7 simple steps to establishing a new habit

If you’re looking to incorporate new habits into your life, take a read of our 7 simple steps and let us know how you get on! 

  1. There needs to be a desire to establish the habit. Ask yourself “why is this important to me?”. What is the reward or outcome desired from this new habit? Is it wealth, health, more energy, less stress? What would be the consequence of not establishing the chosen habit?
  1. Start simple. Establish 1 new habit at a time to prevent overwhelm.
  1. Habit stack. Attach a new habit to an existing one. This will provide you with a trigger or reminder to do the new habit. Most people have an established morning routine. Wake up, get out of bed, brush teeth, shower, eat breakfast… If you wanted to establish a new habit of starting the day drinking lemon water, you could stack it to any of these. This helps the new habit become as ‘automatic’ as your existing habits.
  1. Write and track. Write down your intention to establish your new habit each morning. Before you go to bed, track whether you did it or not. It’s amazing how satisfying ticking that habit is at the end of the day!
  1. Accountability. If you need a little more hand holding or peer motivation, ask a friend to hold you accountable each morning. You could help them in return (or join our whatsapp group for a dose of accountability!)
  1. Make it easy. Give yourself the best chance of getting it done. If your new habit goal is to workout before the kids wake up, go to bed earlier, have water by the bed and lay out your workout clothes by the bed ready for the next morning. Remove every excuse not to do it.
  1. Forgive and let go. It is highly unlikely that you will be perfect when establishing your new habit. There’ll be days when it just doesn’t happen. On those days, forgive yourself and let it go. Putting pressure on a habit or punishing yourself makes it so much harder. Tomorrow is a new day!

Petra’s Story

​​Meditation Week 1, 2-9th March 2022

How I discovered meditation 

In 2015 I entered the Paris marathon and I must have seen something about mediation being good for you so I started doing it to calm my pre-marathon nerves. I can remember my partner telling me that I was much less stressed than I usually am when we travel. Definitely the meditation then, because I wasn’t doing anything else. At home, I was calmer and less ’shouty’, less irritable, and far less anxious.

How meditation is benefitting me

Since then, I have dabbled on and off with it, most often at times of stress. A change in career, parenting teenagers, a global pandemic, all times when I’ve sought the calming benefits of mediation. But I’ve never done it longer than a month or a couple of weeks.  I have however, found the benefits are long-term, this sort of stuff stays with you. When things get tough my brain just remembers to tell me to breathe, to focus on the moment and to stay calm. I am, for various reasons, a completely different person than I was in 2015, although I do miss being able to run as far!

How Six Degrees has kickstarted my love affair with this mindfulness technique again

Meeting Sarah (Jepson) and listening to her say how she has been meditating recently everyday, as well as her other healthy habits, I thought “I could do with that”. That afternoon I took myself off for a walk and started a meditation course using the Headspace app. I chose a course on self-acceptance as this is something I struggle with. Sitting in front of a tree by the River Exe, listening to the dulcet tones of Dora telling me to accept myself as I am, and others as they are, and I felt the familiar sense of peace and calm. So far so good. Sarah sent me an email the next day encouraging me to continue. Then life got in the way. I had a very late night on Thursday, my sister came to stay for the weekend, and my youngest son was home from Uni. I then tested positive for COVID and felt really tired and lethargic. But I had made a promise to Sarah that I would stick to it, so I did. Sometimes it wasn’t until bedtime before I got round to it. For some reason, being able to find ten minutes in a day can be hard even when self-isolating.

What I learnt in my first week

It definitely works better for me in the morning. I am far less fidgety and can concentrate more. Although not when my partner is making really loud phone calls in the room below! I have found the ideal place to do it, my youngest sons’ bedroom which is light and cool. I will move to the garden when he’s back from Uni. Yes, I am already planning on carrying on with the Headspace 365 course, one whole year of meditation!

Meditation Week 2, 10th-16th March 2022

Life has been a bit chaotic this last week as I was self-isolating, then really busy at work with lots going on. However, with the exception of last Saturday, I have stuck to the meditation course and been doing it every morning. I have my space organised and I just go and sit there and do it. The practices are only for ten minutes so it’s not time consuming but if I don’t do it first thing, I just spend all day procrastinating about it. If I am honest, I would probably have missed more days if it hadn’t been for Sarah’s encouragement. There is something about someone checking up on you that is very motivating! It is becoming a habit, I just need to make sure I keep it up.

Meditation Week 3

Every day during my guided meditation I am encouraged to acknowledge my emotional state without judging it as good or bad. Just to check in with how I feel. If I feel anxious or stressed, I accept it. It sounds strange but doing this seems to help me cope with these emotions. Similarly, acknowledging positive emotions helps me appreciate them more. If I feel happy, I am happy. I am sticking to my morning practice and trying to check in with my emotions during the day, which my teacher Andy, encourages the listener to do. However, for some reason, I just can’t seem to fit it in on a Saturday. Missed two Saturdays in a row so my goal this week is to do it.

Meditation Week 4

Like most people who try and form new habits I’ve got to the point where the novelty has worn off! This week I’ve missed doing meditation on three days, although I have managed today 😀. Interestingly, my teacher Andy reminds me at the beginning of each session to think about my motivation for meditating, why I think it will benefit me and why it will benefit the people around me. For me, it’s definitely wanting to learn tools to be calm in times of stress and to be a more thoughtful person. This is the longest time I have stuck to meditation practice and I intend to continue it regularly, even though that may not be every day.

Meditation Week 5

I am lucky that I don’t have a particularly stressful job or life. Like most people I know what to do when stressed, take a deep breath count to ten etc etc.  The trick is remembering this when faced with challenges and practising meditation regularly is definitely helping me to remember the tools when I need them. It’s like having a little friend sitting on your shoulder, reminding you to take a moment, check in and calm your breathing.

Not saying I’ve turned into a totally chilled person but who knows what the future will bring?

 

5 easy ways to incorporate mindfulness into each day

  1. Use your senses. Exploring all the senses helps to keep you in the now. Whether you’re eating an apple or going for a walk, consider what you can feel, touch, see, hear, smell and taste. Notice your surroundings and tune into each experience.
  2. Seek joy. Before you go to bed, think of 2 moments where you experienced joy. Knowing you will be making this reflection, helps you notice the joy we can sometimes take for granted.
  3. Stay present in the present. Try to take time to live and react to only what is happening at that exact moment. Worrying about future events or regretting/dwelling on past hurts or experiences, prevents you from living mindfully. 
  4. Last breath. In moments where you feel negativity creeping in and distracting you from joy, close your eyes and take 3 deep, mindful breaths. If these 3 breaths were going to be your last, how would you make the most of them?
  5. BFF. When you catch yourself unnerved, triggered by someone or making judgments on your behaviour, body or perceived flaws, take a moment to talk to yourself like you were your own best friend. What advice and words of love would you give?

I can’t believe you said that!

What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you speak words of kindness and admiration or are you your harshest critic?Do you focus on your healthy, vibrant body that may have created life and continues to support you, or is your narrative one of punishment and comparison?

I have a photo on my phone of me in a bikini from 10 years ago, from when I thought I was fat. I was so slim but couldn’t see it. I wasted so much time comparing and worrying about what I looked like. I keep it on my phone to remind me that what I see in the mirror isn’t always the truth. It can be a warped version of the mean things we have been playing on repeat..

I would never dream of thinking or saying to anyone else, the things I used to say to myself. Would you?

