Scotland to Australia – Breaking the bond with your belongings

Hi all,

Not so long ago, even thought it feels like a lifetime, we had to make the move from Scotland to Australia.

We had two months. Two months to figure out what we need in Australia. Two months to figure out what we need to do with everything in Scotland. Banks, housing, insurance, medical… I could go on as the list was endless.

Never have I ever had such a long to do list. And I very much doubt I will again.

One of the most important tasks we had to do was to go through our belongings. Our possessions that made a home our home. Two months to work out what role every possession played in our lives.

How do you do that? Do you just take everything? Do you put all bar the basics into storage?

We had to decide and we had to decide quickly. I have to disclose here that we did have a relocation package that included a budget for shipping over our belongings, but we didn’t know how much these things cost! And it depended on so many factors, boat or aeroplane? Mixed sea container? Choice of company. And according to custom laws everything had to be packed by our shipping company to strict regulations so that was going to take a chunk of the budget too. As you can imagine, we erred on the side of caution. We knew we needed to be strict.CTRG

I stood in our apartment on day one of sorting and I couldn’t work out where to start. I was lost. David was at work, this was my task and one I needed to focus on. I had read tips about not letting yourself take too much – but what if you go too far the other way? We knew we weren’t going to be able to take any furniture so I began with that, documenting everything and working out where we could sell it, when and what we would like for it. Easy part done first.

So I was left with personal belongings. Things with a story to them. Clothes with a history. Wedding gifts, kitchen tools, beautiful crockery and glassware. Board games we played for years with close friends.

I hadn’t read Marie Kondo. The whole ‘spark joy’ movement wasn’t well known. How do you choose?

Well my girl Marie was definitely on to something. You work out it’s value in your life. It’s meaning within you. You listen to your gut.

Those board games? Gone. The memories are the value. The wedding gifts? How do they make me feel, do they bring a smile? Books can be borrowed from a library to reread. Clothes can be passed on to others who need the warmth. I found being ruthless to be easy.

The key to being able to complete such a huge task was simply using my gut to decide. If I had used my head at any point I know we would have had such a different outcome. For many it might need to be the other way around. Do you become too attached when your gut is involved? I knew my gut would help me choose the right things. In all honesty, my head probably would have given away or sold too much.

So what was the outcome? They packed twenty boxes which went by air. Twenty may seem a lot however one of those boxes was our duvet, one our pillows and two simply empty suitcases! (custom laws not allowing any belongings in those suitcases). We took all of our wonderful Christmas tree decorations that we have collected over the years. Our fridge magnet collection and more mini minions than I care to admit! I took my favourite blanket that I have had since I went to University. We took photographs but no frames. Our Denby crockery set that we received as a wedding present but condensed it down to six bowls, small plates and dinner plates. We took the collectables from our travels but also the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto car that my brother gave us one Christmas (and it arrived in one piece!). I saw more than the practical. I saw everything for it’s value. To me, to David and the essentials in making a home on the other side of the world ours.

Do I have any regrets? Maybe one or two small things but nothing major. Mostly stretches to some kitchen utensils that I have never been able to find again! Ha!

This whole experience though was an eye opener into what really matters to me in the world. Your belongings can be a massive weight, a ball and chain attached to your ankle. They can also make you feel at peace. Let yourself feel that bond and don’t be dictated to. If it’s important to you then keep it, regardless of what others think. I may have gotten more use out of a casserole dish or more plates and bowls but those cute little minions who sit on my kitchen window sill every day smiling back give me so much more joy. They belong.

Have you ever had to have a big clear out before a move?

What is the biggest move you have ever made?

Do you sometimes treasure more random items over practical ones?

(Linking up with Thinking Out Loud)

Week in Review

Hi all,

Ok so I am changing things up! Mostly because I wanted a change but also because I needed a change!

