Self Care for 9 to 5ers: Guest post with @amaraamaryah

Copy of The ugly truth about self love

 

For those of us who spend the majority of our day working, it’s often difficult to make the time to practice self-care. Dealing with work, life’s problems ontop of taking care of our own needs can become a tedious task. That’s why it’s fundamental that we have non-negotiable selfcare acts that we can do throughout the day which are accessible, not time consuming and overall improve our well-being!

Me and the lovely @amaraamaryah reflect on acts of self care we do on a daily basis which truly make a positive difference in our lives.

Before we get into it, let me first introduce you to Amara. Amara Amaryah is a UK poet and blogger. Her blog is a platform for intentional living encouragement, travel moments, books shenis reading and poetry she is writing. Amara also uses her blog to document self-care events in the West-Midlands. She has performed her poetry at Heaux Noire, the Black Lives Matter lunchtime conversation with Patrisse Khan-Cullors and at Out-Spoken Ldn Birmingham Book tour and has most recently been selected as a Hippodrome Young Poet.

Amara:

Morning

i like to start every morning differently. every morning starts in prayer, poetry or gratitude. i try and find fresh ways to start the day with one or two acts of self love. sometimes it is waking up to a mug of my favourite tea and a chapter of scripture. another morning it might be laying out my yoga mat for 5 minutes and mini meditation. the next morning it could be as simple as washing my dishes to have a clear sink when i come home. whatever i do, i do it for myself so i can enter the day knowing that i listened to myself first-thing this morning. as part of being intentional about the thoughts i let in first, i try and walk to work without any headphones and i don’t touch instagram until i have reached my desk.

Midday

a confession: i work in an environment where i’m constantly creating content and it makes me think about how i can create content for my own blog/instagram. sometimes lunchtimes are spent writing/planning/creating using apps on my phone. this is something i’m trying to step away from to give my mind a different thinking space for the lunch hour. i think using lunch to get away from a screen is best. leave your phone in a safe place (if you can) and take your book or just go with conversation. i try and enjoy as analogue a lunch as possible. i’m still learning though! also- i try and get outside of the building for fresh air. i rarely spend my lunch at my desk.

aside from this, i think midday affirmations are super important. reminding yourself of the scripture you read in the morning, the podcast you listened to, the text your mum sent back this morning and just speaking over your affirmations for the week is an important part of being present. *a note on if you dislike your job: i know, i’ve been there. at this point in the day it is easy to dream of going home. i recommend bringing something to your desk that motivates you. a mini vision board, a memory, a quote, anything. having something physical on your desk which reminds you why you’re in the job, what you’re saving for and the fact that it is a temporary position can help you through the day.

Evening

Wind-downs are the best. in my new years blog post i wrote about stepping back from excessive selfcare to get more time to create. i think because i practice acts of self-care during the day,i don’t always need to over-do it in the evening. my evening rituals are always small ways to ensure i can start fresh. i’ve learnt not to over-plan for the evening. your 5-9 doesn’t need to exhaust you. plan your evening and allow an hour for time wasting and doing nothing. and then begin creating/working on the blog or whatever you do. a massive part of my self-care practices include writing. i generally set time aside for Journaling and making sense of my thoughts. i don’t follow any plan yet, i usually brain dump. as a poet, i am on a journey to writing 1000 poems in a year so i try and write something every night (or if not every morning).

the final thing i do is forgive. anything negative that has happened to or because of me, i forgive. i believe that we carry our daily worries into our dreams so i try my best to eradicate the heavy thoughts and make space for good ones.

and then i go again the next day. pushing for new ways to love myself.

Ash:

Quick Side note: “Show me your morning routine and I’ll show you how the rest of your day will pan out”. The way you start your day sets precedent over the rest of your day. The mornings are a perfect way to clear any lingering negative thoughts and to start your day with more clarity and peace. The mornings are an excellent way to check in with yourself. I find the mornings my absolute non-negotiable self care routine.

Morning: A typical self care morning ritual to me looks like waking up, praying or reciting affirmations then doing yoga. I use a yoga app and choose one relating to what my body needs at the time. Then I would watch a motivational video whilst I get ready for work. Once I get into work, one of the first things I do to settle into work is make myself a herbal tea/ coffee. Green tea or any other herbal tea is a must for me because of its healing & cleansing properties.

