Glow on the Road: 5 Minute 5 Products

Before we set off on our Round the World adventure, many people would ask me ‘Well… what makeup are you taking?’ At the time I had a makeup case the size of my rucksack and knew I had to condense things drastically! Not only did I know I couldn’t carry many personal care products, I was sure the sun-kissed look would help when going minimal!

I wanted to ensure that our travelling experience didn’t revolve around how I looked for the perfect Insta Shot. However, I wanted to feel good, maintain my identity and cover the occasional blemish!

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So here is my 5 minute 5 product face! Yes… that’s right 5 cosmetics products that provide light coverage as well as taking up minimal room in the travel bag! 

All cosmetics mentioned in this blog are Arbonne products to which I am an Independent Consultant for. They proudly tick all the boxes for being vegan, cruelty free and all nasties free including Parabens and Sulphates! 

Arbonne CC CreamCC cream: This is a 10 in 1 foundation that  provides a light coverage whilst easily disguising blemishes too! Available in 4 Shades. 

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Sheer Glow Highlighter Stick: is a 2 in 1 contouring life-saver to add definition for a night out! I use a blending ball that squishes easily into my travel bag.

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Mascara: Make your eyes look awake after a long haul bus trip with this Long Story Mascara. It conditions yours lashes too to keep them in tip top condition.

fine line eyeliner carbon

Eyeliner: Define your eyes with a carbon shade fine line eyeliner. I use this on my lower eye in the day and for top eyeliner on an evening.

arbonne eyebrow pencil

Brow pencil: The perfect brow can be maintained while travelling. This 2 in 1 shades and tames the brow! Available in 4 Shades.

If used daily I predict that these products will last 3-6 months! Not only can you purchase these products at a discount… you can also support your travels with an income from these products! For more information on the products mentioned above or the business opportunity attached, get in touch!

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15 Affirmations for Travellers

While travelling, your buttons will be pushed! Some days may feel like nothing has gone right or to plan. You will be thrown into more stressful situations than you thought and may be wondering… I thought this was meant to be fun!

One day, I managed to spend all the cash on the hostel before leaving to an island with no cash points, the mister then lost the bank card, we were wet through from the rain and we felt miserable.

Firstly, it’s okay to have ‘bad days’. After all, how would you recognise good days without the bad ? But, if the mister had argued with me about spending the cash, then I got my own back about losing my card, this situation could have gone from bad to worse. We were still a united front, so when we finally arrived at our hostel and the fire was on and coffee was served… we cuddled and realised how proud of ourselves we were for getting through the day. I doubt we would have appreciated the cosy surroundings without the previous drama.

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In my mind there are two ways to look at a situation; a positive way and a negative way. It is easy to focus on the negative when things are going wrong, but how about searching for a positive? For example, ‘For flip sake, we have taken the wrong turn again’. This could be turned on it’s head to ‘We have taken the wrong way, but lets see what’s up there’. You may stumble across the most magnificent place by taking that wrong turn, it may not be so bad after all.

For the pessimists out there this way of thinking may be quite difficult. That doesn’t mean you can’t work on it. Practising talking to yourself positively will train your subconscious mind to have more positive thoughts which will led to more optimism. This reprogramming will take time but can be implemented into your morning and evening routines.

Affirmations are simple statements that can inspire us to be better, remind us how great we are and help us focus on what we want out of life. They promote positive changes in your life, simply by talking to yourself! Sounds easy enough right?

Here are my Top 15 Affirmations for Travellers that I have separated into different categories; Anxiety, Positivity, Health, Relationships and Goals.

Anxiety

Even for people who don’t struggle with anxiety, travelling can be stressful. These affirmations come in handy when your in a situation that makes you feel uneasy and your mind is about to go down a slippery slope of catastrophic thinking. A great way to halt that is by saying these simple statements to lower your heart rate.

Positivity

You are currently experiencing a life changing opportunity! Just think about what you have achieved already and how many more inspiring moments you are going to have along the way! You are seeing the world in all it’s glory… you have so much to be positive about but its great to have some affirmations to remind you every day.

