5 Tips to Boost Your Mojo

In a world that feels like it’s moving faster than ever, it makes sense if you’re feeling over whelmed right now. Life events, like bereavement, or money worries can take their toll and before too long we might find we’ve lost some of our mojo – our energy, motivation or sense of purpose.

There are lots of things that might help you get your sparkle back, and if you’re struggling with your mood or money right now here is a list of agencies that might help. In the meantime here are five tips:

1. Enjoy simple pleasures. Make time for a cuppa, read a favourite book, or treat yourself to a bunch of flowers if you can afford. The little things count.

2. Find things that help you smile. Have you stopped doing something that used to bring you joy? See if you can reconnect with an old hobby or have a look for one that might lift your spirits. It might be photography, short story writing or painting. Find what puts a little sparkle back in your step.

3. Spend time with people who “get” you. Do the people in your life lift you up or bring you down? Liz Gilbert (author of Eat. Pray. Love) once said “You can love everybody but some you must love from a safe distance.” Pick wisely who you invest time in, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries when you need.

4. Connect with nature. Whether it’s hugging trees, enjoying a local park in full bloom or going for a walk in the fresh air, research shows that time in nature is good for our mental health. See what works for you.

5. Make time to to reset and recharge. In our busy world it can seem like there’s always so much to do and every minute of our day is accounted for. But it’s ok to make your well-being a priority. Think about where you feel “at home” where you can bring yourself back to centre. Perhaps it’s by the sea or you have sacred places (like Avebury, Glastonbury) where you feel rested and can unwind.

Just as you plug your phone in at the end of the day to recharge, it’s important that you make space to do the same for yourself. Do what you can when you can, to make space for relaxation and self-care.

For more tips straight to your inbox to help you find your mojo and get your sparkle back, subscribe here.

Delphi is the author of Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal, out now on Amazon and Hive.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2023

Self-Care for Bad Days

We talk a lot about self care these days and it can help in terms of helping us manage things like our resilience to some extent.

In Answers In The Dark, I include a section called the Self-Care Check In, which looks at how we might know when we’re not ok and what might help.

Discussed on p. 70/71 of Answers in The Dark

But on the difficult days it can be harder to reach for the things we know we probably should be doing; things like prioritising sleep, eating a decent meal and getting some exercise.

One thing I might suggest is a well-being action plan, a list of self-care activities that might feel easier to achieve when you’re navigating a difficult time, especially if you know you’re someone who tends to resort to unhealthy mechanisms when you’re not ok.

Everyone’s different so what’s on your action plan might look different to someone else, and it also doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. On your list, it might include things like changing your bedding, putting out fresh towels, or creating a music playlist of music you know uplifts you.

If you know you’re someone who tends not to prioritise eating, you might create a meal plan with your favourite ingredients. If you know you tend to have trouble sleeping, you might decide to go for a walk and get some fresh air because we know that might help. You might also arrange to meet a friend for a cuppa, because we know talking can be helpful.

Remember that your action plan is unique to you, and so what it looks like for you might be different to someone else but try to keep it accessible so that on the bad days your self-care / well-being action plan is there when you need it.

Remember above all to be gentle on yourself; don’t beat yourself up for not doing the self-care that you know might be helpful. Setting the intention to do it the next day might be all you need to have that self-care for bad days.

You can view an example well-being action plan below, available as a pdf. download.

The above is a transcript of the video below. If you’re struggling with your mental health, please speak to your healthcare team. Samaritans are also available in the UK on 116 123. You may also find this list of links helpful. Do what’s right for you.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2023

The Traffic Light Check-In – A simple way to measure if you’re doing ok (and what might help if you’re not)

In some of my workshops I talk about a Traffic Light Check-In. This is a concept I first heard about from Françoise Mathieu in her workbook on Compassion Fatigue.

The way I use it today, is to help people measure how they’re feeling and whether or not it’s time to reset and recharge. As I explain in my classes though, ‘resilience’ isn’t keeping going no matter what (that’s endurance), and organisations have a responsibility to understand what systems, policies or culture might be impacting employee well-being. (This is why it’s so important to Mind Your Language). We can’t achieve well-being in isolation; it’s a much bigger picture than that. (I talk about the different pillars of wellness here).

Something you might need to know about ‘resilience’.

However, if you personally want a place to start in terms of recognising your ‘early warning signs’ of when you’re not ok, I’ve given a brief overview below:

🟢 = All good, you’re sleeping and eating well, making time for movement (this doesn’t always have to be exercise, it could be a walk/gardening/even dancing round your kitchen) – you’ll be able to concentrate and engage with people when you want. You’ll be setting healthy goals and might even have a vision for the future.

Action: Keep doing what you’re doing! (Note: it’s just as important to engage in self-care when you’re doing well, as it is anywhere else. In fact, your self-care might be one of the reasons why you’re doing ok).

