Monday, 30 March 2015

April Goals - a blog link up

It’s been a WHILE since I’ve linked up with Weekly Wishes over at The Nectar Collective; reason being that I have been completely overwhelmed by work and everything else around it.

I didn’t even get the chance to set goals for March which was pretty much a whirlwind month for me, my sole goal being to simply keep my head above water!  And I’m pleased to say I did (just about…).

April is my absolutely FAVOURITE month of the year.  With it comes newness, longer and warmer days and generally April is just filled with hope and promise.

This month I have like a zillion goals but I’ll share my main ones with you:

·         Set up our part time business – we’re working on the final touches
·         Blog consistently and develop my blog – I have been feeling a little dejected in this area lately and really need to who my blog some love
·         Eat healthy and exercise – this time I mean it!  Stress is really hitting me hard now with work being full on and the only way for me to get through it is to look after myself
·         Read every day: I have a tonne of books I want to get through
·         Resurrect our garden - spring is here!
·         Make final arrangement for our upcoming trip to Santorini – I'm soo excited, I cannot wait!!

That’s enough to keep me going, so, roll on April!

What are your goals for April?  Do share in the comments below, I love seeing what everyone’s up to! 

Remembering Anne Frank 70 years on

I couldn’t let March come and go without mentioning the fact that this March marks the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank’s death.

Last summer the hubby and I visited Amsterdam for a weekend and Anne Frank’s house was number one on my list of places to visit.  I also reread Anne Frank’s diary that was published after her death, Diary of A Young Girl, before and during our trip and it was just so surreal actually being able to walk around the very house she hid in with her family for so long.  It was a very moving experience.

My husband leaving a comment in the visitors book following our visit

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the house understandably but I did get a few pictures outside of it that I thought I’d share.  We all felt quite sombre walking through the very rooms Anne and her family slept and lived in, seeing the pictures Anne stuck on the walls to cheer herself up and looking out the same window she looked through in the attic, the only light she was able to see during her time of hiding.  

Despite the terror she and her family faced, Anne was just a normal teenager who experienced the same things other teenagers do – crushes, fallouts with family members, as well as dreams and aspirations for her future when she would finally get her freedom.

Sadly Anne never did get that freedom after she, her family and those she was hiding with got betrayed and sent off to the Bergen-Belson concentration camp where she eventually died in March 1945, no doubt from the horrific conditions there.  It was heartbreaking that she and her sister died literally weeks before British soldiers liberated the camp in April.  All her family perished apart from her father Otto who, after reading her diary that was saved by a family friend and helper, decided to publish it.  And I’m sure Anne never in a million years dreamed that her diary would have such a profound effect on so many people around the world.

All the original furniture was removed from the house so it is empty when you visit, apparently at Anne’s father’s insistence; he wanted it that way to represent what emptiness was left within him.

The queue - just on one side of the building - to get into Anne Frank's house

The thing that amazes me most about Anne was that she was so incredibly wise at her young age.

I have several quotes I just love from Anne Frank’s diary but my favourite is currently this:

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.” 
                                                                                                                      ~ Anne Frank

For her to see beauty amidst such hardship is truly astounding.  I will certainly think of this when I am facing my own hardships, that absolutely pale in comparison to what Anne, and so many others too, faced.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Wellbeing | 5 ways to beat insomnia

Every now and again I go through phases of not being able to sleep. It seems the harder I try to sleep, the wider awake I get which is very frustrating. I lie awake, tossing and turning, and thinking about everything under the sun, and by morning, I’m ratty, desperately lacking sleep and definitely not ready to take on the day, but rather endure it as best as I can.  I read somewhere that a whopping 30% of the population suffers from insomnia or some form of sleep disorder. Not great!

How much sleep is enough sleep?

Apparently Margaret Thatcher got by on only 5 hours of sleep per night, while Einstein needed 9 or 10. So everyone's biological clock is different, and you'll know how much sleep is enough sleep for you.  For me personally, I think I need a minimum of 7 hours sleep to function properly, but it would be great if I could knock it down to 6 – that would mean I'd gain an extra 365 hours a year!

5 ways to beat insomnia

During the times I’ve been affected by lack of sleep I did some research on ways to beat insomnia and these are the tips that work best for me personally:

  • Doing something relaxing before bed time – and this doesn’t include going on your laptop or phone as this only interferes with your sleep quality!  I try to read before I sleep and this works perfectly for me, because I’m doing something constructive (one of my goals this year is to do more reading) and because eventually I do doze off to sleep.
  • Exercise makes a HUGE difference to my ability to sleep. The ironic thing is I’ll feel too tired to exercise, but if I force myself to go for a jog in the evening or do a cardio session at home, it really gives my system a much needed boost and results in me sleeping well. 
  • Having a relaxing bath before I sleep usually induces a wonderful, deep and refreshing sleep, especially when I use my Arbonne 'Unwind' aromatherapy goodies – pure bliss as they're filled with essential oils that completely relax you. I use these especially when I’m going through an insomniac phase and it helps a lot.
  • I do try herbal remedies too, when all else fails.  These are natural sleeping remedies that induce sleep and usually they work quite well for me.  Or you could try putting lavender on your pillow or massaging some lavender essential oil into your temples.
  • For me reflection is important to help me detach from the day I’ve had and also reflect on what I’m doing the next day. Much of the reason why we can’t sleep is because everything that happened that day is swirling through our minds and we’re also concerned about what we’re going to be doing tomorrow.  Take time during the evening to deeply reflect on your day that’s just been as well as the day ahead and this should settle your mind and help you have a great sleep.  I’ve written a blog post on the importance of reflection here.  I also keep a journal and pour all my thoughts into there, that way I’m ‘downloading’ all the things that pop into my head and make me lose sleep!     

Do you ever suffer from insomnia or any other sleep condition?  How do you deal with it?