Finding Your Hygge In The Workplace

EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT HYGGE BUT HOW CAN YOU HOO-GA AT WORK?

So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon, but there's a word that seems to be steadily making its way into mainstream consciousness lately and given its relationship to happiness and wellbeing, topics I love to discuss here on the blog, it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge it! Hygge is the latest Scandinavian concept to have found its way to our door, and being a huge fan of the autumn season and all things cosy and warm, I for one have been mightily happy to embrace the idea of hygge from the outset. 

Image Source: Unsplash

Image Source: Unsplash

WHAT IS HOO-GA AND HOW CAN IT ENHANCE OUR WELLBEING? Hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, derives from the Norwegian word for wellbeing, but is ultimately an idea that has been most embraced by the Danes in Denmark, a country that consistently takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world. It incorporates certain concepts and ideas all of which contribute toward helping you feel more hyggelig (hygee-like) in your daily life. These concepts include: atmosphere, presence, togetherness, comfort, gratitude and harmony and there are various ways in which the Danes in particular, make sure that they bring this into their everyday lives, be that through lighting, clothing, interiors or simply a steaming hot drink and a good old piece of delicious cake shared with friends and family.

SO WHAT IS THIS HYGGE AND WHY EXACTLY DOES IT MAKE PEOPLE SO HAPPY? "Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down." - Meik Wiking author of The Little Book Of Hygge, The Danish Way To Live Well.

SO HOW ON EARTH CAN I BRING HYGGE INTO MY WORKPLACE?  Well, it can be done! It might take a little thought, plus it does depend on your working environment and possible limitations or restrictions, but here are a few simple ways that you can embrace this cosy concept when at your desk during the daily 9 to 5. 

 

FIVE HYGGE FRIENDLY WORKPLACE TIPS

1. Keep Cosy With Hygge Friendly Wardrobe Extras: You can embrace that feeling of cosiness and comfort by making sure you have the right added extras at your desk ready for when it starts to feel a little chilly and therefore not very hygge. Have a cosy jumper, fleece or a warm scarf to wrap up in and sat ready and waiting on the back of your chair. Plus one great tip from the Hello Hygge website is to pop a spare pair of socks in your desk drawer. I'd never really considered this before but what a blessing if you've suffered a particularly soggy walk to work on colder, wintery days. Definitely a top tip to embrace asap!

2. Move Around Your Space: Does your entire working day really need to be bound to the confines of your desk? Take every opportunity to move around and mix it up a little. Perhaps you can hold a meeting in a slightly cosier and more relaxed area of the office? Or instead of pinging emails around all day from department to department, why not head upstairs or downstairs to said department and chat to that person face to face. Giving yourself a physical break and some healthy human interaction!

3. Make Sure You Enjoy Your Lunchbreak: I'm going to say it again, even though I say it all the time on here! Make sure you get away from your desk during your lunch break. Plus during that break, switch off from technology, enjoy your lunch and whatever you're eating and maybe use this time to embrace some more 'in real life' contact and connection with your colleagues. Wrap up warm and take a walk with someone from your office. Bond, connect, move, eat and enjoy. That's the hygge way!

4. Snack Well: Sometimes you just gotta snack in order to get you through a busy day. But choosing the right nibbles will help in a positive way, banishing those deskside blues and annoying afternoon slumps. If you want to snack smarter during your working day then try putting some of these treats together to take with you and keep in your office drawer: Snacking Smarter. Don't fall foul to that 3pm lull - here are some tips for how best to avoid a very non-hyggelig feeling on a cold and grey afternoon in the office: How To Beat That Annoying 3pm Slump.

5. Use Lighting To Create A Hygge Atmosphere:  Lighting plays a key part in the hygge way of life. Now I'm not stupid, I know that changing the lighting at most workplaces is going to be a difficult task. However, you may be able to increase that feeling of warmth and stave off the drawing winter nights with an additional lamp on your desk. Pick lamps with a warm and slightly orange light to give that candlelit kind of feel and a soft and calming glow. You could also use light to help start the working day in a more positive way. There are many lamps on the market now, like these ones from Lumie, that help you wake gradually to a soft pool of light. Instead of being woken rudely by your iPhone to the cold, stark darkness of a British winter morning!

 

I hope this helps you find a little hygge in the workplace during the autumn and winter months. Let me know your tips for creating a warmer, friendlier working environment during the colder season. I'd love to hear your ideas as well.

Louise

 


Discussing The Power Of Positivity And Everyday Coaching With Kim Morgan

FINDING VALUE, MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES AND BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS

We all have those nagging little voices in our heads that try to tell us we're not doing well enough, that try to psych us out at the crucial moments we need to be at our best, those annoying worries and moments of doubt. Sometimes we just need a helpful prompt to guide us back onto a more positive and fulfilling train of thought. To remind us to behave in an affirmative manner more often and assist us in overcoming the many obstacles that work and life can put in our way.

