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Personal Development

*This post contains PR Products from Shark

If you’ve been a reader for some time, you’ll know the tos and fros, ups and downs and backs and forths I’ve had with routines. I’ve never been able to keep em.

Even when I was teaching and my ‘general’ routine was; get up, get ready, schedule tweets whilst walking to the train station, write blog posts on the train, teach, head home – once I arrived home, who knows what I’d do!

Sometimes I only had the energy to pick up a takeaway en route back to the flat and flomp in front of Friends, other days I’d have a burst of energy and whizz round cleaning, tidying, decluttering, (more blogging) and even give myself 15 minutes for a quick cleanse and sheet mask.

Since moving into our house and getting our puppy, I’ve craved more of a routine – which is made even harder when my work week is now all over the place. No more Maths 9-10 and English 10-11 every day – one day I’m creating Insta posts, the next speaking on a panel and the one after teaching the incredible Grow & Glow members all about brand-building.

But with lockdown, where I’ve not been able to get out of slinging a dusting cloth round the house in favour of an iced coffee or three, I’ve managed to create some habits and routines that I know, even with lockdown easing, I’ll be able to keep up.

They say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit right? These ones have been going for nearly 3 months!

Meal Planning

Since purchasing my meal-planning pad from Sighh, and only being able to get an Ocado (due to the local Co-Op being an absolute nightmare), I’ve gotten into the routine of ordering our weekly shop on a Thursday, to arrive on a Sunday and then sitting and filling out the meals for the week.

This means we’re eating healthier – because there are no last minute takeaways available or mad dashes to the shop – and our food waste is virtually 0!

Image courtesy of Sighh

I also really like not having to do that classic married conversation every day of:

“What should we have for lunch?”

“Pasta?”

“Nah don’t fancy it. Salad?”

“Mmm not feeling it.”

– and on and on forever

Or having to rifle through the cupboards wondering what we can sling together and whether mayo really does go with grapes and crackers.

P.S our lockdown favourite meal has been fajitas – the Old El Paso Fiery Jalapeno kit is a FIRM favourite and it’s Ben’s fave dish to knock up whilst I’m probably doing another Instagram Live about personal branding!

Walking

Our house is located not too far from some gorgeous orchards and public footpaths into woodland so we’ve made sure to keep up our daily walks – usually first thing.

Granted, my mind might change around this when it’s December, freezing and wet again but right now, when the sun’s up early and warm at 9am, it’s a delight to explore.

Without these morning walks, I can be guilty of scrolling social media for hours or jumping straight from bed into work.

This gives us time to spend together, think about the day ahead and get that much needed energy boost that my regular frothy coffee from the-lockdown-closed cafe can’t provide.

Cleaning

At the beginning of lockdown, Shark offered to send us their cordless vacuum with Anti-Wrap technology, triple battery which is great for pets.

When I lifted it out of the box, to my delight, it was super-light. Another fun surprise (depending on your idea of fun) was that the battery was already charged. Within seconds I was dancing round the house to some 90s tunes and getting into every corner with this bad boy.

Dare I say it? But I found the whole experience… enjoyable. And for a total cleaning-phobe like me – that is saying something.

We were previously sent the Shark hand-held cordless vacuum a couple of years ago too, and you could honestly eat your fajitas straight off our surfaces now.

I’m massively a carrot/stick type person when it comes to doing things I hate doing (aka cleaning) so coupled with the Shark being a dream to use, I also use the cleaning time to listen to my music or my latest podcast downloads so that means I’m more inclined to make regular time to do this more than just weekly (or sometimes when needs must)!

Shark anti-wrap cordless vacuum

Skin Care

As I’ve spoken about before, in my wedding skin routine blog post, I’d not previously made my skin that much of a priority.

In prep for the wedding, I’d started regularly cleansing, toning, moisturising and… seruming (?) and I’m glad to say, I’ve kept it up!

I don’t see skincare as a thing about wanting to make my skin ‘look better’ but I’ve realised how important it is for me to do little things throughout the day to make me ‘feel better’.

Recently, I’ve been loving getting some bits and pieces from Beauty Pie (you’ll get your first month free with my link and I get a £50 top up – this is available to all Beauty Pie customers!). I particularly love their Japanfusion range for cleansing and moisturising and the Dr Glycolic pads and peels.

After a day at my laptop or after an evening of coaching calls with the G&G team, I enjoy those 15 minutes of quiet time in the bathroom and it means I’m more likely get a good night’s sleep.

Gardening

This is totally a new one for me as I am the ULTIMATE fuss when it comes to being outside. Mud? Nah. Bees and wasps? Can GTFO. Too much sun? Horrendously sweaty mess.

But since we’ve had our little garden sorted, I’ve actually enjoyed firing up the hose (is that even the right term?) and watering my new little herb planters.

Each night, I check on my cuttings, water my new plants and just take a few moments to myself to be grateful and content with the home we’re creating.

And yep, I’ve been known to head to bed and on my head hitting the pillow, jolt upright and say, ‘Piss I forgot to water my Oregano’.

Just call me Alan Vixmarsh.

our garden

Working ‘ON’ the business

Anyone who’s trying to build a solo business or a personal brand will attest to the fact that you’re always doing SOMETHING. Either you’re creating content as part of your marketing strategy, you’re trying to engage with your ideal customers or you’re under a pile of emails and enquiries.

You very rarely make time to work on the bigger picture of what you’re trying to build.

Something my digital marketing coach, Alice Benham taught me a lot about was the importance of working ‘ON’ your business – tackling the bigger picture or more strategical long term plans, rather than the constant day to day grind.

Since implementing this and seeing how much it’s helped my business grow in the last year, I’m a huge advocate of getting into the routine of working on things.

Now, I block out every Friday to step away from the ‘content treadmill’, as I call it, to step away from emails and to ignore admin until Monday and focus on the best bits about building a business – the ideas, goals and plans!

I use a program called ClickUp where I list all my ‘On’ tasks and each Sunday now (after my Ocado delivery and meal planning sesh), I sit down and divvy out those big picture tasks for the following Friday.

Sounds weird but I genuinely ENJOY looking towards Friday to see what task I’ll get to tackle next and it genuinely makes the Monday routine of emails and admin way more bearable!

What are the best habits or routines you’ve picked up during lockdown?

Other bits and pieces I love weaving into my week are journalling – which I’ve written about here and reading! I make sure to set some time aside each day or every other day to read a couple of pages of my latest book. It’s a great way to unwind and get me off of social media!

What are the best habits or routines you’ve picked up during lock down?

Come and chat with me on Instagram!

 

*This post contains PR Products from Shark

If you’ve been a reader for some time, you’ll know the tos and fros, ups and downs and backs and forths I’ve had with routines. I’ve never been able to keep em.

Even when I was teaching and my ‘general’ routine was; get up, get ready, schedule tweets whilst walking to the train station, write blog posts on the train, teach, head home – once I arrived home, who knows what I’d do!

Sometimes I only had the energy to pick up a takeaway en route back to the flat and flomp in front of Friends, other days I’d have a burst of energy and whizz round cleaning, tidying, decluttering, (more blogging) and even give myself 15 minutes for a quick cleanse and sheet mask.

Since moving into our house and getting our puppy, I’ve craved more of a routine – which is made even harder when my work week is now all over the place. No more Maths 9-10 and English 10-11 every day – one day I’m creating Insta posts, the next speaking on a panel and the one after teaching the incredible Grow & Glow members all about brand-building.

But with lockdown, where I’ve not been able to get out of slinging a dusting cloth round the house in favour of an iced coffee or three, I’ve managed to create some habits and routines that I know, even with lockdown easing, I’ll be able to keep up.

They say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit right? These ones have been going for nearly 3 months!

Meal Planning

Since purchasing my meal-planning pad from Sighh, and only being able to get an Ocado (due to the local Co-Op being an absolute nightmare), I’ve gotten into the routine of ordering our weekly shop on a Thursday, to arrive on a Sunday and then sitting and filling out the meals for the week.

This means we’re eating healthier – because there are no last minute takeaways available or mad dashes to the shop – and our food waste is virtually 0!

Image courtesy of Sighh

I also really like not having to do that classic married conversation every day of:

“What should we have for lunch?”

“Pasta?”

“Nah don’t fancy it. Salad?”

“Mmm not feeling it.”

– and on and on forever

Or having to rifle through the cupboards wondering what we can sling together and whether mayo really does go with grapes and crackers.

P.S our lockdown favourite meal has been fajitas – the Old El Paso Fiery Jalapeno kit is a FIRM favourite and it’s Ben’s fave dish to knock up whilst I’m probably doing another Instagram Live about personal branding!

Walking

Our house is located not too far from some gorgeous orchards and public footpaths into woodland so we’ve made sure to keep up our daily walks – usually first thing.

Granted, my mind might change around this when it’s December, freezing and wet again but right now, when the sun’s up early and warm at 9am, it’s a delight to explore.

Without these morning walks, I can be guilty of scrolling social media for hours or jumping straight from bed into work.

This gives us time to spend together, think about the day ahead and get that much needed energy boost that my regular frothy coffee from the-lockdown-closed cafe can’t provide.

Cleaning

At the beginning of lockdown, Shark offered to send us their cordless vacuum with Anti-Wrap technology, triple battery which is great for pets.

When I lifted it out of the box, to my delight, it was super-light. Another fun surprise (depending on your idea of fun) was that the battery was already charged. Within seconds I was dancing round the house to some 90s tunes and getting into every corner with this bad boy.