Health

Carrying heavy backpacks, climbing hills in flip flops and occasional microwave meal may not make you feel so fit and healthy. Saying these statements on a daily basis will keep healthy living in the fore front of your mind. Your less likely to go to MacDonald’s for a cheap lunch or neglect the fruit that’s offered at breakfast if you have said these phrases to yourself.

Relationships

Solo travellers, you will meet the biggest variety of people on your travels and sometimes they may not seem like ‘your kinds of people’. But, the majority of the time, good can be found in the strangest of places and your kindness will be rewarded with kindness too. What you give out, you bring about. For you couple travellers, it’s always good to have some positive affirmations up your sleeve for when your partner is absolutely driving you insane. Remember, your in it for the long haul.

Goals

Many travellers have online businesses to sustain their travel or some may be searching for how to do this. Creating affirmations around your goals will allow you to think creatively, stay focused and reach your individual goals.

Inspired by affirmations? Feel free to save any of these affirmation images to your devices.

Want to pass on the good vibes? Why not share them on social media with your friends and family.

Don’t forget to tag @chloegoesthedistance

Go the distance for you,

Chloe

 

Do you care what other people think?

Do you care what other people think?

I have honestly spent my life thinking this way! Unfortunately, when I think about what people think of me I always think quite negatively.

Goofy. Ugly. Skinny. Boring. Serious. Plain… the list could go on

I wasn’t until recently on a Business Branding Training that I realised I have never really asked people what they do think of me. I have been assuming what they think for so many years and haven’t dared get the actual facts.

As humans all we want is to belong! We don’t want to be isolated so we panic that people may think negatively of us. That we might get pushed out of the social circle.

But if we focus too much on what others think, we can start to change who we really are. We may people a merge of everyone we know and lose our unique personalities. This can genuinely affect our functioning as we have too many identities, we just don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Caring what others think in moderation can be helpful. I love to talk, so caring whether the other person thinks I’m talking too much, is helpful!

Would you dare ask your friends and family what they think of you?

describe me in three words

I shared this graphic on my social media platforms! I was pleasantly surprised by the response. Such kind words from friends, family and colleagues.

The people who don’t like us won’t comment and that’s okay. Not everyone will like us. Were not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. We shouldn’t care what they think anyway.

So I suggest re-posting the ‘Describe me in 3 words’ graphic on your social media platforms and look forward to the response.

I made the words into a word cloud on WordItOut and created this…

word it out word cloud

The bigger words are what more people said about me. I suggest looking at those most frequent words and seeing if your happy with them. They will give you a key indication of your Core Values. These are things that you live by and summarise the best version of you!

My Top 5 words are: Kind Caring Thoughtful Beautiful Determined 

If you don’t feel the words summarise you, you can take small steps to change this and show people different sides of you. Personally, I would like people to see me as positive and optimistic so will be working on this! After all, we have so many layers to us, like onions (for those who love Shrek)!

Go the distance for you

Chloe

Embrace the Lagom Lifestyle: The Basics

I first heard the term Lagom in a focus group on Compassionate Focused Therapy (CFT)  three months after our course. A colleague sat in the room with a completely different presence. She seemed bright, wide-eyed and with an overall feeling of happiness. After a brief conversation she said that following the CFT group she has looked into Hygee and Lagom and had implemented simple self-care tips along the way to support her mindfulness practices. I had heard of Hygee (Danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment) but I hadn’t heard of Lagom.

Following this, the Mister bought me the book Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well by Lola A. Akerstrom. I was hooked and within 10 days the little book was complete. Here I will share my thoughts and simple strategies of how you can implement Lagom into your lifestyle.

embrace the lagom lifestyle

Firstly, how an earth do you say it?! It’s pronounced ‘Law-gum’.

Where Hygee represents a special feeling within a moment, Lagom represents a lifestyle.

It means

  • not too much, not too little
  • balance
  • everything in moderation
  • the happy medium
  • above all… harmony.

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Communication

Lagom doesn’t make time for showing off, exaggerations or big-headedness, as this would disrupt the equilibrium between you and your friend. So the lesson would be to listen more and speak less. Remembering that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason; this ratio should be used.

