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October, 2016

How to Stay Balanced When You Have A Million Things to Do!

By October 30, 2016 Balance, Career, Organsation and Planning
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Sometimes it seems like life just gets busier and busier.  Are you constantly rushing around day long? Have even hobbies started to feel like a drain on your time? Or are you thinking “hobbies, who has time for hobbies?”?  It might be time to pause and restore some balance to your life.  Limiting time spent on certain things and taking the time to look after yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you will get less done.  To the contrary, if you have a defined time to get tasks done in, and start out refreshed and enthusiastic rather than exhausted and deflated you may be much more productive!

Here are 13 tips for finding balance in a busy lifestyle.

 

  1. Set boundaries and goals to stay focussed on what matters

Is work or some other aspect of your life taking over a lot more time than you think it should?  Assess what you want to achieve in this area, what is needed to achieve that goal and what is extra.  Create a timetable to allow you limits the time spent but that will allow you to reach your goals.

  1. Do a little each day; something is better than nothing

Having just been through one of the busiest periods in my life, I found exercise really, really hard to fit in/be motivated enough to do.  I am now fitting in just 10-15 minutes of exercise per day.  But it has actually made a huge difference in how I feel and is something that I can commit to as there is no excuse for not finding 10 minutes in the day!

  1. Actually…aim to juggle rather than balance

I’m a firm believer that if you really want to do something, then you can find a way to fit it into your life…at some point.  But no one can do everything every day.  There may be some things you can only spend time on a couple of times a week.  There may be some things that you want to try for a certain period at some point in your life (eg. run a marathon) but may or may not want to continue indefinitely.

  1. Take refreshing breaks, for example

-getting up for a few minutes after every hour at your desk

-having a mid-week evening out

-taking holidays; A great piece of advice I was given when I started working was that the best time to start planning a holiday is as soon as you get back from a holiday.  That way you always have something to look forward to.

  1. Indulge in a few little treats each day such as:

listening to an uplifting podcast on your commute, having a bubble bath, a hot cup of tea while reading a good book, a luxurious piece of dark chocolate…whatever helps you feel relaxed, positive or energised

  1. Take care of your body:

-have a generally healthy diet with some occasional treats

-get enough sleep, and ideally have a regular sleep pattern

-get some exercise, a little regularly is better than none at all

  1. Take care of your mind and spirit

-regularly stimulate your mind with new skills and information, thought-provoking books movies and  conversation, travel and generally get out of your comfort zone from time to time

-regularly relax your mind: read or watch something relaxing, consider trying a new stress-release technique (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation etc.)

-indulge your creative side: cook, bake, draw, paint, write, make music, dance, whatever you like

  1. Take the time to look fabulous

Ever noticed how the way you dress and groom can affect the way you feel and behave? Wear something that makes you feel confident and together.

  1. Invest in quality time with those you care about

-talk, have fun with and relax with family and friends

  1. Consider regularly doing something to help someone else

It might just help you feel better/more balanced/in perspective too.

  1. It’s OK to go “all-out” for short, defined periods of time

We all go through periods in life where there is some sort of major deadline (such as an exam) and one thing can take over almost every waking minute.  That’s OK, just try to make sure there is a defined end to this crazily busy time and maybe plan something to look forward to when it’s over.

  1. Remember…things change

Life is dynamic, circumstances change, we change… Roll with the punches and regularly reassess how things are working.  Consider if your schedule needs to be tweaked or if something doesn’t fit your life anymore and needs to be let go to create room for new things.

Have a wonderful week!

 

*this article first appeared as a guest post on www.nzgirl.co.nz

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Sultana Bran Autumn Apple Crumble -a quick, delicious, and wholesome dessert for a busy autumn week-night

By October 21, 2016 Recipes
a quick and easy dessert for weeknights

I love throwing an elaborate dinner party or doing a batch of baking in the weekend when time allows, but  so often, life gets busy and food preparation needs to be quick and easy.  And at these times of stress its more important than ever to eat food that nourishes your body and soul.

