A Piece of Advice On Time

I’ve been wanting to write a blog about this for a while now, but I’ve been held back by the thought of not being one to talk when things still fall apart before my eyes some days. So based on the fact I’ll never be an expert on the matter, I’m gonna write it regardless – and hopefully I’ll help myself in the process.

So, here it is – a blog on managing life and finding time.

Life is never easy. You can feel the pressures from all angles some days, and you can feel like you’re losing control of even the simplest of things; your home is messy, you don’t have time for breakfast, and you’re always buying your lunch because who the %$*@ has time for meal-prep. Raise your right hand if you can relate; don’t even get me started about skipping your gym workouts for 7-days straight, or the fact of all that is in your fridge is a can of whipped cream and a jar of peach chutney. I get it, cause right now that life is mine. I mean, I am literally squirting cream from a can into my mouth – intermittently – as I write this.

I recently started a new job as a restaurant manager; ironic, right? I get paid to organise operational tasks of a restaurant and bar, yet I can never manage to have clean socks. At the start of the year I was at the gym everyday, if not twice a day, I was downing smoothies which were 50% spinach, and I was constantly putting time aside everyday for my writing or my to-read pile. However, since switching from a part-time, 9-5, to my new job which includes an hour commute each way, I’ve lost the assurance of the routine I used to have. I’ve come to realise that finding a routine after shifting your life’s pattern, is not easy! Ask anyone. So, if this is you; your life has changed in some way (new home, new job), don’t expect it to just happen.

So how does one figure that out? How can you find the time to do these things? Well, as annoying as it may sound, it’s completely on your shoulders. Remember in high school when you were given an assignment which was due in 5 months, and you left it until the last week, and still managed to hurriedly finish it on time? Yeah, well that is a fine example of how time is always there – if you’re willing to realise the fact.

“I’ve been so busy” is the new “I’m fine”, and we use it without even thinking about the words before we speak them. I know firsthand it’s easier said than done, to just make the time to bang out those chores, but it definitely is all about mindset.

Okay, so you’re busy and you haven’t been to the gym in a week; want a solution? Get up an hour earlier. If you genuinely want to get your arse burning, you have to want to do it. No one is going to come dress you, no one can make you pick up some dumbbells – that’s crazy! So, set your alarm for 6am instead of 7am, and just do it.

And like everything else; washing, groceries, returning your library books which have accumulated a $10 fee (not me), JUST DO IT. I know you were probably coming to this blog for more precise advice, so I’m sorry, but I’m hitting you with a reality check!

So, on that note, I’m gonna kick myself up the arse and take a piece of my own advice. My new schedule/routine/motivation starts now! No excuses, no “I’m busy”s, no not-having-enough-time; I’m going to prioritise the things that mean something to me, and live the life I want and need to live. I’m going to make sure I have healthy foods in my fridge, I’m going to get to the gym every second day (at least), and I’m going to go for hikes and coffee dates by myself on the weekend. Yes I have less free time than at the start of 2019, but that’s not a good enough reason to not live it up in my free time.

Say an affirmation with me now:

“I have all the time I need.”

Say that to yourself every morning, and I guarantee you, you will find an extra hour or so. Time is there if you want it.

 

Why, As A Writer, I’m Taking A Break From Books

I’m taking a break from books. (Or so I’m going to try.)

On average I read 4-5 books a month. That’s a lot of words to compare to my own, and I’ve decided that I ought to stop complaining I don’t write enough when I spend so much of my time reading.

I used to bring books to accompany time and space, my bag overflowing with one too many books. But now I’m starting to see that books are different to my own creativity. They are there, they are permanently in print, they create noise in my head. They are the expectation – I have to be as good as these to be published; to be read. I have fallen so far into admiring others I have started to doubt my own use of words. I’ve always known I can write as they do, its only lately I’ve started to realise I just haven’t been giving it enough time. I must live and breathe my own creations. Picasso didn’t look at paintings trying to figure out how they did it, he picked up a paintbrush and made strokes that felt right. I want to write because of the infinite possibilities a keyboard presents when I open my MacBook. After all, for every word I read, I could be conjuring one for myself.

