#23 Let Nature Nurture You

As I’ve explored in a previous post, changing seasons can bring about changing emotions and having to deal with the sorrow of losing things but also the challenge of moving forward. It can feel like a bit of a whirlwind.

Twisted treetop view

What about if it was time to take a lesson from nature and just be cool with change. Relax into the changing seasons and the varying emotions.

Sit with your anger and frustration and recognise it as a call to something new and exciting, a time for change. Be gentle with your sadness an recognise it as a sign to take care of yourself and nurture your own self in the transition towards Winter. And lastly, rejoice in your happiness, let it guide you to make the best decisions for you. Let it lead you to create good memories to look back on in the Spring time.

One of the best places to be when dealing with your emotions is in nature. Whether that’s near a lake, in a field, walking through woodland or even just in your garden, breathe in the smells and sounds and sights of nature.

These are the times when you can be mindful of what is going on. It is easier to tune in with yourself. And yes it can be hard to get these moments as a busy working person but it is so important for nurturing your wellbeing and for connecting to Mother Earth again.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if all workplaces had a ‘Nurture Garden’, a place full of flowers, plants and trees where you could go and just be at any point during the day. Some offices are lucky enough to be near to these things but it’s not the same for everyone.

In my opinion, the greatest connection we have is with nature and yet we dull it with our phones and office jobs and commutes. I put my hands up, I am one of those people too, perhaps why I feel so passionate about getting out in nature whenever I possibly can.

My dream is to cut the commute, work for myself and be outdoors everyday, and I’m working on making that my reality. But for now, for me and for everyone else in my shoes, make nature your priority, let it nurture you and provide you with a place of calm and safety.

In a world when we are always so switched on, go out to nature and switch off.

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#22 Welcoming in Autumn

I love this time of year. The beauty and colour indicate hope and change all at once.

Autumn colours

At a recent yoga circle practice, we talked about how the seeds we plant now will grow in the Spring and thought about what we wanted to nurture now which will come to fruition next year.

It is also a time to reflect on what has already grown in your life, what worked and what didn’t. A time to see change as positive and move forward, whilst also looking over your shoulder to recognise how far you have come.

This season can also represent a certain sadness in us. Just as the trees lose their leaves, Autumn is a time of year to let go of things or people and it can cause a grief in us that sits with us for a while, even if letting go will make us free.

Autumn nourishes us and challenges us. It teaches us to let go and to do so elegantly. It teaches us to look around us and see change and recognise where that has come from, and where it might lead to. It is a time to take time for yourself, to look inwards.

Which seeds do you want to plant now for 2018? An ambition, a goal, a friendship or relationship investment perhaps.

Look around you and draw inspiration from the magic of nature, the way the leaves float to the ground or how conkers lay strewn on the grass and the rich variation in colours. A multitude of options, of seeds to plant, dreams to dream and change to make.

Let Autumn be your inspiration and don’t let it pass you by. This is the time to nourish yourself and renew before Winter.

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#21 Less is More

Recently, I’ve been having a bit of a clear out. A change in seasons often does that to me. Drawers are opened, wardrobes emptied then filled with only half of what was in them, inventories written, trips to the charity shop and then I am often left with a pile of items which I don’t sell or give to charity but I set aside for friends.

Last time, I was clearing through a bookcase and discovered a book I had been talking to my friend about. I set it aside and gave it to her – it put a massive smile on her face and it made me feel good about doing it too.

Sometimes, we get so concerned with what we do have that we forget that belongings we no longer use can make others happy. My motto for clearing out is if it hasn’t been used in the last 6 months, and it doesn’t have sentimental value, it goes out. My mum uses the question, “Is it useful or beautiful?” and if it is neither, it goes in the bin bag. I like that, a simple way of clearing out things.

It feels good to have less, to have one drawer left empty or one shelf free of clutter. And what’s more, you don’t miss it. It was just filling space most of the time. With less you can do more – reorganise, change things around or simply enjoy more space.

I know in the UK we’re not the greatest at giving to charities, often shying away from people shaking buckets in the streets, but I think one way we can give is by donating our pre-loved goods to charity shops.

