Lately.

Had a bit of an absence from blogging over the last couple of months as life has gotten oh so busy. Even though I thrive off living a fast paced & full life at times I really do have to make myself stop and look after my self. Even just for a couple of days. To reset. Then start again ūüôā

On that note I spent this past weekend wandering around London.

Feeling peaceful besides the water

It’s so easy to take my capital city for granted as I visit frequently for work. So taking time out to wander around and make the best use of the freakishly warm Autumn day (erm… 23C in October thank you!) was a lovely treat.

I forgot how much I love this place ‚̧

Cheesy mushrooms and a vegan burger from street vendor Big V

Borough market was the first I discovered years ago and for that reason will always be one of my faves. However, Greenwich market was a new find for me, and definitely an instant winner. It was so much more calm, less crowded yet still and overwhelming amount of choice.

I also indulged, had a few massages and got my hair done. Went a bit lighter & really love the depth in colour. As I’ve got older I’ve started to really appreciate self care and taking time to indulge in myself. It’s important.

Saying farewells ūüė¶

Over the last couple of months I’ve had to bid goodbye to a couple of friends that have departed for new shores. One of my friends return to her home in Australia and one of my best friends moved to NYC … cue a huge amount of *sobs*

I’m already missing her ‚̧ xx

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Less thinking, more doing: tips to jump start your motivated self

Recently i’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to feel motivated. What drives me to jump out of bed in the morning, energises me to workout or inspires me to write? A big part of me felt that the change in season might have been a catalyst to feeling a surge in energy, but I’m not sure that makes quite sense since Autumn brings the dying of summer, colder mornings and darker nights. Wouldn’t that make me want to hibernate?

I’ve been more motivated than ever. After¬†a bit of a slump and de-motivated spell I’m¬†finally getting my drive back, and whilst I’m on this Lianne 2.0 kick I wanted to share my thoughts about the little things that helped me to get my mojo back.

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First lets talk about the one bad habit that dwindled my drive in the first place.

Procrastination.

I was stuck in a cycle of procrastination. I was spending time thinking or talking about things I wanted to do. Making plans that never came to fruition. It dawned on me. I was talking about things but not necessarily doing them. I pride myself on being a go getter type of person, but I was letting it slip. I get frustrated when people don’t follow through on their word, so in fear of becoming that person, I booked the aerial yoga class that I’d spent months talking about. You might have read my summer to do list – ¬†I had aerial yoga on there. I also booked a Thai boxing class, found a yoga studio and signed up to Spanish classes.

How do we get into a cycle of procrastination?

A lot of it comes down to waiting to feel motivated to take action. Scientifically,¬†you cannot actually feel motivation, since it’s a state¬†of being and not a feeling. ¬†You¬†don’t need to feel motivated to actually¬†be motivated. Read that sentence again when you next say ‘ I don’t feel like it’. ūüėČ

There lies the problem, waiting and feeling, giving rise to hesitation. 

Psychologically speaking, hesitation is powerful because it leads to inaction and procrastination. Which is easy. ¬†The waiting, feeling and the not doing. It’s a comfortable state.¬†If you¬†hesitate for one second you are more likely to talk yourself out of it. You might talk about doing it another time, maybe even plan to do so, but you’re more than likely to take the easy road of inaction. Psychologically you’ve already learned to ¬†procrastinate, and learned behaviours are more likely to be repeated.¬†Hesitating on the seemingly small stuff¬†transforms into everyday habits… bad habits.

Benefits of doing

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The hardest part about taking action is starting. But once you do get over the hurdle it gets easier. The more you repeat the action the easier it becomes and your motivation will eventually follow.

With that so do the benefits. Research shows (e.g. this study)¬†that motivated people have higher dopamine levels than less motivated people. At it’s most basic level dopamine is¬†the¬†pleasure seeking pathway in the brain linked to motivation and reward, which drives you to take action.¬†Simply put, the more you do, the more rewarded you feel; the more rewarded you feel, the more you do.¬†Thus, more motivation, more action and more motivation and more action. This is how a habit forms.