As I’ve grown in London, I’ve observed that London is a city of expectation. Expectation through external stimuli, through noise, even something as small as facial expressions. As a young, aspiring writer this has proven to be hard…. I’m sure as any young person, trying to make it in this city, it’s hard.

Through time, I’ve discovered my laptop provides a silence that nothing else can. I can sit in the most noisy of cafes and hear nothing. When I am sitting in front of a screen I can achieve anything, write anything. Literal infinite possibilities the alphabet provides. With my laptop in hand, I can go anywhere in London; Anywhere, and it will always lack expectation.

I love books so much, but I love my completed projects more; my stack of poems, my nearly finished novel, my website and articles full of poetic monologue.

So here I start, indefinite days without reading any word of another. My to-read pile will just have to wait.

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Stick To The Status Quo? | The Self Series

Welcome to Episode 5 in The Self Series. This is the series where I give some thought to common said quotes in today’s society. This time it’s all about the status quo.

What is the status quo?

Status quo is a Latin word literally meaning ‘the state in which’. In today’s society, the label status quo is typically used to generalise what is deemed ‘normal’ in society.

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I have a discussion for us today based around my personal take on the saying “Stick to the status quo” – and before you ask, yes, I was a huge High School Musical fan as a kid.

So, what is my take? I see the status quo as more of a comfort zone; sticking to the status quo being the attitude of playing it safe rather than only societal norms. If we talk about the status quo in this way, this would be our own choice – right? We individually decide whether or not to stay comfortable.  If you ask me, life is all about taking risks and encouraging ourselves to get out there and make the most of things. Life is also about encouraging everybody around us to do the same.

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Quite often when it comes to something new, our bodies inject our minds with a little thing called fear. We can’t blame our bodies for this feeling, because ultimately it’s a survival instinct, but sometimes we mistake worry for fear; we escalate the anxiousness of failure to a level of fear that makes things seem impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you to feel the fear and do it anyway. This seems to be an overall theme in my blogs, but hear me out once again. If I asked you to join me on a skydiving quest tomorrow, what would you say? I know your body would probably start to feel a little more tense, and some part of your insides would do a little dive to the pit of your stomach, but after putting that aside what would YOU say??

I’d hope you’d say yes. After all, experiences such as this aren’t an everyday thing. I’m sure your first instinct would be to say no. Our bodies weren’t designed to fall from the sky, 15,000km above the earths tectonic plates, at speeds unknown to the raw human body – but hey? What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, ideally it’s probably not best to ponder this thought right before you jump – but seriously, you’d never do anything if you didn’t live with risk.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers

I have in fact jumped from a plane. When I was about 16, one of my brothers and I joked about skydiving on a family holiday. Emphasis on the word joke. The next morning, as we were in our holiday cabin comfortable in our bunk beds, my parents came in with an aura of adrenaline and asked us, “How about it? Want to skydive today?”. I can tell you now, I still remember that feeling of absolute terror and how quickly my stomach clenched. It had only been a thought, something to laugh about, yet now it was so close to becoming reality. Eventually after our parents encouragement, me and my older brother committed to jump from a plane.

It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. It was also one of the most terrifying and fear-filled adventures I’ve taken part in.

When I find myself filled with fear; from accepting a new job role, to travelling abroad solo, I tell myself what’s the worst that can happen? I tell myself to feel the fear, and do it anyway because you only live once. More often than not, after we take these risks, we feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.

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We’ve discussed taking risks, and now I want to bring us directly back to the status quo and the idea of self-expression. I was doing some research for this article, and I came across this quote from none other than Dr Seuss:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

As a child, I loved the books of Dr Seuss because they were so different to anything else I read. I loved the unique illustrations, the crazy storylines and the characters being so different to anything I knew in real life.

