Spending time outdoors

I lead a pretty indoorsy life. We didn’t even have a garden until recently and having lived very close to a town centre for about 8 years I spent very little time outside. Now we have moved I fully take advantage of the fact that we have a garden. I sit, the children play, the husband gardens and its idyllic to me. We are by no means out in the middle of nowhere now but we aren’t surrounded completely by houses now and behind our garden there are fields! and a farm! and trees! We live very close (3 minute walk) to a beautiful riverside which is abundant with nature and I seriously feel like our quality of life has improved. If you live somewhere where there is an outdoor or green space where you can sit, or walk, don’t take it for granted. Use it. Breathe in the fresh air, look at the natural beauty surrounding you. This is such an important aspect of self care and I didn’t realise what a difference it can make in your life. I have more energy, I feel happier, I feel like the nature that is a part of me is being nurtured by spending time outside. I get out every day now. At least once a day. I walk more, I feel the rain on my skin and my favourite is standing in strong winds and letting it take my breath away, I swear it is the most energising thing I can do.

What do you enjoy doing outdoors? I hope this part of you gets nurtured today,

Love & hope,

Imogen 

  

Self-Love

I feel like self-love can be quite controversial. It’s as though, to truly and really love yourself you must an egomaniac, you must be selfish and self centred and arrogant. Well I say that is crap. I’m sorry but in my opinion self-love is necessary. I am not arrogant or an egomaniac, actually i’m highly sensitive, I am thoughtful and considerate. But I spent so long in my life not liking myself. I didn’t like myself. Me! Me who I have been through everything with. Me who will always be there no matter what.

I didn’t like the way I looked or the way I spoke, I didn’t like what I thought about or that I was different to other people. If I seemed confident it was a front. For anyone who may have known me in the past may have thought I was arrogant or confident but I wasn’t. I was incredibly insecure and hiding it from the world and myself so as not to feel vulnerable or unsafe. What I actually needed was love. Love from other people helps it can create a tiny glimmer of self-esteem but not like loving yourself. That is where self-esteem comes from.

I have been reading a book, sent to me by my wonderful Auntie, called Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie which is just a wonderful, joyful book which I highly recommend. The passage for May the 18th sparked this thought for me;

‘Love All Of Yourself’

‘Do more than just accept yourself, tolerate yourself, put up with yourself, endure who you are. Love yourself.

 There came a time in my life when I simply could no longer put up with putting up with myself. I had talked about self-love. I had said it out loud that I loved myself. The words were good, but they didn’t ring true. I had to actually begin experiencing and practicing love for myself. It became the next step on my path. 

To live in a magical way, one in which you connect with the universe, loving yourself isn’t optional. It comes first. To hear the quiet voice of your heart so you know when you’re being led, to hear your thoughts so you can see what you really believe, to trust and open your heart, you must first experience love for yourself.

Have you abandoned yourself? Let yourself see if that’s true, feel if that’s true. Then learn to experience love for yourself.

Learn to love the way you handle things. Love your unique way of learning, growing and seeing things. Love where you’ve been. Love what you’ve done. Love where you are, and what you’re doing now. 

Love how you look, smell and feel. Love the colour of your eyes, the colour of your hair, and the radiance in your heart. Love how you laugh. Love how you cry. Love your mistakes, and love all the good you’ve done. Love it all. Love all of you.

Step into love for yourself, and the universe will reflect that love back to you.’ (Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart pg.143-144)

Sending you love,

Imogen x

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It works!

I had a wonderful message the other day from one of my readers, she had a bad day with a lot of stress from outside influences beyond her control and decided to delve into the ‘bag of tricks’ to feel more balanced and calm heres what she said;

‘I had the most horrendous migraine yesterday with it all and I realised my neck and shoulders were tense. This made me think about the things you have said so I put everything on hold and jumped into a nice hot bubble bath and came up with an action plan. It worked!!!! Thank you! You should be so proud of everything you are doing for yourself and other people.’

I’ll be honest now it brought a tear to my eye. I love to know, on a personal level that the tricks and tips I write are being used and are working. I mean, I know they work because I do it myself but it’s so good to hear this.

And very importantly-Dear Lady, you should be soo proud of yourself too for noticing the signs and for looking after yourself. I am so proud of you and happy for you!

Remembering to take care of yourself when it feels like the world is falling apart is hard to do. But it works, it puts things into perspective and it makes you stronger for when these things do arise.

Have you been delving in to my bag of tricks? What do you feel is working for you?

Don’t forget to sign up for self-care month emails. A self-care task to your inbox everyday throughout June for FREEEEE!!

