Wellness & Writing

Helping Writers Stay Healthy, Focused + Motivated

Tired of feeling tired? Here are 10 top tips to stop feeling tired all the time and being more awake, alert and focused.

Typical causes of fatigue often include lack of sleep and being overworked. I’m sure you’re familiar with both – so where are you supposed to get the energy to write when you’re feeling tired all the time!?

No energy to write? Learn how to feel more awake instead of feeling tired all the time with these 10 simple tips.

After a hectic, stressful day, you come home with plans to write, but as you start to relax, that’s it, you’re done in and feeling sleepy. You can kiss any hopes of concentrating or feeling creative goodbye. I’ve been there and would like to share a few “tricks” that can help you fight this fatal bout of fatigue:

1. Fresh Air

A main cause of fatigue and lack of concentration is the “caged” effect where you indoor air has high levels of carbon dioxide. We constantly release carbon dioxide when we breath. Therefore, ensuring you have adequate ventilation is a very effective way to battle off the onset of feeling tired. So swing open the window and breathe in deeply for at least one minute.

2. Movement

Exercise is one of the most effective remedies for fatigue. I have yet to meet anyone who has fallen asleep whilst exercising! Whether you jump on the spot, swing your arms around, do squats or go for a walk – the main thing is to move. This gets your circulation going, increases your oxygen uptake and stifles the onset of fatigue. If you’re in an apartment or office, or aren’t really the sporty type, I recommend doing stretches at regular intervals as described in Yogitivity for example.

3. Cold Water

Nothing like cold water to wake you up! Splash cold water on your face, as well as your neck – just the trick to jump start your mind and body. Plus, don’t forget to drink water to help hydrate and refresh you. Staying hydrated is key to being alert and stress-free.

4. Coffee and Tea

Basically I live by the rule of thumb: don’t drink caffeinated drinks, they will make you feel tired. The stimulating effect of coffee and certain teas is well known. However, I would say if you love coffee, limit yourself to just one cup per day. The rest of the time drink decaf. You could also opt for energy drinks, but ultimately they leave you feeling more tired when consumed in excess – and don’t forget the calories. Go for something more natural and longer lasting, such as amazing teas from Forever Living or Tea Pigs

4. Essential Oils

Talking about natural options…. there is a whole world of natural remedies for fatigue out there. These 9 are the best for reducing fatigue:

  • Bergamot
  • Geranium
  • Black Spruce
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon

Pop a few drops in your diffuser and keep going with focus and purpose. Plus they make the room smell great!

5. Watch What You Eat

We’ve all fallen victim to the post-lunch slump. In biological terms this happens because of the increased demand in oxygen for the digestion process. Apparently, since a lot more oxygen is being directed to the digestive system there is not same level supplying the brain, resulting in fatigue symptoms.

Find out what foods your body deals with best – follow a clean diet (free guide and recipes). The harder is it for your body to digest (e.g. carbohydrates, the wrong combination of food types, etc.), the more oxygen is used for digestion. Therefore, you should opt for a light meal during the working day.

6. Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are also a tried and tested remedy, which hardly require any time, plus you can do them anytime, anywhere. Here is a breathing exercise that is fun and effective:

Breathing exercise to lift the spirits

Or you can use the “breath of fire” technique to increase new blood flow and oxygen in the brain. This is really powerful! Take care and start off gently. Click here for link to quick video.

  1. Sit up tall, stretching out the space between your belly button and heart.
  2. Breathe in and out through the nose and start to pull your belly in as you exhale, and push it out as you inhale. Imagine your belly fills up with air during the inhale and use your abdominal muscles to push the air out during the exhale.
  3. Start to shorten each breath and pick up the pace. The breathing should be loud and quick.
  4. Try to make you inhale and exhale the same length and strength.

7. Power Naps

This “power nap” is for me a very effective remedy for emerging fatigue. Ideal for gaining new energy in no time. At the beginning, a lot of practice is required until this nap succeeds at all times. But this practice pays off in any case.

How a real power nap works, what it can provide and what needs to be considered, is explained by the sleep researcher Matthew P. Walker, Associate Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley:

Why naps are good for us

8. Sleep

It might be an obvious one, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, you will most certainly feel tired during the day. Since lack of sleep is one of the main causes of fatigue, you should get into a regular sleep routine (e.g. 10pm to 6am). Following the rising and setting of the sun is best.

9. Crystals

Crystals are energy themselves as they are constantly vibrating. Here are some of the top energy-boosting crystals:

  1. Carnelian – boost your energy
  2. Hematite – beat the post-lunch slump
  3. Citrine – calm inspiring energy
  4. Kyanite – encourage efficiency
  5. Calcite – spiritual support
  6. Rose quarts – protect against negative energy
  7. Fluorite – block electromagnetic stress

With the right crystals you can get through anything.

10. Morning and Bedtime Routines

Naturally you need to look at your morning routing and your bedtime routine. I find that these help enormously in getting your body ready for the day and respectively, ready for a good night’s rest.

My Miracle Morning Routine. Create your own morning routine. Don't fall victim to the overwhelm on social media. Dance to your own tune and you'll be miraculous.

These are just a few tips on how to stop feeling tired all the time. Do you have any more you’d like to share below?

Plan for Success. How to get unstuck and find your priorities in under an hour

March: a month of creativity and enterprise 

A few words on listening to your instincts and getting unstuck from your current “state of stuckness”.

In January we are ready for change. To turn a new, fresh leaf. In February we start to see all these great new ideas. In March we have to set these in stone. Don’t let them slip away as you may begin to lose momentum in the coming months. It’s time to plan and capitalise on all these great creative energies within you and around you.

