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The journey within

I have been obsessed with inner peace since I was 18. I remember that in the meditation sessions I participated in some university centers of Opus Dei “to be at peace” was the only thing that I prayed for even if I did not really understood what I meant by it. I could also not pinpoint where that thought came from or how I learned about the concept of inner peace but I had an awareness at 16 that I had anger issues that I could not comprehend where they were coming from. Taking a peace and conflict subject in undergrad, I learned about the social context of peace. But it was still an abstract kind of peace - I know that it is there, but it was not fully meaningful to me.

After graduation, the quest for inner peace continued - this was inner calm. It is not exactly the one I’m practicing now which is the ability to manage thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It was just thinking that I have to stay calm or else suffer consequences. This should actually work if my mind actually believed in what I was thinking. Any tiny sliver of doubt would shatter and dispel my “calm” thoughts.

I ask myself now, what does it mean for me to have inner peace. I define it now as understanding and acceptance. Either understanding or acceptance alone are not enough. If I understand something, I understand it as something as is and it is possible for me not to accept it. For example, I understand why there is conflict happening but I do not accept it as the resolution that should have risen. 

On the other hand, there are many things that we do not understand but we decide to accept. On acceptance alone, sometimes we “accept blindly” without fully being aware of the context. “I accept your apology” you say to someone who may have hurt you but in fact you are still hurt inside. We do it to keep appearances and maintain the facade or illusion of “okay”. Even if in the short run we accept this as true or genuine, there may be triggers along the way that would instantaneously, or even instinctively pull out from memory the narrative associated with the certain unpleasant incident. This simply means that we have not fully sorted it out. You have not understood your “acceptance”. A handy trick that a former boss told me is that when you remember the event because of a trigger, you no longer react they way you did before. In fact, the event is neutral and the meanings we attach to it are what makes us weave certain narratives. 

The journey with inner peace starts with understanding and accepting that you are enough. That you already have everything within you. You do not lack anything as a person. One just has to cultivate what one wishes to bring out into the world. As children we were all loving, fearless, non-judgmental creatures. It just so happened that some of the characteristics get amplified while others are suppressed depending how we were honed in our developmental years and how we managed or were able to go back and reflect upon these things. For example, you are love even if your parents were unable to shower you with love. What happened here is the expression for love was just suppressed but you have the potential and capacity, upon noticing and knowing, that you can cultivate it.

10 years later, can I say that I have inner peace? I will say yes, for the times that I was able to win over my anger and judgement; for taking notice and distancing myself from emotions, thoughts, and feelings and learning where these are coming from. Otherwise, no for the times that I succumb and act on them. What is more important is that I have tools at my disposal to enable the capacity and ability to navigate my ordeals,and to know that I am always capable and that it is always possible to choose to be at peace over every other option.

  • I understand and accept my past. Without all experiences, I will not be who I am today.
  • I understand and accept my present, the product of my past, the only space where I have the opportunity to work on what needs to be done in order to give way to an envisioned future. 

I am still on a journey to develop an unshakable core. 

The ride within is the best adventure yet. All the best. 

Soya

Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are  completely; the good and the bad and make changes as YOU see fit not because you think someone else wants you to be different 🧘🏾‍♀️

#selflove #photooftheday #wellbeing

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time for some mindfulness..?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5IiqU8rnZU

[Peel 339]

Tarot Reading

-What makes the Tarot stands out? (4) –

We are influenced by the flow of energy between all other living things, within the Universe. Tarot Reading can improve our scientific understanding through the Tree of Life.

The life force that synchronises the Universe and makes us aware of the flow of energies, can providers with a real state of wellbeing.


