Motivation Monday, Positivity

My Guide To Feeling Good

Happiness is a state I’ve always strived to achieve. Almost like a medal. Something I would have forever and never have to give back! How wrong was I?!

In 2009, after I turned 21, I decided I was going to change my life for the better. I decided that constantly feeling anxious and down was no longer good enough. I was going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and find the life I had been searching for!

The first thing I realised was that I would never attain happiness the way I had imagined. I had to get rid of my “if/when” mindset and came to see that I had to find joy in the everyday things.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

My Guide to Feeling Good
1. Get up early!

This is just a recent endeavour of mine but it has made such a huge difference! Getting up early in the morning and doing a few different bits and pieces allows me to set my mindset for the day ahead, whilst also allowing me to have a peaceful and relaxing morning! I always feel very proud of myself too because I know that I’m up before most other people and have already accomplished so much before they’re even out of bed!

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2. Have a morning routine.

Every morning for the last 40 days, thanks to Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have been getting up early and engaging in the following practices: Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Journaling. Every night as I lie down I look forward to getting up and doing my SAVERS each morning! I feel both energised and calm, knowing I’ve started my day well!

3. Go to bed early!

Getting up early inevitability equates to going to bed early! I get up each morning at 5am (except the weekends which is usually around 7.30 or 8.) Going to bed early ensures I get enough rest and am prepared for the day ahead. I usually aim for about 7 hours sleep.

4. Have a Nighttime routine 

Routines just seem to work well for me! Every night I take care of my skin: I cleanse, tone, moisturise, and apply a serum! I then tackle my teeth; brushing, flossing, using teepee sticks, mouthwash etc. Then I like to go and make myself a cup of chamomile tea, hop into bed and read my book for a half an hour. I follow this with a nighttime meditation and go to sleep!

5. Read every day 

Reading is my passion. I love to read! By setting aside time to read everyday I am able to enjoy my favourite pastime and escape the real world for a while.

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In the mornings I choose to read Self Improvement books and I love how I get to expand my knowledge and better myself in as much as I can!

6. Get fresh air! 

I love to get fresh air. At night we are stuck inside, as well as all day and we generally don’t get any fresh air. We’re stuck inside at work, and for the majority of us, our commutes are the same; stuck in cars, tubes, trains or buses. However, when you consciously decide to step outside, be it to read or walk or sit, you will find that you feel instantly better, calmer and more relaxed. Win/win!

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7. Set little goals 

A little goes a long way. Setting small, measurable, and achievable goals can work wonders! I’m going to use myself as an example here and look at weight loss. Instead of thinking “I want to lost another stone and a half” (which, I might add seems impossible when you’re longing for that weight to be gone!) I will say to myself “My goal is to lose 2lbs this week.”

Setting goals that feel more manageable lead to a more positive mindset. They allow us to see results and monitor progress as well as the final result. If you are someone who beats themselves up over all the little things then I highly recommend this tactic! Lots of little goals such as lose 2lbs this week, go for a walk today, ring Karen… these little goals give us a great sense of achievement! If crossing things off a to-do list gives you satisfaction then I highly recommend this goal setting strategy!

8. Meditate

When I was studying for my Undergrad, I took Psychology as a minor subject. One of my modules was Positive Psychology. That one module set me on the right path. I learned more in that one module than in any other class. It was not so much educational learning (if that makes sense) but life-learning. I learned all about being positive and how to learn the required skill set that would allow me to lead a more positive and fulfilling life.

My first ever experience with meditation was in this class. We meditated with raisins. Yup… raisins. I know it sounds crazy! It was a mindfulness meditation and at the time I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. However, as the term progressed I could see a noticeable difference in my mood after these classes. I approached the lecturer to discuss meditation and the effects it can have on a person and it was then that I realised that I was a highly anxious person, on constant high alert each moment of every day, always afraid of what lay ahead. In the times that we meditated, I was able to leave all of that aside and focus on the here and now. There was nothing to fear in the here and now. I was not a horrible person in the here and now because all I was doing was sitting and breathing. I could not be afraid in the here and now because, again, all I was doing was sitting and breathing.

After this module was completed I decided to take some action and went about seeking help for my anxiety. And I have never, ever looked back.

Here are some meditation podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps that might help if this is something that you would like to try out:

The Meditation Podcast – Podcast
Meditation Oasis – Podcast
Headspace – App
Buddhify – App
Jason Stephenson – YouTube

9. Use affirmations 

This is something I feel I still haven’t mastered. I’ve tried writing affirmations and have felt like an absolute idiot. Telling yourself how wonderful you are can feel pretty strange at first! YouTube can be your friend here! Louise Hay has some great affirmation videos as do many others. I’m going to post a video below that is by Jason Stephenson who I mentioned above. I like to listen to this in the car on the way to work to try to set myself up to have a fantastic day.