Dare I say it? But I found the whole experience… enjoyable. And for a total cleaning-phobe like me – that is saying something.

We were previously sent the Shark hand-held cordless vacuum a couple of years ago too, and you could honestly eat your fajitas straight off our surfaces now.

I’m massively a carrot/stick type person when it comes to doing things I hate doing (aka cleaning) so coupled with the Shark being a dream to use, I also use the cleaning time to listen to my music or my latest podcast downloads so that means I’m more inclined to make regular time to do this more than just weekly (or sometimes when needs must)!

Shark anti-wrap cordless vacuum

Skin Care

As I’ve spoken about before, in my wedding skin routine blog post, I’d not previously made my skin that much of a priority.

In prep for the wedding, I’d started regularly cleansing, toning, moisturising and… seruming (?) and I’m glad to say, I’ve kept it up!

I don’t see skincare as a thing about wanting to make my skin ‘look better’ but I’ve realised how important it is for me to do little things throughout the day to make me ‘feel better’.

Recently, I’ve been loving getting some bits and pieces from Beauty Pie (you’ll get your first month free with my link and I get a £50 top up – this is available to all Beauty Pie customers!). I particularly love their Japanfusion range for cleansing and moisturising and the Dr Glycolic pads and peels.

After a day at my laptop or after an evening of coaching calls with the G&G team, I enjoy those 15 minutes of quiet time in the bathroom and it means I’m more likely get a good night’s sleep.

Gardening

This is totally a new one for me as I am the ULTIMATE fuss when it comes to being outside. Mud? Nah. Bees and wasps? Can GTFO. Too much sun? Horrendously sweaty mess.

But since we’ve had our little garden sorted, I’ve actually enjoyed firing up the hose (is that even the right term?) and watering my new little herb planters.

Each night, I check on my cuttings, water my new plants and just take a few moments to myself to be grateful and content with the home we’re creating.

And yep, I’ve been known to head to bed and on my head hitting the pillow, jolt upright and say, ‘Piss I forgot to water my Oregano’.

Just call me Alan Vixmarsh.

our garden

Working ‘ON’ the business

Anyone who’s trying to build a solo business or a personal brand will attest to the fact that you’re always doing SOMETHING. Either you’re creating content as part of your marketing strategy, you’re trying to engage with your ideal customers or you’re under a pile of emails and enquiries.

You very rarely make time to work on the bigger picture of what you’re trying to build.

Something my digital marketing coach, Alice Benham taught me a lot about was the importance of working ‘ON’ your business – tackling the bigger picture or more strategical long term plans, rather than the constant day to day grind.

Since implementing this and seeing how much it’s helped my business grow in the last year, I’m a huge advocate of getting into the routine of working on things.

Now, I block out every Friday to step away from the ‘content treadmill’, as I call it, to step away from emails and to ignore admin until Monday and focus on the best bits about building a business – the ideas, goals and plans!

I use a program called ClickUp where I list all my ‘On’ tasks and each Sunday now (after my Ocado delivery and meal planning sesh), I sit down and divvy out those big picture tasks for the following Friday.

Sounds weird but I genuinely ENJOY looking towards Friday to see what task I’ll get to tackle next and it genuinely makes the Monday routine of emails and admin way more bearable!

What are the best habits or routines you’ve picked up during lockdown?

Other bits and pieces I love weaving into my week are journalling – which I’ve written about here and reading! I make sure to set some time aside each day or every other day to read a couple of pages of my latest book. It’s a great way to unwind and get me off of social media!

What are the best habits or routines you’ve picked up during lock down?

Come and chat with me on Instagram!

 

I too spent ££ on a brand new Papier bullet journal, only to spend 4 hours setting it up and NEVER using it because a) perfectionism and b) *gestures wildly to look around at the world*.

But to be honest, I knew I had everything I ever needed in a journal in my Vibe + Flow 90 Day Manifestation + Mindset Goal Setting Journal which was created by my friend Chloe Slade.

I first met Chloe via an introduction through Alice Benham, marketing coach extraordinaire and a mutual friend. We connected on Instagram and would regularly send each other messages of encouragement and general Game of Thrones related chit chat.

I ordered the original journal straight away, Chloe became a G&G member and I joined her Manifestation membership. After this bout of mutual empowerment and support, we met for the first time and totally hit it off. Y’know when someone is just frigging SOUND – that’s Chloe.

90 Day Manifestation Journal

Journal 1.0

We had moved to Kent, I had set the spare room up as my office and my journal (1.0) took pride of place next to my desk – every morning that I got to work, I’d spend 5-10 minutes filling it out. Or if I went into London, I’d fill it out on the train with a coffee – it felt like such a treat!

The way it was set up was that it had a morning and evening page. The morning page you’d fill out to get you in the right mindset for the day and the evening one would help you download all of your thoughts, going to bed with a clear mind.

Now the overall aim of the journal is that you set your 90 day goals and write out all of the inspired actions you’re going to take to achieve those goals. Then every day you’re checking in with yourself that you’re on track.

It’s based on the principles of the laws of attraction and manifestation but it’s so practically written that it makes you feel like everything you are wanting to ‘manifest’ is actually tangible and actionable.

For someone as oft-unfocussed, riddled with doubt and sometimes anxious as I – the journal honestly changed my days around.

Rather than procrastinating for hours over what to get done – the journal made it clear. Or rather than going to bed with some unhelpful thoughts swirling in my head – I could ‘download’ them all on paper and have a more restful night’s sleep.

What it helped me with

The first 3 goals I set with Journal 1.0 were; 300 members in Grow & Glow, to exercise every day and to expand the G&G team.

I achieved all of those within the 3 months I outlined and I truly believe it was because the journal helped keep me on track so I could consistently work towards making them happen.

It also helped pull me out of so many shit spirals. If I woke up feeling crap or like I had an overwhelming amount of work and that I just wanted to fuck it all off, go to sleep and not bother with life – I’d pull myself to fill out that day’s page and within moments my mood would change and I’d have much more grace for myself which motivated me to get my 3 things done for the day and then binge the life out of my high vibes list…

How the journal is set up

If you’ve got this far and you’re ever more curious about how the journal is structured, I’ll run through it now!

Chloe recently released the new version of the journal (2.0) which I’m currently working through (need to get a new one soon actually) so I’ll show you this one…

Life Audit

First you rate the different areas of your life and then free-flow write how you WANT to feel. This is a great section to come back and reflect on to see, within those 3 months, how much you’ve progressed.

Prep Steps

The most fun bit to fill out is the Prep Steps section.

It comprises of pages on;

  • Best Average Day planner
  • Free flow reality
  • Manifestation goals
  • High Vibe list
  • Release list
  • Falling in love with the process
  • Gratitude list
  • Visualisation list

Your best average day is where you get to reflect on what your ideal day would look like, broken down into a time frame. It’s crazy for me to look at this and see how closely aligned my every day is with this day – which I then practise a whole lotta gratitude for.

Then you write a free flow reality of what your life will look like in 90 days. I’m reading back over this as I write this blog post and again, it never fails to blow my mind just how much I’ve managed to align with this – this journal is bloody magic, I swear.

Then you manifest 4 goals from a place of having them, so I write, ‘thank you for…’

Now the Corona virus has unfortunately interrupted two of my goals – in terms of member numbers for Grow & Glow and the retreat I was planning but the two other goals I set out around creating new offers for the Grow & Glow business have already come true and I’m so sure that the other 2 goals would be true too, if this whole situation hadn’t happened – so reflecting now, I’m feeling good!

Then the best bit – the high vibes list! The bit where you get to list every simple pleasure that automatically makes you feel better – for me it’s reading a book, swimming, iced coffee, Diet Coke, listening to a podcast, banging out a soundtrack from the musicals (or my epic 90s/00s Spotify playlist).

It feels actually productive to figure a high vibe thang into each day!

The release list is where you get to note down every belief you hold that is a negative one or that’s not serving you. So things like, ‘I don’t have enough money,’ or ‘I won’t achieve x because of y’ – this is SO USEFUL because you then reflect on how you sound and your higher self tells you to stop being a knob and not to listen to those beliefs.

‘Falling in love with the process’ is where you can write about exactly how you’re going to inject those high vibes into the next 3 months alongside other things you can look forward to, so that the whole process over the next 3 months is filled with joy.

The gratitude list is where I’ve listed everything in my life I’m grateful for – husband, home, family, Olive, health, this space, Grow & Glow members, my job, chips, The Office – I mean the list is endless and ever expanding.

Finally, the visualisation list is where you get to make a list of all the things you visualise you’ll have within 90 days – and again, looking back at this list, I can see I have nearly all of them – which again totally lifts my mood!

The Daily Logs

Then you get into the daily pages for the journal.

You can plan how your day will look using the timetable – which, as someone who can get lost in a scroll hole, finds incredibly useful. This means I make sure I get to do the things I want to do (even if I don’t keep strictly to the hour).

I also love setting my daily intention because I know if I’m having a down day that as long as my intention has been met, I can rest easily!

Then I’ll write about the things on my to do list I’ll get done that ‘align with my goals’. For example, with my goal for the retreat, I’d list, ‘book venue’, ‘approach guest coaches’ etc because those were inspired actions that would get me closer to the goals.

Then I have great fun listing the few high vibe things I’d figure into my day – a long walk, hot shower, face mask, iced coffee, which podcast I’d listen to.

