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LET YOURSELF BLOOM

Today I wanted to create some space to explore a few simple and effective ways to help you to avoid distraction and remain focused, particularly if you’re striving for personal or professional success – in whatever form that may take!

‘Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules and build a life you’re proud to live.’ – Anne Sweeney

This is a subject I often review with my clients and having spent the last six months enrolled on a coaching and mentoring course, I’ve certainly had to make a few changes to support myself on my own journey.

If you’re wishing to avoid distraction and get super focused on your goals here are four things you could look at. As with everything I share here on Candy Pop, please feel free to develop the ideas that resonate and combine them with the things that already work for you. We’re all so beautifully unique so one size never fits all!

REFLECT

One thing you can do to support yourself when you’re striving for personal or professional success is to regularly reflect on your progress. By pausing to ask yourself what worked and what didn’t, you can establish if any changes need to be made.

For example, if you’ve had an unproductive day you could look at what happened to identify if you need to make any tweaks or changes. It’s valuable to be open, curious, honest and most of all non-judgemental with yourself and your progress, that way you’ll be better placed to identify the things that are holding you back.

FOCUS

I like the phrases ‘follow your own path’ and ‘stay in your own lane’ because they conjure up a strong visual image of personal space and remind me to block out the noise and distraction of others. There will always be someone doing or achieving more, so it’s important that we don’t lose sight of our own goal or we might end up running in someone else’s race!

If you notice things are hampering your ability to remain focused, then take the necessary steps to remove them. This may include simple things like setting times to be online or watching television or more drastic actions like removing apps from your phone! Never be afraid to push back and take control of your life and your time.

SIMPLIFY

Simplifying generally makes life easier. In fact, when we look at our lives and how we’re spending our time, we often discover new and exciting ways to approach things resulting in a calmer and more joyful day.

If you’re wishing to remove distractions you could look at your schedule, your online activity and your physical environment. There are always adjustments to be made and if we hold onto the belief that we have the power to make changes then anything is possible!

MOTIVATE

And finally, to give yourself the best chance of achieving the personal and professional success you’re striving for, it’s valuable to establish ways to motivate yourself. This is particularly important if you’re working alone or towards a long-term goal. The more motivated you are the less likely you are to be distracted.

As with everything, how to approach this will differ from person to person, and so it’s good to take the time to consider what motivates you. This could range from compiling a playlist of positive music, to creating a vision board of your goals and what reaching them will look and feel like. It’s great to have things in place for the more challenging days.

***

Working towards any goal doesn’t need to be difficult, and there are so many things you can do to support yourself. Over the past year, I’ve experimented with all kinds of techniques to maintain a positive mindset because I find it strengthens my motivation and fuels my creativity.

If you’re working towards a personal or professional goal, I wish you the very best of luck. I hope you have a beautiful and inspiring day and the blossom is blooming for you!

A SEASON OF GROWTH

This is my final post before the Easter holidays, and I will be spending much of April supporting my new clients. I have a few slots remaining, so if you’re striving for growth in your life, career or business, and seeking some guidance and accountability then I would love to work with you.

For further details please visit my coaching pages, packages and client testimonials. You can also contact me by email (coaching@natashadenness.co.uk) to set up a free 30-minute no obligation introductory call. I very much look forward to hearing from you and supporting you on this exciting journey!

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The post How to avoid Distraction when you’re Striving for Personal or Professional Success appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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GOOD VIBES ONLY

At the end of last year, I decided my overarching focus for 2018 would be one of positivity. I felt this would improve my resilience to any life and work challenges and better equip me to let go of the things that are no longer serving or supporting me.

Maintaining a positive mindset is how I’ve always preferred to work. It has brought energy to my day and as a manager, it helped me to motivate and inspire my team. I enjoyed creating a positive, cheerful and supportive working environment because it made the day all the more productive and joyful!

Since working freelance, I’ve become even more aware of how I’m feeling and the impact this can have on my productivity and creativity. As a business owner, I don’t want external factors to affect my efficiency or to have an impact on my day.

At this point, I’d like to add that as human beings we can’t possibly feel positive all the time. It’s valuable to experience and embrace a whole range of emotions and not to ignore how we feel. My primary goal in maintaining and boosting my positivity is to support my freelance work, which ultimately has an impact on all areas of life.

