A fresh start: wrapping up 2020 and looking ahead.

Is it worth planning for the new year? 

You might have asked yourself this question a few times lately, and you’re not the only one.

For many of us, 2020 has been a trainwreck. Scary things happened that were beyond our control and changed our lives in unexpected ways. 

If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that life is unpredictable and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. So with that in mind, is it worth having goals for the following months? What if they don’t work out? 

It’s normal and understandable to be a little anxious over a future we can’t see, especially with the way 2020 unfolded. Watching our goals/intentions not go to plan this year hasn’t been easy.  But that shouldn’t stop us from looking ahead with optimism, and working in any way we can to make our intention and vision for our lives come true. 

So how can we move past these fears, and be optimistic about 2021? Here are some tips for you to consider:

EVALUATE THE YEAR THROUGH A PROSITIVE LENS: 

We can’t control many of the things that happen to us in life, but we can control our reaction towards them. We can choose to focus on how challenging 2020 has been, or we can choose to see the silver linings that it brought.

How about shifting our perspective a little bit, and looking back on the year through a positive lens?

This might seem like a bit of a stretch to you but if you take the time to reflect on the last few months, you’ll realise that a lot of beautiful things happened. Sometimes even in the midst of terrible things.

Perhaps you had no choice but to work from home and this was a struggle for you. The silver lining could be that working from home gave you more time to spend with your children. This is a realisation that many of us made during lockdown, that we could spend more time with our families. And if you think about it, isn’t this something worth being thankful for?

If you don’t know where to start, I suggest writing a list of  good things that happened to you in 2020, and take some time to reflect on those.

A balance in perspective will make it easier for you to let the negative events of the last months go, and look ahead with optimism for 2021.

BE HOPEFUL AND OPTIMISTIC:

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope” -Martin Luther King

If the events of 2020 brought you down on your knees and made you lose hope, know that you are not alone. But right now, you have a choice. You can choose to stay on your knees and live your life anxious and fearful, or you can choose hope. 

This is easier said than done of course, and choosing hope doesn’t mean things will get better right away. But it’s an attitude you carry with you to make life’s events more bearable and to help you move forward. It’s what helps you give life another chance and to try and achieve your goals. So what will you choose?

TAKE THE LESSONS:

As challenging as 2020 has been, it’s taught us many valuable lessons, such as the importance of prioritizing what matters in life, spending more time with family and looking after ourselves through the practise of self-care. Lessons like these are lifelong, and shouldn’t just be practiced when life gets tough. So as we move onto the next year, carry the things you learned with you.

If working from home made you spend more time playing with your children, don’t give that up once you get back to work. This is also a good way of appreciating the good that can come out of a difficult situation, as it refines you and can turn you into a better person. 

Be brave and courageous enough to make the life changes that feels right and good for you. 

Maybe this year taught you that you dislike your job, and want to follow your passion instead. Don’t see that as wishful thinking, but a sign. It’s okay to change the direction of our lives and try new things. If 2020 taught you things about yourself,  other people  or your life in general, pay attention to those lessons and give yourself the permission to practise what you learned, even if it means making a drastic change.

SET REALISTIC GOALS:

It’s common for people to have goals/intentions for the new year and to feel motivated about achieving them at first, but then to fall back into old habits. 

When you want to set goals, define them properly.

For example, if your objective is to lose weight, write how much you want to lose and by when. This will give you a boost in motivation. It’s also important to identify why you want to achieve your goals, and create a realistic plan of action to achieve them.

If you want to learn a new language for example, define why you want to learn the language, by when, and exactly what you’ll do to make this objective a reality. 

If you have big goals, such as starting your own business, remember to break them into small chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed. And be proud of yourself for every milestone you reach.

Remember that you don’t have to wait for a special day, time or month to make your goals a reality.

FINAL THOUGGHTS:

The year 2020 was tough! Everyone’s been affected in one way or another and right now, it’s difficult for many of us to look at the months ahead with optimism. Some of us have lost loved one’s, some have faced job loss and many have struggled with the virus themselves.

Allow yourself to grieve your losses and accept the hardships and struggles you dealt with. There is no time limit to grieving so take as long as you need. Once you’ve done this, it’s okay to let go and move on. 

As long as you’re still breathing, there are countless opportunities that can and will open up for you, so give yourself permission to choose those opportunities.

If you need some help with clarifying your goals/intentions for the coming year, you could benefit from my coaching sessions. Please check out my website and find out more about the services I offer http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/

New beginnings: reinventing yourself after heartbreak

Heartbreaks are extremely difficult to deal with.

As much as anyone can try to convince you that things are okay and you’ll be fine, the pain you experience in the moment can make you feel like you’ll never heal and feel whole again.

There’s no medicine for heartbreaks. There is no quick and easy way to fix or minimize the hurt.

Putting the pieces of you broken heart together again and reinventing yourself is a process. It’s not something you can heal overnight, but there is a way forward, and that’s the hope you can cling onto for now.

What you  are experiencing right now, athough normal, won’t last forever. You can move onto another chapter of your life and reinvent yourself, if you commit to being your own best friend and helping yourself grow from this.

In this piece, I’ll share a couple of strategies you can use to move on from heartbreak, and experience a new beginning in your life.

Forgive yourself and your ex-partner

 “Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve the peace” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Forgiveness isn’t easy, especially when you’ve been wronged and the pain is still fresh, but it’s an important step to take if you want to move on with your life.

Holding grudges is unhealthy for your mental state, gossiping with others about your ex will only make you revisit painful memories, and this will stand in the way between you and your progress.

If you want to free your heart from the pain it’s feeling and your mind from the bad memories, make a conscious decision to forgive your ex-partner. Remember that you’re doing this for you and your well-being, not them.

At the same time, it’s important to practise self-forgiveness too. Every heartbreak is different and can happen for various reasons. Right now, you might be consumed with self-doubt, guilt and remorse. You have to try and let that go or else it’ll be difficult for you to start anew.

What’s happened is in the past and even if you feel the loss of this relationship is a failure on your part, use this as a lesson.