Imagine the smile on someone’s face when they come across your beautiful vase which will go perfectly in their kitchen, and has just been gathering dust in your utility room cupboard for years.

That’s when less is more. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, things that you don’t use on a daily basis but have sentimental value to you, maybe a love letter or a photo with your grandma. I keep these sorts of things in an old shoebox and, again, I clear this out regularly because sometimes your sentiments change.

Over time, you detach from certain things, old thank you cards don’t seem as significant, or concert tickets start to feel like just an extra thing to keep. You get emotionally tired from having too much stuff, tucked away as memories in a box. These things need attention too – be real with yourself and work out which memories you want to keep in your box and which ones you can be at peace with keeping in your head.

There’s no harm in hanging onto something for another 6 months to see if your feelings change. Often I come across a top I’m not sure about – I like it but it has a slight hole in the hem. I keep it for another 6 months and, more often than not, decide it’s time for it to go.

Most of the time it is our fear that stops us letting go. Open yourself to love and remember the happiness that thing has brought us and how much we hope it brings happiness to others. That thought makes it easier to let go.

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#20 Surprises out at Sea

Last weekend, I took a trip to Edinburgh, a place which always feels like my second home.

I escaped the city on the Saturday and took a trip by train to the neighbouring town of North Berwick. There, I caught a Seabird cruise to the islands of Craigleith and Bass Rock. I admired the thousands of gannets which have colonised on Bass Rock, ever increasing in numbers now that humans have left the island.

Gannets at Bass Rock

Gannets at Bass Rock

Craigleith is home to puffins during the summer months but this time of year we didn’t see any of those. Instead I was amused by the Cormorants who stick their wings out to dry whilst perched on the rocks, almost as if they are about to give you a hug!

Heading back towards the mainland, the boat got radioed to say there had been a sighting of dolphins! Not part of the original itinerary but a welcome surprise. We then caught sight of a pod of around 8 dolphins, some of them playfully following our boat. What a delight! They are such beautiful and graceful creatures and it was such a pleasure to see them leaping and diving at sea, in their natural environment. They are also sociable beings and were very accommodating to the couple of boats who were packed full of tourists all dying to get a glimpse of them.

Dolphins in North Berwick

Dolphins in North Berwick

As we made our way back to North Berwick harbour, I was thinking how resilient nature can be. They get on with their days, their routines whilst we often poke and prod in their environments. They keep going, keep adapting and going forward and often, as humans, we aren’t so good at adapting in the right way.

We can learn a great deal from the creatures around us and I hope in time that we can all build a mutual respect for the world around us.

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#19 Raindrops are beautiful

Isn’t it great to wake up after fresh rain and see a sparkling coating of raindrops on leaves and flowers, highlighting spiders’ webs and lining gates like diamonds.

Raindrops in the early morning

I love how the simplicity of a water droplet can make something look so beautiful. Like setting a magnifying glass to the ordinary. It draws you in, focusses you on the shape, colour and size of a leaf, or flower.

It points out webs, attached to your door or garden fence and you see the intricacy, the symmetry and the strength of the spider’s work, which ordinarily passes you by. You see webs in the grass, attached to taller grasses and then you notice the different greens and browns which usually look all the same.

You see a new flower shimmering like jewels in the morning light and then you discover new shoots, glistening with fresh rain. The rain creates a crystal clear, high-definition picture of your garden, your nature. It wipes clean your clouded, faded vision and offers you a new one. One that is gleaming and new.

I love the smell after rain, so fresh and clean. And in the morning, when it’s quiet, you can appreciate the stillness and majesty of nature. It brings about an awe-inspiring feeling and makes you really appreciate the world around you, lit up in raindrop jewels for all to see.

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#18 How To Cut The Stress And Stay Cool, Calm & Collected

I was listening to an episode on one of my favourite podcasts, Zestology, about relationships featuring John Gray (author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus) and his advice stood out when it came to hormones.

