12 Things to Stop ‘Putting Off’

These are 12 things you don’t want to think about or don’t think about until things go wrong. Some of these tips are life saving, others will just make things much easier if things do go wrong.

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

These are things you either don’t want to think about, or don’t think about until things go wrong, some of these are life saving, others will save you time, hassle and additional stress.

1.  Making a Will

Almost everyone should have a will, even if you have no assets to leave behind, you can still let your wishes be known, make things easier on those you leave behind by leaving a will.  At the very least leave each loved one a personal letter expressing your love for them, these words may just comfort them in their grief.  Don’t be selfish, one day the inevitable will happen, unfortunately for some, it happens much sooner than expected, protect your family, they are going to have a difficult enough time dealing with losing you.  Having a Will in place won’t make them grieve any less, but it won’t add to an already extremely stressful time, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.  If you have assets, I do recommend doing a will through a Solicitor, trust me, it will be easier on your family when you’re gone.

2.  Life Insurance

Now I know many of us don’t like to think about the inevitable in life such as our death, but as already implied in number 1, you do need to consider those left behind.  At the very least you should have life insurance that will cover your funeral costs, don’t leave that up to those you leave behind, they will have enough to deal with.  Apart from the funeral costs, there are often other costs, such as wakes, get togethers after the funeral including food, clothes for the funeral, the obituary, phone calls, travelling in order to arrange everything.  I do recommend getting independent financial advise (if you can afford it), as different plans suit different ages and circumstances, and if you can’t afford professional advice, do your own research.

3.  Protecting Your Property

Fireproofing important documents, documents that in a fire / flood would cause you a headache.  If you can afford one, you could get a fireproof safe, if not, then a fireproof / waterproof document bag should do the trick, these are reasonably cheap, the link shows you the cheapest, but you can get various size bags to meet with your requirements, depending on how many important documents you want to protect.

Put all insurance policies, property deeds, bank books and cash, passports, birth certificates, national insurance documents, personal accounts, any document that you may miss if it wasn’t there, these could be personal letters or even photographs that are important to you.  At least you will have one place where you can find all your important documents.

4.  Protecting You and Your Family

In my humble opinion, these are the minimum types of equipment you should have in your home; fire escape ladders, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors.  You could take it a step further, such as drafting a plan for the family in the event of a fire for example, install in them the best route out of your home in different scenarios.  Another thing you may want to consider, particularly if you have a violent ex in the background, is to ensure there is somewhere in your house both upstairs and downstairs that is lockable, where you could go to to buy yourself some time to call for help.  I know most people don’t like to think of such things, but having a plan and even doing practices, might just save your or your nearest and dearest their life.  At the very least, it should give you reassurance should the worst happen.

5.  Decluttering

Don’t be a hoarder, if you have stuff you don’t use but would leave to a family member, give it to them now, see the appreciation on their face whilst you can.  Make decluttering part of your weekly routine, I constantly declutter, sometimes I will just do a drawer, other times I will have a major overhaul of my kitchen cupboards or wardrobe for example.  I am currently decluttering my books, I literally have hundreds of them in my loft, those that are unwanted by family and friends go to a local charity shop, I do this on a weekly basis as a minimum.  When you’re gone, again this may be another headache for family to have to sort through your junk, make it easy for them.

6.  Your dreams / goals

What dreams do you have? what do you want to experience in life? write down just one dream / goal and dedicate as little as one hour a week working towards that, even if you start just brainstorming.  If money is stopping you from achieving your dream, what can you do to change that?  cut down on spending? get rid of debt? save? have an additional income source? or a passive income?  Whatever it is do it, life is too short, we are here to accomplish, don’t let fear stop you, fear is natural and once you start moving towards your goals, it will gradually diminish.  Write a list of 6 things you want to change in the next 12 months, now write the actions needed to change these 6 things.  If there are major changes you want to make, you may only want to choose 1 thing, and master that.

7.  Career Change

Are you happy in your job? are you doing what you want to do?  If not, then start a plan of action to change this, do you need qualifications to do the job you want? or experience?  Make enquiries around how you can get these, gather costs, if you can do part-time whilst staying in your current job.  If experience is more valuable to what you want to do, look for ways of getting that experience, volunteer, offer services for free, start with just a couple of hours a month, do things that add to your C.V. to show future employers how serious, committed and able you are for your dream job.  Don’t let any obstacles deter you, keep working towards it and you increase the odds of that career change.

8.  To Do Lists

Get those important jobs done on your to do list or those jobs that have been on your list for way too long, schedule them in your planner, be realistic, even if you only get one thing done a week or even a month.  For those big or overwhelming jobs, start by writing  a step by step list of actions needed to get the job done, write them down in the order the actions need doing and do one  at a time.

9.  Breaking a Bad Habit

Do you have a bad habit, that is or will affect your health or wellbeing, we all have some bad habits, it could be anything from procrastinating, negative thinking, bitching too much about other people, smoking or drinking.  Whatever your habit is, vow to break it, having a bad habit is often damaging to us in some way, either your health, psychologically or your relationships.  Make this year the year to bin that bad habit that affects your daily life.

10.  Forming a Good Habit

Do you want to form a good habit? have you always wanted to learn yoga? go for regular walks or runs? get fit and healthy?  start with one small daily change, such as doing one yoga pose a day, do that for a week or a month every day, then add a second yoga pose.  The key is to incorporate an easy achievable action in your daily routine, until it is second nature, then add to this until that becomes second nature and so on.

A good habit doesn’t have to be something physical, it can be something that benefits your wellbeing, such as learning to express your feelings in a positive way, this may be telling someone you love them, a family member, someone you have your eye on, or just a friend, let them know they are loved, not only will this make you feel good, they will feel good too and may reciprocate.