And the Ebook Balance Your Life Today is available worldwide on Amazon for £1.99 or free on kindle unlimited. It is a practical guide to creating balance in your life and is choca-blok with tips and hints.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend,

Love & joy,

Imogen x

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Life balance coaching

Hello my lovelies! After a few requests I have decided to create a life-balance service one-to-one. Actually, this was my plan all along but it has been brought forward somewhat.

The life-balance coaching service will include

  • Daily contact with me in the form of email and/or skype
  • I will work out some routines for you to fit into your life more of the things you struggle for time for
  • I will create and send you routines and worksheets in PDF format
  • Free access to any of my ebooks, ecourses, and any other products that I release
  • My guarantee that you will feel like your life-balance has improved
  • Anything you want to talk about, discuss, need help or advice with is fine by me. I am here to help as much as I can in any way I can

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There will be a monthly charge for this service but for now I want to offer 1 month free to 2 people. There is absolutely no pre-requisit to applying for this freebie. I am going to choose 2 of the applications at random for the free month. The full service will be launched officially at the beginning of July. To apply for one of the 2 free 1 month month places please email to imogenjhope@gmail.com or use the contact form and provide the following information

  • Name, age, location
  • Where you heard about the blog
  • Why your life needs more balance

I will choose the 2 winners on May 31st so keep an eye out in your inbox on that day!

Good luck peeps,

Joy & love,

Imogen x

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Most Important Tasks

In my Leonie Dawson workbook that I filled out at the beginning of this year there was a page called

12 Zen Habits (From Leo Babuta at Zen habits.net)

They are all pretty useful and zen and go as follows

  1. Set your 3 MIT’s (most important tasks) each morning
  2. Single task (focus your attention)
  3. Zero inbox
  4. Process emails once a day
  5. Exercise 5-10 mins a day
  6. Work while disconnected
  7. Keep your desk decluttered
  8. Clear & declutter home for 15 mins a day
  9. Stick to a 5 sentence limit on emails (make your words powerful)
  10. Say no to commitments & requests not on your important short list
  11. Eat fresh fruit & veg everyday
  12. Follow a morning routine

I think we can all pretty much agree that these ‘Zen Habits’ are worth thinking about as we go through our days. In fact I have them stuck on the wall in front of me right this very second look

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My favourite one is number 1. I actually do use this one every day now. Having 3 MIT’s is great because it isn’t overwhelming. It its an endless to do list. It is just what actually matters to you the most on that day. Sometimes there is time for more. Some days I have achieved my MIT’s by 11am and I have the rest of the day to frolic..or whatever. I take 5 minutes every morning to figure out what the 3 tasks are for that day that i definitely need to do. If i think of 4 i have to choose which ones are the most necessary to my day.

Todays MIT’s for example are

  • Write blog post
  • Go to appointment
  • Start assignment

Today is pretty standard actually. Often my 3 MIT’s have something to do with self-care (appointment-actually for hypnotherapy) something for my business (today-write blog post) and often something to do with studying because there is basically always something I really need to do for that.

Other days, I know immediately that My number 1 priority is self care. Sometimes my MIT is actually to find time for a quick nap, or a bath, or just to read alone for a while. On days when I’m not feeling that great I know that that needs to be taken care of first.

Some days it is to do something fun with my family, to visit my grandma, to clean something, to business plan, to organise something for charity, to find time for yoga or a walk or to write in my journal if I haven’t done that for a while, to create something if i haven’t done that for a while.

You get the picture. I need to sit down each morning and actually give myself a few minutes to think about what the day holds in store for me and how I can work out when to do my MIT’s.

Why don’t you try it? Could you list 3 MIT’s today?

Peace out,

Imogen x

P.S.

Have you signed up for self-care month? Free daily emails throughout June with self care tasks in for every day! Sign up here

http://eepurl.com/bl49EP

Evening routine

Following on from my post yesterday about creating a weekly routine I want to talk about creating an evening routine. If you work in the day or look after your family then evenings are sacred time. They are your important time for relaxing and regenerating. If you’re tired (I certainly am) then it’s easy to want to spend your evening in front of the TV. I understand that and I do that sometimes too. That’s fine now and then but what I want to suggest is that you also use this time for personal growth, hobbies, socialising, exercise, creating and self care.