Use the energies of March

According to those in touch with nature, we’re in a month of creativity and inspiration. March is filled with energies that will propel us forward in new directions where we can make progress towards existing goals. Have you felt a shift this month? Are you feeling the need to plan and get rid of the superfluous? I am. Never before have I felt so in harmony with my surroundings and my “gut” instinct. 

This push to really get my ducks in a row (as much as I hate that saying) started at the end of last year. Admittedly it followed the usual need to declutter and start afresh. But this year is different. Why? You may ask with a hint of cynicism. Because this time I’m actually acting on and not just listening to what my “niggling” thoughts are telling me. I urge you to do the same. Get unstuck. The time is ripe to strike forwards at your dreams and aspirations. Use the energies of March to make a real plan to make your projects real, too.

How to move forwards this year

Step 1

Figure out where are you stuck and write it all down. Which projects are taking up too much of your time? Which New Year’s resolutions have already hit the fan? Write down all the areas where you are stuck or not making progress.

Step 2

Figure out what your priorities are. We’re always really good at giving advice to our friends so apply this to yourself. Imagine your problem is your friend’s problem. Imagine they are expecting you to provide them with possible solutions as usual. Even go so far as to pretend they are coming to see you in an hour or ten minutes, so you have to get your thoughts together quick and come up with a plan for them. Write it down. Don’t waste time. No more than an hour. Stick to your priorities.

Step 3

Be creative. Even though you are being more objective because the “problem” is not your own, you can also get creative with this process and ask friends to help out. Present your proposals from Step 2 to a friend. I asked a friend of mine who runs several bars and cafes to give me one hour of her time as a consultant. Just knowing I’d have to present my position to her made me write everything out with the pros, cons, investments, projected revenue, spider diagrams, business wheels, the lot. I answered most of my questions before she arrived, but having her there resolved the stray ends and consolidated my areas of focus.

The time to plan for success is now. Take a few minutes to take charge of your life. Get a step by step system that works and that you will stick to keep. Step one: know what your priorities are. Read more...

Now it’s your turn

Don’t delay. Do the above in a day. Don’t take more than an hour to find solutions. After you have planned out your priorities you’ll finally feel in alignment with your inner values and core beliefs. If you ignore them again and continue fire fighting and spreading yourself thin, you will continue to feel discomfort, dissatisfaction and fatigue. Life is so much more of a breeze when your dancing to the rhythm of your own beat. Pay attention to your internal compass for navigating your life and knowing what needs to be attended to.

Ready for change and the good life

March is a month where you can expect the unexpected. Follow your intuition as you step into a journey or new opportunities. Your intuition will strengthen with your resolve the  more  tuned  in  to your inner voice you become.  

Turn your aspirations in actions

You’re ready for change and ready to live a more authentic life. March challenges you to bravely  move in new directions.  Any kind of forward movement is better than staying  stuck. Face up to those feelings that show you where you’re stuck or needing change. 

Work smarter not harder

Remember your new plan following from steps 1,2,3 above. Don’t be stuck doing endless chores for others or all that work you make for yourself to keep yourself busy in order to ignore the real issues in your life. On the other hand, you may enjoy what you do, but ask yourself: Am I doing too much and not doing any of my own projects the full justice they deserve? 

When I stopped to ask myself that question, I made a brave bold decision to drop half of what I do. I simply struck half of my projects off my to do list – they are on the backburner for when I have time some day in the future. Now instead of inching forwards with multiple projects, I have 3 core areas of focus that will propel forwards through my more targeted use of time.

Don’t forget to think of yourself

Please also consider all your side-hustles and social media stuff. Are you actually factoring in how many unpaid hours you are putting in? Make sure you are getting back a value that reflects the effort you put in. Whether that value is monetary or simply in terms of satisfaction and enjoyment (a spider diagram is good to assess this).

By having a plan that is clear and simple, you will no longer be working non-stop or becoming despondent that your projects are not moving forwards because you’ve been spreading yourself too thin. Now you’ll have time for some self care (a big favourite of mine) and you’ll have time to think and reflect, therefore ultimately make better decisions, both on a personal and professional level.

Structure will give you freedom

Try getting organised using one or all of the methods below (everyone has a way that works best for them). See how you can then start to free up some time for your wellbeing and how this makes you more focused and productive. Notice also how you are more satisfied and content with yourself and your work because it is moving forward. 

  • To Do List: If you’re a checklist person and like crossing things off, make a ToDo list every day so you can cross some great big fact juicy lines through your list and get a sense of satisfaction. Only include your priorities, write the “blue sky” stuff on a separate list.
  • Start using a planner – e.g. Asana or your google calendar or simply with a writing pad. Divide it into your main areas of focus. Keep a cover sheet with an overview monthly calendar so you can see when important deadlines, dates or events are looming. Keep you to do list on the top, visible at all times. Write this list every morning (or at the end of your work day) so you are ready and have direction. This prevents you flouncing around like a butterfly willy-nilly without any true direction.
  • Divide the jobs into little jobs. If you’re a real organiser like me, set aside a few hours for planning each of your main projects and subdivide them into major tasks and then subdivide those down into the smaller tasks until you can create a timeline to getting your wish list done (Gantt chart).
  • Make a pizza. Some people see it like making a pizza in reverse: you know what the end product is going to look like, now break it down into the ingredients and steps required, remembering to factor in preparation time and cooking time for each section. This is how you will approach the subdivision of your major projects into smaller more manageable tasks along a timeline that starts with your ideal or set deadline and works back to where you are today. 

By creating routines, systems, structures and processes in your life this month you’ll be creating an environment that supports change, innovation and continued improvement. You’ll be creating the framework that will give you freedom as your projects take flight.