The Swedish society tends to avoid small talk and chitter-chatter. Their conversations surround meaningful and enriching topics. They embrace what we would call ‘awkward silences’ and enjoy the presence of others. For our British culture, would we mis-interpret this as rude or ignorant?

Home

Within a Swedish home, you wouldn’t see chaotic scenes of children running around the house, parents shouting to get their breakfast and everyone feeling stressed. You would feel a calm atmosphere and see the family sat around the table having breakfast together before they take on the day.

With regards to the Kitchen, Swedish meals reflect the seasons with the produce used being in-season and appropriate for the climate. They tend to use local producers, grow their own or forage from the land. When serving meals, they put on their plate what they know they can eat; remembering that others need to eat too.



Interior design is a favourite subject of mine. Lagom and Minimalism share very similar concepts. A great place to start is by de-cluttering, if things aren’t practical or don’t have an emotional tie to you then they can go. The Swedish home focuses on brightening up spaces as they have 5 months of the year in mostly darkness. So natural light, neutral walls and lamps are used to lift spirits to avoid negative feelings in wintery months. Fresh plants and flowers clear the air and also promote a sense of wellbeing! Upcycling fits well into Lagom. Give items additional functionality by repurposing them. Remember the other R’s too; recycle and reuses to avoid waste.

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Self Care

With the rise in social media and the world wide web, more than ever we feel constantly connected. As ‘sociable’ as this is, it can have a negative effect when trying to build a balanced life. So you may be due a digital detox (past blog here on this).

The word ‘no’ slips off a Swedes tongue much more easily than a Brit. We find it so difficult to say ‘no’, but if we did we would be able to maintain balance and work much more efficiently, waste less time and increase our valuable time.

Why not join a club and enjoy your hobby with others? Take your singing in the car to a choir, take your dance moves to a salsa class or find out your old paintbrushes and join an art class. Spending time with like-minded people will relight your passion aswell as opening up a new network of friends.

30 Self Care Ideas are featured on my past blog too!

Fashion and Beauty

Who has an overflowing makeup case and a wardrobe that doesn’t close, yet still say ‘I have nothing to wear’? It may be time to simplify your beauty regimes and slim line the closet. No makeup days would give you skin chance to breathe. If you haven’t worn pieces of clothing for 3-6months it would recommend selling on eBay, Gumtree or donating to charity shops.

I have implemented this by putting a small makeup back with my everyday essentials (5 pieces of makeup). Also, I have been selling old clothing for funds for travel. It makes life so much easier when you have less to choose from. When buying new clothes, it is recommended that if you can think of 5 different ways to wear the piece of clothing, you can buy it. If not, put it back on the rack.

Why not visit charity shops or vintage stores? You often can get high quality pieces for a fraction of the price. On recent charity shop trip I found a dungaree skirt for £3! The charity shop was having a 50% sale so I walked out with this skirt, a jumper for work, a work dress and dress for travelling for a total of £10!

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Goal Setting

When it comes to goals and Lagom, it can be difficult to get your head round. As Lagom states ‘everything in moderation’ so where does this sit when it comes to pushing towards a goal to achieve success? The tips that are suggested are setting measureable goals that you can break down into smaller achievable steps. Focusing solely on the ultimate goal may yield a sense of failure month by month as you’re not living your ultimate life. But if you focus on the small steps towards that goal, this will reduce the chance of self-punishment while maintaining balance within your life.

Work

Are you a manager of a team? If you are, why not try creating a relaxing atmosphere around your employees, listen to their concerns and ideas and promote work-life balance. Delegate tasks to ensure balance of your work load, but accept when you employees say ‘no’ so they can maintain their own balanced work load.

Take your lunch away from your desk. We deserve time to mindfully tea without multi-tasking. After all, we are entitled to a break and often aren’t paid for 30-60mins of the day for a break. As our work place doesn’t have a staff room, I turn my PC off, turn away from my desk or take my lunch outside in summery months.

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Money

When it comes to money, Lagom wants us to take control of our finances so we can occasionally indulge without falling into debt. How many of us put money away for a rainy day? This safety net will also create piece of mind that your okay if your washing machine breaks… you have it under control.