You may have noticed I am posting on different days. Trying to write when I feel inspired and excited by a subject rather than forcing a post. So that may mean 2 posts a week, 3 or even 1. It makes me laugh because it really isn’t like me at all! I feel like I am breaking the rules… but when they are rules you have set yourself then where’s the problem?

One of the more exciting aspects of this switch up is changing my Friday Favourites to a Week In Review post. Something fun to look forward to on a Monday but also awesome to be able to link up with one of my favourite people Meg!chase the red grape

So let’s kick off the new week with a bang, recapping the week just gone, Jen style!

Favourite moments of the week

Gyroscope gig – damn I love live music. Even better when you know someone in the band. Even better when it’s a small intimate gig. Even better when you are standing near the front, feeling like you are 18 all over again.chase the red grape

Also watching the supporting act and your jaw dropping to the floor because it was literally love at first sound!

Any time I walked into a room with air con…

Biting into a local peach…. I adore this season!

chase the red grape

So good grilled!

High fives and Brownie points

What I love about Week In Review is that everyone always shares both the small and large achievements of the week. So what have I given myself points and high fives for this week?

Training whilst keeping what is best for my body at any given moment, in mind

Cooking up a storm, meal planning and prepping – aka making life easier on ourselves

Buying new headphones when I said I would – and then getting a second pair from my parents!

Breaking routines, writing on Thursdays, podcast edits on Tuesday, hell I even took a nap!

Starting as I mean to go on this year – had my monthly massage

Jen eats

Steak dinner on Saturday night. David grilled whilst I whipped up some veggies. It was melt in your mouth good.chase the red grape

Finding a coconut water that tastes good not chilled (our supermarket doesn’t chill them…). I honestly didn’t think I would ever find one!chase the red grape

Updates

What makes you ‘cool’?chase the RG

Looking at the word and what it means to me… but also why we still care about being cool even as an adult. Check it out here. 

Want. Need. Do. Read

Episode 55 of the podcast looked at the year ahead in 4 different areas. A fun way to look at goals for 2018. Find now on iTunes, Stitcher or here on the website.

The week ahead

As mentioned above, I am treating this week as a blank canvas. I am excited but also nervous about the prospect! Lets see how I get on! One thing is for certain though, episode 56 of the podcast will be ready and waiting for you on Wednesday! Also Friday is a public holiday – wahoo! 

Have a great week folks!

What was the last gig you went to?

Are you a coconut water fan?

Do you have a want, need, do or read for 2018?

What makes you ‘cool’?

Hi all,

Have you ever considered yourself as being cool?

What does cool even mean?

I don’t think it’s a word I would have ever used to describe myself – in my younger years or my adult years.

To me, cool means popular… and the word ‘popular’ to so many springs up a whole heap of memories and emotions. Imagine the scene, like every single teen movie out there. The ‘popular’ crowd. Beautiful, confident, always looked amazing. Teachers loved them, we all wanted to be them, they rarely put a foot wrong, were always praised and glorified. And us? Well we sat in the background. Some in awe, some in detest, others simply daydreaming about what it would be like to be them. However, unlike the movies, we never got our moment. We never had our extreme makeover, removed our glasses or got an awesome haircut which thrust us into popularity. We left school being uncool to so many, including in our own minds.

Then I think we all split. Some of those who were seen as cool at school slipped into obscurity. Others flourished. Some became cool because of the job they managed to bag after university or work up to. Those roles seemed perfect, idyllic, inspiring. Some became cool because of the money they earned and what it enabled them to buy. Success often lead to confidence, and confidence is always cool, right?CTRG

Life in your twenties I feel seemed to be a pursuit of ‘coolness’. We want to be envied and admired. We want to be perceived as a success. We want to feel good about ourselves.

Then the next decade comes along. And that’s the one I’m in. I wasn’t cool in school. I think anytime I ever felt cool in my twenties I was immediately shot down, feeling inadequate by others. So how do I feel now? Am I cool?