Since it is the month for inventiveness creativity and thinking outside of the box, isn’t it time you were March-ing in time with your own rhythm?

how to get fit guide
Read this ultimate motivation guide to help you plan for success
The launch of the World of Wellness and Writing Fairs in Harrogate

WORLD OF WELLNESS AND WRITING LAUNCHES ITS FIRST FAIR

An elegant boutique fair to launch the wellness and writing events is being held in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate

This elegant affair is to be held in the beautiful hotel of West Park. It overlooks the open grounds of the Stray in the quintessentially English spa town of Harrogate. There will be stalls showcasing nutritional advice and products to keep you focused, practices to help you recharge and find balance, experts in the field of fitness and posture, literary professionals and of course writing products and services.

You can discover new healthy lifestyle tips, writing materials/skills and attend mini workshops/presentation. It’s also an opportunity to find out what events and courses are coming up soon in your area. It is important to liaise and collaborate with your local community, both as an individual and a business. It is a very rewarding experience – both ways!

STOP! AND REFILL YOUR CREATIVE WELL

Do you work in a creative field? Are you a writer, author, poet, blogger, novelist, reporter…. or just have to write a lot of reports or marketing content at work? If so, how do you avoid burnout, keep your creative juices flowing, stay focused, become more productive, keep your energy levels up….? Don’t worry, at the World of Wellness and Writing, we have lots of tips and hacks to help you.

Being a writer does not involve musing barefoot through blossom-covered archways and pondering on the meaning of life as many think. The creative process is a demanding and often very draining experience.

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” ― Émile Zola.

As Zola says, it involves hard work. But to be a successful writer you also need several other key ingredients such as patience, passion, the ability to accept criticism, and so on. However, there is one fundamental ingredient required by writers that often goes unmentioned: Self Care.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE

Self care is perhaps of the most important element in a creative person’s life. As we deplete ourselves of energy and constantly delve within to find new ideas, inspiration and drive, we need to look after ourselves. Sadly most of us don’t and we experience burnout or frustration.

Here at the World of Wellness and Writing we believe in promoting self care for all writers from healthy lifestyle choices to ideas for refilling your creative well.

Come visit our fascinating stalls and uncover the secrets to uplevel your writing… or just gentle and inviting ways to improve your wellbeing.

THE VENUE: WEST PARK HOTEL

Our boutique event is free to all and designed to inspire you to write and find a self care routine that works for you.

Venue for our first boutique fair

Just go through the front entrance fo the West Park Hotel overlooking the Stray and make your way to the back of the building to the private dining room. Wheelchair access.

We look forward to hosting many more such events, so keep a look out near you. Is your town ready for a World of Wellness and Writing Fair? Please write and let me know: Francesca Hepton (Founder)

Who would have thought self care could be such an effective methodology for success. Discover the main self care routines you should be focusing on to up level your career as a writer.

Self care for writers may not be a sexy topic as we prefer to think of ourselves as artistes slogging away in dank rooms lit by smouldering candles. Romantic as that may seem, if you’re  healthy and have a balanced approach to your writing, you are more likely to have financial success.

Paying heed to your emotional and physical well-being is important for staying creative, healthy, focused and alert! Mindfulness, stretches, workouts, massage, self-care, meditations and healthy eating all play a part. This site gives you tips on how to combat depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and/or stress.

7 relaxation and revitalising techniques for writers - essential self care routine for success

The secret to success is simple: Living a natural, holistic life, making sure our wheel is balanced. The World of Wellness and Writing champions the concept of “Personal Wellness”, offering illustrations, explanations and courses to open up opportunities for writers to push through boundaries, feel better about themselves and be rid of the struggles.

WELLNESS BEFORE WRITING

Most websites addressing the concept of wellness in association with writing, usually refer to writing as a method for improve your personal wellbeing. Writing is often used as a cathartic method for releasing inner emotions, negativity and memories stored at a cellular level. This website however turns this process on its head. We are looking at how wellness can help the writer .

For example, you cannot perform if you haven’t got a healthy diet. Having the right nutrition and diet feeding and fueling yourself properly is essential (read the aloe vera story)

 Writing a book takes a huge amount of energy, in every sense: physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively. Keep up your energy levels and focus with the right diet for you.

If you are physically uncomfortable or unwell this will be a hindrance to your performance as a writer. Most writers suffer from poor posture as we hunch over when we are engrossed din our writing. And when we get into the “flow” we can hold this position for hours without noticing. Take some easy steps to counteract this pain and potentially harmful writer’s habit.

Writers often sit for hours at a desk - discover how to relieve and even heal your back pain - free ebook.

Self care practices for writers bring balance to the choppy seas of a writer’s life. Learn to cultivate a life that supports your writing! By putting Wellness before Writing and you will perform better.

RELEASE YOUR INNER WARRIOR

Conquer self-doubt, find your true path and become a confident writer

That is why we advocate “stepping out of your body and onto the page”.

If you feel good about yourself and are working with all your engines fixing at 100%, it is amazing what results and work you can produce.

Simple tricks like eating healthily, getting enough sleep and having the right environment can improve your writing  no end. The same also applies to freelance workers of all kinds. I offer tips and routines her to help you become more energised, organised and productive.

I BELIEVE IN WORKING SMARTER NOT HARDER.

STRANGE AS IT MAY SOUND, BY DOING LESS YOU ACTUALLY ACHIEVE MORE. FOR STARTERS YOUR'RE MORE RELAXED AND LESS ANXIOUS. YOU BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE AS A WRITER BY DOING LESS. DON'T FORCE IT. GO WITH THE FLOW.

Only do what you need or want to. Ditch the rest. There really isn’t any more to it than that unless you are looking to make your life complicated. here are some tips to help you plan.

