Building confidence: An easy guide when you’ve lost your spark

You’ve changed.

Two words I never wanted to hear in that context or tone. But there they were. What happened to your positive attitude, your go-getter ambition, your lust for life?

I’ll be honest, I lost all of those things for a while. Lockdown fatigue hit me HARD. Even as an introvert, once the exciting novelty of being at home without the need to meet all sorts of expectations wore off, my confidence took a drastic dive.

There were days when I barely recognised my reflection in the mirror.

(Oh, the beauty of how stress can mess with your skin, hey?)

Now, look. It wasn’t all bad – something just felt a little “off.” You know that feeling, right? When you just don’t feel yourself.

CHANGE.

The pandemic shattered my perfect illusion of what 2020 was “supposed” to be.

I tried to get my vibe back. Oh, how I tried...

I tried small things, like baking muffins and rearranging my home office. Those helped, but it was a bit like slapping on a mini band-aid over a twisted ankle.

I needed alignment…

A RHYTHM. A better routine – and doing something that felt meaningful to me.

It’s true, a global pandemic will put a spanner in the works for the most adaptable of us – yes, EVEN life coaches and self-care advocates!

Now let’s talk about CONFIDENCE.

Something so many of us struggle with, yet we rarely talk about it – and we should! We shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. No one is perfect. We ALL have low days and go through messy seasons.

It’s called being human.

If you’re not feeling quite like yourself lately, trust me, you’re not alone!

We’re ALL trying to figure things out one step at a time and adapt to a “new normal.”

So, I thought I’d share a few things that have recently helped me find my spark (again). Grab a coffee, get comfy and let’s talk about simplifying things and building confidence.

building confidence

GETTING REAL ABOUT PASSIONS & HAPPINESS

Up until March, right before lockdown, I was trying to grow a content marketing business.

Only my heart wasn’t in it.

(REALLY, it wasn’t).

I love writing, but I don’t love writing for everyone or on every topic. I was frustrated. And I knew it was pointless trying to grow something sustainably that I wasn’t prepared to give my very best to.

It was around this time I started having more heart-to-heart conversations with friends.

We talked about life and work and everything in between. Together, we inspired and encouraged each other. It helped – especially on those really challenging days. Little by little, I found myself intrigued.

I became curious about a big passion I’d put on the back-burner over the years.

I was so inspired, I invested in a course and started doing a whole bunch of research. When I was trying to build my content marketing business, things felt quite forced. This was different… It FLOWED. It all felt so right. So I made a big decision – I trusted my gut and did a complete 180.

There it was.

MY FIRE.

Back again… Burning in the background until I was ready to acknowledge it.

Funny how that happens, isn’t it? We squash big dreams and aspirations because we feel like we *should* go in a different direction or do what’s expected of us.

Now look… I swear, I’m not trying to tell you that you need some life-changing decision to build your confidence. You don’t. But you DO need to get brutally honest what you want in order to be happy.

When we do things that make us happy, building confidence becomes automatic.

Yes, I know that’s not easy when you’re feeling low.

And it can be hard to muster up the energy for any kind of creative brainstorming or a deep conversation – especially during a pandemic.

That’s why we need to slow things DOWN and take baby steps.

Building confidence needs a holistic approach.

It’s a journey, not a sprint or a competition.

With the right momentum and tools, it can snowball into something you didn’t even know was possible. That’s not wishy-washy nonsense, I’m talking from experience.

Here are a few of those tools – some SIMPLE things I started doing that made a huge difference to the way I felt, my outlook on life, and how I started showing up authentically (again).

HOW TO MAKE BUILDING CONFIDENCE A HABIT

(Even when you’re low on energy and motivation)

building confidence 1

1. SIMPLIFY YOUR SELF-CARE

Self-care is usually one of the first things to go when your confidence takes a knock.

Ironic because it’s actually such a GREAT self-esteem booster. I used to love my YouTube workouts every day until they started feeling like a schlep. Obviously I’m not advocating for laziness… exercise is SO important for mental and physical well-being.

BUT sometimes what we think we should be doing and what we’re capable of at that moment are two entirely different things. What really helped me was trying an alternative.

I didn’t stop working out…

I just changed HOW I did it.

No more moving the coffee table every time I want to work out (mission and a half). I downloaded a 7-minute workout app and now I’m hooked!

Find something effortless that lifts YOUR spirit and boosts your mood.

2. PLAN A FUN EXPERIENCE

If you’re anything like me, you need mood-boosting things to look forward to.

Weekend ventures, mini holidays, neighbourhood missions. This can really help to break up long weeks (or months) and give you a reason to up your confidence a little.

The trick is to start SMALL.

Maybe take a drive and explore your town – and grab a coffee while you’re at it. See how simple? You don’t need to do anything expensive or extravagant to start.

Just inch out of your comfort zone a little at a time.

You’ll see, pretty soon your confidence will improve and you’ll be initiating get-togethers and booking soul-fueled experiences in no time!

building confidence tips

3. SOAK UP MORE NATURE VIBES

There’s no better antidote to stress – or finding your spark – than nature.

Nature soothes the soul and calms the mind. Seriously. Just sit underneath a gigantic tree for a few minutes, listen to the ocean or smell the flowers in a nearby park.

SO peaceful.

Not only that but being in nature reminds us of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. (This is great if you tend to overthink the small stuff!)

Being in nature reminds us to be grateful.

You might even leave there feeling twice as tall and ready to take on the WORLD.

4. LISTEN TO SOMETHING EMPOWERING

Sometimes you just need someone to tell it like it is.

Real talk, empathy and non-fluffy actionable tips.

When I was going through a bit of a slump, I listened to Jen Sincerro’s You Are a Badass audiobook and it made me look at things very differently. I love her BS-free approach. That’s my language. Another good one I found recently was the Emotional Badass podcast. SO good!

Find a podcast, playlist or audiobook that speaks YOUR language.

And to elevate those empowering feelings even MORE…

Try combining it with something you’ve been procrastinating over (like *cough* packing away the laundry).

5. DANCE LIKE NO-ONE’S WATCHING

ls there even a better way to boost your mood, confidence and calorie burn?!

I think not.

Dancing gives us permission to be ourselves 100% in the moment.

Move and shake it in your sweats. Or, have a dance party while you wash the dishes (mind the soap!) Pretend you’re a back-up dancer to Lady Gaga. Whatever, just have FUN.

Dancing makes us feel ALIVE.

