6 Tips for a Perfect Summer Holiday

6 Tips for a Perfect Summer holidayThere’s a Billy Crystal film called City Slickers that was a firm favourite of mine back in the 90s. The basic plot was about three friends who take an annual trip together without their wives. Each year the trips get wackier. In City Slickers they travel to the Southwest to drive cattle on a supervised vacation. The legendary Jack Palance plays the tough cowboy, Curly Washburn and Billy Crystal plays Mitch, the man on the edge of a midlife crisis.

It’s a fun film to watch, but it also has a few valuable lessons mixed in amongst the humour. One of my favourite parts is when Curly explains ‘vacation’ to Mitch. ‘Y’all spend fifty weeks a year getting knots in your rope and then expect to come up here and unwind them in two weeks.’ This pretty much sums up the basic work/life balance of the twentieth century. We work long hours sometimes risking our family time and leisure activities and then expect to fully relax when herded onto bus, plane, and coach on an all-inclusive trip to Spain!

After many years working in holistic health, I’m fairly lucky that I’ve learned how to master the work/life balance reasonably well. Although, social media time can become incredibly overwhelming sometimes! My holidays tend to be a time for reconnecting with my three children who have a better social life than me and enjoying relaxing meals with my parents. I also love to visit historical sites, swim in the sea, and shop at quirky markets.

I’m slightly alarmed that this all sounds like a dating profile, so I’ll swiftly move on! Holidays are the ideal time to explore new and exciting places. I try to pick a new destination each year so that over time my children and I travel to as many places in the world as we can. Yes, I have my favourites (Barcelona!) but discovering new locations is half the fun of a holiday.

Being able to relax fully is something we all long to do when we step off a plane in a sunny climate, but quite often we end up doing too much, getting ill, or over indulging so that our well planned and eagerly anticipated holiday ends up as another stressor.

So, how can we embrace the holiday season and totally switch off? I’ve just returned from ten days in America where I was rushing here, there, and everywhere on site seeing tours, however, I was also able to commit fully to my time away and reap the benefits. Here’s what I did:

  1. Switch off your phone – I used my phone to take photos (hundreds of photos!) and face time my children a few times, but other than that I switched it to silent and kept it in my bag. Due to the time difference I was in bed when the UK was awake, so before I went to bed each night, I would do one Facebook update of the activities we’d done that day and add a few photos. One Facebook post a day to keep my family and friends in the loop. No twitter, no blog posts, no Instagram, no emails – no stress!
  2. Eat right – It’s tempting to over indulge on holiday, but if you aim to fill up on the incredible fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and lean meats that are readily available then it will help maintain your weight. I thoroughly enjoyed the occasional milk shake and Krispy Kreme (well, I was in America!) but I also filled up on bowls of fruit and yogurt and tasty evening meals that weren’t deep fried.
  3. Water, water, everywhere – Drinking plenty of fluids when in a hot climate is important, and I don’t mean mojitos! Staying hydrated helps your skin, reduces headaches, and keeps you cool.
  4. Leave the sunbed behind – For loads of people, lying on a sunbed for a week is their idea of a relaxing holiday. There’s nothing wrong with this at all and I certainly engaged in a few hours of pool time while away, however, getting up and going for a walk, or site seeing can be just as relaxing as well as stimulating for the mind and soul. I visited some incredible museums, galleries, and forests in America and soaked up the magic of the new surroundings.
  5. Stock up on Vitamin C – It’s happened to us all. We arrive at the beach all excited for a week in the sun and the next day are struck down with a cold. Ensure you have all the necessary lotions and potions with you to help combat any bugs, bites, or indulgences.
  6. Meditation works – It can be hard to switch off from home life when away and as your holiday draws to a close you might find thoughts of work creeping in. Try a spot of meditation to bring your mind back to the present moment. If you’re in the swimming pool rest against the side, close your eyes and listen to the lap of the water against the pool edge. If there are kids laughing and splashing try tuning into these sounds as this is a typical holiday vibe. At dinner there are often candles on the table, gaze into the flame and concentrate on the shape and colours.

