Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

5 ways to beat the winter blues and make the most out of the chilly season


Winter is a tough season.  The temperatures plummet.  We hibernate inside and see very little of the sun and we have more time to reflect and get inside our heads.  This is where attitude comes into play.  Do we decide to be introspective and use the reflection time to really get the best out of our new year following the winter solstice?  Or do we become glum and start to sink into habits of focusing on negative things.

I personally consider myself to be a positive person but I have found especially over the last few weeks that I have been looking at things from such a negative perspective.  There are some great tools that I have been taught and have picked up over the years that can help us to kick the winter blues.  Take it in your stride to take this time inside your cocoon and make your metamorphosis for summer truly beautiful.

Journal:  I am a very verbal person.  I like to talk a lot and I work out what is going on in my head by discussing it with other people.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of making those people we care about our person doodle pad for our thought process.  Writing down your inner dialogue and getting all the words out is a great healing tool and can help you make clearer decisions without trying to untangle it all in your head or get the people nearest and dearest to you to absorb your verbal diarrhea. This is especially relatable to when we want to talk about what is going wrong with work, friendships, financial woes.  Save your journal time for the majority of your negative talk.  This doesn’t discredit or take away from the fact that it is important and nice to fill your spouse, friends, and family in on what’s happening in your life but there is a limit.  Remember to talk about your joys and your goals as well.

Play:  Let your hair down!  Schedule time to go out and put all the thinking behind for an evening or a day.  For me, my letting my hair down time is when I go out dancing.  I love music and expressing myself. Dancing is the perfect art form for me in this case.  For you it may be taking a stroll and really connecting with mother nature.  It could be taking a class of some kind or going and seeing a movie.  Whatever makes you smile and laugh, do it!.  Life doesn’t have to be so serious 100% of the time and even though we can’t bask in the sunlight doesn’t mean we should be mopey and depressed.  Don’t forget to do the things that make you joyous.

Meditate:  Practising meditation on a daily basis is so so powerful! Guided meditations are on Youtube by the boat load so I encourage you to have a hunt on there and find some to suit you.  A lot of people get put off meditation because they have been told that they need to completely clear their mind.  Even Buddhists with a lot of practice can have trouble doing this.  It is not expected of a beginner to be able to perfect this! Visualization and relaxation meditations are a great one to do in the evenings before bed.  I do this every evening and often fall asleep to them.  I wake up feeling cleared and refreshed.

Create:  Making things, whether it is art, baking, music or writing letters is so powerful.  We all have sides to us that are creative and creative expression is a wonderful thing that leads to making us feel generally happier.  I have personally been getting into cooking recently.  I have been getting so much out of learning my new skill and creating things that are tasty to eat.  Such a practical skill that I had never really invested in learning before.  It is the simple things that count so don’t worry….I am not suggesting that you become Michaelangelo overnight.

Get more sleep:  Number one recommendation for winter!  Make sure you get enough of your beauty rest.  I am a big hypocrite on this point as I am notorious for staying up late but winter is a fantastic time to hibernate and get those few extra hours of shut eye.  I personally find that winter drains me more than summer and I need more hours of sleep to feel energized.

We have reached the middle point now so not long to go and it will be spring.  Hang in there.

hannahThis guest post was written by Hannah Gaisford. Hannah is passionate about enjoying life and getting the most out of it – and helping others to do the same. She gives angel and tarot card readings and spiritual advice. Find out more and connect with Hannah here >>

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Passion@work – how to find a career you’ll love


To be inspired is to be in spirit – a place that comes from your soul.” ~ Cassandra Gaisford, Psychologist, Coach and Author

Some people believe that you go to work, grit your teeth and bear it. Others say that it is unrealistic to expect job satisfaction. But these views couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are just a few examples of people who have turned their interests into fulfilling careers.

(This is an excerpt from Happy@work: Job-hunting and career changing for mid-lifers, the last edition sold out but a new edition will be available soon in ebook, print and audiobook.]

Joy spent years as a legal conveyancer – but wanted to do something more creative. One day she was driving to work, stuck in traffic, thinking, “What am I doing? This just isn’t me.” She was passionate about interiors and fabrics, and all her life she had dreamed of owning her own store. She left the security of her steady wage to start up ‘Maypole @ Biggie Best,’ a successful interior design store. Joy’s my mum!

Maree was unemployed, but felt passionate about weaving. Her passion gave her the energy and courage to start selling her creations and now they are in demand all over the world and she employs more than 15 people.

Louise hated her job as a lawyer until she discovered how she could link her passion for animal welfare with her skills as a lawyer. She now works for an international animal rights organisation and wakes up every day looking forward to going to work, knowing she is making a difference in an area she feels passionate about.
Jasmine survived redundancy by purchasing an irrigation business – in this way she was able to combine her love of the outdoors and gardening.

Nora complained that even though she was good at what she did nobody ever asked her if she enjoyed it. The trouble was she had lost sight of her own interests and enthusiasms too. Coaching helped her to tap into her life-long fascination with books. She is now pursuing a career as a literary agent – combining her legal skills and passion for literature.

Start an inspiration file and gather examples of other people following their bliss. Use these virtual mentors to inspire your own quest for more passion at work.

“Love is not only something you feel. It’s something you do.” ~ David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church, New York City

Look for synchronistic support

The more passion and zest you feel, the more alive and brightly lit you are. When you follow your bliss you can’t help but tune into and attract opportunities that allow you to express and act upon the things that most interest you.

For years I have been collecting articles about passionate people. I am passionate about passion! It wasn’t a rational decision. I didn’t plan to be passionate about it.

Only when I sat down and consciously thought about how I could make a living from the things that interested me did the penny fall. Then almost by magic people came into my life who provided further support to my dreams. I began to write down in my journal some of my ideas, even though I had no idea how I was ever going to make my dreams a reality.

But step-by-step little coincidences began to build, and before I knew it I was on my way to building a business where helping people follow their passions was a core theme. The truth is when passions collide expect to be hired!

From Student to Gallery Assistant

Jane came to see me for career coaching. She was a woman in her 40s and the single parent of a seven year old. The year previously she had started studying toward a Bachelor in Interior Design. While the area interested her, she wasn’t enjoying all the computer work involved in the course and was feeling increasingly isolated. She also feared that after four years of study she may not find a job. As we talked, it became clear that interior design was not her true passion.

Initially she asked me to help her find a job. She had been applying for lots of jobs but with limited success, and was beginning to feel despondent about the chances of finding a job that would allow her to be home for her son when he finished school, and that would offer the flexibility she needed.

We worked through a dream job exercise to help her focus her efforts more successfully and she suddenly became really animated and excited. “Ever since I’ve been in the seventh form I’ve always wanted to be an art dealer. I’ve always believed my purpose is to promote art and help creative people make a living from their creativity. It’s crazy – I had completely forgotten.”

Together we worked on several strategies to help bring her dream into a reality including market research and informational interviewing. Collecting images of her dream gallery and presenting these on a ‘story board’ helped make her dreams more real. “I’m so excited – I can really feel my passion growing. This is what I really want to do!”

As a result of her market research, Jane resurrected a partially completed arts degree and is now studying marketing and art history at university. Several weeks later she ran into a woman who owned a gallery and was offered a part time job helping them market their exhibitions. “I can’t believe it. This is my dream job. The gallery is exactly how I imagined it on my story board – it’s even got an architecture studio attached, so it combines all my passions. I feel so lucky. I’m so excited.”

The truth is when you are clear about who you are, what you have to offer and where your passions collide expect to be hired!

There is no such thing as a career path any more – it’s crazy paving and you lay it yourself.” ~ Anon

the choice is yours