タロット占い

-タロットの魅力(4)-

わたしたちを取り巻く空間、宇宙、

そしてすべての生き物との関係から

成り立つ気の流れの影響を受けながら、

わたしたちは生きています。

タロット占いは「生命の樹」を通して、

それらの漠然とした目に見えない科学

現象を具体化してくれるのです。

宇宙に自分の気を合わせ、宇宙の存在を

意識しながら生きることは、

真の心の安定を意味します。

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100 days of productivity

So… my university commitments are well and truly over. This leaves me at the intersection of the end of Ramadan and beginning of summer. I will be rejoining my retail job just a few days after the conclusion of Ramadan but wanted to get some of my passion projects underway before then, as a means to manage my mental health proactively and prevent another burnout spiralling into a full blown depressive episode. As a result, I’d like to detail my main aspirations for the coming 100 days and hopefully check in on here to track my progress and remain inspired and motivated; I always have ambitious plans for the summer but typically end up succumbing to the pits of depression and feeling anxious in every interaction despite being in a customer facing role.

I will refer to this post when I formulate some form of planning in my bullet journal to ensure I stick to everything detailed.

  1. Fitness/ physical health

I would like to commit to consistently working out for at least 30-40 minutes every alternate day, either at home or in the gym. My goal weight is around 55kg and the last time I weighed myself a few months ago I was around 70kg. This has been a long term goal of mine but I have lacked the consistency to follow through and make the progress I truly want to be seeing. I will also be meal prepping and buying my own groceries to ensure I am sticking to a clean diet, so as not to exacerbate my chronic acid reflux and heartburn. Hopefully, this approach to a clean diet and fitness routine will go hand in hand with my mental health and afford me with a clearer headspace, this enabling me to maintain and restore some of my social relationships. I would also like to commit to implementing and maintaining a more effective skincare routine. As a combination skin gal who waxed for hair removal, my skin is in pretty bad shape most of the time. Texture, hyperpigmentation and discolouration are my main concerns and therefore I will hopefully formulate (write down!) and implement a morning and nighttime skincare routine for tackling these issues (I have a lot of products from The Ordinary range and really should use them more).

(Also I really want to start hiking again; it really uplifted my soul when I did, and also served as a great workout with a view)

2. Mental health

I would like to begin to execute my plans for launching a book review/ sociopolitical Instagram blog page, where I will review books ranging from spiritual/ self development (faith based), sociopolitical topics such as racism and islamophobia and also mental health (self help and YA fiction), and popular culture novels (western classics e.g. Dickens etc.). I feel that this will help me manage my mental health more effectively because reading the books and then writing up reviews, taking and editing photographs for the posts and engaging with any followers or comments will serve as a method of escapism when I need it, while also helping me to feel productive and intellectually stimulated. My bookshelf hosts a plethora of brand new books that I haven’t gotten around to reading because of my tendency to fixate on one task at a time, namely university assignments of exam revision, contributing to a vicious cycle of feeling like a failure for being unable to get around to reading or managing to read for leisure alongside academia. Therefore, reviewing and sharing the books will help me enjoy them to the fullest and record my views and highlights of the books (I also have the foggiest brain and worst memory ever, perhaps thanks to my poor mental health, so recording everything will be highly effective).

Some other passion projects I would like to pick up again include fine art (using watercolours, acrylic and graphite pencils), photography (hopefully maybe investing in a macro photography camera and lenses, although I currently own an Instax Mini 9 and Canon G7xii), and editing photos and videos. Also, sewing. I would love to brush up on the sewing skills I left behind at GCSE Textiles, about 6 years ago now. I would like to develop my skills to a point where I can design and make my own ethnic (Pakistani) wear and also modest fashion pieces to suit my specific needs (I break out in body acne in everything but cotton).

3. Financial health

I really need to become more consistent and aware of my finances. I will be rejoining my retail job in a few weeks and need to steer clear of making the mistakes of every past payday. I need to save money for a few important personal causes and have therefore come up with some percentages to help me work out how much money to divide among the various savings accounts I have opened.