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Simple tips to get started 

If you want to start to boost your drive I have a few simple tips:

1. Start small.

You don’t have to jump in at the deep end and it’s likely to deter you completely. If your goal is to fitness related, start with¬†baby steps to build a solid foundation. Start with a weekly beginners fitness class, a short weekly run, or even aim to take the stairs! It doesn’t have to be all singing, all dancing, jumping, squatting and heavy weight lifting at the start. Remind yourself that life is a marathon and not a sprint – the path is upwards and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there ūüôā

2. Give yourself a compromise free deadline. 

Trick your brain out of overthinking and talking yourself out of doing something. Give yourself a countdown to take action. When I wanted to get into a routine of getting up 6am, I would count down from 5, and on 1 I would get out of bed. 5,4,3,2,1 UP. No snoozing. It was painful at first but soon became a habit. The 5 Second Rule really does work. I highly recommend this book if you want some easy tips to kick start action!

3. Question yourself.

I found that these three questions were powerful: (1) Why do I want to do it? (2) Why haven’t I prioritised time for it? If I was ‘too busy’ then (3) Do I truly want it?

For me these questions helped to prioritise the activities I truly valued and made me carve time, as well as cross activities off my list that I¬†simply didn’t value as much. I also found they helped me to question bad habits too.

These tips might seem simple but they worked for me. I hope they will invigorate you and give you a push into action. Or at least to get you out of a rabbit hole of over-talking and overthinking .

Remember that action always comes first and hesitation impacts everything!

Helsinki Hyyge

Hi Helsinki

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Jumper: New Look

Just got back from my trip so sharing some of my snaps ‚̧

I had couple of days around a business event so aimed to exhaust the best bits of the Finnish capital with my limited time. Here’s what I got up to!

Getting Hygge with it

(side note: does anyone else want to pronounce this as Higgie?)

So not only did I learn how to properly pronounce it ”Hoo-gah” I also learnt what it actually means.¬†Before Helsinki, my perception of¬†Hygge was a #trendy Nordic term that encapsulated being snug and cosy in brutal weather, and so in my mind had become synonymous with all things such as hot chocolate (fave <3), big blankets and oversized knits. On the face of it, all things I love¬†(albeit not exactly what I wish to embrace in the height of summer)¬†

I got hygge all wrong.

It’s much more about embodying a ”wellness” mindset. Before your mind jumps to the thought of ”super-green-squeaky-clean”, think again. It’s actually about¬†prioritising feeling good, happy and stress free.¬†Nourishing yourself and putting yourself first by taking care of your mind, body and soul.¬†For example, did you realise that a lot of Finnish people have a sauna in their own house? Now that is something I could get on board with.

In true Nordic style I fully embraced those Hygge vibes & aimed for a stress free couple of days (OK conference aside). 

Being a tourist

On a boat… over we go

Helsinki is surrounded by small Islands, one of which,¬†Suomenlinna,¬†is often sited as being the number one tourist site since it’s a UNESCO heritage Island. So in true tourist style our first stop was hopping on a boat and crossing over the sea. One thing that struck me was how incredibly eerie this place felt. Almost peaceful and relaxing; and so far removed from it’s former prison of war status.

Enjoying the food

Eating canal side at the gorgeous and very hipster restaurant Holiday. The salmon poke bowl was great.

Manala. This place was great, with tons of different breads to try (Sourdough will always be my fave!) and my first time trying Artic Char. The fish is just on another level here, so fresh and flavoursome.

Exploring the sights

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Uspenski Cathedral, a must see

The majority of the buildings seemed to be reminiscent of those often found in other large cities like London, Brussels or Paris Рtall, block like and pretty nondescript. But a few standout sights for me was the Uspenski Cathedral (it reminded me of Russian architecture), and the outside of the Design Museum, a very futuristic abstract looking bunker(!).

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Top: Stradivarius

Jacket: H&M, Jeans: Asos, Trainers: New Look

A church underground? It was pretty and quaint, and probably how I’d actually describe the majority of Helsinki.

Overall I had a short but sweet break. Helsinki was everything a city yearns to be: clean, safe and relaxed. For sure the quality of life for residents seems incredible.

It’s really made me want to explore more scandi places, where have you been?

