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December 2016- Merry Christmas?

If you look at the TV adverts at this time of year you would not be wrong in assuming that Christmas is a time of year full of celebration and where everyone feels nothing but joyous festive feelings. But in reality this is not the case. Many people do love and enjoy the festive season but many dread it each year and for a number of different reasons.

Feeling alone:

In September I blogged about how important it is to enjoy some alone time. And it really is. But when the TV and people you encounter keep pushing the message of being with friends, family and loved ones and you know you have no one to share Christmas time with it can feel terribly lonely and depressing.

This year:

Look out for people that may be spending time alone and invite them to spend time with you. Or if you are alone 1) let people know so they have the opportunity to offer or 2) have a look in your area for what community events may be happening. There are often meals in churches and in community spaces on Christmas day.


Many look forward to all the time they get to spend at home with family but many do not. This can be the ideal brewing ground for bringing up past grievances and having petty but malicious squabbles.

This year:

Offer your friend a place to escape to should they need to at some point in the day. Let someone know that you may need a place to get away to and ask if that place can be there’s. Try not to bring up issues that may lead to arguments. If you do have any grievances with family it may be a good idea to try to talk things through now, before the turkey is on the table.


Some people feel the pressure to buy gifts for many people and expensive gifts at that. Maybe you have kids who want the latest gadgets or other people that give you a list of wants as long as your arm.

This year:

Let them know that this year you’ll be doing things differently. Make presents and cards for people to give your gifts that personal touch. Suggest that everyone just buys a present for one person so everyone gets something. Or team up with someone else to go halves on a present.

Life only comes around once, so do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile- Anon

November 2016- Can dropping the word ‘should’ make you happier?

If you are someone who speaks to yourself using the words Should, Must or Ought to then you probably find that you spend a lot of your time doing things because it feels as though not to do them would be wrong, and not always because you want to do them. Sound at all familiar? Here is something you can do this month to change that.

Think of live as being made up of things you have NO CHOICE but to do and things you do have a CHOICE about. When doing so use a very strict criteria to identify where the things in your life would sit. NO CHOICE things are things that are a matter of life and death or will result in you breaking the law and being sent to jail. These are the only things you an use the words ‘Should, Must or Ought to’ for.

CHOICE things are, well, everything else! The words to use for these things are ‘Prefer, Like or Want’. So for example, you receive an email at the start of the day and are too busy to respond straight away. Just before leaving work that night you remember and think ‘I must reply to that email!’ You are tired and hungry and want to go home. First think ‘Will anyone die or will I be arrested if I don’t reply today?’ That will help you to identify if it is a no choice or choice matter. It is most likely in this situation that you realise you have choice about replying to the email. If it is not in regards to something that needs to be attended to urgently then you have a choice about when you will reply. Reply right then because you ‘prefer, would like or want to’ or go home and leave it until the next day to respond.

Saying that you ‘prefer, would like or want to’ do something will make the task seem like less of a chore. Do this and you will find that there are very few things in life you ‘should must or ought to’ do. There are of course many things in life that it is important to get done but hopefully you will be able to engage in them with more motivation and vigour.

October 2016- Work, rest and play?

Whether you are employed, a student, a homemaker, where do your priorities lie? Do you find yourself running through the week wishing for the weekend as that is the only time you can relax? Maybe you don’t even have much of the weekend to do that either. Or do you put things off all the time and then end up rushing to get things done. Do you have to compromise on quality? Or cancel things that were planned way in advance because you haven’t managed your time well?

These 3 tips will help you manage your time more effectively.

  1. Ask the question: Why am I choosing to do this right now?-Is it a sense of obligation? Fulled by expectations of others? Or is it because it is something you really want to do and enjoy doing? Check in with yourself about whether or not what you are doing needs to be done right now or if it can wait.
  2. Ask the question: What are you missing out on by doing this right now?– Are you sacrificing something else that is is more important, more essential? Can what you are doing wait?
  3. Write a list of pros and cons of carrying out the task right there and then. But don’t this from a short term perspective. We can easily justify or excuse our behaviour in terms of how we are feeling or what others maybe be thinking if we base it in the here and now. But what about in the future? A weeks time, 2 months, a year. Is choosing to do something now going to help you in the future?

‘There is no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices and you make them, and they have consequences’ – Jack Welch

September 2016- Alone, not lonely

Are you someone who dreads the end of the day because you know you’ll be at home, sat alone, with no one to keep you company? Does the idea of being alone instantly fill you with fear? Many people hate being alone. It can reconfirm ideas of not being liked enough by others, being the bottom of others priority lists and can lead to long sessions of self-criticism, self-pity and self-loathing. The dictionary definition of lonely is ‘sad because one has no friends or company’. The dictionary definition of alone is ‘having no one else present; on one’s own’. You may be on your own but you do no need to dwell in loneliness! If you see your time alone as ‘me time’ it can become an enjoyable and sought after time. Try seeing being alone as a chance to check in with yourself; your goals your desires, your progress. Try seeing being alone as a time to do things you really enjoy without interruption; reading, crafts, listening to music, watching your favourite TV show, catching up on much needed sleep. Just because you do not have people with you 24/7 it does not mean you have no friends or that your friends don’t really like you. Maybe when you find yourself with time on your hands and no plans to fill that time being with others, it is because they are too busy enjoying their alone time! Start to think about the ways you can fill your alone time with things that make you happy and you may just start to enjoy it!

‘You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with’ -Dr Wayne Dyer

August 2016- Choose Happiness

Too often we allow the happenings of a day or the thoughts about how the day will be to determine our mood state. We wake in the morning and think ‘Ugh I have to go to X and do X today’ or we say ‘I can’t believe X happened today. That ruined my whole day!’ and we allow that to then leave us feeling anxious, angry, annoyed, sad…a number of emotions that aren’t fun to experience! But what if I told you that your mood state can be changed simply by choosing to change it? Research in the field of positive psychology shows that it is possible to choose how you feel. So why not choose happiness? Focus on the positives; the things you are thankful and grateful for, no matter how small. Focus on the things that make you smile and then… SMILE! This is a surefire way to lift your mood. So, despite what may be going on around you, try at least once a day this month to smile as a result of genuine gratitude and you’ll have genuine happiness in your life on a daily basis.

‘Happiness is always a choice. You can’t wait for circumstances to get better. You have to create your own good fortune. So look for ways to be happy every day.’ Joel Osteen

July 2016- Embracing change

One thing that is unavoidable, inevitable and a constant in life is change! Think about that. One thing you can always rely on in life is that things will change. If you find change difficult to manage then you’re going to find the journey of life a hard one. Why do we struggle so much when things around us change? Well change, can bring uncertainty and many of us struggle with the unknown. We like to know what is happening, exactly how it is happening and when, and then and only then do we feel we have some sort of control. And feeling in control makes us feel safe. But change can be a good thing! If you view change as a new beginning; a chance to try something new, learn something new about yourself or others, a time to learn and identify your strengths and weakness and  a time for improvement then you can learn to embrace change. Go with it, not against it and it makes the transition easier for you.

“The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance” Alan Watts