11. Backing up Computers and Phones

This tip comes from very recent experience for me.  About 4-5 years ago, my laptop crashed, I got the dreaded blue screen, it could not be fixed, at the time I was doing a degree and I lost an assignment that was due to be submitted, yes I cried, I tried to replicate it but I was not in the right frame of mind and submitted a load of rubbish.  Did I learn my lesson then, No, unfortunately I didn’t, and just one week ago my phone broke, I went to Apple and they said the phone could be restored but they cannot guarantee my data would be saved, I have pictures and videos of my dog that died last year.  They weren’t backed up because my iCloud was full, I was devastated to be told this, I have found a company that say they can recover my data, so I am about to try them.

12.  Fix Those Broken Things

My home phone broke about 1-2 years ago, I had no incentive to get it fixed because I had my mobile.  It was only when my mobile phone broke, that I felt completely cut off from the world, then by sheer bad luck I was locked out of my mac for one day.  Try going without your mobile, house phone or computer, it feels very isolating, these are the  technologies that are my lifeline.  Don’t delay getting things fixed or replaced because you never know when you will need them.

 

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Four Basic Requirements for Owning a Dog!

There are four requirements in my opinion that are essential for owning a dog; Commitment, Time, Patience and Money, without these things you may unwittingly harm your dog either physically or psychologically.  Do you want to raise a healthy happy well adjusted dog?  then ensure these four elements are in place, otherwise, don’t bother, you may cause more harm than good and cause yourself unnecessary stress if you have to give the dog up.  There are enough people who give up their dog/s because of unforeseen circumstances such as ill health, but there are plenty of people that give them up because they did not realise the commitment, time, patience or money that was needed.  I believe if you don’t apply what it takes to own a dog you may end up with a unhealthy, anxious, nervous or even aggressive dog.

In the U.K. alone “In total 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by Local Authorities between 2014 – 2015” The Dogs Trust

Some people give up their dogs because of a dramatic life change or even death, but, many do simply because they didn’t realise the commitment it takes to raise a dog. Most people bond with their dogs and the love they have for their dog makes the required commitment easier, but there are some who acquire a dog for all the wrong reasons and then discard them.  Imagine how a dog would feel, finding themselves in a shelter or kennels, everything and everyone they know has disappeared, how would that make you feel?  We as humans need to minimise the negative impact we have on dogs, read on to find out how.

1.  Commitment

Commitment is something most people don’t understand until they have a dog, you may go through a stage where you have just had enough of you dog chewing furniture, or being unable to go on holiday because there is no-one to dog-sit.  For me personally, I would not recommend putting a dog in kennels for when you go on holiday, whilst some dogs may be okay it can be quite stressful for most.  Neither do I recommend having your dog stay with someone else overnight, I speak from experience here so maybe some dogs would be okay.  It is better to keep them in their own environment, i.e. their home and let the dog-sitter stay in your home, they are going to miss you, try not to add to their stress by changing their environment too.  They don’t understand you have gone away for a short time, to them it may seem that they have been abandoned.

Your dog will usually be with you for a long period of time, usually 10-15 years, are you planning changes in your life within that time that may cause you to have to give your dog up, e.g. a move overseas, a new baby, an increase in your working schedule, these are some of the reasons people give up their dogs.  Whilst not every change in life can be foreseen, you just need to think things through first.  It’s difficult, because people get so excited about getting a dog whether its a puppy or adult dog, many times the future is not even considered.

2. Time

There are exceptions, but most dogs need lots of attention, especially when they are pups, if you work full-time then you don’t have the time, unless you put your dog in doggy day care or someone spends time with your dog whilst you are at work.

You need time to take the dog to training classes, you need to taken your dog out and about to get it well socialised, with people (young and old), other dogs, possibly other animals.  You also need to expose a dog to the outside world including traffic, noise, and vet visits.  You need to fully socialise your dog as early as possible if it is a pup, an older dog will need gentle slow introductions to new experiences including other dogs and people.

In the outside world, a dog should experience cars including travelling in one, traffic including buses, lorries passing by and travelling within public transport including buses and trains.  Start slow with short journeys or exposure to traffic, when you first take your pup or dog outside, don’t respond if they get scared, they will pick up on your anxiety, just gently and confidently guide them away from what is stressing them

When I used to take my previous dog out as a pup, he was terrified of cars driving past, so much so that one time he ran head first into a wall, I started to take him out of a night when there was less traffic, I didn’t respond I just carried on walking, I didn’t pick him up when he was scared, even when he was jumping up at me to pick him up, as there was no real danger, he was on a lead.  Slowly but surely he gained confidence to the point where he was not afraid of traffic at all.

Most dogs need a daily walk, you need the time to do this, a dog also needs some playtime with you, most dogs love to have you throw a ball so they can fetch it, or play tug-of-war with you.  Some dogs love to do agility training, you could have some equipment in your garden (if you have one) and teach them, most dogs would love this.  A word of warning when playing with your dog, never ever ‘play rough’ with a dog.

Do you have a back up plan for times when you need to go out or away for long periods of time, in times of crisis, is there someone who can be with your dog or at least visit to take it outside to the toilet, feed and water it, take for a walk and generally spend some quality time with it.  If you leave the house for long periods of time, someone should either be with your dog or at least take it outside to go the toilet or for a walk, feed and water etc. 

3. Patience

Some dogs, especially pups will chew your slippers, the furniture and even door frames, this is natural for some dogs, sometimes they are just teething or being a pup, other times they are trying to tell you something such as ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I need more attention’ or ‘I miss you when you are gone’.  You must never lose your temper with them when they do things you don’t agree with.  You may need to source training for dealing with behavioural problems or nervous dogs and reduce separation anxiety by not leaving them alone for long periods (no more than four hours), you may need to build up to this gradually.  You may also need to find ways to keep your dog entertained whilst left alone, by leaving treats or toys hidden for them to find or buy an interactive toy for them.