USA 2017 434The most important part of a holiday is to enjoy it. Throw yourself into a new culture, exotic places, and meeting lovely people. Sample foods that are unusual, and visit independent shops to help local communities. Do the tourist attractions but also look out for other, less obvious places to visit as there are gems dotted all over.

I’m sharing my American trip highlights over on my author blog, so please feel free to pop over and read about the incredible activities I enjoyed and the places I visited.

Happy summer x

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Trek to the Top Challenge #Fitness

Trek to the TopAll of my friends appear to be taking part in a fitness regime these days.  The hugely popular 30 Day Abs Challenge, created by mum of eight, Robyn Mendenhall Gardner, has changed my sedentary pals into crunchers, plankers and leg lifters.  If I knew how to crunch I may have joined them.

Not to be outdone by my toned up, trimmed down friends, I decided that action was needed to be taken if I wanted to get that summer body I craved.

I may have hung up my running shoes after completing my half marathon back in 2012, but there is nothing stopping me from dusting them off and putting them to good use once more.  Running is out of the question as my knees creak louder than my floorboards these days, so I wanted to keep it simple-ish! Read more

How Planning and Organisational Skills are a Vital Tool in our Lives

How to Plan and Stay OrganisedWhen working with my female clients, I always made sure to maintain direct eye contact. I found it interesting how varied eye contact could be from client to client, but by keeping my own gaze level and my posture upright, it often calmed my ladies enough to get them to open up about any physical or emotional issues they wanted to work on during our therapy sessions.

I’ve attended numerous workshops and training sessions over the years where I’ve had to correct myself when I realised I had crossed my arms and/or legs. Notably, it was often when the topic was a difficult one to cope with. Folding in on myself was something I started to do long before I left my abusive marriage. Over time, I’ve learned how to open up my body language and slow my speech, although this is still a work in progress. By being responsive to the lessons all around me, I maintain my interest in the people I meet and the subjects I learn and teach.

One lesson that I found to be the most valuable was exploring my personal space. Blank pages don’t scare me, neither do empty rooms, or lulls in conversation. I’ve found the answers to so many questions within these quiet periods. That wasn’t always the case, though, and it’s only through identifying my fears that I’ve been able to reflect on my feelings about this. I challenged myself regularly at the start of my period of recovery and set goals accordingly. One of the challenges I faced that has since become a favourite pastime, was going to the cinema on my own.

Facing the world as a single mother (i.e.: alone) was frightening. It took a great deal of inner work to understand how I’d allowed my situation to control my actions. I was solely responsible for three small lives, but equally, I was responsible for creating my own happiness. I knew how important it was to change my thinking and set goals that were specific to my situation, manageable for a single working mother, achievable, realistic and timely.

I used journaling as a way to record my progress, and assess my achievements. This personal development tool is my main go-to method to this day. It allows me the space I need to evaluate my life. I am also able to reflect on my emotions when dealing with specific experiences.

My three children are all in their teenage years, which comes with its own set of rules! My middle son has a strong personality which can, at times, create conflict. I’m learning to set aside my personal issues so that I can focus on helping him become the unique individual I know he will be. Exam stress and hormones aside, he is a challenge for me, but a challenge I accept as he can teach me so much. He is an extrovert, whereas my eldest son and my daughter are introverts and my parenting skills are constantly put to work as I support their diversities. The quote ‘It is these characteristics and experiences that make a person unique.’ resonated strongly with me as my son is often reprimanded at school for being different (strong, verbal, and sometimes argumentative).

For my own part, I recognise how my behaviour could impact on their beliefs, and I’m also mindful of the various stages I have worked through on my journey; child, victim, anger, and denial.

By understanding these stages, I hope to continue supporting my children in the future. It is my wish that they take responsibility for their actions and maintain positive self-esteem as they become adults.

Raising self-esteem, however, is an ongoing work in progress for me. I have always been able to motivate my family, friends, and my clients, but when I need to turn that around to address my own needs, I often struggle. I’ve learned to stop berating myself and accept that I am doing the best I can. Setting goals, listening to my thoughts, and recognising any negative body language helps me manage my time, emotions, and goals.