‘Look for the pluses in life. Being negative completely erodes everything. If something bad happens, I always say cancel and continue and get back on track. There’s no good being negative, I don’t believe in negativity.’ – Dame Judi Dench

So today I’m sharing what I currently do to maintain a positive outlook and mindset. As with everything I post here on Candy Pop, please feel free to make use of the ideas that resonate. There are no wrong or right ways to do anything in life, and we should embrace a variety of approaches to discover what works best for us.

Do positive and uplifting things

One of the best ways to nurture positivity is to focus on the things we’re grateful for and happy about. To do this I keep a gratitude journal and generally try to include the things I love in my day. I believe that when we embrace positivity and share it with the world we get it back in abundance!

In addition to this, I’ve also created a whole range of resources to help me to feel positive and empowered. These include uplifting playlists, guided meditations, inspiring podcasts and TED talks, blogs and magazines. They make up my positivity toolkit which helps and supports me on the more challenging days.

Be mindfully positive

During the working day, I remain mindful of how I’m feeling and if I notice any unhelpful thoughts I do my best to identify the trigger, so I can avoid it in future. I try to be open, curious, honest and most of all non-judgemental in how I’m feeling.

Following this, I let go of the thought. To do this I acknowledge it and gently move my focus to my breath, or I try to replace the thought with something I’m grateful for or happy about.

If I still feel stuck, I change what I’m doing to divert my attention. This usually involves making a cup of tea, calling someone, getting outside, exercising or watching something funny on YouTube. I find laugher is the greatest weapon against negativity!

Reflect on events with a positive light

When things go wrong I tend to feel out of control and this can have an impact on how I feel. Through personal reflection, I began to realise that it wasn’t always the situation that was affecting me but more the way in which I was internalising it.

With this in mind, I decided to turn around how I was viewing life’s challenges by seeing them less as obstacles and more like valuable life lessons to help me to learn and grow. I’ll admit this isn’t the easiest of things to do, but if we can’t change what happens in life we can change how we respond to it.

Let go of the things that are no longer serving me

At the end of last year, I was consuming a lot of online content that I felt was hampering my creativity. To address this, I took a step back to decide what I wanted my online experience to feel like and what voices I wanted to hear. I think it’s important to curate what you’re consuming, after all, you wouldn’t choose to spend time with someone you don’t really get on with!

After a little edit, I began to introduce some new voices and visuals into my online experience, seeking out those who inspire me to push forward and to show up as the best version of myself. It’s made a huge difference and I’ve even downloaded the Moment app (an app to monitor phone use) to ensure I’m keeping my daily screen time to a minimum.

Save my positivity for a rainy day

And finally, I save my positivity for a rainy day. To do this I collect all the things I’m proud of and I save them in a desktop file or I jot them down and pop them in a jar. These kind words and happy reminders lift me when I stumble. It’s so easy to focus on that one negative remark or worry, so by collecting all the good stuff I can give myself a boost when I need it the most.

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. I hope you have a positive and inspiring day!

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The post Exploring Ways to Maintain a Positive Outlook and Mindset appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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WORDS TO UPLIFT AND INSPIRE

Inspiring quotes, mantras and affirmations can be extremely powerful and in recent years they’ve helped me with my creative practice. I find writing enables me to focus my thoughts and in just a few words I can gain clarity in where I’m going and what I hope to achieve. In fact, since creating my own mantras and affirmations, I’ve been able to cut through the noise to pinpoint where I want to be and how I’m going to get there.

When I reflect on the times in my life when I’ve needed strength I’ve often used words, phrases and even song lyrics for support. Throughout my teenage years, I cycled the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton bike ride and I vividly recall using motivational mantras to help myself cycle up the steep hills, especially the painful mile-long Ditching Beacon! I’m not sure if this was something I learnt in school or from my marathon running father, but it helped me enormously.

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

Today I’m sharing a few affirmations I created to guide and support me. I have them pinned to my office notice board and I focus on them when I find myself procrastinating. My affirmations help me to maintain a positive mindset and remain on track, especially on the more challenging days!