 

Start taking care of yourself

After a heartbreak, it’s easy to fall into a depressive state that makes you lose control over yourself and your life. This is normal, you’re in pain and you have no idea how to pick up the pieces and move on.

A good way to start is by looking after yourself and you can do this in several ways, here are some ideas:

  • Reconnect with some friends and family members you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while.
  • Take up a new passion or hobby (baking, art, gardening, DIY, volunteering etc)
  • Look after your physical health by getting into a good exercise routine that you enjoy. Also, be mindful about what you eat. Taking care of your body is a great way to feel good about yourself.
  • Take up a new practice that could benefit your mental health such as reading books on personal development.
  • Create a productive morning routine that’ll help you start your day right and feel good.
  • Practise self-love by implenting some of the tips mentioned here into your daily routine.

 

Be mindful about what you’re looking at on social media

Social media has its benefits, but it can also be an anxiety-inducing environment.

Everyone is always posting pictures of their seemingly perfect lives, and this can really take its toll on your self confidence if you start comparing yourself to them.

If you’re dealing with a heartbreak, the last thing you need to see are cute pictures of couples on your feed. So consider unfollowing some accounts, or take a break from social media completely.

This will free your mind and give you time to focus on yourself instead and on your journey towards reinventing yourself, focusing on you is what you should do.

If you choose to stay on social media, consider following some pages that give tips on managing your mental health and working on your personal development. That way, your feed will be filled with inspiring and helpful posts.

Change something about your life

This change could be anything: getting a new hair colour or cut, changing your wardrobe and buying new clothes you love, even changing your living space by redecorating.

Changing something about yourself or your life is a good way of reinventing yourself. You’re letting go of the old, and replacing it with something fresh and new that makes you happy.

If you’re not sure about what you’d like to do or where to start, I suggest making a vision board. You can do this by sticking a bunch of pictures on a piece of cardboard or canvas that represent what you’d like to achieve in life.

Start with the easier, more achievable things then move on to the daring ones. This will keep your mind off the past. Instead, your intention will be on what you can change in the present to make your goals work out for the future.

Release judgements you have about yourself

After a heartbreak, you might be plagued with self doubt and negative opinions you have about yourself.

You run through old arguments and wonder where you went wrong, and wish you could go back in the past and fix things. It’s okay to apologize and recognize you made some mistakes if that’s how you feel, but remember to put a full stop on that chapter of your life once you’ve left your partner.

There’s no point in judging your past self and what you did then, your only focus should be on what you can become now.

If you left a toxic relationship this is even more importance to practice. Toxic relationships are mentally draining and can take a long time to heal from. If you were abused or used to being spoken to as if you were always at fault, this toxic cycle might still be part of your life now.

You might find yourself repeating some of these toxic patterns like judging yourself and using negative self talk. It’s important to notice when you’re doing this, and put a stop to it straight away.

Put a full stop on that chapter of your life

You might be tempted to see what your ex partner is doing how they’ve moved on by asking their friends or even searching about them on social media. As tempting as this is, it’s not a good idea.

Remember, this will be a set back on your journey towards personal growth. It might even cause feelings of resentment and jealousy to brew, and your heart deserves to be spared of these emotions if you’re trying to reinvent yourself.

As difficult and tempting as it might be to go back, force yourself to only look and move forward. This will make the healing process much easier, especially once you ignore these thoughts and temptations at the beginning.

Final thoughts

 You might be feeling pretty lost and defeated right now, and this is understandable. During dark moments like these, it’s difficult to see past your pain, but there is a way out and things can get better for you.

If you’d like  one-to-one advice and personal guidance on how you can reinvent yourself after a heartbreak, you can check out my coaching services here http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/

You don’t have to be hung up in the past, you deserve to be happy and lead a life you love.

Picture a beautiful, ideal image of what you’d like your life to be like a year from now and where you see yourself. Do you believe you can make it happen? Ofcourse you can! And I can help you on your journey.

Signs of a Toxic Relationship and How to End It

Every relationship goes through highs and lows. 

But how can you tell the difference between a relationship that is going through a tricky phase, to one that has turned toxic?

Toxic relationships aren’t easy to identify, so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t tell the difference between a healthy relationship going through a rough patch, from one that has turned toxic.

You don’t have all the answers, and that’s understandable. 

You might have spotted some red flags, but you still don’t know if this means you’re in an unhealthy relationship, that’s okay. Many of us think a relationship is only toxic if our partner is or has become physically abusive, while that is the most obvious sign, abuse can take on many forms such as emotional and mental. When it takes on other forms it becomes harder to spot. 

What are the signs of a toxic relationship?

Signs of a toxic relationship are many. The most obvious one is that your partner is or has become physically abusive, this type of relationship should be left immediately (if you’re in this kind of situation or you fear physical abuse, please call 086 00 10111)

Another sign that you could be in a toxic relationship is that you feel consistently unhappy and unfulfilled. You sense that your relationship is broken beyond repair and even though you’ve tried to mend it, you can’t see a future with this person. 

You feel a growing sense of distrust towards your partner because they’ve lied or cheated on you. They’re becoming more dishonest towards you, and dismissing concerns you have about their faithfulness. 

You’re being made to feel inferior to your partner, they mistreat you verbally by calling you names and raising their voice at you. You’re sworn at and regularly criticized. Your accomplishments and achievements are dismissed and looked down upon. 

You don’t feel safe around your partner, you’re always worrying about upsetting them or saying the wrong thing. The feeling of comfort around them is gone and has instead been replaced with the anticipation of an argument. 

Your boundaries have been broken.

We all set limits for ourselves that are tied into our self-respect. One way you can tell if you’re in a toxic relationship is to check if your boundaries are being respected.

So how can you know if your personal boundaries have been violated? Here are some ways:

You no longer feel as though you have control over your own life and you can’t make decisions for yourself, without your partner questioning them.

Your partner is overprotective and jealous, they don’t allow you to make decisions for your life such as going outside, being financially independent, starting new projects, meeting up with friends, or even spending time alone with yourself.

You’re forced to sacrifice on doing the things you love and enjoy, such as a career.

You feel physically and emotionally drained. Instead of being confident in your relationship, your toxic partner lowers your self-esteem and confidence levels.