Don’t forget your local community

In order to sustain my personal wellness I noticed that I also needed to  have the right “community wellness” around me as well. By that I mean the right surroundings, support and stimulus. I am fortunate to live in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate in the north of England. Here everything is in balance, the architecture an open green spaces, the nightlife for the younger generation plus activities and communities for the older generation. We have a proactive local council who promote the physical and mental health of local residents whilst also providing a beautiful environment in which we live. This attitude is further supported by local business owners.

A town with a healing past and still developing business for the future. I’m very lucky indeed. What great assets does your town have to offer?

WHAT YOU NEED AS A WRITER

Some key ingredients to success as a writer

  • Personal wellness – you’re probably familiar with this but our blog posts will keep you informed of effective methods and provide you with informative articles on improving your wellbeing, explaining concept of personal wellbeing. A lifestyle.
  • The right surroundings from your home office, to your garden and town. Everything you see impacts on you. In a boxed dark room depressed, open spaces free to think.
  • Changes, stimulus – mental and visual: theatre, conferences, meet-ups.
  • Very active local community with its own Tribes and Book Clubs, Writing Circles, etc.
  • Variety and routine

MACRO level – celebrate and use your town

MICRO level – promote and support your personal wellbeing

When your energy is flowing, your chakras are open and your brain is firing you will set your pages on fire.

Use crystals to get your energies flowing freely. This will improve your focus, creativity and productivity as a writer.

Have a few freebie guides to self-help your way to this state of creativity and productivity. Guides on how to get organised the absolute key to any freelancer’s life, plus some help on getting published, retreats to stimulate your inner writing warrior and courses in Yogitivity that will change the way you live and write forever.

If you need to break free from bad habits, feel a little better about yourself and get focused, one of my own guides can help you with that. Remember self care and personal development are your secret weapons to becoming a great writer.

powerful books for self-care and personal growth to bring out the best in you as a woman
Yogitivity© - embracing the benefits of yoga to boost your creativity as a writer. Feel free to join one of our Yogitivity Workshops (held in the glorious grounds of Rudding Park) using yoga to improve your creativity as a writer.

The death of creativity

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved nothing more than to write. For her, it was a way of dealing with her difficult childhood and to feel safe. One day her primary school teacher tore up one of her stories and said: “We do not tolerate such fanciful ideas. Nobody wants to hear the thoughts of a silly little girl. Write a proper story”. On that day, the girl stopped writing. It took nearly 20 years before she could hear the call to write again rise in her soul. On that day she picked up a pen again.

How “shame wounds” can block your creative flow

Unfortunately this is not an isolated case. Studies show that almost 1 in every 3 people harbours such a “shame wound” in the context of their own creativity. Many of us have had similar experiences to the girl in the story – we were not taken seriously, criticised or laughed at. The result: we have internalised beliefs such as “I cannot write”, “I can’t sing” or “I’m not creative”.

The girl’s story shows how vulnerable we are when we express our inner self, but also that we have a deep natural urge to express ourselves creatively that can never be completely silenced. The deepest nature of our being is creative, and our desire for self-expression is in fact our desire to “share our soul with the world”.

But instead of being creative, many of us become consumers. We listen to music instead of singing or making music ourselves. We admire the works of great artists instead of painting, weaving, making, dancing or producing films ourselves. In extreme cases, we numb ourselves with alcohol, or some kind of intoxication, excessive sport, etc. in order not to feel the pain that our innermost being is not allowed to express itself. We feel the pressure of what lies in us like a hidden treasure that wants to escape to the outside world. This results in tension, a dissatisfaction with life and a deeply felt emptiness.

The importance of being aligned with yourself

Letting our natural creative flow dry up can even make us sick, because we do not live in harmony with our true nature. “Musicians have to make music, artists have to paint, poets have to write if they want to live in peace with themselves,” said Abraham Maslow, the founding father of humanistic psychology.

Get in touch with your creative source

Each and every one of us already has everything it takes to be creative. The only question is: how do we access our creative source? How can we tap into and find the artist in us? This is where Yoga can help us.

Create a space that is free from judgment

Creative ideas can only emerge if they are not immediately silenced by the judgmental opinions of the thinking mind. In creative self-expression, there is no right or wrong – just as there is no right or wrong yoga pose. Every body is different, every human being is unique. What is, is allowed to be; what wants to come forth, is allowed to reveal itself, without censorship. Like yoga, creativity is a path to truthfulness.

Perseverance and letting go

In yoga we know the principles of abhyasa and vairagya. We need perseverance and self-discipline to get back on the mat every day, despite all distractions and our impulse to resist. At the same time, it is important to practice yoga unintentionally and to let go of the attachment we place on the fruits of our practice. We need to replicate qualities our writing habits if we want to fully develop our creativity. It is a common misconception that one has to wait for the Muse’s kiss to be creative. Pablo Picasso explains this succinctly:

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you at work.”

Give your ego the heave-ho!

Have you ever been mesmerised by a concerto pianist? They appear to merge with the piano and music. It’s as if the sounds do not just come from the pianist. Such brilliant musicians and artists connect to a source that does not come from within them. They give their ego the heave-ho and feel like a vehicle for a force that is beyond their comprehension. When I write or illustrate my books, I feel as though I am being guided. It flows from within me somewhere and I do not and cannot stop until it is complete. I then stand back in wonder and say: “Did I really do all that?” Sound familiar?

Powerful, authentic writing stems from the ability to merge with what we write, from the fact that our ego dissolves and the words can emerge through. We are the vessel. There is no expectation of success clinging and dragging down our creative process.