We have been enjoying an abundance of fresh autumn apples and the last of the summer berries.  This recipe contains the goodness of fruit, a lashing of something creamy, and a crunchy crumble in caramelized honey.  If you cook and puree or mash the apples in advance, it then only takes 5 minutes to put together

 Ingredients (serves 3-4)

2 cups of apple puree (fresh apples peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed)

1 cup of Sultana Bran (or other bran flakes)

2 T butter

2T honey

A dollop of crème fraiche or greek yoghurt per person

Fresh berries to garnish

 

Instructions

1.      Slightly crush the Sultana Bran so that the pieces are about ¼ the size of a whole flake

2.      Put the Sultana Bran into a small pot and add the butter and stir on high heat

3.      Once the butter starts to melt, add the honey

4.      Continue stirring until the the mixture starts to clump, and looks glossy and crispy, then take it off the heat

5.      Put the apple puree into dessert bowls and top with the Sultana Bran crumble

6.      Create a contrast to the warm crumble by adding a dollop of crème fraiche or greek yoghurt and garnish with berries.

Bon appetite!

a quick and easy dessert for weeknights

*this post was published first on nzgirl.co.nz

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Tips For Relocating to Another Country

By October 17, 2016 Organsation and Planning, Travel
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Its been awhile since my last post, because I have been busy moving all the way across the world from Auckland, New Zealand, to London!  For a number of reasons it was a particularly crazy time leading up to the move, but we made it!  Here is how I got organized…

 

Arranging Work

In the interest of keeping a stable income going,  you may want to organise a job before moving.  It is becoming more and more common to interview by skype or phone these days, which is exactly what I did in order to secure a job prior to booking a flight.  So consider updating your Linkedin profile, joining up with a recruitment agency, looking at job advertisements and following up any potential contacts you may have well in advance.

Work permits/visas can take months to arrange, so look into what is required and apply well in advance.  Also, if applicable, check if there are any particular professional qualification/registration requirements you need to fulfil to work in the country you are moving to.

Once you have accepted a job, liaise with the HR department to see what paperwork they need to get you all signed up, put on the payroll and set up with computer access etc to avoid delays in starting work and getting paid once you arrive.

 

Booking flights

Check the baggage allowance and cost of adding additional bags before booking…(we unwittingly booked with an airline that only allowed 23kg per person, whereas some other airlines allow 43kg).

When selecting travel dates, allow enough time after arrival to pick up your work visa, get a phone simcard/plan, set up a bank account, find somewhere to live, set up utilities, set up house etc before you have to start work.

Remember to arrange any other special requirements to make your flight as comfortable as possible (dietary requirements, bassinet seat etc).  The flight from Auckland to London long! About 36 hours to travel what is pretty much halfway around the world and we were lucky to be able to book front-row seats with extra leg room.

What to take

If you are not moving permanently, it may not be cost-effective to take everything you own over and then bring it back again.  Most friends and colleagues we spoke to who had moved to another country for a couple of years suggested taking only personal items and then renting a furnished place or buying new household items after arriving.

 

Lists, lists, lists…

Depending on what else is going on in your life, there may be a LOT to organise!  Avoid the stress of having to remember what needs doing by keeping “To-Do” lists and adding to them whenever you think of something.  I had 7 different to-do lists (two have been adapted below) all written on a giant piece of paper so I could cross things off as they got done!

 

A Checklist of Things to do to Pack-Up House may include…

-finding a storage unit (Doing a little shopping around pays off; storage can be really expensive.  We did the maths and figured out that at quite a few of places, the price over 2 years would be higher than the value of our belongings)

-sell or donate unwanted items (this will help to keep storage costs down by allowing you to hire a smaller unit)

-finish any renovations/fix-ups to get your house ready for rent/sale if applicable

-organise the rental/sale of your house if applicable

-buy boxes and packing tape

-pack things up for storage and for the move (Label the boxes to make things easier to find later on)

-hire a trailer to transport boxes to storage

 

A Checklist of  Contacts to Notify may include…

-utilities providers; gas, electricity, water, internet

-bank

-family and friends

-healthcare providers

-any TV or magazine subscriptions

 

The flight over –relax, indulge and enjoy!

You did it! Everything is packed you and you have made it to the airport and checked in your bulging bags!   It’s going to be a bit busy getting set up again on the other end, so, after check-in it’s time to “check-out” for a bit and enjoy!  Have a much-deserved cup of coffee and sweet treat in the airport, do some duty-free shopping, buy a book… Then enjoy the in-flight service and the chance to sit back, watch movies and relax.

I love Lisa Eldriges’s “Long Haul Beauty Regime”  video for inspiration on how to make your flight a relaxing spa-like experience (you can find the link here).  (Though truth be told I have never managed to actually do anything like it, and more often than not end up scrambling onto the plane exhausted, sleep-deprived and capable of little more than watching movies like a zombie/sleeping like a mummy…but it is a lovely idea.)

 

Bon Voyage and safe travels!

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