‘I begin each day with a strong and open heart, and from a place of clarity, wonder and gratitude.’

‘My natural self is one of positivity, contentment and joy. I let go of any thoughts that do not support or serve me.’

‘My work and commitment are being supported. My dreams will gradually manifest into the reality that I am creating.’

‘Everything in life comes and goes. Its movement gently melts away my worries and fears. I do not sweat the small stuff.’

‘I enjoy the present moment because life is not a race. I embrace what I know, I’m grateful for where I am and I’m open to who I’m becoming.’

‘I take strength from my mistakes and failures, they bestow wisdom and enable me to grow.’

‘I motivate myself from a place of kindness and compassion. I use words of encouragement that are no different to how I would talk to a friend.’

‘I do not need to seek external validation. In the present moment, I am enough.’

FIND STRENGTH IN WORDS

I can wholeheartedly recommend writing a few affirmations, not only can they support you but they’re also a lot of fun to create. To be honest, it’s quite addictive once you get going!

If you don’t know where to begin here are a few pointers.

1. Create affirmations that serve you and your journey.
2. Keep them brief, specific and relevant.
3. Be positive by boldly affirming what you want.
4. Use powerful words to give yourself strength and motivation.
5. Use the present tense to support where you are now.

For more, you may wish to visit six mantras bringing positivity to my life and ten valuable life lessons learnt from working freelance.

If you create any affirmations or mantras please feel free to share them because I love reading the inspirational words of others. Thank you, as always for stopping by. I hope your day is abundantly joyful!

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The post How to Create Strong and Positive Affirmations appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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DESIGN YOUR LIFE

The concept of a mood, idea or vision board was introduced to me at art college and it’s something I’ve always dabbled in when I’ve needed to develop my thoughts and ideas. Taking the time out to playfully explore can help us to learn and grow while creating a strong visual reference point to work with and refer to.

‘Do one thing each day that takes you closer to your goals.’

Last year I created a vision board of my goals and the life I’m working towards. The board kept me motivated and I’m sure it reduced my procrastination time because the visual reminder helped me to remain focused. It’s easy to lose sight of our goals under life’s daily grind so a vision board can be an extremely valuable tool.

PLAYFULLY EXPLORE

There are no rules when it comes to creating a vision board and often the more playful you can be the better the result. It is something I introduce to my coaching clients if I feel it will support them because we can often uncover the answers much quicker when we create an image of what we’d like to achieve. It is an enjoyable and insightful process which can unlock new thoughts and ideas.

‘Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.’ – Oprah Winfrey

CREATE YOUR VISION

If you’re new to the concept here are a few pointers to help you to get started.

1. Schedule a couple of hours when you won’t be disturbed because it’s lovely to get lost in the process.
2. Pull together your materials – if you’re creating a physical board you may need magazines, a piece of card/pin board, scissors and glue/pins. I decided to create my board in Photoshop and I set it to my computer desktop, that way it’s the first thing I see each day.
3. Grab your favourite drink and nibbles, some positive music and anything else that lifts you. If you enjoy the process you’ll be reminded of it when you look at your board.
4. Find or create some images, quotes, mantras or affirmations that represent your goals and what reaching them will look and feel like.
5. Pin, stick or digitally create your board.
6. Display it somewhere as a daily reminder and take a moment each day to think about your goals.

‘Where focus goes, energy flows.’ – Tony Robbins

The great thing about vision boards is you can create them for long or short-term goals and they can be tweaked and updated as often as you wish. If you create a physical board you can even photograph it and set it to your computer desktop and/or phone lock screen. Visualisation is a powerful mind tool and the greater your focus, the better your chance of achieving your dreams and goals.

For further support, I’ve shared some practical tips to help you reach your goals and I’ve also written an article about maintaining focus on your goals for the new issue of Breathe magazine. If you’d like to see some examples of vision boards there are plenty to be found on Google.

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. I hope you have an inspiring day!

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The post Bring Your Dreams and Goals to Life with a Vision Board appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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A CALMING RETREAT

Our surroundings can play a part in how we feel, so it’s wise to make an environment that helps you to feel relaxed and at ease. With a few simple tweaks, it’s possible to create an oasis of calm, somewhere to soothe away the woes of the day. Or if you work from home, a place that supports your creativity and productivity, free of too many distractions!

