• The “Do Nothing For 10 Minutes” Challenge



    I feel the need to raise the alarm: We as a society are losing the ability to be idle.

    I’ve spoken about the ideal of being busy before, but what I mean here is not actual work, but rather being occupied (or preoccupied). It’s about listening to news or staring at our phones whenever we have a minute. Our minds, constantly bombarded with stimuli, can’t cope, and it makes us stressed, tense, and ultimately, sick.

    Your challenge today is to spend 10 minutes doing nothing.

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    Task 1: Identify your distraction points


    For me, it’s being at home. I sit in front of the computer most of the day, and I find myself still at the computer when I’ve nothing to do, scrolling through social media. It’s terrible!

    Others have to have the TV on or the radio blaring in the background. Waiting rooms, bus stops, cafes, public transport – they listen to music and/or stare a their phones or tablets.

    Find out when you’re most in danger to use “fillers” such as your phone or the TV, or even a good old-fashioned magazine. Make a note of them.

    do nothing

    Task 2: Do nothing for 10 minutes


    This isn’t a once-off – the challenge is to do nothing for 10 minutes every day for at least one week. Are you up for it?

    Here’s what defines “doing nothing”:

    • no music/TV/videos/podcasts on
    • not doing anything with your hands (such as knitting)
    • no meditating or napping
    • no reading

    Sit in a quiet place. Imagine the old farmer on the bench outside his house or a romantic image of a girl in a window seat. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do absolutely nothing. Notice how you feel.

    As a bonus, try and extend this newly learned ability to public spaces. Resist your phone at the aforementioned bus stop or if you’re in a cafe on your own. Look around, do some people watching instead. Your mind and your mood will benefit.

  • Never Skip Self Care Again



    I once heard a colleage say that Self Care includes things like maintaining a positive mindset, or exercising and eating healthy. I agree that these things are all acts of caring for the self and they’re great. However, I’d argue against sub-summarising absolutely everything under the “Self Care” label.

    In my opinion, it’s far better to limit the expression to activities which are fun. Self Care shouldn’t be just another thing you check off your to-do list. It shouldn’t be another chore.

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    Make it feel naughty


    One great way of making Self Care fun again is to make it feel a little naughty. Remember the times as a child when you were stealing another cookie you weren’t supposed to be having? Or reading in bed after lights-out (I did a lot of that!)?

    It may be a little silly but, so what? Silliness can add spice to what you’re doing. Flopping down on the couch with a book and a glass of vino while there’s housework to do, can make you feel like you’re skipping school. It also gives you a very real sense of putting your own needs first.

    Self Care

    Pretend to care for a friend


    My Coach told me to approach my Self Care the way I’d care for a friend who’s going through a rough patch in life. She said to do the small, loving, kind things for myself that I’d happily do for a loved one.

    It’s funny that we’re so much more likely to go all out caring for other people, and give ourselves so little. You’re someone you love, you’re someone who deserves being spoilt and looked after. So do it!

    Remember: Self Care isn’t selfish, it’s about countering the energetic drain of the modern world.

  • Caring For The Hurt Self

    Self-Care during hurt

    Hands up who’s never been hurt? Yeah, I thought so. It’s probably fair to say that anyone over the age of ten or so, carries some emotional scars. Some are just that: scars. Other hurts continue to plague us, and often at the most inconvenient times.

    If you listen to some spirtual gurus, you’d think that they’re always calm and content, meditating, grateful, and in balance. You get the impression that unless you’re all these things, you can’t possibly be spiritual, experience deep insights, or heaven forbid, feel joy and fulfilment.

    In reality, everyone goes through phases of darkness, anger or mourning, and we all occasionally battle ghosts from the past. It’s not just possible, but essential, to continue the journey towards greater self-actualisation and happiness through all of this. Postponing it “until you’re ready”, meaning until you’ve come to terms with absolutely everything in your past and your current life, is unrealistic and means you’ll probably never start.

    Before I say anything else, here’s a disclaimer. Self-Care is important and can heal a lot of hurt. However, if you are seriously traumatised, it won’t replace a professional therapist. I just want to be completely clear on that! What I’m suggesting here is beneficial and can help you move on. In more severe cases, it can be used in addition to therapy, but it can’t replace it.

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    Acknowledge the pain


    There are so many ways in which we experience emotional pain. Some of it is temporary: The break-up of a relationship, a difficult time with family or at work, simply feeling under the weather or having “the blues”. Other hurts are more serious and can taint our lives for months or even years.

