Top 10 Tips for Getting Back Into A Healthy Routine

Preparing to head back to work and worried about how you will fit back into the 9-5 pattern after living a ‘free and easy’ routine?

Here are some tips to help with planning your week (and playtime!) that will help to reduce the overwhelm.  This may also be helpful for the young people in your life as they try to adjust to ‘the new norm’ at school or college, so feel free to share!


1. Set a morning affirmation – setting your intention for the day can help you to focus on the most pressing item on the agenda. Think about what you want to get out of today, or what you want to have achieved by the time you get into bed tonight.

2. Take a proper lunch break – if you have a lot to catch up on, or are raring to get back in the saddle, you may be tempted to get stuck in but you will end up feeling overwhelmed or burned out. Taking a break to get some fresh air and proper sustenance can help to keep you productive throughout the day.

3. Get outdoors and try some form of exercise to get the endorphins going. Taking time to clear the mind and get the body moving can help to reduce stress, and it can also be good thinking time if you need to mull over a few ideas.

4. Switch off properly – as you start to wind down at the end of the day, try to attend to one thing at a time, don’t scroll and watch, and put your phone on charge in another room so you don’t get distracted (disclaimer: I need to take my own advice on this one, as I use my phone for an alarm clock!!)

5. Connect – keep up with the really important things and goings-on and try not to dwell on the negative news or gossip. Consider taking a social media break at least one day a week or even a weekend.


6. Plan your escape – when things are getting hectic, try to have things to look forward to for the weekends or time off – even just a day out can lift your spirits, or try some holiday dreaming. Sometimes the planning can be just as rewarding.

7. Plan your escape Part II – if you are really not enjoying being back and feel ready for a more significant change, make a plan of things that will stretch or challenge you. Maybe investigate some new courses or career change ideas, or perhaps a new fitness routine. Even taking small action steps can help to make you feel more positive.

8. Eat well to feel well – Get yourself organised by writing up a weekly meal plan so that you know in advance what you will have, and think about meals that you could batch cook for lunches and dinners over a number of days. It will help to keep you on track if you are feeling tired when you get home and can’t muster the energy to cook.

9. Get ready the night before – anyone else rather have an extra 15 mins on snooze? Me too! Spend a few minutes before bed to get the breakfast stuff out, your bag ready to go, and get your clothes laid out. Saves that last minute faff in the morning!

10. Plan your playlist – set up a playlist of some of your favourite top tunes that are guaranteed to get you out of a lull if you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed…and you can even indulge your guilty pleasures (I won’t tell!!)


Photo credit:  Estee Janssens  via Unsplash 

What (or who) is holding you back?


After my last post on getting out of your own way, and recognising where you might be self-sabotaging your own goals, I thought it would be only right to follow up with looking at what other things could be blocking your route to success.

Reaching a goal is hard work. And that’s kind of the point – that it stretches and challenges you, and pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But to get there, you might not be able to do it alone. It’s great to have a supportive circle around you, your own little bunch of cheerleaders that have your back and keep you going when you feel like giving up. But what happens when those closest to you aren’t exactly waving the pom-poms…

Sometimes the people who are the most unhelpful are the very people that you would think should be there for you. Whether this is your partner, friends or family, it can really hurt when you feel like you’re having to deal with unsupportive, or even sabotaging, loved ones. Sometimes people don’t share your enthusiasm or vision, or for whatever reason they may feel threatened or worried that what you are gaining from achieving your goals, might take you away from them. Or maybe it highlights an area in their own life where they feel inadequate or insecure, and they could be jealous that you are doing something about it.

I love to see Instagram stories where people are sharing their big and little wins, and seeing the support that people (often random strangers) give each other. And it’s sad when you read that people are talking about it on their page because they don’t feel they are getting that support from their loved ones, or they’ve lost friends who are jealous of their achievements or new found confidence.

Realising that not everyone has your best interests at heart is a tough lesson to learn, but you have to keep going to reach your own achievements.  Even if it means doing it alone, or finding support in another form – go find your cheerleaders!


Photo by Rojan Maharjan on Unsplash

Get Out Of Your Own Damn Way!!

I was speaking to a colleague the other day who has been given a redundancy notice, and after getting over the initial shock and anger, he’s now starting to make plans and is thinking of his options for the future.  Part of his own reflections were that despite this being a really rubbish time, it’s given him the chance to revisit some goals and ambitions that had been put on the back-burner for too long.

