Embrace Your Not So Perfect Life!


We all know the saying that 'comparison is the thief of joy' and it truly is. The only problem is, in the modern world we live in, we are bombarded with imagery of seemingly perfect lives to compare with on a daily basis. A deluge of reasons to feel rubbish that can make us feel like we aren't doing well enough or living up to the careers and exciting lives displayed by our peers. So I thought I'd share a few thoughts on how to combat the urge to compare. Some tips and places to turn to inspire you out of the negative, and into a more positive frame of mind on the days when everyone else seems to be having more fun or doing better, brighter things than you!

Image Source: Pexels

Image Source: Pexels

"Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else." Wayne Dyer



1. Forget About FOMO And Embrace JOMO Instead:

I think I actually realised quite early on in life that worrying about missing out is a complete and utter bore and a waste of time. I'm really not one for dallying on the fear of missing out, rather I much prefer to embrace JOMO - the JOY of missing out! There's nothing that pleases me more than not worrying about what other people are doing and instead just doing what makes me happy when I want to do it. Whether this be in a work capacity or even if it just means sitting at home on a Friday night with a good movie and a glass of wine, knowing that I didn't have to get all dressed up to go out in the cold just so I don't feel like I'm 'missing out' on something. Absolute bliss!

2. Focus On Finding Real Life Inspiration:

I'm a little bit obsessed with the podcast Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon, as you may remember if you read my recent post on 5 Podcasts To Inspire, Intrigue And Motivate. In a recent episode, Emma interviewed bestselling author Sophie Kinsella whose newest book My Not So Perfect Life focuses on social media and how it's making many of us feel inadequate and inconsequential in a never-ending feed of unreachable perfection. The podcast episode is well worth a listen as amongst other very interesting topics, Emma and Sophie discuss the role of social media in our lives and the whole issue of unhealthy comparison that it can breed, you can find the episode here.

Sophie Kinsella has also created an Instagram account to accompany her book and I love it. Real life photos of real life situations behind the daily life of the successful author. Take a scroll through photos of her dogs ripping up a tonne of toilet roll, burnt cookies that got well and truly forgotten about in the oven and that moment when you're caught in the rain and your umbrella decides to forsake you and turn inside out in an unforgiving gust of wind! Moments that we all recognise but hardly ever see on our social media feeds. A nice change from the picture perfect, and a reality we could all do with seeking out and sharing more of - myself included.

3. Remember The Great Things You Have And Don't Keep Worrying About What You Don't:

Everything you need you have! There's a reason people keep talking about the benefits of gratitude and it really can help to take a moment each day to think about what you have instead of worrying about what you don't. Find out more about my thoughts on gratitude and how to embrace it in this post: Counting Our Blessings: The Benefits Of Gratitude.

4. Appreciate That Which Makes YOU Unique: 

In a world where so many seem preoccupied with looking, sounding and achieving the same, take some time to understand and embrace the things that make you stand out from the crowd. Stop trying to be the same as everybody else and focus on being and loving the unique wonder that is you. 

5. Take A Break And Walk It Out:

When all else fails, take a break from the things most likely to be making you feel inferior - usually technology in some form or another, and go outside, get some fresh air and walk it out. It will do both your mind and your body the world of good I promise you.


Do you often find yourself negatively comparing notes with other people's highlights reel? How do you switch off and focus on what makes you feel good instead? Share your own thoughts and tips with me below.



5 Quotes To Keep You Going This January


When the New Year dawns we are often so filled with the optimism of that clean slate, new beginnings and a chance to get stuck into all of our New Years resolutions. But as the long month of January goes on it can be hard to keep up with all of that initial heartfelt enthusiasm! Now we've passed that middle of the month mark and with today well known as the dreaded Blue Monday, if your determination and best-laid plans have started to flag, then here is a selection of my favourite pick me up quotes that I hope will help to remind you of your goals and renew your sense of spirit and motivation. Enjoy them as your Monday dawns and don't forget to share with me your personal favourite quotes as well.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January


Failure is all part of the game. For some reason, especially in the UK I think, we have such a huge fear of failure and treat it as if it means the end. But each and every failure is a step towards your goal, it's a chance to learn from your mistakes and make better on them the next time. I'll also turn here to a further quote well worth remembering from the great Nelson Mandela - "I Never Lose. I Either Win Or Learn."

Quotes To Keep You Going This January


This quote from author Karen Lamb is a great one for kicking you up the butt when you need it most! We all fall foul to procrastination and often put off our best and brightest ideas when we really should just grab inspiration by the horns and get started straight away. Stay determined, fight off those should's, would's and could's and false fears that crush our motivation and get started on that new project right away. Life is short so make each day count and fill the years, as much as you can, with the things that matter the most.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January


Isn't it so tricky sometimes to forget the past and look forward to the future? I love this quote because it renews the excitement in what might lay ahead and makes me feel motivated and inspired to pick myself up and carry on. Sometimes it might not even be a bad past that we're struggling to let go of. It may well be that we feel all of the good opportunities have already passed us by and we hold no optimism for anything further to look forward to in the future. But there are always new chances and goals to reach for. We just have to open our eyes and witness them when they come our way.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January


I guess this is very similar to the last quote but I feel it is more about letting go of regret and the mistakes of yesterday that might still be hiding within you. Part of being able to move forward with new projects and to move on from previous mistakes and failures is obviously being able to leave the past in the past. Once you have taken all of the lessons that you can from the errors that you may have made, there comes a time where you must forgive yourself and move forward without regret. To me, this quote sums up that need perfectly and serves as a reminder that unless we let go we cannot start afresh.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January


Ok so we all know that every day isn't always a good day, but looking at life with that intention can only do us good not harm. It's hard to always stay positive and can take a concerted effort. But if you have in your heart that you will do your best to make each day a good day then at least you're stepping off into the year in the right frame of mind. It doesn't mean you can't have moments where you falter and fail, it just means you're striving forward with a positive outlook and this quote picks me up and reminds me of this when perhaps I'm not feeling that way.

Which of these quotes holds most true for you? Do you have a favourite reminder that perks you up when you're feeling low and uninspired? I love quotes and am always on the look out for new inspiration so let me know some of your favourites too.



Finding Your Hygge In The Workplace


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. 



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.



Don't Forget To 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.



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.