(Plus, it’s a pretty sneaky way to get your workout in, too!)

Over To You

I hope you found this mini guide helpful!

Building confidence, as I’m learning, is a journey and not an overnight change. It requires a bit of a holistic approach. So please take it easy, start small and be kind to yourself as you grow.

Did I miss any other good tips? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read them!

Posted in Feel Empowered, Mindset | 2 Comments

How to make a career change happen in your 30s

So, you’re officially in the market for another career change. Whether that’s due to COVID-19, frustration, or escaping a toxic work environment – you’re ready to put yourself out there. Again.

Things have gotten real.

Quick side note – If you’re looking for a fluffy post about following your passions and magically transforming your life overnight, I’m sorry, but this isn’t it.

Sure, it’s fun to imagine a world where we live our dream life, but you know what’s even better? Making things happen.

As in taking intentional ACTION.

(Beyond the visions over steaming cups of coffee and cookie-cutter self-help talks).

Now look, I’m a huge fan of notebook doodling and making vision boards, but that’s not where change happens.

I used to think so, though.

Aaah. Good old fashioned procrastination disguised as over-planning and perfectionism. Sneaky, that. Maybe you’re not spending your time mulling over freshly brewed tea and making lists for the future. Maybe you’re on auto-pilot, going through the motions.

You feel stuck and unsettled and it’s negatively impacting other areas of your life.

Sound familiar?

Or, maybe you’re in survival mode right now and stress has become your new normal. Just the idea of looking for a new job – or creating one – is too overwhelming to think about practically.

I get it.

2020 has been challenging for all of us. Maybe not in exactly the same way, but it’s shattered routine and forced us to focus on what’s really important.

All of a sudden that Plan B for “one day” is today.

But before polishing up your CV or diving into self-employment, there’s a bit of self-work that needs to happen first. I’ll tell you why in a bit. We’re going to get realistic about what actually goes into pivoting and creating massive change.

That’s right. It’s a little more than just updating your CV and hitting that “apply” button.

5 PRACTICAL, POSITIVE AND SUSTAINABLE WAYS TO CREATE CAREER CHANGE IN YOUR 30s

Alright, onto the good stuff.

If your heart and head aren’t in the right place, you’re probably not going to get the results you’re after. No one wants to hire or work with someone who’s negative, stressed out or appears desperate.

What do they want?

Genuine positivity, enthusiasm for the job/business, and a can-do attitude.

Yes, I know. That’s a bit hard to pull off when your confidence is at an all-time low, you’re angry at the world, or you couldn’t care less. And here’s where self-work and mindset come into the picture.

It starts with being brutally honest with yourself – and getting a little selfish. Here are five simple steps to help you get out of your head and start actioning positive career change.

1) DO (MORE OF) WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP

Trust me, I’m aware of how fluffy this sounds. Especially if you’re running on fumes or not feeling very positive about life. Here’s the thing though: when you do things that make you happy, you lower your stress levels and your outlook begins to change – even if it’s just a little at first.

Now, please, I’m not talking about watching five hours of Netflix fun, by the way. I’m talking about hobbies. Remember those?

I mean fun things that have nothing to do with work.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions to get those creative juices flowing:

  • What activities did you enjoy most as a child?
  • What books, blogs or podcasts inspire you?
  • Is there specific music that makes you want to dance like no-ones watching?
  • If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you use it to do? (not work!)

2) SCHEDULE YOUR CAREER CHANGE “ACTION DATE

Change without action is just wishful thinking. We know this.

So, if you’re serious about a career change – whether that’s starting a new job or building a business, you need to put things in motion immediately.

A micro action is the perfect way to do this – and there’s zero overwhelm involved.

My suggestion?

Mark a specific date in your calendar.

As in, the date you want to quit your job, start a new career, or launch a business. This is important. When you deliberately put something like that out there (not all over social media, please), you set things in motion. Your brain is wired to start actively seeking out opportunities and moving things along.

Some questions to keep in mind before you do this:

  • When do you want to make this change by? A month, three, six?
  • What do you need to put into place before then? Savings? A new job? A website?
  • WHY do you want to make this change?

Be realistic and slot that date in asap.

do what makes you happy

3) GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION FOR MORE

You can’t expect good things to come into your life if you don’t have the space for it.

Or, if you’re constantly putting everyone else first – and sacrificing your well-being out of guilt. Now, I don’t mean that you should ignore your family or put yourself in a self-absorbed bubble. Far from it.

I know from personal experience how challenging this can be. Especially if you’re a people-pleaser or high achiever. One thing that’s really helped me?

Putting healthy boundaries in place – both personally and professionally.

And you can do the same thing with very little effort.

Let’s say you’re a busy mom with two kids. You struggle to find the time (let alone energy) to update your CV, network on LinkedIn or research potential business opportunities.

Here are a few realistic ways to create time for doing what you need to do:

  • Use your lunch breaks intentionally
  • Take a personal day or put in a few days of leave
  • Ask your partner or family to help with responsibilities for a little while (e.g. a few hours on Saturday or one evening during the week)

It’s not about finding the time; it’s about creating it.

Also? Remind yourself that you’re worth it. Imagine what things could look like a few months from now just by taking that little bit of extra time.

4) POLISH YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

We live in a digital age where people want to know the person behind the CV, business or brand.

It’s really important to have this in place before you apply for any jobs or announce your new venture to the world. How does your online presence genuinely portray you in a way that’s going to set you up for success?

Here are a few things you might want to consider doing:

  • Get rid of any personal or unprofessional information you don’t want visible
  • Highlight your skills and accomplishments that set you apart
  • Update your LinkedIn bio and work experience
  • Freshen up your social media profile pics and bios
  • Tweak your website, blog or personal portfolio page if you have one

You don’t need to spend hours doing this. Just focus on few areas you can polish.

5) MIND YOUR CONFIDENCE

And now for the million dollar question: If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

A healthy mindset is everything – and so is the way you see yourself. But, boosting your self-esteem goes beyond saying a few positive affirmations in front of the mirror. It’s about loving who you are right now – not minus 5kg from now, not once you get that job or start that business. Today, right here, right now.

Let me tell you from personal experience, the more you prioritise well-being, the more positive and confident you’ll feel about that career change – and life in general.

