Before you can make anyone else happy you need to make sure you are. It’s important to look after your own needs so you have the energy for everyone else’s.

1. Take some time out just for you

Life is so busy these days juggling work, children, family, a social life, kids taxi service, IMG_1964running a home etc. It’s too easy to let life rush by constantly rushing from one place to another feeling stressed and tired and never taking a minute to stop and breathe. As a busy working mum, everyone else’s needs always have to come first but taking a little time out each day for yourself is vital to your health, well being & happiness. After all, if you’re not happy & healthy you’re not giving your best to anyone else either. It doesn’t have to be big things, who has time for that? But just a little time out to read a chapter of a book, watch your favourite soap, take a relaxing bath, drink a chilled glass of wine or go for a short walk is sometimes the perfect tonic to recharge your batteries.

‘Sometimes you need to be alone in order to reflect on life. Take time out to take care of yourself. You deserve it!’

2. De clutter & get organised

IMG_1961Cluttered home gives you a cluttered mind! There’s nothing better than having a big clear out of old clothes, toys, shoes etc to feel like a weight has been lifted. I often have a de clutter at the start of a new year ‘New year new start’ and again at the end of summer when the new school term starts. I throw out old useless things & give as much as I can to charity. That way you get a clearer house & mind & charity shops get a good donation so everyone wins.

‘Clutter in your physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit’

3. You are what you eat

At the start of a new year I like to give my eating habits an overhaul after the indulgence of the festive season. By the end of December I always feel very sluggish and in need of a IMG_1962health kick. Lots of fruits, vegetables & drinking lots of water helps flush out the system and instantly gives you more energy. There are hundreds of faddy diets but for me the old saying eat less, move more is so true plus putting healthier things in my body & cutting out ‘beige food’.

‘You are what you eat so don’t be cheap, easy or fake’

4. Everything in moderation

Easy to say but I’ve not been taking this advice too well over these past couple of IMG_1780months!!! It’s cold and miserable outside so a lovely glass of vino definitely cheers us ladies up! However, it’s now time to have a bit of a detox to prepare for my imminent holiday. I believe everything in moderation is the best way & I’ll still be enjoying the odd glass at the weekend if I’m out but a few glasses less during the week & drinking much more water is certainly the way forward.

‘Everything in moderation, with occasional excess’

5. Get your body moving

I’ve always exercised but I definitely have periods of time when I’m not as disciplined IMG_1955and my fitness regime lapses a little. But when I get myself moving again I always feel so much better & have so much more energy. My new favourite class is Pilates. I still like to do cardio classes or go for a run but my Wednesday morning Pilates class is great for stretching out your body in a safe controlled way and its brilliant for switching off mentally too which is great for stress relief.

‘Moving your body is a form of self care. It’s not selfish, it’s essential’

6. If you look your best you feel your best

IMG_1137I love throwing my jeans on like the next person & it’s certainly the first thing I grab for the school run in the morning. I also have to wear exercise clothes for my job as a dance teacher. But, at any other time I love to dress up! Be it for a lunch date with friends, a date night with your partner or an evening at the theatre I think it’s so important to make an effort to dress up and look your best. The minute I’m dressed up I feel better about myself and more in control ready to take on the world. I’m a dress lover and I’m always drawn to dresses when I’m shopping for clothes. Throw on a pair of killer heels and the outfit is complete, flats make me feel frumpy! Dressing up gives me a bit more confidence and lifts my mood without a doubt.

‘If you look good you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good’

7. Cutting toxic people out of your life

This is an interesting one & definitely something that I’ve had to do quite recently after IMG_1965being very hurt & used by a ‘so called’ friend. It was heartbreaking at the time but very soon afterwards I realised how much better my life was without them in it & I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Life is way too short to put up with toxic people, walk away & be happy.

‘Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take the knife, cut the cord & set themselves free from the fools’.

8. Spend time with those you love

Nothing makes me happier than days with my family. Life is so fast and busy for IMG_1966everyone these days but it’s so important to put time aside just for family days. With electronics and social media taking over lives it’s often better to get out of the house & it’s not always the huge events that make the good memories. Just going for a walk and talking for hours or a day at the coast can be the moments that you treasure the most.

‘Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things’.

9. If your job makes you unhappy do something about it now!

We only get one life and we spend a lot of our life working so if you’re in an unhappy IMG_1967place at work, now is the time to do something about it. I’ve had many friends change careers mid life and are much happier for doing it.

‘We must accept the end of something in order to begin to build something new’

10. Laugh more

IMG_1963When was the last time you really laughed so hard that tears streamed down your face? When you’re busy with work, running a home, being a kids taxi service, taking care of pets & trying to be everything to everybody it’s easy to forget to take time out to have fun! Watch a funny movie, binge watch your favourite TV comedy series, go out with fun friends or a night with your partner to relax & see the fun in things like you used to before ‘adulting’ got in the way!!!!!

‘Life is better when you’re laughing’

11. Stop comparing yourself to others

In a world that revolves around social media we see everyone’s lives through a haze of perfect photographs with everyone living their most amazing life. In reality this is IMG_7275usually a long way from the truth. People only show their best lives in social media and a lot of it is to convince everyone what a fabulous life they have when in truth they are just as stressed as the next person and have just as many problems. Often the ones who brag the most have the least happy lives & it’s more to convince themselves than others. It’s best just to wish everyone well but concentrate on your own life rather than comparing how many designer handbags someone has or how many holidays another has.