10. Plan Happy Things 

I truly believe that you should always have something to look forward to. I’m not talking anything extravagant here. It could be a Prosecco Picnic with your girlfriends or a dinner date with your SO; a walk in the countryside or a DIY Spa-night with your bestie. All it needs to be is something small, at the end of the month, that you have to look forward to!

11. ALWAYS make time for your friends.

I’m talking quick coffees, Whatsapp group chats, nights away, endless FaceTimes, midnight phone calls, work-day ranting, general banting, long car drives filled with deep conversations, and days and nights full of fun and laughter. Once you have your tribe you’ll never be running solo.

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I am very glad to say that we are now in an era where women seem to be more empowering to one another than ever before and because of that I feel our connections run deeper than ever. Shout out to all my girls – ye know who ye are and I’d be so completely lost without ye!

12. Don’t Watch/Listen to the News! 

The news… there’s no doubt we’re lucky where information is so freely and widely available but for me, I’ve found that the news makes me really down. Have you ever noticed that the news is always full of negativity?! Always!! There’s always something about war, corrupt politicians, natural disasters, etc. And I’ve just found that listening to this information makes me unhappy. I don’t like being reminded of all the negativity in the world. I need to be shown the good things, the happy things, the inspirational things! So now I just turn down the radio or change the channel! Cutting the news out of your life might sound drastic and might leave you wondering how you’ll find out about the world but lets face it, if it’s big news you’all hear about it anyway!!

13. Unfollow People on Facebook! 

Personally I would delete my Facebook account in an instant if I could! But with so many friends of mine living in different countries it’s not practical to delete it! However, I’ve started unfollowing people who make me feel annoyed, sad, or uncomfortable. For instance, a woman I know kept posting images of animal cruelty. I am all for promoting animal rights but when I’m constantly seeing things such as dogs with their ears cut off it makes me really upset and brings me down for days, so I’ve just started to unfollow these people. It’s meant that I’m essentially censoring my news feed and it’s making me a much happier person!

14. Dance it Out

Meredith and Christina were onto something with this one. When you’re starting to notice your mood deflating, throw on one of your favourite songs, shut the door and dance your ass off. Grab a hairbrush if you want to and sing your heart out! Moving your body releases happy hormones and you’ll soon be feeling better in no time! Have a Happy Playlist ready on Spotify for this one!

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With Love,
C x

Let me know what you think of My Guide To Feeling Good in the comments below! I love to get feedback!

The Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently #6

The Sunday Currently

R E A D I N G

I’m after starting to read Elizabeth is Missingby Emma Healey. I had started this book a few years ago but I had to put it down. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s Disease and his memory loss was causing him great distress. After reading a chapter or two I felt really uneasy as it captures the condition in a very powerful way. I had to put the book down but promised myself I would come back to it again. Luckily enough, it was chosen as this month’s book for my Book Club and I’m able to enjoy it a bit more now!

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W R I T I N G

I’ve been doing a lot of college work lately and have one more assignment left to do! However, I am trying to journal more and I’ve also decided to be more personal on this blog so I’m hoping that this blog will now be a space where I come to write some more… I’ve got an upcoming post which is a Get To Know Me type post, as well as one about feeling happy! I can’t wait for you all to read them and to see what you guys think!

L I S T E N I N G

I haven’t been listening to much if I’m honest. At the moment I can hear a football match on the TV downstairs and a pounding in my head – not feeling the greatest today; woke up feeling very unwell!

S M E L L I N G

I’ve been smelling Lavender oil that I’m burning in by bedroom. It makes me feel really calm and relaxed and I feel like all of the tension in my body releases when I smell it!

H O P I N G

That the next few weeks fly past so that work finishes for the summer and that I will be reunited with Himself soon! I honestly cannot wait!

Being in a Long Distance Relationship is one of the hardest things in the world. It’s very difficult to describe how it feels when there’s always something missing. Every time something amazing happens I want to celebrate with him but I can’t… and every time something awful happens and I need him to comfort me, he’s never there, physically that is. It’s something that I try really hard not to think too much about because I know that I would only get so extremely down if I allowed myself to dwell on it. However, it’s a means to an end and I know it will be worth it down the line.

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W E A R I N G

I’m wearing Harry Potter pyjama pants and a t-shirt belonging to Himself. I should really be up and dressed, but I’m feeling ill so I’m not budging for love nor money! Perhaps to go to the pharmacy… but that’s it!!

L O V I N G

I am loving the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend here in Ireland! No work tomorrow! Yay!

