Looking to change career?

The Happy Bee - career change

Sunday can be the most difficult day of the week when are unhappy at work. The familiar dread of Monday morning is only amplified by feeling trapped or hopeless, due to a lack of other options.

The first step to making change is deciding your ultimate career goal. If you’re unsure then spend some time asking yourself the following questions;

  • What do people tell you that your good at?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • Are there elements of your current job that you’d like to do more of?
  • If you won the lottery what would you spend your days doing?

If asking these questions doesn’t give you a clear answer, then are there any elements of your answers that you could explore further? Can you volunteer in a role in order to try it out? Do you know anyone in the role who would agree to you shadowing them? Don’t be afraid to try more than one option for size. We are in work for a long time and reading about a role isn’t the same as actually being in the job.

Once you have an idea of a job goal then write it down. Research shows that people are much likely to commit to something if they’ve written it down.

Now you have your goal you need to to something every single day to work towards it. Examples could be;

  • Researching the role you’re interested in
  • Studying towards a qualification
  • Finding opportunities in your current role to gain experience which may help you when you come to apply for your new opportunities
  • Making contact with people in the same role
  • Volunteering in a similar role, which can help you gain experience you need

Keep focussed and keep reminding yourself that change is possible, you just need to be determined and stay possible.

If you’re not able to leave your current job soon, is there any way for you to make the best of your current situation? Are there tasks that you enjoy that you can do more of? Also, try and connect to the reason you applied for your existing job in the first place, are there opportunities to find some meaning by focussing on your initial passion for the role?

Lastly, you may need to find space in your daily life in order to work towards your career goal which I’ll cover in a later post.

Bee the change, love & light,

The Happy Bee x

A breathing meditation for beginners

Mindfulness-nature

If you’re new to mindfulness or meditation, then a really good place to start can be with a breathing meditation exercise.

This type of meditation technique can be good for beginners as it can help to focus on something specific, rather than a more advanced meditation such as the Just sitting meditation which can trickier if you’re not used to a regular meditation practice. This type of single focus meditation can be a great place to start for mindfulness beginners.

The breath is always with us and doesn’t need to be forced or altered in any way, we can just notice the movement and the changes we experience in our body. Bringing our focus back to the body and away from our busy minds.

Notice as you inhale and then exhale, notice the feeling of the breath on your lips or nostrils and notice the sensation  on your chest and abdomen.

Notice that place of stillness at the end of an exhalation.

Try not to stop thinking or empty your mind, just notice your thoughts and keep returning your focus to your breath. Take care not judge yourself for having thoughts, they are completely natural and the most mindful moments can be in that split second after you realise your mind has wandered.

If you feel that you struggle to find the time to meditate, then try a 3 minute breathing meditation.

Even if a 3 minute meditation feels impossible, then a 3 breath meditation practise can provide just enough of a pause to make a difference.

Just breathe.

Love and light, The Happy Bee x

 

Just sitting meditation sunset

Just sitting meditation

Can we allow ourselves to just be? To just do nothing without any goal or judgement?

I’ve mentioned before how I really struggled when I began to practise meditation several years ago as I thought I was a TERRIBLE failure. My mind wandered constantly and I was overcome with urges to get up and do something, anything rather than just nothing! It was only after years of study that I realised that that is exactly what our minds are supposed to do. Our brains are amazingly wonderful. They are more complex than any computer and orchestrate our multi-faceted, self healing, self mending human bodies. Human civilization has reached a point where it has been able to fly to the moon, connect across the globe via the world web wide and other far reaching scientific advances. Our brains are programmed to think and to plan. They are the machines that keep us safe, keep us alive from one moment to the next. Every one of us is a genius problem solver and survival of the fittest has ensured we are just that. Only our most problem solving ancestors would have survived, the ones who were able to recognise danger and plan and outwit. The ones who worked out the best routes to food and the best way to keep safe from predators.  We’re now left with a primeval brain in a modern world. We no longer need to run from sabre tooth tigers or spend every waking moment foraging for food but our brain doesn’t know this.

Our minds are so used to planning, doing and being active that so many of us find it hard not to. It feels like a human instinct for many of us and there’s a Buddhist saying that ‘a busy mind is a lazy mind’. Meaning it’s easy to keep going, to focus on our thoughts, think about our yesterdays and plan for our tomorrows and one of the greatest challenges of mindfulness can be to just do nothing. It can feel so unnatural, so self indulgent and a huge waste of time but I honestly believe that we need that space. We need time to unwind and to process the chaos and noise around us.

Reading this, your mind is probably already trying to solve this problem work out why you don’t have time to do nothing, preparing your excuses; you have kids, you have work, you have busy lives etc but it can just be a minute or two; the couple of minutes it takes waiting for the kettle to boil or five minutes waiting for your train. Just create a space, a moment in time where you just stop and notice. There is no need to go looking for anything or try and fix anything, instead just be. Notice your breathing, your body, and the sounds, sights and smells around you. And all of this without judgement. If a thought or sensation comes along then acknowledge it but don’t just on that thought train, just let it pass and return to being.

I try and incorporate a 10 minute nature ‘just sitting practice’ into my day. I sit on my garden bench and notice my garden, noticing the plants, the apple tree, the breeze on my face and the sky above me. There are often urges to criticise or yearn for something different; my fence needs usually needs painting, the grass is too long or I preferred it when the tree was in blossom but I just try and those thoughts go and return to the world around me. Throughout the year I notice as the garden changes, from one season to the next. Is there somewhere you could have a sitting space?  Even if you don’t have a garden, a balcony or even just from your window? Mindfulness and nature can bring real happiness.