You need patience for cleaning up when your dog has a toileting ‘accident’, has been sick. Sometimes at the most inconvenient time, when you are in a rush to leave the house, you have to stop and clean up after your dog.  You also need patience to take your dog for regular check ups, booster needles, flea and worm treatment, administer medications when it really does not want to take them.

If you like a meticulously clean house, forget it, your dog will come in from the rain, just after you have mopped the floors and make a mess of it, it will shake its wet coat all over your sofa, if the thought of this gives you cold sweats, you probably won’t have the patience.

4.  Money

I am not saying you need to be rich to care for a dog but you will need pet insurance and some extra money aside for expenses that may fall outside what the insurance covers, such as an expensive operation and most pet insurances have an excess amount you would need to pay when making a claim.  Vet costs are not cheap, whilst you may have pet insurance as your dog ages the insurance premium will rise because like humans, dogs get all sorts of age related ailments, some of which can be cured or treated at great expense.  There may also be exclusions on the insurance policy because of your dogs age.

Don’t assume because your dog is young it won’t need vet care from time to time or if they are unlucky develop an ongoing ailment from a young age that needs lifelong treatment or medications.  I recommend having a backup fund in case your dog needs expensive treatment that many pet insurers do not cover.

Other costs include training, unless you are a qualified trainer, all dogs can benefit from training, from cute commands like ‘sit’ and ‘roll over’ to commands that may keep them safe like ‘recall’ or ‘stop’.  Socialisation skills are often learned in group training, again this can keep your dog safe and make them less stressed and able to enjoy ‘walks’ or ‘play-time’ with other dogs.

If you work you may need to put your dog in day care, these are not cheap, or you may need to pay for a dog walker or sitter to go visit your dog during the day, again this is not cheap, but good for your dog to have something to break the day up, be able to go the toilet and enjoy a walk.

And of course, there are the costs of dog food, treats, dental chews, puppy pads, booster needles, flea and worming treatments, it is never ending!

Alternatives to Having your Own Dog

I personally don’t feel my life is complete without a dog, my dog passed away four months ago, but my life circumstances changed during the time I had my dog, so I currently don’t have the money or time for a dog.  If, after reading this, you realise you don’t have all four requirements needed to raise a happy, healthy, secure and sociable dog, there are alternative ways to be around and give love to dogs.  You could do this by volunteering at kennels, rescue centres, walking a dog for a neighbour, friend or family member or consider volunteering at an animal sanctuary working with other animals, cows, horses, pigs, goats, or chickens.  I know its hard especially if you love dogs, but please consider whether you have the commitment, time, patience and money for a dog, if you can’t say yes to all four, then say ‘No’ to getting a dog.  If  you are able to provide all four requirements, then please go for a rescue dog, there are tens of thousands of dogs every year looking for loving homes in the U.K. alone.  Life in a kennel no matter how good the facilities and their carers are, is simply no match for a loving home.  Consider an older dog, a dog with health issues or a disabled dog, these dogs need love and attention just as much as a young healthy dog, and it is so sad to think some dogs will live out the rest of their lives in shelters or kennels, never knowing a loving secure home.

You may find you have some requirements to offer such as commitment, time and patience, but not money, in these cases you could foster, as many rescue centres pay for equipment needed, vet fees and even training.  Although, a rescue dog often needs even more patience than usual, some of these dogs have been neglected or abused and need time to trust again. 

Final Thoughts

Know the breed you are acquiring, although all dogs are individual, there are certain traits particular breeds have, some need long walks, some need short walks, some are very protective of their ‘family’, some have particular health risks, learn about a breed before you acquire a dog.

Finally, please stop and think before you acquire a dog, they have emotions, many do not deal well with a change of routine, if you decide after acquiring a dog the it is not for you, you are adding to that change of routine that distresses many dogs, do you want to risk that?  By all means, if you have all four basic requirements for keeping a dog and you have a lot of love to give to a dog, go for it!  Make no mistake, it is hard work, they are a worry, their wellbeing and life is in your hands.  On the other hand, the rewards are amazing if done right, for you, your family and the chosen dog.  There is nothing like the love of a dog, it is pure, unconditional and I believe good for the soul, once you have loved a dog you see the world differently it is relaxing (mostly) and fulfilling.

If I Ruled The World!

Photo by Yash Raut on Unsplash

 

These are some of the things I would implement if I ruled the world!

Education

Education would be reformed, starting with religion.  Religion would be taught for understanding only of the six main religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam.  There would not be focus on one religion, if parents want to teach their children one particular religion, excluding all others they could do in their own time, not by using tax payers money.  Pupils of all religious faiths would be allowed in all schools, there would be no exclusions.

Religious teachings in schools would not account for more than 10% of education.  Instead time would be spent teaching real life skills, including; living ethically, budgeting, mental health, coping skills, sex education, global warming, sustainability, the impact of capitalism, compassion and respect for all beings (not just human) and above all independent thinking.

There would be monthly speakers from all walks of life, who will speak on drugs, alcohol, drink driving and the most common forms of criminality to educate children on their negatives and impacts, not just physical but psychological.  Real life reformed ex-drug users / addicts, alcoholics, convicted drink drivers and ex criminals would speak about the uncomfortable brutal truth, including how bad things got for them.  Part of the aim would be to change cultures around the glamorisation of all forms of criminality, and that the law will catch up with them.  Family members or friends willing to speak about the suicide of a family member or friend whilst in prison would be brought in.  Meeting people from all backgrounds can show that people who live an honest life, can be ‘cool’.

 

Media

It would be compulsory for at least 30% of television media to provide educational programmes, at least 20% of this should be about health, and must include documentaries around plant based diets and the biggest cause of environmental damage,(currently animal agriculture) with a recommended list of documentaries which  would include the following amongst others, with a minimum of three of these being scheduled at least three times per year:

H.O.P.E. – What you eat matters

Earthlings

Cowspiracy

Dominion

Land of Hope and Glory

Forks over Knives

What The Health

 

Advertising

I would ban advertisements of all non-healthy food and drinks, it is madness to advertise things that may cause you harm or lead to your death.  If you ever doubt the effects of advertising, why is it a multi-million pound industry?  Healthy foods and drinks would be advertised instead of putting unhealthy messages in people’s brains.