Here are three quick ideas for boosting your self-esteem:

  • Dress for success. It’s actually amazing what a dab of lipstick, pretty earrings and a colourful top can do to boost your mood and confidence.
  • Give yourself a mini-challenge. Not following through on big things can quickly wear you down. Set yourself a tiny personal goal to achieve every day instead. It can be as simple as holding a plank position for 20 seconds or leaving one thoughtful comment on someone’s LinkedIn post. Simple.
  • Make a “wins” list. I like doing this weekly, but you can do it daily, too. Write down everything good that happened or that you accomplished. It really helps to see the bigger picture on those not-so-great days.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT…

Five habits you can start developing to get unstuck and make your career change happen.

It starts with a bit of self-work and adopting a healthy mindset. One mini step at a time; one day at a time.

Sure, you might not have that fire in your belly like you did in your 20s, but you know what you do have? More experience, more life lessons, and a need for sustainability and doing work that feels more meaningful.

You’ve got this.

I hope you found this post inspiring – and actionable. Is there anything I haven’t covered that’s helping you get you closer to making positive changes in your career? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

Posted in Personal Growth | 2 Comments

How To Start Setting Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries is a hot topic right now. This global pandemic is forcing us to acknowledge plenty in our lives – things we’ve ignored or didn’t know we were missing. Maybe you’ve realised how little time you’ve spent doing the things that light you up – like enjoying hobbies (what are those again?), spending time connecting with people you love or exploring passion projects. For me, I’ve noticed how important setting healthy boundaries is when it comes to doing more of things that make me happy… beyond work.

So what’s so special about boundaries anyway?

Basically, it’s the foundation of self-care – and one of the easiest ways to start making positive changes in your life.

It’s a BIG deal.

ARE YOU BEING “TOO” NICE?

I used to be nonchalant about putting myself first – or having the audacity to say no to something I really didn’t want to do. As admirable as it is to be the “good” employee, friend, partner, or business owner, constantly pushing what you want aside to make others more comfortable is a recipe for resentment, burn out, and a whole lot of negative feelings.

I’m talking from personal experience here as a former people pleaser.

I avoided conflict like the plague. I didn’t speak up because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself or seem like I wasn’t being a team player. When you’ve grown up as a goodie-goodie and a shy introvert, it’s a lot harder to stand up for yourself. So trust me, if this is you – I GET it.

But, things can change.

Over the years – and especially during 2020 (when we’ve all been forced to dig DEEP and get real about our lives), I’ve shed some of those layers. Somewhere along the way, with a lot of practice and self-work, I’ve finally mastered the art of saying no – guilt-free, mind you. Something else that’s new this year? I have zero notifications on my phone. I finally value my personal space and time and it feels amazing.

Healthy boundaries look different for all of us.

How many times have you said yes to things you really don’t want to do?
(Btw, I’m not talking about washing the dishes, sorry!)

I’m talking about things that leave you feeling unsettled. Maybe even a little resentful or angry. Maybe, like me, you don’t like causing conflict… Listen… Being nice and kind is one thing, but letting external people (and things) dictate how you live your life or spend your free time is quite another!

BOUNDARIES TELL THE WORLD HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED

Setting healthy boundaries lets you connect with your needs and allows you to feel safe, relaxed and empowered to care for yourself. Talk about good reasons to make this a priority!

Can you relate to any of these statements?

  • You say yes to everything to avoid upsetting anyone. You’re overworked, underappreciated, and maybe even a little resentful. 
  • You reply to messages instantly because you don’t want anyone to feel like you’re not a good friend, family member, employee, or business owner. 
  • You solve everyone’s problems because you care. But somewhere down the line, you start noticing how one-sided the relationship is.

Nodding your head?

Yes? Well, then it might just be time to start putting a few small boundaries in place.

Let’s talk practical action.

TWO SIMPLE STEPS TO SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

#1 – IDENTIFY WHAT’S GIVING YOU THE WTF FEELS

Question – Where do you feel like you can’t be your true, authentic self? Where do you feel like you’re not in control? What makes you feel annoyed, anxious or angry?

Need some inspiration? 

WhatsApp messages used to stress me out a lot. I thought I needed to instantly respond to every single message and voice note from friends, family and work. This not only amplified my anxiety levels, but it also made me a negative nancy to be around. I was allowing other people to infringe on my personal method of communication, often during personal time.

That’s NOT a healthy boundary.

Here are a few more examples of unhealthy boundaries:

  • Not saying no because it makes you feel guilty or like you’re letting other people down
  • Being everyone else’s sounding board / personal therapist (note to empaths!)
  • Trying to please everyone just so that you feel needed
  • Staying quiet when someone disrespects you or emotionally hurts you
  • Allowing a lack of respect for your privacy
  • Letting other people define you or give your life meaning
  • Going against your personal ethics or values to please others
  • Allowing another person to take as much as they can from you
  • Emotional manipulation (e.g. gaslighting)

Zero in on what situations or things make you feel super uncomfortable.

#2 – DECIDE HOW YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE POSITIVE ACTION

Now let’s not overwhelm ourselves or make things more complicated than they need to be (please!)

I recommend starting with the thing you MOST want to create a healthy boundary around. Let’s say that’s WhatsApp. You don’t want to feel controlled by this app (or people messaging you at all hours) anymore. 

Here are 5 simple steps to change that:

  1. Be honest. Tell family, friends, and colleagues that you’re spending too much time replying to messages and you’ll be making some changes to better support your mental well-being, productivity, and personal time, etc.
  2. Turn off notifications. This is a game-changer. Go to your phone settings and turn off WhatsApp notifications. Try it – I promise, it’s just like pulling off a band-aid. You can thank me later.
  3. Respond when you have the time and energy to. Unless it’s life or death urgent, everything else can generally wait. This might take some getting used to if you’re a people pleaser, but trust me, if you have the notifications off, it’s a lot easier!
  4. Leave those group chats. You know, the ones with the constant drama or endless yapping because people are bored. If someone gets offended by you leaving, you could briefly explain your reasons in a private message.
  5. Limit who gets access to you on WhatsApp. Protect your personal time by keeping your personal life… personal! Emails are still a great form of communication. I’ve even told past clients that I’d be moving our conversations over to email for efficiency and better tracking. It’s no problem if you have a good reason.

When it comes to setting healthy boundaries in your life, there are literally so many things you can do. It all depends on what YOU want to prioritise first to build a foundation. Then, you can add more boundaries as you go.

Keep it simple.

I promise, it’s not as terrifying as you think – and the benefits? Well, they’re absolutely priceless. And just in case you needed the extra reminder for doing this, here you go:

Your health and happiness are important, too.

