Our first monthly favourites. YAY! We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves, for resources to learn, ways to better understand ourselves and others and for all things that improve our overall wellbeing - mind, body and spirit. We thought we would share all the things that we've found helpful or interesting this month and hopefully some of this is helpful or inspiring to you. We'll keep it short & sweet, so without further ado, let's get into it :)
New year means new habits and new resolutions. For all of us, incorporating regular meditation practice in our lives is on top of the list. It's well known that meditation relaxes your body, trains your mind and promotes deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. When you listen to high-performing people talking about what makes them successful, meditation is sure to be one of habits mentioned. It only takes 10 minutes (or longer if you prefer), yet has such a positive impact on your wellbeing. And to be honest, if you don't have 10 minutes in the morning (or evening), do you even have the time to live a fulfilled life? I heard this somewhere and since then every time resistance hits and that voice in my head tries to convince me that I don't have time for it, I ask this question to myself.
We like to try out different ways and experiment with meditation methods that help us stick with this routine and slowly notice the progress. This month we've been enjoying Meditations by Jody Shield. On her website, you can find meditations section that offers guided audio meditation for different purposes, such as “meditation for heart opening”, “meditiation for staying zen”, “meditation for deeper sleep” and others.
I like to mix up my mediations and sometimes I just put on relaxing background music and focus on my breath, however, most of the time I (as a beginner) prefer to use guided meditation as it's simply the easiest way to mediate and this way I truly feel the progress. Listening to Jody's guidance has helped me achieve a deep state of relaxation and right away I feel better emotionally and mentally.
Jody also hosts different events and workshops in London that are designed to work on your mind, body and spirit. In you are in the area, you can check them out here.
Now, the book I'm about to mention came to me at a perfect time. A couple of weeks into January, when all the goals are set and you actually need to start taking action, I experienced mixed feelings. Procrastination, resistance and the feeling of being overwhelmed. I knew I had to get out of this vicious circle and, usually, a great help is a good and inspiring book. So I picked up “Mindset” by dr Carol Dweck and pretty much finished it in 2 days.
It describes the power of our mindset and separates two - growth and fixed mindset. The main idea is that it's not just our talent that brings us success, but the way we approach our goals. Is it with a fixed or growth mindset? The right mindset helps us achieve our goals professionally and personally as well as gain confidence and keep going even when the things don't turn out the way we want them to.
Here is a great example that compares both mindsets:
This book has really helped me look back at my own past experiences and identify what approach/mindset I've used to deal with it. Then, learn from these experiences and notice what I could have done better or shifted my mindset for a more positive outcome. This book suggests incorporating a healthier and more positive perspective when making decisions and dealing with difficult situations in your life. Really recommend reading it, even if it is just to understand yourself better.
Now on to relaxation. Only in the last few months of 2016 (when we were putting together the Dear Diary) I started looking into essential oils and tried out a few myself. And oh my gosh - they do work!
One of my favourites is lavender oil. I usually use it after an intense/stressful day and it truly helps me reduce stress and unwind. You can either add a few drops of oil to bath water or mix it with your body lotion. If I use it just before bed, I'm sure to sleep like a baby.
Another oil I've been enjoying is grapefruit oil and this is great for uplifting and refreshing. Grapefruit oil can be used the same way as lavender oil or I also like to keep it next to my workspace. When I'm starting to feel a bit low on energy, I dilute a few drops of oil in my hand cream, rub on my wrists and breathe in the scent.
Very often we talk ourselves out (or perhaps it's just me?) of developing/learning a new skill or expressing ourselves creatively, because we think we lack talent. If we hadn't started playing piano, drawing or dancing at an early age, it means it's now too late for the twenty-something self to start. Or, we tried it once, we failed, so it means we don't have a talent in that particular field. I was often guilty of thinking this about myself and (again) listened to that unhealthy voice in my head that said - there are so many other people that do it better than you, why even start and waste your time? Ugh, hate that voice… With time I've started to resist it and do quite the opposite. If I want to try something new - I go for it. Without feeling like I have to win an award for my new skill that I'm trying to develop. I'm just doing it for my own pleasure. Then it turns out to be an extremely enjoyable activity that even serves as type of meditation.
I've always admired beautifully written quotes/words in brush lettering and finally this year I set this for myself as a goal. First action steps are done - buy good pens and find a resources online that could educate me on the basics. This brings me to the second favorite of the month - Skillshare website. It's a learning platform with online classes taught by practitioners from all over the world. You can search categories like business, technology, writing, design, photography and more.
With the help of these classes, I've started practicing my brush lettering (it's so much harder than it looks, btw) and I've been really enjoying it. I've already saved many other classes that I want to take in writing, business and lifestyle and can't wait to explore. I mean, how lucky are we to live in this incredible time when we have so much information around us. Still blows my mind.
Working from home can be challenging in a few ways. For me, one of them is the want to snack. Constantly. Every time I have a cup of tea, I need something to go with it. This has been a good challenge though, as it's made me pay attention to healthy snacks available on the market and discover that there are quite a lot of yummy options out there.
This month we've been really enjoying Whitworths Cacao Maca-roons. The ingredients include almonds, coconut flakes, agave nectar, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, coconut oil, golden flax seeds, vanilla extract and maca powder. All the good stuff. No sugary, unhealthy stuff needed. We made similar choco balls a few months ago and they also turned out delicious. These are just quicker and still a very tasty option when you don't have time to prepare your healthy snack.
What are your monthly favourites? We would love to hear from you :)
Thank you so much for reading!
Zane & The Dear Diary team