All products made by harming animals would not be allowed to advertise, sorry Hermes hand bags.  You do not need to kill animals for bags, gloves, coats, shoes etc, we have technology now where you can make faux leather products, its cheaper, no animals are enslaved, abused or killed and it’s difficult to tell them from real leather (animal skin), how wonderful is that?  

Working Week

No-one would work more than 30 hours per week, giving every person more time to spend quality time with family / friends, pursue hobbies, relax, educate themselves, obtain or maintain fitness or volunteer some time to a good cause.

Remember governments want you to be busy, work long hours, be stressed and in debt, it keeps you ‘occupied’ that’s why it’s called an ‘occupation’, because populations with time on their hands and nothing to lose are a higher risk of starting a ‘revolution’, a scary word for governments.

Treatment of Animals

I would fund an independent investigation to determine a) if any animal testing is effective or essential and b) if there are equal or more effective alternatives to animal testing.  This would serve to show the public the truth.  All ineffective or non-essential animal testing would be banned, if alternative testing costs more money, then that would be a price well worth paying.  

I am not an expert by any means, but suspect the investigation may show the majority if not all animal testing is ineffective and with advances in science, there shouldn’t be any need to test on animals.  I believe most if not all is outdated and unnecessary.  Whilst animal testing is being phased out, CCTV would be fitted in all animal laboratories.

There would be a phased programme to stop factory farming and a support programme to help farmers and slaughter houses transition their business to more healthy, ethical and sustainable products without harming, torturing or killing animals or the planet.

There would be compulsory training for all owners of newly acquired dogs, this would include training for dogs including socialising and training for owners too.  There would be restrictions on dog breeding, to prevent novices doing just to make money who really don’t care about the dogs.  Breeders would have to attend a comprehensive training course at their own expense, some may say this will push breeders underground, there are already plenty of underground breeders, they don’t care about the dogs, they just care about their profits.  Illegal breeders should in my opinion be put in prison, the psychological as well as physical damage they cause dogs can last a lifetime.

Zoos would be abolished, you will pay a small fee to visit animal sanctuaries where you can interact with the animals or volunteer.

All stray dogs above 6 months old would be neutered.

Industry

The subsidisation of animal agriculture would cease, this would be done in stages and whole food plant based producers would be subsidised (for a duration) instead, to encourage more of them.  In the UK, subsidies would be funded using savings made by the NHS due to people being healthier as a result of other implementations previously mentioned.  There will be less diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease and many other diseases including cancers.  There would be less people on disability benefits, as people get healthier, the need will be reduced.

There would be a prescription only programme for smokers.  Existing smokers would only be able to obtain cigarettes through prescriptions, the cost would remain the same as currently purchasing a pack of cigarettes.  But this would prevent new people from starting to smoke.

Money that currently goes to The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes and cancer charities could be reduced dramatically, because we already know how to reduce heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, by eating a whole food plant based diet, the money charities have would be used to cure diseases and cancers not related to lifestyle choices.  There would then be more money to help developing countries recover from the damage we have done, and to fund animal sanctuaries for the rescued animals that were bred for slaughter.  Animal numbers will naturally decline without the help of man’s artificial insemination methods, nature will be as it is intended.

Certain industries would be non-profit making; water, pharmaceuticals etc.  any profits made would need to go back into the industry, research and aiding developing countries.  The reason the pharmaceutical industry would need to be non-profit making is because they currently make a lot of money from people being sick, this is a serious conflict of interest, no-one should make profits of sick people, that is sick in itself.  Neither should a company make profits from making you sick in the first place.

Politics

I would make it illegal for private organisations to fund political parties, political parties would be funded by the government even if they are in opposition, all political parties would get an equal amount of capped funding, then if they want to squander it on ‘expenses’ they would have little left to fund their ‘cause’.  There would be no conflicting interests, e.g. funding from pharmaceuticals or meat producers causing politicians to hide the truth or lie because the don’t want to lose their funding. Ultimately we will pay for them, and if they don’t hit the mark we don’t vote, if they break the law, they will lose all funding.

In the U.K. there is currently public funding for political parties to fund policy development if you meet certain criteria from the Electoral Commission, this would be their only source of funding.  

Final Thoughts

There are many things missed off this wish list, these are just some of the things I would change, obviously these are high-level ideas, the details and practicality for some may be more difficult, but if I ruled the world these would definitely be my ambitions.

Some may say some of these ideas are controlling, I would say that you need to control a ‘mad dog’ or governments and capitalists to be precise.  Governments use distraction tactics to steer you away from the truth, for example, the truth of the animal producing industry, this is why they feed mainstream media with scare stories.  Stories of other governments / leaders plotting to drop weapons of mass destruction on us, the refugee crisis and far too much time is given to joke entertainers such as Donald Trump, I live in the U.K. why is the news here dominated by Donald Trump?  I stopped watching the news about 8 months ago because I got sick of the same ‘misrepresentations’ of the truth churned over and over again, it gets boring, so I decided to find my own truth.

These are my idealisations, I am not a scientist or economic expert, but a human being who wants to see less suffering, pain and disease in the world for ALL beings.

 

Self-Compassion – Feel the (Self) Love!

There are so many benefits to practicing self-compassion, these are simple everyday practices to help you love yourself!

Self-compassion, self-love or loving kindness is a tough one to grasp, when you have always been your worst critic.

