BLOG

 RSS Feed

  1. Today is Blue Monday – apparently the most depressing day of the year!

    This is based on a formula, devised by life coach Dr Cliff Arnall more than a decade ago, which focusses on factors including the weather, debt, the end of Christmas and low motivation after failed New Years Resolutions. But, we don't have to follow the hype! Let's take the 'Blue' out of 'Blue Monday' and bring some joy back.

     

    Here are 5 simple ways to cheer up your day:

     

    1) Wear something colourful.
    I am a big believer in what we wear having a big impact on our mood, so wear something you feel great in and which has a cheerful splash of colour.

     Lets take the blue out of blue monday! (1)

     

    2) Go for a walk.
    A blast of fresh air in the great outdoors is good for the soul at any time. Even in the rain! (Ok, so as I'm writing this it's absolutely pouring down, so if you want to substitute this one for 'dive into the pub to get warm and dry', then I'm ok with that).

    3) Plan something to look forward to.
    Whether it's booking a holiday or just arranging to meet a friend for coffee at the weekend, having something to look forward to can be a great mood lifter. It doesn't have to be anything major – even planning to call at that nice bakery on the way home from work to get something nice to enjoy with a brew when you get home can perk you up (well it would me!)

    4) Put on some cheerful tunes.
    It's no secret that music can affect mood. I think we all like to mope along to sad songs sometimes when we are feeling down, so equally we can select some 'happy' tunes to lift our spirits. So, turn up the volume and sing along to some songs that make you smile.

    5) Have a minute!
    We're busy people. There always seems lots to do. And if you're an overthinker like me then you are probably living at least a few days in advance in your head, cataloguing and mentally scheduling everything you need to do. This can put us under so much pressure and leave us living life at a million miles an hour. So, make yourself take a moment. Sit and have a brew. Sit on a bench along the river for a while. Lie on the bed with your eyes closed for a short time. Bring yourself into the moment – not to the 3 loads of washing that need doing tonight, or the meeting you're prepping for a week on Tuesday or the broken cupboard door that you've been meaning to fix for 6 months and that you beat yourself up about every day.

    Just enjoy a few minutes peace and quiet, without the panic and the stress. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything can wait for a few minutes (and that door can probably wait for another 6 months!)

    So, there you have it – a few quick and easy ways to cheer up Blue Monday a bit, and every day besides!

    Lets take the blue out of blue monday!

    signature

  2. My youngest daughter is still at primary school and related grown-ups are invited to join the children for their Friday morning assembly each week, which I do as often as I can (which is most weeks to be fair and I have to give a full and detailed explanation to my daughter for her prior approval if I'm not going to be there!) It is always a lovely assembly, with lots of successes by the children being celebrated and lots of their out of school achievements being shared and celebrated too.

    I have to admit that I always find these assemblies really inspiring – they always encourage the children to be themselves, to celebrate their differences, to make mistakes and to aim really high to fulfil their own potential. All stuff that seems to get drowned out as we get older to be replaced by encouragement to pass exams, hold down a good job and a focus on paying bills and being responsible – but all stuff that I think as grown-ups we could really do with being encouraged to do as well!

    assembly

    And this mornings' assembly was no different – in fact, it talked about something I thought worth sharing with you now. The staff and children were talking about one of the main driving themes in the school at the moment – the power of yet! All classes have been learning about this - adopting the approach that embracing the power of yet shows how they are always growing and learning. If the children can't do something they don't feel that they won't be able to do it forever – they just can't do it yet! Such a short and simple word, but one which changes everything.

    How many times as grown-ups do we declare that we can't do something so we never bother trying again? I can't draw. I can't parallel park. I can't speak in public. I can't do maths. I don't understand this. I'm no good at that. Whatever this and that may be for you – add a yet on the end and the whole meaning changes. It goes from being a closed avenue, a final conclusion, to an unfinished story – one which can be revisited and whose ending is yet to be decided. There is hope and room for growth, and space given for us to keep on trying and not give up. A really little word but a really big game changer.

