9 Things You Can Practise to Make Your Life Better NOW and as we re-emerge

The Power of Pause
This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. We had no idea our ‘world’ would be confined to our homes! It is also is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is – and how much we need human connection! It is also an opportunity to accept the power of pause; to do some inner research; search for new insights and perspectives and to focus on BEING human and taking time to breathe which is our life.
Remember also, you are never alone. What is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your mum, neighbour, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar. And although it is a common experience, it will also be a very personal experience.

However, I think it is important to remember:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” Viktor E. Frankl
This is the challenge each of us must rise to! Have you found your way to emerge, yes different, but why not better?

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Here Are 9 Things You Can Practise to Make Your Life Better NOW and as we re-emerge:
1) Accept what is and Be in the moment:
We often spend too much of our energy wishing things were different or resisting what is. And even though you may not want how life is, it is happening and in acceptance we immediately put ourselves in a position of control. Also, In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.
This tip is about accepting what is and being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practising BEING. You will gain very little by fast forwarding and worrying about another winter lockdown, except rob yourself of the now!
This is a PRACTICE – meaning you will have to do it over and over again – bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it’s a great skill to have, anytime in life.
So, when you notice you’re worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the “latest” thing to be worried and concerned about, say to yourself, “It’s OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK.” You can also add or say, “In this moment, my partner/children/husband/family/friends are safe.”

2) Create Healthy, Supportive Routines
When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do these days), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.
While we’re all at home working, it’s easy to lose our sense of time. Days are blending into each other. A routine gives us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives and a sense of normality. The best advice is to have a morning and bedtime routine and make sure there is time for rest and recovery in whatever you do
Your morning routine sets you up for success:
• the pomodoro technique as a way to achieve your objective and take care of your wellbeing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique
Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.
It’s also important to recognise weekends because it’s too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:
• Sleeping in/later bedtime
• Brunch
• “Treats”
• Movie night with popcorn
• A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues
• A larger project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening or home redecoration.
So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it’s important for you, for us all to have predictability.

3) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!
Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!
So, add some physical activity into your schedule – as little as 15 minutes daily. Soon you’ll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups!
There are many options to boost your physical strength and health.
• Take up a yoga practice – excellent for strength-building, flexibility – and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. Sarah Beth Yoga on YouTube has more (free) yoga videos than I can count.
• Learn do a press-up or push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more – depending on where you start)!
• There are so many online fitness classes on YouTube – for beginners, experts – with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever. REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!

4) Learn with Non-Fiction Books:
Educate yourself with non-fiction books. There is so much to be gained – like self-confidence, negotiation skills, health (sleep, nutrition), how to have difficult conversations and much more.
What keeps you up at night? There’s probably a book about that! What do you wish you were better at? There’s probably a book about that too!
Here are some book ideas to get you thinking:
• Be more productive or creative with “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore or “A Whack on the Side of the Head (How You Can Be More Creative)” by Roger Von Oech and “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink.
• Think (or rethink?) how you live with books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (also available in a young reader’s version), “Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures” by Carlo Petrini,
• Get personally inspired with “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts” and “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, or “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl.
• Up-skill yourself with “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen.
• Learn about the human mind with “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell or “The Whole Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD.
• Get healthier with “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker PhD.
• Be more confident and discover your strengths with “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman” or “Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage)” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.
• Finally, read a memoir! Choose someone you admire, get inspired and learn how other people think – and live their lives.
Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills – and maybe even open up paths you hadn’t even dreamt of!

5) Explore your Life Vision:
Rather than watching endless news streams and mindless TV, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture – your future. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years?
Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action and make change. Soon, we’ll all be super-busy again – and a vision might be just what you need stay focused!
Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:
• What do you desire or yearn for in your life?
• How do you want to feel?
• What do you really, really want to be different in your life?
• What would have happened in 3 years time such that your life is spectacular, and you feel magnificent about yourself?
• What’s your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you’re 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you proud and happy?
TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don’t limit yourself and your ideas because you don’t believe something is likely. Instead believe it’s possible – and even if you don’t get all the way there, you may get close – or even find something better along the way!
And if you’d like some help with creating a vision for your life, I offer Life Visioning Sessions. Just email me [email protected] me here to set this up.