Before bed, I figure in time to ‘download’ my day.

I’ll list a couple of wins – however big or small – and write 3 things I’m grateful for from that day.

Then, handily, there’s a bit to write your to-do list for tomorrow. This eliminates A LOT of overwhelm for me, and I never go to bed anxiously playing over in my mind what I need to get done.

And if I need it, there’s a bit to do a mind dump – just a bit of space for reflection where new thoughts, ideas or actions come to mind.

More Chloe Goodness

Because I was so impressed with the journal, and Chloe became such a good pal, I then invested in her other offerings too – which are just as bloody brilliant.

There’s the 90 day wall planner which I had in the office (finished it, need a new one!)

This is linked with the journal but means you can lay out your top 3 goals more visually and then break them down into smaller, more actionable steps.

I’m also a member of the Vibe + Flow membership. This is where I learned all about manifestation and the laws of attraction because Chloe created really easy to watch and digest trainings.

As part of the membership I get weekly emails with prompts and resources which I enjoy digging into for a bit of headspace.

Chloe also sent me her newest product – the journal prompts – to have a look over before she shared them more widely and again, was totally in love.

Apart from her journal, I find it tough to keep up with other planners and journals but every so often when I need a bit of headspace or quiet time, I dive into these journal prompts, pick one or two and do a little bit of free flow writing – either at my desk, on the train (pre March) or on my phone in bed, to help me get back in alignment.

As you can tell, I’m a bit of a Chloe fan girl – and it feels great to support such a brilliant friend in her business – because her products really have brought so much value to my life!

Go and check out everything Chloe does with Vibe + Flow here and defo give her some love on Instagram, here.

 

I too spent ££ on a brand new Papier bullet journal, only to spend 4 hours setting it up and NEVER using it because a) perfectionism and b) *gestures wildly to look around at the world*.

But to be honest, I knew I had everything I ever needed in a journal in my Vibe + Flow 90 Day Manifestation + Mindset Goal Setting Journal which was created by my friend Chloe Slade.

I first met Chloe via an introduction through Alice Benham, marketing coach extraordinaire and a mutual friend. We connected on Instagram and would regularly send each other messages of encouragement and general Game of Thrones related chit chat.

I ordered the original journal straight away, Chloe became a G&G member and I joined her Manifestation membership. After this bout of mutual empowerment and support, we met for the first time and totally hit it off. Y’know when someone is just frigging SOUND – that’s Chloe.

90 Day Manifestation Journal

Journal 1.0

We had moved to Kent, I had set the spare room up as my office and my journal (1.0) took pride of place next to my desk – every morning that I got to work, I’d spend 5-10 minutes filling it out. Or if I went into London, I’d fill it out on the train with a coffee – it felt like such a treat!

The way it was set up was that it had a morning and evening page. The morning page you’d fill out to get you in the right mindset for the day and the evening one would help you download all of your thoughts, going to bed with a clear mind.

Now the overall aim of the journal is that you set your 90 day goals and write out all of the inspired actions you’re going to take to achieve those goals. Then every day you’re checking in with yourself that you’re on track.

It’s based on the principles of the laws of attraction and manifestation but it’s so practically written that it makes you feel like everything you are wanting to ‘manifest’ is actually tangible and actionable.

For someone as oft-unfocussed, riddled with doubt and sometimes anxious as I – the journal honestly changed my days around.

Rather than procrastinating for hours over what to get done – the journal made it clear. Or rather than going to bed with some unhelpful thoughts swirling in my head – I could ‘download’ them all on paper and have a more restful night’s sleep.

What it helped me with

The first 3 goals I set with Journal 1.0 were; 300 members in Grow & Glow, to exercise every day and to expand the G&G team.

I achieved all of those within the 3 months I outlined and I truly believe it was because the journal helped keep me on track so I could consistently work towards making them happen.

It also helped pull me out of so many shit spirals. If I woke up feeling crap or like I had an overwhelming amount of work and that I just wanted to fuck it all off, go to sleep and not bother with life – I’d pull myself to fill out that day’s page and within moments my mood would change and I’d have much more grace for myself which motivated me to get my 3 things done for the day and then binge the life out of my high vibes list…

How the journal is set up

If you’ve got this far and you’re ever more curious about how the journal is structured, I’ll run through it now!

Chloe recently released the new version of the journal (2.0) which I’m currently working through (need to get a new one soon actually) so I’ll show you this one…

Life Audit

First you rate the different areas of your life and then free-flow write how you WANT to feel. This is a great section to come back and reflect on to see, within those 3 months, how much you’ve progressed.

Prep Steps

The most fun bit to fill out is the Prep Steps section.

It comprises of pages on;

  • Best Average Day planner
  • Free flow reality
  • Manifestation goals
  • High Vibe list
  • Release list
  • Falling in love with the process
  • Gratitude list
  • Visualisation list

Your best average day is where you get to reflect on what your ideal day would look like, broken down into a time frame. It’s crazy for me to look at this and see how closely aligned my every day is with this day – which I then practise a whole lotta gratitude for.

Then you write a free flow reality of what your life will look like in 90 days. I’m reading back over this as I write this blog post and again, it never fails to blow my mind just how much I’ve managed to align with this – this journal is bloody magic, I swear.

Then you manifest 4 goals from a place of having them, so I write, ‘thank you for…’

Now the Corona virus has unfortunately interrupted two of my goals – in terms of member numbers for Grow & Glow and the retreat I was planning but the two other goals I set out around creating new offers for the Grow & Glow business have already come true and I’m so sure that the other 2 goals would be true too, if this whole situation hadn’t happened – so reflecting now, I’m feeling good!

Then the best bit – the high vibes list! The bit where you get to list every simple pleasure that automatically makes you feel better – for me it’s reading a book, swimming, iced coffee, Diet Coke, listening to a podcast, banging out a soundtrack from the musicals (or my epic 90s/00s Spotify playlist).

It feels actually productive to figure a high vibe thang into each day!

The release list is where you get to note down every belief you hold that is a negative one or that’s not serving you. So things like, ‘I don’t have enough money,’ or ‘I won’t achieve x because of y’ – this is SO USEFUL because you then reflect on how you sound and your higher self tells you to stop being a knob and not to listen to those beliefs.

‘Falling in love with the process’ is where you can write about exactly how you’re going to inject those high vibes into the next 3 months alongside other things you can look forward to, so that the whole process over the next 3 months is filled with joy.

The gratitude list is where I’ve listed everything in my life I’m grateful for – husband, home, family, Olive, health, this space, Grow & Glow members, my job, chips, The Office – I mean the list is endless and ever expanding.

Finally, the visualisation list is where you get to make a list of all the things you visualise you’ll have within 90 days – and again, looking back at this list, I can see I have nearly all of them – which again totally lifts my mood!

The Daily Logs

Then you get into the daily pages for the journal.

You can plan how your day will look using the timetable – which, as someone who can get lost in a scroll hole, finds incredibly useful. This means I make sure I get to do the things I want to do (even if I don’t keep strictly to the hour).

I also love setting my daily intention because I know if I’m having a down day that as long as my intention has been met, I can rest easily!

Then I’ll write about the things on my to do list I’ll get done that ‘align with my goals’. For example, with my goal for the retreat, I’d list, ‘book venue’, ‘approach guest coaches’ etc because those were inspired actions that would get me closer to the goals.

Then I have great fun listing the few high vibe things I’d figure into my day – a long walk, hot shower, face mask, iced coffee, which podcast I’d listen to.

Before bed, I figure in time to ‘download’ my day.

I’ll list a couple of wins – however big or small – and write 3 things I’m grateful for from that day.

Then, handily, there’s a bit to write your to-do list for tomorrow. This eliminates A LOT of overwhelm for me, and I never go to bed anxiously playing over in my mind what I need to get done.

And if I need it, there’s a bit to do a mind dump – just a bit of space for reflection where new thoughts, ideas or actions come to mind.

More Chloe Goodness

Because I was so impressed with the journal, and Chloe became such a good pal, I then invested in her other offerings too – which are just as bloody brilliant.

There’s the 90 day wall planner which I had in the office (finished it, need a new one!)

This is linked with the journal but means you can lay out your top 3 goals more visually and then break them down into smaller, more actionable steps.

I’m also a member of the Vibe + Flow membership. This is where I learned all about manifestation and the laws of attraction because Chloe created really easy to watch and digest trainings.

As part of the membership I get weekly emails with prompts and resources which I enjoy digging into for a bit of headspace.

Chloe also sent me her newest product – the journal prompts – to have a look over before she shared them more widely and again, was totally in love.

Apart from her journal, I find it tough to keep up with other planners and journals but every so often when I need a bit of headspace or quiet time, I dive into these journal prompts, pick one or two and do a little bit of free flow writing – either at my desk, on the train (pre March) or on my phone in bed, to help me get back in alignment.

As you can tell, I’m a bit of a Chloe fan girl – and it feels great to support such a brilliant friend in her business – because her products really have brought so much value to my life!

Go and check out everything Chloe does with Vibe + Flow here and defo give her some love on Instagram, here.

 
perfectionism is self-sabotage

I am a true Virgo, with a Virgo rising and a Virgo setting and a moon that’s so fully nestled into Virgo’s perfect frigging bosom.

That’s probs not accurate as I’ve never looked into all of the aspects of my star-sign but you get the point. And what are Virgos infamous for? Perfectionism.

