Signs You May Be On The Wrong Path

A little under three years ago I was mentally and physically drained from my day-to-day routine. The sun would have only just risen and I would already be tired. I carried feelings of self loathing, anxiety and uncertainty, until they eventually became too heavy to function.  Like so many, I was in my 20’s and desperately searching for my purpose. The truth in my case, was that I was throwing my energy into something that made me deeply unhappy. Looking back now, there were several warning signs that presented themselves to me but I was confused by what they meant at the time. And so I carried on regardless, even though my wellbeing was taking a big hit. I wish to share with you what my signs were, in the hope that if you experience the same, you can open your mind to a new path that aligns with your authentic self.  

Jealousy. Watching others thrive was excruciating and even made me angry at times. I simply could not be happy for anyone else that was succeeding.  I felt hard done by, like I deserved it more. At the time I knew it was wrong but it didn’t stop the emotions I was feeling towards them - even people that I Ioved! The truth is, once you are content with where you are in life, witnessing the achievements of others brings YOU joy and introduces positivity into your life too. 

Another sign I noticed, was that I no longer enjoyed the things I thought I loved. I would go on a country walk and wished it would soon be over. Or I’d be watching one of my favourite films and sit there bored out of my mind. Even meeting up with friends became a chore. Something was shifting within me and I was not giving it the attention it deserved. I believe my thoughts were coming from a place of guilt.  As if I didn’t deserve a break or to relax because I had not achieved anything to justify it. Ironically what I needed more than anything at this time was to do nothing but listen. 

Health. With constant denial of my issues came some pretty horrific physical symptoms. Intense migraines, low immune system and an angry looking rash no doctor could diagnose that covered my entire body. My mind wasn’t coping with my lifestyle and my body knew it. At the time I felt so let down by my body. How could you fail me like this when I am trying my best? I am now grateful that my body has the ability to show me when I need rest and when I am in desperate need of change. It was as if my body had a secret conversation with my brain like ‘Hey, we really need to show her that she needs help, what can we do to give her no choice but to stop?’. I now consciously work on my relationship between my mind and body daily. So they can thrive as one. As soon as I realised that in fact, I AM my body and I AM my mind, they are not two strangers I just live with, everything seemed to make sense a little more. 

Opinions of others. When we are on the right path it really doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. With contentment comes confidence, so who really cares if someone has made a judgment about you? I would literally walk in the opposite direction if I saw someone I knew just in case they asked me what I was doing with my life. One time I even got off the train and got back on again a few carriages up so I didn’t have to talk to someone. I wanted people to think I was successful, making money and living my best life so badly that I even dressed a certain way to please them. I was creating a dishonest identity for my self to show others that I was happy because I was so insecure with where I was currently in my life. Our thoughts create a reality that we then have to overcome. So by telling myself I was falling behind, I then had to battle through this feeling for the rest of the day. 

Lastly, the F word. The future *dramatic gong sound*. A foggy mess, sandwiched between unanswered questions and my vidid imagination.  Desperately grabbing hold of any control I had over my life so I would not be a failure. The choices I was making were all built on the foundations of fear. I would do work I hated incase I never became a homeowner. I would spend all my money on superfood powders so I wouldn’t die young. Nothing I did came from a place of trust or passion. I was only living for the future because the present was unbearable. As time passed I was forced to drop everything that caused me any stress. I remember being curled up on my bed listening to rain dance on my windows. It was like I was hearing it for the first time. Every drop resinated within me. I was moving with time for the first time in my life and I wasn’t afraid. 

Being on the wrong path is not a failure, it’s an observation. Learning how to attend to your needs and make positive adjustments is incredibly productive. It does’t mean you have to walk backwards. Trying to untangle your fears from your desires takes time. Allow it. Move with it. Simply saying to yourself “I hear you” when changes to your life can’t happen immediately, will make you feel lighter. This is not a lonely walk you have to endure on our own. I believe we are all craving to live our best lives whether we are aware of it or not. 

So….I’ll hold your hand if you’ll hold mine? 