This quote from Dr Seuss is the definition of a perfect life. We can’t conform to the ideals of society; we can’t live our lives in response to someone else’s standards. If someone dislikes us for who we uniquely are, do they really matter? Should we really let their idea of a ‘right’ life distinguish how we live ours? NO! And if someone lives a true, self-actualized and self-empowered life, they’re not going to mind how we live ours. Be unique, and only live for yourself.

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When someone says things such as stick to the status quo to me, I can’t help but think it over. Remember: that feeling – after conquering a fear or something with an uncertain outcome – is what we should all live for. Be who you are, be true to your thoughts and your feelings.

Don’t believe the status quo to be anything other than encouragement to be different and adventurous.

There’s A Time And A Place | The Self Series

Hello, and welcome back to The Self Series. This is going to be where I inject advice from my journey to self-assurance into my blog; a space where I respond to requests, or events in my life, with a moment of reflection.

Today, I’m gonna discuss the saying “there’s a time and a place”. According to some, this is something you say when someone is behaving in a way which is not deemed suitable for the circumstance. In my opinion this seems to be a rather negative take on what could be an extremely positive mantra. I’m gonna give you my three positive takes on this quote:

No. 1

“Certain projects find you at the right time.” – Pierce Brosnan

Ever heard of a thing called fate? Yeah, well I believe in it… to a certain extent. I believe everything works out in the end. I always have, it’s something my parents taught me; read my earliest blogs, I can’t shut up about it apparently.

So, take number one? Being in the right place at the right time. Understand that if something you’ve been striving for hasn’t happened yet, it will happen when the success stars align. The worst thing creative striving souls do is give up when the going gets tough. If you really want something, keep at it and it will happen when its supposed to. Sounds like I’m talking crap, but I speak from experience, and I speak from the hope of success I have for myself.

No. 2

“Eliminate anyone who stifles your creativity by being hostile, mean, or rude – either to your face or behind your back.” – Rachel Wolchin

This is where I tell you to retaliate. I’m not exactly going back on my previous blog in The Self Series (if you haven’t read it already, I highly suggest you do, click here) but I am saying this: there is a time and a place to take no shit. Rachel has it right – eliminate anyone who does wrong by you and/or your passions. In that blog, we discussed responding with a mature and reserved manner, but now is when I tell you its okay to raise your voice. However do not bring another person down, use your voice to open people’s closed eyes and minds.

No. 3

“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” – Willie Nelson.

Cue giggles in front of computer screens, or gasps of horror. Either way, Willie Nelson has the right idea. When I see the words there is a time and a place, I find myself reminded of patience. Sometimes we feel self-entitled – whether it be to a promotion or to be at the front of the queue in the supermarket – and self-entitlement is a very bad quality. Yes, we may work hard and be entitled of a victory, but don’t abuse your ego. Let others shine, and you too will get your moment. If you’re patient, whilst not losing confidence in your own passion and hard work, you will get your cheese.

All it takes is a few minutes of your day to wind-down the mind. I hope The Self Series will be your space to reflect as much as mine, and that you have gained something to consider from this blog. I ask you all to comment your take down below, and I will see you next time!

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Kill ’em With Kindness | The Self Series

It’s recently come to my attention that I’m quite sassy.

I’m not always writing, cause I’d never get my bills paid – so, like a lot of creative souls, I do work in customer service. When you work in hospitality you do encounter rude people, and as the feminist and stubborn woman that I am,  I dislike being disrespected immensely. I’ve never been overly mouthy or rude, but I do get a sass on my shoulders and have slammed a few pints down in my time. As any fed up person would.

Lately I’ve been taking to a new way of dealing with these sort of people. Instead of ruining my day or mixing the situation with sass, I’ve been attempting at over the top kindness and coming out the bigger person. So here they are, a few tips and quotes on how to:

“Kill ’em with kindness”

Call ’em out

Sometimes people don’t realise they’re being rude. We’ve all done it; had a bad day, and taken our anger out on someone with our tone of voice, or impatient frustration. You get the nudge from your friend standing next to you at the coffee shop counter, and realise you’ve just sassed the poor girl who is only doing her job.