Posted in Self Care | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why being a clock-watcher is actually a good thing!

We live in an overworked society where burning the midnight oil has become the norm. Are you a clock-watcher? If you’re not jumping onto Slack and announcing to the team how late you worked, then please shush. The higher-ups aren’t really interested in hearing about your relaxing evening Pilates session. Clearly, you’re not dedicated enough.

Dedication. Let’s unravel that word, shall we?

According to Urban Dictionary, this means an extreme or uncommon commitment to a task, people, or an ideal. For me, I take it to mean upskilling on the job, working as part of a team, and being an ambassador for the company. But that’s not what you’ll find in many job ads today.

What you will find?

Requirements like this: “Must be prepared to work after hours,” or “Don’t bother applying if you’re a clock-watcher.” Sounds like a fun place to work, doesn’t it? Let’s hear it for companies who don’t value employee well-being.

I’m not trying to be smart here; there will always be people who take advantage and pretend to be “busy.” That’s another conversation altogether – a conversation that should start at the interview stage and escalate in performance reviews where needed.

Back to well-being at work.

I remember going for an interview a few years ago. The head office was located on a beautiful wine farm, so naturally, I asked what the team did for lunch every day. I’ll never forget the look of disgust when the co-founder replied something along the lines of, “Lunch? We don’t have time for lunch. Some days I’m lucky if I manage to eat a few rusks at my desk.” Right. Sounds like a wonderful place to spend nine hours every day.

I’d like to know when work-life balance became so unimportant. When working like a robot became something to strive for – a check-box for potential promotion.

I personally know of people who’ve landed in hospital due to work burnout. Did they ask for additional help or make it known that they were struggling with their workload? Of course. Did anything change? Not at all. Where has human compassion gone in the workplace?

Clock-watchers get a bad rap because they’re considered lazy.

I disagree.

Clock-watchers, in fact, have their priorities in check. They have a healthy work-life balance. They know when it’s time to work, and they understand the importance of recharging, rest, and refuelling. A study by Stanford University debunks the belief that working longer hours equals getting more done. So there’s that.

But still, for many, hustling beyond the workday equals success.

One of my previous managers felt it important to share how often she worked over weekends to “catch up” because she was so busy. Yes. Unfortunately, that tends to happen when you spend most of the day in meetings and chatting with coworkers.

There’s a big difference between busyness and productivity, and there’s definitely something to be said for working smart. Arianna Huffington says it best:

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

I became a clock-watcher after a very hard lesson in a new job.

Like most people in their early twenties, I was eager to prove my value to the company. So I started coming in earlier and leaving later – I thought that was how it was done. It wasn’t until I commented about all those extra hours (I’d logged them and worked out how much overtime I was due, or so I thought), that I was snapped back to reality. “Melanie,” the company bookkeeper said kindly, “No one asked you to work all those extra hours, that was your choice.”

(Lightbulb moment and humiliation I’ll never forget).

From that role onwards, I never felt guilty about leaving at 5 pm or taking my lunch breaks. No one should. Our lives shouldn’t revolve around work. Yes, we all need an income to live sustainably in this modern world. BUT…

We shouldn’t have to drive ourselves to the point of chronic stress or burnout to prove that we’re “dedicated employees.”

Right now, we’re living through a global pandemic where things are drastically changing. The way we work, connect, and communicate is evolving every day. Yes. We’re in the midst of an economic recession and maybe this isn’t the best time to talk about watching the clock.

But if not now, then WHEN?

If we don’t look after our health in a time like this, where will that leave us?

If ever there was a time to step back, relook at how things have been done on autopilot, and alter them for the better, it’s at this moment. Thanks to countless studies, we already know that work-life balance means better employee morale and productivity.

And still, it’s a foreign concept for so many.
What if it wasn’t though?

Imagine a company that allowed employees to go “dark” and work on one big project for the first three hours of the day – totally uninterrupted. No meetings and no distractions, unless it was absolutely urgent.

A culture where the CEO encouraged people to leave work on time so that his employees could spend quality time with family, catch up on hobbies, and simply enjoy life.

Clock-watching isn’t laziness.

It’s how we look after our well-being so that we can show up and give our best during work hours – without needing to take time off for stress management or hospital visits.

At a time when there are clearly much bigger things to worry about and focus on, should picking on clock-watchers really still be one of them?

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Is your phone negatively impacting your life?

Feel like jumping into pajamas and hopping back into bed to binge-watch series all day, without your phone? Yup, me too. If I’m being really honest, today is a bit of a weird one and I’m not ashamed to say that. So if it’s been a rough week for you and you need a little heart-to-heart real talk, settle in, grab a coffee and let’s chat availability.

Lockdown is surreal, isn’t it? One day you feel like you’re smashing your To-Do list like a boss, and the next, you feel bouts of panic or totally uninspired and lethargic. Newsflash… We’re living through a global pandemic right now– as in not a normal period. So to expect that everything needs to carry on as it was before (or for us to be EXTRA productive because there’s suddenly more time) is a bit unrealistic, to say the least.

Everyone is dealing with their own stuff in their own way – they’re just not sharing it all on social media.

THE PRESSURE TO DO IT ALL

There’s so much pressure to come out of this as the next super entrepreneur, MasterChef, or home fitness expert. To cook gourmet meals, to do as many digital courses and webinars as possible, and to be available for every Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype chat – planned or otherwise. What a lot of people seem to forget, is that – yes, we might have more time in the day to do things, BUT we have less energy.

Less energy because of the heaviness of it all.

And the online overwhelm…

When we’re not worrying about the future or trying to motivate ourselves to have a productive day, we’re muting, unfollowing, and deleting the never-ending stream of noise suddenly flooding our social media feeds and inboxes. We’re agonizing over how to politely tell a friend that, sorry, we can’t reply to every message instantaneously. We’re asking each other how to leave a family group chat that’s panic-sharing non-stop Coronovirus updates – without hurting anyone’s feelings.

As incredible as it is to stay connected online (and aren’t we glad this isn’t 2001?!), it can get a bit much.

We’re not all the same. Some people need more online connection, and some people need less.

CONNECTING ONLINE TAKES ENERGY

We forget what a big deal energy is, especially at a time like this. As an introvert and empath, I’ve finally learned how to manage my energy levels. When we went to New York five years ago, those midday naps between overwhelming museum visits and crowded street walks were essential. Recharge time.