When I think of others right now that I deem cool, I think of two factors. Popular and talented aka admired. Yes, popularity, that old chestnut again (will that ever leave?). If I am being harsh on myself I would say I am neither popular nor very talented. I don’t have a crowd of people to look to. I don’t have people to call up when I want to watch a movie or hang out. I’m not a part of any group messages nor do many come to me for advice or help. As for talent, well that’s where I must give myself a slap on the wrist and say naughty Jen. I do have talent, I know that. But enviable talent? Maybe not. I know a crap tonne about CrossFit, technique and movement for example. But I can’t do a handstand push up or a heavy snatch. So no one takes my advice. You’re not admired. You can’t be cool Jen.

But this really doesn’t sound right to me!

So why, as a grown adult in my thirties, married for 8 years and very happy still see ‘coolness’ as a desirable thing? Is it that vibe we want to put out into the world? Does being cool actually mean nothing to us personally but it is a word we wish others to perceive us as? Maybe you want your kids to see you as a cool Mum or Dad? Maybe you just want others to notice you? Maybe you want to be cool to impress your neighbours (hello Joneses)?

Maybe being cool shouldn’t mean being popular or having lots of talent. Maybe I shouldn’t class those who are surrounded by a group of friends or someone who brags about going on a fun trip as cool. Maybe we stop using the word to compare ourselves to others in order to bring us down. We aren’t our former teenage selves.

I am cool if I say I am. I am cool because I’m kind. I am cool because I am generous. I am cool because I love Iron Maiden. I am cool because I had 2 coffees this morning #rockstar.

You are cool when you are you and when you say you are.

What does being cool mean to you?

Do you link cool to being popular?

What makes you cool?

Linking up with Thinking out loud 

Back to what?

Hi all,

This week marked the period where most folks in Australia went back to work after the holidays. Maybe it was the same for you.

But I want to give a shout out today to those who didn’t go back to a 9-5 this week. No set structure, no school times, no communing, no start and stop.

To those of us out there who set their own routines or have no routine at all. To those of us who have to guide our own days. To those of us who have to thrive on self motivation, day in, day out.

To those of you out there, like me, I doff my hat to you.CTRG

What does back to work mean to us? What are we going back to? And who decides… oh yes… us.

Do we do the same as before? Do we shake up the routine of the year just gone or keep it as it was? This week I slipped straight back into the same routine as before the holidays. Ate at the same time, worked at the same time, rested at the same time. Even though I vowed I would change it up.

And who motivates us to change or do something different? Do we need direct inspiration or push?

When I think about it I don’t know how I would change my routine, I simply know it has to change. I thrive from routine… to a certain extent. Go too far and it can suffocate me and restrict me. The freedom of being at home turns into clinging on to the comforts of routine and familiarity.

I want change but as for the details, that’s about as far as I know.

It’s hard being in this position. Many envy working from home (or simply having time at home whether you be a stay at home parent or are looking for a new path) but it is a hard time, and not because of the reasons that you think. It’s not because we have 24/7 access to our kitchens, bed or TV (although it can be a factor). It’s hard because to do anything requires only you. When you realise you have spent too long watching morning TV. When you know you have to write but everything in your head tells you to not bother. When you know what you have to do but depend solely on yourself to do it. When the guilt creeps in because you are at home, your partner is at work and you have a household list the size of your arm that you just don’t know how you are going to get done. And of, course, being alone (which is a topic for another day). It’s tough.

But it’s our world, maybe forever, maybe just for now. Everyone else may be back to school, their commute or a 9-5, but this is your time.

Back to what? I guarantee the only one desperate for answers is you and me. So for now, routine or not, new or old, restful or active, just be you and do your own thing. The way you need to do it.

Do you work from home/ spend your days at home?

Does routine work for or against you?

Are you able to motivate yourself?

Linking up with Thinking Out Loud

2018?