The creative process

If we manage to step aside and not let out ego interfere, we enter a creative flow. In this “state”, the writing, pairing, singing, drawing all flow freely and we act as the channel. It is the same with yoga. Those same blissful moments in your yoga practice where effort and resistance dissolve and we suddenly feel that our breath is moving us, we feel as though we are floating.

Being at one with ourselves

It could be said that a trait of a genius or an intuitive with a keen imagination, is a person who seeks to be alone to feel in close touch with themselves and Nature and be inspired by this sense of balance. Already we are drawer closer to this sense of being “at one”, state that we approach through the practice of yoga. Moments of being alone, of retreat, of silence and of listening are necessary to feel how connected we are to everything. They also help us switch to receiving and open us up to inspiration – the muse’s kiss.

Silence your voice of doubt. Heal your shame wound

Both the practice of yoga and the creative journey contain blockages and self-doubt. Every so often we feel stuck again, paralysed and immobile, whether physically or mentally. And we all hear those inner voices whispering to us that everyone else is talented, better and successful – but not us. Vincent van Gogh once said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

Yoga as well as creativity is about getting moving, facing up to your self-doubts silencing those harsh judgments from teachers. Just start with a deep breath or a few words to mark an empty page, the rest will follow by itself. One thing leads to another and we get into the flow.

Yogitivity© – embracing the benefits of yoga to boost your creativity as a writer. Feel free to join one of our Yogitivity Workshops (held in the glorious grounds of Rudding Park) using yoga to improve your creativity as a writer.

Embracing the benefits of yoga to boost your creativity as a writer. Join one of our Yogitivity Workshops using yoga to improve your creativity as a writer.

Sign up for your online Yogitivity course to release your inner creative. Or join an exclusive Yogitivity Workshop.

The secret to achieving work life blalance

Is it possible to achieve the elusive work life balance?

Interview with Sarah Sanpher-McDowell
Founder of the Women’s Recycling Alliance

Company Director and successful entrepreneur Sarah Sanpher-McDowell explains how she achieves the perfect work life balance whilst holding down a high-powered job and setting up a successful all-female trade alliance.

Interview successful entrepreneur. Sarah Sanpher-McDowell explains how she achieves the perfect work life balance whilst holding down a high-powered job and setting up a successful all-female trade alliance.

Sarah’s professional background

Today’s guest is Sarah Sanpher-McDowell, a Director and entrepreneur based in Harrogate, UK. She is the creator of the Women’s Recycling Alliance – promoting and inspiring women in the recycling and waste industry – as well as a Director at the fast-growing, forward-thinking company Clearpoint Recycling Ltd. Her work has been featured on Stray FM Radio, letsrecycle.com and attracted the interest of leading female professionals all around the country!

I first met Sarah because our sons were best friends at school and we would chat whenever we would pick up or drop off. Our little chats at the door though soon became hour-length conversations, endless catch-ups by phone and ultimately a wonderful friendship. I have always admired Sarah for her strength of character and rational outlook on life. That is why I believe she epitomizes the perfect example of a Wellness Warrior. She embraces the gifts of the universe, practices what she preaches and is as stoic as any mythical Amazonian.

Sarah is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover. Her friendly demeanor and easy manner by no means take precedence over her astute and keen skills of observation and highly organizational mind.

Working her way to the top

This business lady has moved from the detailed world of finance and accounts into the heady boardrooms of directorship in an amazingly short period of time.

Working initially with owner operator businesses to free them up to do what they do best and assisting with business development growth.  Just 5 years ago, Sarah knew she was capable of much more. Although she also ran a very successful and thriving women’s networking group and highly sought after organisational services, her inquisitive and analytical mind needed to broaden it horizons.

She proved her worth as a business entrepreneur as she helped Clearpoint Recycling grow from just a 3-person enterprise to a flourishing enterprise offering employment to over 24 people in 3 years. Sarah nurtures and helps her personnel to grow both personally and professionally with her years of experience and perceptive, empathetic approach.

Work does not take over her home life

I think you’ll have gathered by now that beyond her highly convivial personality, Sarah is an estimable business woman, but she is also a wonderful, caring and devoted mother and wife.

In this interview, you’ll learn more about how Sarah manages to be positive and purposeful ALL the time, how she’s managed to strike the perfect work-life balance with grace, be more confident, and how to create an inspiring alliance in a male-dominated sector giving women in the waste industry the opportunity to network, hone their professional skills and become a force to be reckoned with.

You will also discover:

  • Sarah’s personal wellness ritual to being happy, healthy and grounded
  • How Sarah manages to not just survive but thrive in a male-dominated industry
  • Why Sarah went from freelancer to full-time Director and what the benefits of that decision were for her personally
  • How Sarah intends to help women in the waste industry
  • And finally, Sarah’s advice for anyone who wants to set up an alliance or take that first step in realising your passion and how this is possible in conjunction with your full-time job and sustaining a happy home life.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS with time slots

Thank you for being here Sarah 5:20

Q1. I thought we’d kick off with perhaps the most burning question our listeners will want to know the answer to. How do you strike the perfect balance between work and your personal life?

The benefits are self-evident as you are fit and healthy, motivated and extremely focused. Morning routine: 6:15

Weekend routines and family values. 7:40

Do you think this balance is possible for most workers? And if so, why aren’t more people, in your opinion, able to strike this balance? 10:20

11:50 Sarah’s personal morning routine

Q2. Onto the more serious stuff now. You were initially working for Clearpoint Recycling on a freelance basis. You became such a valuable asset they lured you back into full-time employment. Do you have any regrets about going back to full time work and what made you accept their offer? 14:10

Q3. Do you miss anything about being a freelancer?