Being organised and planning specific areas of my life is a valuable tool. I pre-plan meals and shopping lists to create a stress-free environment at home, as well as organising a household chore list, so the children are engaged in helping with the upkeep of their living space. We work well as a team.

As a writer, it’s imperative that I plan my writing time and stick fastidiously to the schedule if I hope to continue to produce two books a year. My livelihood depends on this, which acts as a positive motivator.

When I became ill a few years ago, I suffered from a severe lack of motivation. However, I gave myself permission to take a step back and think about my goals and action steps. Giving myself this space helped immensely and I could focus on the young adult fiction side of my business, losing myself in fantasy, until I felt ready to return to my non-fiction roots. Having another option kept my writing goals moving forward but gave me the breathing space I needed to work through the physical and mental issues I was facing at the time.

It would have been far too easy to abandon my writing altogether and disappear down the rabbit hole of despair. However, my goals were flexible, and I could tweak them accordingly to meet my new needs. Monitoring my writing sessions proved that I was still producing the necessary work.

Planning at that time enabled me to ‘get my mojo back’ without losing hope, or opting for unhealthy behaviours, and I have been able to maintain these positive changes and evaluate future projects and goals accordingly.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Embracing Personal Development to Lead a Happier Life

‘When the student is ready the teacher appears.’ Buddha.

Embracing PDThat quotation became a guiding light through dark times for me. Instead of shaping my life as a victim of emotional and physical domestic abuse, I was guided down the pathway of a survivor by numerous mentors. It wasn’t on overnight revelation by any means. Before I tuned into the right vibrations, I lost my way, abusing my body and mind with alcohol and a poor diet. I developed hyperhidrosis and eczema brought on by the stress of divorce and coping as a single mum to three children under the age of six. I lost my job and my home, as well as an entire family unit in the way of mother and father-in-law, sister, brother, nieces, and nephew. I felt very alone.

When my Reiki Master Teacher appeared in my life following a series of events and meetings that I later learned to be synchronicity at work. I realised that ‘I’ the student, was ready. By studying the principles of Reiki, I was able to utilise these lessons and adopt the techniques for self-work. Understanding, finally, that it’s impossible to help others if you are broken. Working on my issues, became a priority and from a more grounded base, I was able to support my children and embrace a solid, happy, and healthy family life. Read more

The Book Lovers Tag #AmReading

Book Lovers TagThe Book Lovers Tag

I spotted this tag on the fabulous Mint Tea and Elephants blog and thought it would be fun to join in.

Do you have a specific place for reading?

I have a few favourite spots. One is curled up on a comfy chair in my writing cave as it overlooks the garden. I can have a wistful glance at the shrubbery when I come across an incredible piece of prose I wished I’d written! The next is my bed where I’ll happily retire as early as nine o’clock if a new chapter or three is calling. My last favourite spot is in the garden languishing on a sun lounger with a glass of something cold. Of course, I live in the UK so this is a rare occurrence, but I can dream!

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper? Read more

10 Ways to Live Your Best Life #SelfCare

10 ways to live your best lifeLast week I turned 45 years old and celebrated with a slap up breakfast, a trip to the cinema, and an early night! Oh, how times have changed. It doesn’t bother me that my life is no longer a whirling mess of hangovers, nor do I feel like I’m missing out if I prefer to snuggle on the sofa watching Walking Dead reruns. We all need to choose a lifestyle that suits our desires and try not to fit in with the expectations of others, or indeed, compare ourselves with the lifestyles of our friends and colleagues.

As I excitedly unwrapped a Baby Groot bobble head, I chuckled as I realised my kids know me so well and embrace the fact that their mum will always be young at heart.

Embracing my inner child, evolving my skills and filling my life with laughter are all important goals as I look towards the next 45 years, and I believe I owe it to myself, and my children, to live the best possible life I can.

As I pondered on this intention, I thought it would be interesting to share a few ways we can all live our best life.

Here’s what I came up with… Read more