Hi all,

2018 is one big question mark.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted my first post of the new year to be. Did I want it to be a review of the year just gone? Did I want to lay down goals for the year ahead. Did I want to give advice or tips on how to do the above for yourself?

I dismissed all of those post ideas as quickly as they came into my head. They just didn’t feel right.

I have always viewed the start of the year, not as a place to make resolutions, but more the time to think about what you want. What do you want the year to behold upon you? What do you want to achieve? It’s a refection inwards that I know a lot of us out there find hard. Some even find it impossible – how can I view what I want without taking the needs of others into account?

2017 held so many twists and turns for me. I had some major highs and some pretty bum lows. The emotions from both of these I carry with me into 2018. It would be too easy to make wild assumptions and wishes for everything to be wonderful, sunny and cheery in 2018. If only that could be the case!2018

So should I break down areas of my life and pick them apart to see where I go from here? Do I need to dissect in order to reflect and grow? Career, home, family, money, fitness etc? Do those boxes even exist?

As you can see, the start of 2018 has left me with a lot of questions. Questions about how to go forward, questions about how to build personal growth, questions about what I want. Questions upon questions. But let me know, are there any of you out there, like me, where the questions do not provide answers? I ask myself these questions but yet I hear nothing in return.

How can I change when I have no direction? Do I even need to change?

Is your head spinning from all of this? I know mine is!

Instead of looking at wants, achievements and pulling apart detail after detail on my life, I am going to look at needs. 2017 started one way and ended so very differently, I can’t even remember my goals. Parts of 2017 I simply needed to just keep swimming, keep chugging along, keep being supported by David, my family and my friends, in the big and the small.

So what do I need? First of all I need freedom and belief. Freedom to take a big deep breath every time I need one. Freedom to write what I want. Freedom to speak all those thoughts I have been hiding and keeping to myself for so long.

I need belief. Yes the usual notions of belief in myself, belief that I am enough, belief that I can do. But more importantly, belief that all will be well. It doesn’t matter what 2018 holds in store for me because all will be well. After every storm there is peace.

In addition, David and I have picked 2 words to carry us through 2018. Joy and health. I need joy, I love feeling joy, I know I can give joy, joy is my hope, joy is my drive. I know 2018 will be full of it if I give and am open to receiving it.

And finally, health. 2017 was hard for me on this front. But I am doing everything I can to focus on my health needs this year. I am listening to what my body tells me and then actually putting actions into motion, not simply acknowledging and moving on. I am taking personal responsibility for the things I can help myself with and opening myself up to allowing others to help me on the aspects that are outwith my control. And that’s new to me.

And there we have it. My first post of 2018. Who knows what the year will bring. Guess we will simply just have to wait and see… and I’m ok with that. 

Does any of the above resonate with you?

Are you a goal setter/ resolution maker?

Do you like to reflect back, only look ahead or a bit of both?

The gifts to give yourself this Christmas #5TTT

Hi all,

Christmas is a time where we think about everyone else. Our friends, our families, our neighbours, colleagues, even strangers we have never met. We give generously. We want to make others happy. We want to make them feel loved.

All of this is wonderful and really is what makes the season so special. But have you ever thought about giving yourself a gift this Christmas? I can tell you now that one of the most deserving people in your life that you neglect every festive season is you. Who knows you best? You. Who can really give you what you need? You.

It’s not going to cost you anything. No purchase necessary. This weeks 5 top tips will show you where you can give yourself a gift this Christmas. One that will guide you through strong into the new year.Christmas

Time

We all know how precious time can be. We all find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day on a frequent basis. Over the holiday period clock in some time for you. Find an allotted time if need be! It could be having a lie in. It could be snooping around the holiday sales. It could be taking a solo walk with the dog. Time is there for you if you make it a priority.