Your partner speaks to you in an insulting and demeaning way, which has started to impact how you see and feel about yourself. 

So how do you leave a toxic relationship?

The first thing you should know is that it’s not easy to leave a toxic relationship for many reasons. You might still love your partner and you feel it’s your responsibility to try and fix things. You’re afraid of a future without them and you don’t know how to take back control over your life. 

All of these feelings are normal, so be patient with yourself while experiencing them and practise self-compassion. 

If possible, try and seek professional help. If you can’t, seek help from your friends and family. Like many people, you’ve probably heard that relationship problems should be handled between you and your partner, but when a relationship turns toxic and you don’t know what to do, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help from your loved ones. 

In fact, the care and support you’ll receive from them will make the whole process much easier to get through.

Here are some things to consider while leaving a toxic relationship: 

Learn to let go: When you first make the decision to end your toxic relationship, you’ll be consumed with self-doubt and questions, this is normal but you mustn’t give in. Don’t dwell on “what ifs?” or else you’ll never move forward in your life, learn to let go. Cut that person from your life completely and prioritize yourself and your  well-being

Give yourself time to heal: Toxic relationships are extremely draining emotionally and mentally. While some people feel an immediate sense of relief after letting go of their toxic partner, others go through a rollercoaster of emotions that include guilt and shame. All of this is normal and will take time to get through, so give yourself permission to heal for as long as it takes. 

Educate yourself on what toxic relationships do to someone’s mental health to gain some clarity on what you’ve been through and what you’re experiencing. Surround yourself with people who support you, love, and care about you. Don’t be afraid of sharing how you feel with them. Always be easy on yourself, and celebrate the milestones you reach, sometimes that can be something as simple as making your bed in the morning. And be sure to practise self-care habits. 

Work on rebuilding yourself slowly: when you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s easy to lose yourself. You’ve been hurt, manipulated and abused in different ways, it’s normal to feel broken but it’s also possible to rebuild yourself. The key is to be patient with your growth and your mistakes. 

Reconnect with the things you used to love such as hobbies that you enjoy. It’s also important to be around the people you love to get that support you need. Read books on personal development and if you can, go away on a short break. Creating small goals and having projects to work on is also a good way of rebuilding yourself.

If you’re seeking guidance and a structured method to help you heal from a toxic relationship and claim your life back, I’d like to direct you towards my coaching programmes http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/

A toxic relationship isn’t easy to leave, even with all the advice you’re getting you might be thinking, “this is easier said than done” and you’re right.

Although you might feel a sense of hopelessness right now, it is possible to heal from this damage and  gain control over your life again.

You have what it takes to make things right for yourself.

Back to school: COVID 19 – Parenting from a place of love

Is it safe to send my child back to school?

As lockdown restrictions ease and life slowly gets back to normal, many parents are facing the challenging decision of sending their children back to school.

Right now, you might be torn between wanting to keep your children safe at home with you, but also fearing for their educational future.

While it’s normal and understandable to be fearful, it’s important not to instil any of that anxiety into children. These are trying times for everyone, including children, and it’s important to make them feel confident and comfortable about the decision you make together.

If you’re a parent feeling anxious over this decision, you should know that you’re not alone. Many parents are facing similar worries, and they feel as unsure as you do. 

To ease some of your worries, here are some pieces of advice on how you can parent from a place of love during these trying times:

Identify your worries and concerns

It’s important for you to know exactly what it is that is making you anxious and fearful. While you might think you have all the answers in your mind, diving deeper could help you create a plan on how you can deal with your concerns one by one. 

This will vary from parent to parent, and on your children too. Parents with special needs children, for example, will have a different set of worries than others. It’s important to be clear on your unique concerns.

I suggest writing your anxious thoughts down on paper and discussing them with your partner and friends. This will ease your anxiety and could offer you some clarity on what you can do, based on suggestions your loved ones will give. 

For example, if you’re worried your child won’t wash their hands in school as advised by doctors, instead of panicking (understandably) over the thought, you can talk to your kids and remind them every day why it’s important to wash their hands in school. 

You can lead by example by washing your hands a few times a day in front of them too,  and create a routine they can implement in school. If it helps, you could ask the teachers to remind them too.

It’s a good idea to discuss your worries with your children, so they understand your concerns. This will encourage them to obey the rules and regulations, as they’ll see where you’re coming from. 

When you speak to your kids, remember to take a gentle approach, the aim is to make them understand how you feel, not to overwhelm them with fear. 

 

Allow your children’s thoughts to influence your decision

It’s important to talk to your children about sending them back to school. Ask them how they feel about the idea, and if they think it’s the right decision for them. 

Children are intuitive and while you’re the parent and might know better, it’s important to listen to their thoughts on this too. 

If you’ve decided to send your children back to school, discuss their worries and concerns. Remind them what to expect from the changes that will happen. Reassure them that things will be okay and that they’ll be safe, as long as they listen to the rules. 

If you’re choosing to homeschool your children, again, it’s important to discuss this with them. Ask them how they feel about your decision.

 Have you noticed that they’ve benefited from being educated at home? 

Or is school a better environment for them?

Do they like the idea of home education?

Every child is unique and since you know your children best, weigh the pros and cons of home education and school, then decide what is better based on your child for now.

Remember that you’re not alone, and you can speak to other parents about this decision too. If you’re sending your children to school, you can speak to their teachers to get more advice and reassurance. 

 

Be aware of COVID-19 updates

This isn’t to overwhelm you, but for you to be aware of the changes and updates. 

Doctors and scientists are studying this virus and don’t have all the answers because it’s new. At the beginning of the pandemic, for example, we were told not to wear masks. Now we know it’s important to wear them and  our children should wear them in schools. 

They’re informing us about what they learn, so it’s important to be up to date with their advice and the regulations.

Knowing this information helps to protect ourselves and our children more. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at scary statistics on social media and the news, but make sure you’re more or less aware of what’s happening and what you need to know now, so you can teach and inform your children too.

 

Be confident about the decision you make, don’t be hard on yourself

Whichever choice you make (sending your children back to school or keeping them at home) remember that your decision is coming from a place of love and care, so don’t be hard on yourself.