Now when you look around my house and see the dust from Olive’s paws strewn across the sofa cushions and the floordrobe that hasn’t got any separation between the stinky clothes and the freshly washed and clean clothes, you’d be hard pressed to accept me as a perfectionist.

And that’s exactly what I thought too.

When friends would tag me in Virgo memes I’d laugh along at the stereotypes of being a know-it-all, anti-authority and the total lack of patience and respond with a quick, ‘DAT ME’ before thinking, meh but I’m defo NOT organised or even very particular when it comes to myself or my surroundings.

But a convo with a fellow Virgo opened my eyes to the fact that perfectionism isn’t just about colour co-ordinating a capsule wardrobe or being on top of your diary but that it spills into so many other aspects of life too.

It was after this convo that I sat back and looked over all of the things I’d been telling myself I was useless at, couldn’t finish or got distracted from and realised that my perfectionism had actually fucked it all up.

So here are 7 ways perfectionism can actually be self-sabotage, with a little bit about how we (my fellow perfectionists) can turn it around.

perfectionism is self-sabotage
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

one | Perfectionists’ standards are impossibly high

Sound familiar?

Whilst we might be sitting around a virtual hovel, we sure as hell notice when things are out of place elsewhere.

Or we may put people who we believe to be ‘perfect’ on pedestals, idolising them for the way they appear (and only appear) to have everything we believe to mean something.

The issue arises when perfectionists turn into nags and critics.

You didn’t put that where I wanted. Why did you do it like that? Why hasn’t this been completed in time?

But when, ‘where we wanted’ is the exact co-ordinates of a dining table to 3 decimal points and our time frame is humanly impossible – it kinda sucks for all involved.

What we can do differently

The running theme of this post is – to chill the fuck out – but in a way that’s more helpful…

We need to regularly remind ourselves to ‘spot the good’. If we catch ourselves about to criticise, we can instead stop, take a breath and wait for a positive – reframing our feedback to something kinder.

We can also reflect on what we’re asking (demanding) of others to see if it’s reasonable – and in a normal scope of reasonable – not a perfectionist’s version.

two | Perfectionists overthink EVERYTHING

Probably how much they overthink things too.

I remember planning a gallery wall for the spare bedroom once.

I scoured the internet for the exact prints I wanted – ones that really stood out to me.

Before stopping in my tracks and wondering if they needed a colour theme.

I switched out a few that didn’t ‘go’ with the rest, but then stopped to think that they should all be a similar style – retro and modern, feminine and bold – was it too all over the shop?

So then I decided to hit Pinterest.

And suddenly thought about whether to get all the same frames, all different or just slightly co-ordinated.

After probably about 5 hours of these mental gymnastics, I gave up, exhausted at the prospect of creating a gallery wall and deciding it wasn’t really going to work in that room any way.

This is just one example of how we overthink ourselves into a mess.

Ever sent a friend a text that didn’t come out quite how you wanted it to and then spent several hours replaying various different scenarios of their reaction in your head?

It’s such a waste of time and energy that could better be served doing the DAMN THING INSTEAD.

What we can do differently

Let’s do a little bit of work around trusting our gut some more.

Often enough we cycle back to the initial reaction, thought, feeling or idea anyway so why not practise going with that and seeing what happens?

After enough times of our gut reaction and action proving to be the right one, our brain will start to learn that it’s OK to trust the gut and go with the flow.

three | Perfectionists cannot relax

I mean, sure, 6 hours a day playing Animal Crossing SOUNDS relaxing, until you realise you’re obsessing over having your island totally in order and the thought of not digging one of those holes leaves you awake at night.

A perfectionists to do list is never done.

There are 24 hours in a day and a perfectionist could fill those with their never ending to do list.

Because nothing is ever enough.

I remember when I got married and I was dreaming up my wedding dress. I pored over Pinterest (recurring theme, maybe Pinterest is the problem?) and when it came to finally trying it on, I felt incredible and so excited for my ‘big day’.

But then when I got home I returned to Pinterest. Maybe the sleeves could’ve been a different style. Was that the colour I REALLY wanted? Could I ask the dressmaker to add another layer of tulle to get the exact amount of pouffe I needed?

It’s the same with work! I’m forever striving to make Grow & Glow the best community it can be so I’m constantly coming up with new idea after new idea when really, what we have at the foundations is bloody brilliant as it is!

But there I am, sat at my desk for 4 hours without blinking, making sodding graphics on Canva, AGAIN.

What can we do differently

Break. Shit. Down.

This is why I’ll forever extoll the brilliance that is Chloe Slade and her ‘Vibe and Flow’ journal.

Each day I fill out the 3 things I absolutely must achieve PLUS some of the ‘high vibe’ things I’d like to do too so that once those 3 things are done, I make sure to switch my attention to my ‘for fun’ things so I am NOT sat at my desk indefinitely.

It’s also good to have people around you that get it. A husband that’ll ask if you want to take a break and go for a walk or team mates who’ll tell you that you’ve done LOADS today and it’s OK to switch off for the evening.

four | Perfectionists are ‘black and white’ thinkers

People are either right or wrong. Good or bad. The work you do is either brilliant or crap. Your to do list is either overwhelming or complete.

The absolutes in which we often think can be super detrimental to our mental state because we don’t allow forgiveness or grace.

Perfectionists seek perfection and anything less than that is bloody useless.

And it. is. exhausting.

Relationships, careers, self-image and self-care can be TOUGH for perfectionists – they’ve been bloody difficult for me at times.

Y’know like there’s no point in having a bath, exfoliating and washing my hair tonight because I STILL won’t look like Jessica Simpson, circa Newlyweds, so what’s the point?

Or I will fail if I start this business venture because it won’t be the new Apple and I’ll not be the next Steve Jobs, so what’s the point?

This thinking is obviously linked to those bleeding high standards too!

What we can do differently

Here’s that ‘chill the fuck out’ term again but honestly…

We need to learn about grace.

It was the single biggest lesson I learned in 2019. To have grace.

To accept that if people have made mistakes, they’re not bad or wrong.

To give myself grace if I fuck up – it doesn’t mean I’m the worst person.

five | Perfectionists don’t like asking for help

Because…duh-duh-duhhhh people might realise we’re not actually perfect!

Seriously though, asking for help feels impossible. It feels like Audrina trying to make Justin Bobby commit – it’s a strain.

We believe that if we ask for help, we’re admitting we’re lesser than and that we don’t know it all.

This can lead to us being held back in lots of endeavours because we couldn’t figure out our next steps on our own but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to ask for guidance.

Ever gotten defensive when someone tries to help, and actually been quite rude, all because you didn’t want to admit you just didn’t know? SAME.

Or ever let the ball drop at home because you’re trying to juggle life, business, friendships, hobbies, drinking all that water and avoiding the coffee headaches but freak the FUCK out when the people around you ask what they can do to lighten your load or even try and voluntarily take things off your plate?

She says as she’s writing a blog post at 7pm, so engrossed that she knows it won’t be done for an hour but it’s her turn to cook dinner and clean up from lunch and snaps when her husband asks if he could just cook dinner…

What we can do differently

Seek out a mentor you trust.

Someone that you look up to but can feel vulnerable with. Someone you know isn’t judging you or doesn’t believe they’re better than you.

It could be a therapist, a coach, a pal or a colleague but identify them and then don’t be afraid to turn to them when you need it.

And also loosen up around your family. If they love you, they’re asking to help because they want to take care of you NOT because they’re judging you for your ineptitude so let your bloody husband cook dinner because he’s frigging better at pasta anyway.

six | Perfectionists procrastinate

Why start that hobby if you’re not going to be a pro at it? Why create content if it’s not going to go viral? Why put yourself out there if the reception will be tepid to warm at best?

We put off trying new things, going for goals, being creative or putting ourselves out there because we’re afraid of things not being perfect right away.

It’s not that we shy away from hard work. Or appreciate steps need to take place to achieve success, it’s just all of that sounds fucken EXHAUSTING.

What we can do differently

I learned about burning my bullshit from the wonderful Sophie French.

Sophie taught me that I have a huge evidence bank of all the things that have gone right for me and that every time I let a thought of stalling to do the next thing creep in, I should refer back to this evidence bank and ‘burn the bullshit’ around it not working out perfectly.

So get yourself an evidence bank and abundantly burn bullshit every time you want to procrastinate from doing something!

seven | Perfectionists are self-critical

We often think that ‘being hard on ourselves’ can increase productivity and motivation but let’s all be honest – we know it does the opposite.

But this is the ultimate way perfectionists self-sabotage and is linked to increased depression, anxiety and shame.

When we tell ourselves we’re lazy for not working 16 hours a day. Or that we’re never going to ‘make it’ if the 100 things on our to-do list doesn’t get done – this doesn’t motivate us to be better (more perfect) it does the opposite!

What we can do differently

Compassion. Grace.

Being kind to ourselves when we screw up. Taking a break when we feel things are going wrong. Understanding that we’re trying and that trying is bloody great.

All of these assurances help keep us motivated, happier and shame free – so shall we try THAT once in a while?

How do you, as a perfectionist, self-sabotage? Or what’s it like to NOT be a perfectionist? I can only imagine…

 
perfectionism is self-sabotage

I am a true Virgo, with a Virgo rising and a Virgo setting and a moon that’s so fully nestled into Virgo’s perfect frigging bosom.

That’s probs not accurate as I’ve never looked into all of the aspects of my star-sign but you get the point. And what are Virgos infamous for? Perfectionism.