I have on certain occasions, told customers to just change their tone with me. They will either a) Quickly realise and apologise or, b) Continue to be rude, at which point I highly suggest you walk away. Wherever you work, it’s not in your contract to be personally disrespected. So leave it be. I encourage complete positivity in my personal life, so why is it only now that I’m realising I should be accepting only positivity and respect at work too?

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Pass it off and don’t fight back

There are certain times that people are so stuck in their ways, that they won’t even hear what you have to say. When this happens, when they ignore you, respond with kind enthusiasm. Keep your head high, say what you have to say, and as they make snide remarks, pass them off. Do your job, calmly and professionally, and then ride your high horse into the sunset. The worst thing you can do is let someone’s rudeness or bad day, turn yours into one too. Don’t stand in the presence of negativity, and definitely don’t let it stick around.

“Treat everyone with politeness – even those who are rude to you. For remember that you show courtesy to others not because they are gentlemen, but because you are one.” – Charles Dickens.

Killing a situation with kindness, is a form of strength. Think of how weak it is to throw insults; how much easier it is for some people to be mean, than to explain or talk like a civilised adult.  So by being polite, you remain the mature, self-controlled person you are, and remain with purpose and strength.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

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ASPIRE TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO BE KIND

So, You Want To Be In Charge Of Your Life?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll overthink everything that has anything to do with a ‘successful life’. We are all guilty of getting so caught up in making the best impression on others, that once we stop, we feel like we’re losing control of where we’re headed or who we’ve become. We all want to be in charge of our own lives – deep down we all want to live a life that we deem victorious.

“Stop fighting yourself and start fighting for yourself” The Revolutionary Impact 

I wanted to kick off this article with one of my favourite quotes from The Revolutionary Impact. How powerful is this statement? We do fight ourselves, it’s true. We constantly chant excuses instead of repeating affirmations. Say there’s a job promotion and you’re doubting yourself, you will without a second-thought tell yourself there’s so much you don’t know – well, imagine if you just turned it around and said, I can do it. Nothing more, nothing less. Well guess what, you can. Remove “I don’t know” and “I can’t” from your vocabulary, start saying, “If I don’t know now, I will figure it out” and “I can”. Defend yourself. Fight for yourself.

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Inject your days with wholehearted passion.

When we feel like we’re being dragged through the days – doing things we don’t like, working a job we aren’t passionate about – we become tired. We feel exhausted and the feeling of control can quickly dissipate. If you’re serious about taking control. Whether you want to be a writer, entrepreneur, actor, or your own boss, start now. When we’re young, we can so easily slip into saying, “Oh, I’m young, I have time.” Well, you’re correct, you do have time, but sorry kids the world doesn’t stop progressing just cause you’re having fun. I want us to enjoy ourselves, but also remember that if we want something we gotta live for it. Start each day right, dedicate some time each day to perfecting your craft, infest your surroundings with your craft – motivational boards, books, quotes, posters – and convince yourself it WILL happen. Bring on that New York Times Bestseller!

Click here for my tips & tricks on starting the day right.

“Opportunity does not knock, it presents itself when you beat down the door.” Kyle Chandler

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Figure out what matters to you and what doesn’t.

This applies to all aspects of your existence. Only let things into your life that bring you joy. If you want complete control of your everyday, without putting it off for weeks, seriously de-clutter your life; from the abundance of t-shirts you don’t wear, to the “friends” who bring your down. If something is contributing negativity rather than support, or taking up the space for something better, get rid of it. You don’t have to justify it to anyone, all you’ve to know is that you’re doing yourself a favour. When we put our life through this self-respect filter, we will settle for nothing less than we deserve. Chris Brogan, sums this concept up perfectly.

“Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”   Chris Brogan

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Live for the future, not the past.  