If you’re sending your children back to school, it’s because you think this is what’s best for them. They will be with their friends, their teachers, and you won’t have to worry so much about their education.

If you’re choosing to homeschool your kids, it’s because you want to keep them safe, they might seem happier at home, you’ve listened to what they want, and they’re not being academically affected. 

Some people might be quick to judge, but you’re trying your best with what you have. These are unprecedented times, and you’re learning as you go just like everybody else. So have confidence about the decision you make, as long as both you and your children are okay with it, that is what matters.

 

Final thoughts

Like many parents, you might be feeling alone and misunderstood in your worries and concerns. Having someone by your side to help you manage your anxieties during these trying times could be what you need. 

If you’re looking for some personal guidance on how you can manage your worries and navigate your life during these trying times, you can check out my coaching services http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/single-parenting/

Our lives are taking a new direction, and we’re not sure what will happen in the future. It’s normal to feel anxious, and it’s okay to get help. 

 

Life after lockdown: 5 ways to adapt to your new normal

Are you looking forward to life after lockdown?  Some people are. Some people aren’t. 

In fact, a Gallup study  found that many people are reluctant to jump back into normal life after the restrictions ease. 

Many of us are wondering if life after lockdown will be normal again. With time, it might. Positive changes are happening, and some countries have started to ease on the restrictions.

This new life you found yourself living: staying mostly indoors, home educating your children, not being to see friends and family and even working from your house, will change.

So how do we prepare for life after lockdown? Things will still be different for sure, after all, the pandemic isn’t over yet and fear is still looming in the air

But there are some things we can do to ease the anxiety around covid-19 and make adapting to this new normal easier. In this article, I’m going to share five ways you can do that.

Social distanced visits with family & friends

One of the things you probably struggled with the most these past couple of weeks, was not being able to see your friends and family.

If you’re anxious about life after lockdown, a good way to ease your anxiety and become excited is to plan on visiting your loved ones. There might still be rules you need to practise for your safety and theirs, but that won’t take away from the joy of being around the people you love. 

So make this a priority. Once the lockdown eases, make plans with all the people you love to experience shared joy, such as going out for a picnic or a walk. 

If you have children, be sure to tell them to make plans with their friends and family too, so they can get excited. 

Taking care of your mental health

There’s been a lot of focus on looking after our physical health during the pandemic, for obvious reasons, but people have equally suffered from their mental and emotional health. 

Anxiety levels in particular have increased  due to the effects of the pandemic,

Life after lockdown might bring a new wave of anxious feelings, so make sure to check in with your mental health. If you’ve felt an increase in depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues, be sure to check in with a profession and get help you need. The last few months haven’t been easy for you or anyone, and it’s okay not to feel great.  If you’ve noticed that your emotional health has been affected, there are some things you can do to manage your feelings.

If you’ve been angry and frustrated for example, doing breathing exercises and meditation can help to reduce those emotions. Talking to your loved ones, and sharing happy moments with them can help too. 

Being patient with yourself and practising self-love is also a good way of managing negative thoughts and emotions. 

 

Be prepared for the changes at work

One of the first things people will do once lockdown restrictions ease, is go back to work. 

Once you’re back at work, social distancing rules might still apply. You’ll be advised to stay away from gatherings and be mindful about hygiene.

Be mentally prepared for the changes in the workplace, and as mentioned above, make sure to check in on your mental health. Work tends to be stressful in general, and you don’t want the post-lockdown work life to add more anxiety to your plate.

A good way to know how the workplace is affecting your mental health is to talk to someone you trust about it, that can be a friend or family member, or even a colleague. 

Sharing your worries and experiences with colleagues at work can help to make you feel less alone in your struggles, you’ll notice everybody feels the same way.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of talking to anyone, you can journal your thoughts and feelings out. Just choose whatever method works best for you, as long as it’s helping you check in with how you feel mentally. 

And again, be sure to check in with a professional if you feel your mental health getting bad, don’t dismiss the signals your mind and body are sending to you. You owe to yourself to heal if you feel mentally unwell. 

 

Drop unhealthy habits

We’ve all picked up a bad habit. For some people, it’s their sleeping schedule that’s in need of help. For others, their eating habits. 

What’s the bad habit you picked up? As you consider the question, don’t judge yourself for your answer, even if you picked up more than one bad habit. We all cope in different ways. 

After lockdown, you might be forced to drop these bad habits and start living as you did before. If you’re going back to work for example, there’ll be no more sleeping in on weekdays that’s for sure. 

If you start letting go of these habits now, you’ll find it’s much easier to adapt to your new normal after quarantine.

A good way to figure out how you’ll start dropping bad habits, is to write down what the habit you’re doing is, and draft a plan on how you’ll let it go and replace it with a healthier one. 

Explaining the changes to your children

If we think quarantine has been tough for us, then just imagine how challenging it’s been for children.

Once the lockdown eases, don’t assume your children will automatically adapt to this new normal. Have conversations with them about their mental health, and ask them how they feel in general.

Studies show many children have experienced anxiety or an increase in anxiety since the beginning of the pandemic, so it’s important to check in on your kids’ mental health. 

It’s also a good idea to explain to your children beforehand how they’ll have to adapt to their new normal after lockdown, so they’re aware and prepared. Make sure they’re mindful about some of the changes that will happen, like social distancing rules at schools. 

But don’t just focus on the new regulations, make it sound fun and exciting too. Remind them they’ll be with their friends and family. Plan some fun outings, and trips to their favourite places. 

 

Final thoughts

So, what are you most excited about for life after lockdown?

Just to recap, here are the five things you can do to adapt to your new normal: 

  • Visit your friends and family
  • Check in your mental health
  • Be prepared for the changes at work
  • Drop unhealthy habits
  • Explain the changes to your children

If you still find the thought of adapting to life after lockdown daunting, I’d like to direct you towards my online coaching services for personalised guidance on how to make your life transition smoother during this challenging time.

 

How to stay productive during changing times

Being productive isn’t always easy. Being productive during changing times is particularly challenging. When something happens in life that is unexpected, like this pandemic we’re facing, it’s easy to lose the motivation and will power to have productive days. 