10 Reasons Why I Garden

Gardening was never something I thought I would have any interest in. From the outside, it seemed like an elite club of the older generations and horticultural professionals - I couldn’t see where I would fit in. I had no training, qualifications or experience and was far too intimidated to ask for help. So I started small, in my parents back garden, sowing seeds in the same greenhouse my Grandad built for my Nan 15 years prior. From then on, I lost myself in a new world full of life, growth and nourishment. I started to learn at my own pace and soon became confident enough in my ability to apply for a job working a couple days a week. I don’t garden to be the best, I garden purely for myself. I hope more than anything you can see a small piece of yourself in my story, walk outside and perhaps start a garden of your own. For more insight, here are 10 reasons why I love to garden:

• To feel closer to nature

• To grow food for my loved ones

• To have a reason to spend all day outside 

• To give back to nature 

• As an act of self care

• To feel creative 

• To feel part of something bigger than myself 

• To have a reason to spend hours outside 

• It brings me joy to watch something grow 

• For my mental health 

The great thing is, the more time I immerse myself into nature, the longer my list of benefits seems to grow. So if you wish to experience any of the above but like me feel as if you have no idea what you’re doing, start simple. Pick up a packet of seeds in your local garden centre or order a few supplies online. Or even plant up a few flowers into a container and give it to someone you love. There is no need to rush learning! In the end I hope you are able to write your own list of reasons why gardening feels great for you. 

5 Ways To Feel Calm In A City

Our cities provide us with an incredible abundance of culture, diversity and opportunity, however, fast paced and frantic living isn’t for everyone. Do you ever feel as if you're drowning amongst an ocean of people around you? Or feel anxious and unsettled in a crowded place? If so, then do not fear - these are all signs of being human! We are all complex and sensitive, which we often ignore when our surroundings are overwhelming. These 5 quick tips will help make non-stop city living a breeze. Without them, I’d definitely be living in a forest, away from all human contact, foraging for nuts. 

 

 

1. Mindful breathing

Your breathing is everything. It's your lifeline. Breathing is often something we forget to notice but once we re-connect with ourselves and bring the attention back to our breath we instantly calm our nervous system. Start simple - listen to your natural rhythm of breath. Is it irregular? Do you feel tight chested? Tense in your shoulders? If so, start by taking 1 deep, slowly inhale, then count to 5 and then let go. Repeat until you feel a calming sense of stability. This may take practice, but boy is it worth it! 

 

2. Keep a mantra or quote in your purse      

When you are winding down after a long day in the city, write yourself a mantra or a note to keep in your purse or wallet so you can read it whenever you need, to gain some perspective. For example, the current note I have written is “You are safe, you are grounded and you are loved”. Keep it simple, with effective words that you might need to hear in that very moment. Give it a try - your future self will be deeply grateful! 

 

3. Use your imagination 

Perhaps you’re at your desk, on the tube or at the supermarket checkout. Suddenly, it hits you out of nowhere - a massive wave of anxiety. You are not able to step outside, there’s no time to find open space, no way to breathe in fresh air or connect with nature. Or so it may seem.. Go there in your mind. Imagine yourself in a meadow surrounded by wild flowers and trees. What can you hear?  Picture your feet sinking into the grass and the sun on your skin. Why not even go back in time to a memory that makes you awash with happiness. Not only can this guide you to a calmer state of mind, but it also reinforces the fact that you are in control. Your mind is your anchor - use it to stop you drifting.

 

4. The power of music

Leave the world around you and escape into a safe place for 5-10 minutes. Plug in those headphones and listen to your favourite song. Perhaps even something soothing like the sounds of nature. You can find an array of ambient, relaxing playlists which you may prefer to use. Listen to every lyric, note and melody. Don’t let any of it pass you by. I personally like to listen to classical piano, as it reminds me of sitting in my Grandma’s house, eating freshly picked cherries.

 

5. Look up!

It’s not all skyscrapers and power lines. The sky is a perfect reminder that you are part of something much bigger and can help put your thoughts and worries into perspective. There is no ceiling above you. You are not trapped. Just start by following the clouds as they pass your vision and into the never ending blue canvas. Let them come and go freely. You’ve got this! 

 


Finding calm is not always easy. In fact, it can even seem impossible at times. So if you are coming home after a testing day in the city, drained and achey, you might be feeling that this pace of life isn’t for you. But I hope that by giving these tips a read, you can see that this is not the case! By tuning in to your instincts and giving your mind some TLC, living amongst this concrete world can be a wonderful experience. 

Have your own tips on how to find calm in the city? We’d love to hear them!

 

Love always,

Louise x

How I Stay Grounded

If you are anything like me, then you may sometimes find yourself feeling overwhelmed and highly sensitive to the pace of life. Although it may not feel like it, being sensitive is actually a really beautiful trait to bear. It means you can empathise with others, have a wild imagination and feel all kinds of emotions very deeply. In order for me to feel strong in my mind and body, I rely on going out into nature and grounding myself.

So, what does 'Grounding' mean? Well, to be grounded is to feel present in your body and fully anchored within your environment. The intention is to allow yourself to feel connected to the earth and all its stability. 

