If You’re Reading This…

.

.

If you’re reading this, you have made it to the last day of 2020.

Congratulations!

What a tough year it has been. From the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic, to a nationwide and global lockdown, from social distancing and practices that have become “the new normal” to record-breaking deaths in a year, from dealing with loss, grief and pain and the shocking turn of events from the #endsars movement in Nigeria…it. has. been. ALOT.

No matter what pain or heartbreak one bears from whatever events, it is true that where there is life, there is hope, there is opportunity, there is chance; A chance to heal, a chance to right wrongs, a chance to start all over, a chance to keep going, a chance to grow… a chance to live.

2020 may not have been the best of years for a lot of us – indeed, our spirits have been tested, pushed beyond limit and probably broken at some point- but you should be proud of how far you have come… not necessarily in terms of what the world counts as achievements and accomplishments, but in terms of how far YOU have come.

YOU have made it and that is all that matters. You may not feel like this year was anything to write home about. You may still be dealing with some unresolved disappointment, blow or pain that the months have thrown at you. BUT YOU are here and YOU are present. YOU should be proud, if not for anything, but for this.

So this is not a piece to help you take stock of how the year has been or one to give “tips” on how to bounce back from a rough 2020 or how to cope with a mentally challenging 2020 or how to set goals compassionately in 2021. While these may be useful, this is a blog post to celebrate YOU, for making it this far and for not giving up.

So here’s to YOU. 🥂

Never forget, the world is better with you in it.

x.

6 Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health in 2020

You may have penned down your goals/resolutions/action points/ideas…whatever you’re calling it this year, for 2020; some of which may include plans to eat healthier, exercise more, sleep better or just achieve and maintain optimal physical health generally. However, it is important to ensure that you are intentional about your mental health this year.

You may be wondering “what has mental health got to do with it?”

Well, ALOT.

Your mental health; which includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being, affects how you think, feel, and act. Your mental fitness or lack of it has the ability to positively or negatively affect vital areas of your life.

Furthermore, your mental health helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions in life. It therefore goes without saying that if you are mentally fit, fully present and at peace generally; and if you constantly decide to be happy in the midst of life and its eccentricities, then you are bound to achieve more.

“Your mental health is a priority. Your happiness is an essential. Your self-care is a necessity.”

The importance of optimal mental health cannot be over-emphasized. So, here are 5 practical tips to prioritize your mental health in 2020.

Take mental breaks/Unplug

This year might get crazy; crazy good and crazy not-so-good. You will face challenges, obstacles and probably overwhelmed at some point. Perhaps, it may be from the goals you have set as nothing good comes easy. You will therefore need to take mental breaks periodically to ensure that you do not get mentally burned out.

Mental breaks are great for your mental health in general because they give you a much-needed boost in creativity and productivity. They serve to rejuvenate and refresh your mind so you are not simply existing on auto-pilot mode on a day-to-day basis, “barely makin’ it“. These breaks, if taken the right way, serve to provide a healthy balance between rest and work/productivity in a very busy and distracting world.

Also, when you take these mental breaks, unplug from the world for some time. In a fast-paced world, such as the one we live in right now, it is easy to get enveloped in every distraction available to mankind. While it comes with its perks, the internet and social media have made our connectivity and access all the more heightened. We are connected to everything and everything is connected to us. Access to you has never been easier.

Take occasional social media breaks if necessary; disconnect from the world for a bit. I promise, YOU WILL SURVIVE. Be okay with listening to your mind and thoughts rather than having it crowded with information all the time or being pulled in different directions.

You can read more about why you need mental breaks and 5 simple ways to take a mental break here.

Avoid toxic environments

You need to be intentional about the environments and people you constantly relate with. You need to have the courage to move away from toxic people and environments that are not mentally healthy. If you can stay away from places, avoid certain types of food to preserve your physical health, then you need to be ready to do same to maintain optimal mental health.

When your brain is constantly filled with any form of toxicity such as verbal and emotional abuse, gossip, negativity as well as verbal beat downs, YOU CANNOT BE PRODUCTIVE. This is because your brain does not know the difference between right and wrong. Whatever you constantly reinforce is what it will believe. So if you consistently place yourself in these kind of environments, sure enough, you will begin to think like this.