6) Start a Journal!
If you’ve always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It’s a great way to get to know you.
It’s great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
• Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
• One big thing I have learned about myself during this is _________.
• I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
• One thing that’s surprised me recently is _________.
• What matters most to me in life is _________.
• Describe your ideal day _________.
“A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived.” Lynda Monk

7) Be Kind! To yourself and others
Kindness and compassion are one of the most powerful tools any of us have in our toolbox right now. Many of us fear that you or a loved one might actually catch the COVID virus! So, of course we’re going to feel unpleasant and weird.
• Use kindness to comfort yourself when afraid or feeling anxious or fidgety. Be gentle. Imagine you’re soothing a friend, small child or animal who is afraid – what would you say to them? Then say that to yourself!
• Use kindness to give yourself – and others – the benefit or the doubt. Instead of getting upset when you see other people behaving badly, remember that we all do silly things when we’re scared.
• Imagine you have a kind, wise self. A part of you that is unflappable, intelligent and unconditionally loves ALL of you. Now, when you need it, imagine that kind, wise self is with you, supporting you, maybe giving you a hug – and saying exactly what you need to hear (not just the sugary stuff, but also the tough love and common sense).

8) Live Your Values
When we know your values, we understand what motivates and drives us. When we build our lives around our values, we create a life that is meaningful. Finally, when we align our actions with our values – we’re being truly authentic. It’s a very satisfying and fulfilling way to live.
And living your values could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now.
Here’s an exercise you can do:
• List your values on a piece of paper or in your journal.
• Give each value a score ___ / 10 as to how well you are living that value in your life now (where 0 is not at all and 10 is full-out).
• For the scores that are 8 or more – great!
• For the scores that are 7 or less out of 10, ask yourself, “How could I express this value more in my life right now?” “What could I do differently or approach differently, so that I feel good about how I live this value in my life?”
For example: You have a value of creativity, but you’re only managing to ‘go through the motions’ right now and your score is 4/10. Ask yourself how you could be more creative during this time – whether it’s cooking, gardening, sewing, art or writing or even watching a documentary about someone creative you admire…
If you don’t know your values, now is a great time to learn. I offer a Values Kickstart Session or Values Review Session here. Just get in touch [email protected] to set this up.”

9) Begin a Meditation Practice
Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to calm us, help us be more creative and be happier (for starters). It’s extremely beneficial.
There is a lot to learn about meditation – and it’s called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it’s also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day – and it’s good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on “Meditation for Beginners” or go to Youtube or Google and search for “How to Meditate”. Another good place to start is “Metta” or “Loving Kindness” meditation. Again, search online and you’ll have lots of options to choose from.
It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions – which many of us don’t have at the moment. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead.
Another idea is to listen to a sleep meditation or “Body Scan Meditation” before going to sleep.
I personally love the Calm app for all of the above

By practising these rituals now it means going forward you can re-emerge feeling better and more connected to who you really want to be and living your life the way you wish to live it.
So, which of the above ideas resonated with you? The areas I am focusing on are journaling.I am finding it a great way to connect more deeply with myself, a way to get in touch what I really want without thinking how/who I SHOULD be. I am also truly benefitting from having a meditation practice which is very basic and a work in progress but it really does bring a sense of control and grounds me in the moment.
Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what – you’ll find a way.
This current and strange situation is ending and will end. And when it does, you’ll be glad you made the effort!

I’m an inner beauty coach. I work with women who are feeling disconnected, stuck or have lost their sparkle to fall back in love with themselves and life to become a happier, healthier more empowered version of themselves, inside and out. I help you connect and build your inner confidence, courage, strength and compassion to live life your way, create a new path forward and let the real you shine through. If you’d like to learn more about how I might be able to support you, pop over to my website, https://www.inshineout.com and book in for a complimentary consult.

#1 Essential Habit for Happiness & Success.

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Our total wellbeing is THE most important asset we will ever have in terms of our ability to live a happy and successful life. Yet it is often the asset we invest in the least. So what I am about to share with you helps when things go wrong, in times of challenge, or when you have messed up. Or also if you signed up for the life will go swimmingly until the day I die plan and it hasn’t quite tuned out that way!

It is a habit which is 100% in your control and used by most successful people in life. “What is it?”, I hear you say. My guess is that you actually know what it is but you may not have learnt how to use it effectively for yourself just yet!!

Imagine if you will, a dear friend who is having a hard time, struggling in some way, feeling bad about themselves. Now think about how you would respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you are at your best). Think about what you’d do, the types of words you’d choose, your tone of voice, physically how you’d portray that you are there for them in this challenging time. You’ve got the picture.

Now think about times when you are struggling, have made a mistake or are feeling bad about yourself. How do you typically respond to yourself – tone, words, doing and showing it physcially?

Hands up, metaphorically of course, is there a difference between the 2 for you? When I’m with an audience, almost 100% of hands go up, every time, no matter who the audience is. It’s great news if you would have put your hand up… it means you already know the habit and have the basic skills needed to practice it.

So what is the habit…. showing compassion. However, the real skill is learning to direct this kindness and care towards yourself, instead of only toward others! Showing SELF COMPASSION.