Now when you look around my house and see the dust from Olive’s paws strewn across the sofa cushions and the floordrobe that hasn’t got any separation between the stinky clothes and the freshly washed and clean clothes, you’d be hard pressed to accept me as a perfectionist.

And that’s exactly what I thought too.

When friends would tag me in Virgo memes I’d laugh along at the stereotypes of being a know-it-all, anti-authority and the total lack of patience and respond with a quick, ‘DAT ME’ before thinking, meh but I’m defo NOT organised or even very particular when it comes to myself or my surroundings.

But a convo with a fellow Virgo opened my eyes to the fact that perfectionism isn’t just about colour co-ordinating a capsule wardrobe or being on top of your diary but that it spills into so many other aspects of life too.

It was after this convo that I sat back and looked over all of the things I’d been telling myself I was useless at, couldn’t finish or got distracted from and realised that my perfectionism had actually fucked it all up.

So here are 7 ways perfectionism can actually be self-sabotage, with a little bit about how we (my fellow perfectionists) can turn it around.

perfectionism is self-sabotage
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

one | Perfectionists’ standards are impossibly high

Sound familiar?

Whilst we might be sitting around a virtual hovel, we sure as hell notice when things are out of place elsewhere.

Or we may put people who we believe to be ‘perfect’ on pedestals, idolising them for the way they appear (and only appear) to have everything we believe to mean something.

The issue arises when perfectionists turn into nags and critics.

You didn’t put that where I wanted. Why did you do it like that? Why hasn’t this been completed in time?

But when, ‘where we wanted’ is the exact co-ordinates of a dining table to 3 decimal points and our time frame is humanly impossible – it kinda sucks for all involved.

What we can do differently

The running theme of this post is – to chill the fuck out – but in a way that’s more helpful…

We need to regularly remind ourselves to ‘spot the good’. If we catch ourselves about to criticise, we can instead stop, take a breath and wait for a positive – reframing our feedback to something kinder.

We can also reflect on what we’re asking (demanding) of others to see if it’s reasonable – and in a normal scope of reasonable – not a perfectionist’s version.

two | Perfectionists overthink EVERYTHING

Probably how much they overthink things too.

I remember planning a gallery wall for the spare bedroom once.

I scoured the internet for the exact prints I wanted – ones that really stood out to me.

Before stopping in my tracks and wondering if they needed a colour theme.

I switched out a few that didn’t ‘go’ with the rest, but then stopped to think that they should all be a similar style – retro and modern, feminine and bold – was it too all over the shop?

So then I decided to hit Pinterest.

And suddenly thought about whether to get all the same frames, all different or just slightly co-ordinated.

After probably about 5 hours of these mental gymnastics, I gave up, exhausted at the prospect of creating a gallery wall and deciding it wasn’t really going to work in that room any way.

This is just one example of how we overthink ourselves into a mess.

Ever sent a friend a text that didn’t come out quite how you wanted it to and then spent several hours replaying various different scenarios of their reaction in your head?

It’s such a waste of time and energy that could better be served doing the DAMN THING INSTEAD.

What we can do differently

Let’s do a little bit of work around trusting our gut some more.

Often enough we cycle back to the initial reaction, thought, feeling or idea anyway so why not practise going with that and seeing what happens?

After enough times of our gut reaction and action proving to be the right one, our brain will start to learn that it’s OK to trust the gut and go with the flow.

three | Perfectionists cannot relax

I mean, sure, 6 hours a day playing Animal Crossing SOUNDS relaxing, until you realise you’re obsessing over having your island totally in order and the thought of not digging one of those holes leaves you awake at night.

A perfectionists to do list is never done.

There are 24 hours in a day and a perfectionist could fill those with their never ending to do list.

Because nothing is ever enough.

I remember when I got married and I was dreaming up my wedding dress. I pored over Pinterest (recurring theme, maybe Pinterest is the problem?) and when it came to finally trying it on, I felt incredible and so excited for my ‘big day’.

But then when I got home I returned to Pinterest. Maybe the sleeves could’ve been a different style. Was that the colour I REALLY wanted? Could I ask the dressmaker to add another layer of tulle to get the exact amount of pouffe I needed?

It’s the same with work! I’m forever striving to make Grow & Glow the best community it can be so I’m constantly coming up with new idea after new idea when really, what we have at the foundations is bloody brilliant as it is!

But there I am, sat at my desk for 4 hours without blinking, making sodding graphics on Canva, AGAIN.

What can we do differently

Break. Shit. Down.

This is why I’ll forever extoll the brilliance that is Chloe Slade and her ‘Vibe and Flow’ journal.

Each day I fill out the 3 things I absolutely must achieve PLUS some of the ‘high vibe’ things I’d like to do too so that once those 3 things are done, I make sure to switch my attention to my ‘for fun’ things so I am NOT sat at my desk indefinitely.

It’s also good to have people around you that get it. A husband that’ll ask if you want to take a break and go for a walk or team mates who’ll tell you that you’ve done LOADS today and it’s OK to switch off for the evening.

four | Perfectionists are ‘black and white’ thinkers

People are either right or wrong. Good or bad. The work you do is either brilliant or crap. Your to do list is either overwhelming or complete.

The absolutes in which we often think can be super detrimental to our mental state because we don’t allow forgiveness or grace.

Perfectionists seek perfection and anything less than that is bloody useless.

And it. is. exhausting.

Relationships, careers, self-image and self-care can be TOUGH for perfectionists – they’ve been bloody difficult for me at times.

Y’know like there’s no point in having a bath, exfoliating and washing my hair tonight because I STILL won’t look like Jessica Simpson, circa Newlyweds, so what’s the point?

Or I will fail if I start this business venture because it won’t be the new Apple and I’ll not be the next Steve Jobs, so what’s the point?

This thinking is obviously linked to those bleeding high standards too!

What we can do differently

Here’s that ‘chill the fuck out’ term again but honestly…

We need to learn about grace.

It was the single biggest lesson I learned in 2019. To have grace.

To accept that if people have made mistakes, they’re not bad or wrong.

To give myself grace if I fuck up – it doesn’t mean I’m the worst person.

five | Perfectionists don’t like asking for help

Because…duh-duh-duhhhh people might realise we’re not actually perfect!

Seriously though, asking for help feels impossible. It feels like Audrina trying to make Justin Bobby commit – it’s a strain.

We believe that if we ask for help, we’re admitting we’re lesser than and that we don’t know it all.

This can lead to us being held back in lots of endeavours because we couldn’t figure out our next steps on our own but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to ask for guidance.

Ever gotten defensive when someone tries to help, and actually been quite rude, all because you didn’t want to admit you just didn’t know? SAME.

Or ever let the ball drop at home because you’re trying to juggle life, business, friendships, hobbies, drinking all that water and avoiding the coffee headaches but freak the FUCK out when the people around you ask what they can do to lighten your load or even try and voluntarily take things off your plate?

She says as she’s writing a blog post at 7pm, so engrossed that she knows it won’t be done for an hour but it’s her turn to cook dinner and clean up from lunch and snaps when her husband asks if he could just cook dinner…

What we can do differently

Seek out a mentor you trust.

Someone that you look up to but can feel vulnerable with. Someone you know isn’t judging you or doesn’t believe they’re better than you.

It could be a therapist, a coach, a pal or a colleague but identify them and then don’t be afraid to turn to them when you need it.

And also loosen up around your family. If they love you, they’re asking to help because they want to take care of you NOT because they’re judging you for your ineptitude so let your bloody husband cook dinner because he’s frigging better at pasta anyway.

six | Perfectionists procrastinate

Why start that hobby if you’re not going to be a pro at it? Why create content if it’s not going to go viral? Why put yourself out there if the reception will be tepid to warm at best?

We put off trying new things, going for goals, being creative or putting ourselves out there because we’re afraid of things not being perfect right away.

It’s not that we shy away from hard work. Or appreciate steps need to take place to achieve success, it’s just all of that sounds fucken EXHAUSTING.

What we can do differently

I learned about burning my bullshit from the wonderful Sophie French.

Sophie taught me that I have a huge evidence bank of all the things that have gone right for me and that every time I let a thought of stalling to do the next thing creep in, I should refer back to this evidence bank and ‘burn the bullshit’ around it not working out perfectly.

So get yourself an evidence bank and abundantly burn bullshit every time you want to procrastinate from doing something!

seven | Perfectionists are self-critical

We often think that ‘being hard on ourselves’ can increase productivity and motivation but let’s all be honest – we know it does the opposite.

But this is the ultimate way perfectionists self-sabotage and is linked to increased depression, anxiety and shame.

When we tell ourselves we’re lazy for not working 16 hours a day. Or that we’re never going to ‘make it’ if the 100 things on our to-do list doesn’t get done – this doesn’t motivate us to be better (more perfect) it does the opposite!

What we can do differently

Compassion. Grace.

Being kind to ourselves when we screw up. Taking a break when we feel things are going wrong. Understanding that we’re trying and that trying is bloody great.

All of these assurances help keep us motivated, happier and shame free – so shall we try THAT once in a while?

How do you, as a perfectionist, self-sabotage? Or what’s it like to NOT be a perfectionist? I can only imagine…

 

This is the second part in my, ‘What I’ve Learned From Therapy’ series, the first part you can read here.

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my first session began with two questions from my therapist, who for ease of this series, we’ll call L;

Vicky, why are you here and why today?

Those two simple questions opened up a gate to a wave of emotion, feeling and pent up thoughts I’d had and answering was easy.