🟠 = Starting to notice some early warning signs, eg., poor night’s sleep, skipping meals, feeling edgy.  

Action: Start to engage in restorative acts of self-care which may include talking to people about sharing the load, or even the little things like changing your bedding and having an early night. Ironically the very things that can help us feel better (like eating healthy and regularly) tend to be the first things that go out of the window when we’re not ok. However, try if you can to stick to healthy routines that you know work for you.

🔴 = Feeling like you’re not coping, may have started using unhealthy coping strategies. It may be time to stop, reach in to sources of help (eg GP, Occupational Health, Employee Assistance Programme) and start to make more room for your well-being. It will be different for everyone, so don’t be put off by other people’s idea of what that might look like. There’s also a list of links that may be useful here.

You could also consider the Self-Care Check-In, which is in my book Answers In The Dark; have a look at the video that explains more here. Hope this helps.

Answers In The Dark is out now.

You might also like Monday Mojo™ – feel good motivation for the week ahead. © Delphi Ellis 2022

Got Big Plans for the Future But Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s How to Create a Vision Board

Whether you’re someone who has high hopes and big ambitions or just wants to settle on a particular direction in life right now, you may have been wondering how to get started.

A Vision Board is a great way of putting your aspirations into a visual display to help you decide and stay focused on your plans for the weeks or months ahead.

What are the benefits?

The purpose of a Vision Board primarily may be to help you formalise your intentions and keep them available to you as a gentle reminder of the goals you want to achieve.

Having a visual display of your aspirations that you see regularly can influence the choices you make each day, to help you stay focused on what you want from life. It can also act as a motivator whilst at the same time keeping you on track.

What does it cost?

You don’t need a lot of money – if any – to create a Vision Board. You can use apps like Pinterest, create collages (eg in Canva, see below) or use (preferably recycled) A4/A3 card and some glue (if you’re sticking images on it).

You might decide to do invest in a new notebook instead, and use different coloured pens to draw borders and shapes for each topic, or to accentuate particular words or phrases you use. This may be particularly useful if you have some favourite sayings or affirmations you want to include.

Some people use pictures from magazines or print family photos or favourite quotes, but others may draw inspiration by using different headers like “Physical, Spiritual” (see below) and write what they want to achieve under each.

What to include

You can put whatever you want on your Vision Board – because it’s yours – that you feel will help to motivate you whether it’s words or photos.

You might get started by using what’s sometimes known as a Life Wheel, or the Pillars of Wellness which I’ve included in the image below.

This is where you can consider different areas of your life and “score” each one , on a scale of 1-10 (10 being “life is amazing” in that area) to help you decide which one you’d like to make a priority. For example if you score “8” on physical health, but “6” on Spiritual, you may choose to do your Vision Board to focus on the spiritual aspect of your life.

You could do one Vision Board per area, or have one version which includes key things that might help you succeed.

However it doesn’t need to be that varied. You could if you wanted just have one that focuses on the specific car, job or holiday you want.

Topics you might feature on your Vision Board:

  • Physical – this doesn’t just mean exercise; it might be lifestyle, and how well you eat and sleep. (If you’re having problems sleeping or having weird dreams you might like my book Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal.) “Physical” might also include recognising your early warning signs (like heart pounding, or shallow breathing) of when you’re not ok so that you can manage it well.
  • Emotional – this area might focus on improving a sense of emotional well-being – like feeling fulfilled, or how well you know what you’re feeling when you feel it. Can you label your emotions helpfully? Can you distinguish between feeling stressed, and feeling anxious, for example? How good are you at reading your own or others emotions?
  • Intellectual – this isn’t about intelligence or how well you’d do in a pub quiz as such, but might include knowing why you do what you do when you’re not doing ok. For example, do you have unhealthy coping mechanisms, or are you curious about your decisions and how you make them? Are there things you want or need to learn or improve to help you achieve your goals?
  • Social – This includes your tribe, the people you spend time with. This doesn’t always mean just friends or family, it might also include colleagues and associates. How would you rate your social wellness right now? Do the people in your life lift you up, or bring you down? This also doesn’t always mean going out and partying. You might decide to try a college course, take up a new hobby or start some volunteering.
  • Professional – what do you want to achieve career-wise? Are you feeling fulfilled at work? Do you feel appreciated and are you using your skills meaningfully? Do you know what your strengths are (in all areas of your life) and can you articulate them? Do you recognise the transferable skills you have between home (eg, from planning a meal to parenting) and work, like juggling diaries/managing money and conflict resolution? When do you feel “in the zone”? (See also Spiritual).
  • Financial – this might be anything from being able to save money, cover your bills regularly, invest in a business, buy a house or clear some debt.
  • Environmental – you might choose to include this in your Vision Board if you want to be more eco-friendly. It might also include ethical choices when, for example, buying food, clothes or when travelling.
  • Spiritual – this is not always about religion, it might be about where you feel most connected. This might include setting an intention to meditate more or spend time in nature. What connects you to the world around you? This might also include your sense of purpose which isn’t always about what you get paid for (although it could be). Perhaps think about when you feel what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi popularly referred to as “flow”, the state of being “in the zone”. This might be when organising a family get together or engaging in a favourite sport.