You might be thinking, “Paige you’re contradicting every blog you’ve posted – living in the future? What happened to living in the moment?”. Well kids, I want you to live for the future in the now; I want you to set goals and work towards them today. Instead of clouding your passion with regret, better yourself today so you can be your best yet tomorrow – forever improving and forever reaching out with intrigue.  Tell yourself where you’ll be in a years time.  Never settle, only progress.

“Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”   Robin Sharma

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Don’t get greedy, you can’t have everything.

You can be in control of your own life, but remember so can everyone else. Don’t waste your valuable time and energy on things that do not benefit you, or things that you can’t quite gain control of. Let’s have a look at this quote:

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” Steve Maraboli

“…to take control of what you do have power over…” is what makes my soul soar – Marboli, you speak the truth! We have the power to be head-strong, forward-thinking, passionate, and kind; don’t try and crave control where it’s not your right. Sometimes we have to surrender to the universe and let the path pave itself for a bit. When we step back and let this happen, the stressed/’trying too hard’ haze over our eyes clear, and we see direction more clearly.

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Ultimately we live for happiness, so in the words of George Eliot, ‘it is never too late to be who you might have been.’

So, be who you want to be and take charge of your life… now.

 

Creative City-Break: Brussels & Bruges

As my train pulled out of St. Pancras I wondered how many people had sat in the seat before me…

Carriage 15, seat 31 on the Eurostar. This was the first trip under the English Channel I’d embarked on. I don’t know exactly what prompted my decision to head to Belgium, but I was finally on my way to spend 5 nights in Brussels. I wanted not only another creative getaway, but a new international destination to explore. There’s something about visiting a country where there’s a foreign language, and buildings so old they’re screaming out to be photographed; I enjoy destinations like these, the opportunity for ultimate solitude. Much like my blog Creative City-Break: Top Things Bristol Has To Offer To The Creative Mind, this is going to be my top experiences/tips in Brussels & Bruges on a Creative City-Break.

1. Appreciate the city for what it is. I know first hand that when you travel solo, it’s so easy to wander around, headphones in, nose in your Lonely Planet guide and see the sights with no outside influence. Every city I go to, especially when I’m alone, I partake in a Sandeman’s free – emphasis on the free – walking tour. These 2-3 hour-long tours, are not only a great way to meet people, but a chance to scope out the city and get an insiders guide into the hotspots. I always try hit up a tour on the day that I land so I have an idea of where I want to go, and what I want to see in more detail. Knowledge is inspiration, my friends.

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2. Enjoy the parks and quiet places to think. I came across Place du Petit Sablon by chance, and it was by far my favourite garden I visited whilst in Brussels. It’s a lovely square, complete with hedges, sculptures, 48 bronze statuettes, and a beautiful big fountain. At the base of the fountain, and the surrounding green, are plenty of benches. I sat here for an hour, had my lunch, and enjoyed the scenery. The sound of the water allowing me to read and relax.

Other lovely parks to visit: Parc Leopold & Parc du Cinquantenaire.

3. Drink the coffee, they make it right. I have a good place for you to visit. It’s call Askum Coffee House. Not far from Grand Place, and in the centre of Brussels, it’s the perfect place to whip out your book or computer and relax. Their coffee is great, their staff are lovely, and the place has a good vibe. Need I say more?

Creative City-Break: Brussels & Bruges

4. Some museums are better than others when in need of a creative push. One of those definitely being the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, otherwise known as Belgium’s national Comic Strip Centre. Yup, you heard right. The entire building is dedicated to showing the evolution of comics; you enter the building, and you’re literally surrounded by art. The centre hosts a café, bookshop, a comic book museum, gallery and even a library where you can sit and read comic books.

Did you know The Adventures of Tintin and The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs) are both Belgian comics? Oui oui.