I feel that my hormones are like having a constant battle inside me, highs and lows, emotions in extremes, never quite knowing what mood is coming next. And I also feel that society, and our lives today, stress us out, which is not good for oestrogen levels – a hormone which is incredibly important for women to help us operate at full potential and remain calm, collected and caring.

It occurred to me that my daily commute to work, where I often find myself becoming angry at some of the drivers on the road, coupled with a day at work filled with negotiations, compromises, conversations, decisions and deadlines is probably the worst combination and the greatest fuel for stress.

Gray pointed out in the podcast that when fuelled by stress our oestrogen levels decrease leading to females being more ‘male’ which can come out in many forms, such as thinking patterns of ‘I don’t need a man’, ‘I don’t need marriage’ and ‘I can look after myself’. When translated back into a current relationship this means that frustrations come out as the man seeks to provide for a woman that, due to stress, essentially is thinking like a man!

Now I am not saying that women need to remain meek and mild and let the man do everything. No, no, no! What I am trying to get at is that a lot of frustrations in our most intimate relationships are brought on by stress and that we feel out of control, unable to reach our compassionate side and open our hearts. So we close off, we get defensive, we protect ourselves. Not great for a good relationship.

This insight was a great relief for me to hear because, firstly, it made me realise what was causing some of my own frustration and, secondly, helped me pinpoint areas in my life where I am able to reduce my stress through practising more self-care and giving myself permission to switch off for a bit, disconnect from social media and reset.

The times I feel most relaxed, loving and calm are at the weekends, when I have the days stretched out in front of me for walking, reading, writing and socialising. Things I love, right? This is why I am determined to look at going freelance, cutting my travel and choosing work I love.

I don’t hate my job but I do hate the stress is brings. I want to be able to keep my oestrogen levels up and stay calm for my own sanity, for my relationships and for my long term health.

Stress should not be seen as the normal. It is not good for us and science has frequently shown that stress is at the core of many other health issues and diseases.

We only get one life and I don’t want to look back in 40 years and think ‘I wish I had spent less time stressed out and more time enjoying life’.

And so I have written 10 commandments, ways to help cut the stress in life and stay calm:

  1. Thou shalt not reply to your emails or messages the minute they arrive.
  2. Thou shalt log out of all your social media accounts and not feel bad about it.
  3. Thou shalt say no to social plans when you need time on your own to recover.
  4. Thou shalt take time to sit still and just breathe.
  5. Thou shalt spend no more than 5 minutes being angry at work.
  6. Thou shalt leave work on time every day, no matter what.
  7. Thou shalt use your evenings only for things you love doing.
  8. Thou shalt get outside every day and walk in nature.
  9. Thou shalt remain open-hearted to the people who love you, unless proved otherwise.
  10. Thou shalt have a positive outlook and keep smiling!

I am going to print these out and stick them on my wall as a constant reminder. Here’s to a stress-free life!

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#17 When You Suddenly Realise What You Want

Today is not a Monday, but it feels like one. Perhaps because of the bank holiday yesterday. It’s the start of a new week, a new work week.

All in all a pretty good day – the sun was shining, I had a laugh with colleagues and got out for a walk after work. Yet when I get home and sit down after dinner, I feel low.

My theory on this is more than just Monday blues. It’s the adjustment from the ‘freedom’ of the weekend to the ties of the working day. And I am a very independent person, I don’t like feeling trapped. I think, in truth, I never will suit an office job but I do it because… Because why? Because society says that’s a good way to earn money? Because I am scared to go it alone? Because I am good at it? All of those.

Enough now. The Harvest Moon is about on the 6th September in the UK and I intend to make the most of its invigorating rays. I want to be able to stand outside, look at the moon and know that my next steps are clear.

Harvest Moon

I want to feel right. I want to write a business plan. I want to be brave enough to start up my own business. I want to be strong enough to know that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, or do anything just for the sake of it.

This next year is mine. I have decided to own myself. Own everything about me. I am owning it because there is no one else to and I need to be at peace with myself before I move forward.

Suddenly I don’t feel low anymore. I feel motivated, determined, happy and full of life. And all brought on by the upcoming harvest moon!

Thank you moon.

 

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