So were the extra bathroom trips to escape feeling everyone’s stressed out, anxiety-driven vibes when I worked in an open-plan office.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I see the struggle to balance energy – or rather, to prioritise it. I hear it from friends over WhatsApp and I read about it on social media. Who knew a global pandemic would spotlight the need for healthier boundaries and better energy management? Personally, I had no idea so many people were feeling guilty about taking breaks between tasks or feeling completely stressed out about being available to colleagues, clients and managers every minute of the workday.

We hustle like we’ve got this on and off switch at the start and end of each day.

We somehow expect this never-ending supply of mental and physical energy during a time of uncertainty and the entire world being on a “great pause.” The pressure to keep going and pushing without making space for recharging, refuelling and resetting isn’t sustainable.

We’re not robots (just in case you’re being led to believe this!)

WE NEED OUR OWN VERSION OF THE “PAUSE” BUTTON

Maybe that looks like switching your phone off for a few hours a day and not being so available. I spoke to a friend last week who works for a company that does that. They call it the “dark session” – each workday between 9am and 12pm everyone works on their “rock” (one big project) for the day. There are no meetings, no interruptions, and no calls during that time unless it’s absolutely urgent. How amazing is that?!

I make it a habit to turn my phone off regularly for a few hours here and there – especially when I’m writing, otherwise, I’d never get anything done.

Productivity 101 – mute or turn off distractions!

You don’t need to be available to everyone all the time unless you really want to be. It’s as simple as that.
Yet we overthink and complicate it so quickly.

Because we want to give more, be more, and not let anyone down.

I get it.

YOUR PHONE – PERSONAL LIFE VS WORK LIFE

In a time when just about everyone is online, the lines between personal life and work-life have blurred overnight. We need better boundaries. We need to manage expectations for instant replies. Do we really need to be in that Zoom meeting? And let’s not forget about the hive of digital clutter we need to wade through daily on social media. I don’t know about you, but I’m spending a lot more time opting out of emails, unfollowing “me, me, me” accounts, and muting repetitive advertising for this exclusive members-only club or that “life-changing” course we all need right NOW.

Thankfully we have options to limit that.

We also have the choice to communicate what we need.

I’ve gotten really honest with friends and family about online communication. I might take a few days or a week to reply to long voice notes. I might need to turn my phone off for a bit. And if we’re having a weekly Skype catch-up, I need time to plan ahead for that (not on the day confirmation).

I’ve also had to get real about the way I work. I had a GREAT routine before all this – I was a morning person. I’m no longer a chipper morning person. Some nights I work till 11pm. Some days I struggle to be productive. It’s not because I’m lazy or I don’t have my sh%t together or I’m not trying hard enough. It’s just a weird time.

This isn’t a post advocating for laziness or being negative.

It’s about energy management and setting boundaries. It’s about not feeling burned out because we’re trying to be superwoman, doing all the things and putting self-care on the back-burner so we don’t cause any type of conflict.

We’re adjusting.
We’re adapting.

And we’re slowly creating our own versions of a new normal.

On that note, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, too available, or unable to focus – let whoever needs to know know, and turn your phone off for an hour or six. I promise it’s not that scary the second time around.

You control your phone – NOT the other way around.

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16 Morning Routine Ideas for More Joy and Balance

Oh great. Another list of morning routine ideas. I know… some of those list posts irritate me too. That’s not the goal of this blog post, I promise. My intention is to show you how to SLOW down a little and actually enjoy a few minutes of calm or high energy before the day runs away. You don’t need 30 minutes to get your day started on a positive note… sometimes, all it takes is five minutes – the same amount of time it takes to make a decent cup of coffee.

We can start our days with intention… instead of rushing as though we’re in some kind of competitive race – or begrudgingly going through the motions on autopilot.

So let’s talk about designing a routine that works for you.

CREATE YOUR VERSION OF PEACE AND POSITIVITY

Listen. I want to make one thing clear – this is not a post about having a jolly-ol-morning every single day and things just flowing all good and groovy. Because that’s not real life. We’re in the midst of crisis and chaos. So to expect super happy vibes and insane productivity all the time is a little unrealistic.

There will be bad days and days we don’t get much done (I’ve felt this already). That’s okay. Give yourself some grace – this is all so new. Accept where you are right now.

But let’s choose to make the best of the situation we’re currently in. Deal?

ANXIETY AND SELF-CARE

My personality is prone to anxiety – I used to imagine the worst-case scenario and get upset about things way beyond my control. I’ve gotten a lot better about that over the last year or so. I think that’s why self-care and mindset is such a big deal for me.

We are living through a time of incredible uncertainty right now and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with anxiety. To feel demotivated and sluggish, or stressed. I’ve found that one of the best ways to combat these negative feelings is to start the day on the right note. And yes, I know – it can feel impossible some days.

So let’s start by UNCOMPLAINING things a bit…
Let’s simplify things so they fit into our life as it is right NOW.
(*ahem* not some airy-fairy fluffy version some self-help gurus will have you believe in).

MAKE TIME AND CREATE SPACE

First thing’s first… As with almost anything in life, if we want to create positive change, we need to prioritise it.

Figure out how much time you’d like to get into a good space in the morning and block that off. (I even go so far as to schedule time in my Google calendar for this).

Do you need 15 minutes or an hour? Make that time a priority.

In case you needed the reminder: Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s not something to be pushed aside. The more you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to take care of those around you.

Next, find a space at home where you won’t be disturbed (much) – or disturb anyone else. When I used to get up very early, I’d sit in my home office with the door closed. So quiet. You could sit outside in the garden or on the patio, in the lounge, a spare room, or even your bathroom!

Get creative and make it something you’ll actually look forward to (that’s the key!).

MIX AND MATCH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE

Do you prefer a quiet, calm start to the day over a nice cup of tea or coffee? Or, do you get that energetic boost after a mini burst of exercise and a hot shower?

