Self Improvement

Having a hobby will improve your life, find out how.

Hobbies are brilliant. It’s not work and yet we can still be productive and get things done. In fact I quite often feel like I get more done with my hobbies than I do with my paid work. Don’t tell my boss though.

Now, what is a hobby? A hobby is something you are passionate about, but don’t make a living from. You do it for the pure enjoyment of it.

Some people take their hobbies and turn it into a career, but for most of us that’s an impossible dream.

Hobbies can be something you do on your own, or do as part of a group. It doesn’t really matter which, but I guess it depends on whether you’re introverted or extroverted.

If you don’t have a hobby, then you’re missing out. They’re fun, relaxing and most of all they give you something to get passionate about. Finding the right hobby for you may take a little bit of time, but it is worth it.

Here’s how it will change your life.


How having a hobby will improve your life.


You will feel happier.

Breaking away from the daily grind for even just an hour a day will reduce your blood pressure for sure. It doesn’t matter what it is. High impact sports will have the same effect on your sense of wellbeing as crocheting a blanket.

You will feel more passionate.

The interest you have in your hobby will naturally roll over into your day to day life. You’ll feel more focused at work, your relationships will benefit, and you’ll find it easier to enjoy other aspects of your life.

Your days will go quicker.

With something in your life you are passionate and excited about, all of a sudden your days will pass quicker. Slogging your way through work becomes easier because you can think about all the fun things you can do outside of work.

You’ll never be bored again.

All of your spare time will be consumed with the hobby, and all of your spare thoughts too. Find something you are passionate about and you will never ever be bored again. Whenever you do find yourself with a spare hour you have something you can do to fill the time.

Learning new things will become really really fun.

I have a passion for learning new things anyway, but it can be daunting for some. But with your chosen hobby learning new things will become exciting! Through my love of photography I’ve also learnt how to use Photoshop and other design software. Not something I’d be interested alone, but mix the 2 together and it’s all fun.

You can apply your new skills to your daily life.

Regardless of what your hobby is you could take aspects from it to bring into your daily life. Big fan of team sports? You’ll become better at working with others. Fan of knitting? You have concentration skills my friend. There is tonnes you can take from any hobby.

Not sure where to start?

I’ve created a list of 50 hobby ideas for those of you have may not be sure where to start. It’s over here. Give it a read through and try something for yourself.


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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

10 things to do on a no screen evening

(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.)

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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