Top tips to transform your inner mean girl into a loving cheerleader:

  1. Find a picture of you from when you were 3 or 4. Place it by the mirror you use most often. When you catch yourself being mean or you’re about to be critical, try saying it to the younger version of you. It becomes much harder
  2. Make a list of all the things your body allows you to do. Focus on gratitude 
  3. You don’t need to love every part of you. I do not ‘love’ my elbow, but neither do I hate it or punish it
  4. Keep a note of compliments you receive 

If you catch yourself being mean, learn to forgive and move forward. You could repeat, ‘I am healthy. I am vibrant. I am worthy of love’.

How to Create a Successful Capsule Wardrobe

Are you fed up with having a wardrobe full of clothes, but you never have anything to wear? You buy lots of random items because you like them, yet you can’t seem to make any outfits? Or, you spend money on clothes that simply don’t suit you or never wear? 

Sound familiar? So, what is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a limited collection of clothes that can make a variety of different outfits that suit you and your lifestyle. It will be made up of key staple items in your best neutral and complementary colours, along with interchangeable pieces, which can be dressed up and dressed down for any occasion

If you feel like enough is enough and you want to spend less time feeling overwhelmed about your clothes, then a capsule wardrobe is for you!

There’s a lot of talk about what you should and shouldn’t have in your capsule wardrobe and it can get confusing and feel limiting.

A ‘one size fit all’ approach doesn’t work for everyone, so my method of creating mini capsules for my clients focusing on different areas of their lifestyles works a treat by making it easier to manage.

Introducing… The Capsule Wardrobe & Packing Method: 5-4-3-2-1

This could quite possibly change your life! What’s it all about? Follow this method and you’ll be able to create your very own mini capsules with ease and complete confidence – ooh la la.

My favourite combo and the most popular is… 

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 jackets / jumpers / blazers and 1 dress. 

This one can be adapted in so many ways – get creative.

However, if you prefer one-piece dresses or jumpsuits to trousers. Here goes… 

5 dresses, 4 jackets / jumpers / blazers, 3 tops, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 bottom.

If you’re the androgynous soul (that’s me!) who doesn’t wear many dresses or skirts. This could be your preferred combo… 5 tops, 4 pairs of trousers, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 jackets / jumpers / blazers, 1 blazer.

Off on hols this year and you don’t want to pack too much? Yup, I challenge you! Here’s your best combo… 

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 swimsuit.

If you love Winter and dressing for the colder weather? Why not try… 

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 jumpers / cardigans, 1 coat.

Remember, these are valuable guidelines but feel free to adjust them as desired. And one final thing, don’t forget to add in accessories at your own discretion. Accessories can make all the difference when it comes to elevating your look from nah to ta dah!

Finally, here’s my Mantra… 

  • Less is More – I truly believe you don’t need lots and lots of clothes. Having the right pieces that fit you impeccably will pay dividends.
  • Quality over Quantity – buy the best quality you can afford, as you’ll reap the benefits of longer lasting clothing. More bang for your buck essentially.
  • Style not Fashion – buy only what suits you and eliminate those mistaken and unnecessary purchases. You know you want to!

If you don’t have time to create your own capsule wardrobe and you would like some styling assistance, please feel free to get in touch. Visit personal-stylist.co.uk or call me on 07971 484882.

Self love hacks to lift your mood

It can just take an ill-fitting dress, a negative comment or a moment of comparison to throw you off centre. 

So below are some simple to do, self love hacks to help lift your mood.

  1. Only have clothes in the wardrobe that fit 
  2. Use post-it notes on your mirror reminding you of things you like about yourself 
  3. Keep a notebook of compliments. Each time you receive a compliment or recognition, make a note of it. Generally when we receive a compliment, we throw it away or dismiss it because we are embarrassed. But this record of compliments is the opposing argument to any negative self talk.
  4. When you notice your mood is low and you’re being ultra critical, write a short letter to yourself as though you were your own best friend. If a friend was feeling insecure, self critical or low, what would be your advice?
  5. Wear things that make you feel good. It could be your favourite pair of earrings, or a top that makes you feel confident, or a pair of shoes that make you stand a little taller
  6. Stand or sit tall. By simply changing your posture you can change the way you feel.