‘Buy Cheap, Buy Twice’ is key here too. It’s much better to save for a quality piece than buy a cheaper item multiple times. Simple small steps on a daily basis, add up over the months and years. For example, a pack up for lunch instead of eating out or writing a shopping list and sticking to it.

Eco Living

Finally here are the Lagom tips for living an eco-friendly life!

  • More showers than baths
  • Bulk wash in dishwasher than hand-washing pots
  • Turn off the lights
  • Recycle
  • Use refillable bottles
  • Use reuseable bags
  • Switch to LED lights
  • Hang clothes out to dry
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Upcycle instead of throwing out
  • Wash clothes at 40 not 60
  • Grow your own
  • Sell or donate clothes

Go the Distance in your Lagom Lifestyle

Chloe

The Basics of Yoga

Getting to this time of year, I do wonder how many people are still using there gym membership they bought in January. A new years resolution that stuck until February… March? Well I was one of them… I even had a personal trainer but without accountability I didn’t continue to use the gym after my 10 sessions.

So I have been a loyal investor of £10 a month to Exercise4Less until now… when I quit officially. I find home exercise much more appealing, especially in the winter months. In my opinion its too cold and dark to venture out. Sometimes even a home HIIT session is too much for me but Yoga… I always have time for yoga.

I wonder if anyone else has a favourite fitness… for some its running, gym, HIIT but for me it’s definitely yoga!

the basics of yoga

So what is Yoga?

Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation. It was developed in India over 5000 years ago!

  • The poses or postures are a series of movements that increase strength and flexibility
  • Controlling your breathing helps control your body and quietens your mind
  • Meditation is where you learn to be more mindful and be present in the moment

A number of studies have found that Yoga…

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • enhances your mood
  • creates a sense of well-being
  • improves your balance, flexibility and strength
  • reduces risk factors for chronic disease like heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Helps alleviate conditions such as depression, pain and insomnia.

Plus…it’s an exercise that almost anyone can do too!

In my Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we took a yoga pose each day to master and I invite you to take a look too.

Foundations of Yoga

The foundation to yoga is simply breathing. This connects your mind and body

Let’s say your at work and your boss critics your work, your not meeting deadline or don’t have the right equipment to do your job. You tense up, you feel your head pounding, your jaw tighten… this is a perfect moment to practice by just breathing.

  • Take a few moments
  • Sit in your chair, feet flat on the floor and observe your breathing.
  • Don’t change it just observe it. Your heart might be racing or you may be holding your breath.
  • Then try to gently lengthen each breathe on each inhale and exhale.
  • Count silently to three… then four… then five.
  • Your heart rate will slow
  • Your neck, shoulder and jaw will loosen
  • You may even say your relaxed

This frame of mind will be able to handle the situation much better. May be worth a try the next time life pushes your buttons.

Childs

 

Let’s start with Childs Pose…

  1. Kneel on the floor… touch your big toes together and sit on your heels
  2. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips
  3. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs
  4. Lay your hand on the floor alongside your torso, palms up

This is a resting pose that you can stay in from 30 seconds to a few minutes

Why do Childs Pose?

  • It stretches the hips and thighs
  • It calms the brain and relives stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain
  • Stimulates your digestion

Step further?

  1. T o increase the length in your torso, stretch your arms forward
  2. Lift your bum slightly away from your heels
  3. Reach the arms longer while you draw your shoulders back
  4. Without moving your hand, sit your bum back on the heels

Cat Cow

 

Cat-Cow Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips
  2. Point your finger tips forward
  3. Centre your head and look downwards
  4. Cow Pose – Inhale as you drop your belly, lift your chin and chest and gaze upwards
  5. Cat Pose – Exhale as you draw your belly up and round your back towards the ceiling (like a stretching cat)
  6. Release your head looking towards the floor but don’t put your chin yo your chest
  7. Repeat 5-20 times and then rest by sitting back on your heels and moving into Child pose for a few minutes

Troubleshooting

  • If your wrists hurt, place your forearms on the floor
  • If your knees hurt double over your mat or put a blanket under your knees

Benefits of acting like a cow?

  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Stimulates the kidneys
  • Calms the mind
  • Develops postural awareness and can reduce back pain when practised regularly

Warrior

Are you a fierce warrior?