Another lovely museum I recommend you give a go is the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts. This museum, dedicated to the fine arts, has modern and ancient art, so there really is something for everyone. I absolutely adored the café in this museum as well. Even though it’s slightly more expensive to alternatives, this café offers a lovely patio with roof top views where you can enjoy your delicious chef prepared food. Be sure to visit the sculpture garden outside the museum.

5. Take a day excursion to Bruges. When I was telling people about my holiday to Brussels, I was told by nearly every person that I had to go to Bruges, another beautiful Belgian city. An easy hour train ride from Brussels-Midi station, it is a necessary day-trip when you’re already so close. On my recent trip to Bristol I purchased a Canon 1300D, the camera I’d always dreamed of owning. Bruges made me so thankful to have such a beautiful camera to capture the city itself. The small, canal-surrounded city encouraged me to put away my phone, replace it with my camera, and just wander. The quirks of the photogenic old city inspiring my stories with every step.

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Musts in Bruges:

  • Visit the EspressoBar – I Love Coffee coffee shop. This was an amazing find. Not only is the place itself wickedly decked out – from soldered spoon lampshades to the portafilter door handles – their baristas make one hell of a coffee.
  • Sit in The Basilica of the Holy Blood and/or wander through and around the monastery gardens of Begijnhof. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of these spaces, and they are both beautifully silent spaces.

CREATIVE CITY-BREAK: BRUSSELS & BRUGES

Before I finish off this blog, here are the places you go to try the best of authentic Belgian foods in Brussels:

  • Chocolate – Neuhaus: You can find the original shop in the Galerie de la Reine which opened in 1857.
  • Waffles – Maison Dandoy: Right near Grand Place, be sure to order a ‘naturel’ waffle for the real Belgian waffle experience.
  • Frites – Friterie Tabora: Recommended by the local tour guide. They’re as good as good frites come.

So, as the Belgian proverb says,

           “Money buys cherries.”

…go buy yourself a cherry of a city-break to Belgium. If you live in London like me, or in Europe – or even anywhere else in the world – Belgium is worth the trip and can offer you a lovely time.

Amusez-vous bien (have fun) kids!

How To Start The Day Right

Lately I’ve been trying to become a morning person. I’ve always wanted to be that girl that wakes up at 5am, and is running loops and doing a million things, before everyone else is awake. Waking up at 5am would be the ultimate goal – imagine how much you could get done in a day? – but realistically I’ve been wanting to perfect a little morning routine which guarantees the best start to my busy days. I had such a great response to my blog   5 Steps to Soul-Saving R&R that I wanted to do another blog in a similar style. So here it is! My top 5 tips to starting your day right.

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” ~ Lemony Snicket

1. Train yourself to wake up earlier each day. Now guys, jumping from your normal 11am roll out of bed to a prompt 5am – all smiles and motivation – wake up is just not gonna happen. Try simply setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier each day. Waking up earlier not only allows you to have some quiet time to yourself, but it’s all linked to getting a better nights sleep. It’ll get easier each day, and soon enough you’ll be waking up at dawn with your to-do list in hand. But remember, staying up until 2am isn’t going to help your goal of a 5am kick-off. Earlier to bed, earlier to rise.

2. Give yoga a go. I don’t wanna be that person that sounds like they’ve jumped onto the trend train, but I wholeheartedly believe yoga to be the best way to wake yourself up. As a form of exercise you can do anywhere, with no equipment, there is no excuse for you to not give it a go! Try easing yourself in with Sun Salutations, or surya namaskar, you will stretch out all of your sleepy limbs, and get stronger with every time you wake up. Simply head down to your local bookshop and pick up a beginners guide to Yoga, or type it into your Google/Youtube search bar. Try doing this routine before you do anything else and feel the difference in energy.

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3. Get some air in your lungs and water in your body. You’re probably thinking, ‘Uh Paige? That kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it?’ and yes, you’re right. BUT often we forget to drink water and skip straight to eating as soon we wake. So tomorrow, when you wake up, start sipping on a bottle of water straight away, make your bed,  and open your window. If you’re a creative sort (after that yoga session) head out for a stroll so you can invite the creative energy; alternatively sit outside and write for half an hour.