Once you know what you want on your Vision Board, you can choose a design that fits your aspirations and begin.

This is an example of a Vision Board created using Canva

Where to keep it

This will depend on whether or not you want to use a physical Vision Board or a digital one.

I’ve mentioned above you can use apps (Pinterest can be great for that) but if you’re going to use your phone it’s important to keep the Vision Board where you can see it. You might save it as your Lock Screen as one example. If you’re going to have a paper version, then again keep it where you can see it every day, like your kitchen. If you choose to have a paper version, you can still take a photo and keep it as the wallpaper on your phone.

The more you see your Vision Board and it reminds you of what you want to achieve, it can influence the touch points you have throughout the day that help you to make better decisions in line with your goals.

How long to keep a Vision Board

It’s really up to you. You might decide to do a new one each month, every year or review periodically. You could do a Vision Board for the next 12 months or the next 10 years. You might decide to refresh it periodically because your hopes might shift, or you find you need to try a different direction of travel. Do what feels right and healthy for you.

If you decide to do a written Vision Board, as described above with headings and writing under each topic, this might be part of your regular journalling practice and so again, you can review it periodically.

This is a good video from Freedom Kingdom with some more ideas. I hope you enjoy this process if you choose to try it.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2022

Why do we wake up so tired? This reason might surprise you (and a top tip to try)

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According to various commentaries, including from the World Health Organisation, insomnia is a global problem*. People acknowledge that the pace of life affects our quality of sleep, technology makes us easily interruptible at all hours of the day, and quite honestly there seems to be more to worry about every single day. No wonder so many of us wake up tired each morning. But what if something else is causing us to feel exhausted when we wake up?

When I was writing my book Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal, I realised many of us have bought in to a big myth: that we all need eight hours sleep every night. If you buy any popular magazine that contains a ‘Sleep Special’, they’ll tell you that eight is the magic number. Ironically, I believe this might be just one reason we’re not always getting a good night’s rest and so wake up shattered the next day.

The scale of this myth means that we now largely plan our day around it – if you have to be up at 6 in the morning, you might work back eight hours and think this means you have to be in bed by 10pm. But what if you’re not sleepy then? Believing you have to be in bed by the allotted time, you might now be tossing and turning in bed unable to sleep, growing more stressed because as far as you know you ‘should’ be in the land of nod by now. The irony of that is, there’s no way your brain will authorise sleep when you’re stressed. You might eventually manage to doze off but wake up exhausted.

But there’s another thing.

We know that we sleep in cycles (Answers In The Dark contains a section called The Sleep Cycle Repair Kit), and these cycles follow a particular route. We ideally go to bed when we’re sleepy, complete a number of cycles and wake up naturally each day. The problem is, if you set your alarm for 6am (working forward eight hours from 10pm), it might actually be set to go off right slap-bang in the middle of deep sleep. This also happens when we take an afternoon nap and set our alarm for an hour, instead of a short amount like 20 minutes, or the full length of a sleep cycle (about 90-120 minutes). You wrench yourself out of bed, trying to continue with your day, only now you’re experiencing what’s sometimes known as the Hangover Effect – you’ve got a headache, your mouth is dry and you don’t know what year it is.

So here’s the tip: ditch the myth and focus on quality not quantity. Some people will need six hours, others might need 10 on any given day. When you’re a teenager you needed more sleep, just as you might when you’re poorly, and as you’re older you might find you need less. If you have to get up at, say, 7am, but know you’re naturally awake at 6 o’clock, don’t trick yourself in to thinking you’ll just get another cheeky hour in – you might find you then wake up feeling groggier than before.

Of course if you work shifts, that can be more challenging as can be the circumstances that are affecting your sleep in the first place (the video below might help). There is a benefit in taking power naps when you can (I talk more about that in the book too). But where possible try to work out when you’re naturally wakeful and set your alarm for then, rather than wrenching you out of deep sleep.

Measure your sleep quality by how refreshed you feel when you wake up, and where possible try to go to bed when you’re sleepy and wake up naturally, as close to when you need to get up. You can also try some mindfulness activities (there’s a range of these in the book), as well as talk to someone during the day, about what might be keeping you up at night.

Top Tips for Better Sleep from Delphi Ellis

Answers In The Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal is out now. © Copyright Delphi Ellis 2022 * citation from this website 20/9/22

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