I find huge comfort in walking amongst forests, streams and woodland - gently inviting my senses to notice what is going on around me. Feeling my feet on the ground, touching the intricate lines within the bark on the trees, watching the wind caress the leaves and smelling the fresh rain on the earth. Physically touching a living thing reminds me that I am part of something beautiful and that it is also a part of me. 

A simple exercise I like to practice starts by leaning up on a tree and placing my feet on it's roots. I visualise my own 'roots' sinking deeper into the ground with every breath I take, whilst feeling the support of the tree on my back. If you feel uncomfortable doing this or it's too busy then try sitting at the base of the tree whilst reading a book or listening to music. Stay here for a while. Sit and just 'be'. When I tried this for the first time, I could only manage a few minutes. It felt so alien to not have my mind in overdrive. Now it fuels me with purpose and somedays I can do it for hours. 

Before I experienced mental health obstacles, I would never have dreamt of using nature as a tool to bring calm into my day. Now, I honestly cant imagine my life without it. Nature truly does heal and maintain the human body. 

So if you're feeling stressed, unenergised, anxious or all of the above, try sitting in nature and let it bring you home.  

Love Always, 

Louise x

5 Essentials For Starting Your Garden

I truly believe that anyone can be great at gardening. Like anything, when you are first starting out, it can seem really overwhelming & unachievable. However, it is common knowledge that everybody has their different ways of getting success with their gardens & no way is right or wrong. I started gardening to experience a connection with nature & for the sheer joy of it. If it doesn’t work out, that’s ok! I will learn & try again. Below I've listed the 5 essentials that you need to get you on your way when starting a garden: 

Pots

A home for your plants. These don’t have to break the bank. As long as there is a hole for drainage, you can grow seeds in anything! Head to your local charity shop, have a browse on freecycle or even visit your local garden centre & grab a potting tray - they're usually free! 

 

Compost

Food for your plants. When it comes to compost, you get what you pay for. The selection is endless & if you are a first time gardener you may wonder which one is the best to buy. Yes, if you can afford it, premium compost is ideal. However, you can still buy inexpensive compost that will 100% do the job. 

 

Seeds

Now this is the fun part! What is it that you fancy growing? Veggies? Flowers? Here are a few suggestions that are super easy to grow from seed & won’t disappoint:

Flowers: Nasturtium, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Nigella

Veggies: Carrots, Tomatoes, Beetroot, Spinach, Radish

 

Space

A place for your new babies to grow. Every plant or vegetable has specific requirements for where they will grow best. More often than not they need light, the correct temperature, shielding from wind & good air flow. Great places to put your seedlings are a windowsill, greenhouse, bathroom & if there is no risk of frost, the ground. 

 

Patience

Sit back & enjoy the process. Watching something grow is magical and exciting. Try not to fuss over your seedlings by overwatering or moving their position too often. Let them do their thing! If you are unsuccessful don’t be disheartened, try again & again & again. It will be worth it!

 

Love always, 

Louise

Intentions Over Goals

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For many of us, when we are greeted by a new year we feel obligated to set a goal - something we need to achieve, in hope that we'll bathe in our successes for the months to follow. For this year, and the years that follow, I don’t wish to set any goals for myself. Setting goals gives me an overwhelming sense of pressure to achieve and to not be a failure. Goals keep my focus continuously set on the future, forcing myself only to look forward. They don't allow me to think about where my feet are planted in that exact moment, take in my current surroundings or even appreciate a rainy day.

In the past, the foundations of my goals have always been built upon fear. ‘I want to own my first house by 21’ and ‘I want to look thinner and eat healthier’ are two that spring to mind. As you can imagine, when I didn’t buy my first house by 21, I was incredibly disappointed with myself. In fact, on my 18th birthday I cried because I could feel my goals were not correlating with the timeline I had set myself. My worst fears were coming true, I was not a "high achiever”, I was becoming a "failure". What I hadn’t realised at the time, was that I was neglecting my internal wellbeing and destroying my self worth.

This is why this year, I wish to trade in my goals for intentions. The word intention comes from the Latin meaning for 'stretching purpose’ - a way of challenging yourself with a deeper meaning and with your feelings in mind. Our intentions are authentic desires, which allow us to have a compassionate approach to ourselves, whilst also understanding that we can’t always be in control. Now, I've chosen to stop chasing a dream or goal with a competitive mindset and instead to openly invite new experiences into my life. An example of this may be ‘I intend to feel stronger’ or ‘ I intend to live joyfully and to find fulfilment’ or even ‘I intend to be finically stable and to live abundantly’.

So for now, instead of goal setting, I choose to live my intentions; surrendering to what I can’t change and trusting that I can live fully, regardless of my successes. 

Love always,

Louise