F E E L I N G

I’m not feeling the best today. Everything from my throat up is in pain! It was the strangest sensation to wake up to this morning as I felt like my head was separate to the rest of my body!

I’m also feeling very relieved. I’ve had to attend a family get-together with His family and I feel so pleased that I get on so well with them all. They are such lovely people and I’m very grateful for knowing that I will be a part of their family some day.

W A T C H I N G

Yesterday I watched A Dog’s Purpose and Bad Moms. Two very different movies but I really enjoyed them both!

I didn’t know whether or not to watch A Dog’s Purpose as I had heard quite a bit about animal cruelty etc but I figured that they’d never have been allowed to do that… surely? The movie deviates a bit from the book (review here) but it was a lovely, feel good movie. It made me appreciate my little dog so much and I just love how he’s like my little shadow around the house each day!

Bad Moms was a Laugh-Out-Loud comedy starring Mila Kunis where she decides to stop being everything to everyone and enjoy her life. It was hilarious and I found myself in stitches at many different points throughout. It also made me think about the pressures of motherhood and how moms generally tend to turn into this service machine where they are at everyone’s beck and call. The movie highlighted the importance of allowing yourself to make mistakes and allowing yourself to be happy by doing the things that you want to do. It showed me that there’s more to life than trying to be the perfect mom/girlfriend/whatever, and that it’s totally ok to be your own person and do what’s right for you. Highly recommend this one!

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I hope you have a great week. As always, I would love to hear from you so feel free to get in touch!

Much love,
C x

Book Review

Book Review: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Book Review (2)

Perfect is the second and final installment of Cecelia Ahern’s Young Adult series. And, before I even begin the review I need to say that when the book came to an end I was a little shocked; these books didn’t follow the usual trend of being a trilogy! I had read the book so quickly that when I got to the end I felt a little cheated because there wouldn’t be another sequel but, what to do! My personal longing for another book just goes to show how well they were written!

Lets get back to business!

Perfect follows Celestine North on the next part of her adventure. Having been branded Flawed by Judge Crevan, and being declared the most dangerous threat to society, Celestine is on the run. The book begins with Celestine in hiding on her grandfather’s farm, never knowing who to trust, never knowing when it will all stop. While Judge Crevan, father to her ex-boyfriend Art, appears to have the upper hand, Celestine has one little secret that can destroy him, his power, and the Guild forever.

The book follows Celestine as she uncovers who she can and cannot trust. We meet some wonderful new characters and get an even greater taste of the dystopian world in which they live. Will Celestine share her secret and be the cause of a revolution, or will she hold her cards close to her chest and stay hidden in fear?

Flawed and Perfect have taught me many little things. It has made me become very aware of the power that the government can hold and how they can often abuse this power. I have seen the value and strength of family and friendship and it has made me consider who would stick around in my life if shit hit the fan!

Overall this was a really gripping read, I couldn’t put it down. I would have loved to have had another book or two in the series – so Cecelia if you’re reading, please continue with it!!!

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4.5/5 for this book. Losing 1/2 a star because I feel like the story could progress further!

Have you read Flawed? Are you planning on reading Perfect? Let me know in the comments below!

Much love,

Cx

Lists

10 Ways To Keep Yourself Entertained At A Boring Conference 

I’m currently at a 2 Day conference and it’s not the most riveting experience… so instead of sitting and staring at the wall whilst words wash over me, I’ve decided to come up with a list of ideas to keep myself, and perhaps you, entertained!


1.Come up with names for attendees and come up with the jobs you think they do!

2. Match people to the hypothetical crime they might have committed!


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3. Go through the alphabet and come up with a boys name and a girls name for every letter!

4. Discreetly write a blog post!

5. Work on your bucket list

6. Think about/ write down things you’re grateful for

7. Create a new Pinterest board about a new hobby you want to take up, redecorating a room, a holiday you’d love to take, your dream wedding… etc..

8. Do a mindful body scan

9. Pre-make a bingo game and see how long it takes to complete. If you know a friend/colleague attending and they don’t have much interest in the conference either then make two boards and play it together! Winner gets a prize!

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10. Read! Bring a kindle or Kobo or download the app and simply read!

What do you do to pass the time at conferences? Have you any interesting ways to pass the time let me know what n the comments below… I might just use them over the next two days! 

Cx

General musings

Life Updates…

Today the Universe taught me a lesson. Before 8am!

I got up, I went downstairs to the kitchen and applied my make up as breakfast was cooking. After I had eaten I went upstairs to brush my teeth, and because I was in a world of my own, I moisturised my face…. over my make-up… and ruined the whole thing…! Instead of freaking out and getting stressed I just laughed it off.