So what if some of these toxic people are family members? Find a way to manage your relationship with each family member so you do not get mentally dehydrated while dealing with them.

Avoiding toxic environments and people will ultimately help to boost your mental health as you will not be constantly consumed by negativity and toxicity, thereby leaving room to allow you be creative and productive.

Say “No”

It is simply amazing what power this little two-letter word holds and what peace it brings. So I learned this pretty much late in life and used to be so stressed out and burned out due to the loads of commitments and deadlines I would bring upon my self just because I could not say no.

I would inconvenience myself for others to my own detriment and I was constantly unhappy (this is not to say that sacrificing for others once in a while is not good, but there has to be some kind of balance in place)…and being unhappy or constantly burned out is definitely not the recipe for productivity or getting things done; because honestly, if your mind is tired of doing so much all the time, then you’re bound to be moody, irritable, confused, frustrated and lack the necessary concentration required to get things done.

Learn to say “no” once in a while to avoid taking on too much at once and getting burned out. Practice Selective availability. If you cannot do it at the moment, you cannot do it and that is fine. As long as it is not a life-death situation, your mother, brother, sister, friend, cousin, uncle, niece or nephew will be fine. As soon as you unburden yourself, you can help out.

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”
~ Anna Taylor

Meditation/Prayer

No, meditation is not just about sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed while making humming sounds. Meditation is a lot more than that as it involves a using particular techniques like mindfulness to focus your mind on a particular object, thought or activity. Trust me, it’s a lot harder than it seems.

BUT,

By doing this, you are able to eliminate unwanted thoughts and clear your mind of any overwhelming feeling. You are also able to train your mind to be more attentive, stable and calm no matter what may be happening externally.

What you can do is take five to ten minutes of your day meditating. You can sit in an absolutely quiet place, close your eyes and focus just on your breathing or any other sound. When thoughts try to creep in as they normally would do, you mentally swat them away and maintain that quiet calm.

Praying also helps quiet the mind and keep the brain functional. This is because your body ultimately bows to your mind and the belief system you constantly reinforce therein. If you strongly believe that prayer will bring you peace and comfort, then it will. Prayer does not have to occur in a structured pattern. Just say it as you feel it and your spirit may just feel a tad bit lighter.

Journaling

I have been journaling for close to six months now and it has been absolutely amazing!

After my post on how journalling is changing my life and the benefits of journalling, (which you can find here) I have received quite a number of messages from people sharing their journalling stories and how it has helped them alot.

Look…it is something to be tried.

Journalling has been proven to reduce anxiety, clarify thoughts and perspective, encourage mindfulness and self awareness as well as serve as an emotional release, thereby keeping you mentally fit for periods at a time.

Reach out/ Open up

When was the last time you genuinely opened up to someone about your feelings, emotions or just how life is treating you in general? When was the last time you said something along the lines of “You know what, I’m not doing so great?” when a trusted friend or family member sought to know how you are doing. When was the last time you felt light after having purged yourself of any deep-seated emotions that linger within?

I will definitely be the first to admit that it is not the easiest thing in the world to open up or bare your soul to anyone. In fact, it is easier and faster to just mutter a simple “fine” when asked the usual “how are you?”

However, opening up to a trusted friend, a family member, your therapist (if you have one) or even a stranger, boosts your mental health as it purges your brain of any conscious and unconscious mental blocks that may prevent you from living a mentally healthy life.

You should not be ashamed or guilty to open up about what you may be dealing with, including any mental illness or challenges you may be facing. What is unhealthy is holding things in with the expectation that they would just fly away.

Please reach out and open up today.

I hope these tips have been somewhat helpful to you.

Wishing you Love and Light,

Rachel

P.S, Do you want to receive FREE life-changing, straight-to-the point and concise weekly emails guaranteed to help start your week right? If yes, click the link here to sign up so you receive them and don’t miss out on anything! https://mailchi.mp/06750630c287/weeklyemails

A Fresh Start; Year 2020

Happy New Year Lovely People!!

Congratulations on making it to the year 2020 and thank you for sticking with me and my blog posts in 2019! I am super grateful for your comments, posts, shares, encouraging words and kind feedback.