To achieve this, it’s good to establish what interiors you find relaxing and to work with what you have in your home rather than against it. Complimenting your existing interior will create a harmonious space and most of all it means you won’t have to completely redecorate – unless of course, you want to!

‘Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.’ – Mark Black

Before you get going it’s useful to take a little time to think about the spaces that you find calming. Perhaps you’re drawn to traditional country interiors with their charming character and nostalgic feel, or maybe you prefer modern minimal rooms with an abundance of white space and clean lines. When it comes to our homes, there really are no rules because personal taste is a very subjective thing. What someone finds cosy and comforting another may find cluttered and chaotic, so it’s best to go with what feels right for you.

When you’ve established your preference consider how the calming quality of the interior has been achieved. Think about the colour scheme, the styling, the decorations, the lighting, the textures and even the aromas. All these factors will help you to recreate a similar look and feel in your home. And trust me when I say anything is possible, having lived in the tiniest rented studio flat on the Kings Road in Chelsea, I can confirm that you can make even the smallest of spaces feel like a cosy retreat.

Objects

Before you introduce anything new into the room, have a look at what you already have. If you’re limited on space or you prefer a slightly more minimal look then you may wish to have a declutter. Removing anything that no longer serves you can make a huge difference to the space. Especially if, like me, you’re someone who finds it hard to relax in a busy or cluttered environment. (Further reading: my decluttering tips.)

Colour

If you’ve spent a moment considering what relaxes you, you should have an idea of your preferred colour or colours. Maybe you’re drawn to the cool blues and turquoises of the sea or the warm greens of a forest. Whatever your personal preference, by introducing a few calming colours you should begin to see a difference in how the room looks and feels. If you live in rented accommodation and you’re not permitted to decorate or you don’t fancy getting out a paintbrush, you could introduce some coloured accessories such as cushions, a throw or a rug. That way you can inject your preferred colour without having to do too much work.

Texture

Adding some texture is a great way to make a room feel calm and cosy. Textures look and feel comforting and can soften a room. Consider fake fur, fleece, wool and linen and look out for cushions, blankets, throws and rugs. That way you’ll be able to change things around to reflect the seasons. Sumptuous throws and soft blankets are perfect for the chilly winter months. And by adding a hot drink and a good book you should have all the ingredients you need for a cosy evening in.

Lighting

Lighting can transform the look and feel of a room and so it’s certainly something to address when creating a calm space. Have a look at the brightness and colour of your bulbs and if you have light shades, look at how they soften and direct the light. Freestanding lamps and sidelights are a great way to tone down the light and add atmosphere, many can be positioned to give you complete control over where the light is projected. This can help you to create a softer and calmer mood.

Greenery

Whether you like large palms or cute cacti, there’s no denying that houseplants can bring life to a room. By introducing some greenery, you can begin to create a natural and serene environment, echoing the wonder of the great outdoors. It’s lovely to display plants with different patterns, colours and textures to recreate the calming essence of nature. And over the winter months when the trees are bare, it’s lovely to return home to some greenery. Houseplants are relatively inexpensive and make lovable little housemates! (Further reading: three simple ways to style your houseplants.)

Aroma

Scented candles, reed diffusers, essential oils, joss sticks and pomanders can be used to introduce a calming aroma to a space. Choose fragrances that you love and ones that promote relaxation. Unwinding with a magazine, some soothing tunes and the scent of lavender is a great way to lift the pressures of the day.

Displays

There’s something comforting about being surrounded by your favourite belongings and sentimental items, and nothing says, ‘home sweet home’ more than the things that bring you joy. So why not display your favourite photographs and treasured possessions? This could be anything from postcards to handbags. I love displaying the things that I’ve collected and remind me of the world around – pretty shells, colourful crystals, houseplants as well as vintage objects and one-off pieces by artists and craftspeople. Things that evoke happy memories and make me smile. (Further reading: seven ways to add personality to your home.)

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have a calm and beautiful day!

 Parts of this text originally appeared in Breathe, issue nine.