Your wants and needs

Last week I spoke about traditions and I want to bring it up here again. Make sure this festive season that you also do the things you want to do. Make sure at least one activity is on your ‘must do/see’ list. Pleasing others and others wants and needs only goes on for so long until you rebel. And guess what, they want to do the things that make you happy too!

Rest to restore

This goes hand in hand with time and I know it’s something I talk about all the time like a broken record but it’s true. Let yourself rest over the holidays. If you are lucky enough to be off work during this time make the most of it. Lie on the couch and binge watch movies. Take some time of your usual exercise programme and go for a walk instead. Sleep in later. If you rest now, and restore your body over this time, you really will be rewarded in the long run.

Peace

Got kids? Yeah maybe this one might not be so easy! Ha! But peace, contentment, joy, calm… these words really are synonymous with the season, let’s not forget that. When I was younger, Boxing Day (the 26th) and New Years Day were always a day of calm in our house. Little to no plans, house bound, eating leftovers. No one had to do anything or be anywhere. It was peace.

Drop the guilt

Oh I really want a slice of Christmas cake… I shouldn’t. Oh I really want a cookie… I shouldn’t. Damn I ate those chocolates…. that bit of cheese…. that eggnog. STOP IT NOW.

This is once a year. Holiday foods are treat foods. We indulge once a year to celebrate. Food and drink isn’t something to fear. If you want, have, but do so without the guilt. Savour, enjoy, celebrate, experience those tastes and flavours with family and friends. Decide to you what you love and be happy. And for those who decide to eat/ drink etc differently to you… leave them be. You do you and let them do them.

As for the other forms of holiday guilt – forgetting a present/ someone not enjoying your gift, not being able to see a loved one or someone who expected you, not having time to bake x,y or z… the list could go on and on. But remember what the season is meant to be. You wouldn’t want anyone else to feel guilty this year… don’t place it upon yourself.

Now get thinking about what gift you are going to bestow upon yourself this year!

Do you find the season busy or quiet?

Where do you find peace?

Are you someone who feels guilty?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Evaluating Traditions #5TTT

Hi all,

I adore traditions. They make me feel warm and cosy inside. They bring an instant sense of comfort and joy, that everything is the way it is meant to be.

During the festive period traditions are heightened. I don’t know about you but my December is full of them, starting from the opening of my advent calendar on the 1st of December. It’s just the way it is done, right?

From advent calendars, watching Muppet Christmas Carol as we put up the Christmas tree, going out for a meal on Christmas Eve, certain decorations being in certain places in the home and on the tree, stockings on Christmas morning, listening to Christmas FM every day to making Christmas treats, I could list my traditions until my hands hurt from typing!

But when we moved to Australia things changed. For one the season changed! No more Gluhwein at the Christmas market. No more snow (or snowmen). No more Christmas Carol concerts. No more Christmas shopping down the British high street. No more family. And my heart still pangs the most with that one.

So we had a opportunity, change things up the way we want them. Introduce new traditions, ditch old ones, really evaluate which ones mean the most to us and which did not. For this weeks 5 top tips I bring to you questions that you can ask yourself regarding the traditions (holiday or otherwise) that you have in your life. Too often we find that there is so much to do and so little time, so let’s stick to the good stuff!Traditions

Why do you do it?

Ask yourself this simple question – why am I/we doing this? And no, ‘because we always have’ is not an answer. Can you imagine the season without it? What would happen if you didn’t do it?

Does it make you happy?

So you have a reason, but does it make you happy? Does it fill you with happiness/ a glow/ those little butterflies in your tummy? Does having this tradition in your life bring a big smile to your face year after year? I can also understand that maybe for you it isn’t a deal breaker but for someone else it is. And seeing them smile makes you over the moon happy. To those of you out there, this is perfectly fine!

Does it serve a purpose?