Afternoon: In my job position you don’t get much time for yourself. Like in many industries the focus is on productivity and getting the most out of your working hours. As a response I make an effort to find time for myself in a few ways; taking intentional breaks away from my computer, spending my breaks reading or watching something fun. I also integrate my passion for blogging into my daily routine by writing / jotting notes down in relations to a blog post when I am inspired.

Evening:

My evening self-care practices differ and are relational to my needs and desires at the present moment. It usually consists of making myself a meal, putting on my fairy lights and burning candles burning. I try to make time to exercise, listening to podcasts and music. I focus my energy in enjoyment so listening to stuff unrelated to blogger or work but based on my other interests like Music. I typically end my night by watching something on Netflix or reading a book when I can.

Follow Amara on her socials:

Insta: amara.amaryah

Twitter: amara_amaryah

Pinterest: amaraamaryah

 

Thank you for reading!

 

How do you take care of yourself on a daily basis?

 

What are your self care tips?

 

Love Ash, xx 

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People Pleaser: Personal Confessional and 5 tips to help you

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (1)Do you frequently put other people’s needs before your own? Does the thought of saying “no” make you feel anxious and uneasy? If yes then I can totally relate. Wanting other people to be happy and maintaining harmonious relationships is completely fine. However there’s a fine line between wanting other’s happy and people pleasing.

Confessional time, I am a serial people pleaser! Overextending myself and putting other people’s needs before my own is my weakness. I try to avoid saying no at all costs and if I do it’s usually accompanied by an excuse to why I can’t do something. This habit even goes as far as offering to help others when I do not have the means or capacity. People pleasing has caused me a lot of anxiety, disappointment and unnecessary stress.

The sad truth is people pleasers have an underlying fear of being disliked. They want to be seen as a good person. They hold guilt around expressing their needs and in some ways believe it makes them selfish. People pleasers accept most things even at their own detriment because they belief they have to constantly be in service of othersAs a result people pleasers have a difficult time setting healthy boundaries within their relationships. This can negatively affect relationships as they can become imbalanced, often leading to the people please overextending themselves to the other without leaving room to consider their own needs.

Also, people pleasers often have a hard time saying ‘no’ to people. The fear of saying no comes from an underlying fear of conflict, reprisal or loss. Saying ‘no’ is associated with the negative so people avoid using it and instead opt either do the thing they don’t want to do or make excuses. However I’ve learnt that in order to maintain healthy relationships it’s important that we truthfully express our needs and desires, even if it’s not a favourable response. People who respect you will respect your ‘no’ when it is said meaningfully and with good intent. If you keep saying yes, it will lose value and people will take advantage of it (knowingly and unknowingly). 

Based on my own experiences, I’ve been able to identify a few reasons why people try so hard to please others: 

Reasons for people pleasing:

  • Wanting others to be happy
  • Feeling like other people’s needs are more valuable than your own
  • Your worth is contingent on other people’s likeness of you
  • Fear of conflict and being disliked
  • Fear of not being respected
  • Over anticipating our ability to handle things and thus over extending ourselves

I’ve spent too many years navigating my life trying to please everyone around me.  I was so worried about what others would think of me to the point where I would put other people’s needs before my own. Currently I am challenging myself to say ‘no’ with love and integrity, and be honest about my capacity to extend myself to others. There are a few things I am trying and it’s working so far.

If you are a people pleaser and would to stop putting other people’s needs before your own, try the following: 

1. Become aware of how you feel when you have to compromise- Think about all the times you overextended yourself to please others when you really didn’t feel like it. Write down how you felt after you made the commitment. You might have instantly regretted it or felt drained, and under pressure to perform. Think about whether it’s worth going through these feelings again just because you didn’t say no or not right now. It will make it more clearer that being honest with ourselves and others saves a lost less stress in the long run.

2. Practice saying no- Saying no doesn’t have to sound harsh or mean. You can say no full of love and integrity behind it. If you’re not comfortable saying a straight up ‘no’, then try using phrases like this: “ I appreciate you inviting me but I will not be able to make that event. Thank you for the invite and have lots of fun.” “At the moment I can’t right now, but when I have capacity I will reach out to you.” 

3.  Figure out your needs and desires- When you are faced with a decision whether to extend yourself or not, think about whether the thing you’re committing to aligns with your present needs and desires. For example; You might need to spend sometime on the weekend studying so it’s in your best interest to stay home instead of committing to go out with friends. Make decisions that prioritize your own needs and desires.