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The post How to Create a Calm and Relaxing Home appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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A SLOW AND REFLECTIVE MONTH

January can be a tricky month to navigate, especially when there’s so much pressure to create a new version of yourself. I’ve lost count of how many emails I’ve received about health and fitness and although this is a positive thing, I personally find the new year is one of the hardest times to implement change.

Instead of making new year’s resolutions, I like to use January as a time to take a step back and evaluate, with playful days to dream, explore, make plans, try things out, create and have some fun.

If you haven’t considered what you’d like from 2018, now is a lovely time to explore your thoughts and create some intentions for the coming year. By doing this you may find you’re able to set some positive goals full of purpose, fulfilment and joy.

REFLECT, DREAM, CREATE AND GROW

Today I’m sharing a few questions to get you thinking about 2018 and how you’d like to plan your year. To do this, simply grab a pen, some paper and take a little time to lightly consider your life. Think of a new year as a blank canvas, free of boundaries and restrictions, and try not to overthink the questions but simply observe what flows from your heart and intuition. Sometimes we can surprise ourselves with what emerges when we stop, look inward and take a moment to playfully dream.

REFLECT

What feels good in your life right now?
What brings you happiness, contentment and joy?
What (if anything) is helping you to learn, develop and grow?

Is there anything missing in your life right now?
Is there anything that isn’t working or feeling good?
Is there anything draining you of your energy, motivation and time?

DREAM

What would you like the year to look and feel like?
What would you like your days to look and feel like?
Do you have an overarching vision for 2018?

CREATE AND GROW

How will you create your vision of 2018?
Is there a quote, affirmation, mantra or word to guide you?
What would you like to achieve during the year?

LIVING FROM THE HEART

With a little gentle reflection, you will hopefully begin to see what’s working and what isn’t and from this, you can start to think about the best way forward and if you need to set any goals. Remember goals don’t need to be life-changing, a goal may simply be, ‘spending more time with friends’ or ‘going for a walk every day.’

Goals act as gentle markers to help us to stay on track and create nurturing habits. You can set a goal at any time, it doesn’t need to be a new year or even a new week, just try to go with what feels right for you and enjoy the journey.

For further support, I’ve shared some practical tips to help you reach your goals and if like me, you’re in the planning stages I hope some exciting ideas emerge! Thank you, as always, for stopping by.

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In collaboration with Breathe magazine.

BREATHE MAGAZINE

I think it’s important to take a step back and enjoy how far we’ve come, especially when we reach a milestone on our journey. This is because when we recognise our achievements it boosts our confidence and enables us to relax and recharge, preparing us for the next stage.

So today, as we approach the end of the year, I’m pausing to look back and celebrate writing for the first nine editions of Breathe; an inspiring lifestyle magazine covering wellbeing, mindfulness, creativity and travel.

Writing for Breathe has been a wonderful part of my freelance life and it’s been an honour to write for one of my favourite magazines! I’ve written 12 articles and they’ve included, how to reach your goals, overcoming creative block, enjoying a more mindful day and how to simplify your relationship with the internet.

And just to add, in addition to Breathe, the GMC Group also publish Teen Breathe and a number of special journals including the Creative Journal and the List Journal.

EMBRACING FLOW IN LIFE AND WORK

Working as a writer has highlighted the value of setting goals while remaining open, enjoying the flow and movement of life and the opportunities that it brings with it. When I left my job at the University of Oxford in 2015, my plan was to fill days with blogging, styling and photography. However, after a few months, I felt like something was missing – pretty ironic after spending my career yearning for a more creative job!

Then one day an offer landed in my inbox to write for Breathe and I started utilising my people development experience by coaching creatives. As a result, things look very different today and I spend the majority of my time coaching and writing, along with a little voluntary work when time permits.

It’s okay to change your plans, pivot your career/business or even start again from scratch. You are responsible for your life and you hold the power to make changes. When we silence the noise and expectation we can give ourselves the freedom to uncover a path that’s right for us, letting go of all the things that are holding us back and making the most of our gifts and abilities.

**

If you’d like to take your life, career or business to the next level, I’m currently taking coaching bookings for 2018. As your coach, I can support you in uncovering your path, gaining clarity and moving closer to your aspirations, dreams and goals. For further details, testimonials and how to book, please pop over to my coaching pages.