Today I'm happy to be sharing an interview with the very inspiring Kim Morgan, Managing Director of Barefoot Coaching and one of the UK's foremost business and personal coaches. Kim shares with us what it is that led her into the world of coaching, how coaching can benefit us all as well as some really top tips for valuing yourself, your life and your career. So without further ado ...

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Hi Kim. Please could you begin by giving us a little insight into your career to date and what it is that you do now?

For the past 20 years I have been the owner and Managing Director of Barefoot Coaching. I launched the company when the concept of coaching was in its infancy and have seen the whole world of coaching and personal development grow into the huge and exciting industry it is today. We offer University Accredited Coach Training programmes, one to one coaching and a whole range of personal development events and courses. I have a monthly column in Psychologies magazine and am currently writing my second coaching book. We produce a lovely range of coaching cards for everyone to be able to use coaching in their daily lives – at work or with their families.

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

What was it that drew you towards the world of coaching and to set up your own business in this area?

I had been working as a therapist and a specialist trainer in confidence and assertiveness before I set up Barefoot Coaching so the world of personal development was not new to me.  

I was drawn to coaching because it brought together all the very best concepts from the worlds of therapy, sports coaching, personal development, management and business development in an individual 1:1 offering. Having coaching doesn’t assume that anything about you or your life is “broken” and needs fixing. On the contrary, it’s a positive intervention to help you get the best out of your life, work and relationships. 

As soon as I knew about it, I had a feeling that coaching was going to be big. I wanted to train coaches and bring into that, some of the valuable lessons from my own training in therapy. I also knew that I wanted to offer an accredited course. In 2001 I launched our first Postgraduate Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching. I think I had about 5 people on the first course and most of them were my friends! Now we run courses throughout the year in London and the East Midlands and have thousands of students who have completed the course with us. 

What is it that you love most about the work you do and what motivates you on a daily basis?

Honestly, if this doesn’t sound too cheesy, training people to be able to coach others, thinking about how many people we have trained and in turn, how many people they have helped all around the world. 

I also love seeing the growth and development of our students into successful business owners too. Some of our alumni have done Ted talks, written books, become successful bloggers or developed a reputation for a specific coaching niche. It excites me to have “grown” all these amazing coaching entrepreneurs.

How can coaching help people in their everyday lives whether in the workplace or at home?

Coaching can help in any of the following ways:

  • Navigating your way through life stages or transitions: changing jobs, having a baby, redundancy, getting married, retirement, starting a business, ending a relationship, planning a new career
  • Searching for fulfilment: planning for the life or career of your dreams, identifying your values and what you really want from life, finding your purpose
  • Managing yourself and being the best you can be in terms of: health, fitness, work, relationships, behaviours
  • Preparing for: a job interview, a special event, public speaking, a particular challenge
  • Providing a confidential sounding board: someone to listen to you, challenge and support you to achieve your goals in life and give you a sense of perspective.
Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

When it comes to your career what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could go back and give your younger self?

That’s a great question but it’s hard to choose just one piece of advice as I think I made so many ‘mistakes’ along the way! If I had to have just one it would be:

Value yourself and what you are offering. That means:

  • Deciding on your fee structure and sticking to it
  • Resisting the impulse to over-deliver (giving away your time)
  • Believing that what you are doing is making a difference
  • Not discounting your skills and recognising all of the time, energy, training and investment you have put in to being able to do what you do.

For anyone reading who has a passion for helping others and is interested in the world of coaching could you advise how you train to become a coach?

Well, when I launched my coach training course in 2001, it was one of the only courses available, but now there are so many that it can feel like a minefield for someone looking for the “right” course. I would always advise choosing an accredited course, asking lots of questions and ensuring you attend an open day or taster sessions before signing up.

Work wellbeing and work-life balance are important topics here on The What Now Blog so I’m intrigued to know if you have any tips for keeping balance in your life and if it’s something that you believe can be achieved?

This question made me smile because I confess to working a lot! For a long time I felt bad because I didn’t have the “work-life balance” I thought I was meant to have. Then one day someone asked me a great question, which changed my perception of my life and work: “Does your work nourish you?” It certainly does. I live and breathe my business and I am passionate about it.

My motto for my life could be the old saying “find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life".

I realise that for most entrepreneurs, the idea of work-life balance is different. My family and friends are involved in the business in a number of ways. My daughter works alongside me in the business, which is a source of great pleasure for me. I have the freedom to take time out whenever I want to. It’s a different kind of work-life balance and it works for me. I think everyone has their own unique requirements for their blend of work-life balance and we should think about what an ideal blend is for us, before feeling too guilty that we haven’t done early morning yoga or taken up a new hobby recently.

When it comes to looking after your own wellbeing how do you like to unwind after a busy day and make sure you feel refreshed and refocused for the rest of your week?