  1. Begin in a tall strong posture (Mountain Pose)
  2. Step or lightly jump your feet apart
  3. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and out to the sides
  4. Turn your right foot to the right slightly and left foot the left 90 degrees
  5. Turn your left thigh outward
  6. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle
  7. Stretch your arms
  8. Pull your tailbone in
  9. Turn your head to the left and look over your fingers
  10. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute
  11. Reverse the feet and repeat on the right side

Apart from feeling super powerful the warrior pose is great for

  • Strengthening your legs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backache
  • Improves circulation

 

Tree

Want to improve your sense of balance… tree pose is for you!

  1. Start in your mountain pose and focus on your breathe
  2. Once settled, shift your weight slightly onto the left foot and bend your right knee
  3. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle
  4. Draw your right foot up onto your inner left thigh
  5. If you can press the right heel into your inner left groin with toes pointing down
  6. Rest your hands on your hips
  7. Then slowly press your hands together and faze at a fixed point in front of you
  8. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute
  9. Step back into mountain pose and do the same on the other leg

Troubleshooting

  • If you feel really unsteady and wobbly, stand with your back against a wall

This pose it great for improving your balance!

Take it a step further…

  • Practice with your eyes closed
  • Stretch your arms straight up
  • or form a V with your arms

Within the Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we shared our poses to build up a sense of accountability to practising daily! I hope these poses have given you a taster into the world of yoga. A rug is all you need to do yoga from home.

I personally love Yoga with Adriene’s you tube channel, I regularly see her in my morning’s and I have continued to increase my flexibility, core strength and balance as well as peace of mind throughout her sessions.

Go the Distance for your Health and Wellbeing

Chloe.

Drop a Pumpkin in 4 weeks

So me and the mister are celebrating our year anniversary this weekend… and what a year it has been. We have slept in over 20 different beds in over 10 different cities and we have had the best time!

But like in all great relationships, the waistline can begin to grow as you become more and more comfortable with one another. That’s where I was at. I have never been able to put on weight, I have a super metabolism and can literally eat what every I want. But… a year of this meant I gained a muffin top! Nowhere else… just on my stomach, the last place you want it to go!

Regardless of the muffin top, I still had a slim figure but i felt lethargic, sluggish and quite frankly a bit crap. I have had some crazy symptoms that have resembled fibromyalgia with pains going down one side of my face, arm and leg. I had no energy and was tired after a 8 hour working day in the office. My mood had times of being so low and my anxiety sometimes sky high. I knew something wasn’t right but no amount of medication, trips to the doctor, blood tests seemed to figure out what an earth was up with me.

It wasn’t until I was two weeks into Clean Eating that I had a lightblub moment. The rubbish I had been feeding myself was having such an effect on my physical health.

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So what have I been doing?

Me and the mister took on a four week clean eating plan that is supported by safe supplements. Eating clean means…

No gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no sugar, no processed food, no alcohol.

I replaced my non-existent breakfasts with a meal replacement shake, had two healthy meals and supplements that supported digestion, fibre levels, energy and brain function.

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Our bodies knew exactly what to do with all the goodness we gave it. In total we lost 10lbs … the exact weight of this pumpkin! I must admit we did look rather strange in Sainsburys weighing all these pumpkins to find the right one!

I lost 19 cm from my waist and hip measurements and 4lbs. The mister lost 16 cm from his chest, waist and hip measurements too and 6lbs.

You can find our before and after pictures here, on our Healthy and Happy support group. Whoever said that the last place it comes off is your stomach was wrong. That’s where all of our weight came off. I was rather pleased that none came off my boobs I must admit!

But it was a challenge… I had the funniest cravings for the strangest of things for a good two weeks. Anything I wasn’t allowed I craved for and the tuck shop at work was a reminder every day! I was grumpy for the first week and felt hungry even though I was eating more than ever.

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However, everyday I looked forward to my herbal tea instead of a cuppa with two sugars and I even looked forward to my breakfast shake.

Being accountable to the Mister definitely helped. I genuinely don’t think i would have stuck to it without him. He has amazing determination and sticks to things by the letter and I do love him for that.