    So, I applaud my daughter's school for sharing such a positive message with the children and I am made up that along with phonics, fractions and physics she gets to learn some really powerful mindset stuff that will serve her well for the rest of her life.

    STOP TRYING

    We need to follow the example these fantastic children are setting – and I think all grown-ups should have to go to primary school for a week to be inspired by them! Young children have a willingness to try and fail, over and over, when they are learning something new. But, the older we get the more we put pressure on ourselves to get things right first time or move on. But we too are allowed to embrace the power of yet – and I think we should!

     signature

    *Have you joined the Happy Mind Army Members' Club yet? If not, join now to get instant access to inspiration, motivation and beautiful artwork to help you build your own happy mind!*
  3. The run up to Christmas can be an absolutely bonkers time of year – so I'm not sure what possessed us in November to decide that we would redecorate the hall, stairs and landing before the big day! Now this would be a big job at any time, but the fact this space in our home had been neglected for a very long time made it a massive undertaking. We had built an extension, had the garden landscaped, had the house re-roofed and had a new kitchen and bathroom fitted during the last decade or so, but never once had we given any love and attention to the poor hall, stairs and landing.

    So, it was still old anaglypta wallpaper that went back way over 20 years (and which we had painted over 15 years ago!) and chipped gloss on all the skirting boards and door frames which revealed layers of old paintwork in attractive shades of peach and lavender. We had to strip, scrub, fill and sand like nobody's business and once we started it felt like it would take forever!

    hall blog pic

    But one thing that really stood out to me as I cleaned and redecorated every nook and cranny was just how grotty it had become – and how we had become a bit blind to just how bad it was. Now I knew it was bad – I had been fed up with it for a long time – but only when looking at it with fresh eyes and with a view to improving it did I see fully just how unloved it had become.

    We'd had a cupboard made around a new electric fuse box a few years ago, but because the rest of the hall looked a bit of a mess we had never bothered painting it. There had been things spilt and smudged on the walls in places as the girls grew up that had never been cleaned properly because, well it didn't really matter. And the chips in the paintwork and rips in the wallpaper all kind of blended in with the whole neglected feel of the place.

    And I found this to be a really big lesson.

    We had accepted the decline of this part of our home – and had stopped noticing how bad it was (indeed, we were making it worse by not looking after it because it no longer seemed worth investing any effort in). And it made me question whether we could also be guilty of accepting this kind of slow decline in other areas of our lives.

    So we can all learn a lesson from my hall, stairs and landing.

    mandela quote

    As we enter the new year, indeed the new decade, we should all take the blinkers off and have a good, honest look at ourselves and our lives. Is there anything that has slowly declined over time that we might not have even noticed? Maybe there is an element of our life that we stop giving love and attention too because it no longer seems worth the effort? Have we let relationships grow stale? Let bad habits creep in unchallenged? Or maybe we have just settled for what we've got, even if we're not happy with it, because to change it seems like it will take too much time and hard work?

    Do it. Have a good, hard look at your life. Be honest if there is something you're not happy with and then take action – because that is where the magic happens.

    After talking about it for years my hall, stairs and landing is now done – because we finally took the action it needed to do it (we can talk about things and think about things as much as we like – but if we don't take action, nothing changes!) It was hard work (and I think I invented some new swear words when I was wallpapering!) but I am so happy and proud that we have done it. It was a few weeks of blood, sweat and tears – but the positive effects will last for years.

    And the same goes for us. Like my hall, stairs and landing – we can let things slide and become neglected or we can put in some hard work and effort and bring about positive change that can have an effect on us and our lives for many, many years.

    signature

    chose your life

     PS: The doors to the brand new Happy Mind Army Members' Club are now open to help you make 2020 a year full of confidence and positive change > click here to sign up now!