‘A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms’

12. Re connect with old friends & nurture friendships

IMG_3906Friendships take work but good friends are worth every second. Just recently I met up with an old childhood friend who I’ve lost touch with a bit over the years. We had a fantastic night catching up & reliving old memories. I lead a busy life like everyone does but it’s so important to find time and stay connected with friends. It’s too easy to keep saying we should meet up soon but we all really need to make the effort to pick up the phone & actually arrange it.

‘Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they’re there’

13. Get out in the fresh air

Ok, I know the weather hasn’t been great here recently but the minute we get a nice crisp IMG_1537day I will be putting in my boots & coat and going for a family walk with our puppy Dora. It’s something we’ve not done enough of as a family and now we have a dog it’s something we’re all looking forward to. I’m looking forward to fresh air, moderate exercise but most of all, gadgets will be at home and we will all have proper talks like families used to. Mobile phones & tablets certainly serve many purposes but with a 13 year old girl & 10 year old boy we have to really take care that they don’t consume their lives and a family walk is a perfect first step to getting away from technology for an hour or two. I’m sure they’ll survive!!!!

‘Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat’

14. Learn something new

An old teacher of mine from infant school has just reached the grand old age of 98. She IMG_5982has led an extremely full life of work, family, hobbies, music & was constantly trying to challenge herself by leaning new things. This incredible lady, at the age of 85 took a GCSE in German, a language she had never learnt or spoken before, and gained an A!! To this day she still goes for a walk everyday and is sharp as a tac proving that the brain & body benefit from constant stimulation. No matter what new skill you might learn, as soon as you start learning your brain chemistry changes, your learning speed increases, you become a more interesting person, you meet new people, it fights boredom & you adapt better to change.

‘Never stop learning because life never stops teaching’

15. Appreciate the little every day things

A beautiful sunset, a gorgeous view, a family walk, laughing with friends, a cuddle from img_6149your children, fresh flowers, sunshine, a family day at home. It’s all these little things that are what is important. It’s not always about having lots of money, extravagant holidays & material possessions, it’s being with family & friends and the little things that happen everyday that we sometimes need to stop, look at, think about & appreciate as they can make us the happiest.

‘Appreciate the little things as one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things’

16. Learn to relax

One of my own most annoying traits is feeling guilty if I stop to relax. With a busy job I’veIMG_1970 always got a to do list as long as my arm and feel I should constantly be on the go. My mum is exactly the same and I vividly remember as a little girl wishing my mum would just sit down and enjoy watching a film or TV programme with us but she was always rushing around doing something. Unfortunately as I reached my teens and adulthood I became exactly the same and this year I’m determined to ditch the guilt. I’m a hard worker and work long hours and unfortunately my job comes with a lot of home work but the importance of relaxation is vital. After all you’re no good to anyone if you’re so busy you make yourself ill. So if I want to sit and snuggle on the sofa with my kids I will, if Dora wants to fall asleep on my lap when I’ve got 101 things to do, sod it, I’ll let her. It’s good for your physical & definitely your mental health to take time out from time to time and recharge your batteries, so sit and read that book or magazine, have that candle lit bubble bath, enjoy that glass of wine, meet that friend for lunch. After all, we only get one life!!

‘When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment’

17. Learn to say NO

IMG_9771I am a people pleaser and in the past have said yes to things I didn’t really want or have time to do so to not upset anyone. As I’ve got older I’ve realised that people don’t always do the same back for you and many people really don’t care about letting others down. So I’ve made a con ions decision lately to think about whether it will benefit my family and myself and if it doesn’t I will say no. Life is too short and it’s better to say no in the first place than let people down later on and if it isn’t going to enhance your life in any way then it’s just not worth it. Also, the sooner you accept that not everyone you meet is going to like you the better life will be because that’s ok!

‘You have to say NO without feeling guilty. Setting boundaries is healthy; you need to learn to respect and take care of yourself’ x

18. Do something exciting and fun that might be out of your comfort zone

New experiences are fun, something to look forward to & something to broaden our IMG_1138horizons. It could be something simple like trying to do a new small thing every day or week such as small acts of kindness to strangers, going out on a lunch or for a drink by yourself, taking a new fitness class or, it could be bigger such as learning a new skill or trying an extreme sport or doing a parachute jump. Whatever it is it should break the norm and shake up your routine & daily habits.

‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’

19. Try the live in the present

‘Life is what’s happening whilst you’re busy planning the future’ How true is this and it’s IMG_9609certainly something I’m guilty of. Yes it’s great to have plans and goals but it’s so important to stop once in a while and enjoy the moment. We don’t know what’s around the corner so it’s so important to enjoy and appreciate what’s happening now. I’m a big believer in using your best dinner service, lighting that candle & not saving things for and important occasion with important people. What’s more important than the here & now with your close family & friends.

‘Life is what’s happening whilst you’re busy planning the future’

20. Be kind

In a world of online trolls, high expectations & the self obsessed outlook may people have nowadays it’s often hard to find someone who’s thoughtful and kind. A little kindness goes a long way and can really make someone’s day & boost their self esteem. Whether it’s a small gesture, a random act of kindness or something much bigger, the world would be a much nicer place if more people were kind. My own children will make their mistakes and certainly have their faults like everyone does but the one thing I hope I’ve instilled in them is to be kind. If there’s someone less fortunate than themselves, someone is unhappy or they’re looking out for friends & family I know my children have good caring hearts and will always show kindness to others.

‘Have Courage & Be Kind’ – ‘Cinderella

Remember, just be yourself & be true to yourself. It’s your life your journey & no one else’s so, wear the clothes YOU want, support the causes YOU believe in, love who YOU love & go for the job YOU want & stop worrying what everyone else might think & do what makes you happy!

What other steps do you take to be happy?

Take Care

Love Zoë xxx

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