I discovered self-compassion only a few years ago, when doing a free mindfulness course on Future Learn.  To me, self-compassion is to give yourself understanding, love and self-acceptance, it is about turning off that critical inner voice and listening to that compassionate understanding voice inside you.  It feels good to be compassionate towards your self and it really isn’t too difficult, but does take regular practice.  Unfortunately, I don’t always practice this on a regular basis, but it is on my daily good habits wishlist.

What is Self-Compassion?

Feeling compassion for anyone is to understand and empathise with that person, to take it a step further you may show that person compassion by talking empathetically with them, showing them you understand their pain, trying to help them or simply giving them a great big hug.  At times when we are feeling low, there is nothing like a genuine hug, it tells us that the person hugging us understands our feelings and above all accepts us, this can give us great comfort in that moment.  So, to be able to give ourselves that kind of comfort when we most need it, is quite something, unfortunately, we often don’t do that because we have learned to punish ourselves by criticizing either what we have done or haven’t or simply shaming ourselves for our flaws or feelings.

Benefits of Self-Compassion

The feeling of self-love is compounding, it continues to grow and makes you feel relaxed, calm, and self accepting.  Would you treat others as badly as you treat yourself? No, so why punish yourself with your negative self talk.  The thing is, when you practice self-compassion, you find yourself being more compassionate towards others, so they benefit too.  Once your physical body is taking care of, one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing is to practice self-compassion.

Self-Compassion Practices

Meditation

My favourite practice is mindful meditation specifically for self-compassion, guided ones are the best for beginners, doing meditations really helps you to focus on love and compassion towards yourself.  We are human and therefore all make mistakes, self-compassion helps you accept those mistakes regardless of what the consequences were and only by accepting how you feel can you move on to the self-love part.

Apps are a great way to start, You Tube is also great for free meditations, both guided and non-guided and there are plenty specifically for self-compassion, some are short, 10 minutes for example, others are 9 hours for whilst you are asleep, these are subliminal.  My favourite Apps are Calm and Headspace, there are some free guided meditations if you don’t want to subscribe to them or just want to test them out.

If you are in a bad place right now, I recommend practicing daily, even for just 5 minutes, but preferably 10.  If you have no time at all, do a sleep meditation, everyone has to sleep.  Even a daily minute of self-love practice is better than none.

Self-Care

I include self-care as a practice for self compassion, self care makes you feel good about yourself and it can include anything that makes you feel good.  I have regular self-care days which include a long soak in the bath, usually with Epsom Salts (for detoxing) or Himalayan Salts (for relaxation) which leaves you with the softest skin.  I make sure I soak between 20-40 minutes to absorb the benefits of the salts.  Whilst I am lying there so long I do some mindful meditation.

Other things I do are giving myself a facial; double cleansing, face mask, essential oils (patchouli) this is my favourite and its good for aging skin too.  I don’t know what it is about this oil, but for me it gives me a huge sense of self-love and calm, funnily enough when I first used I wasn’t keen on it, but it is my favourite now.  If I want to feel good after a bath I put this on my face, neck and chest, it instantly makes me feel safe and cosy.  Everyone is different, so trial some, you can get 10ml bottles to try them out, find the oil that works for you, do your research though, some oils are not recommended to put directly on your skin without a carrier oil.

I will body brush, do my nails, deep condition my hair with ‘Bleach London Silver Conditioner‘ by leaving it on at least 1 hour, usually whilst I am in the bath, lather myself in my favourite vegan ‘Lavera‘ body lotion and put something comfortable on, then sit and read a book.  I would do these things everyday if I could, but as you know when your working you simply don’t have the time, but make sure you do at least once a week, your mind will thank you for it.

Journaling

Journaling helps with self-awareness, thus bringing out the empathy and understanding  you need to be compassionate towards yourself.

I love to write things down, if I am struggling with something, if I am angry  with myself or others, I tend to write down my feelings, but I try to do it from a sympathetic perspective. Rather than express just my anger, I will write down how I feel  and then try to write something about understanding why that person did or said what they said, not to justify their actions but to understand them.  This really helps me to not hold on to  negative emotions, so that when I see that person again I feel more compassionate towards them, which in turn makes me feel good.  Anger  hurts ourselves, more than anyone else.

Final Thoughts

We all suffer in one way or another, we can’t always escape what life throws at us, the best we can do is accept unavoidable suffering in order to minimize it, practicing self-compassion is one way of doing this. Go love yourself, you deserve it!

17 Ways to Save Money!

17 simple changes you can make to save money, it all adds up over the year.

money

These are 17 ways you can save money in order to budget and cut back on your spending, I hope you find them useful:

1.  Beauty Treatments

  • If you pay to get your nails done, learn how to do them yourself.  I used to pay £50 to get Shellac on my Fingers and Toes, I invested in a Shellac Kit, I halved the costs with my sister (so she’s saving money too).  If you can paint your own nails, you can do Shellac, it’s very easy, looks great and lasts for weeks.  It basically paid for itself after one or two treatments.
  • I also used to get my eyebrows waxed and tinted at a cost of £12, I admit I am not brave enough to wax them myself (I just pluck now) and use either an eyebrow dye which lasts a few weeks or Maybelline Brow Tattoo  This is so easy to use, it does only last a few days, unless you really avoid getting your eyebrows wet, but I love the results, the little brush ensures precision as you shape.

2.  Cooking

  • Cook from scratch and batch cook, I will often cook enough to last me at least another day, I can get three meals out of just cooking the same dish once.
  • Limit getting takeaways, good for the waist as well as the pocket
  • Make healthy dog treats, rather than buy ones that are often unhealthy.

3.  Walk Wherever You Can

  • I am lucky, I am able to walk to and from work, although I don’t always walk home, I am building up to this.
  • Again good on your waist and your pocket

4.  Shopping

  • As I order my groceries online, I have reduced this down to two deliveries per month, I stockpile, things I can freeze and just pop the supermarket for fresh items once, at most twice a week, usually on my way home from work as it’s near to where I work.
  • This saves on delivery charges, although I have purchased a delivery pass with Asda, there is a minimum spend of £40 and I don’t always need to spend that much, I will sometimes ask family members if they want anything adding and they just transfer the money to my account.