I did a poll recently and got some feedback to suggest a few morning routine variations. So here you go – a variety of ideas you could try, depending on your mood:

SLOW, CALMING MORNING ROUTINE

If you’re feeling a little low on energy, down, or anxious, easing into the day is a great place to start changing that. I love quiet, peaceful mornings where I have space to connect to myself and get real about how I’m feeling, talk to God, pray, and practise deep breaths. Depending on what you enjoy, here are a few ideas you can mix and match:

  • Do a gentle 5-10 minute stretch
  • Take a few deep, intentional breaths
  • Pray and think about what you’re grateful for
  • Write your feelings in a journal
  • Enjoy a leisurely cup of tea or coffee
  • Tune in to some nature sounds (I like Insight Timer)

ENERGISING MORNING ROUTINE

As much as I love my quiet mornings, occasionally I need a burst of high energy to help me feel inspired and full of positivity for the day. I’m constantly amazed at how a little endorphins boost can do that. Here are some energising ideas for starting your day on a natural high. Again, mix and match as you like – it’s your routine:

  • Do a quick and easy 7-minute workout
  • Watch a motivational video on YouTube
  • Put some upbeat music on and dance like no one’s watching
  • Go for a run or try a HIIT workout
  • Get those steps in with an indoor walking workout
  • Listen to an inspiring/empowering podcast

MAKE IT YOURS

These are just a few ideas – please don’t think you have to do all of them, or just one lot (e.g. only calm or only energising). The idea is to design a routine that YOU enjoy. So combine and create a little daily habit you’ll look forward to. Maybe that looks like a 7-minute workout and five minutes of deep breathing. That’s great! (Btw, I actually did this one the other morning and it was amazing).

And lastly, here are a few other things you could add to tailor your morning just the way you like it:

  • Take a refreshing, warm shower
  • Stay hydrated, drink a glass of water – be fancy, add some lemon, ginger or mint
  • Make a tasty, nourishing breakfast
  • Tidy your workspace and areas you’ll frequent during the day
  • Read a few pages of a book or an interesting blog post
  • Dress for success (and comfort!)
Posted in Self Care | 4 Comments

Overwhelmed? Here’s how To Focus On Your Goals

Fact: We live in a digital age where the pressure to DO more and BE more is everywhere – you can’t miss it, especially if you’re on social media. It’s a big instigator for overwhelm and anxiety. So how do you prevent this stress (as far as possible) while staying ambitious? How do you focus on your goals and prevent burnout?

Short answer? We simplify. We put our blinders on and get real with the heart stuff.

You see, this is where we tend to lose focus a lot. When we’re so busy sharing the highlight reel and seeking some sort of validation for what we’re doing. I know I’ve fallen into this trap plenty of times, too. It’s easy to get into a habit of showcasing ALL the great things going on in our lives… And very little, if anything, of the messy moments or behind-the-scenes (by the way, I’m not talking about oversharing or airing dirty laundry – that’s a big no-no!)

So where does this tie in with setting goals and sticking to them?

By focusing on what matters – We get real with what we want and not what we think other people want to see.

PERFECTIONISM AND PEOPLE-PLEASING

Last year, I was all over the place. I must have changed my brand and website five times or more. I wanted to be everything for everyone; I cared too much about what other people thought, as you do when you’re a bit of a perfectionist. And I lost the plot a bit – I lost focus on my goals and didn’t feel like myself for a while. Have you ever felt that way? After some much-needed self-reflection, I realized what the problem was:

I wasn’t being true to who I was.

It’s really as simple as that and yet, we complicate it so much by following what everyone else is doing.

Below, I’m sharing a few insights and tips that have helped me see things differently, that seem to be working. Of course, as always, I like to simplify with a few breakdowns.

Let’s get to it.

6 WAYS TO FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS AND FOLLOW THROUGH

1) FORGET HUSTLING, BE INTENTIONAL INSTEAD

I have to confess something quick: I’ve seen a lot of negative talk on social media lately about hustling and it makes me so happy! This notion that we’ve constantly got to be busy with something in order to be succeeding in life is completely ridiculous. And stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in working hard and going after what you want.

But, I believe in working with HEART, not for the ego.

In other words, being busy with purpose.

It’s not being busy for the sake of telling everyone that you worked till midnight or have no time for lunch. That’s poor time management and lack of boundaries. You can’t focus on your goals if you’re always tired or stressed. That’s when you lose motivation. So take care of your brain and body; rest and nourishment is part of success.

2) MAKE YOUR GOALS PERSONAL

What holds you back from reaching your goals? For me, it’s being too ambitious and overcomplicating things. I like to think I can accomplish everything if I just put my mind to it. But the reality is, life happens. Last-minute things creep in, we’re forced to deal with obstacles and challenges, and our priorities might even shift.

What keeps us committed though?
Emotion.

For example, my biggest goal for this year is to walk 10km. So, instead of writing down “Get fit” as a goal (which, let’s be honest, isn’t very inspiring), I write “Finish a 10km walk in under 2 hours by 31 December 2020 and ring in the new year with a celebratory cocktail.” It’s specific and it’s realistic. To keep me inspired to reach that goal, I’ve made a personal challenge of walking at least four days a week. So I’ve got this big goal to work towards, but I also have some daily habits I can check off and feel good about while I’m on the path to reaching my goal.

That’s the secret sauce right there – make it personal.
Make your goals emotional.

3) CHOOSE YOUR TOP 5

Maybe you’re ambitious like me and have 20 goals you want to reach this year.

That’s inspiring, but are you really going to reach them all? I watched a YouTube video the other day about goal-setting and how we should be focusing on 4-5 big ones – and then break them down into mini-goals. Sounds a lot less overwhelming than 20, doesn’t it?

Here’s how it works:

You choose a few (4 or 5) areas of your life you want to improve, for example, lifestyle, relationships, finances, business, health, spirituality, etc. And then, you pick ONE huge goal for each area. Maybe you want to get fitter this year – that goes under health. Now here’s where it gets interesting…

HOW do you get from where you are right now, to reach that ambitious goal?

4) BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS

I’m learning that the best way to focus on your goals and actually make them happen, is to simplify them and turn them into manageable daily habits. Work them into your lifestyle so they’re easier to stick to. So for your health and fitness goal, think about what you need. Time and energy most likely. That means blocking off time in your calendar every week to get in a few workouts, walks or runs. As for the energy? You need to fuel your body with the right food and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Now let’s switch that into a goal for your business or career.

Say you want to double your income from the previous year. Since you can’t split yourself in two, that probably means investing in someone to help you with time-consuming tasks (like admin or content creation). This will free up your time and energy so that you can focus on product implementation or adding new services. If you’re employed, you could look at ways to skill up so that you feel more confident about asking for that promotion.

5) TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

My favourite way to stick with goals is to use a habit tracker. I used one for my workouts and runs last year and it was incredible to see how much more motivated I was to do them. If you’re someone who likes to check things off, I promise, you’ll really enjoy the sense of achievement in marking those boxes off.