Since our normal routines and schedules are disturbed, it’s hard to restructure our lives in a way that makes us feel content and fulfilled. 

Right now, you might have just about enough motivation to get you out of bed. But inside, you feel a little guilty and would secretly like to be productive again, right?

With a bit of proactivity, that’s possible. In this article, I’ll share with you six ways in which you can stay productive, even while your life is facing changes. 

Plan your days ahead of time. 

 

Planning your day is a good place to start if you want to boost your productivity. You can plan the night before or every morning after you wake up.  This will give you clarity as to what you need to do that day, and at what time. 

Waking up in the morning without a clear plan encourages unproductivity, since you don’t know what to do or what to start off with, in the end you don’t achieve much.

 You can have a mental plan in mind as to how you’ll structure your day to be productive, but I also recommend writing it down. Statistics show  that you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them.

Make it a habit to jot down a to-do list on a piece of paper. Or if you prefer, you can download a planner app

Prioritize what’s important first

 

After you’ve planned your day, prioritise what’s important to do first. 

For example, if you’d like to read today but you have a few emails you need to respond to, complete that task before you do anything else. 

As annoying as it is, nothing beats the feeling of relief you get after doing the important things.

It’s also a good idea to break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. Say you have your house to clean. The thought of having to tidy each room is overwhelming, right? So start with the most important room first, and clean the rest of them gradually or even the following days. You’ll notice these hacks are simple, but will do wonders for your productivity. 

Look after your physical and mental health

 

When our lives take an unexpected turn, one of the first things we neglect is our physical and mental health. To start being productive again, create a routine in place that includes looking after yourself. 

For your mental health, this can be things like journaling in the mornings, practising breathing exercises, meditating or consuming useful information, like reading books on personal development. 

For your physical health, that can be exercising a few times a week, being conscious of what you eat or going out for walks. 

You don’t have to do all these things daily as that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Just make sure to jot something down that you’ll do to benefit your physical and mental health when you plan your days, so you can stay mindful about your mind and body.

Take time off technology

Technology takes up time in our lives. Whether it’s scrolling through social media on our phones or watching videos on our laptops, it’s always there to distract us. Taking time off technology is what you need to be more productive. Everyday, turn off your phone and laptop for an hour or more. 

You can use that free time to explore a new hobby, complete a task you’ve wanted to, or do something to benefit your physical and mental health. 

Fix your sleeping schedule – wake up and sleep earlier

When our lives are unstable, our sleep schedule can get affected. Since the covid-19 pandemic, many people have been sleeping and waking up late, or just sleeping at random times during the day. 

This isn’t something we consider as much as we should, but sleeping really helps to stay productive. It’s  important for your overall health, and if you wake up early after a long night’s sleep, you’ll see that you feel refreshed which will motivate you to have a productive day.

Think about your sleeping pattern right now, is it helping you be productive or not? If your answer is no, that’s the first thing you should work on to restructure your days properly. 

Final thoughts: Embrace the changes happening

Life changes all the time. That’s an uncomfortable reality for many of us, but a reality nonetheless. Embracing change is an important part of being productive as it helps you create a mindset shift. 

Instead of thinking about the past and trying to figure out how you can change your present to be like before, you can be proactive and adjust your routine to the way things are now. 

You can do this by looking at the things you do have control over, and focusing on that. 

For example, you might have been used to going to the gym but because these public places are closed due to the pandemic, you can’t go for now. Instead of choosing to stop exercising, be proactive and create your own workout routine at home. 

When you do this, not only do you feel proud of yourself and satisfied, you also learn to take control over a situation and remain productive even while your life is changing. 

For more advice and personal guidance on maintaining productive days, be sure to check out my coaching services http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/

Ways to cope in times of crisis

“Crisis can be a unique opportunity to change your path, to explore new opportunities, to help you become the person you were meant to be.”

If there’s one thing we know for sure about life, it’s this: crisis is inevitable.

Tragedies happen and impact us directly, like news of an illness or sudden death of a loved one. Other times, they happen elsewhere in the world and impact others but we still feel affected and traumatized by them.

When tragedy strikes, it’s common to get thrown off balance. One second our lives are completely normal, and the next they’re changed drastically.

Just like this pandemic we’re facing, we’re rarely prepared for a crisis and the shock leaves us feeling mentally and physically exhausted.

In these moments, it’s hard to believe we’ll ever find a sense of “normal” in our lives again.

But history and even present day examples shows us that it is possible to deal with a crisis in a way that helps us remain calm, and prevent our lives from falling apart.

It’s possible to cope through adversity, if we’re given the tools as to how.

In this post, I’m going to share with you six ways you can learn to cope while in crisis.

Identify your fears and anxiety triggers

Fear often becomes the dominating emotion when we face a crisis. Due to the unpredictable nature of what’s happening, and our lack of certainty as to which path our lives will take, we become scared and anxious.

We’ve seen this with this pandemic, anxiety levels have risen. People were panic shopping without a clear reason but just out of fear. It’s irrational and doesn’t help to make sensible choices.

If you feel yourself being more anxious because of the crisis you’re facing, identify what is making you scared.

You’ll realise that a lot of your fears are driven by negative thoughts  and fear of something you think might happen in the future, but nothing substantial.

Once you’ve identified what is giving you anxiety, you can create plans in case your worst case scenario happens.

This is a positive and responsible reaction to fear and uncertainty, it’ll make you feel better to know that whatever happens, you’re prepared for it. It’ll also make it easier for you to process your feelings, and focus on remaining calm.

Create a coping strategy

Creating a healthy coping strategy is important, but there isn’t one strategy that’ll work for everyone. It’s up to you to decide what works for you and your life at this moment.

When tragedies happen, many people turn towards unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substance abuse.

This a reaction to fear, anxiety and uncertainty. It’s easier to numb yourself from reality when it seems too painful to face, but in the long term the consequences of unhealthy coping habits are detrimental.

One thing that is important to know, is that you don’t have to force your life back into what it used to be. Things are different now, and that’s okay. Instead of trying and failing to practise old habits, build new ones that conform to your lifestyle now.