The social support I feel is the most important part of taking on a clean eating challenge. If you, your partner and family are doing it together it will integrate into your lifestyle much easier. It will become a way of living and will be sustainable for the future, as you live by the 80/20 rule. This is why we have created a support group for all those people wanting to create healthy habits.

We welcome people from all over the world who have a desire to become Healthy and Happy (click the banner to find our group).

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Go the Distance for your Health

Chloe.

 

30 Self Care Ideas

30 Self Care Ideams

Here you will find 30 self care ideas. Now the reason I have wrote these is because we rarely take the time to look after ourselves. I am surrounded by the most amazing people that focus on helping, supporting, caring and even attempting to rescue people around them. However, we often neglect to look after ourselves. Its often the case that the advice we give other people we don’t actually implement for ourselves. The phrase ‘practice what you preach’ comes to mind. Sometimes, I sit back and think ‘that was bloody good advice’ why don’t I listen to it, I know I would feel great if I listened to myself!
So this list is for YOU. When you read it your not allowed to think about other people and what they could benefit from. Focus on you!
When was the last time you actually had a bath, lit your candles and used your best spa range?
When was the last time you went for a walk without the distractions of your phone?
When  was the last time you sat down and read a book with a herbal tea in hand?
When did you last take time for you?
Our lives are so hectic in this day and age, that time for yourself gets put to the bottom of the priority list. But I always say you have to look after yourself first before you can be any use to anyone else. If your running around, like a headless chicken and not giving yourself time to re-coop you will end up crashing or at ‘burn out’ walking through life like a zombie! At that point you are no use to anyone, yourself, your children, partner, friends or family!
I recommend taking one thing from this list a week to start with. Schedule it in your diary as a ‘self care hour’ then it’s booked and everything else can work around it. You will thank your self so much and when you establish a routine you will be surprised about how great you will feel and want to do more and more. You can build up to a daily self care activity as part of your morning routine to set yourself up for the day (blog coming soon on this). This ‘power hour’ will honestly change your life as you see it now. Start small, at once a week and see for yourself the difference it can make.
Last week I really enjoyed my walk in the woods with no distractions. This was an idea from Robin Sharma’s podcast which is a great listen. This coming week I will be re establishing my yoga routine as I am all out of sync from my recent house move!
I would love to hear what one thing your going to do for you next week!
Go the distance for you, your future self will thank you!
Chloe.

 

Unplugging from the world with a Digital Detox

Recently I have had an increased awareness of the reliance I have on the Internet, in so many parts of my life. Now… as an online entrepreneur I recognise the huge benefit’s of the information era. Without it this blog wouldn’t reach a global audience, nor could I run a part-time online business around my full-time job, and I wouldn’t be able to connect with my international friends … the list can continue on and on.

However, I have a feeling that the technology revolution is being abused by using it for literally everything! Let’s think… how many times have you said or done the following in the last two weeks.

  • ‘Oh I don’t know… I’ll just Google it’
  • Scrolling mindlessly through Facebook
  • Watching cat videos for a quick giggle
  • ‘I wonder how many likes I’ve got’
  • Spying on celebrities lives
  • Pinning every home DIY idea on Pinterest
  • The list of unhealthy habits can continue

So the first step is awareness, the second is doing something about it! As we had a holiday to Fuerteventura booked I thought this would be the perfect time to do a digital detox, escape from being constantly connected in order to break the habit and create a healthy relationship to WiFi.

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As I arrived at Manchester airport, the aeroplane mode was switched on and stayed on for a whole 7 days. I guess I best tell you what I found.

The time. How many of us go to look at our phone purely for the time? But then get distracted by the numerous notifications on our home screen, which you just ‘have’ to read. To then 10 minutes later forget you only actually meant to check the time. The old school invention of the watch… literally is timeless. Putting my beautiful Olivia Burton watch on this holiday (a gift from my best friend Hannah) helped me not reach for my smart phone when all I needed was the time.

