My 10 Commandments for Lent! | Simply Marcia


Shortcuts and top tips to a more healthy, mindful, positive and energised you!

My 10 Commandments for Lent!

So, the frying pan is back in its rack (ours literally gets used once a year for pancake day – I’m not a natural cook sadly – what can I say – and flipping pancakes is not a skill that comes naturally to me …). Anyway, as today marks the first day of spring and the first day of Lent*, when we traditionally give something up (typically food or bad habits) to improve our health or demonstrate self-restraint, it’s made me think about what I might give up (chocolate, gin, shouting at the kids?) or whether, rather than give stuff up (I have little in the way of self-restraint, instead favouring (too much sometimes) the ‘life’s too short’ mantra (aka permission to over-indulge in everything …), I could take something up?

I’m not talking about taking up anything too physical (obvs) and much as I love popping over to Instagram every once-in-a-while to watch yet another motivational Body Coach ‘live’ workout, it’s not really for me. I consider my once a week yoga and constantly running around after my masters (the kids) is enough for me – thanks all the same.

I’m thinking more about how I can take up a better attitude to life in general; taking up a priority for my wellbeing. When things are a bit tough it can be so hard to see the wood for the trees and all that and sometimes I really need to ‘have a word’ with myself – easier said than done – though I’m not about to get all deep and meaningful!

So, keeping with the (sort of) spiritual train of thought, I’ve come up with my ten commandments for taking up a bit more balance in my life, a greater sense of wellbeing, and a spring in my step 🙂

1. Smile – just more often really. I will embrace my inner ‘Elf’ mantra: ‘Smiling’s my favourite’.
2. Be grateful – every day I will remind myself of the things that day, that I can be grateful and thankful for.
3. Share the load – I must, I must, I must … get my kids doing more. They’re not babies any more (eldest is 14 and possibly cannot operate a tin opener yet) – things need to change. I need to stop doing everything then moaning that I can’t do everything (wtf ha!).
4. Hydrate – simple one this – drink more water. This is one Body Coach tip I can do – yay!
5. Do one thing at a time. Think like a man – do one task at a time. Sod the multi-tasking, it just gets my knickers in a twist. Every day I’m now writing a short and achievable to-do list in my diary and getting proper and real satisfaction from actually ticking stuff off!
6. Walk more. I love walking, getting fresh air, seeing nature and taking photos. More of this please.
7. No dieting. Healthy, simple foods only. Chocolate when needed. I’m thinking a more holistic approach in listening to my body and what it needs. Recognising that my fuel needs can change day-to-day (some days I’m literally ravenous regardless of how much I’ve scoffed and others I’m just not …).
8. Banish negative thoughts (at least try to). Embrace positive mantra’s and words: I can, I do, I will, I am … ok.
9. Breathe. Slooooowly. I’ve recently discovered yoga so every day, I spend 15 mins doing some simple but calming yoga stretch and balance moves. And even though my stress levels are quite high’ish right now, I swear my asthma is so much better – I’m sure it’s down to the yoga and considered breathing. Downward-facing dog anyone (this is a great stretch!)?
10. Sleep. I think I need more of this stuff. I love my bed but not necessarily going to bed early (there are too many box-sets to be viewed and indulged in, right?). However, life is super-busy right now and I’m super-yawny so even I’m starting to recognise that I need to take up regular early nights of shut-eye. I’m thinking weekend box-set binges instead?! Happy!

Umm, one sneaky extra commandment – more flowers. I love them. A simple, budget-friendly and super-cheery ‘must’ for me and very spring-like!

So, I now command you go forth and create your own ten commandments to help you take a step in the direction of balance and wellbeing 🙂

*A super-quick history/theological lesson: Lent is a 40-day fast and this year will run up until the Thursday before Easter Sunday (April 13). Christians believe the Lent period reflects when Jesus fasted and suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights during which time he was tempted by Satan, but each time he managed to refuse his temptations.

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Enjoy your now

I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t passed me by that some of the key buzz words of the moment across social media, January edition magazines and the like, include ‘kindness’, ‘gratefulness’, ‘thankfulness’, ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’. And for me, these words are so important in helping remind me of how lucky I am to be, and have, certain things – I’m thinking health, friends, family, a roof over my head, food on the table, bills paid (just about!).

Without getting all deep and philosophical and all that stuff, January really can be a good time for reflection, taking stock of non-materialistic stuff – our wellbeing – and putting some small steps in place to help remind and make us a bit more aware of how we might be able to achieve a bit of that ‘feel-good factor’ – which is mostly felt by doing good things rather than buying good things (mostly!).

To be honest, when I read all the social media posts that have been streaming out over the last week or so, I can’t help but be reminded of my grandparents’ generation. Life for them was tough – in a different way to the stresses and anxieties of our generation of Insta-perfect-somethings, social media onslaughts and missing-out syndromes we all struggle with – but still tough.