BREATHE MAGAZINE 12-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the festive season, the kind people at Breathe are offering my readers the chance to win one of two 12-month subscriptions to Breathe magazine. Please feel free to enter up to five times using the grid below. The giveaway is open to UK residents only and closes on Sunday 31st December 2017. I will contact the winners on Wednesday 3rd January 2018. Good luck!

This is my final post of the year so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting and to wish you a very happy and healthy holiday. I’ll be back in 2018 with a flurry of fortnightly blog posts and monthly letters. I look forward to seeing you soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions: This prize is non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for monetary value. No cash alternatives to the stated prize will be offered. Winners must claim their prize within 30 working days.
This post is in collaboration with Breathe magazine. 

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A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS

If you’re looking for some thoughtful clutter-free Christmas gift ideas then look no further. I’ve compiled a list of things for everyone and there are even a few suggestions for those who dislike clutter but enjoy unwrapping a gift or two on Christmas morning!

The most important thing for me at Christmas is having a well-earned break, delicious food and spending time with my loved ones. I tend to only buy physical gifts for the children and for the adults, I suggest some kind of event or celebration – a trip to the theatre, afternoon tea, a spa day and so on.

To be honest, the idea of a day or night out is usually welcomed with an enthusiastic sigh of relief. It’s funny how we assume everyone desires shiny new things when most of us simply wish for some happy dates in the diary to look forward to!

CLUTTER-FREE GIFT IDEAS

MEMORIES – Tickets to a concert, ballet, comedy, talk, sporting event, theatre, cinema or local attraction.

MEMBERSHIP – To a theatre, gallery, club, garden, house or trust (National Trust or English Heritage).

LISTEN – An album to download, iTunes voucher or iPod.

READ – A digital magazine subscription, book token, eBook, Amazon voucher, Kindle or iPad.

LEARN – Classes, an e-course, private tuition, coaching or formal lessons.

PAMPER – Vouchers for a treatment, makeover, spa day/health club or retreat.

EAT – Vouchers for a restaurant, afternoon tea or food/wine tasting.

ESCAPE – A day out, weekend away or holiday.

ACTIVE – Vouchers for experiences, activities, adventures, sports or gym membership.

CONSUMABLES – Christmas hamper, chocolate, perfume, make-up, scented candle or bath products.

TREAT – A voucher for the recipient’s favourite brand/shop.

COMPASSION – A charity donation in the recipient’s name.

THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF YOUR TIME

I’d always choose memories over things and as a coach, I’m aware of what an honour it is to sit with someone and listen to their story. No distractions and no place to go, just my focused attention on them, their thoughts and their journey.

How often do we do this? How often do we give our time to someone – a friend, a relative, a lover and simply listen without distraction, without the television or radio, without the thought of what’s happening on our phones and without the pull of where we’re going to next.

This Christmas why not save the time you spend in shops or online, save the gift-wrap and clutter and give the gift of your time because I’m sure it’s the most precious thing you can give. To do this you could create a simple ‘I owe you’ with a suggestion of afternoon tea, dinner or something they might enjoy at a time and date of their choice. A joyful occasion to look forward to and to cherish in the coming year.

After years of giving gifts my sister and I now book a date to do something special together. Last year we went to a spa where we swam under a blue December sky in a heated outdoor pool and this year we’re going out to dinner. It’s lovely to create a bank of festive memories to treasure and to make time and space for one another.

Thank you, as always, for stopping by. I’m super excited to be taking bookings for 2018, so if you’re interested in working on anything from starting a business to exploring your work-life balance please head over to my coaching pages.

I hope you have a beautiful and inspiring day.

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The post Clutter-Free Christmas Gift Ideas appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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POSITIVE JOURNALING

Personal reflection is something I had to complete as part of my work appraisals, but in all honesty, I didn’t really value it. I think this is because I’ve always felt fairly self-aware and as a deep-thinking creative, I probably spend far too much time in my own head anyway!

Since starting a coaching and mentoring course five months ago, I’ve written over ten-thousand words of personal reflection – crazy, eh? The process seemed a little odd to begin with, but after persevering I started to understand its value. As a result, it’s now a fundamental part of my coaching practice and wider business. I view it as a kind of positive journaling, enabling me to get the most from my experiences and to learn from each scenario and encounter.