I was thinking about the moisturising incident on my drive to work and felt that the Universe must be telling me to try to focus more on the fun things, the funny things, the positive things. And I am so grateful for that lesson because it genuinely feels like the day just got worse from there. I can’t even go into it without wanting to cry so I’ll swiftly avoid the rest of the day and skip straight to my conclusions….

Working full time and studying = lots of stress
Life = lots of stress
Every day = good little things
Little things > Stressful times

I need to get my ass in gear and stop putting myself under so much pressure.
I need to do more of the things that make me happy.
I need to enjoy the ride.

This blog tends to get less of my attention as I’m doing assignments, which makes sense as I’m reading far more academic papers than I am books… I’ve been thinking of perhaps making this a book and lifestyle blog instead of just a book blog. I may have something interesting to say, and then again I may not! Who knows!

So, expect a bit of redecorating! I will still be posting book reviews but you may be seeing a bit more about me and my day to day life! (I apologise in advance if my life bores you!)

With love,

Cx

 

Book Review

Book Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

SODA

World War Two. We all know about it. We can all retell the general happenings that took place. “Who was at fault” I’d ask you;  “The Germans“, you’d reply. And yes you would be right, but what Tatiana De Rosnay has depicted in this harrowing but wonderful book is that the German’s are not the only people at fault.

Sarah’s Key is set in France and tells the truth about what happened in France in during the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. The narrative follows two main characters Sarah Starzynski, a young Jewish girl living in Paris with her parents and younger brother at the time of the roundup; and Julia Jarmond an American journalist living in Paris in the modern day who is asked to write a piece about the roundup on it’s 50th anniversary.

This story broke my heart. Sure, I’ve read The Diary of Anne Frank and have a particular fondness for books, movies, and TV shows that can depict the horrors of the war in an effective and appropriate fashion, but this book really tore me apart.

Sarah is in her apartment one night when the French Police arrive. She has heard her parents mumbling lately about something and she knows it’s not good. She hides her brother away, promising she will return for him when the police leave, but then she gets arrested along with her mother and father and taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver, a stadium which had been used for bicycle racing. She is held captive there with 7,000 other Jewish men, women, and children; the majority of whom, if they survived long enough, ended up in Auswitz. The story follows Sarah’s determination to get back to find her brother during this terrifying time.

Julia Jarmond researches the Vel’ d’Hiv and is horrified to learn of the involvement of the French Police. This is something nobody seems to know about. She discovers a personal connection to Sarah Starzynski and cannot rest until she uncovers all she can about this young girl and the horrors she encountered.

This book was amazing. Honestly, I couldn’t help but become emotionally involved. It made me think of the children I know and love and how terrified they would be if they were ever treated in such an inhumane manner. Even though the events of World War Two are not yet 100 years old, they are almost forgotten. We think of the war and yes we recognise the fact that there was death, destruction, needless and heartless mass murder; but do we ever stop to think about these people as people… not just statistics. Yes the Jews were killed… but do you look into the eyes of your son or daughter and wonder how many children their age were rounded up and killed off? I bet you don’t. It’s easier not to. It’s too easy to acknowledge the War for the horror it was and move on. There were so many innocent lives taken. And for what? It was needless, it was disgusting.

Even though the story follows two main characters, it made me sit back and think about the thousands of individuals who were treated like this. How many thousands of stories have been left untold? How many people were involved in these events; who notified the police of where the Jewish people lived; who turned a blind eye; who were responsible for arresting these poor innocent people…? Our world was changed utterly by these events. How could the involvement of the French Police be so easily swept under the carpet? I have so many questions but there will never be enough answers.

If you have any interest in human rights, or in World War Two then this is a book for you. The book looks at how easily society can turn its head and look away. It has taught me how important it is to stand up for others, and to not be led like a sheep. We have a duty to remember all those who were ruthlessly murdered in the events of World War Two. A fantastic and haunting read. I believe that this is a book that all teenagers should be required to read in order to teach them the importance of compassion, bravery, and equality. We live in a world that can be so full of hate, discrimination, and suffering. A book like this has the power to show people how far things can go if left undisturbed. We are a community of people and we owe it to one another to learn from past mistakes to try to create a more promising future for those here now, and those yet to come.

I feel that the only fault with the book lay in how quickly it ended. I felt that I needed to get closure around the two people at the end of the book. (I don’t want to say too much here because I don’t want to give anything away!) It was a story that I felt was brave, and honest, but I would like to know how things ended for Julia.

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Do you have a penchant for the stories of the War or do you feel that this is a book you would now like to read? Let me know in the comments below!

Cx