Sometimes traditions are more practical. Maybe it’s the Christmas dinner or going for a walk afterwards (we all know how much we need that… or a nap!). So it’s not so much a happiness factor but a sensible tradition that ‘get’s things done’. But do you have those traditions that you struggle to squeeze in? Ones you have to force into your calendar? Does your mind wonder towards your ‘to do list’ when you are doing them? Maybe time to rethink.

Anything else excite you?

Ever looked at someone else’s December and wish you could do that instead? Feel overwhelmed by the amount of current traditions with no room for new ones? What intrigues you? Going out for Christmas dinner? Taking a Christmas shopping weekend away? Going to church on Christmas Eve. How could you make this happen? Never be scared to try something out. If it doesn’t work or feel right you can change it up next year.

What about the others?

You know what you want. But what does everyone else like to do? Maybe other members of your family would like to change it up. Maybe they simply do what is always done because they think that’s what you want. Pose the question to your family – what is a deal breaker when it comes to our traditions and which ones could you take or leave? Then what would you like to try? Sounds exciting right?

I would love to hear what some of your traditions are!

Or maybe you know of a few new things you would like to try?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

My ‘why’ with the 5 top tips series #5TTT

Hi all,

I began writing my 5 top tips on a Tuesday back in September 2015  and I have rarely missed a week since.

100 articles later, I am still going strong, first and foremost because I love writing them. I love connecting with you all and hearing your opinions on a variety of topics. I love passing on any information I have to you and sharing my knowledge. I love that you might disagree with me. I love that you might know in your gut that what I am saying is or isn’t right for you. I love that you come back with follow up questions, stories or suggestions. I am proud of my content because it’s my way of saying you already have everything you need within you, sometimes you just need to answer the right questions to help coax it out.

Asking questions and getting you thinking about what you do, what’s right for you, or how you feel is my jam. No one will have the same two answers. It’s what makes us so amazing. It is also exactly why my approach has never been, and never will be, one size fits all.

For this weeks 5 top tips, I simply wanted to share with you 5 reasons why I am here, each Tuesday, sharing information with you all. Hopefully understanding my ‘why’ will help you all know me a little better and as a result see my intention each week.chase the red grape

Helping me helping you

I have never hidden the fact that sometimes I write these posts based on advice I need to tell myself. Often I know what actions to take in a particular situation but I just can’t do it for some reason. Writing advice as if it was for another person clears all of that. It gives me the drive I need, the proof if you will, to know I am doing the right thing. But I don’t want to do it alone. I know that most of the time my issues are shared by many. If I know I can help myself then I know I want to help you all to do the same. I may pose questions that we have different answers to, but the process of thinking is where all the magic happens so that you can do the best for you.

Cut through the BS

Being in the world of writing about health and happiness, I read a lot of BS. Not because the opinions differ to mine (although that does happen frequently) but because, as I mentioned above, of the one size fits all approach. We are different people. A diet that works for you doesn’t work for me. Same goes for exercise, hours of sleep, motivation, stress levels so on and so forth, The BS is in telling you what to do. No one can do that for you, you need to work it out for yourself. Ask questions, experiment, stop comparing. I never want you to feel that you aren’t good enough. You are always amazing to me.

Keeping advice short and snappy

I ain’t got time for endless reading. I want short, concise and to the point advice, help or motivation. I want a snappy read that will get me excited or gets me thinking. It’s also why we created the podcast. Got no time to sit and read? Listen to Chase the Red Grape instead. Although the topics will differ, the essence is still the same.

Questions to ask yourself and takeaway

Questions, questions, questions. What do you think? How do you act in this situation? What do you feel in your gut? I am always asking you questions. These questions reveal your answers, the real call to action (if necessary). I am just the facilitator bringing up a topic. You have the answer to any factor within your life. I want you to feel empowered. I want you to know that you can and you will.