    The most important step is to acknowledge that you’re in pain. And just because you know someone who’s been through worse, doesn’t mean that your pain is somehow not justified. If it hurts, it hurts. Sometimes there isn’t even a tangible reason. Allowing yourself to authentically feel your emotions can be such a relief, it’ll help you get through it much faster.

    Emergency care for the hurt self


    When the pain is acute, or your mood simply very low, it can be a challenge to take care of yourself in even the most basic ways. If that’s the case, it’s another thing for you to simply acknowledge. It’s okay, it happens, and it’s temporary (nobody stays at rock bottom forever!).

    Establish an emergency routine, doing only what’s absolutely necessary, such as sleeping and eating regularly. Take your time. You don’t always need to actively work on something in order to process it; your mind and soul, especially the subconscious, does a lot of that automatically. You just need a little patience, and allow yourself time to rest.

    Nourishing the soul


    The challenges we face are manifold and everyone’s got their own approach to dealing with things. You’ll find what works for you. What we all have in common is that we heal better, faster, and more cleanly if the outside conditions help with the process.

    Here are a few things you might consider.

    • Create space. Numbing yourself with work and other activities might be tempting, but in reality it only postpones the time when you’ll have to face your pain. It’s wiser to create space, pockets of time when you’re allowed to do whatever you feel like, including go to pieces.

    • Be comfortable. Small things can make a huge difference, and physical comfort is infinitely, well, comforting! Wear soft woollen socks, curl up in your favourite armchair, sit by the window or near the fireplace with a good book, enjoy fresh bed linnen. It’s easier to heal when your body is relaxed.

    • Do nothing. You don’t always have to do stuff. You’re a human being, not a human doing! Spend a day or a weekend, or at least one evening, without any particular plans. See what comes up for you, from deep inside. Cry if you must, get creative if you feel like it, but don’t feel like you “should” do any of these things.

    • Spend time in nature. Never underestimate the healing powers of nature. I recently saw a documentary which explained the chemistry behind the relaxing effect a forest has on us. Nature can calm and soothe you, and a walk in a green place often effortlessly drops an idea or solution into your brain.

    Caring for the hurt self is not only possible, but necessary. Have patience and be gentle with yourself, and you may experience a miracle.

  • Gratitude – Yawn!


    It was 2001, I’d just turned 31, and I was all fresh to the journey of personal development. I started out by reading the classics, like Napoleon Hill’s Think and grow rich, I joined internet forums (if you’re too young to remember this: it was a thing before Facebook, I swear), and I began some recommended practices for a positive mindset and success.

    The one thing every single teacher or guru recommended, was gratitude. So I dutifully started my gratitude journal, where I wrote down 5 things I was grateful for every day.

    Do you want the brutal truth? It was mind-numbingly boring. I went through the motions, came up with 5 items every day, and then quickly moved on to whatever other list I was writing at the time, such as 10 daily successes.

    It took me a while to figure out why gratitude wasn’t working for me. You see, simply “thinking” (as you do when you write something down) doesn’t quite do the trick. Gratitude is an emotion and a state of mind, and the challenge is to tap into that. Only then can we access the abundance the gurus promise.

    In the following, I’ve put together three non-sucky ways of incorporating gratitude into your life. Try them out, pick and choose, and keep what suits you. It really is worth it!

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    1. The daydream


    When you were a child, did you ever sit in a boring lesson at school and found your mind wandering to altogether more pleasant pastures? Heck, never mind school – plenty of us have done the same thing at a less-than-interesting job. I’d like to you keep this effortless daydreaming in mind when you read the following paragraphs.

    You see, “visualisation” isn’t a terribly accurate term. It implies picturing something, but I suggest doing much more than that. Just like you did in your schooltime daydreams, I want you to get into all five senses as well as the emotional state you’re imagining.

    What you’re imagining is, of course, whatever it is you’re grateful for. Instead of writing “my husband and kids and our house”, you picture a scene on a mild spring day in the garden with your family, as gratitude for your beautiful life warms you like the sunshine on your skin. In short, you paint a picture of the thing you’re grateful for.

    2. The tribunal


    If you like to challenge your mind, this one’s for you. Think of what you’re grateful for, and then imagine yourself in court, where a clever attorney is trying to get you to admit you’re not actually grateful.

    List all the reasons why you are, and don’t forget to describe the way this makes you feel. Emotions are, in fact, the best way of convincing this particular court, so feel free to lay it on thick.

    This may sound a little weird, but if you look for reasons why you feel gratitude, you also remind yourself of how much reason you really have. It’s so easy to forget otherwise!