Since many people are forced to stay at home due to the virus, we’ve seen that it’s better to adapt to what life is now rather than force it to become what it used to be. This doesn’t work and will only slow down your growth.

Practise self- care

Practising self care can mean different things to different people. What I mean here is for you to practise habits as part of your coping strategy, that’ll help you through the crisis.

For some people, this can mean ensuring that they eat their three meals a day, for others, it’s getting enough sleep or having an exercise routine.

Remember that you have a mind and body to preserve, looking after yourself will help you feel like you have some control over the situation you’re in.

A good self-care exercise is to practise gratitude. In tough times, gratitude is the last thing on our minds. But it’s something psychology has shown us increases happiness and helps our psychological health.

You can keep a gratitude journal where everyday, you write down three to five things you’re grateful for. This can be as simple as receiving a smile from a stranger or having a nice cup of coffee in the mornings.

Reach out to mentors for help

A mentor can be a friend, parent, anyone you trust and who gives you good advice.

Since it’s easy to get carried away with fear and anxiety when facing tragedy, it’s useful to get a mentor’s advice on how to stay calm and grounded.

If you feel alone in your situation and have no one to seek advice from, I’d like to direct towards my coaching programs which you can find here http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/when things seem bleak to us, mentors help to make sense of our troubles and guide us towards making good decisions.

Asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s one of the best decisions you can make especially during times of crisis.

Be careful about the content you consume on social media

Social media can be a place for good or evil depending on how you use it. Since corona virus has broken out, I’m sure you’ve seen examples of this.

Some people have used social media to cause fear and anxiety, others have used it to be of use to their community and help in whatever way they can.

Be careful with the kind of content you consume online because it can have a negative effect on your mental health. It can cause you to have fears and worries you hadn’t thought about before.

If you’re affected by a tragedy you’ve seen affect others, like news of a school shooting, social media can deepen your trauma.

Your mind is particularly sensitive during a time of crisis, make sure you only invite useful information that will benefit and not hurt you.

Focus on what you have control over

One of the hardest things about a crisis is feeling as though you’ve lost  control.

A way to cope with tragedy is to focus on what you do have control over, such as your reaction to crisis, and the decisions you can make to now steer your life into the right direction.

With this pandemic, we have little control over what is happening outside, we cannot suddenly make it disappear.

What we do have control over, is making positive decisions that’ll help those around us, like staying home. We have control over protecting ourselves by practising what doctors recommend.

We may not be able to see our loved ones as we wish, but we’re fortunate to have technology that can make us see and talk to them.

We have control over giving back to less fortunate communities right now, and helping medical professionals by doing what they advise.

The same is true for any other kind of crisis. You can’t control what’s happening, and as we know, tragedy will strike in life. But you can control your response, your choices and decisions.

This will make it easier for you to practise acceptance of a situation and help you cope with it.

Final thoughts

Again, it’s challenging to be optimistic when facing a tragedy, it’s hard to believe things will get better. But they can and they will as long as you’re patient with yourself, and give yourself time to learn and heal.

Just to recap, here are six ways you can make it easier to cope with tragedy:

Identify your fears and what is making you anxious.
Create a healthy coping strategy.
Practise self-care.
Reach out to mentors for help.
Be careful about the content you consume on social media.
Focus on what you have control over.

Romantic love – stay grounded in self-love

What does self-love have to do with a romantic love relationship, you ask? Surely when we find our significant other, the “I” becomes “we”?

Many women make this mistake, thinking that we are being loving partners by giving up parts of ourselves and merging with our partners in all areas of our lives when we find “The One”!

Because of outdated beliefs we have about love, we abandon who we are at the first sign of a love interest. We make many sacrifices in order to establish and maintain a romantic relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you need to become selfish. Self-love isn’t selfish and every relationship needs care and nurturing. But a healthy balance is important.

So why is building self-love crucial in a romantic relationship?

You shouldn’t be depending on anyone to make you feel whole or complete. Yes, not even on your significant other!

When we don’t know our own self-worth and value, what we end up doing is seeking the validation of our partner constantly and we make it our life’s purpose to keep him happy.

If this is a pattern you recognize in your relationship, you may not think it’s a big deal. “He’s my partner, my job is to make him happy, right?”. Actually, not quite. Your happiness is your responsibility and his happiness is his responsibility.

Failing to practise self-love can turn a potential healthy relationship into a toxic one.

So what can you do to stay grounded in self-love, while still maintaining a connection with your partner?

 

Make the primary relationship the one you have with YOU!

“The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.” -Toni Collette

This may sound odd, but it’s beautiful in practice. Having a relationship with yourself is the first ingredient to self-love. And believe it or not, it’s a game changer.

Having a relationship with yourself means getting to know who you are. Learning about your strengths and weaknesses. Figuring out what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

When you know these things, it makes it easier for you to set boundaries in your relationship and to communicate your needs effectively.

Self-love also means looking after yourself by practising self-care. Keep doing the work on yourself even when you have found romantic love. Here are a few things to do, if you aren’t already doing it:

  • Nurture your mind by reading beneficial books.
  • Keep a journal
  • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Meditate
  • Do some daily affirmations

Having a relationship with yourself means minding your self-talk. What kind of language do you use towards yourself? Are you kind or mean? Supportive or discouraging? Harsh or gentle?

Would you talk to someone you love, the way you talk to yourself?

Think about how you treat the people you love. Now start to treat yourself the same way.

Be interdependent

Independence is important in every relationship. There must also be a healthy dose of dependency. But to have a truly healthy balanced relationship is when you can live interdependently with each other.

Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other’s physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.

When our needs are not met we become resentful of the other party. In this space we can start displaying unhealthy relationship traits which may ultimately lead to the breakdown of a relationship.

Being interdependent means having goals for yourself and your life that aren’t tied with your partner’s. When you’re in a relationship, it’s common to make plans together. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make sure that you have some personal objectives too.

Make sure that you maintain friendships and connections with family and friends who you value. We easily slip into a habit of putting off old friends and family and prioritising our significant other above all other relationships.

Whilst our partners are hugely important in our lives, there are many other relationships that are as important which we must not neglect.