Q4. Now it is no real surprise to know that the waste and recycling industry in the UK and in fact worldwide is predominantly male. In fact 78% of the employees within the waste, energy and water industry in the UK are male. That is a very high percentage. Is that one of the reasons why you wanted an all-female alliance? And what other things motivated you to start up the Women’s Recycling Alliance? And tell us a little bit about it. 18:55

Women's Recycling Alliance. Connect with like-minded women in our industry.
Grow your network.
Develop new personal and professional skills.
Discuss industry related topics.

Could having more women in the recycling industry help downturn the trend for more waste?

Q5. What is your motivation behind the Women’s Recycling Alliance 19:37

Q6. What sets your alliance apart? Women in a male-dominated industry 24:30 Inclusive of men 30:00

Q7. The senior executive vice president at Veolia, one of the UK’s market leaders in waste, water and energy management services, Estelle Brachlianoff, is a wonderful example of how a woman can be successful in a male-dominated industry – will you be inviting her to one of your future events? 32:14

Q8. Any parting advice to women in particular who are in a male-dominated industry and feeling the extra pressure? 33:10

Thank you for your time, Sarah. I do not know how you manage to remain so composed and focused with your angel feathers perfectly unruffled with so much going on in your life. Must be those early morning workouts!

Well done on your accomplishments and I wish you every success with the Women’s Recycling Alliance!

A wonderful role model

Sarah is a pure role model of the perfect mother, perfect business women and perfect friend. You do not begrudge her this success for she is down to earth and genuine. If we had more of her kind of caring and no-nonsense individuals in business, companies would be a happier and more productive environment.

Interested in getting in touch with Sarah or seeing her successful Women’s Recycling Alliance? Useful contact details below:

Go for personal growth and develop your lifestyle with these tips for improving your habits for a healthier lifestyle and 6 inspirational personal development books

Life changing personal development books for FREE for you to download as audio books

This is perhaps the most valuable FREE resource page I am offering you. Being able to benefit from well-researched inspirational self help books that will help you grow in every area of your life is priceless. These books will not only help you develop and grow spiritually and mentally, they will also help you manage money, improve your fitness levels and adopt a positive mindset.

Life changing self help books for women. Download the audio version of these 6 inspirational personal development guides absolutely FREE.

Life changing personal development books for FREE for you

“Books that change your life!” Wow that sounds like a big claim. Can books do that? Not without a little input from you. But they can certainly serve as a source of inspiration on the path of change. If you want to take charge of your own life right now, reshape it, sculpt it and break new ground, then I have some exciting inspiration for books that can change your life. FREE. So you can find your own path leading to a beautiful and good life. The most important factor is to listen to yourself, to follow your inner voice. Only then can you succeed in a self-determined life. I followed my inner voice and went my own way, and I’m still walking. However, change often requires a little food for thought from external sources.

So here are some of my self help books that provide you with new inspiration time and time again to make the most of the precious life you are living.

Beware these self-help books may change your life!

To give you a better overview, I have divided my self-help books into different categories. Depending on the area in which you want to change your life.

  1. Motivation – to help you reach fitness goals and gain clarity
  2. Confidence booster – Feeling good about yourself
  3. Breaking bad habits – Get the right mindset to ditch habits that are keeping you back
  4. Happiness – Having a positive mindset
  5. Finances – Don’t stress about money, get saving savvy

1. The Ultimate Motivation Guide

The ultimate motivation guide: How to Get Fit with Reiki and Music. With step by step instructions from trained Reiki healer and tips on how to select the music to best for you. Get motivated, stay motivated!
How to Get Fit… to be released in February 2019

2. How to Feel More Confident, Gorgeous + Grounded

3. Get Rid of Unwanted Habits

4. Discover How to Be Happier

5. A Concise Guide on How to Save Money

Please download as many as you like, it is a free service available on audio to promote further learning. If yo don’t already have an audible account you can try it for free for 30 days. If you have any problems, please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy your FREEBIES!!

Start the year off on the right foot and donate to Pencils of Promise charity - help spread the benefits of reading and writing.

I decided to start the year off on the right foot and nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity I’d support – with your help. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support children and communities to access education. In 2018, more than one in every ten children around the world was illiterate and in developing countries, that figure was 1 in 3. Let’s help change that, and provide opportunities for children to experience the joys of reading and writing so that their lives can include more opportunities and meaning.

Each time you read a book, set aside a little bit of money and then donate the total sum at the end of the year to Pencils of Promise. We acknowledge how lucky we are to be able to read stories...

All you have to do is read

  1. Read or listen to a book, story of some kind. Try to do this once a month or every two months. You can borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed collecting dust. Perhaps you prefer an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook. Anything!
  2. Next take a picture and post it with the name of the book, story you are currently reading or listening to, or finished, on the World of Wellness and Writing Facebook page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audio books that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. We all love help in choosing our next read!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the World of Wellness and Writing’s Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. You can join the Writing Warriors here.
  4. Each time you read a book, set aside a little bit of money and then donate the total sum at the end of the year. Or you can go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be helpful.
Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support children and communities to access education.

All I have to do is list what you read

During the year I will post a quarterly list of all the titles and reviews you have read / submitted so that you can swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and joy that reading brings. The world needs more writers and readers. Let’s spread the word!

Time management tips for freelance writers to increase productivity. Simple daily schedules for work using Kanban system to stay focused and organized.

Are you a busy freelance writer? No time to get everything done or just living in complete organizational chaos? Like all creative beings, we writers hate being confined to structure and order. However, if you want to boost your writing career, you might need to take on board some time management tips. After all, a bit of structure may help you complete projects and sell books! There are countless apps and systems for improving your time management techniques – so which one do you choose? Today we’ll look at Trello and see if this system suits your style and needs.