Seeing your progress build up over time is such a great way to keep at it. You could even use a digital tracker on a Google spreadsheet. Do what works best for you.

6) REFLECT, REWARD, REVISE

And now, let’s imagine working hard on your goals and only celebrating your success at the end of 12 months (or however long you need to reach them). Not very motivating, is it? I like to add up my workouts every month and challenge myself to beat that number I do in the upcoming month. My husband and I have a huge board in the lounge with a calendar for the month. We use different colours to mark off our individual workouts and this is such a great way to reflect on what we did each week.

It’s both fun and rewarding at the same time.

Speaking of rewards, you could come up with your own personal reward system for reaching your mini-goals while working towards the big one. Make it something you’ll look forward to and I promise, you’ll find it a lot easier to follow through on your goals.

Happy goal setting!
(and achieving!)

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11 Simple time management tips for creatives

Let’s be honest, being a creative and your own boss (mostly) is the ultimate dream for many of us. That’s because we get to navigate our day as we see fit, do what we’re passionate about, and work in comfy pants if we feel like it. But for many, the struggle is real. Mainly due to lack of time management and not conserving energy – that’s the not so glamorous part.

Being a creative entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks, which by now, I’m sure you probably know!

In our digital hustle-infused world, we’re expected to go above and beyond at lightning speed. And, while some people might thrive off this “challenge”, for many of us creatives and purpose-led entrepreneurs, it can easily steer us off course.

Basically, I’m talking about overwhelm, anxiety, and the potential for burnout.

PROTECT YOUR ENERGY

Being a creative entrepreneur sounds fun, but it’s not for everyone. Besides navigating self-employment, you also need to acknowledge that creative work requires more energy.

Think about it… you spend 3-5 intense hours designing, writing, or being creative in another capacity – and then all of a sudden you’re ready to take a nap. That’s because there’s a limit to how much (good) creative work we can do in a day.

This is something I’ve had to learn to embrace. Which, trust me, as a high achiever and recovering perfectionist, isn’t always easy to do! So, if you’re anything like me, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to learn to harness your creative energy. You also need to make time management your new best friend. Especially if you’re committed to sharing amazing works of art or digital magic with the world.

You’d be surprised by how many creatives and goal-getters act as though they’re superhuman with this unique ability to sacrifice food, sleep, and other human necessities for the sake of work. Let’s not do that, please.

Below, I’m sharing 11 actionable daily habits you can put into place to balance your time and energy as a creative entrepreneur.

6 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY TIME MANAGEMENT

1. Start the day with high vibes

When you’re positive, things feel a LOT more manageable.

We know that how we start our day, affects how the rest of it is going to go. When you feel positive and empowered, you’ll be amazed by the amount of energy you bring to your day. Do something that connects with you – whether that’s a quick meditation, listening to a podcast, or dancing around the room. Set your tone your way.

2. Boost your confidence

If you’re a procrastinator and tend to put daunting things off (like calling a client or figuring out some coding), this tip might help. Instead of “swallowing the frog” first thing, try and check off one or two bite-sized, easy tasks. This will get you into a productive groove and give you a burst of positive energy and the confidence to tackle the rest of your day.

3. Work with your energy

Are you more energetic in the morning or do you get into your rhythm properly after lunch?

Figure out what that looks like for you and use that time to do your high-concentration or really creative work. Less brain-intense tasks can be worked around your peak energy time. For example, I like to do admin and social media engagement in the afternoon, and save my mornings for content creation.

4. Create a task management system

I’m a huge fan of notebooks and physically checking things off. But, this method doesn’t really hold me accountable. What does? Asana. This is a free online task management system that helps me break up projects, set deadlines, and keep track of everything I need to do. Basecamp and Trello are two other popular options you might like to check out.

5. Break up the day

As creatives, we need breaks.

Lots of them, they’re non-negotiable if quality work is something you pride yourself on. Our brains need a regular time-out from all the creative thinking, planning, and working. Even if it’s just for five minutes to go stand outside and get some fresh air. I try and do this at least once every 90 minutes, but I hear 45 minutes is ideal.

6. Plan for flexibility

Life happens. Sometimes things take a little longer than expected or there’s a last-minute task that pops up. When your calendar is jam-packed, there’s no room for slotting things in. To avoid panic stations, try getting into the habit of blocking off chunks of “blank space” (buffer time) every day. So instead of scheduling one thing directly after the other, leave a gap of 15-30 minutes. I promise this has been a MASSIVE game-changer!

7. Cut distractions

As I’m writing this post, my phone is switched off and in another room. Talk about taking time management to a whole other level! But that’s because when I’m completely unavailable, I get so much more done. You’d be surprised by the amount of work you get to without interruptions or distractions. I’ve learned that most things can wait. Like WhatsApp messages and social media. Try it – or at least put your phone on silent.

8. Do it on purpose

Ever feel like you’re constantly busy, but you’re getting nowhere slowly? This might be due to one of two things: either you’re trying to do too much, or you’re focusing on doing the wrong things. Try and get into the habit of asking yourself WHY you’re spending time on a specific task. What’s the business goal? Example: scrolling Instagram? Ask yourself why you’re doing it. You’ll quickly stop that habit, I guarantee you!

9. Schedule time for emails

I know it’s a relief to reply to an email as soon as it comes in. But, here’s the thing: most people aren’t waiting with bated breath for your response. This is a new one for me, but it’s saved me so much time when I don’t keep checking my emails, but save reading and replying for certain times of the day.

10. Be kind to yourself

If you’re a perfectionist or high achiever, you’re hardly ever happy with a job you’ve done. That’s a tough one. I’ve come to realise that there’s a dark side to perfectionism and over-ambition, qualities I used to strive for.

And while being hard on yourself can push you further, it’s not great if that’s all you’re doing. Give yourself a bit of grace. A LOT of it actually. This path you’ve carved out for yourself is hard enough without being your own worst enemy.

11. Disconnect

Maybe this sounds like a bit of an oxymoron in our digital world, but here’s the thing: rest and recharging are a huge part of productivity and success in general. We need that time to prepare for the next day. So, don’t feel bad about disconnecting and tuning into self-care, family, or leisure time.

And there you have it; 11 simple time management tips you can try to help you focus and be more productive – without feeling overwhelmed or drained.

OVER TO YOU

I hope you found this post inspiring and useful! I always find that starting small and keeping things simple makes the biggest difference.

Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything else you practice to keep a healthy balance and to stay productive as a creative entrepreneur!