4. Remind yourself that Social Media ‘likes’ is not an indication of your worth- It’s easy to think your worth is based on your following when we live in an age where people buy their followers and spend tons amounts of time figuring out how they can get more likes to their page. I fall into this trap from time to time. It’s inevitable that the lack of likes would make a person question their self-worth. It’s important to realise that the amount of likes you get does not determine your self-worth. The only person who should have control over the way you view yourself is you! No amount of likes will satisfy you unless you decide to validate yourself.

5. Find and repeat a mantra to yourself when you feel the urge to people please- You could try these or find your own that are suitable to you: 

“My needs are valid”

“I am overthinking this situation”

” I am entitled to boundaries and they are necessary for my own self-preservation”

“No is a complete sentence” – Lisa Nichols

“People who respect me will respect my no”

“If you keep saying yes, you diminish the value of your yes”

Anyways, I hope you learn to become comfortable with saying no and choose to give to others from our overflow. Remember no amount of people pleasing will substitute your self-worth!

Questions to you:

Are you a people pleaser? 

Do you feel comfortable saying no? 

 

Much love, Ash xx

4 Lessons Learnt from The Black Wellness Community W/ @Ashalvesblog

Hey guys!

I collaborated with Saabirahlawrence to talk about the lessons we’ve learned from the black wellness community. We both came up with 4 lessons which has helped us exponentially on our blogging journey.

I hope you give it a read. The reading time is 3 minutes! 💕✨

Love Ash xx

SAABIRAH LAWRENCE

I have collaborated with one of my favourite bloggers, to disuss a few of the things that we have learnt since writing about wellness.

Which leads me to introduce Ash, the talented writer behindAshalvesblog. Ash’s blog features a variety of encouraging and helpful pieces; on self care, gratitude and managing everyday struggles. A few of my personal favorites; Lack of Self Belief: Personal Confessional and Tips to Help & How to Overcome Feelings of Jealousy: Tips & Practical Steps.

I was new to understanding my own mental health and honestly didn’t know where to look for some kind of confirmation that I am not in this alone. Which lead me tospend a lot of my time attending self care and mental health focused events, specifically run by black people.


A few things I have learnt from the black wellness community:

The right people around you changes everything

I…

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The Gratitude Journal: March 19′

 

 

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It’s March guys!

The year is already flying by. Before we get stuck into another month, let’s take a moment to appreciate the blessings in our life. This month I want to show appreciation for my friendships.

Friendship has always been a sour spot for me as for a long time I felt unfulfilled in this area of my life.  Finally I am in a space where I feel content with the connections I’ve been able to build and the acquaintances that have entered my life. I feel loved like never before- but mostly because I have more love for myself. I am in a space with my friendships where we value each others boundaries, share love and joy and aren’t afraid to have honest conversations. I am extremely grateful for healthy friendships.

I am thankful for being able to have friends who continue to inspire me. I am thankful for the times they listened to me and gave me the space to express myself when I needed it the most. I am thankful for their honesty which taught me about myself and aided my own self-discovery. I am appreciative of the effort they have made into preserving a friendship with me, and showing up. I am thankful for having the opportunity to be in their lives and be chosen by them. I am grateful for being able to share joy laughter, happiness and sadness. I am grateful for the select few who support my creative endeavours and remind me of my powers. I am thankful for those who choose to be patient with me and for continuing to meet me half way.

Question to you:

What are you grateful for today?

Is friendship important to you and do you feel loved by your friends?

Thanks for stopping by!

Love and hugs, Ash xx

 

 

 

Trust Your Timing

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (3)

Do you believe that you’re going to achieve your goals? If so, then why do we get impatient when things are not happening fast enough? Having faith that you will reach your goals is fundamental for achieving success. However, it’s easier said then done when you constantly see other people achieving these amazing things and you are not even close to reaching your goals.

When you’re not where you want to be in life and feel like things aren’t manifesting in the way you envisioned, it can make you lose hope in the process. I think for my generation (18-30’s), there’s a huge amount of pressure to live your “best life” at such a young age. Social Media has played a huge role in the pressure to be successful. On a daily basis, we are constantly reminded of people’s riches and success. We barely see people sharing their struggles. All we see is the finalized ‘image’ of what success looks like and this drives us to feel impatient with our own journeys.