5.  Stop Buying Water

  • I used to buy bottled water, I invested in a cheap water filter (£8 from Wilko’s) and fill a water flask I love these pretty colours.  You can take this to work to ensure you are drinking your daily recommended amount.
  • Take  your water flask to the gym, or out and about.

6.  Underwear

  • I now only purchase black, white or navy underwear, I used to spend a lot of money on pretty underwear in multiple colours, but you are sometimes limited in what colour underwear you wear, for example you could not wear red underwear under white.  So now I have every colour I need and they go with everything I wear.

7.  Public Transport

  • I gave up my car two years ago (2016), yes there are times when I miss it, when I am going somewhere not on a public transport route, I will get a taxi then, with the money I have saved not having a car, I can afford to take taxis.
  • If I was going for a night out I would always get a taxi to and from my destination, this would cost anywhere between £20-30 per night, I now, whenever I can and weather permitting get the bus or train, at least one way.

8.  Exercise

  • I, like many paid for gym membership but never went, I paid for 18 months without going, I eventually cancelled my gym membership and started to exercise at home.
  • I often use either an exercise DVD or put a You Tube exercise video on and exercise to that.

9.  Make Your Own Cleaning Products

  • I used to buy cleaning products for everything, I have cut right back on this and plan to make my own, apparently you only need white vinegar and baking soda for most household cleaning.
  • You can buy large volumes on Amazon

10.  Buy Second Hand or Use Discount Websites

  • Try to buy as much second hand products as you can, you can buy really cheap clothes, handbags etc. on Ebay, Shpock, or Gumtree
  • Groupon is a great site if you want to buy a cheap trip or a gift such as a Spa Day.

11.  Household Maintenance

  • You can learn to do almost anything online, You Tube is great for learning how to do your own repairs, maintenance or decorating.  You can learn how to fix your own leaking overflow pipe for example.
  • Try to repair something broken, rather than buy a replacement product, super glue is my staple when small items break.  I also nearly purchased a new shredder, until I decided to take it apart, turns out it just had some paper jammed in it, it’s now working fine, I saved myself some money there.

12.  Take Your Lunch to Work

  • If you add up what you spend on work lunches throughout the year, you would be astounded, why not take your lunch to work.
  • I often do this, by overcooking the night before and taking what’s left to work.

13.  Save on Bills

  • Hang clothes out to dry on the washing line, rather than use the dryer.
  • If you like the softness of towels from the dryer, hang them out until they are partially dry and then put them in the dryer for 10-15 minutes.

14.  Stop Using Paper Towels

  • Paper towels are such a waste and are not recyclable, buy some dish cloths that can be washed and re-used, dry surfaces with tea towels.

15.  Grow Your Own

  • If you have a garden, you can easily grow your own vegetables, including potatoes, these are so easy to grow, you can also grow your own lettuce and herbs.
  • Even if your space is small, use pots to grow herbs and small greens.

16.  Save to Save

  • Put a small amount of month away to save for home or car emergency breakdowns or repairs, this will save you reaching for a credit card when your washing machine breaks down for example.

17.  Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC)

In the U.K. if you get more than one prescription per month, you will save money if you purchase a ‘Prescription Pre-payment Certificate’ (PPC).  As at October 2018, the monthly cost of a twelve month PPC is £10.40 per month paid over ten months, see here for further details

How To Achieve Your Goals

These are the processes and tools I use to achieve my goals, all of which I consider to be key to making changes in your life!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How To Make Your Goals Achievable!

(The processes and tools needed to achieve your goals)

 

Wow, goals, we all have them, but many of us don’t achieve them, why?

I have just read ‘The 12 Week Year’  by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington,  and am about to use the accompanying ‘The 12 Week Year Workbook’ and feel this may just be the book that inspires me to achieve my goals.  Of course, I haven’t implemented all the strategies in the book yet, give me a chance, but I have done my first 12 Week Year Plan and have to say, I have already completed one of my 12 week goals in just over one week.

Here are my Top 8 tips for achieving your goals, I hope you find them useful:

1.  The Written Word  

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

There is something about the written word that makes it feel real, when I hand write something I feel the emotions as I write, whereas when I type, no matter what I type it just doesn’t bring as much emotion to the content.  Try this brief exercise, type out ‘I Love   You …… ‘ whilst thinking of someone you love, typing their name after ‘You’.  Now hand write the same phrase, see the difference in your emotions.  When you hand write, you ‘feel’ what you are writing about.  So, when you write down your goals, feel the emotions that you may feel   when your goals are achieved.

2.  Know Your ‘Why’

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If you have a particular goal because it will impress others, think again, if it impresses you, then you are on the right track.  The reason behind each goal is vital, it has to be what YOU want to achieve, what fills you with emotion, passion and a desire you want so bad it fires you up inside.  The thought of achieving that goal may even bring tears to your eyes, that’s a good thing.

3.  Know Your Target

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you know the target you are aiming for, you can be more specific  about your goals.  Being specific will make it  easier to take actions that will lead you to your goal.  If your goal isn’t specific, how can your actions be specific and if your actions are too vague, you simply won’t do them.  The more detail you add to your goals, the more passion you will inspire in yourself, the more likely you are to follow through on each step it will take to achieve them.  You will have to break down every goal, I recommend doing 1 hour minimum slots if you can dedicated to one action.

4.  Limit Your Goals

less is more
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I would advise you to limit your goals, having too many goals it just not realistic.  Whilst, you can have a long-term plan with every goal you want to achieve in your lifetime, it is best to focus on one or two, definitely no more than three at a time.  This is where the 12 week year comes in useful, as over the year you can have up to twelve goals, but at any 12 week period you are only focusing on two or three.  Too many goals can feel overwhelming, feeling overwhelmed can lead to procrastination, thus you achieve nothing.

5.  The How

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The methods you use to achieve your goals will be specific to you.  I use the ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction’ planner, ever since I got this beautiful planner, I have more clarity about the life I want and have achieved more in 6 months than in my lifetime in working towards my goals.  The concept of law of attraction, tells you not to concern yourself with the ‘how’, but I disagree, as long as your ‘why’ is clear, you can then start to plan the steps you need to take you there.  If you are not to sure of the steps, start doing some research, ideas will then flow.  Brainstorm if you need to, don’t limit yourself in this, even if an action seems impossible, write it down anyway.  Schedule time in each week and dedicate that time to taking steps, no matter how small to achieve your goal.

6. The Mindset

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This is the key to achieving every goal, you have to believe it will happen.  This can be difficult when most of us are plagued with self-doubt, but practicing self-belief will get you there, and the more you work towards your goals, the more you will believe.  If you find it hard to believe in yourself, just pretend you do, you will be surprised how over time this works.

Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

7.  Resilience

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On your journey to achieving your goals, you will be met with setbacks and failures, this is normal.  Some of the greatest achievers in history, had a string of failures before succeeding, there are also many unknowns throughout history that gave up when they met with failure.  The difference between these two types of people was resilience or self-determination, the relentless trait of carrying on regardless, committing to never stopping until your goal is reached.  Harrison Ford, at the age of 24 was told by studio executives that “he would never make it in this business’. There are numerous similar stories of famous people despite rejection and failures, continued to pursue their dream.  So never ever be deterred by other people’s opinions, they are just their perceptions, they are not fact and in many cases they get it wrong.  Resilience has won wars, hearts and greatness, be that resilient person, never ever give up on your dreams.

8.  Being Flexible

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Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

You may find that your goals change over time or as you start working towards one, as you become more self-aware you may realise that goal is not for you.  Be flexible and don’t be discouraged if you have been working towards a goal only to realise it’s not what you truly desire or it’s not achievable (yet).  My goals have changed dramatically,  I had a goal from childhood I had dreamt about for years, only once I started to work towards it, I realised that I couldn’t achieve it from where I was in life.  So I had a re-think and changed my goal to something that was far more realistic and some levels down from my initial goal, but if achieved may help me move towards that initial goal.

Final Thoughts

If you use the above tips, with perseverance, you will move ever closer to your dreams, one cliché you really should heed is “Never give up, like never ever”!

Ways To Simplify Your Life ‘Reduce The Traffic!’

These are some of the things I do to be more organised and make life that little bit easier

These are some things I do, partially do or aspire to, which help me to be more organised, therefore making my life just that little bit simpler, these are mainly recent things I have implemented.  Some of these are just common sense, but sometimes we all need reminding.  I hope you  take on board and apply some of them to simplify your life, if you don’t already:

Go Paperless

  • Go paperless with any online accounts such as banks and utility bills, most have the option to turn on paperless.
  • Write to the companies / organizations that don’t provide the online paperless option, advising them you do not wish to receive correspondence via post but want to receive via email, advise them that you want to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment, they should do this as it will save them money in paper, postage etc.  Click to download Email Correspondence Template for my free template to get you started.
  • I have created folders in my email account, e.g. Bills, then sub-folders e.g. Gas, Water etc. and as correspondence comes I simply move to the appropriate folder.  I now have copies of all correspondence that is super easy to find.

Top Tip

You can also get a door sign from Amazon, requesting no junk mail, cold callers etc.  I like this one, it’s clear and discreet, £5.50 with free delivery, click link ‘No Junk Mail / Cold Callers Sign’  

Digital Storage

  • For those physical documents you already have or can’t go paperless with, invest in a small home scanner. You can scan and save documents electronically, don’t forget to back up in case your computer crashes.  Alternatively you can take a photograph of the document on your phone and download on to your computer.

Top Tip

It works out cheaper to purchase a printer with built-in scanner than a stand alone scanner for home use.  I have this one, it’s cheap and does the job ‘Canon MG3050 All in One Printer’

Journeys

  • Try to plan your journeys to do your errands in one go, plan your week and put in your diary, phone, calendar or whatever method you use to remember things to do. This will not only save on petrol, but time also.  This is even more efficient if you haven’t got a car.  By doing this you will be super productive, a top achiever some might say, well mainly me!

Top Tip

If anyone else is going your way, for example the post office and you need stamps, ask them to get them for you.

Online Shopping

  • Order your shopping online, create a favorites or shopping list in your favorite online supermarket. This reduces petrol, time, you don’t forget essentials and you tend not to be tempted by extras such as cream cakes, as if I would!

Top Tip

I have a complete list of all foods, toiletries etc. that I order and simply add to trolley delete off what I don’t need that week.

Pre-Scheduling Appointments

Okay, this is for the obsessive compulsive organizer, don’t look at me!

  • Book your regular appointments for 6-12 months in advance, this will work for hairdressing appointments, dog grooming, dentist, health checks etc.
  • Type them out to give to your hairdresser for example, put them in your diary, phone, or calendar. This avoids not being able to get the appointment date / time you want.

Top Tip

Set reminders in your calendar / Phone just so you don’t forget because they were booked so far in advance,

Meal Planning / Prepping

  • Plan your meals at least one week ahead if you can, you can then prep to make your working week easier. I often cook 2 or 3 meals in one go, for example if I make cottage pie, I make three, have one that night, one for dinner the next day at work and one for the following evening, some people would not like the same meal on the run like that, but I don’t mind it because I enjoy the meal.
  • Also prepare your work lunch the night before, this feels so good knowing you are saving precious morning time and money too.

Top Tip

I also prepare my smoothies by putting my frozen fruit and veg in a smoothie cup in the fridge, so in the morning I just have to add the liquid, blend and take to work, I have as soon as I get to work, easy, healthy and delicious too!

Birthdays and Occasions

  • Go to the card shop and buy all your birthday cards in one go, you have them in then for the year.

Top Tip

If you gifting cash or gift cards buy one each payday and put in relevant card, just make sure the expiry date on the gift card won’t expire.

Planners and Diaries

Oh my god, don’t you just love planners!

  • Plan your week ahead, I have a notebook where I brain dump everything, this evolves over time, some I add some I remove because I have changed my mind or simply don’t need to do anymore.
  • Use a planner or diary and once a week go through your brain dump and schedule some ‘to do’s in your diary.  For sheer beauty and to increase productivity I recommend the Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner by Freedom Mastery, it is undated and I use Frixion pens, so writing can be erased, click link ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner’ and this link for ‘Frixion Pens’
  • Some people put three tasks a day in their planner, it really depends how big the tasks are (even after they are broken down).  I find I work best if I put one task in that is aligned with my goals, if I am having a particularly productive day, I will do things scheduled for other days.

Top Tips

I tend not to use my planner for menial must do things like cleaning tasks.  I put these on one sticky note in my planner so it does not fill my planner.

De-cluttering

  • Try to make de-cluttering part of your weekly schedule, Some people like to blitz the de-cluttering, this doesn’t work for me, I am little and often as clutter periodically builds up again.
  • De-clutter by category, e.g. clothes or books, this keeps it simple and ensures you don’t make more of a mess trying to sort everything at once.

Top Tip

Keep a bag in your wardrobe (out of sight) for charity, so that whenever you have a little de-cluttering session, put it in,then when a charity comes to collect you have items already sorted or you can drop off at the charity shop whilst out on your errands. 

Emails

  • Unsubscribe from emails you don’t want and schedule in deal with, file, delete or junk your emails at least weekly, you can even do this on your phone when you have some downtime, in a queue, waiting for a bus, the doctor’s surgery etc.

Top Tip

Stop over-subscribing to websites, add a site to your reading list if you want to revisit, don’t subscribe just so you remember to return to it.

Pomodoro Method

  • I use the pomodoro method to do things I really don’t want to do, for example I set timers on my watch say for 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins or 1 hour depending on what I am doing.  So when I really need to iron (because I have no clothes), I set my timer for at least 10 mins, sometimes 20 mins, you iron quicker as it’s a race against the clock, I find this method works very well for me, occasionally I even keep going once the time is up (Yaay me!)
  • To find out if the Pomodoro method can work for you, click link https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-pomodoro-technique-is-it-right-for-you.html

Top Tip

Use the timer on your phone to apply the pomodoro method.

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

  • I admit this is still on my wish list, once I started to research it seamed more complicated than I thought.  However I have implemented some aspects, my colour palette has reduced from the colours of the rainbow to black, white, blue and pink and everything coordinates much better.  I have also sold about 40 items of clothing, shoes and bags on Ebay, so my clothes don’t need ironing again once hung.  I have lost count of how much I give to charity but overall I have taken the first steps to a capsule wardrobe.

Top Tip

Start selling on Ebay, if you don’t already, it’s not a great way to make money, but it’s a great way to de-clutter.

Social media

  • I must admit, I am not a great fan of social media, I just find unless you are extremely disciplined, you can waste a lot of hours with no output.  Whatever social media platform it is, ask yourself do you use it? is it good for you? or do you waste time?  I recently deleted my Facebook account, because it didn’t add any real value to my life so after saying for a long time I would delete I finally did.

Top Tip

Facebook allows you to save all your content into one file including pictures before you delete your account, so you won’t lose everything

Learn to say “No”

  • Learn to say no to things you do not really want to do, if other people are regularly taking up your time or you feel obliged to attend an event or accompany someone and you don’t want to, learn to say no. This is your life, do what you want to do.

Top Tip

Practice saying no in a nice but assertive way, have excuses ready.

Simple Minds

  • Apart from the physical stuff, it is important to reduce the mental traffic.  The world we live in feeds our brain with stimuli overload.  The best way to do this is through mindfulness, particularly meditation.  I did an online course for ‘Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ on Future Learn  it’s completely free,
  • I also like the apps ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’
  • Get rid (and I don’t mean kill) the people who drain you, you know, the negative people who drain your brain or at least reduce the amount of time you spend with them.

Top Tip

Make your bed every morning, I don’t know why this reduces the traffic in your head but it works for me.

Prepare the night before

  • Pick out, lay out or hang out your clothes the night before, again I don’t know why this works but it does, it gives you that organized feeling first thing in the morning, what better way to start the day.

Top Tip

Check the weather forecast the night before, so you don’t put that dress on that easily rises with a gust of wind :O

Be an Early Riser

  • I am usually up by 6.00am, for someone who when I was younger used to sleep until midday, this is major for me, but it just goes to show people can change with practice.
  • Although I do slip at the weekends, my aim is to eventually get up at 5am, 7 days a week and use that time for me; meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, gratitude, walking, all things that are not only good for me, but make me feel good.

Top Tip

Choose an ideal time you would like to get out of bed and slowly work towards it, start with getting up 10 minutes earlier than usual for one week, then 15 minutes etc. until you reach your chosen ideal time.

Final Tip

Only keep things you want, love or need!

# Challenge

My challenge to you is to choose one of the above ideas and start to implement, for example, if you want to write to companies to request they correspond by email, start now by writing a list who you want to write to.  Choose an idea that you feel will have either the biggest impact or you find the easiest to do, it doesn’t matter, it’s up to you. Take action, any action, just make a start.  Taking action feels so good, especially if it makes your life easier, because lets face it, life can be pretty overwhelming at times.  Good Luck!

Final Thoughts!

Don’t forget with all the free time and head space you clear from doing the above, make time for yourself, read, pamper yourself or let someone else pamper you, whatever it is you like to do to relax, do it!