Often there are times on holiday when you simply are doing nothing. This is a rarity in our hectic corporate lives where there is a need to be doing something every second of every day in order to get everything done, in the limited 24 hours a day we have. So I found the time I was most likely to pick up my phone was in times of nothing-ness (I don’t want to use the word boredom as that word has negative connotations which are holiday was not). My replacement for surfing the internet was reading. I took away with me two books The Compassionate Mind and Personality Plus which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes I chose not to read and instead engaged in simple deep breathing mindfulness exercises to appreciate my surroundings.

 

With tired eyes on the plane journeys the mister leant me his Beatz headphones to listen to the audio books I had downloaded on my iPod (and to drown out the sound of screaming children). In 8 hours of travelling I listened to ‘How to stop worrying and start living‘ by Dale Carnegie and an inspiration talk by Nick Vujicic named ‘No arms no legs’ all without opening my eyes. Great time leverage there!

I was listening to a Ted Talk by Tania Mulry named ‘Need a digital detox?‘ who said it’s been discovered that the feeling you get when you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket and it’s not even there is the same feeling amputee’s get when they lose a limb. The Phantom Limb Syndrome we experience shows how we see our phones as an extension to our body!

Since returning the UK and plugging back into the world, I have questioned myself much more and noticed the technology addiction all around me. There is genuinely nothing worse than looking around in a restaurant to see a family of four at the table with children being kept quiet with over stimulating iPad apps and the parents sat staring mindlessly at the phone probably posting about the ‘incredible time’ there having not talking to one another.

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I have always been known as the ‘difficult to get hold of’ person with phrases such as ‘what’s the point in having a phone if you don’t answer it’ being thrown at me. But I like it that way… I tend not to drop everything in that instant moment to pick up a call as I value the task I’m doing more. If it’s an emergency a text will follow to say ‘ring me asap’ to which I can prioritise that over my task. Often people are offended if you don’t reply instantly when you are ‘Online’ or ‘Active’ however, these streams are used for my business and I’m technically working.

I worry about people behind closed doors. Your own lives and your 800 Facebook ‘friends’ lives look so perfect only highlighting the best bits. However, this gives a distorted view of what life is like, after all without the occasional low you wouldn’t notice the highs. Although I definitely do not want to be exposed to negative moaning status’ I just worry about those who are having a rainy day when everyone else is enjoying the sunshine. We can often feel so alone, like digital hermits, holding out for so many ‘Likes’ to increase your confidence and self-esteem – it can be so dangerous to our mental health. I find it interesting that even Steve Jobs set strict limits on his children’s gadget time. The creator himself obviously see’s the hidden dangers too.

So what can you do to get the most out of technology without it taking over your life:

  • Use social media to organise seeing your friends and family in person – embrace face to face, belly to belly connections
  • Take the time to appreciate the small moments around you
  • Turn off your notifications so you’re not constantly interrupted – Multi-tasking is a myth!
  • Have a purpose for your phone visit – get in and get out!
  • Set limits for checking in with your social media streams so you don’t get trapped scrolling for hours.
  • Leave your phone in your handbag, another room or leave it behind – give it a go!
  • Wear your watch so you don’t have extra temptations when looking at your phone purely for the time.
  • Try a filter free one shot only instagram picture
  • Unplug an hour before bedtime to help you get a better nights sleep
  • Use aeroplane mode when you need time to focus
  • Create a self-care ideas list to work your way through when your bored
  • When you are posting and commenting add value to people’s lives

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’ – Anne Lamott

Go the Distance

Chloe

How to thrive in a Long Distance Relationship

Since September 2016, long distance dating which then led to a long distance relationship, became a huge part of my life. When the mister turned up on my doorstep to surprise me on my 24th birthday my world completely changed… for the better! The whole dynamics of my days, weeks and months shifted and I would like to share my experiences and advice along the way to making a long distance relationship work.

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I feel that the most important thing is mindset (for all aspects of life in fact). If you think it will work, or you think it won’t,  you’re probably right! With respect to long distance relationships, if you think ‘this is so hard, I miss him so much, I have to travel sooo far’ you are going to see your relationship as a sacrifice. A relationship should enhance your life not be a hindrance. Quite often in the ‘honeymoon’ stage of the relationship the distance is novel, new and exciting and therefore, can be tolerated. For many this feeling can wear off but you can maintain this honeymoon experience purely with a positive mindset.

