I joked and called my first week post lockdown, my “recovery week”. But actually, it’s not so much a recovery anymore but a lifestyle and tiny changes that I’m making every day to feel happier, inspired, joyful and a little kinder to myself. I think with these uncertain times, we’re all reflecting on our life a lot more. This year is reminding us all to live more presently and to make the changes to live more in alignment with what we truly want for ourselves and our loved ones.

One thing that keeps coming up is “honouring myself” – not just giving time, love and space for the ones I love but for myself as well. The self- care notion has become a buzz word these days, but I want us to just stop and think about it a little deeper. I’m not just talking about getting our nails and hair done or even getting that fantastic workout out of the way (which absolutely feels incredible!). But to take the time to step back and take an honest inventory so that we can live in a more joyful, peaceful state, at least for most of the time.

So, what is living in alignment?

I had a chat with one of my beautiful guest speakers Tracy Manu who is a coach & mentor and an advocate for living your best life.

Here are some of the top takeaways you will find useful:

What are your top suggestions for living more in alignment with who we really are?

This is a big question Karina and I love it.  As a coach often people come to see me, because they’re not sure who they are, especially beneath the identities we relate to.  For example, a mother, wife, daughter or friend plus the identities we connect to in regards to our careers.

So my first suggestion to ‘living a more aligned life’ would be to figure out how you most want to feel. This question goes beneath what we do and moves into how we most want to feel. Maybe you love to feel peaceful, or inspired, lit up or creative.  When you understand how you love to feel and then you begin to add activities which help you feel this way more, you will feel more aligned.  Alignment to me, means living in our flow.  If you’re incredibly creative, yet you’re not being creative, life may seem hard and less inspiring.  If you’re someone who loves to feel connected by spending time with people, it’s important for you to join a group of find different way’s that you can connect.

Each morning when you wake up, remember how you want to feel and make sure that at different points during the day, you’re honouring yourself, by adding activities which bring about these feelings. This doesn’t have to be big stuff.  If you want to feel more at peace, you could play some beautiful soothing music, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

How can we start a habit of positive self-talk?

Positive self-take is a wonderful way to grow your self-worth, confidence and self-esteem.  First though, acknowledging our feelings is really important.  If you’re feeling super angry or sad, don’t try and push those feelings down and smother them with positive affirmations.

What we resist, will persist, so it’s better to acknowledge our feelings, you could even notice where you feel them in your body, take some deep breaths and then say something encouraging to yourself like, ‘it’s ok, you’re doing a wonderful job or I’m here for you’. We would easily say this to a child or friend who’s having a tough time, so how about we do it for ourselves too.

If you find that you beat yourself up or put yourself down, begin to notice these behaviours and start to have compassion for yourself, speak kind to yourself and you and your life will blossom!

I will never forget the mirror work activity you had us do in the workshop, can you explain what that involves and we can include that in our daily rituals?

A powerful way to nurture the relationship with yourself is mirror work. Louise Hay speaks about it in her book You Can Heal Your Life, which is a great book by the way.  Each day you spend a few minutes looking into your eyes.  Don’t pay attention to your appearance, simply begin to say kind things to yourself. This exercise can be incredibly hard, however it’s one of those techniques that can change your life in the most beautiful ways. As you look in the mirror, if you notice negative thoughts come up, just observe them and then go back to saying something kind. You could do this in the morning, evening, or throughout the day when you pass a mirror.

You could say some of the following statements:

I’m willing to really love you or I love me

I’m willing to forgive you or I forgive myself

You did a great job today or I’m doing a great job

You are enough or I am enough

Speaking from either the ‘I’ or ‘you’ perspective works wonderfully.

Think about any negative comments you say to yourself and begin to change them into more positive and caring statements.

A consistent practice of mirror work can be incredibly powerful and even change your relationship.

Can you give us practical tips around setting up new positive habits that affects our mindset?

Consistency is key here. A short routine daily, is far more powerful than sporadic longer routines.  Just like if you were going to the gym!

You could try the following…

  • Wake in the morning, before you get out of bed, say 5 to 7 things you’re grateful for
  • Say a couple of encouraging comments to yourself, “You’ve got this girl”, “todays going to be a great day” etc
  • Take some beautiful deep breaths with one hand on your belly and one on your chest, give yourself the gift of some beautiful nurturing fresh air.
  • Hop up and look at yourself in the mirror, smile and say something kind to yourself
  • Check in during the day to see if you’re aligned to how you want to feel and if you’re believing the positive affirmations you said in the morning
  • Before you go to sleep, acknowledge a couple of things you’re happy about or that you’re proud of yourself for.

Put affirmations onto post it notes around your home or create a reminder on your phone. I used to have one on my phone that reminded me about 15 minutes before my children came home from school that I was a relaxed, fun mum.  This was really good to remember, before I had three boisterous children walk in the door.

We all experience self-doubt, but how can we move through it?

Self-doubt can get effect all of us at times, I’d say be your biggest cheerleader. When you feel self-doubt, acknowledge it, breath, speak to yourself kindly, go and look in the mirror, look right into your eyes and see what other people see.

You really are incredible, and you’re doing an amazing job at life!  As you look into your eye’s, see how far you’ve come, see your strength, your beauty, your vulnerability, see it all.  There is no one in the world like you!  Let yourself show up and be you.

What advice would you give your younger self, when your kids were still at school and things seemed extremely busy?

This is a great questions and very timely as I’ve just looked after my 4.5 and nearly two year old granddaughters and I was aware of my tendencies of wanting to clean and let my self-care slide.  So the advice I would give to my younger self and the advice I gave myself over the weekend was, feed yourself nourishing food, you are important, get enough sleep, get into nature the kids love this and so do you. Have fun with your grandchildren, the vacuuming and washing can wait.

You have time for your meditation and journaling, you know it’s deeply important to you. Communicate with hubby, be grateful, ask for support and work as a team. Be flexible. When you ask for support, allow yourself to receive it and please know, it might look different to how you’d do things, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong and most of all remember, these little cherubs are watching you and they love you dearly, make sure you’re loving you too. They’ll learn self-love through your actions.