There are 3 simple components:

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Self kindness, Common humanity, Mindfulness

When we learn to apply this to ourselves we reap the benefits of less stress, anxiety, helplessness and depression. We gain more confidence and ability to help ourselves as well as greater life satisfaction.There has been lots of research on this, it’s taught in the U.S army! I am reliably informed they call it strength training, which it is…. inner strength training.

So how can we build our inner strength muscle? Well, first let go of the belief that it is self pity, self indulgent or a weakness. The number 1 block is people think it will undermine their motivation.That isn’t going to happen. In fact as you practise you develop the confidence to try more, go further, step way out of your comfort zone and really go after what you truly want in life. Hence a great habit to develop if you want to be successful, happy or both. In my mind they are different but that is a topic for another day!!

How do I develop my self compassionate response ?

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*Be open to the possibility of being more self compassionate in your mind

*Become aware of your critical self talk and challenge yourself to be your “own best friend”

*Use a light word, a comforting hand on your body, on your heart

*Take a deep breath

*Allow yourself to be having a hard time with this right now, this too shall pass

*Develop a mantra to support yourself – something Friendly, Understanding, Caring and Kind

“This is tough right now, I’m not alone, others experience this too, may I be kind to myself right now”

With time you will become much more courageous, resilient, may be even bolder and braver. But even if you don’t, life will definitely get easier!

If you like what you are reading here why not pop along to my website and read more

Blog | InShineOut or sign up to my free ” Managing the mental distraction”

I’m an inner beauty coach I work with women who are feeling disconnected, stuck or have lost their sparkle to fall back in love with themselves and life to become a happier, healthier more empowered version of themselves, inside and out.I help you connect and build your inner confidence, courage,strength and compassion to live life your way, create a new path forward and let the real you shine through. If you’d like to learn more about how I might be able to support you,pop over to my website, https://www.inshineout.com and book in for a complimentary consult.

My day of reflection

Yesterday we took time out to reflect on the year we have just had in a pandemic. A year that no-one imagined ever living through. Like everything in life there are stories of heartache, bravery, courage, and amazing acts of kindness, caring, dedication and resilience. Today is my day of reflection as 5 years ago today, 24 March, 2016, when I thought the world was my oyster, my world came crashing down round me. 3 words you have cancer and life has never been the same since. But it is not all doom and gloom. Although those chemo days are still scarred in my mind and my body shows the scars of the illness too, I try to look on them now as signs of resilience and bravery. I use them to help me to always have hope because as “hope is the only thing stronger than fear” This is something we must hold onto at the moment and not allow ourselves to be consumed by fear.

Here I am, 5 years later and I am so grateful as many did not get that chance. I take joy in the little things in life and do all I possibly can to encourage people to live their one and only life in a way that’s meaningful for them. If you don’t like your situation change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude. Ask for help, know you are not alone and always be kind as you never know what a person is going through. Not all scars are visible.So no matter where you are now, believe you can be in a better place in months or years from now. The people and friends I lost along the way, I’m thinking of all of you today. And in particular my dear friend Becky. I’ll keep trying to follow your advice to “always leave a little sparkle wherever you go”

How rearranging your furniture will give you a renewed outlook!

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I spent a lot of time at the weekend staring out the window as the sun shone in and the evenings stretched that little bit longer and observed how my mood had lifted and I was feeling lighter. Everywhere things were budding and bursting into life. At the same time I started to notice how our home was in need of a real spruce up too. The change in the light was also telling tales of the long winter we’d just come through.

Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

So we decided to “burst” into life and go on a major springclean. There was no doubt something extremely therapeutic and uplifting about decluttering, washing tiles and cleaning windows. Believe me, this is NOT normally a chore I enjoy or is EVER top of my list but there was something different and refreshing about the whole thing. I’m wondering if, even though spring is always a time for reemerging, perhaps this year it has taken on a more significant meaning. Coupled with the roadmap out of lockdown perhaps hope really does spring eternal. 

We went a stage further and following a conversation about how we might change the layout out of the room.We got to action and trust me, just moving the furniture around gave us a total new outlook.It felt that we had drawn a line, the same room look completely different, almost “new” and we felt energised.

So my advice would be to get into springclean mode with your life, physically mentally and emotionally. Detox and declutter, it’s all the same thing. In fact “clutter” is derived from a 15th Century English word – clotter – a variant of clot? The word clot has described collections of dead bodies, cats (presumably stray ones), narrow, crooked, dark and dirty lanes and spiders, go figure!! 