Guilty secret: Unwinding at the end of a busy day usually means some easy watching tv shows with a glass of red wine in hand. Oh how I wish I had said 15 mins of mindfulness practice but I thought I would tell it like it is!

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Photo Credit: Barefoot Coaching

Thank you to Kim for sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience here on the blog today. Personally I've always been interested in the world of coaching and it's been great to learn a little more and have time to think about what it can do to help us. Not only that but with the beautiful selection of coaching cards that Kim has put together we can all bring a little of that daily coaching and positivity into our lives.

I was lucky to get the chance to view a pack of the Coaching Cards for Every Day as pictured above and I absolutely love them. Look out for a further review and giveaway involving these lovely cards coming up on the blog in a few weeks time. Just in time to get your hands on some goodies ahead of the festive season!

In the meantime if you can't wait to check out the range of these beautiful cards why not have a look at the Barefoot Coaching Cards gift range. For more information on the range go to www.barefootcoachingcards.com/life or follow Barefoot Coaching on Twitter and Instagram.

Have a great week everyone!

Louise

 


What To Watch To Unwind This Autumn

BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA TURN ON THAT TELLYBOX, CURL UP AND RELAX!

As National Work Life week comes to an end here in the UK today, and with the autumnal evenings drawing in and the temperature starting to drop, today seems like a good day to share some cosy weekend inspiration with ideas for what to watch this autumn when you just want to indulge in the TV and relax. I've picked four shows or series that perhaps haven't received as much hype as the likes of Netflix favourites Narcos or The Get Down but in my opinion are all very worthy of a watch.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

Now I'm normally a proponent of keeping yourself moving and therefore sitting in front of the TV doesn't fall wisely into that particular category. Too much sofa time is a bad thing but every now and again it's much needed and can be helpful when it's cold outside and you want a few hours entertainment without too much effort. Life's all about balance after all! Besides you can always banish the backside blues brought on by too much sofa time and try sitting on the floor instead! 

Find out what I'm going on about in this post here: 3 Super Easy Fitness Tricks To Try This Weekend.

Back to the subject in hand and here are some of my favourite watches for the autumn season. If you haven't had the chance to catch these already then I'd recommend picking one to suit your unwind and relax style then just sit back and enjoy.

 

CATCH UP ON THESE FOUR TOP WATCHES THIS AUTUMN

1. If You Liked Making A Murderer Try: THE FEAR OF 13

I don't think there are many of us left now who haven't sat back and gasped in shock, confusion and horror at the true life story portrayed in controversial documentary Making a Murderer. If you're looking for a little more true life crime, mystery and worrying miscarriage of justice then one off documentary 'The Fear of 13' is going to be for you.

Told exclusively by convicted murderer Nick Yarris who has spent 20 years on death row and who happens to be such an incredible storyteller that you have to look up the credits more than once to check he isn't an actor, this tale unravels to show that in this stranger than fiction scenario absolutely nothing is quite as it at first may seem.

Available on Netflix and Amazon.

2. For Sex And The City, Meets Bridget Jones, Meets Girls Check Out: FLEABAG

The Telegraph reviewed Fleabag as "a gloriously rude, and far funnier, update of Bridget Jones" and I think that perfectly sums up this six-part comedy written by and starring the very brilliant Pheobe Waller-Bridge.

Adapted from the award-winning one-woman show of the same name that began life at the Edinburgh Fringe and was later staged at the Soho Theatre back in 2013, this is a funny, intimate and at times eye-popping and draw-dropping portrayal a woman navigating modern life in the city. It hits you fast in the face from the very first scene and continues on a ride of delight, disgust and despair the entire way through. 

Get it on demand via BBC iPlayer.

3. Navigate The Highs And Lows, Empathise And Cringe At Modern Relationships With: LOVE

I'm a big fan of producer Judd Apatow with This is 40, Trainwreck and Pineapple Express being three of my all time faves. So when I heard that he had recently produced an original series for Netflix I was, of course, keen to check it out - and I'm glad that I did.

The TV series 'Love' is another look at the complications of modern romance, stateside this time, and is one of those series that both infuriates and makes you smile at the same time. It's an enjoyable and somewhat addictive watch as boy meets girl and they spend an awful lot of time not making things work in a kind of awkward will they won't they scenario. This subtle insight into the many complications of love and the human condition is in my book a worthy and interesting watch.

Find it on Netflix.

4. Go All Nordic Noir And Thrill Yourself With Icelandic Crime Drama: TRAPPED

I think it's all this recent talk of hygge over here in the UK (more on that here next week) that has made me want to embrace the autumnal cosiness with blankets, candles, dim lighting and snuggly socks. But what better way to take that comfortable edge off of your hoo-ga and make it more exciting, than with a little nordic noir in the form of a good old 'whodunnit and what exactly have they done?!' kind of a thriller!