A good place to start it with the breath. Just take 3 long slow breaths, with each out breath gradually slowly than the last. It’s a good way to bring our awareness from the mind and down to our body. Then begin to just notice. Notice without judgement and without trying to find anything. That’s all.

And remember mindfulness is known as mindfulness practice for a reason. None of us are perfect at it. There’s a Buddhist saying that meditation can never be wrong and can never be right. Each practice will be different, just like each day is different and each moment is different from the last.

Just notice.

Love & light, The Happy Bee x

Lush Leeds spa - Sound Bath review

Lush Spa Sound Bath review

Lush Leeds spa review aka Disneyland for wellbeing seekersLush spa Leeds

I’m a huge fan of Lush spa treatments and although definitely not the cheapest, I believe they offer a truly holistic spa experience which is very hard to find elsewhere. I’ve only visited the Lush Spa in Leeds, so can’t comment on any other but at the Leeds Spa I’ve found an attention to detail which I only previously felt on my very first visit to Disneyland 🙂 I decided to try and break my ‘validation facial’ addiction by branching out and trying the Sound Bath. Lush describes the Sound Bath as ’striking a deep chord within’ and as I always aim to experience any spa treatment in the most mindful way possible, it sounded just perfect.

When arriving at the Lush Leeds Spa the Lush staff are always super friendly and appear almost as excited as I am that we’re there for a treatment! Once it’s treatment time you are greeted and Lush Leeds spaled down the stairs to the basement spa area. The spa is filled with beautiful vintage objects , reclaimed wood, fresh flowers and positive affirmations. A nice little extra is that the bathrooms are filled with Lush products for you to use before and after your treatment. As you take a seat at the huge farmhouse kitchen style table, the spa therapist talks you through your treatment. The Sound Bath began with the therapist telling me she had me a present. I found it difficult to contain my excitement as I was presented with a wooden box with swirling mist (chemistry classes would have been so much more interesting if they included how to add a magical mist to presents, instead of hours of reciting the periodic table in a musty classroom, maybe I just didn’t stick with it long enough). Anyway, inside the box contained a tiny 100% pure cacoa chocolate with an ‘eat me’ label and a tiny drink with a ‘drink me’ label. At this point I nearly self-combusted.

Lush treatment roomOn to the treatment which included a hot and cold stones facial massage, ear massage, a head massage (glad that oils weren’t used at this part), tunings forks applied to acupuncture points and ear candles. Now, I’ll be honest I was very initially very sceptical about ear candles and therefore weren’t something I’d tried before but the way that something about the way the therapist held them in place by cupping her hand on the side of my head with the warm glow that I could ‘see’ through my closed eyes that was especially meditative. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this treatment but it was probably the most immersive that I’ve tried so far. The sound track was probably my favourite so far but maybe I’m a little biased due to the welcome appearance of bees. Go, happy bee 🙂

Lush Sound BathEach treatment is ended in an individual way and with the Sound Bath I was treated to mint, lemon and agave tea served in a tea pot with the swirling magical mist and the quirky feature of a meditation bowl instead of a cup.

My verdict: If heaven was a place of earth then it would be a Lush Spa. I can highly recommend you save those pennies as it’s definitely an investment worth making. In my experience all Lush treatments live up to their names but I would say the Sound Bath was the most meditative I’ve tried so far. As we know spending money on experiences can bring more much happiness than material objects Isn’t it time we focussed on happiness not money? and in my opinion there isn’t a better wellbeing experience that a visit to a lush spa.

PS Off to buy a lottery ticket as next stop hopefully The Planets 🙂

Love & light, The Happy Bee x

Isn’t it time we focussed on happiness not money?

Gross national happiness wall image

Mario Biondi – Italian Writer

Can money buy happiness? The short answer is yes and no. Although it’s clear that not having enough money to pay for our basic needs; food, warmth and shelter impacts on happiness levels. Once we have enough money to cover our basic welfare, then more money doesn’t necessarily equal greater happiness. Studies have proven that there is very little difference between the happiness of people who earn £50,000 a year compared to earning £100,000,000 a year. Instead of money buying happiness, it is how we live our lives and spend the money that we have that makes the real difference.

Once our basic needs are covered then how we spend the money we earn matters and in the 2011 study “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right” recommended;

  • Spend money on “experiences” rather than goods.
  • Donate money to others, including charities, rather than spending it solely on yourself.
  • Spend small amounts of money on small, more frequent temporary pleasures  than less often on larger ones.
  • Rather than buying products that provide the “best deal,” make purchases based on what will facilitate well-being.

Psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author of The How of Happiness claims that about 50% of our happiness level is a result of genetics, a further 10% is as a result of our life circumstances ie where we live and our income, which leaves around 40% of our happiness level which we can influence by our personal choices.

Although we all have a personal responsibility for our own life choices, shouldn’t country leaders also do more to facilitate a happier society? Gross national product (GNP) has long been used as a measure of successful government policy but the alternative concept of Gross National Happiness was introduced by The King of Bhutan back in the 1970s. This approach values collective happiness as the goal and emphasises harmony with nature and traditional values. Economic policy decisions are balanced with the need for environmental sustainability. Happiness is clearly subjective and therefore difficult to measure, but doesn’t measuring wealth encourage an economic divide within cultures and a more unhappy, poorer quality of life for some? The alternative being a more compassionate approach to policy making, helping to facilitate national wellbeing.

With levels of anxiety and depression rising in the UK (Office of National Statistics, 2016) then shouldn’t mental wellbeing being be both a personal and national priority? Isn’t is time as a nation we valued happiness not money?

Love & light, The Happy Bee x