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Stressed? Try These Easy Self Care at Work Tips

When you think of self-care at work, what do you imagine? A lazy lie in bed with your favourites on Saturday morning? Or, maybe that looks like a meal prep or mini pamper session on Sunday… You want to get calm and organized before yet another crazy week starts.

YES I’m with you. #selfcaresundays for the win.

But, here’s what I have a problem with…

What about all those long hours we’re spending at work or in our business? Shouldn’t we be looking after ourselves then, too? Why is self care reserved for down time?

What if we flipped this notion on its head and made it PART of our work day?

WHY SELF CARE SHOULD BE NON-NEGOTIABLE

Look, I get it. Self care waits for home or weekends because we feel guilty for even thinking about it between our 9-5. But you know, regardless of whether you’re freelancing, building a brand on the side or running a small business, one thing is clear:

Burnout and overwhelm helps NO one.

You can have all the self care Sundays you like, if you’re overdoing things at work and not taking care of yourself during work hours, you’re in for trouble.

I’ve always struggled with this. No matter what exercise I did after work or how many morning routines I tried, I’d still felt the burnout at work.

And it’s simply because I wasn’t looking after myself properly during work hours.

Now, to clarify quick – I’m not talking about taking a lunch break or leaving work on time. Both of which, by the way, should be part and parcel of every job. I’m talking about being more accountable for your mental and emotional well-being at work.

Self-care at work is how we stay productive, creative, motivated and better balanced.

I’m sharing a few things that have helped me in the last few months, both in an office role and while working from home: Here are six ways to boost your mental energy, productivity and creativity at work – beyond a quick tea break:

6 EASY TO ADD MORE SELF-CARE TO YOUR WORKDAY

1) CREATE A WORK AREA YOU LOVE

You might be wondering what tidying up a desk has to do with mental energy. I did, too. Then I researched and read how numerous studies have shown that clutter contributes to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and stress. Not exactly a recipe for creativity and production, is it?!

I feel most inspired when my desk is organised, but not to the point of feeling clinical or impersonal. I keep it tidy with a bunch of colourful notebooks right in front of me, because they make me happy. My wall is full of inspiring quotes and I’ve got scented candles on my desk. These things light me up.

Add a cappuccino to the mix and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world.

Find what lights you up and create a space you look forward to seeing every day. (You’re there for 8–9 hours, so I’d say it’s pretty important – even if you have a hot desk situation going on… try and make it yours for those hours).

2) SQUEEZE MINI MOOD BOOSTERS INTO YOUR DAY

Time is precious. There’s a ton of stuff to get done and only so many hours in the day. BUT, what’s the point when we feel totally drained by 5pm?

I’ve started drinking a green juice instead of coffee first thing, and it’s such a great, healthy way to start the day. I save that frothy cuppa for around 09.30, when I’m ready to zone in properly. By around 2pm when I’m feeling the infamous afternoon slump, I put on some music. And then, near the end of the day, I try and have something fun to look forward to – either a feel-good workout or listening to an inspiring podcast.

This is especially helpful on those jam-packed days, or “meh” days when it feels like nothing is going right. Mini mood boosters, they really work!

3) PRACTICE THE ART OF SAYING “NO”

It’s so easy to avoid conflict by saying yes to everything. To sitting in unproductive meetings, to compromising your free time because a client or colleague can’t manage their own time, to agreeing to things that go against your morals.

Self care isn’t just coffee breaks and pretty notebooks.

It’s the unpleasant things, too. It’s learning to stand up for yourself and saying NO. Enough. No more. I found this incredibly empowering recently. And believe it or not, when you learn to say no, you’re really freeing up a LOT of extra space and mental energy that could be put to better use. (Like new creative or promotional projects, for example!)

4) BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY PROTECTIVE OF YOUR TIME

Two years ago when I really got back to blogging, I received a few emails from people asking me for tips. I thought this was great! I love helping people and encouraging them to go for their goals. So I spent quite a bit of time and energy typing out tips, sharing tools, and linking to helpful articles.

A few people were really grateful and emailed me back with a ton of renewed motivation. Others didn’t even bother to reply back to say thank you. To say I was a little irritated is an understatement. That’s when I realised how precious my time was. The truth is, just because you’re a nice person, doesn’t mean you have to give away your skills, expertise, time and energy just because someone asks.

There’s a reason people charge for their time and there’s a reason people say no to things.

Decide where your energy boundaries lie and set them. Sure, be helpful, be encouraging – but, not to the point where you’re spending a lot of time on something that just feels like you’re being taken advantage of.

5) GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO GO SLOW

Let’s be honest: the world is not going to end if you give yourself extra time to do something.

We’re not firefighters or surgeons here. As a creative and INFJ personality, my best work comes to life when I’m not rushed or feeling pressured. I used to set these crazy deadlines for myself and thought I was being super productive. But, I wasn’t. Instead, I started hating the one thing I used to enjoy. It’s easy to work that way when you see so many other people doing the same thing.

I’m working very differently these days and my deadlines are a lot more flexible.

I’d rather slow down and make my “noise” count and enjoy the process, instead of burning myself out for no reason at all.

6) CELEBRATE THE SMALL WINS EVERY DAY

It’s easy to focus on everything that isn’t going right at work. Unpredictable setbacks, a completed project that’s suddenly put on ice, a really monstrous day. Real life.

I used to berate myself for not doing things perfectly or fast enough – all the time. I never gave myself permission to feel good about all the little things that I was actually doing.

Little things that are actually pretty big things when you look at the whole picture. Negative self talk is so counter-productive to our mood and sense of well-being. Again, not great for being creative or feeling inspired with new ideas.

What little things can you celebrate during the workday?

How about having a difficult conversation with a client, fixing something you never imagined you could do, or simply prioritising a mindful lunchbreak.

These are all things to celebrate!

Don’t just save the victory lap for the big launch or completed project. Celebrate every little milestone and cheer yourself on, because honestly, there’s enough people out there who won’t.

Now, I’ve started becoming my own personal cheerleader – sometimes it’s simply a silent thought of “well done!” and other times, it’s an outright (loud, jumping, dancing) “woohoo!”

LAST NOTE, IN CASE YOU NEEDED THE REMINDER…

Your workday isn’t about enduring every hour until it’s relaxing time. Find mini moments to enjoy the small things and create a space that inspires you. You’ll find it a lot easier to keep stress at bay –and your energy high!

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