    3. The take-a-breath


    This one’s great when you’re busy or working on something for a long time. First of all, you need to remember to take breaks (trust me, your performance will improve as well. Even and especially if you “don’t have time” for a break). At the very least, stop what you’re doing for ten seconds, look up from your work, and take a deep breath.

    As you breathe in, think of something that’s good right now. It could be the cup of coffee in front of you. Your colleague who offered help earlier. A hug from your three-year-old this morning. Just think of something, however small it is, and with the deep breath and sighing out-breath, feel your gratitude flood you.

    Gratitude: The magic key


    Gratitude is like a magic key which opens the doors to abundance, be it in love and relationships, in your interests and passions, or in material abundance. Like everything else, gratitude can become a habit if you practise it daily for at least three weeks, so I suggest you stick with your chosen practice for at least that long.

    Now, if you’re having trouble even thinking of anything to be grateful for, I suggest your passion or passions. I do hope it plays a major role in your life, because if it doesn’t, then you and I really need to talk! You are on this planet to be joyful, loving, and ecstatic. Claim what’s yours.

  • Passion Or Success?

    Pursue Your Passion, break through to success

    “Passion” is a buzz-word right now. Wherever you look, there’s another guru telling you how you need to pursue your passion above everything else. The pursuit of passion is so relentless, it can make you feel exhausted just thinking about it.

    And here I am calling myself a “Passions Priority Coach”. Why’s that?

    Well, whenever there’s a lot of hype around something, there’s usually a reason why it became so popular in the first place. Passions are a case in point. I’m far from telling you that you need to feel passionate 24/7 or else you fail at life, but I am telling you to take a good look at the amount of joy and passion present in your days. They might just be the key to a lot more things than you ever suspected.

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    What’s a “passion”, anyway?


    The way I define “passion” is simple: It’s anything that lights you up. Your passion is that thing you could do all day, that makes you forget time. You feel inspired, pumped, wired, or simply very, very content.

    Your passion could be an art or craft. It could be music, dancing, reading, writing. For some, their passion is a hobby or a particular interest they love pursuing. And remember that you don’t necessarily just have one passion. A lot of us are multi-passionate, or multi-potentialists, meaning that we have different interests which light us up, and they may change over the years.

    Passion or success/money!

    When I speak about passions, it’s easy to get agreement from people. Everybody wants to follow their passions, don’t they? It’s self explanatory.

    The reason why I’m doing the work I do, is that most people see passions as something of an afterthought. They have their work or business, which is ideally related to a passion, but it’s a serious undertaking and it has to come first. Passions are relegated to the 30 minutes on a Sunday evening when the “real” work is done.

    And that, right there, is the issue. People focus on success and “making a living” – or a fortune, even – and neglect what living is actually all about: enjoyment. Passion. Love. The moments that stay with you.

    Centre or periphery?


    You may well argue that you still need to pay the bills, and a business can make you feel fulfilled, too. You are absolutely right, of course. I’m not for one moment suggesting that you give up on the practicalities of life in favour of your passion or passions. My point is about focus.

    You see, something happens to our souls when we realise that joy, passion, the expansive feeling of doing exactly what we love most, are really what life is all about. If we start putting our main focus on our passions, a shift happens. It’s like our DNA changes, like every cell in our bodies rearranges itself in a new, lighter, joyful pattern.

    This doesn’t crowd out necessities like paying bills; on the contrary, once we have our priorities right, time seems to expand and “busy” becomes a thing of the past. I see it time and time again with my Coaching clients. They gush about co-incidences, serendipitous meetings, and new levels of success in jobs or businesses.

    The highest form of Self Care


    The truth is that catering to our passions, making them front and centre in our lives, is the ultimate act of Self Care. It leads to our filling up with joy and love, to the point where we overflow and this love seeps into everything else we do, until it permeates every area of our lives.

    Yes, this does include success, careers and businesses, especially if we love what we do. It can, however, infuse even the most menial work with a new sense of meaning and purpose. Ever since I made the shift to passions-centered living, every day has become meaningful. I no longer live for the weekend. And every time I stop to think about my life, I’m immediately flooded with a deep, heartfelt gratitude, a feeling so profound it occasionally moves me to tears.

    There’s only one feeling that beats this profound joy, and that’s witnessing the same joy grow in others. It’s why I am a Passions Coach! I can think of no greater privilege than to be around a fully realised human being, and having a hand in bringing this about is the best job I can think of.

    Remember what used to make you happy. Think of the thing you always wanted to try. When will now be the right time to pursue them? Dare it, and watch your life unfold.