PERSONAL REFLECTION

If you’re new to personal reflection, it simply involves evaluating your experiences and reconsidering things from a fresh perspective. This can include establishing what happened, how you responded to the situation, how you related to others, how your actions may have influenced others, what you learnt about yourself and what, if anything, you might do differently in future. I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to reflecting, it’s simply taking the time to consider each experience and to learn from it. This can be done through thinking, writing or discussion.

‘When you stop looking around and start looking within, you may find you already have the answers.’

So today I’m sharing a few of the benefits I’ve found from regular personal reflection. I’m passionate about making my life simpler and easier, and I’ve found that by reflecting, I’m better placed to decide if the things in my life are serving me. I also believe that, in most cases, if we look within we have all the answers. This can enable us to curate a beautiful life packed full of all the things we love!

IT STRENGTHENS SELF-AWARENESS

Few things increase our self-awareness like personal reflection, and by taking the time to evaluate a situation we can learn from it and in some cases, stop making the same mistake again! Personal reflection helps us to better understand who we are, how we relate to others and how we show up in the world. It is an extremely empowering tool, which can build our confidence and encourage us to embrace the person we are.

Reflecting can support us if we overthink or play the same situation over and over in our minds. By looking at what happened, we can view it from an objective viewpoint, rather than a subjective or emotional one. This process can support us in finding a solution or enable us to let it go. If we imagine our life-experiences – good and bad – are there to support our growth, we can approach everything from a place of curiosity and wonder. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, ‘Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.’

IT ENABLES US TO ESTABLISH WHAT’S WORKING AND WHAT ISN’T

As I mentioned above, personal reflection can feel like a moment of clarity. For example, if you feel deflated after an interaction with someone, by objectively reflecting you can begin to establish why. Through asking questions and getting to the root of how you feel, you can learn from the experience and make any necessary changes.

Reflecting on life can also help us to build on what’s working. When we look closely at our lives, we can uncover what makes us feel truly happy and ensure there’s an abundance of it! We’re all a work in progress and when we view ourselves from a place of discovery we can liberate the pressure of having to be perfect. After all, the more mistakes we make the more we can grow!

IT HELPS US TO BE MINDFUL AND PROMOTES GRATITUDE

When we work on our self-awareness we become more mindful in our lives. This is because when we’re observing ourselves in a situation we’re more present in it, stopping our minds from wandering or operating on autopilot. It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the past or future, so by observing life more closely, we will undoubtedly be more present.

Reflecting on who we are and how we approach life can also promote gratitude because it enables us to value every moment. When we’re grateful for our life experiences and encounters we can begin to feel more content in our everyday lives. This encourages us to make space for the things that bring us the greatest joy. (Further reading: five benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.)

IT INSTIGATES PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Self-reflection can motivate and encourage personal development. For example, if we notice ourselves struggling to convey our opinions and beliefs, we may consider ways to build our confidence and become a little more assertive. Every day we’re subjected to experiences that can fuel our growth, so by taking a step back, we can get the most from them. Personal development is an ongoing journey and personal reflection is a great way to instigate advancement.

To end I’d just like to admit I did feel a little awkward when I started this process, but by approaching it from a place of curiosity rather than criticism, it has helped me to be more accepting of who I am. I think smiling at our mistakes and using them to develop is a much kinder way to live. After all, it’s okay if we don’t have all the answers because none of us is the finished article!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful and insightful day.

Wild Rhubarb candle c/o The White Company

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The post How Personal Reflection Can Guide You in Life and Work appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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FIND YOUR CREATIVE FLOW

I don’t know about you, but I produce my most authentic work when I feel good. There’s something about feeling my best that encourages my creative ideas to flow, like a kind of clearness and clarity where everything falls into place. It also enables me to connect with my heart and intuition, often resulting in a few lost hours to the joy of the creative process.

When I don’t take the time to look after myself, my creative work can feel like rowing upstream. So, tapping into a positive energy before I start, often leads to a more productive work session. This enables me to find my creative flow a little quicker and to work smarter and not harder!