Improve your time management and productivity with the Personal Kanban for bloggers and writers from Trello.
Improve your time management with the Personal Kanban for bloggers + writers by Trello.

Are you wasting time scheduling instead of doing?

There are plenty of fancy task management and time management schemes out there. But beware! You can get suckered into all the pretty colors and find yourself writing endless to do lists that never get done! Or maybe spend more hours scheduling in your fancy calendars than you are actually working! Well stop. Let me introduce you to a no-nonsense system.

An introduction to the time management strategy from Trello

Trello, a free project management software, offers a Kanban concept to help writers just like you. You may have heard of Kanban, and think that it relates only to industry. And you wouldn’t be entirely wrong in your assumptions. Kanban is originally a Japanese scheduling system for improving manufacturing efficiency. Trello has adopted the principles of improved workflow and increased productivity and created the Kanban board. This is a system with several columns and colored Kanban cards. The cards contain tasks that you work through from left to right. This allows you to see what work you have to do, what tasks you are currently working on and what jobs you have completed. Below is a view of the minimal configuration. This “Personal Kanban” is a fantastic replacement for the old fashioned ToDo list.

This "Personal Kanban" is a fantastic replacement for the old fashioned ToDo list.
A fantastic replacement for the old fashioned ToDo list.

In Trello, a Kanban board in the minimal configuration only has three columns: “to do”, “doing” and “done”. Firstly, new tasks start in the column “to do”. They next move into the “doing” column before finally entering the last column “done” after being completed. This last column is then cleared from time to time. Basically when you decide to delete the task cards in this column, i.e. when they are done.

Advantage of this time management technique

The advantage of the “Personal Kanban” compared to a classic ToDo list is that you get a visual display of your workload. This makes it clear what limits you can impose on yourself. While only one card should be in the “doing” column at any given time, you can make the “to do” column of your Kanban board as wide and tall (or as narrow and flat) as it makes sense for you. For example: If you have a lot of work to do on a day-to-day basis, you may be able to cope with 20-30 task cards in your “to do” column, but for larger tasks, each lasting between a few hours and several days, you will want to keep the maximum number of tasks lower.

How to apply the time management strategies from Trello to your work as a blogger

This principle, can be easily transferred to the writing of books or blogging.

If you want to management your “production” and publishing of posts or article for your blog using a Kanban board, it could have the following columns

  1. Ideas for blog posts
  2. Planning / research
  3. Write post
  4. Revision, edit
  5. Publish

You can split columns 2-5 into “active” and “done”. This would give your board nine columns

  1. Ideas for blog posts
  2. Planning / research
  3. Planned/researched
  4. Write post
  5. Post written
  6. Under review, being edited
  7. Revised, edited
  8. Publish
  9. Published

Of these eight columns, only columns 2, 4, 6, and 8, which I marked bold in the list, are “active” columns. The other five columns are buffer columns – a cushion, so to speak.

How you then use the “buffer” system

If you have a new idea for a blog post, make a note of it on a card that appears in the Blog Post Ideas column. Once you tackle one of these ideas, it will go through columns 2-9 in turn. Each “active” column (plan / research, write, revise and publish) is followed by a “buffer column” in which the cards are collected, ready for the next step.

Just like in the manufacturing industry, you can apply the principles of Kanban for your “stock” of ideas. In other words: getting yourself what you need and stocking up on supplies is running low. Example: if you want to post a new blog post next Saturday, take one from column 7 (“revised”), schedule it on your blog (active column 8) and then move it to the final column (“published”).

Effective time management technique for freelance writers and bloggers. Using the Kanban system from Trello will help you stay organized, become more productive and efficient, so you can get your masterpiece finished!

Now, if you notice that there are no more blog posts in the “revised” column for the next week, get one of the articles in the “post written”, but that has not been edited yet from column 5, and then start editing it.

Keeping a clear overview of your schedule

The advantage of using such a Kanban board is that you can see at a glance what you should work on first. If you run out of stock in a “buffer column”, you should top it up first. Since this naturally reduces the stock of the preceding buffer column, this sometimes creates a chain reaction or a domino effect.

However, you are always on the safe side with this method and can bring forward a new, ready-to-use blog post whenever you need it.

If you also focus on different topics in your blog and you want to present these in a balanced a way as possible, you can also take advantage of Trello’s color coding system. This gives you a visual of whether you are giving to much focus on one topic if there are too many green tasks for example – or if you are keeping the balance

How the time management tips from Kanban can be applied for authors + novelists

The Kanban principle can be applied not only for bloggers, but also for book authors. Of course you can not simply transfer the system 1: 1 – one card per book would be neither helpful nor clear, especially since most authors are working on just 1 to 2 book projects at the same time.

Novelists and authors need to create a separate Kanban board for each book project.

You dedicate one card to each scene/chapter (or section, if you write non-fiction). To avoid losing track of the structure of your book, you can place the sequential number of each scene or section on each card. This allows you to sort and / or group them in the right order in each buffer column.

The columns of the Kanban board will be similar to those used by bloggers

  1. Ideas for book
  2. Planning / research
  3. Planned/researched
  4. Write scene/section
  5. Scene/section written
  6. Under review, being edited
  7. Revised, edited

There may of course be more columns depending on how many times you intend or need to edit your work. The last column contains the scenes / sections that are already completely revised, meaning they are edited to the extent that they can be considered ready for publication.

With the Kanban board you can see at a glance how far you have progressed with your book project and how much work is still to be done before the complete manuscript is ready for publication.