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For example…
The travel time, for me personally its a two hour journey without traffic and up to four when they decide to close the motorway on a Sunday night! For the mister, he has a four to six hour journey now his work placement is technically in a different country…. Wales! I make the most out of these journeys with podcasts, audio books and my favourite music playlist blasting out for a good old sing song. In our busy busy lives driving can actually become a therapeutic place to relax, enjoy the ride and have time to be alone with your own thoughts (positive ones only!). I have listened to numerous self care, personal development and business focused audios and even started to learn Spanish! Without the travel time I wouldn’t make the time for these activities that will make a difference to our lives now and in the future.

The working week can be hectic especially when you need to cram everything in including washing, ironing, and cleaning before you disappear for the weekend. Even though your long distance relationship is based on a weekend, you still need to make a commitment to time on a daily basis to catch up with one another. The beauty of a mobile phone ey! Even though we both have busy lives we know each others schedule to find the best times to catch one another. We used to have the same travel to work times so a morning hands-free call on the way to work was the best way to start my day. Even with a change in working hours, he now rings me during my morning self-care routine (blog coming soon on this). This again is a great way to start my day hearing him sing down the phone at 7.00 am.

Technology offers so many ways to feel closer no matter how distant you are. WhatsApp voice notes I particularly like as it gives a personal touch that a text message and emoji often cant portray. Video calls, again through WhatsApp are perfect for bed time. Balancing your phone on your bed side cabinet, in the perfect angle to make you feel like you are side by side is as close as it gets to the real thing. I have also noticed the quality of the conversation is much better too… as you can tell if their not listening, scrolling on Facebook or checking the football score as you speak…so it tends not to happen. I don’t believe in multi tasking … our brains can’t handle it and I much prefer to be in the present moment but I too am guilty of being distracted during these calls. Don’t do it …be present!

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Skype dates are a new thing for us too… a great idea that we still haven’t tried. The mister had this great idea to get dressed up for our virtual dinner date, cook our own meals but sit at the table with the video call set up for a virtual date. I loved this idea and even poured some Schloer (it was a school night) and candle lit the table. Ready and waiting… he surprised me at my door step, it was Valentines day after all.  As amazing as this surprise was I’m still waiting for our virtual date.

The relationship review… a concept a friend of mine introduced to me too at the time made me giggle. Sitting in the bath with no distractions while you talk through the positives and the room for improvement elements of your relationship was an interesting idea that we have adapted. When life gets stressful and too much we often sit back reflect and try find solutions to move forward. It may be that your finding that you never see your close friends for guys or girly nights out, or that the quality shopping time with your mum has disappeared and this is playing on your mind. Whatever it is, discuss it when together in the bath or on a long drive I think are the best places. Express how you feel and open the question up to your partner to suggest solutions… you will find that they are more than happy to support you and may be experiencing similar things.

A balanced life is important and often other aspects of your life will fall on a weekend. Instead of moaning and groaning at one another find a way for it to work for both of you. If I have to work on a weekend for a few hours, the mister will sign himself up for a free trial of a local gym and use their facilities for hours on end. We both make the most of this time. The mister also volunteers at a local community garden centre as a way to escape the corporate world which is extremely important to him. So what do I do… I come down to watch him at work, chill in the sun, with a cuppa and a brownie and  actually write this blog!

There are many perks to having a long distance relationship. The majority of long distance relationships work on a ‘get your shit done working-week’ and ‘weekend romance’ schedule. It is amazing with a bit of organisation how much you can get done after your working day in preparation for a free weekend. This gives you quality time together, something that is often missed in the ‘normal’ relationship. You find yourself, dressing up and looking your best, soaking up each others presence and appreciating every small gesture in a compressed amount of time. You savour these moments, that can often go unnoticed, until the next weekend. Wherever you see a potential negative to a long distance relationship, turn it in a positive. Be grateful for the tough times that come your way as they will only make your relationship stronger. The patience, commitment and appreciation for one another that you will find in a long distance relationship will prepare you for the future when you eventually live under the same roof.

Go the distance in your relationships,
Chloe