It’s a funny one – knowing when therapy is needed. Often choosing to start therapy can be out of your hands if you go the NHS route and have to join a long waiting list. Although, it’s always worth speaking to your GP or Googling your local Talking Therapies services because you may find that the waiting list isn’t as long as you fear!

Fortunately, I’d looked over my finances and after years of telling myself I ‘couldn’t afford it’, I realised that if I’d just cut back on a few online shopping orders, had 2 less Deliveroos a month and took the 159 home from Oxford Circus rather than an Uber every time, I could afford it.

Part of me believes that the ‘can’t afford it’ excuse was exactly that – an excuse – because previously I wasn’t totally ready to open up and dig deep into what was going on inside.

So what exactly prompted me to finally bite the bullet and go, I’m not exactly sure of but I believe I was there because the deaths of my mum and dad in the last few years had devastated me. Leaving me feeling lost, abandoned and with relationships unresolved.

Furthermore, I was depressed and my anxiety was getting worse with each passing month.

I had a relationship to grow. A business to run and a sense of self that was suffering – it was the right time.

My ‘why today’ was that it was 9 months until I was getting married and I didn’t want to enter an impending phase of life with the same feelings, moods, hurt and attitude that had hung around for as long as I can remember.

It was that question that hit me the hardest. I had to take a little while to pin point exactly why it meant so much to start then and there.

I realised that I was entering into a new phase of life without being completely happy or resolved about the phase before. I didn’t want old issues, old pain and old me to hold me back from what I was trying to become.

The first thing L said after I seemingly rambled for more than half of the session was, ‘any one would feel depressed or struggle with the weight of what you’ve just expressed.’

Immediately I felt heard, seen and safe.

I wasn’t dismissed. I wasn’t questioned. I wasn’t judged. It was accepted.

I cried for the rest of the session. Having an outsider just accept what I was saying. Who didn’t try to ‘fix’ it. Who didn’t minimise. That feeling is indescribable.

By the end of the session we had broken down what we’d like to cover in our upcoming sessions. Grief. My relationship with my parents. My relationship with my sister. My upbringing. My attitude to life. And how I viewed myself.

L asked me how often I’d like to come and that she’d be happy to see my weekly, fortnightly or monthly – my choice. I asked if it would be OK to come weekly and then to see how we got on.

Our early sessions mostly covered my childhood and my parents and whilst I’m not going into the ins and outs of my ‘issues’, I’d like to share some of the revelations and practical changes that have come about since having therapy, starting with ‘Grace and Forgiveness’.

And I want to share about what I learned about that, next time.

 

This is the second part in my, ‘What I’ve Learned From Therapy’ series, the first part you can read here.

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that my first session began with two questions from my therapist, who for ease of this series, we’ll call L;

Vicky, why are you here and why today?

Those two simple questions opened up a gate to a wave of emotion, feeling and pent up thoughts I’d had and answering was easy.

It’s a funny one – knowing when therapy is needed. Often choosing to start therapy can be out of your hands if you go the NHS route and have to join a long waiting list. Although, it’s always worth speaking to your GP or Googling your local Talking Therapies services because you may find that the waiting list isn’t as long as you fear!

Fortunately, I’d looked over my finances and after years of telling myself I ‘couldn’t afford it’, I realised that if I’d just cut back on a few online shopping orders, had 2 less Deliveroos a month and took the 159 home from Oxford Circus rather than an Uber every time, I could afford it.

Part of me believes that the ‘can’t afford it’ excuse was exactly that – an excuse – because previously I wasn’t totally ready to open up and dig deep into what was going on inside.

So what exactly prompted me to finally bite the bullet and go, I’m not exactly sure of but I believe I was there because the deaths of my mum and dad in the last few years had devastated me. Leaving me feeling lost, abandoned and with relationships unresolved.

Furthermore, I was depressed and my anxiety was getting worse with each passing month.

I had a relationship to grow. A business to run and a sense of self that was suffering – it was the right time.

My ‘why today’ was that it was 9 months until I was getting married and I didn’t want to enter an impending phase of life with the same feelings, moods, hurt and attitude that had hung around for as long as I can remember.

It was that question that hit me the hardest. I had to take a little while to pin point exactly why it meant so much to start then and there.

I realised that I was entering into a new phase of life without being completely happy or resolved about the phase before. I didn’t want old issues, old pain and old me to hold me back from what I was trying to become.

The first thing L said after I seemingly rambled for more than half of the session was, ‘any one would feel depressed or struggle with the weight of what you’ve just expressed.’

Immediately I felt heard, seen and safe.

I wasn’t dismissed. I wasn’t questioned. I wasn’t judged. It was accepted.

I cried for the rest of the session. Having an outsider just accept what I was saying. Who didn’t try to ‘fix’ it. Who didn’t minimise. That feeling is indescribable.

By the end of the session we had broken down what we’d like to cover in our upcoming sessions. Grief. My relationship with my parents. My relationship with my sister. My upbringing. My attitude to life. And how I viewed myself.

L asked me how often I’d like to come and that she’d be happy to see my weekly, fortnightly or monthly – my choice. I asked if it would be OK to come weekly and then to see how we got on.

Our early sessions mostly covered my childhood and my parents and whilst I’m not going into the ins and outs of my ‘issues’, I’d like to share some of the revelations and practical changes that have come about since having therapy, starting with ‘Grace and Forgiveness’.

And I want to share about what I learned about that, next time.

 
getting out of debt
This post contains affiliate/referral links

Before we even kick off, I just want to say that I’m not a financial advisor AT ALL – I’m just sharing my personal experience and what helped me. If you want formal advice, try the charity Step Change.

Debt is still such a dirty word, isn’t it? One that people really struggle to utter.

Often though, speaking about debt freely helps to lessen the shame you can often feel for having the proverbial monkey on your back.

I’ve been in debt since I was 18, only extricating myself at 33 (student loans don’t count, k?).

And I’ve had every debt going – payday loan, credit card, overdraft, store card, car on finance – any way I could get money or an object of desire that I didn’t have, I applied for.

Debt had been a burden but keeping it secret had been the hardest cross to bear. So here’s my debt story – how it happened and how I turned it around…

getting out of debt

I needed everything, now

I got my first credit card at 18. My friend and I had wanted to go to New York for New Years because we thought it would be a really fun thing to do – except I didn’t have a job or any way to pay for my trip.

So I applied for an ‘Egg’ credit card account and was accepted for £1500 instantly and moments later, I strolled into a travel agent and paid for the holiday, thinking to myself that I’d get a job and pay it off eventually.

This was followed by getting a car on finance a year or so later and a further credit card 6 months later when I was struggling to pay off the car.

I was getting into debt to help pay for debt.

When I went to uni at 23, I was excited to learn I could get an interest free overdraft and asked Barclays to give me the most they possibly could.

Suddenly I owed somewhere near £7,000.

The worst part was how irresponsible I was with paying it back.

Every time I earned money from work, one part of my brain told me to pay my debts back and the other part told me YOLO and to spend it on things I know now to be unnecessary – clothes, holidays, drinking, takeaways.

I genuinely never thought it would catch up with me.

Until it did.

The lowest point

It’s a tough one between having to answer the door to a debt collector after defaulting on my repayment plan from a credit card that had already been sent to a debt agency or getting a job at a debt collection agency and realising I was phoning myself to discuss an overdue gym payment.

Part of the severe depression I was suffering from my late teens to mid twenties was how self destructive I became when it came to getting myself in financial trouble.

I believed that spending was my release from the hurt I was feeling. That I could spend my way to happiness – I know now, obviously, that’s not the case.

The turning point

I had a big wake up call from not bothering to chip away at what I owed and the belief that I’d sort it out by some sort of miracle.

As a teacher, I began earning more comfortably. Rather than obliterate debts where possible though, I just chipped away as and when but it wasn’t really getting anywhere.

When I was deciding whether to leave teaching and try to ‘make it’ as a full time blogger, the debts I had remaining (2 credit cards and an overdraft) were what held me back – I knew I couldn’t default again.

I also had met Ben and began to heal my mental health – with this came a view into the future. One where I wanted us to be comfortable and not held back by my debt.

At this point I realised that if I was to go full time with blogging and enter into a marriage with the least amount of baggage as possible, I’d have to work out a way out of debt.

How I got myself out

The first thing I did, which I had avoided for over 10 years was to face up to it.

Part of the reason my debt had escalated was because I just refused to address it. Ignoring it had made it worse.

I’d often go to bed and force myself to dream of a way I’d win £5k – the lottery, bingo with my Mum, a lucky trip to Vegas – all because it was weighing on me but I wasn’t willing to properly address it.

So I looked at my credit cards and overdraft and wrote down how much each had outstanding.

I then signed up to ClearScore – an app that details how your overall credit is looking – what you are doing well and what you are doing poorly.

When I saw that I only had 4 ‘bad’ marks and 5 ‘good’, I was immediately bolstered.

Genuinely feeling like the biggest failure in the world, when it came to money, made me continually tell myself that I was a lost cause and because there was no hope, there was no point in trying.

Seeing that it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, I realised that I had been blowing my debt up in my head to be insurmountable and impossible – this app gave me hope.

The app also ‘coaches’ you with what to do. Things like avoiding late payments and not going over limits were the easiest things to improve.

I was on a roll.

I decided to go through every single payment I had going out and either cancel it or change the date to payday – all of these direct debits going out at random times had been so chaotic and hard to keep track of. Just becoming aware of exactly what was going out and when helped me face it.