Additionally, social media has afforded people the opportunity to establish themselves and making a living through platforms like YouTube and Instagram. The downside of social media is phenomenon’s like ‘overnight celebrities’ where we’d see people becoming popular and as a result, using their leverage to achieve their financial/business goals. Seeing people reach success almost effortlessly added to the growing impatience some of us feel with our own progress. Reaching instant success is way more appealing than having to put in the work to achieve your goals, so it’s no wonder why many of us find ourselves so impatient.

However social media isn’t entirely to blame for this phenomenon. The desire to want things ‘now’ is also rooted in our economic system. Everything we want is mostly at the click of a button. We live in a consumer society which values instant gratification. The reality is there’s so much pressure and it’s difficult navigating life without feeling like you have to meet certain expectations.

There’s so much pressure…pressure from society, ourselves and others. Therefore when you’re doubting your journey, it’s really important to remind yourself of a few things that will make you feel better.

When you’re doubting yourself and feeling impatient with your journey remind yourself of these 6 things you can do:

1. Stop watching others- The phrase  “Water your own grass” applies perfectly here. You need to be so focused on trying to make your dreams a reality that other people’s success doesn’t make you question yourself. Comparing yourself to what other people are doing is only going to make you feel worse about your progress. Pour all the energy you spend watching other people’s success into your own and watch your seeds blossom into something unimaginable.

2.  Take a step back- Don’t be afraid to take some time out to reflect on your progress. Taking time away to re-strategize helps us see things in a fresh new lens and may give us answers to what is required to achieve your goals. This also helps spark creativity and give you the energy you need to propel forward.

3. Go over your goals- Remember those goals you wrote down? Make it a daily or weekly practice to remind yourself of those short/long term goals. This will help remind you of the bigger picture and give you hope that you can transcend your current obstacles.

4. Celebrate every milestone, even if it’s small- Make it a regular practice to celebrate yourself, even for the little things. For example, say to yourself; “I am proud of myself for posting a new blog post or I’m glad I spoke up at work today because that’s improving my confidence skills”. All those small things should not go unnoticed because a bunch of small victories is what will eventually result in you achieving a bigger goal.

5. Write down your WHY or figure it out (define your purpose)- You need to figure out your intentions behind why you want to achieve that said goal and make it a practice to remind yourself of it every day. Maybe you want to achieve financial freedom because you want to provide for your family or you might really want transform other peoples lives. Whatever is it, reminding yourself of the purpose will help ease you through times of uncertainty.

6. Reach out to others- If you’re feeling low about yourself, reach out to someone. Often times we convince ourselves that we are the only ones going through these struggles. By reaching out to others, it can help put things into perspective and restore confidence in ourselves. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, try finding a support group or a workshop to connect with people who are trying to achieve similar things as you. (or you can always contact me if you need someone to talk to)

Affirmations for Daily Practice:

“What is mine is always for me”

“I trust God’s timing”

“My struggles add character to my success story”

“The universe is aligning right now to work in my favour”

Quote on Trust your Timing:

“Just because it hasn’t happened for me yet doesn’t mean it won’t. There’s always room for me to succeed. It doesn’t matter if someone got there faster than me…what is for me will not miss me. I live by my own timing and will not be rushed by others. I choose long term gratification overnight short time success.” -ashalves

Thank you for reading!

 

Questions to you: Do you have goals that you are working to accomplish?

Do you believe you can achieve it?

 

Love Ash, xx

 

The Gratitude Journal: February 2019

I'm thankful, grateful, appreciate

(Photo taken by me, Spain Catalonia 2019)

Isn’t it beautiful knowing that everyday is a new day?

The sun rises each day to reminds us that everyday we have the opportunity to truly shape the course of our life. From the moment we wake up we get to decide how we choose to lead our lives and how we react and respond to circumstances around us. A new day is another chance to start again.

I am grateful that I’ve been able to wake up today and given another chance to start again. A new day should remind us that despite our negative experiences, we get to decide how we choose to live our lives in the present moment. We don’t have to be confined by our past or defined by the choices we’ve made previously. You are not here by coincidence- you woke up to fulfil a purpose. You get to choose how to make the most out of the day that’s available to you!

What are you looking forward to this month?

What are you grateful for today?

I would love to know!

Love Ash, xx