whats the right hobby for you. I’m quite partial to a bit of knitting, but you could try anything. Paper craft, crochet, cross stitch, wood burning, home brewing: the list is literally endless. There are a tonne of books you can invest in, or pick up from the library, just make sure you have the basics to hand and go for it.

7. Catch up with friends.

Invite your friends over, and then all of you place your phones in a bowl. The first to break and check it has to take the rest of you out for dinner. This is a perfect opportunity to strengthen bonds with loved ones, and you’ll find without the distraction of technology you will learn so much about each other, particularly if it’s people you haven’t seen in a whole.

8. Clean all of the things.

Without the distraction of TV or Facebook you can really get into the nitty gritty of cleaning pretty much anything. I don’t enjoy doing the cleaning BUT I do enjoy a deep clean. I mean the kind of clean where you get on your hands and knees and scrub the skirting boards until they’re gleaming. Nothing is more satisfying than actually seeing a noticeable difference. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend a no screen evening but guaranteed you’ll feel better for it.

9. Visit a local park.

You don’t have to stay in for a no screen evening! Find a local park and go for a walk. Take a loved one, or go on your own, just make sure you leave your phone at home (or turned off, I always get worried I’ll need it). Without your phone to hand you won’t be tempted to just take pictures of the beautiful scenery, you can truly enjoy it.

10. Do some writing.

Get yourself a journal and write an entry. Get together with friends, each armed with a pen, each person gets to write ten words on a piece of paper with only the last word of the previous sentence showing. Hilarious. Always wanted to write a book? Now’s the time. You could even invest in an old fashioned typewriter! I’m a big fan of the written word, if you push yourself you may be able to come up with something interesting, just have plenty of pens and paper to hand.


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Self Improvement

Why you need a no screen night

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

Why you need a no screen night

What is a no screen night?

It is exactly what it sounds like, no screens for an evening! No phones, no TVs, no laptops, no tablets. This could be something you could try to implement monthly, weekly or even nightly. But you need to give it a go.

It’s something I’ve been considering for a while, and I do try to unplug as much as possible, but I have been struggling, mostly due to my love of writing blog posts! (And Pinterest, always Pinterest).

My partner and I have decided to dedicate some of our time together as being no screen time. I’m terrible for browsing through my phone, and he’s just as bad browsing through his tablet. But there are so many reasons why we should unplug.


Why should you have a no screen night?

There’s many many reasons why a no screen night is a good idea. If you’ve clicked on the link for this post you probably already know, in your heart of hearts, that a no screen evening is a good idea, but here’s some detailed reasons why.

1. Spend less on electricity.

Seems pretty obvious once you say it out loud, but the less electrical gadgets you have plugged in, the less you will spend on your electricity bill. I can’t say my partner and I use a lot of electricity anyway, but we’ll be monitoring how much our usage drops over the next few months. You can actually buy monitors to see how much electricity you are using, which is an awesome idea! This means you can actually compare your no screen evenings to plugged in evenings and see a numerical difference. Money isn’t the key to happiness but being able to save a few pounds is never a bad thing either.

2. Quality time with loved ones.

Again, this one seems pretty obvious. But without the distraction of TV or smart phones you can really reconnect with the people around you. I’m guilty of casually scrolling through Facebook when people are talking to me, I don’t mean to do it, I don’t want to do it, but its an unconscious action. Without the opportunity to grab my phone (I turn it off for no screen time) you’ll find yourself more engaged in the moment.

3. Happiness, pure blissful happiness.

Raise your hand if your guilty of scrolling through Facebook and getting a little bit jealous of what you see? Yep, me too. FOMO is a real thing and something you should be aware of. People only generally tend to share the best parts of their life on social media and so it’s easy to think that’s the way they always live. Not true. Even the most glamorous of Instagram models wake up with messy hair and smelly breath, just remember that. It’s almost like a weight off your shoulders making the effort to disengage from the rest of the world.

4. Self awareness.

No screen nights are also a brilliant thing to do on your own. Use that time to find something you’re passionate about, whether it be a new hobby, batch cooking meals for the week ahead, or even just having a bit of a pamper session. You’ll maybe learn something new about yourself. I’ve already learnt that wood burning is the coolest hobby in the world. I have a similar kit to this one which is good for beginners, but there are so many options out there to suit any budget. Pick something you can get passionate about.

5. Finding yourself with a lot more time.

Kind of linking to number 4, you’ll be surprised just how much time you waste either watching TV or scrolling through social media. Without a screen to distract you, you’ll be able to achieve so much more in one evening. I like to spend as much time as possible at the weekend unplugged so that I can prepare meals for the week ahead, and get ahead on all of the house work. I’ve batch cooked and frozen a tonne of pancakes. That’s a win in my book.

6. Saving the planet.

Yep, a pretty solid reason to unplug don’t you think? The less electricity we use, the better for the environment, simple as that. If you’re pretty dedicated to unplugging you may also find you are buying less gadgetry, which is again brilliant for the planet. In our house we have 1 TV, 1 smart phone, 1 tablet and 1 laptop. I see this as being slightly too much, but I know compared to a lot of households this is unbelievably little. But you know what? It feels good to have less.

Treat yourself, plan a no screen evening with friends, or even just on your own. Unplug from the world and see the benefits for yourself. There is only so much I can write to convince you it’s a brilliant idea, you’ll never know for definite the benefits without trying for yourself. Let me know how you get on in the comments.


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