“It is quite possible to leave your home for a walk in the early morning air and return a different person – beguiled, enchanted.” ~ Mary Ellen Chase

4. Plan your day. Whether you do this before you go to bed, or at the table while you eat your breakfast, write down what you want to achieve with your day. Make note of even the simple things, like washing your clothes, yoga or finding a recipe for dinner. Write it down in your planner, or keep a list on your phone, and don’t waste your life thinking about what you should be doing but do it instead.

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5. Fuel your body with some proper energy and good vibes. As a person who lives with anxiety, I’ve recently learnt that certain foods can help keep you calm. Greek yoghurt, being high in Vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, potassium, calcium and protein, helps lower your blood pressure and aids in ridding anxiety. If you’re into your smoothies, add a handful (or two) of spinach. High in magnesium, this leafy green helps regulate cortisol levels and promotes all the good vibes we want. Oats are also fantastic in producing serotonin, also known as our body’s natural antidepressant. So when you’re hungry for breakfast, try a healthy bowl of oatmeal, fruit and yoghurt – or an oat, banana and spinach smoothie – for a breakfast that will not only start your day right, but keep you going until lunchtime in a good mood.

Remember that how you spend your morning will determine your perspective on the rest of your day. Wake up and invite good vibes and positivity. Have a lovely day today, and a lovely morning tomorrow.

Travel Log: Copenhagen

Monday 6:50

With an early start this morning, I ventured out into the crisp morning air. The only sound coming from birds – a fresh perspective on a city life.  Today I am off to Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a city I’ve never been to, yet experienced vicariously through those having borrowed my guide book. I’m currently sat in a café in Gatwick Airport waiting for my avocado on toast; one of very few vegan options I could find. I’m surprisingly awake for having woken up at 4am, perhaps it’s the excitement of spending the rest of my day in a new city.  Or perhaps it’s the 4-shot Soya cappuccino I just finished. This trip is very unplanned for me; I got my Danish krone at the airport, I have no idea how I’m getting from Copenhagen airport to the hostel, nor what my plan is for the return home tomorrow. I suppose time will tell.

10:18

I must be more than halfway to Copenhagen by now. The sky is the clearest of blue, allowing the sun to glisten perhaps too brightly off the plane’s wing through my window. I somehow always get a window seat, and I couldn’t complain less. It’s an interesting thing to be so close to nothing; so far away from everything you’re used to being near. Buildings insignificant and the rushing lives of those in the streets of London invisible. I feel calm, and I feel un-rushed in my impatient descend on Copenhagen. I’d like to think, as I look out at the world below me, if my plane were to fall that it would be caught in the soft grips of the clouds blanketing the earth.  The clouds – they bring us rain, food for the soil under our feet – they also separate London from the world beyond. We stop looking up after a while because we are so used to seeing the grey barrier above our heads; we get so accustom to looking down at our feet, knowing our direction, our daily path. It’s nice to be above the clouds, to feel as if there is nothing stopping me from seeing new things. I am amongst the unreachable. With the unexpected wifi on board, I feel confident in my plan once I land. I know I will take the metro, a 3-zone ticket bought with either coins or credit card, and I will get off at Hovedbanegården otherwise known as Copenhagen Central Station. From there I will walk to my hostel, check in, and carry on with aimless wandering. According to the flight tracker, we are 24 minutes from Copenhagen. The descend has begun, I am now gently leaning forward with the plane; gravity pulling me towards yet another destination to tick off the map.