Embrace the suck…view it differently… if it is even there…

Somethings in life suck. Somethings in life we feel bad about because we think we should. Sometimes we feel alone in our unhappiness. Sometimes we feel bad that we feel so good. I spent too long living in the suck. Figure out what you can control and spend your time on that, don’t waste time living in the suck. However, sometimes I want you to see that often the suck isn’t really there. Maybe it can be seen in a different way. Maybe it’s a problem you have just become too involved in or maybe it isn’t even worthy of attention. All realisations after asking a few questions.

Life is too short to feel down. I want to help bring you up. But only you know what is best for you. 

Want to read some of my 5 top tips? Check out the 5 top tips page on the header of the site. Or click here.

Do you like being told what to do or do you like figuring it out for yourself?

Has anything you have read (not just from me) lead to an ‘ah ha’ moment?

What ‘one size fits all’ piece of advice have you seen online or otherwise that would be so wrong for you?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Why taking a time out might just be exactly what you need #5TTT

Hi all,

I don’t know about you, but I am tired.

The year is coming to a close, some are heading into the deep depths of winter, others the crazy heat of summer but no matter what, we can’t escape the change. November is always the calm before the storm. The reminder of all we have to do within the year before it ends. We all know December is madness. Our to-do lists are the size of our arms, weekends whiz past without stopping and before you know it, it’s the big day,

I can’t wait for Christmas and all it brings. It makes me feel so much joy. Right now though, do I even have the energy for it?

So how do I get that energy? How do I bring my mind and body into December with all it needs? What advice would I give someone else who was generally feeling a bit run down?

I would tell them to take a time out.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Take a time out. We can’t be go go go all the time, it just doesn’t work, we don’t work, we don’t thrive. Below are 5 areas where I believe folks can benefit from taking a time out. Even just one may help and it may only take a couple of hours, a day or two, maybe even a week if you have the time. Figure out where you would benefit from a time out and get ready to feel like you have the energy and drive to party and celebrate the rest of the year.chase the red grape

Work

So you are probably holding on right now… waiting for your Christmas holidays, right? Urgh who isn’t feeling like they need a holiday right now?! But there are still several weeks left, how do you want them to go? Have any annual leave left? Why not take a day or two to chill out? Have a Netflix day, do some Christmas shopping, sleep even! If you don’t have any annual leave left see if you company has a policy where you can take a mental health day. Your mind needs a break too.

If you have no option to take time off right now make sure you are putting yourself first. Take all the breaks you are entitled to. Leave work on time and get home where you can rest. Get an early night so your body has enough sleep to tackle the following day. You are number one.

Exercise

Whatever you do for exercise, ask yourself right now ‘at this present moment, is it serving me’? I get it, the gym is community, it’s so much more than just movement. But putting yourself through intense exercise day after day and telling yourself it’s worth it because of what it does for your social life isn’t the right way to go. What is your body telling you? Is it sore? Is it tired? Does it need a break, a bit of TLC? Maybe cut back on how many times you go per week. Maybe drop those weights or intensity for a couple of days and see how you feel. Or maybe just stay in bed instead. Your body will tell you what’s best, you just have to listen to it.

Diet

I’m not going to preach on what you should or shouldn’t eat. If your not eating great, you know it and you know what you should be eating instead. Don’t deny yourself or restrict yourself, just maybe eat some more veg or pass on the pizza. Get your tummy happy for the holidays. If you do eat well then great but make sure you’re not going too far. Does your body need a little more? Does what you eat make you happy?

And if like me you are pretty happy food wise but want to just take a break from alcohol for a little while then that’s always a good choice. I think a lot of folks would benefit from a boozy time out, just to reset our bodies and give it a little break from having to work hard to process the alcohol.

Routine

Why not throw a spanner in the works? I get really tired from doing the same old same old stuff day in and day out. Although I thrive from routine, I also know, if I’m not careful, it can drag me down into a rabbit hole and it’s hard to get out. Do something different. Go for a walk after dinner. Switch up one of your go to meals. Attend a class or go to the cinema on a weeknight. Break your self imposed rules. Take a time out from the grind.