Understand the purpose of your relationship 

One of the most important ways of staying grounded in self, while maintaining a relationship, is understanding what the purpose of the relationship is.

We have many misconceptions about relationships. Societal conditioning influences how we view our roles in making the relationship work. Unlearning some of these beliefs will help you understand the purpose of your relationship.

A relationship is a partnership. It isn’t one person saving the other or vice-versa. It isn’t two broken people coming together to fix each other.

It’s two people supporting and empowering each other lovingly. Understand that you are your own person, the same way your partner is his own person.

This is how you stay grounded in self-love. You avoid becoming codependent by understanding your role and responsibilities in your relationship.

Know your worth and value

Building self-esteem and self-confidence is a key part of increasing self-love. To love yourself means to know your worth and value.

This is important because when you know what you’re worth, you won’t accept anything less than what you deserve.

This helps you set clear boundaries in your relationship.

Here are a few ways to start nurturing your sense of self daily:

  • Affirm you worth and value daily with positive affirmations.
  • Accept compliments gracefully. When someone pays you a compliment don’t try to play it down but rather accept it in a graceful manner. Especially if it’s coming from your significant other.
  • Abandon the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Particularly those beliefs you’ve adopted because of what people say about you.
  • Surround yourself with good company. When you’re with your friends, do you feel good about yourself? If the answer is no, this company isn’t right for you.
  • Silence the negative voice in your mind that convinces you that you aren’t enough. And start seeing yourself the way good people in your life see you.

Final thoughts

Remember, increasing self-love isn’t selfish. It’s the one ingredient you need to improve your relationship with yourself, which in turn will help you build a stronger connection with your partner.

If you’re looking for more in-depth advice and one on one coaching on how you can build self-love and create healthier ways of relating, check out the services I offer here http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/

A healthy, beautiful and loving relationship is golden. It is within your power to create and maintain one. As it is with everything else, it starts with you and it calls on you to get grounded in self-love while opening your heart to give and receive love from others.

 

Self-love: Learning to cultivate it while embracing your imperfections

Self-love is becoming a popular term. 

We read about it in books and on social media. We hear about it in videos and podcasts. Life coaches and motivational speakers frequently advise us to love ourselves. But what does self-love actually entail? How does it look and what does  it feels like?

Is it selfish? Does it make you obnoxious? Does it mean having a high opinion of yourself? Absolutely not.

Self-love is in fact the exact opposite. 

To love yourself means to recognize your worth and value. It means to know your boundaries and respect yourself. Self-love helps you to grow as an individual, and not depend on anybody to make you feel whole.

So why is self love important? 

Self-love can act as a cure to the problems you have surrounding self-confidence and self-esteem. It is our responsibility to feel whole, and not depend on anyone to complete us. Self-love helps us do that. So if you’re struggling to recognize your worth, feel as though you put yourself down too much, or people mistreat yourself: then self-love is your antidote.

So how can you start sprinkling some self-love into your life? In this article, I’m going to share six simple strategies to help you love yourself, and embrace your imperfections.

Practise self-care 

Life is busy. And most times, we get trapped in the everyday routine of work, eat, sleep, that we forget to practise self-care. 

Self-care is a great act of self-love because you’re showing yourself that, despite all your responsibilities, you recognize the importance of making time for you!

Here are two tips to help you start practising self-care:

  • For your mind – start developing habits that will build good thoughts and beliefs. Such as journaling, meditating, reciting positive affirmations, and reading self-development books. 
  • For your body, you can start eating a more balanced diet. Drink more water, stretch your body and exercise.

There are many other ways you can benefit your mind and body to practice self-care. Can you think of any?

Don’t compare yourself to other people

You might have heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy” . It’s often cited to explain how destructive comparison can be. 

To practise self-love, you have to quit the habit of comparing yourself to other people.

In this day and age, with social media and advertisements all around us, it is difficult not to compare our lives with others. We are bombarded with images of society’s definition of perfection. 

The best self-love gift you can offer yourself is to ignore all the social messaging which plays on your self esteem.. Accept that perfection doesn’t exist, and much of what you see on the internet is not real. Your life is unique. So is your body and who you are as a person. 

If you want to strive to become a better person, by all means, do so. But do it in a healthy way. Compete with the old version of yourself only, not someone else.

Celebrate your small achievements

This is something that we don’t do enough. 

Creating big goals and objectives for yourself in the future is great. But don’t forget to celebrate the little things you do each day. This too is an act of self-love.

If you’re into personal development, for example, you might have a list of habits you’d like to start doing. And a rough idea of what you want your life to look like in the future. Celebrate the little things you do every day to reach this goal. 

The same is true for all your other objectives.

Surround yourself with good people

The kind of people we surround ourselves with does have an impact on who we are and who we become. 

Are they loving? Caring? Do they value you as an individual? If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself to let go of relationships that do not serve your greater good.

Self-love means you respect yourself enough to walk away from people and situations who are toxic and negative.

Don’t be afraid of solitude. The more you grow in self-love, the more you’ll appreciate your own company. And naturally, you’ll attract people who appreciate you for who you are, too. 

 

Embrace your imperfections

One of the benefits of self-love is that you learn to embrace your imperfections. 

As I mentioned above, many of us are obsessed with comparing ourselves. We point out our flaws and beat ourselves up for not meeting an unrealistic and non-existent idea of “perfection”.

Once you develop self-love, you more easily accept your flaws and imperfections.

Here’s a good self-love exercise to try: 

  • Write a list of everything about yourself you consider a flaw. – When you’re done, consider which of these things are objectively negative and that you should change. For example, if you have anger issues, think of ways you can start fixing them.

As for the things you can’t change, and you know are actually okay, promise yourself that you’ll start accepting them. And eventually maybe even love them. Learn to appreciate the person you see when you look in the mirror.

Be good to people

You might be wondering what being good to others has to do with increasing in self-love. 

One of the most powerful things about being good to people is that it makes you feel good about yourself. Psychologists have proven that practising philanthropy has an immense benefit on our mental health. Of course, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone else happy because of something you’ve done for them. 