Step forward Icelandic TV series Trapped. As a huge storm hits a small Icelandic town cutting them off for days from the rest of the world, a body (well part of it) is found by a trawler just along the coastline and a murder investigation begins. Time and resources are critically low as the local police try to piece together what's happened all the while with the murderer seemingly trapped in the town alongside everyone else. This is a great watch that will keep you gripped throughout. Mainly in Icelandic with English subtitles, but trust me it's all the better for it and it certainly makes you focus as you watch closely to find out just what on earth is going on.

Available on Amazon.

 

What have you been watching lately that you'd highly recommend? Have you seen any of the above and how would you review them? Let me know what you think and in the meantime enjoy your weekend and happy watching.

Louise

 


Don't Forget To Go Home On Time

AS NATIONAL WORK LIFE WEEK BEGINS IT'S #TIMETOREBALANCE AND GO HOME ON TIME

National work life week begins again today in the UK and if you've recently been feeling the pressure, no matter where you are in the world, then this is a great week to sit back and take a fresh look at your working life and where it is that you may wish to redress the balance. This Wednesday 5th October also marks the annual Go Home On Time Day as part of the week long campaign so if you're someone who always finds themselves stuck in the office long after you should have headed home then why not make a pledge this Wednesday to pack up and head home on time. Go and do something good for yourself to help you feel more balanced.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

National work life week is a campaign run by Working Families UK who are at the forefront of helping UK workers find a more family friendly and flexible working life. But whatever our circumstances I'm sure we can all do with taking time now and again to check in with the balance or lack thereof in our lives. 

This week why not take a moment to ask yourself a few questions about your work and life.

  1. Which fulfilling activities do I enjoy doing that have no association with my working life?
  2. Do I build enough time into my week to make time for these activities?
  3. If not, how can I make more time to fit these in?

There are always some tasks that can ultimately wait, that maybe sap more time than they should, or that maybe you need to be willing to give up in order to make more time for something else. You have to make certain times in the week sacred whether that be after work or perhaps at the weekends. Times when you don't spend hours scrolling through social media, when you leave that last email that could actually be answered in the morning and you take the time to do something different. Even if that just means relaxing with your partner and watching the latest must see on Netflix! There has to be time each week that you let your mind off from thinking about the pressures of work.

Over the last couple of years interviewing different people for this blog I've come to pick up some useful tips about finding work-life balance from various people with all sorts of different commitments, deadlines and hectic schedules. Today I've gathered together some of the wisdom that they've imparted that I think is well worth re-thinking about during this week in particular.

 

HOW DO OTHERS DEFINE AND IMPLEMENT THEIR OWN WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

1. Erica Buist, Guardian Journalist and author of the blog 'How To Be Jobless' wisely says:

"Weekends are sacred. They are set aside for my fiancé and I to be together. If I absolutely have to work, we plan for him to be doing something at the same time, plan a mutual finish time and often go on a date to make up for it."

"Talking about work is allowed, but dwelling and repeating ourselves isn't. Once we've talked through a worry, we stop each other from getting stuck on it."

Read my full interview with Erica here: The Guardian's Erica Buist Talks Surviving Joblessness.

2. Louise Padmore, Co-Founder of Work Wellbeing talks about how she makes sure she finds a weekly balance:

"At the beginning of my week I always make sure to schedule into my diary the times of yoga classes that I will attend that week, times for catching up with friends or calling family, and time for my own free choice of doing whatever takes my fancy, be that reading, shopping or doing absolutely nothing! I treat these appointments as I would an important meeting with a client, and try my very best to never cancel or reschedule."

Read more about Louise's thoughts on wellbeing in the workplace (and beyond) here: Discussing Work Wellbeing With Louise Padmore.

3. Film Director Matthew Harman discusses how he gets his balance back after a particularly full on period of work:

"There are times when work takes over my life, like when I’m away on a multiple day shoot, but then it’s important to take some time out when it’s all over. Step back and reconnect with your life, whether it’s catching up with friends, your hobbies, or just getting some exercise. It’s not just for your own health - it’s easy to burn out and make yourself ill - but it’s also because it gives you better perspective on your work."

Read more about Matthew in his full interview here: Loving Life In Film With Director Matthew Harmer.

 

So how is your work-life balance looking to you? What will you do this Wednesday? Go home on time and spend time for you? Or stick at your desk way beyond the close of the day? 

Not just this Wednesday but maybe at least once every week, why not make sure you definitely get away on time and fit in one of those life activities that you keep on meaning to do. Not work related, not chore related, purely life related that makes you feel much brighter and gives you time to unwind and reflect. Let me know what it is that you plan to do and get more involved in the conversation and share ideas with others using the hashtag #TimeToRebalance on social media.

Enjoy your week everyone.

Louise