What I do first is make a list of 5 or more tasks that I feel I don’t have enough time for, or areas of my life that are getting neglected. My list looks like this

  • Crafting/painting
  • Self care
  • Socialising
  • Quality time for my relationship with my husband
  • Exercise
  • Time spent in nature
  • Reading

Now I work out how to fit this things into my evenings. I choose one per day, it doesn’t have to be rigid, for example if the weather is good I will go for a walk and tick off some time spent in nature. Sometimes I can’t get out for a walk on my own if I am on my own with the kids and I’ll have to work that time into another part of my week. Here’s how a normal week night could work:

At 7:40pm both children are in bed and I have cleared up all the pots and toys from the day. If i can go out I would go straight out for swimming, or to a friends for a cup of tea, out for a meal with friends, or for a short walk down to the river. If I am at home I could get the paints out or make something from my Crafts To Do board on Pinterest. On a Thursday, as I have said before I like to make time to pamper myself a bit (see Pamper evening post). On Wednesdays I make time to watch a film. If Mr.H is around it gives us quality time together which is something we can top up at the weekend. Generally, any one of these activities normally lasts from half an hour to 2 hours, which then gives me time watch something on TV then to read a bit before I go to bed. I very rarely go to bed later than 10:30pm. I would stay up longer and do more if I could but I know that if I do stay up longer I will pay for it in tiredness the next day.

I think everyone knows how much sleep they need and how much they can fit in to an evening. You have to use your intuition to figure out whether you are trying to fit in too much or if you are too tired to do much one evening. My belief is that this time is precious and often overlooked as a time to be productive in your hobbies or socialising. Why not try it for a while and see if you can pull another few hours of activity out of your day? For any more help or advice on creating routines and fitting more into your life then email me at imogenjhope@gmail.com

Much love,

Imogen x

And the rest…

Ok so wouldn’t it be amazing if I could spend my time doing the 6 different activities that i pin pointed in the last post. But i don’t. I have lots of other tasks that i want/have to fit into my days without over doing it and burning myself out. Which, quite frankly has to be my very top priority so i can look after my family in the best way and create a Life Balance.
So heres a wee list of all the other joys that fill my days
Washing up (doesn’t come under cleaning I’m afraid because washing up is a must do where as a lot of other cleaning isn’t to me!)
First the household thingies-
Washing/drying/ironing clothes
Baking bread (probably not necessary for most people but it is something I enjoy that actually needs doing most days)
Shopping (the bane of my life!)
Cooking
And personal care-
Meditation
Exercise
Reading
Watching films
Personal hygiene
Pampering
Sleep
Socialising
And family stuff-
Generally organising children. Actually Organising all 4 of us most of the time.
Playing together
Play dates
Visiting family
Homework (my 5 year old has homework it is insane no?!!)
Karate lessons for the big one
Date nights
Family trips

I have made myself a lovely colourful wall planner

Which basically plans out my every move. Which is great for fitting in all the lovely things i want to do. BUT we must always always remember to be a little flexible. To expect the unexpected and don’t get too stressed if you aren’t rubber gloved with your hands down the loo at precisely 9:15 am. Sometimes the baby needs cuddling, emergency milk needs buying, sun needs laying in etc and if thats the way you wanna play then that is so great and wonderful. My planner is there to keep me on track a lot of the time but i know not to worry if i can’t follow it sometimes.

This is my desk/workspace/creative station

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It’s a bit dark but it’s cosy and it’s right next to baby’s bedroom so she can play and potter about while i am at my desk.We are actually moving house in 6 weeks anyway so I will have to carve out a new space in our new house when we get there. We will finally have a proper garden though so i’m hoping there will be a lot of work done outside!

Here’s my new wall planner

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It looks pretty hectic but it’s not. It’s detailed and repetitive. You will notice there are only 5 days in this week. My weekends are kept spontaneous and free to get on with what needs doing and to go wherever our fancy takes us!

The only real thing left for this space that i want to do is a big dream board/collage to put on my goals, wishes, dreams and ideas onto so i can see them regularly and keep them in focus. Coming soon…

If you would like me to design you a wall planner to help you balance your life please use the contact form below. I will help to organise all the activities, jobs and anything else into your days by working with you to come up with a plan like this one. I want everyone to be able to fit into their lives all the wonderful things that make them happy as well as the necessary jobs that keep life ticking over nicely. I like to hand draw things because that is the best way i work. I like to make them colourful, cheery and full of love and i like to think that shows in my services. Once we have come to an agreement on a plan i will send you your hand drawn wall planner in digital format and you can print it out at home. If you don’t have printing facilities a plan can be arranged for shipping.

As an introductory price I will create your wall planner for £5 (payable through paypal) but be quick the print will go up in 2 weeks for this one of a kind, bespoke life balancing service.

Imogen x