Welcome to a fresh start and a new decade bursting with opportunities for the taking. Welcome to a joy-filled, peace-filled, productive and goal-smashing 2020 loaded with unconditional love for self and others. Welcome to 2020.

Whatever your journey in 2019 may have been; exceptional, amazing, boring, mind blowing, frustrating, full of growth, nothing to write home about,…2020 presents a chance to start over.

In starting over, you may want to consider some of the following suggestions:

Plan. Prepare. Perform. Pursue. Prioritize

Plan: The year is starting out and you have taken note of what you want to accomplish this coming week, this month and this year. You need to plan. Plan in detail how you want to achieve these goals. Yes, “life happens” on some occasions, but that is no reason to abandon planning. You want to save? Plan. You want to travel? Plan. You want to start a business? Plan. You want to get into school or take a course? Plan.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Prepare: Be prepared for the successes and challenges that may come your way as you achieve those goals this year, lest they overwhelm and shake you. Be prepared to make mistakes and be prepared to fail. Be prepared for delays that my not necessarily be denials. Be prepared to do great things.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”~ Benjamin Franklin

Perform: And when you’re done planning and preparing; when all you’ve consulted, researched, come up with backup plans B-Z…whatever it may be, GO FOR IT! Just go for it. It may not be perfect on the first go and mistakes are bound to occur along the way, but get it done. Be brave enough to start with where you are, with what you have and with what you are. Be brave enough to put yourself out there for the world to see your light. Surround yourself with encouragers, overcome procrastination and go for it!

“Done over good.”

Prioritize: In all of this, do not forget to prioritize yourself. Your health; mental and physical. Take care of your self, of your soul, of your spirit. Exercise, eat healthy, be present in whatever you do. Engage with other human beings and social activities, limit social media consumption and take mental breaks when needed. You are your most valuable asset. Take care of You.

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”

~ Anna Taylor

Pursue: This year, pursue your goals and passion with everything you’ve got; that which sets your soul on fire; which makes you feel alive. Pursue it with all you’ve got even when others do not seem to understand. And when the obstacles and challenges show up, when the going gets tough, remember your why and keep going.

“When the going gets tough, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Don’t give up.” ~ Roy Bennet

So here’s to wishing you an amazing, productive, laughter-filled, joy-filled, peace-filled 2020. 🥂

May all your dreams come true!

Love and Light,

Rachel.

Why Goal Setting Matters + 5 Tips for Effective Goal Setting in 2020

“Our Dreams become Reality, when we first, give ourselves permission to Dream, wildly and without limits. Then we turn those dreams into Goals, which is the bridge between the world, imagination and the reality we create for ourselves.”

Nara Lee

Who else is bubbling with excitement at the thought of 2019 coming to an end?

This year has really been something, if I do say so myself. No matter how crazy it has gotten, I am still grateful for being able to see its end. I am also excited about what 2020 holds because I am certain it’s going to be a great year for everyone reading this!

So, if you’ve been doing some deep reflection about how 2019 went and you have started thinking of setting goals for 2020, then you’ve come to the right place!

Me at a vision board party I attended recently.

You may currently have decided on some goals you want to achieve in 2020, but may have decided to just “wing it” and “see what happens”. Quite a number of people in recent times have hopped on the “no new year resolutions” and “just gonna go with the flow” trains. While there may be nothing wrong with this, setting your goals and putting pen to paper might just be the best thing you decide to do for your 2020.

Here’s why

Goal setting is really important because it gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organise your time and resources so that you can make the most of your life.

When you have a goal written down, you have a destination, a standard, a sort of benchmark. You are conscious of achieving this goal and are constantly reminded of same. The goal means a lot to you so most of what you do during the year, months and days are intricately tied to achieving this goal.

Furthermore, when you set goals, you develop effective action plans that will help motivate and guide you towards them. You are therefore able to navigate life keeping your goals in mind and can return to your why when you find yourself in a demotivation pit.

So here are 5 helpful tips for effective goal setting in 2020:

1. Write them down!

Now,

This is the part where I emphasise how important it is to actually write down your goals for 2020 and not just make a mental note of what you hope to achieve. While I am not writing mental notes off, I believe (and this has been backed by years of scientific research) that written goals are more likely to be achieved than those not written. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible so it is hard to forget.