I also decided that rather than use my next blogging invoice towards a holiday, ASOS order or Tuesday night Deliveroo, to put a chunk of it towards all of my accounts to stop me from going over the limit.

Going freelance helped, oddly, too. I was worried that I’d be living invoice to invoice and struggling compared to the steady teaching pay check I had but actually, getting paid in dribs and drabs suited me better.

Previously, I’d get paid my salary, pay all my bills and think, ‘I’ve only got £400 left, I’d much rather go out or buy something than take a chunk out of my debt.’

I also saw it as getting paid for doing hard work means the money needs to go to treating myself. But treating myself had gotten me into the mess!

Getting paid irregularly was one of the things that improved my relationship with money – it was money I suddenly enjoyed making and saw as totally precious – not to be frittered away.

Another huge help was meeting Chloe Slade from Vibe + Flow and learning about money mindset from her. My whole attitude towards money – the flow, abundance and the value was revolutionised.

Then, I read Profit First (affiliate link) – a book about paying yourself when you run a business/are freelance. It was a system that made sense to me and aligned with the flow of money I had begun to experience.

When implementing the Profit First system, I worked out how much all of my life and business expenses were, how much I’d need to save for tax, how much I’d pay myself to live on and not feel restricted and how much I could safely put towards my debt without it affecting my new positive mindset.

Rather than pressure myself to get out of debt in a day, I told myself that I’d lived with a variety of debt since 18, I could take it in my own time. So I set myself the target of paying off one debt – credit card or overdraft – per quarter.

Taking the pressure off, whilst being fully aware of my finances was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Suddenly and for the first time, I was actually excited to pay off debt rather than see it as money I’d rather spend elsewhere.

Slowly but surely each account was paid in full and settled and here we are today!

I do still pay a student loan but when I decided to go to uni as a young adult I decided to see it as an ‘education tax’ – a tax I’d pay forever for the privilege of getting a uni place – rather than as a ‘loan’ that had to be repaid instantly or feared.

Today, I have one default left on my credit report from a few years ago but once that has disappeared, I’ll have good credit for the first time in my life.

I can safely say that being in debt and getting myself out has been a huge struggle that I’d rather not have – but seeing the positive side, I’m glad I now understand money and am being responsible, even if it took me to my early thirties!

If you’re struggling with debt, my top tips are;

  • Face up to it – work out what you owe
  • Get your finances in order – payments on dates that you’ll recognise, cancel any pointless direct debits that you don’t need
  • Cut back on unnecessary spending for a while
  • Get ClearScore or Experian to keep track of what’s happening with each debt
  • Don’t pressure yourself to pay it off immediately – set realistic goals for getting rid of it
  • Switch to a bank like Starling (referral) or Monzo where your spending is itemised and you can have ‘pots’ for savings so you can round up your spending or move money into a ‘Debt’ pot more easily

I hope by reading this you’ll realise you’re not alone if you’re struggling with your finances and I do wish that this will show you you’re not a lost cause and it is surmountable.

I think we should all be a lot more open when discussing finances because often the shame of debt is what compounds it.

My comments are off for now but if you’d like to carry on this conversation, I’d be happy to chat over on Instagram!

 
getting out of debt
This post contains affiliate/referral links

Before we even kick off, I just want to say that I’m not a financial advisor AT ALL – I’m just sharing my personal experience and what helped me. If you want formal advice, try the charity Step Change.

Debt is still such a dirty word, isn’t it? One that people really struggle to utter.

Often though, speaking about debt freely helps to lessen the shame you can often feel for having the proverbial monkey on your back.

I’ve been in debt since I was 18, only extricating myself at 33 (student loans don’t count, k?).

And I’ve had every debt going – payday loan, credit card, overdraft, store card, car on finance – any way I could get money or an object of desire that I didn’t have, I applied for.

Debt had been a burden but keeping it secret had been the hardest cross to bear. So here’s my debt story – how it happened and how I turned it around…

getting out of debt

I needed everything, now

I got my first credit card at 18. My friend and I had wanted to go to New York for New Years because we thought it would be a really fun thing to do – except I didn’t have a job or any way to pay for my trip.

So I applied for an ‘Egg’ credit card account and was accepted for £1500 instantly and moments later, I strolled into a travel agent and paid for the holiday, thinking to myself that I’d get a job and pay it off eventually.

This was followed by getting a car on finance a year or so later and a further credit card 6 months later when I was struggling to pay off the car.

I was getting into debt to help pay for debt.

When I went to uni at 23, I was excited to learn I could get an interest free overdraft and asked Barclays to give me the most they possibly could.

Suddenly I owed somewhere near £7,000.

The worst part was how irresponsible I was with paying it back.

Every time I earned money from work, one part of my brain told me to pay my debts back and the other part told me YOLO and to spend it on things I know now to be unnecessary – clothes, holidays, drinking, takeaways.

I genuinely never thought it would catch up with me.

Until it did.

The lowest point

It’s a tough one between having to answer the door to a debt collector after defaulting on my repayment plan from a credit card that had already been sent to a debt agency or getting a job at a debt collection agency and realising I was phoning myself to discuss an overdue gym payment.

Part of the severe depression I was suffering from my late teens to mid twenties was how self destructive I became when it came to getting myself in financial trouble.

I believed that spending was my release from the hurt I was feeling. That I could spend my way to happiness – I know now, obviously, that’s not the case.

The turning point

I had a big wake up call from not bothering to chip away at what I owed and the belief that I’d sort it out by some sort of miracle.

As a teacher, I began earning more comfortably. Rather than obliterate debts where possible though, I just chipped away as and when but it wasn’t really getting anywhere.

When I was deciding whether to leave teaching and try to ‘make it’ as a full time blogger, the debts I had remaining (2 credit cards and an overdraft) were what held me back – I knew I couldn’t default again.

I also had met Ben and began to heal my mental health – with this came a view into the future. One where I wanted us to be comfortable and not held back by my debt.

At this point I realised that if I was to go full time with blogging and enter into a marriage with the least amount of baggage as possible, I’d have to work out a way out of debt.

How I got myself out

The first thing I did, which I had avoided for over 10 years was to face up to it.

Part of the reason my debt had escalated was because I just refused to address it. Ignoring it had made it worse.

I’d often go to bed and force myself to dream of a way I’d win £5k – the lottery, bingo with my Mum, a lucky trip to Vegas – all because it was weighing on me but I wasn’t willing to properly address it.

So I looked at my credit cards and overdraft and wrote down how much each had outstanding.

I then signed up to ClearScore – an app that details how your overall credit is looking – what you are doing well and what you are doing poorly.

When I saw that I only had 4 ‘bad’ marks and 5 ‘good’, I was immediately bolstered.

Genuinely feeling like the biggest failure in the world, when it came to money, made me continually tell myself that I was a lost cause and because there was no hope, there was no point in trying.

Seeing that it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, I realised that I had been blowing my debt up in my head to be insurmountable and impossible – this app gave me hope.

The app also ‘coaches’ you with what to do. Things like avoiding late payments and not going over limits were the easiest things to improve.

I was on a roll.

I decided to go through every single payment I had going out and either cancel it or change the date to payday – all of these direct debits going out at random times had been so chaotic and hard to keep track of. Just becoming aware of exactly what was going out and when helped me face it.

I also decided that rather than use my next blogging invoice towards a holiday, ASOS order or Tuesday night Deliveroo, to put a chunk of it towards all of my accounts to stop me from going over the limit.

Going freelance helped, oddly, too. I was worried that I’d be living invoice to invoice and struggling compared to the steady teaching pay check I had but actually, getting paid in dribs and drabs suited me better.

Previously, I’d get paid my salary, pay all my bills and think, ‘I’ve only got £400 left, I’d much rather go out or buy something than take a chunk out of my debt.’

I also saw it as getting paid for doing hard work means the money needs to go to treating myself. But treating myself had gotten me into the mess!

Getting paid irregularly was one of the things that improved my relationship with money – it was money I suddenly enjoyed making and saw as totally precious – not to be frittered away.

Another huge help was meeting Chloe Slade from Vibe + Flow and learning about money mindset from her. My whole attitude towards money – the flow, abundance and the value was revolutionised.

Then, I read Profit First (affiliate link) – a book about paying yourself when you run a business/are freelance. It was a system that made sense to me and aligned with the flow of money I had begun to experience.

When implementing the Profit First system, I worked out how much all of my life and business expenses were, how much I’d need to save for tax, how much I’d pay myself to live on and not feel restricted and how much I could safely put towards my debt without it affecting my new positive mindset.

Rather than pressure myself to get out of debt in a day, I told myself that I’d lived with a variety of debt since 18, I could take it in my own time. So I set myself the target of paying off one debt – credit card or overdraft – per quarter.

Taking the pressure off, whilst being fully aware of my finances was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Suddenly and for the first time, I was actually excited to pay off debt rather than see it as money I’d rather spend elsewhere.

Slowly but surely each account was paid in full and settled and here we are today!

I do still pay a student loan but when I decided to go to uni as a young adult I decided to see it as an ‘education tax’ – a tax I’d pay forever for the privilege of getting a uni place – rather than as a ‘loan’ that had to be repaid instantly or feared.

Today, I have one default left on my credit report from a few years ago but once that has disappeared, I’ll have good credit for the first time in my life.