17:49

My feet are ready to fall off. I got to Copenhagen Central Station just after midday and spent 20 minutes lapping the perimeter trying to find my hostel; suddenly earning a major appreciation for my Citymapper app in London. I found my hostel and then went back out in search of anything that defines Copenhagen as a city. I still feel near anxious being here. Not because of it’s size or population mass, just the fact of I know nothing about it. I always prepare my holidays, map out places I want to see, where I want to eat, I teach myself the language basics; this time I came in blind. After wandering in the heat and eventually discovering what seemed to be a busy part, I opted for a canal tour. A smooth sail into tourist mode. This was beautiful and somewhat informative. More than anything it gave me my bearings and sites to aim for by foot. The hour tour finished where it began, and so did my ventures. Saw beautiful buildings, did some window shopping, but more so just absorbing everything foreign. I followed it up with more wandering until now – Urban Bar, coffee in hand. As much as I am tired, I am also eager to see more and make the most of this 48-hour trip. I am headed to Tivoli Gardens this evening.

Tuesday 12:36

I am currently located in what seems to be the Danish version of Subway – iBagel. It’s pretty good, eggplant salad topped off with a beautiful dollop of humous (of course). I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to tackle another day of touristing. My first stop had to be food, and eventually I found my desired breakfast destination: 42Raw – a café that has surrendered it’s services to the plant-based community. An acai bowl and my new addiction, The Passage by Justin Cronin, made for a beautiful start to the day. Peaking above the city, reaching for the heavens, are spires scattered around the city. All distinctly different, I’ve been finding them an easier alternative to the maps within my guidebook. As 10:30 came around, I aimed high and true, and climbed 95m up Vol Frelsers Kirke. A beautiful old church which presented me with a stunning view of the city. Since my descend back down to earth, I have wandered; seen the Nationalmuseet, Christiansborg Slot, and Det Kongelige Bibliotek. It’s warm, I’m sun kissed veering burnt, but I feel calm and happy. My flight home to London is at 18:55, and according to the Central Station clock on the opposite of the square it’s now 12:57. I have plenty of time to continue this relaxing getaway.

Café

The café in which I sit is submerged in life. People’s bellies satisfyingly full of freshly ground coffee, minds greedily living vicariously through those in the novels they read, mouths competing against each other in unconstrained conversation.

I come to this café often. I mostly come with a friend who also likes to write, we sit and motivate each other with silence amongst offerings of the thesauruses within our heads. I also come alone and it’s days like these I find myself to be more productive. I order a coffee and put my headphones in. This mutes a very distinctive and important connection to the people surrounding me; I don’t hear voices nor background noise, I just see bodily expression allowing a deeper gaze past who these people portray themselves to be.

There is a man. He looks alone. His torso slightly turned to the conversing couple to his left. His faded blue eyes constantly looking around him, only drawing to the fact of his lonesome even more. He sips his tea in small sips, and holds no book or hobby in his grips. I’ve been this man. I used to be so uncomfortable in my own solitary; drinking my tea so slowly so I would always have something to hold. If I wasn’t drinking tea, I would have my mind in my book; I couldn’t bare myself to be truly alone. I think we people have difficulty being alone because we think it gives an impression of weakness. Being alone doesn’t make us weak, it’s confidence. If this man eliminated the worry in his eyes, strengthened the weakness in his shoulders, he would come across as a different man.

There’s close to thirty people in this café. Amongst the young couple discussing finance, the elderly lady engrossed in the daily news, myself on my computer writing this, there is only one man in his own mind and company. He has no slump in the ‘S’ of his spine. He has no computer; has no book – only a mug stained black to accompany him at his table. He doesn’t seek companionship only  gazes upon the world beyond the glass. I don’t see him as weak because of this. If anything I look up to this man. We bring the discomfort of being alone upon ourselves, we’ve taught ourselves to seek the outward expression of popularity by wandering the hollow worlds within our screens. This is not how it should be. We have every right to be alone with our thoughts, I encourage myself to do just that everyday.

I find writing in a public setting like this inspiring.  Even though sometimes I can sit and get no words down, the individual beings and the stories that come with the bodies, can turn a viewed facial expression into a sentence of beautifully connected words.

The café in which I sit is full of regenerative life. Individuals finishing unfinished tasks, children bursting with curiosity, and a barista steaming a full jug of almond milk for my next latte.