Making Time To Read: 4 Books For The New Year

Last year I wrote a short post about making more time for music because it was something that as a music lover I realised I wasn't paying any attention to anymore in my life, all thanks to many other things going on and so many different distractions. This year I thought it would be nice to re-visit such a concept. The idea of thinking of one thing that I really should do more of and spending more time focusing on filtering said activity back into my life. Hence a new series on this blog has been born and I'm hoping it will inspire you to think about doing the same, whatever your particular passions may be.

It's really so important to make time for yourself and the things that truly make you tick. No matter how busy we are I firmly believe it is possible to pull back a little bit of time and space to really be ourselves. Not only that but it's extremely necessary in order to allow ourselves time to think, process and gain perspective.

You may only be able to spare a few minutes every now and then, but those minutes still count. Unless we actively commit to finding that time, it's very easy to get lost in a routine solely focused around work, other people and the general daily requirements of getting through life. Don't forget that YOU exist somewhere in all of that as well.

Why not have a think about your own passions. Can you find a little more time for them in your current weekly routine?

Now I'm not one for writing down a long list of resolutions at the start of each new year because inevitably I usually fail to stick to them. However bit by bit I prefer to make little changes and promises to myself that I can more realistically try to achieve. Focusing on one thing at a time to avoid a frazzled brain, added stress and a feeling of failure. The point of making time for yourself isn't to add extra pressure, it's to take some of that daily strain away.

Regular readers will probably note that I've mentioned previously my lack of attention to reading real books over recent years! So I thought that for me this would be the ideal starting point for this new blog series. I'm consciously making an effort this month to devote more time to a pile of books that I've been meaning to tackle for a long time. All of which are kind of falling slightly into the self-help category which wasn't actually an intentional decision! I guess they kind of go hand in hand with that new year, new you kind of feeling and are all things I'm keen to learn more about. I'm sharing them here incase they spark any area of interest for you too. Once I've read them I'll offer a little of my thoughts - and that should hold me to the promise of swiftly getting reading properly! 



1. EVERYTHING YOU NEED YOU HAVE, HOW TO BE AT HOME IN YOURSELF by Gerad Kite: This is a book about connecting back to your inner sense of self. The idea that the modern lifestyle, with all its many choices, the improvements to our material wealth and the muddled minds that our hectic lifestyles are creating is ultimately making us ill. Gerad Kite aims in this book to remind us that everything we need to be happy and stay well already lies within us. I'm looking forward to learning more and hope it will offer useful tips for living a simpler and less worried and frantic life. Watch this space!

2. THE POWER OF FORGETTING by Mike Byster: Along a similar thread this book focuses on techniques to help focus the brain in an ever changing and overwhelming world full of far too much choice and information. Mike Byster is a memory-training coach and here he shares "methods for becoming a more efficient and productive thinker." Promising to help develop skills to become more successful, productive and find a better balance. It certainly sounds well worth a read. I'm looking forward to learning more, my brain could certainly do with a new year decluttering!

3. A MINDFULNESS GUIDE FOR THE FRAZZLED by Ruby Wax: This new book from Ruby Wax looks at the growing phenomena of mindfulness and how it can help us to live a healthier life. I'm looking forward to reading this because I'm confident that Ruby's view on what mindfulness means and how we can imprint it into our daily lives is going to be smart and accessible in a way that perhaps some of the other offerings out there sometimes aren't. With a Masters Degree in mindfulness from Oxford University Ruby certainly has a good handle on what this subject is all about and how it can be useful. I'm sure this will be an insightful and helpful read. 

4. BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert: Now I'm embarrassed that I shared a picture of this book on Instagram back in October when it was delivered and yet I still haven't even opened the cover. I can't wait to read this and it might actually be where I start first. So I really have to get my current book, that's been dragging on a bit, finished and crack on with this one right away. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the very well known Eat, Pray, Love has penned this book with the aim of helping others live a more creative life. Not in the sense of giving up what you do and devoting yourself to the arts, more to help people open their minds to a more curious and creative way of living. 


Have you read any of these titles or do you have any similar must read recommendations? What one thing will you be making time for this January? Let me know in the comments below and here's to the weekend and to making time to do what makes you feel happy.



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Switching Off For A Festive Reboot!

Hello everyone and a very happy Friday to you. It's now just a week until Christmas Day and so I thought I'd give you a quick little update on what will be happening around these parts for the next few weeks! 

Switching Off For A Festive Reboot

Now on this blog I spend a lot of time talking about getting balance, switching off, digital detoxing and taking the time you need to unwind. So I've decided this Christmas to practice what I have been preaching and will be switching off myself for a few weeks starting today.

This afternoon I'm embarking on a little overseas adventure for the Christmas holidays and instead of panicking to pre-schedule content ahead of going away as I usually would, this time I've decided to take a little break. To detox a bit from this digital world that I love, but that I'm sure will wait a while for me to have a moments reboot! Not only that but I want to enjoy the trip I'm taking and live in the moment, not just through social media. Although don't get me wrong, I'm sure there'll be a few Instagram updates if you wish to see what I'm up to!

So I'll be back very soon in the New Year with some fresh ideas that I can't wait to share with you. Ultimately I'm writing this to urge you all to take the pressure off yourselves this holiday season and try to unwind as you need to, too! Whether you have just a few minutes here or there, a couple of days, or a week or two of leisure this festive season, make sure you take time to sit back and just be you for a moment, switch off the gadgets and take in the life around you.

If you celebrate Christmas then have a very merry one. I look forward to seeing you in 2016 and continuing this What Now journey in the bright New Year.