Just think about the last time you offered a gift to a loved one. Or a kind word, or some support. How did that make you feel?

Being good to people is an act of self-love. In pleasing others, you please yourself. In benefiting others, you benefit yourself. 

 

Every day, try to do something good for people. Whether it’s giving a smile, being charitable or offering gifts and support. 

Caveat People- pleasing is not an act of self-love. Make sure you are always in a healthy balanced relationship. There has to be a balance of give and take from both parties.

 

Final thoughts

The foundation of self-improvement is self-love. You cannot improve and develop yourself without practising self-love.  You must be prepared to give yourself what you need before someone else will see your worth and do the same for you. 

If you have been struggling to practise self-love and you are ready to let go of the habits and beliefs that keeps you stuck in your patterns of behaviour which does nto serve your greater good, I can help. Read some more about the services I offer http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/

Self-love can come naturally to you if you’re willing to change your mindset. This change starts within. And with all the love you pour onto others, it’s time you start offering some to yourself.

Conscious parenting: 5 ways to parent positively

Parenting!

It’s no walk in the park. And as parents, we’re always seeking new ways to improve our parenting styles.

Maybe you’re going through a challenging time right now, and this is why you’re here. You’re struggling to become the parent you wish to be. You’ve read all the books and listened to all the podcasts on the topic. But still, you’re not getting the results you want. 

You’re in need of a mindset shift, and a new perspective on the tough but beautiful job called  parenting.

In this article, I’d like to introduce you to something called conscious parenting. You may have heard of it. It’s a method of parenting that is becoming increasingly popular due to its effectiveness in helping parents create a healthy relationship with their children. 

What is conscious parenting? 

In a nutshell, to parent consciously is to create a healthy relationship with your children. It involves being mindful about your behaviour and interactions with them. 

Conscious parenting entails ‘unlearning’ some of what you’ve been taught about traditional parenting, and trying a new approach.

This new approach, which largely involves you changing and developing yourself as a person, will help you create healthier ways of relating with your children.

So with that being said, what are some of the things you can do to become a conscious parent? Changing from reactive to consciously responsive parenting can be overwhelming. So to simplify things for you, I have five easy tips you can start applying now to help you become a more conscious parent. 

Become self-aware

Many of us are products of the upbringing we’ve had, and the environments we grew up in. Becoming more self-aware of your habits, behaviour and attitude is central to becoming a conscious parent. 

Start abandoning some beliefs about yourself, especially negative ones. Identify some of the behavioural patterns you have, that can be damaging to both you and your children. 

Enhancing self-awareness can be challenging. Confronting truths about yourself may open up some wounds. But ultimately, the healing and changing that’ll come about being honest with yourself is worth it.

You might be wondering, what are some things I can do to become more self-aware, that will make me a conscious parent? Here are some tips:

  • Journal.  Journaling is an excellent way of getting to know yourself. Being open and honest about your thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
  • Read self-help books. They’re full of benefit and wisdom.
  • Mediate. Being quiet with yourself and your thoughts for a few minutes each day can enhance self-awareness. 
  • Talk to someone. Talking to people who know you well can be helpful. It can make you recognize things about yourself you hadn’t otherwise noticed.

Control your reactions.

Picture this scene.

You’ve just spent the last two hours cleaning your house. You’ve dusted, tidied the mess and mopped the floors. You warn your children several times that when they come home from playing outside, they must remove their shoes.

Except they don’t.

Instead, they come home with their muddy shoes and dirty the floors you just mopped and polished.

We’ve all been there.

Your natural reaction is to scream. Shout. Raise your voice and tell them off. A conscious parent stops themselves from doing this.

Instead of being reactive, you align with your intention to be more conscious in your parenting approach. 

This will take some practice, trial and error. Especially if your first instincts are always to become angry. But after a while, you’ll notice that reacting calmly will come more easily to you.

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Be mindful of your language

Being mindful of the language we use around our children is also important to conscious parenting. 

Language has a huge impact on children’s self esteem. And it’s important that we’re conscious about the kinds of words we use, as they can have a lasting effects. 

Language can determine if your relationship will be healthy with your child. How they feel, and if they consider themselves safe around you. How comfortable they are in your presence, and if they believe you love them. 

A conscious parent asks themselves these questions:

  • Is my language supportive?
  • Are my words gentle? 
  • What is my tone of voice when I communicate with my children?
  • Do I put them down?
  • Do I insult them? 
  • Does my language project an energy of love?
  • Do I project my own frustrations onto them when I speak to them?
  • Do I show understanding through my words?

Listen to your children

Treating your children as individuals, and listening to what they have to say is also a core tenant of parenting consciously. 

When you listen to your children, you make them feel important. You teach them that you value their opinion even if they are young. And most importantly, you show them that you respect them. This is something a conscious parent values.

A conscious parent listens to what his or her child has to say without judgement. They allow space for communication, to better understand their child. They understand that as humans, they too are prone to making mistakes. 

Change and develop yourself

This tip ties in a little with the first tip on enhancing self-awareness. The most important task you need to do on your journey to becoming a more conscious parent isn’t changing your children. It’s changing yourself. 

It’s developing good habits and characteristics your children will then learn from. 

Dr Shefali, who is an expert on conscious parenting, writes in her book The Conscious Parent: “While you may believe your most important challenge is to raise your children well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting. This task is to raise yourself into the most awakened and present individual you can be.”

Our children are products of our parenting. The kind of person we are towards them can and will shape them. So we should always try to become the best versions of ourselves. Don’t let this scare you. It’s a process and it takes patience. Allow room for failure and mistakes, but always try to do better. 

This is what parenting consciously is all about, always striving to be and do better.

Final thoughts

There you have it. Five tips you can start practising today to parent more consciously. Since applying them all at once can be challenging, I suggest you start with one and build up from there. 

If you’d like some one to one guidance on parenting more consciously, I advise you to check out this coaching program http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/single-parenting/   designed specifically for individuals looking to improve their parenting approach.

As I said above, we’re all seeking new and better ways to parent consciously and raise our children well. Reading this blog post is just a start, take the next steps and start evolving yourself into the best mother you can be. Make it count.