‘Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.’ Brené Brown

There are many terms used when referring to this creative state so whether it’s finding your flow, vibe, mojo, zone or alignment there are a few things you can try. Today I’m sharing the things I do to get myself into a good place before creating. As always, I recommend trying the ideas that resonate and being open to making changes as and when you feel you need to. Creativity can be a tricky customer so approaching it from a place of curiosity and wonder is often the best way forward!

SILENCE THE NOISE AND DISTRACTIONS

In our lives, there are countless things pulling for our attention. Distractions may include commitments, to-do lists, email and social media and some can influence us to the point where we’re no longer creating from the heart but from someone else’s agenda.

One way to silence the noise is to enjoy some uninterrupted tranquillity. This could be achieved by going for a walk, journaling, meditating, reading, relaxing and so on. Finding a way to silence the world can enable you to connect with your inner self, encouraging your creative thoughts to flow from within.

To go a step further, when you quieten the mind you also quieten the ego, moving away from the idea of how your work will be received to a place of unrestricted freedom. It’s lovely to create from the heart free from external pressures or the trap of creating work that is deemed popular. (Further reading: the benefits of taking a week offline.)

CREATE A COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT

Another way is to make some small changes to your workspace because creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment will enhance how you feel and support your creativity. As with everything, there are no rules, so whether you prefer a calm and minimal space or a busy setting of inspirational images, take the time to make something that works for you. (Further reading: how to create a productive workspace.)

This wonderful film from the BBC archive recently popped up on Facebook. It’s an interview with Roald Dahl and it shows his modest work set up and the simple rituals he goes through before writing. I love how everything must be just right before he begins and it perfectly illustrates the value of creating a space that compliments your preferred working style.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

It’s great to consider what motivates you and makes you feel good. That way you’ll be able to tap into your positive energy whenever you’ve hit a wall with your creativity. Happiness triggers may involve a cuppa with a friend, baking a cake or simply lighting a scented candle and curling up with a book. Find out what lifts you and make some space for it.

Many of us also achieve an increase in strength and motivation when we exercise. While I’m exercising I often notice a flurry of ideas – this can be a little problematic when I’m swimming and without my pen and paper! So, whether it’s a brisk walk or a workout, it’s great to indulge in the things that will fuel your creative flow.

HANG OUT WITH UPLIFTING SOULS

Spending time with those on the same wavelength can be a game changer. We’re all hard-wired for connection, so it’s valuable to carve out time for the people who lift and motivate us. There are lots of ways to meet creative folk, from organising your own gatherings to attending a local meet up. Creating alone can be isolating so forming relationships with fellow creatives is one way to stay motivated and in touch.

It’s helpful to share your ups and downs with others and it can make any hurdles you’re facing a little less daunting. I’m always excited to reconnect with my creative work when I’ve spent time with others and a little distance can work wonders! (Further reading: the inspiration and joy of creative friendships.)

GO FOR A WANDER

There’s something magical about getting outside and it enables us to see the bigger picture. This is especially beneficial if we overthink because taking a step out of our situation can give us a fresh new perspective and even make our problems seem smaller.

Looking at the sky, the trees and the unlimited space opens our minds, helping us to tap into our heart and intuition and create from a place of authenticity. So, if your mind starts to feel a little foggy, try getting outside, it can reset the balance, giving a new angle on what you’re working on.

FEED YOUR IMAGINATION

It’s valuable to have a few things you can feed off when you need some encouragement. They might include uplifting music, inspiring TED talks, podcasts or even a guided meditation. So why not bookmark, save or create a playlist for the times when you need some positivity.

You may also find strength in reading books, flicking through magazines or enjoying motivational quotes, mantras or affirmations. Creating a collection of items for the more challenging days is like putting together a motivational toolkit. Always do whatever you can to help yourself and support your work. (Further reading: six simple ways to nurture your creativity.)

If you’d like to read my favourite inspiring and uplifting affirmations, I’ll be sharing them in my November letter. To receive a copy please join the Candy Pop mailing list.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a beautiful and inspiring day!

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The post Six Simple and Uplifting Ways to Find Your Creative Flow appeared first on Candy Pop | UK Lifestyle Blog.

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