Surroundings

Last but not least, take a time out from your surroundings. Maybe you are a Mum and you just need that night off from the family to spend with friends. You and your husband could book a last minute cheap deal for a stay at a hotel in your city. Or maybe you need some alone time. Work from home instead of the office. Even walking home a different way or trying out a new coffee shop can make a big difference. I like going somewhere new at the weekend. Just switch up what you see.

Don’t let yourself burn out. Take a time out instead.

How are you feeling right now?

Where would a time out be beneficial to you?

Are you patiently waiting for the holidays or longing badly for them?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

What has social media done to you? #5TTT

Hi all,

Remember back in the day when the internet started being something we could have in our homes? If you were lucky, you had a massive ‘piece of equipment’ PC and you spent your evenings talking to friends on MSN messenger about the same things you had also spent the past 8 hours of school talking about.

Fast forward a few years and I was off to university. At this point Facebook was only available to people attending select universities, and it never really fussed me. Until a few years in and my university was accepted. Of course we signed up! This looked so cool! Still, it was only something you looked at when and if you were connected to the internet… and even then it was about posting when you were having a party… and revealing said pictures from party!

Fast forward 13 years and social media has just exploded. Everyone has constant access to the internet. Everyone is on Facebook, your mum, your auntie, all of your friends. And then there is Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and so on and so forth. Has the way we communicate as a society really changed so much in the space of 13 years? I don’t think anyone could argue that the answer to that has to be ‘yes’. 

What has social media done to you?

For this weeks 5 top tips, I dug deep to look at the relationship I have with social media and what it has done to me. What does social media reveal about the world around me? What has it brought to my attention? These are my thoughts. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, maybe social media means something very different to you. Let me know below what you think.chase the red grape

Connection

Social media will always be worth it’s weight in gold to me, simply because of connection. Being on the other side of the world from my family and friends has been tough but social media allows me to be a part of life over there still. It allows me to keep connected with my old communities and friends. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to have to disconnect from all these important people and places – thankfully I don’t have to.

Desire

Social media has enabled me to desire more than I ever could have dreamed of. Maybe for you this desire is a good thing, you see something you want and you figure out a way to get it. It pushes you, it drives you, you can see an end. For me, desire can lead to pressure, confusion and often unhappiness. Most of the time it’s about things or opportunities I never even considered or was aware of. Social media can make me feel bad for not wanting it or not having it.

Why not me?

Yes the comparison game. Why don’t I have this? Why do they have it and not me? What have I done wrong? Do I not deserve the same opportunities? Am I no good? We glance at something, take one look and that’s all we need to bring ourselves down and tear ourselves to shreds. We no longer live in our bubble. We can see every single bubble in the world. We feel judged, we judge others, it feels like there is no escape. (Unless we disconnect… but then face being left out!).

People can be cruel… but cruel people are not worthy of your attention

The ability to be cruel, cause hurt to others and bully has exploded throughout the evolution of social media. I see good people everyday being torn down by comments online. It’s horrible. However through trolling we have learned that both online and in real life we cannot tolerate people who are cruel, people who bring us down, strangers, as well as those we know, who believe it is ok to cause hurt with their words. As much as I wish no one has to ‘learn how to deal with trolls’, it has become part of our world. What counts is that we stand up to it and realise that trolls are not worthy of our attention.

We are stronger together

Finally, I believe that social media has made me realise that we truly are stronger together. We feel with others on the other side of the world. We can be a part of helping afflict change in areas where we used to feel helpless. We can be more informed, have a strong basis of knowledge, share because we care. Yes there is a lot of ‘fake news’ out there and so much nonsense but the more time we spend with social media as part of our lives the more we realise its worth, its power and its ability to help us do good.

Be the good, promote the good, share the good and all will be well.

Have you always had social media in your life?

What does social media enable you to do?

What has social media done to you, both positive and negative?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape