Women have a right to be happy

I often hear people talk about equality of opportunity for women in the workplace, but not often do I hear people talk about the fundamental human need and right for women to be happy and fulfilled, even if they are unable to work for whatever reason, including the work of being a mum. It’s not always easy to work if you don’t have a good support network around you to help with childcare and the school runs which poses a time constraint and limits opportunities to find time to work, plus also finding the energy to work with all the household chores, challenges and stress involved in running a family, especially if you are someone like me with chronic fatigue.

Despite all the challenges, it’s important to still muddle our way through all this chaos to make ourselves a priority in life, to make ourselves feel good and happy inside, and children can learn from seeing their mums happy.

The mental health of women is often put aside for the benefit of everyone else and everything, and everyone else’s needs tend to be put first, leaving little time for the women’s needs to be met. Which is why we must take the time as women to empower ourselves to make sure our needs fit into the equation on an everyday basis, and not rely on anyone else to fulfil our needs.

We have to practice self-love. It can really fill the gap in making you feel more loved on the inside and can help you cope more easily with the everyday challenges of life, give you a burst of energy and can make you feel more alive, give you more freedom and feel more in touch with yourself for the person you really are, and quite possibly your childlike self.

Everything is possible if you make it possible by creating that time for yourself everyday doing something you love – or doing something that you know is good for you and makes you glow and feel good inside.

Despite the overwhelm and lack of time, it is possible to make time for the things you want more of in your life if you make that decision to choose love rather than being led by all the excuses you have created in your mind stopping you looking after yourself in the best way and getting the most enjoyment out of life. Once you prioritise love, you can start to control your experience of life and what is thrown your way, and all the decisions you make for your life will come from that place most of the time at least. None of us are perfect and we will of course slip up from time to time, but ideally this would be the default place you make decisions from so that you can live your best life. In any given moment, even if for very small pockets of time, we can surrender to the light, we can choose love and make ourselves more open to receiving miracles in life and the happiness you deserve.

If you’re not sure where to start or how to implement some new healthy self-love habits, and would like some help in developing some control over your life and everyday happiness, why not grab one of The Big Life Journal’s challenge kits and experience it for yourself, do it with your children too and share the experience…

Each day brings us new miracles, things that we can be grateful for and celebrate in a positive light – we have to learn to look for them and focus on what we can be grateful for and enjoy our lives in the present moment rather than what we want in the future that will make you happy, things you don’t already have. When you start focusing on being happy with what you have and what you enjoy in life, you will be able to create more of what you want and give yourself the freedom that you crave to live your life happy on your terms.

Have you ever thought about how food makes you feel?

Who’s the boss? Do you ever feel like food is the boss of you rather than the other way round?

As someone with chronic fatigue, food really affects how I feel, and this past week with the festival of Passover, I have now really started to feel the effects of a/the kids being on holiday but b/ the effect of my change in diet and c/ all the extra cleaning, cooked breakfasts and chores that this festival generates as we tend to spend a lot more time at home eating…..

This year, I am completely gluten free on Passover, and because I am not able to eat the unleavened wheat matzos, I have been replacing it with potato starch-based matzos, and with all the white potatoes I have been eating at our seder meals and generally with every meal, I have finally really taken the hit.

Because I have been eating more white potatoes, all the simple carbs, as well as my eating routine being out of whack, it has led to me now feeling so incredibly exhausted.

During this festival and the school holidays, though I have made sure I keep up my morning motivation and exercise routine, my eating routine has relaxed somewhat, and with all the cooked breakfasts my kids love to eat, I end up eating breakfast late, and this really does affect me too. Always best to eat breakfast within the first 30-60 mins after waking, ideally. The meals at the seder were also very long meals eaten late in the evening, which has also had an impact on my energy levels.

I should really take my own advice, but sometimes, like now, food can get the better of me. Though it’s good to enjoy the food you eat, and treat yourself on a regular basis, it’s important to know where to draw the line, learn to take control over what you eat, and become generally more conscious of what it is you are eating, the impact it has on your health and how it makes you feel inside your mind and body.

This is the key thing that has driven me to change my eating habits, how food makes me feel. It really does make you feel low in energy if you eat too many of the wrong things as well as any possible weight gain. Which is why I am now on a mission to get back to feeling good again (now I have hit that low) and get myself into a better routine, even during the holidays, and cut down those simple carbs and introduce more complex carbs like sweet potatoes, lentils, peas, green veg, into my diet for the rest of the week, and hopefully, I can start feeling more energy and back to my usual self. It’s all down to me though, so I have to make sure I don’t let food get the better of me!

Happy Passover and Easter to all those celebrating – have fun today. And try not to overindulge in those Easter eggs! But enjoy them all the same and don’t let food get the better of you!

Soak in that sunshine

As I was at the supermarket anyway spending some money to get free parking, I treated myself with these beautiful flowers today I couldn’t resist buying, which really helps to “paint” my day in a brighter colour… it is just the start of the school holidays, so this is well needed!!!

What are you doing to celebrate you today? Find a short window of time today to do or maybe even something little for you, to appreciate everything that you are, that you can bring to your the world around you, to your friends and families, co-workers, what can you take a moment to do and appreciate about you? Just for a few minutes at a time…. And just do it spontaneously without more than a second’s thought. Soak in that sunshine – you are worth it all!!!!

Don’t let music disappear from your life

Saddened by the decline in music education and literacy in schools, I would like to highlight the extremely important role that music has played in my life.

In primary school, I learned to play the piano (to Grade 1), then in secondary school, I decided to learn to play the flute until I was 18 years old (to Grade 6) then unfortunately, when I went to university, I stopped playing the flute for about 20 years. Whilst at secondary school, I enjoyed participating in a choir and band, I just loved the community spirit of being in a group with like minded people. In primary school, I remember enjoying my music classes most of the time, especially singing and dancing along with my classmates. I also have lots of memories of me lying down in my room for hours on end listening and singing to music on my stereo system using records and cassettes (in the days of older technology) reading from the little lyric booklets that usually came along as a standard with cassettes I bought. Singing is so therapeutic, so much fun and great for your health – such a great way to destress and unwind.

Fast forward 20 years later, I have gotten so much more joy and value as an adult from having learnt to play an instrument at school, being introduced to both the flute, and the keyboard too. If I hadn’t learnt to play an instrument when I was younger, then it would have been very difficult to start to learn a new instrument now (though not impossible).  Because of this, I can still bash out a decent tune to the music I love; fortunately, I hadn’t completely forgotten the notes and how to read sheet music. Initially, to get back to the level I was back then, I did have to work hard to remind myself of everything and teach myself for a while before I decided to get some weekly tutoring. Now my daughters are playing piano and I can help them out and listen to their playing to check they are playing the right notes, reading the music correctly, and sticking to the beat as it is written on the sheet music. I can even play along with the flute sometimes. Maybe one day we will form a family band…

Music of all types, whether listening, singing along, or playing an instrument, has in the past year especially been such an amazing growth mindset tool to help motivate me, lift my energy, make me come alive and feel good in myself, validate my feelings (there is a song for everything); it also helps me relax and unwind, and just allows me to characterise and remember who I am, what I stand for and what I want and deserve to achieve in life.

Go find those tunes you used to love as a kid, that’s always a really good starting point to developing your own soundtrack and getting the most enjoyment out of life.

Have you ever gotten out of your comfort zone?

Have you always been one to hide out, to keep your voice down to avoid having to step out into the “big bad world” and face the music for what it actually is?  Oh, and the world isn’t all bad, there’s actually a lot of beauty that exists in this world if we look for it.

It’s incredible how our minds can stop us from achieving what we want in life purely by the thoughts we think, the words we say out loud, the positivity we breathe in and apply to our lives. If we believe we can’t do something, even if you have multiple reasons why you can’t do it, you have given yourself the justification for not going ahead with it, but it is often down to how we feel about ourselves, how worthy we feel we are of having this thing that you want to achieve in life.

It’s hard to believe but we do really stop ourselves from doing things, from living the life we want, stop ourselves from seeing new beginnings, new possibilities, new opportunities as these beliefs inside our head stop us from even seeing what is possible. Also, our mind stops us from seeing the value that people might even start to see in you once you start to value your own self, to love yourself as you are, as imperfect as you may be and just accepting all your flaws which cannot be changed, embracing them all, and use them as an opportunity to grow from it and make you stronger and wiser.

Just remember, your imperfections contribute to what makes up what is essentially YOU, the authentic amazing beauty of what is YOU, and nothing can ever change that.