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Clutter is mentally toxic and has a habit of expanding until eventually the whole environment is draining. It then impacts the beauty and comfort of your environment, but also impacting how you feel sucking precious energy as you feel stuck, guilty, disorganised, embarrassed or incompetent. Think about how good you feel when you clear out those dead plants, the outdated files and “useful” notes from the fridge or your office walls, when you clear out your wardrobe, or put your filing away and move the sofa!.

And while clutter is often thought of as physical, things you can see and touch, clutter can also be mental: unresolved conflict, decisions not made, actions not taken, a lack of clarity and ruminating around our goals. A cluttered mind is often physically represented in our lives – but not always…

Spring is the perfect time to review, refocus and get a fresh outlook. As our longer days return and we have more sunshine, it’s a great time to get re-energised. So where are you flagging and where would some inspiration and clarity freshen up your motivation?

Here are 10 Spring Themed Questions and Journal Prompts to Freshen up Life:

  1. What would a “Spring Clean” of your LIFE look like for you?
  2. What are the cobwebs that need sweeping away so that you can appreciate the beauty of your life?
  3. What are you procrastinating over? Where do you need to “freshen up” your attitude?
  4. What needs physically spring cleaning in your life? (eg. your office, filing, wardrobe, hairstyle, kitchen, garden)
  5. What’s cluttering your mind? What needs mentally spring cleaning in your life? (eg. your marketing or business plan, your finances/taxes, your goals, relationships)
  6. What’s zapping your energy (eg. unresolved conflicts, unmade decisions, fears/worries, a lack of clarity)
  7. In what areas of your life do you need to take a breath of fresh air?
  8. What do you need to let go of and clear up so that you can spring forward?
  9. WHO do you need to let go of? Who is draining you?
  10. In your life, what glares accusingly at you? (however big or small, if something glares at you it’s time to do something about it!)

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

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If you like what you are reading here why not pop along to my website and read more

Blog | InShineOut or sign up to my free downlaod on managing the mental ditraction

I’m an inner beauty coach and I work with people who have been riding the “rollercoaster of life” who are ready to do things a different way, to do it their way. I help you connect and build your inner confidence, courage,strength and compassion to live life your way, create a new path forward and let the real you shine through. If you’d like to learn more or how I might be able to support you then pop over to my website, https://www.inshineout.com and book in for a complimentary consult.

8 Nourishing Ways to Celebrate Self Love on Valentine’s day

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Going back as far as primary school when THE big question was how many cards did you get, Valentine’s day has always been a day loaded with meaning. Right? It was important, somehow a statement about you! My birthday is 2 days after so back then I think I would suggest that a few cards had gotten lost in the post and turned up late!! It took on more importance in the teenage years, even more an indication of your loveability, beauty and popularity! And to top it all, as someone who didn’t get married until I was 41, I spent alot of my late 20’s and 30’s in that Bridget Jones space on Valentine’s day, you know the single one. I’d always get asked about ‘the boyfriend’, in fact can you believe, I was actually asked in an interview(by a man) why I wasn’t married as I was a very pretty young woman!!!! People would say things like you’re high maintenance, too fussy, a career woman and you know, I think that at some subconscious level I did buy into that story, the story there was something wrong with me.

I now know how wrong I was and the only way to stop buying into the stories is to do your own inner work and connect with who you truly are from the inside out. As I have gone on this journey this day has now taken on an equally important aspect for me that I think applies to everyone, that of self love. Yes Valentine’s Day is an occasion when couples celebrate romantic love. However, I think it is also important to make it a day for self-love too. After all, didn’t Whitney Houston once sing, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all“?

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I believe we all have to cultivate self-love, whether you are single or attached. It’s nice to be able to share the day with a loved one but I think you should also allocate a bit of time nurturing your own soul. Part of my own self love journey was enquiring what a romantic relationship would give me that I didn’t have and then being curious about what ways I already had this in my life .The obvious answer was love and then I realised I had that in abundance and in so many different forms. I then thought, well that’s good to know and if it turns up in the shape of a life partner, great, if not I’m still all good. Ironically when I got to this place of acceptance , it wasn’t long after that I met the one! Funny that.

So personally I feel that it is far more helpful to think of February 14 as a great day for self-love and invite you to join in! Make it a day for you to go inwards and cultivate self love, single or married. Loving yourself completely and unconditionally is when your true beauty radiates out into the world. While complete self-love is a life time work and every day affair, February 14 can be a day to remind us all about its importance! There is another upside- no need to fork out for expensive, overpriced flowers and meals. Believe me the more you nurture yourself, the more love you have to give to others! It could well be a day that you do less and be more too!

And so, just for Valentine’s Day, it helps to have some nice nurturing activities planned. Do things that lift you up in the body, mind and spirit! Here’s my top 8 suggestions…

1.Make a Gratitude List.
No matter your relationship status. Remind yourself of all of the good in your life by making a gratitude list. Choose 20 things you love about your life just as it is and reflect on how they fulfill you. Write about why each of the people, places, and things you’ve selected make you feel happy and whole.

2.Create a set of loving affirmations for yourself .Here are some examples:
I choose to love myself and appreciate my inner beauty.I cherish my mind, body and soul.
I choose to always be myself and let that be enough
I am loved and I am loveable.

3.Light some candles, make your room cosy, put on some music and meditate. Spoil yourself with your favourite film or meal.

4.Read a meaningful self-help book such as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. or Good Vibes Good Life by Vex King

5. Spend the day in aromatherapy. Work on releasing emotions and uplifting your spirit.

6. Pack a picnic, go outdoors and connect with nature .

7.Listen to a podcast of your choice, try Ferne Cotton’s Happy Place. It’s real

8. Dress to Impress… Yourself.
When you look your best, you’re sure to feel your best! This Valentine’s Day, wear an outfit that makes you feel confident. Be brave and pull out that dress that makes you feel like the stunner you are, dust off those heels you love, but never wear, and top it all off with your favourite accessories.

” Its not your job to like me, its mine” Bryan Katie

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If you like what you are reading here why not pop over www.inshineout.com to read some more

If you are ready to boost your self love in a personalised, meaningful way get in touch to learn all about my Self Love Booster Coaching package which moves you from stuck and not feeling the love to positive action, restoration and fulfilment

Email me at [email protected]

The Top 10 Ways To Build Self Love

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world” Lucille Ball

It’s February and all thoughts turn to Valentine’s day and love, yet how many of us are thinking about the relationship we have with ourselves? How many of us are intentional and purposeful about nurturing and appreciating this relationship? This relationship is one of the most, in fact to my mind, THE most important relationship and yet, more often than not, the one we pay the least attention to. Or the one that, if it were possible, we’d ditch ourselves ‘cos there is not a lot of love going on!! Self- love is the number one secret to a happy life because wherever you go there you are

So as cheesy as the term may sound and it might make you screw your face up as it seems just a little bit self indulgent, then think again. Learning to love yourself is one of the most powerful and important things you can do in life. Your heart is your power and when you become the source of your own love in your life, it changes everything. Your relationships, your career, your confidence, your health, your happiness – they all flourish when you start to love yourself.

What do we mean by self love?

It’s about accepting yourself fully and unconditionally, it’s about treating yourself with the kindness and respect you deserve. It is about having high regard for your own well being and happiness. It allows you to nurture your own growth and wellbeing. When you hold yourself in high esteem, from there you are more likely to make healthy choices. And it does not mean you feel positive all the time, it does not mean you don’t mess up, it does not mean you don’t fail. But when you do, you do for yourself exactly what you would with someone you love dearly. We’ve all been angry with someone we love at some stage but the love we have for them informs how we forgive them, consider their feelings, meet their needs and make decisions that supports them,

So what if I don’t learn to love myself – guys it’s not pretty! Without it, you are highly self critical, fall into people pleasing and perfectionism. You tolerate people who mistreat you, you neglect yourself. Self love is the ultimate foundation in a happy and fulfilling life.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” Oscar Wilde

How do I practise it?

Exactly that practise! It can be challenging for many of us, especially when we face serious challenges. It’s not about being self-absorbed or narcissistic, it’s about getting in touch with ourselves, our well-being and our happiness. We practice self-love so we can push through our limiting beliefs and live a life that truly shines. It is also individual so figuring out what it means for you, is critical to your wellbeing. A great place to start is reading and here’s a book that has blown me away recently Good Vibes, Good Life

Take action too, do yourself a favour, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and begin to consciously practice some of the following:

1.Start each day by telling yourself something positive about yourself – how you handled a situation, how nice you look, something you are proud of yourself for.

2.Move your body every single day and learn to love the skin you’re in. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself

3.Spend time around people who uplift, support you, encourage you and make you want to show up as your best self

4.You are not your thoughts or feelings so don’t believe everything you think or feel to be fact. We all have an inner critic trying to keep us “safe” but in the process is not being very loving towards us and keeping us small.


5.Stop the comparisons.There is no one like you and that is your superpower

6.Celebrate your wins no matter how big or small. Pat yourself on the back for progress and effort along the way

7.Take time for yourself each day. Breathe in and out, clear your mind of your thoughts and just be.

8.Learn to say no. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, in fact, sometimes it makes you a smart person.

9.Forgive yourself. You know that thing you did one time (or maybe a few times) that made you feel bad, embarrassed, ashamed? It’s time to let that go. You can’t change the things you have done in the past but you can control your future. Look at it as a learning experience and believe in your ability to change.

10.Treat others with love and respect. It makes us feel better about ourselves when we treat others the way we hope to be treated. That doesn’t mean everybody will always repay the favour, but that’s their problem not yours.

Be patient and persistent with yourself. Self-love is forever evolving. It’s something that needs to be practised daily and can take a lifetime to master. So be kind and support yourself through the hard times. Most of all have fun! Get out there and do the things that make your heart sing. Enjoy them, enjoy being you and enjoy your incredible life.

If you liked this blog you may find more inspiration and ideas here The Essential Life Mantra | InShineOut

How the humble brussel sprout taught me a valuable lesson going into 2021!

For those of you repulsed by the brussel sprout, I hate to mention these “little green balls of hell”, at least that’s what my husband thinks they are. I,on the other hand, do like them and this Christmas they taught me a valuable lesson: a lesson about being able to let go and how to approach 2021 open to the possibility of what can emerge when we do.

How I hear you say? Well, like all of us, Covid Christmas 2020 was going to be “different”. In embracing the difference, we decided to have steak for Christmas dinner. I insisted that the brussels would still feature! Now I knew due to childhood trauma of having to eat your greens, Rich absolutely hates them. I also had a fair idea they probably weren’t going to be the most creative enhancement for our alternative Christmas dinner! Still I bought them anyway and yes they ended up being thrown as they rotted away in the veggie drawer.

You see I could not let go of the picture I had of what makes Christmas, even though a brussel sprout free menu was unfolding before my very eyes. Even though it was time to let go of that picture to make way for something new, I struggled. Only when I saw them rotting in the fridge, did I wish I had fully embraced what was happening and let them go with dignity at the time!

So as we all begin a new year creating visions,goals, planning and strategising, can I also encourage you to be able to let go. Remember to allow for life unfolding with unexpected twists and turns: (after all, who would have planned the year we just had):a new idea; an unforeseen opportunity; something off plan. I’m not saying you should not plan, on the contrary. I am all for it. Life will happen, so it is important to plan for what you would like to have happen. However, planning exactly how life should be can get in the way if we do not let go, if we are too rigid to acknowledge what is happening before us. So stay open, allow the sense of the unknown not to be a place of fear but an exciting place, a place of possibility and a place for a different story to emerge. Keep in mind the brussel sprout lesson of the power of letting go, after all there may be greater things waiting fo you. By the way our Christmas dinner was fabulous and washed down with an quality red wine we had a blissful, peaceful, loving, very Christmassy Christmas day.

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If you are ready to create a new way and stay open to the possibility of what will be, please get in touch Contact and lets have a chat to get you started on that journey.

Genuine Happiness comes from Within

Life isn’t always the sweetest candy. Sometimes, when you feel like the world is just too heavy, you look around and find people who continue to live fascinating and wonderful lives. And then thoughts come popping into your mind like bubbles from nowhere – “How did their life become so adorably easy? How come they still can manage to laugh and play around despite a busy stressful life?” This is the time to pause and observe for a while… you’ll figure something out… that maybe they have started to work on a place called “self”.
So, how do you become genuinely happy?

Step 1 is to love yourself.
A theology professor once said that “loving means accepting.” To love oneself means to accept that you are not a perfect being, but behind the imperfections lies the courage to be able to discover ways on how to improve your repertoire to recover from setbacks, obstacles and mistakes.

Genuine happiness also links to contentment. When you are content with the job you have, the way you look, with your family, your friends, the place you live in, your car, and all the things you have NOW – truly, you know the answer to the question “how to be genuinely happy.”

When we discover a small start somewhere from within, that small start will eventually lead to something else, and to something else. But if you keep questioning life like it has never done you any good, you will never be able to find genuine happiness.

I believe that life is about finding out about right and wrong, trying and failing, winning and losing. These are things that happen as often as you inhale and exhale. Failure, in a person’s life has become as abundant and necessary as air. But this should not hinder us from becoming happy.

How to be genuinely happy in spite all these? I tell you… every time you exert effort to improve the quality of your life and your being, whether it is helping a friend, taking care of your sick dog, failing exams and trying again, life gives you equivalent points for that.
Imagine life as a big score board like those used in the sporting arenas. Every time you take a step forward, you score points. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at that board at the end of each game and think to yourself “Whew! I got points today. I’m glad I gave it a shot.”, instead of looking at it all blank and murmur “Bummer, I didn’t even hit a score today. I wish I had the guts to try. We could have won!” and then walk away.

Genuine happiness isn’t about driving the hottest Formula 1 car, nor getting the employee of the year award, earning the highest pay, or beating the sales quota. Sometimes, the most sought after prizes in life doesn’t always go to the fastest, the strongest, the bravest or not even the best. So, how do you become genuinely happy? Every one has their own definition of “happiness”. What makes you happy may be another’s idea of hell. It is up to you to figure out what brings you true happiness.

So, really now, how do we become genuinely happy? Simple. You don’t have to have the best things in this world. It’s about doing and making the best out of every single thing. When you find yourself smiling at your own mistakes and telling yourself “Oh, I’ll do better next time”, you carry with you a flame of strong willpower to persevere that may spread like a fire. You possess a willingness to stand up again and try – that will make you a genuinely happy person.

When you learn to accept yourself and your own faults. You pass step 1 in the project “how to become genuinely happy”. For as long as you know how to accept others, you will also be accepted. For as long as you love and know how to love, you will receive love ten folds back.

Again, ask me that same question “how to become genuinely happy?”. I’ll refer you to a friend of mine who quoted- “Most of us know that laughter is the best medicine to life’s aches and pain. But most of us don’t know that the best kind of laughter is laughter over self. Because then you don’t just become happy you become free.”

A Look In The Mirror

That’s all it takes to change the world. Take a long hard look in the mirror and really notice who you are.

We’re all screaming for peace right now – not just world peace – but peace in our towns and cities, in our workplaces, in our homes and in our minds. There has to be a better way to deal with this madness.

We need a new way of doing things. Yet we seem to be stuck in outdated modes of thought that have not been working. For if they did, we wouldn’t be in the predicaments we are in now. The past will keep repeating itself until we make a conscious choice to go in a new direction.

Going in a new direction begins inside of you, of me, and of us as individuals. Until we change as individuals, only then can the world change.

One of my favorite quotes is from Mahatma Gandhi – ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ So to have world peace we have to look in the mirror. Take a look and try to find the peace you’re searching for in your heart.

If you can’t find it ask yourself why. It’s not missing – it’s been there with you all along waiting for you to begin your search within. Peace isn’t hard to find at all. You just have to dig from underneath all of the rubble – fear and anger. Once you push the fear and anger to the side peace will be in plain view.

When you find the peace in your heart you start to exude it. It becomes infectious. Joy soon follows and a sense of calm is not too far behind. All of this from one good look in the mirror. One hard look at who you really are. That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.

And it’s easy to pass it on. Remind your loved ones to find their peace within. They’ll know it can be done because they would have seen the transformation in you. Be a walking example of peace and watch how it spreads.

When others come to you full of fear and anger remember the peace within yourself and gently remind them that no matter how bad it gets it will eventually work itself out for the best.

We get what we dwell upon so if we keep our thoughts based on fear and anger that’s what we’ll continue to get. Instead let’s focus on peace – peace within ourselves and let these thoughts multiply. Remember, be the change you want to see – so be peaceful within your heart and watch your world begin to mirror that.

Sharon James


The Essential Life Mantra

Life is tough for everyone at the moment in so many different ways. We are having a common experience and also a personal experience. One of the things this pandemic has made us all aware of, simultaneously, is the suffering and challenges in “living” life. The fact is, with or without a pandemic, there is always someone going through a tough time or facing a tough day. Tough might be an understatement but you get my drift.

Life does not always go swimmingly or according to plan. Sometimes it just does not pan out the way you hoped at all. I don’t mean to be a pessimist but, in life, there is inevitable suffering. There are amazing highs and the equal and opposite lows. I’m sure you all can relate to personal setbacks, loss, heartbreak, illness or pain you or your loved ones have or are going through. So if there is one mantra I would love everyone in this world to embrace and perhaps even believe, it is this…

“You have everything you need within you”

“Me? ” ……. “Yes, you!” Deep within us all is a well, a well where you can lower the bucket and scoop up what you need to create the life you want or to cope with whatever life throws at you. A well full of strength, courage, compassion, trust, love, ability to face the world. It is true that sometimes you have to lower the bucket quite far to access it. This is because life will life. At times it seems it’s not there, that the source has dried up, It might not be easy to access it, but it is there. You see we get cut off sometimes from our true essence and source by layers of fear and ego.

The answers are within you. Turn and look inwards, tune into your deep intuition, wisdom and knowing. There you will find all the guidance, belief and confidence you need to take you forwards in life. Let go of the need to look outside for the answers, they are not your answers. “Really they might know better”, I hear you say. “No” because they are not you, nor living your life. You don’t need anyone’s validation or approval, you can find it in you. Sure, look to others as sources of inspiration to fill the well but do not let it be a comparison to prove that you are not enough or to beat yourself up with. You are enough. And when you do let go and trust in yourself, it is surprising that within your grasp is calm, peace and serenity.

You can get access your intuition, your gut feeling and learn to recognise its power. In the tuning in and in the silence through reflection, meditation, journalling, listening, feeling, you can get in touch with how you really feel. You can hear your heart and soul speak about your heartfelt wants and desires. You can even find the answers to most of your problems or challenges in life.

Use this mantra as if it is your inner self giving you some important life advice –

“Everything you need is already within you”

And in the wise words of life guru, Winnie the Pooh, believe that…

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If you are ready to turn inwards and would like a partner by your side as you tap into that inner well or resource and start shining inside and out then, please get in touch Contact. I offer complimentary consults to see if I am the right coach to take you on the journey.

Survive to Thrive in 6 Vital Steps

Is it really possible to pull yourself out of a tough time and instead of just surviving and coping with a situation, be able to return to a place of thriving and going beyond what you thought possible? Simple answer, in my humble opinion, yes! It doesn’t mean it is easy to do but it is possible. I want to share with you the 6 key steps that have worked for me to overcome life challenges and return to a thriving place again.

When you face a challenging situation, crisis or trauma you go into survival mode and your flight or fight brain gets activated. Survive, that is all it is about. While this is life saving in the moment, it is meant to be short lived. If you get stuck in survival mode for long episodes, it is detrimental to your total wellbeing.

This is my return to thrive strategy designed in response to the life challenges I have faced. This was most recently tested as I recovered from cancer treatment, a massive test for the strategy! I wondered if I would ever feel alive again, have the passion and energy for life that had been fuelling me up until then. Through it I was literally putting one foot in front of the other:1 breath, 1 step at a time. But eventually with a lot of self care, belief and a strategy to boot, like the lotus flower “we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world again” So when you are faced with what seems like an insurmountable challenge be it an illness, a world pandemic, a relationship breakup, a job loss, or business failure you have 3 choices: you can let it define; let it destroy you; or let it strengthen you. I choose strengthen and this is how.


A biggy! Wishing things were different is a futile exercise which leaves you drained and disempowered. It doesn’t mean agreement or happy about the situation you find yourself in. No, it is simply accepting what is. This is your thrive starting point. By mentally shifting into a place of accepting, you move yourself into a place of control and power again. Give some thought to what you are resisting and fighting and what to accept rather than ignore, avoid, suppress or deny.


This is all about practising self care and compassion, which is vital to fuel your recovery. And it is treating yourself like you would your best friends. Supporting, looking after yourself , talking to yourself the way you would those people you love dearly. In tough times being mean and hard on yourself does not help nor work! I know you have the tools because its the same as being gentle and kind to a child, a best friend or even a stranger, so do it for yourself


This gives you something to aim for so make it a motivating picture of a future you would like to create for yourself again. Your brain loves to have pictures to subconsciously go after. In my opinion we spend a lot of time imagining an awful future and acting as though it will come true, so why not flip it and work on creating a future you would like to move towards. It can be 1month from now, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. You decide.


Do not underestimate how, step by step, you travel far. Your vision may seem far off. Mine did. In all honesty it was not in my control. I could not control the cancer but I worked on all the other things that were 100% in my control. That’s where your superpower comes from.Take action each day to move you towards this. Increase your actions as you gain momentum and energy. In the beginning, during chemotherapy, I was so ill but I still had 3 “goals” for each day – get up, have a shower, take some exercise. On really bad days just accomplishing number 1 was a challenge. Continually review your progress and revise the action, stretching yourself along the way!


Whether it is virtual or actual, having support is key to get thriving again. Accepting help is a big part of self care and letting go of the feeling of being a burden, Have people to turn to help endure the bad days. Sometimes if feels like a cha cha cha, one step forward, one back. In fact some things can’t be fixed, just carried so it is important to have a circle of people who can be there for you on the good and bad days.


Celebrate every milestone, every bit of progress, every achievement large and small. Size is not what matters. You are moving closer and closer to the new envisioned future you desire. One of my favourite celebrations was the first time I could visit the hairdressers when my hair grown back. what a fabulous day that was and I now have a new perspective on bad hair days. Express your gratitude because although not every day will be a good one, there is always good in every day. Expressing the things you are grateful for along the way reduces your stress and makes you feel better. Take a moment to truly appreciate about yourself, your life and others. Saying thank you for the small things that you take for granted can work miracles.

And then one day you look back on day 1 and marvel at how far you’ve come and the journey on the way.

If you liked reading this you may be interested in reading others by visiting www.inshineout.com/blog/

If you are ready to move from surviving to thriving in your life please get in touch Contact and lets have a chat to get you started on that journey.

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