The Importance of You

Time at evenings and weekends are becoming more and more valuable to me. The Monday to Friday rat race can be a hard slog at times, but having an evening of pampering to yourself can be that one reward at the end of a long week to look forward to.

My pamper evenings tend to take place on a Sunday evening and consist of a warm, bubbling bathtub, a room of scented candles and a chance to finally paint my nails.
There’s a fantastic quote from Eleanor Brownn, a Self-Care Expert, Speaker and Author, which goes a little like this: “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” I find this quote quite profound. So often we spend our time thinking of others. Asking ‘what can I do?’ ‘How can I support you?’ Offering to lend a hand so that the other person’s burden is light. But what about us. By us I mean me. Me and you. What about ourselves? From a young age any good parent teaches you the importance of putting others first. Treating others as you would like to be treated if you will. These are valuable lessons that everyone should learn and live by. But there’s another important lesson that we so often forget to pay attention to: The Importance of You.
Focusing your attention on others is a wonderful privilege that can fulfil many people. But humour me for a moment. Take a second to think of yourself as a barrel. A barrel full of good deeds, intentions, and time. Every time we step out and spend a moment on someone else you open the barrel stop and out flows some of these elements. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I hope it doesn’t come across like I am discouraging emptying your vessel into a pit of nothingness. It’s nothing like that at all. The point that I am trying to make is that none of us have an unlimited amount of time, or patience, or good practices. I would like to think that I spend more of my life giving to others than myself. But that barrel will soon become empty if we do not take time out to restock the barrel.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that once the barrel becomes dry there is no more that you can give.

So how do you ensure that you always have something to give? By taking time out to focus on the importance of you. Set some time aside every day, or one a week if that’s more realistic for you, to do something that will restock your barrel. Half an hour in the morning to read a chapter in your favourite book. A Wednesday evening spent painting your nails. Or a Sunday morning jog that you’ve been meaning to do for the past few weeks. For me it involves taking my camera and going for a walk somewhere scenic. A couple of hours spent with only nature as company is the perfect environment to relieve the stresses of life and focus on something other than the busyness of life. Why? Because realising the Importance of You means giving back to yourself that which you have given to others.

Spending Time Alone & Enjoying Every Moment

I work hard. I’m sure you do too. Sometimes the days roll into one and the light at the end of the tunnel seems further and further away. Friday comes and all you can think about is the fact that in two short days you’ll be back at work with little but Friday to look forward to again.
Finding a way to make the most out of your weekend can be difficult for all sorts of reasons. As we get older our lives get busier with ‘stuff’. Our friends have families and responsibilities of their own which means that the joy of a spontaneous evening out happens less and less frequently.

I’ve always been an extrovert who loves being around other people. I find myself more refreshed and energised when I spend time with my friends. But what do you do when those friends just aren’t available? Stay home with the latest boxset and takeaway? Or do the unthinkable… go out on your own. Shock horror! As I get older I am learning to enjoy my own company. And you can too. Though the realisation that your friends can’t always drop everything for you last minute can be disheartening at times, knowing that you still have options for enjoyment can help you through a weekend on your own.

So, for those weekends when you’ve reached the end of yourself (and I’m talking googling ‘what to do when you’re bored’ end of yourself) here are my Top 10 ideas for making the most of spending some quality time alone.

Work Out. This is always something that I neglect when I’m too busy to think straight and so why not make it a priority when your weekend is looking empty. Why not try out that new spin class. Or treat yourself to the sauna and jacuzzi if there is one. A release of those endorphins that make their way into your body when you exercise could go towards making your attitude toward a lone weekend much more positive.

Head to a Restaurant. This can be the last thing that you want to do alone. It takes a certain amount of courage (or who gives one) to sit in a restaurant on your own while those around you laugh and chat with their company. But it doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Take a book you’ve been meaning to read or your laptop to make it a productive experience. Or even better, take a journal and sit and look pensive. Sometimes the restaurant will think that you’re a food critic and give you the best service you’ve ever had!

Reconnect with a Long Distance Friend. A great way to be around a friend when your local pals are otherwise occupied. A good dose of spare time can be a great opportunity to Skype or call a fired or relative that you just haven’t had time to speak to for a while. I have friends that I met while travelling America years ago that will always find an hour or so to have a good catch up at late notice.

Take A Short Break. Is there a location you’ve always wanted to visit? Home or abroad? Obviously the destination will be limited to the amount of time that you have available but even with a day or two you can make a memorable trip. I recently spent a few days exploring Rome alone and would recommend it to anyone.