Recommendations please! ‚̧ x

 

 

More Morocco Moments

A collection of pictures from my trip to Magical Morocco ‚̧

The Medinaimg_0373-1

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Getting swept up in a labyrinth of heat and chaos in the souks and Medina

The Mountains

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A whole lot of Topaz
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Overlooking the Atlas Mountains

Activities

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Turning almonds into Almond butter ‚̧

My ride for the day: meet Shakira

Swapping transport, Camels for quads

Embracing the local cultural (ish)

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Trying on Fes hats, mint shisha and local wine

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Anyone for a mint tea?
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Embracing the local dress

Going green

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I love finding green spaces in city centres ‚̧

Colourful tid bits

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Colourful and Charming – exactly how I picture Marrakech ‚̧
A rare monochrome moment
Impromptu photo shoot at Jardin Majorelle! 

How are you?

No but really… How are you? ¬†¬†

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Sadly it¬†feels as though this question has lost it’s real purpose.

Absent-mindedly I both ask and am asked this question daily yet rarely offer a response more than a yeah¬†ok, you?. That’s as deep as it gets. This autonomous exchange has¬†become a superficial social glue to loosely acquaint individuals without having to offer more than a mere acknowledgement that you and I both exist. It’s the same case with sorry; both words have lost their true value.¬†I attach no criticism but am merely observing that we should be reaching out and listening to each other more genuinely. I¬†know I’m not alone in my guilt; I hear & see it everywhere.

It was the other day I bumped into somebody I hadn’t seen for a while and we exchanged the stereotypical pleasantries. Yep, we were both OK and fine (!), yet¬†I¬†got a feeling that something was off as she had a vacant look in her eyes. Instantly I knew OK she was not. Typically I might have smiled and walked away, she did say she was fine? But instead I probed further¬†to which she completely broke down. Reflecting to her some time after this particular instance she admitted feeling relief at being able to let it out, and admitted to never opening up before out of fears of being perceived a burden. Something that had never entered my mind (!) – and rather I didn’t want to overstep the mark in a somewhat professional capacity. This made me think about how I, well, we all, portray the onus and boundaries with opening up versus reaching out.

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A decade ago the topic of mental health was utterly taboo. An admittance of any form of suffering was frowned upon and asking for help was alien. It is amazing to see society¬†taking steps to¬†reduce the stigma by way of public campaigns, workplace schemes as well as high profile people speaking publicly about their struggles, because with the increase in exposure and dialogue around mental health, the higher the chance the term becomes normalised and the stigma subsides. It affects us all.¬†Let me repeat. It’s not a case of whether people fall into a neatly defined category of being a sufferer or not; wellbeing fluctuates, and life is hard sometimes.

Society’s once rigid¬†mindsets are segueing into being much more liberal and open.¬†I wish we could bulldoze the barriers and obliterate the stigma entirely but I think that will only come in time. It’s all a process, I often have to remind myself.

Reaching out is incredibly valuable and please be reassured that¬†broaching the topic of mental health is not ill placed or inappropriate. A simple How are you doing? How are things going right now? ¬†with meaning is powerful. As long as you probe for a deeper response… ¬†I am glad I did with my friend because it allowed her time and space to simply talk and offload and to feel truly listened to.¬†

In the same vein it’s also powerful to open up by being honest and transparent about your own feelings and emotions, because sharing your story helps others to normalise theirs. It empowers people to see that others have got through tough times and they aren’t the first to experience pain.¬†At times when I’ve grappled with my own wellbeing I’ve felt incredibly grateful to the people who have listened to me in those moments.

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I wanted to urge you to ask somebody how they are with an intent of truly listening, and do not hesitate to reach out if you think somebody is struggling because if they are feeling under the weight of the world then they sure as hell will feel unworthy of your time. Often we attempt to try to fix the problem so to speak when all that is needed was a compassionate ear and a platform for offloading. Be that sounding board. Trust me, you cannot nor should you even try to solve problems.

Offer somebody a kind knowledge that you care and will hold their hand through the storm; because nobody should have to weather the storm alone.

‚̧ Remember that the storm always passes. ‚̧¬†

Thanks for reading x