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.”

—Mark Victor Hansen

Let’s do a little exercise that requires honesty: Think of the goals you set at the beginning of 2019. Now, take a slow but careful look back on how the year went in terms of your goals. How many were achieved and how many were not? How many of the goals not achieved were because you genuinely forgot or felt you could not “keep up”? No need to beat yourself up if you feel you fell short this year, there’s always next year. Besides, you are not your goals!

Your answers should motivate you to write down your goals going forward. You actually stand to lose nothing if you write down these goals.

2. Set goals that align with your purpose

It is very important to set goals that align with your purpose and calling in life.

A number of us get caught up in setting goals based on what we think we should be doing or accomplishing (saving up for a new car when it’s not needed or getting a higher paying job in an industry you hate) rather than based on what our purpose is.

While these goals may be achievable, you’ll find that they are much easier to drop during the year because they are not aligned with your purposed and/or calling. You may set them because you feel you need to, but if you dig deep, you’ll find that you are not passionate about these goals and/or they are not in sync with your deepest dreams and desires.

“So, when you set your goals, go for your deepest dreams, desires, passions and calling. Don’t let the voice inside your head tell you “it’s impossible”, “it’s too complicated”, etc – because if you don’t set that goal, you will never do, what you were put on earth to do.”

You may be wondering “well, what exactly is my purpose and/or calling?” To that, I say, you already have your first assignment of 2020. Now get to it.

3. Set SMART GOALS

SMART stands for Specific., Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.

  • Specific: Do not be vague. Ask yourself exactly what you want. Write it down. Do not be scared to be specific about when, how, how long and even how much you want?
  • Measurable: Quantify your goal. How will you know if you have achieved it or not? Set simple milestones and celebrate little victories.
  • Attainable: Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life while taking into consideration your current responsibilities. Ask yourself “Is this goal attainable?”
  • Realistic: It’s got to be doable, real and practical. Do not get overwhelmed by people’s input of what their version of reality is. You may also be tempted to, out of fear, rule certain goals out as “unrealistic”. Do not let fear rule your goal setting for 2020.
  • Time: Associate a time frame with each goal. When should you complete the goal? It is advisable to have short time frames for smaller goals within the bigger goals rather to prevent getting discouraged or demotivated.

4. Use unconditional love as the starting point

“When you use unconditional self-love as the starting point when setting any goal, you remain aware that perfection is not tied to the end result, but rather the reality of the present moment.You were perfect at the onset and you are perfect now; you are perfect throughout. You are aware the entire time that the end result won’t define you. It is through the practice of awareness that you are able to see the perfection that exists in yourself, which also lets you see perfection in the world around you and in each being in it.”

This is so so so so important because you need to remember that you are setting goals because you want to, you desire to, and not because you need to. You need to remember that you are not the goals you set, neither are you the accomplishment or otherwise of these goals.

When setting your goals for 2020, use unconditional love for yourself as a starting point. By doing this, you understand that you are already perfect and complete in God as you are. These goals (be it getting married, moving to a better apartment, having kids, getting a better job, getting into school etc) are amazing bonuses that do not define you at your core.

You are already perfection. Never forget that.

5. Develop an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. I must admit that even I have missed this step a lot of times in setting goals. I would just write down my goals and try to keep it moving.

However, it is important to develop an action plan which entails a breakdown of all the steps needed to achieve the goals along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.

I recently attended a vision board party hosted by VisionBoardsNigeria and it was an amazing time for me reflecting on my goals for 2019 and which ones I was able to accomplish. I was able to reflect on those I was yet to accomplish and why.

It was a defining moment for me when I realised that although I did not accomplish some goals I had set out, I did not feel any less about myself. Instead, I was spurred to try again in 2020.

Remember…

“Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced.”

Here’s to a productive and goal-smashing 2020 filled with unconditional self-love. 🥂

Love and Light,

R.

P.S, Do you want to receive FREE life-changing, straight-to-the point and concise weekly emails guaranteed to help start your week right? If yes, click the link here to sign up so you receive them and don’t miss out on anything! https://mailchi.mp/06750630c287/weeklyemails