Catch a Movie You’ve been Meaning to Watch. Everyone loves a movie. Whether this is achieved at home in your pyjamas or out at your local cinema, spend some time winding down in front of a great movie. Who says you can’t enjoy popcorn on your own.

Start a Project. Another great activity that we all put off because we just don’ t have enough time. You could start a new hobby, new blog or even a new business in the hours you have to spare while embracing your lonesomeness.

Make Exciting Plans. What do you do when you don’t have anything to do? Dream about what you wish you were doing. This doesn’t have to be a negative time, sat wallowing in pity. Instead, make exciting plans to be undertaken either alone or in a group. Planning ahead to make the most out of your next weekend can be real fun.

Pamper Yourself. When was the last time you took some time out to look after yourself? A day or two alone can be a great chance to pamper yourself at any price that you wish to spend. Treat yourself to a bath bomb or light a candle and sit back, relax and enjoy a long warm bath. Clear your mind of the stresses of life and enjoy a peaceful moment.

Learn Something New. What it says on the tin. Time alone is great for learning something new. Open a how-to book, watch a YouTube video or take a leap of faith in your own ability and learn a new skill. You could also look into whether your local council or college have any evening / weekend classes that you can go along to. You could be the next Masterchef!

So those are my Top Ten ideas for how to enjoy spending some quality time with yourself. Embrace the time alone.

First Day In A New Job

The first day in a new job can be daunting. Sometimes that only thing more nerve wracking is the run up to the main event. So many questions run through your mind. What should I wear? What should I take with me? Was I supposed to prepare something? These questions can be met with silence. Not the peaceful kind of silence, but the ‘what on earth am I doing’ type of silence.

I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve had six first days to date. From my first ‘proper’ job when I was sixteen to my latest first day in a new role about three months ago.

This blog post isn’t really about what I currently do for a job, or my journey in getting there, but trust me, I know the nervousness and frantic feeling that can encompass the days ahead of a first day. It’s surprisingly similar to the first day at school. No matter how many years ago this was for you, you’ve been there before… and you’re still living to tell the tale!

This post is to give you some tips and pointers that will (hopefully) ease some of the worries ahead of the main event. Here are Eight Top Tips to help you prepare:

1 Prepare Ahead of Time
Do what you can to prepare ahead of the day. This can be a simple task that gives you one less thing to think about on the day. You could prepare your lunch, put it into a lunch box and put it into the fridge. Choosing what you’re going to wear is also a great decision to make ahead of the day. Ironing your clothes and hanging them up so that they’re ready to go can save you a stressful thirty minutes in the morning.

2 Practice Your Route
You’d be surprised at how important this can be. I moved to a new city when I started my Internship a few years ago and decided to do this the day before I started. I’m so thankful that I did because had I chanced the journey the morning after, I would have arrived late and very stressed!

3 Research the Company
You’re likely to have started this step ahead of your interview, if that was the process. Your interview may have been weeks or even months ago, and a lot of this knowledge may have left your memory by now. Give yourself an hour or two to familiarise yourself with the company’s website, any recent stories in the news and any case studies on their website. You’re unlikely to be quizzed on this your first day, but there’s no harm in being over prepared, especially if your new boss is someone who likes to catch people off guard.

4 Take a Pad & Pen
Some companies are fantastic and will have your desk all set up, with pad and pen waiting. Others, are not so prepared. If you require a pad and pen to complete your work the company should provide this but don’t be surprised if this isn;t offered on your first day. Taking them with you will mean that you can start the day running, taking notes whenever you hear something that you want to remember.

5 Take Photographic ID
Usually you will be asked to take a form of identification with you. This could be a passport, driving licence or even birth certificate. If you’re asked for one, great, you;ll be able to provide them there and then.

6 Did They Ask You To Bring Anything Else?
Exactly as the question asks. Do you need to take anything else? If you can’t remember then a quick phone call or email to HR or your new manager will clear this up.Better to make a call and be reminded, then to turn up forgetting an important document that you need before you can start.

7 Relax the Evening Before
When you’ve done what you can to prepare take some time out to relax. How do you best do this? Take a bath. Watch TV. Spend the evening having dinner with your friends. Do what you can to relax and stay calm before you head to bed.

8 Be Confident
Guess what?… You’ve already got the job! That means that you must have done something to impress the company. Out of the many people that they interviewed they chose YOU. You can walk into your first day confident that someone chose you to be there.

Keep your head up, go ahead and enjoy your first day.