When you are in the thick of building a career, or even just getting the bills paid each month, it is easy to just keep your head down and get on with it. And all those goals that you had in the first days and weeks of your job start to fizzle out. Either you lose your focus or you realise that there are just too many roadblocks getting in the way, and it’s easy to get disheartened.

Sometimes it’s not until we have a big moment that shakes us up, like redundancy, or a situation that someone else is in control of, that you realise how much time has drifted, and the things you wanted to achieve and were passionate about, aren’t on the agenda any more. It is very easy to put goals on hold when there is so much other stuff going on – other things which are important, but they could also be the very things that are keeping you stuck.

And this all got me thinking about where I’ve been putting blocks up to my own goals. The thought of putting time and energy into activities at the weekend after a really long, stressy week is a killer for me – of course I’d much rather chill on the sofa, but would that get me to where I want to be?  Or drifting off course with a healthy eating or exercise plan, because I haven’t got the energy to get up a bit earlier in the mornings, or I get so busy rushing around that I forget to write a meal plan for the week and end up eating (unhealthy options!) on the go.

I’ve decided it’s time to hold myself accountable for making sure that I don’t let life, or more to the point, myself, get in the way of achieving the really important stuff. I don’t want to turn around in a years’ time and think, I wish I’d put more energy into that goal instead of wasting my weekends ‘chilling’. It’s time to stop getting in my own damn way!!

(Photo: Tim Collins @timcollinsphoto via Unsplash)

Worried about exam success or failure? Remember you’re in it for the long haul


In this year more than ever, there will be students who have not got the grades they were hoping for, or deserved, and it will be a hugely disappointing and difficult time for them right now.

I know how that feels, as I’ve been there.  And if I could go back and speak to my 18 year old self,  I would tell her this – your worth is not based on one exam or piece of paper.

I have also worked with young adults and employers via employability training and apprenticeship recruitment for a number of years, and am all too familiar with the worries and perceived doubts that young people can have in their abilities, based on their exam grades.

But please remember that an employer will see value in the skills, attributes and achievements that you make throughout your career, not just from one summer.

How you deal with this situation gives a potential employer a pretty good indication of your aptitude to build resilience, handle disappointment and frustration and shows you are able to adapt plans and ideas to get a job done.  Even when, especially when, the original plan goes awry.  Isn’t this what we are required to do all the time at work anyway? These are vital skills in any workplace.

Building this attitude is a far greater lesson than seeking blame or woe.  And will get you to where you ultimately want to be a lot quicker too.

Of course the economic climate will also be a potential hurdle for those entering the job market in the coming months (possibly years?), but remember, there will be numerous setbacks and hurdles to overcome throughout your career.  There will be those who are not so fortunate and businesses that will struggle, but there will also be those which thrive.  It’s been suggested that businesses which start during a recession are far more likely to still be in business after their first 12 months because they have already had to anticipate problems and operate in difficult times.  Did you know that a number of global corporations such as IBM and Microsoft were started during financial downturns?  Success is still possible, if you are prepared to meet the challenges.

Yes, the situation sucks and it might not be what you had planned. But this could be the start of living through one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.  This is where you build those strengths. And it will give you a perfect scenario to discuss in your next competency based interview.

So go boldly. You are just getting started.

(Photo credit:  @pickaasbyilse via Unsplash)

Well hello, it’s good to see you!

Yes, it feels like the right time to bring back the blog and get creative again!!  And I’m hoping that this will be like meeting up with an old friend that you haven’t seen for ages….but when you do, it’s like the time and distance melts away, and the conversation picks up where you left off….

So what have you been up to?  I’m picking up writing again as we are currently in late Summer 2020, and it’s been a hell of a year so far…for me this has meant a lot of isolation and reflection but also a renewed energy and vision.  It feels right to get my serious head on and focus on how I really want to be spending my time, and I think this rings true for a lot of people.

So my vision for my blog is to keep bringing my thoughts and insights into a life well lived, and looking at ways to ignite a spark.  I’ve completed some further qualifications in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness this year too, so will be sharing some tips that will hopefully help when life doesn’t quite go to plan, or the spark seems a little less fired!

And I have already got a heap of ideas ready and primed for the coming weeks and months, and am committed to keeping this going.  There I’ve said it…so I have to do it now, right?!

In the meantime, you can also follow me on Instagram @startalittlefire 

Speak soon!