A bonus and relief for your creative side in all this structure and organization

   With the Kanban board, you do not have to write your book in chronological order or edit it from page 1 to 300. Instead you can jump back and forth between the scenes or sections according to your mood. Just bear in mind that if you do not write or edit your book in the order in which it will be read later, you will have to go back through the entire manuscript from start to finish to make sure that the order is correct and flows. For example, check that the transitions between the scenes / paragraphs are fluent and not choppy

Time management tips for when to schedule your work

It goes without saying that your levels of energy and therefore productivity vary at all times of the day. Personally, I like to write in the morning when I’m still untarnished from the onslaughts of the day. However, I like to do my planning and research in the late afternoon when I am feeling least creative. And finally I reserve my evenings mainly for editing my work. With the Kanban system from Trello, it does not matter if you want to write, plan or edit something at a certain time. You can simply pick out the respective chapter/section of the book you are currently working on from your Kanban board.

Don’t forget it’s a FREE time management tool

Yes! The Trello Kanban board system is permanently free of charge – and not just the minimal configuration with 3 boards, but the whole caboodle:

  • Any number of Kanban boards, which can even be organized in groups
  • The columns of the Kanban boards can be adjusted and expanded as it suits you
  • Any number of Kanban cards in different colors
  • Kanban cards can contain texts, pictures, checklists, hyperlinks and even file attachments

  So why not give it a go! You might find that the Trello Kanban method is the right method for you to finally get your masterpiece finished or stop feeling overwhelmed with your blog.

Trello has adopted the principles of improved workflow and increased productivity and created the Kanban board. The modern ToDo list. Improve your efficiency with this tried and tested method.
Steps on how to discover and manifest your dream life goals. Unleash your passion as a writer onto the world by making your dreams a reality

A gentle introduction to identifying and manifesting your dreams and goals

Are you fortunate enough to wake up every morning with the reassuring thought that the day ahead of you will be filled with doing something you love? Or do wake with a sense of trepidation at what lies ahead of you? Perhaps, you go to bed feeling fulfilled and satisfied that you spent the day doing something that was meaningful to you. Were you able to use your skills and talents and passion? Or did you spend the day fulfilling someone else’s dreams so you slunk into bed depressed and demoralised? If it’s the latter, let me walk you through some simple steps to help manifest your dreams and goals and why it is so important you do this.

Discover how to manifest your dreams and goals by identifying what you truly want and aligning yourself with your true self

Not living and striving for your dreams and goals may be affecting your health

Too may of us are spending our days not enjoying what we do. Many surveys say it is as a high as 90% of the population. Spending our days in such a negative and demoralising way must surely have an impact on our health and wellbeing. Because if you fell disengaged and unenthused about what you do, you will experience lower levels of happiness and more stress than those lucky few who are engaged in what they do. Are they “lucky”? Or did they achieve this happiness and wellbeing by design? Find out.

What you truly want forms your dreams and goals

Step 1. Identify your dreams and goals: For those of you who have watched my ABC of your Writing Dreams on facebook you’ll know that I go on and on about discovering what you truly want. After all it goes without saying that if you don’t know what you truly want, you can’t go after it, which means you can’t achieve it, then by default you’ll be unhappy. By the same token if you chase the false dreams or imposed dreams, you’ll also be unhappy. Find out what you truly want.

Step 2. Identify your skills. If what you truly want can somehow overlap with what you are good at, your skills and talents as a writer or blogger for instance, then you are on the express train to happiness, wellbeing and a healthy mind and body.

Step 3. Ask yourself these 2 questions. When manifesting your goals, there are two questions that you should explore to help you discover what you truly want. If you answer “yes” to both these questions, you have found your dream job and dream life:

  1. Does it make you feel alive when you do it or write about it?
  2. Do you lose all track of time when you are engaged in “it”?

The “it” is your passion, align “it” with your writing skills, make this your main activity/source of income and you have a dream life.

Other ways to reveal your dreams and goals

  1. Speaking of dreams, our subconscious can help us tap into our innermost desires. Try to remember your dreams. What is the “inner” you trying to tell the awake you? Our dreams provide insights into our personal desires and passions, which can point the way to an underlying purpose. Analyse your dreams and uncover your passions.
  2. Another avenue worth exploring is free-flow journaling where you just write without stopping for 5 to 10 minutes. See what comes out. You may surprise yourself! Your dreams may reveal themselves to you!

What to do when your perfect dream life is not instantly possible

To avoid disappointment, we need to be realistic. It would be nice if your source of income was your passion, but this may not always be possible. It does not mean that it is not something you could work towards. There is no reason to shut your passion out of your life just because it doesn’t make money. That is like extinguishing your inner light. Then what is the purpose of life?

You can try to incorporate your passions into the life and job you do have. So for example, if you work in industry but your passion is saving the environment, you could start a free online blog about recycling based on the experiences you have in your sector at work? It may even get noticed and supported by your boss!

Life is too short

As youngsters we think we will live forever, we have boundless energy and the day we start our dream life is always tomorrow. But now that you are stopping to think about your life, don’t waste anymore time. It is disheartening enough to see young people wasting their time and talents, you don’t need to let yours go to waste too. The light that shines within you is critical a happy life and a happy world. We should have a life filled with vitality and freedom. When your life and work decisions are based on your passions, you feel a sense of true identity, alignment, energy, flow and vitality.

So ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What are my skills?
  2. What is my passion?
  3. Where do these intersect?

You may not think you are worth listening to, but the rest of us are waiting with baited breath. For anything borne of passion and kindled with the energy of freedom is 100% worth reading.

To manifest your dreams and goals, first ask yourself: What do you truly want? Let me know if you are living your dream life. You could inspire others. Join me on facebook for more helpful videos to guide you through this process: https://www.facebook.com/thechilledoutwriter