Farewell for a little while and see you very soon.



3 Things To Help You Heal And Relax This Weekend

It's Friday! Oh yay! Very nearly time for the weekend. If you're in need of a little downtime and can fit in some time just for you, I have 3 things, tried and tested, that I suggest you reach for to help you feel good. There's a focus on relaxing and also on healing given the colder weather and the winter colds that are going around. Here are my picks to help you feel a little better and unwind.

Relax This Weekend

1. Calm Your Mind.

Just recently I've been really enjoying the Rituals Meditation App to help me to calm down, breathe and refocus. It's free, bonus, really very simple to use and as far as I'm concerned, very effective. You don't have to enter any details or sign up to anything. You just open the app, select whether you want to relax your body, mind or just enjoy the moment, choose how long you wish the meditation to last, from 5 up to 20 minutes, and then sit back and listen as you're guided through a very calming, quiet and mindful moment that will really help you to identify any tension and switch off. 

Rituals Meditation App

2. Read A Great Book.

The other day someone in something I was watching, and for the life of me I can't remember who, said that they have to schedule in 30 minutes of reading time each day to make sure that they do it. Now my initial reaction was blimey that's ridiculous! Then I sat and thought for a moment and realised that their 30 minutes a day was far, far more than the all but 20 minutes I've probably managed this month! Sad fact but with my life becoming increasingly more and more digitally orientated it's very true. Don't get me wrong, I do read - online articles, blog posts, news and other mini snippets here and there. But myself and the book, well we've well and truly fallen out of touch for a long time.

I've been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for far too long now. It hasn't taken me so long because it isn't good, it's really, really great. It's just that I keep neglecting reading a real book for other distractions and it's been woefully cast aside far too many times. However I've finally read and absorbed every last morsel and I thoroughly loved it. I've picked up so many ideas that I'm going to have to share further and deeper thoughts in future blog posts! But if you're looking for some positive inspiration this weekend then this is definitely worth picking up at your local bookshop.

The Happiness Project

3. Take A Healing Bath.

So pretty much the entire month of October for me this year was lost to the nasty seasonal bug that was doing, and continues to do the rounds! The docs kept telling me to get steaming, bust out the eucalyptus and clear those airways whenever and wherever possible, and that's where my third and final recommendation for today comes in.

The C.O. Bigelow Cold and Flu Soak is a gem and was a real lifesaver worth investing in for healing those troubled blocked pipes and pesky aches and pains. Okay it's not cheap for a bath soak, it's a treat, but if you're feeling really crappy then it will definitely help to do the trick. The instructions recommend using 4-6 capfuls in your bath but from my experience just 1 will do the job as it's very potent and plenty strong enough. Thus ensuring the product lasts much longer and will see you through the very worst of your bout of cold or flu. 

C.O. Bigelow Cold And Flu Soak

So those are my seasonal picks to help perk you up this winter weekend! Have you tried any of these or read or created your very own happiness project? What are your go to favourites for this time of year to help you unwind and feel better? Share your thoughts in the comments below and whatever your plans this weekend I hope you have a great one.



Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda? Just Let Yourself Be!

"Should have done this; could have done better; would have done that but I couldn't find the time and now I feel really bad!" Any of those sound familiar? How often do you think you mutter such phrases to yourself everyday? Well if this is you and you're busy shoulda, woulda, coulda-ing all over yourself then now's the time to just stop it! Honestly, you're doing just fine and you really need to give yourself a break.

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

This is something I wanted to share today because I get the feeling that we can all very much relate in some way or another. My inspiration came from this post written by Amy over at the blog Amy Loves and I wanted to share some thoughts in a post here on The What Now Blog.

It's wonderful to be driven, to be passionate to make a change, to work hard and push yourself. But when that drive is getting you down, when you're constantly telling yourself you haven't done enough, then something has to give, because you're only adding extra and unnecessary pressure that will bring you down.

I do this to myself all the time. Whether I'm blasting myself for not achieving enough in my professional life, getting on my own back for not eating healthier and exercising enough, worrying that I've let someone down because I couldn't do something they wanted me to do; I'm a shoulda kind of person, I'm trying hard to stop and I want any fellow shoulda friends to join me!

You know what? We're all doing just fine. We're doing the best we can and we all have to do what we gotta do in our own time. Never before has the world offered up so much insight into other peoples loves, lives and success that makes the rest of us peering in feel like we're not keeping up as we should. Even though we tell ourselves not to, we compare, we beat ourselves up, we feel like we're missing out or not doing enough. It's lovely to see what others are up to, but it doesn't mean that you should punish yourself if you're not doing the same. So forget 'should' and start thinking about all of the good things that you have achieved. Like I said in a previous post: Start Asking Yourself "What Went Right?"

My task for you today is to catch yourself whenever you start to burden yourself with these shoulda, woulda, coulda thoughts and turn them off and around into something more positive. Be kind to yourself today and throw out that mental pressure cooker. Focus on what you really do need to do and work out a reasonable plan of action to help you step towards those goals in an acceptable time frame. For all the other stuff in between, forget about it! Move on, let it go and breathe, you deserve a break from that nagging part of you that says you're not doing good enough. Shut it off and say goodbye to the negative NOW!

For some practical tips and further reading then you'll likely find this post from Mind, Body, Green very helpful: 3 Steps To Stop 'Shoulding' All Over Yourself. Plus let me know what you do when you feel yourself buckling under your own pressure. 

How do you switch off and refocus on letting yourself be you without all of that should-ing?