I can safely say that being in debt and getting myself out has been a huge struggle that I’d rather not have – but seeing the positive side, I’m glad I now understand money and am being responsible, even if it took me to my early thirties!

If you’re struggling with debt, my top tips are;

  • Face up to it – work out what you owe
  • Get your finances in order – payments on dates that you’ll recognise, cancel any pointless direct debits that you don’t need
  • Cut back on unnecessary spending for a while
  • Get ClearScore or Experian to keep track of what’s happening with each debt
  • Don’t pressure yourself to pay it off immediately – set realistic goals for getting rid of it
  • Switch to a bank like Starling (referral) or Monzo where your spending is itemised and you can have ‘pots’ for savings so you can round up your spending or move money into a ‘Debt’ pot more easily

I hope by reading this you’ll realise you’re not alone if you’re struggling with your finances and I do wish that this will show you you’re not a lost cause and it is surmountable.

I think we should all be a lot more open when discussing finances because often the shame of debt is what compounds it.

My comments are off for now but if you’d like to carry on this conversation, I’d be happy to chat over on Instagram!

 
starting therapy

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I started therapy in early 2019 and have regularly discussed my sessions on my Stories.

Not insofar as to spill all of the secrets and the finer details of each session but more to normalise going to therapy for anyone out there feeling like it might not be for them.

Each time I speak about my therapy experience, I have tons of questions, people asking for advice and an interest in learning more. So I’ve decided to start a lil series here on the blog!

I’m being called to write more about what I’m learning about being human, being a woman and navigating life as a thirty-something, married, countryside dweller – a person I wouldn’t have recognised even 5 years ago, so this series excites me to write.

If you’re interested in this journey, I hope this will be for you.

I’m not sure what shape or form this series will take, all I know is that I’ll be writing from the heart – saying bollocks to SEO, paying no mind to what people may think and just rambling out my honest experience.

The main themes of my therapy so far have been around; forgiveness, learning about grace, reacting to others around me, unpacking my childhood, my relationship with my self and my body and preparing for marriage – losing baggage and learning to communicate.

These are some of the things I’ll share.

But before we kick off with a big ol’ life lesson, perhaps it might be best to give a bit of background into why I made the decision to start therapy, how I found my therapist and what our first session was like – as these are the questions I get asked the most!

Are you coming with me?

Why I started therapy

I’ve written many a post on this blog about my mental health journey – in fact, do a lil search of ‘mental health’ in the tags or ‘vix meldrew mental health’ on Google and you’ll learn lots about my experience so far.

I’d gotten to the point, after moving in with Ben, leaving teaching and losing my Dad where I realised that the medication I was taking to stabilise my moods and help me get up every morning wasn’t enough on its own to really get to the core of what was going on with me.

Ben and I would rarely argue but when we would bicker or have a discussion, I angered quickly. I didn’t like being that way. I realised, as we were engaged, that I didn’t want to enter our marriage with the baggage I’d carried from the past.

Suddenly on the horizon was a life I never could’ve dared to imagine. A stable, happy relationship with an amazing person, my own business growing from strength to strength and a life in the country being mooted – and I didn’t want to enter this life with a version of me that wasn’t ready.

How I found my therapist

On one particularly dark day in our old flat, I woke up late, around 11am and I looked around our bedroom – I felt physically unable to get up. Work was overwhelming me, I felt like crap and everything in life just felt too big.

My back was glued to the mattress, my face was fixed into a grimace. I cried. How many more mornings could I have like this? I didn’t feel like this feeling represented everything I had to get up for.

So I picked up my phone and Googled, ‘Therapists Lambeth’.

Apprehensively, I scrolled the list of registered therapists near me and began to leave voicemails…

‘Hi, my name is Vicky, I live near Brixton, I found you via Google and am interested in discussing therapy sessions with you, could you please call me back so we can discuss further?’

It felt like calling a plumber, except Rodney with the spanner coming to fix my sink doesn’t want to hear about my relationship with my parents.

And then on one phone call, my now therapist answered.

She had a kind, warm voice and addressed me by my name. She asked about me – where I lived, what I did for work and why I reached out.

I told her I’d recently lost my Dad and was about to get married and that I wanted someone to talk to about everything I was feeling and working through before I started my new life.

She told me to come to her house for an initial session and if we clicked we could continue. I said I’d be there tomorrow.

And because, at the time, I’d only been full time blogging for a little while and not exactly rolling in it, she said she offered discounted rates for people who were students, on a low income or self employed.

But by then, the excuse I always gave myself of, ‘I can’t afford therapy’, when I’d happily wank £30 a week on Deliveroo wasn’t really standing up any more any way.

The first session

My therapist’s house was a short bus journey from our old flat in Streatham Hill and I remember shitting myself, the entire journey there.

What would I say? What if she judged me? What will she ask? What if she doesn’t like me?

The nerves almost got the best of me but I found my feet treading the pavements closer and closer to her house.

When I plucked up the courage to ring the doorbell, she greeted me warmly, welcomed me in and offered me a tea or water.

She led me upstairs to her therapy room and showed me to a chair sat in front of hers.

Once settled, she asked me two questions…

‘So Vicky, why are you here and why today?’

The answer to that wasn’t so simple. And it has been dissected, discussed, cried over, pored over, screamed over and whispered over in every session since.

I’ll share more about my why and why now, next time.

 
starting therapy

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I started therapy in early 2019 and have regularly discussed my sessions on my Stories.

Not insofar as to spill all of the secrets and the finer details of each session but more to normalise going to therapy for anyone out there feeling like it might not be for them.

Each time I speak about my therapy experience, I have tons of questions, people asking for advice and an interest in learning more. So I’ve decided to start a lil series here on the blog!

I’m being called to write more about what I’m learning about being human, being a woman and navigating life as a thirty-something, married, countryside dweller – a person I wouldn’t have recognised even 5 years ago, so this series excites me to write.

If you’re interested in this journey, I hope this will be for you.

I’m not sure what shape or form this series will take, all I know is that I’ll be writing from the heart – saying bollocks to SEO, paying no mind to what people may think and just rambling out my honest experience.

The main themes of my therapy so far have been around; forgiveness, learning about grace, reacting to others around me, unpacking my childhood, my relationship with my self and my body and preparing for marriage – losing baggage and learning to communicate.

These are some of the things I’ll share.

But before we kick off with a big ol’ life lesson, perhaps it might be best to give a bit of background into why I made the decision to start therapy, how I found my therapist and what our first session was like – as these are the questions I get asked the most!

Are you coming with me?

Why I started therapy

I’ve written many a post on this blog about my mental health journey – in fact, do a lil search of ‘mental health’ in the tags or ‘vix meldrew mental health’ on Google and you’ll learn lots about my experience so far.

I’d gotten to the point, after moving in with Ben, leaving teaching and losing my Dad where I realised that the medication I was taking to stabilise my moods and help me get up every morning wasn’t enough on its own to really get to the core of what was going on with me.

Ben and I would rarely argue but when we would bicker or have a discussion, I angered quickly. I didn’t like being that way. I realised, as we were engaged, that I didn’t want to enter our marriage with the baggage I’d carried from the past.

Suddenly on the horizon was a life I never could’ve dared to imagine. A stable, happy relationship with an amazing person, my own business growing from strength to strength and a life in the country being mooted – and I didn’t want to enter this life with a version of me that wasn’t ready.

How I found my therapist

On one particularly dark day in our old flat, I woke up late, around 11am and I looked around our bedroom – I felt physically unable to get up. Work was overwhelming me, I felt like crap and everything in life just felt too big.

My back was glued to the mattress, my face was fixed into a grimace. I cried. How many more mornings could I have like this? I didn’t feel like this feeling represented everything I had to get up for.

So I picked up my phone and Googled, ‘Therapists Lambeth’.

Apprehensively, I scrolled the list of registered therapists near me and began to leave voicemails…

‘Hi, my name is Vicky, I live near Brixton, I found you via Google and am interested in discussing therapy sessions with you, could you please call me back so we can discuss further?’

It felt like calling a plumber, except Rodney with the spanner coming to fix my sink doesn’t want to hear about my relationship with my parents.

And then on one phone call, my now therapist answered.

She had a kind, warm voice and addressed me by my name. She asked about me – where I lived, what I did for work and why I reached out.

I told her I’d recently lost my Dad and was about to get married and that I wanted someone to talk to about everything I was feeling and working through before I started my new life.

She told me to come to her house for an initial session and if we clicked we could continue. I said I’d be there tomorrow.

And because, at the time, I’d only been full time blogging for a little while and not exactly rolling in it, she said she offered discounted rates for people who were students, on a low income or self employed.

But by then, the excuse I always gave myself of, ‘I can’t afford therapy’, when I’d happily wank £30 a week on Deliveroo wasn’t really standing up any more any way.

The first session

My therapist’s house was a short bus journey from our old flat in Streatham Hill and I remember shitting myself, the entire journey there.

What would I say? What if she judged me? What will she ask? What if she doesn’t like me?

The nerves almost got the best of me but I found my feet treading the pavements closer and closer to her house.

When I plucked up the courage to ring the doorbell, she greeted me warmly, welcomed me in and offered me a tea or water.

She led me upstairs to her therapy room and showed me to a chair sat in front of hers.

Once settled, she asked me two questions…

‘So Vicky, why are you here and why today?’

The answer to that wasn’t so simple. And it has been dissected, discussed, cried over, pored over, screamed over and whispered over in every session since.

I’ll share more about my why and why now, next time.