From the ways in which my grandparents spoke about their childhoods, married and working lives, the thing that really jumped out at me was the fact that any tough times or obstacles were overshadowed completely by the joys and happiness that they found (throughout their lives in fact) in simple pleasures. They really didn’t let the shit get them down! Their gratitude and thankfulness at seemingly little things was quite incredible, lovely, humbling and inspiring, and used to stop me in my tracks and make me mentally say to myself that I would (try to) be more like them.

Both my grandmothers were the kindest, gentlest but bonkers and fun and strong women. They didn’t seem to feel the need to gossip, put others down or belittle them – maybe they took note of the saying ‘If you’ve got nothing good to say, say nothing at all’? I suspect, however, that it was more to do with their generation – they didn’t have the ‘stuff’ we have today, their lives weren’t massively complicated and life was more fragile yet they had spirit and attitude and got on with stuff. They genuinely were grateful for what they had. Acknowledging this with a ‘thank you’ was second-nature for them.

Bizarrely, we have to remind ourselves to be thankful. But that’s no bad thing of course. I don’t know if you’ve come across these ‘thankful’ or ‘gratitude’ jars? These are great for kids actually. Any old empty, clean jar will do. The idea behind this simple jar is to jot down good things that happen to you and your family throughout the year. Anyone can grab a scrap of paper and add to the jar. This is a great way to instill gratitude in your children and a way to remember to celebrate the little things. Now imagine New Year’s Eve 2017. Gathering your family. Opening the jar. Pouring out all the little slips of paper, full of memories and sharing them just before midnight. Also a great thing to do when you’re feeling a little down.

So, back to those old fashioned values: be kind, don’t gossip or share in negativity, don’t compare yourself to others, be brave and face the occasional fear, plan fun stuff – have an adventure, be thankful and grateful and search for the joy and happiness in the small, simple, pure things in life 🙂

Most importantly, enjoy your ‘now’!

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New Year, new you?

Not that I’m suggesting there’s anything wrong with the current you, it’s just that 2016 is almost over, the clock is ticking down to the New Year and it’s around about now that we traditionally reflect on what’s been and gone and all our achievements to date, and consider all our goals, hopes and aspirations for the coming year … what awaits you?

It can be easy to roll out those generic New Year resolutions, like: I’ll lose weight, get fit, get a new job, earn more money … but maybe it’s about the small steps we can all take – and setting small but achievable goals which in turn lead to small but brilliant successes, satisfying senses of achievement and the motivation and inspiration to keep going.

Instead of thinking then in generic big-change terms, maybe we ought to think about the smaller steps we can take to achieve some of our bigger goals. So, if for example, your bigger goal is to get fit this year, break this down in to smaller achievable and realistic goals such as joining a yoga class once a week, walking to work once a week and maybe finding out about something completely different to really challenge yourself – rock climbing anyone?!

Now is a great time to find out about new and different things to try and do – you’re never too old to try new stuff. I know it’s a cliché but it’s so true – sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone – nothing crazy but maybe something a bit different.

This happened to me recently – I was offered a super last-minute opportunity to work as a body-double and extra for two overnight shoots on a film set – something I’ve never done before and was potentially going to turn down but instead, supported my lovely partner, I threw caution to the wind and (in the words of Nike) just did it! And wow, what a fun and brilliant and creative experience. I met some lovely, inspirational people – people I’d never normally work with or meet and they were fab – a breath of fresh air – and it gave me an ‘accidental’ confidence boost – my advice, just do it!

Whatever your ‘thing’ is for this year, some top tips I’m going to try and keep hold of myself to take me through 2017:

• Think positive and smile – make it a habit
• Set achievable and realistic goals
• Get back up if you have a setback (don’t berate yourself, ever if you ‘fall off your wagon’)
• Surround yourself with positive, inspirational people
• Stop occasionally. Breathe and take stock
• Have belief in yourself
• Don’t compare yourself to others
• Recognise the joy and pleasure in small and simple things
• Take care of yourself – that means mental and physical health
• Be kind and grateful
• Say ‘thank you’

I’m sure there are others, but for me, these are the important things to try and remember as we head in to 2017 and all it brings …

Happy New Year all – may it bring you happiness, health, peace and joy 🙂 x

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Trying to be (more) grateful

Gratitude. Thankfulness. How often do you stop to list the things in your life you’re most grateful for? If you’re like me, then not very often – umm, helloooooo, busy mummy lady!!

However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently (think it’s to do with that mid-age thing – I find my mind wandering about and thinking about all sorts of deep and sort-of-meaningful stuff …). Anywhoooo – gratitude. It makes you focus on the good things in your life – it really can help you gain perspective and in turn make you feel happier and thankful – for the stuff, people, health you have in your life.

And according to the sciency people who know sciency stuff, there are lots of positive side-effects: apparently being grateful and thankful you’re also more likely to be(come?!) fun-loving, optimistic, kinder, generous, resilient and it’ll put you in a better mood (no more moody-Mildred then!).

If this all seems a bit yawn-some and tedious but this post is maybe making you think you ought to give it a little go, then it’s actually easy-peasy to incorporate a bit of grateful attitude in to your life (with hopefully all the lovely side-effects!) – simply consider all the good things that can happen if you start reminding yourself, even just once a day, of all you have to be grateful about … x