  • Everyday expenses (travel, food, skincare/ beauty, clothes, gym membership, Netflix subscription): 16%
  • Driving (lessons, test, insurance and road tax): 16%
  • Medical (dental crowns to save my acid reflux ruined teeth): 16%
  • Home (to contribute to the cost of buying our family home outright): 16%
  • Mum (to contribute to household expenses e.g. taxes and groceries): 16%
  • Personal (savings for future investments): 10%
  • Pension (my Taurus soul requires the stability afforded by this investment): 10%

So these percentages add up to 100%, enabling me to hopefully sit down every payday and calculate how much money I should be transferring into all of these accounts. To sum up, 16% of every pay check will be transferred to the first five accounts which are more immediate short term commitments, and 10% of every pay check will be put towards the future.

As someone who is from what would be considered a low earning working class POC background, I know that my savings will probably be taxed heavily once they reach a certain point, due to the tax laws for low income families in the UK. However, I am hopeful that committing to this kind of self implemented financial plan will enable me to make healthy financial decisions in the future and suffer less anxiety about my economic stability.

4. Spirituality

I would like to become more consistent in practicing my faith. In order to do this, I am hoping to study my faith more using books and eventually religious lectures online. I would also like to commit to prayer and acts of worship on a more consistent level.

5. Social ties

In all honesty, I am emotionally distant and can begin to distance myself from others during social events. A notable and common example of this is when I travel into the city with friends on our underground network. I feel myself almost leaving my body and looking at the myself and my friends from both outside and inside my own body, with anxieties arising about whether we are safe, whether the day will be a success, even about whether I am engaging enough with everybody. For this reason and often the financial difficulties of maintaining a social life when going out is just so expensive, I typically maintain my friendships through social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. I find it easier to communicate and present myself properly through my phone, which can be disheartening sometimes. As a result, I would like to commit to making more of an effort to arrange and execute social engagements with friends throughout the summer. I will make note of interesting or fun events or places to visit, movies to see, things to do, and events/ friend dates I can host in the comfort of my own home sometimes, and make a solid effort to reach out to friends.

This text post made its way across my Instagram explore feed and really inspired me to switch up my lifestyle, so hopefully I will follow through with a plan somewhat similar to it:

Originally posted by princess-bxby

Let’s do this!

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#adelgazarapido #adelgaza #adelgazarconsalud #adelgazar #adelgazarcomiendo #adelgazante #adelgazamiento #coaching #coach #pnl #wellbeing #wellnessfitness #wellness #weightlossjourney #perderpeso #fitnessmotivation #motivacion #objetivo #fitness
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Invisible cage

All my fears, doubts, anxieties come from one main fear – the fear of not being good enough. The realization of this fear rose when I was 17, a freshman in university. But at that time I also did not know what to do with it. I just did my “best” the way I know given with what I have. In every situation that this fear arises, there are times when I win over it and there are times when I could not overcome it. In some of my readings, fear comes from things that we do not know, from things that we do not understand or have a ready explanation for happening. The development of our ideas of fear also started from what we were programmed as children.  In my working life, I came across a TED video about the concept of fear setting. The talk proposed a very nifty and practical approach about how to approach our fears. He also said that fears are mostly imagined rather than being real. The method goes like this: given a fear of something happening, think about the worst case scenario, if the worst case scenario happens, devise concrete steps on how to mitigate it. I tried it a couple of times and it helped me ground my fears and a blah of control by having a ready plan in case it happens. Research also claims that the brain does not distinguish from imagined or real events. The recent popularity of mindfulness and meditation practices are very helpful for the management of the kind of thoughts we allow ourselves to have.

Growing up with a strict mother wherein even a small mistake would always result in verbal spanking, it has been in grained in my mind to be always “at my guard” and “not offend anyone”, essentially, “being perfect at all times in order not to offend anyone”. I was not surrounded by the kindest of adults so I developed a very careful way of interacting with people. Most of them were even punitive – mistakes were easily punished, performing well was nagged with “you have to do more/ be better”. I also developed the fear of people talking badly behind my back - especially if I had not done anything wrong. We were also discouraged by our mother to talk about our family’s circumstances to anyone. It felt like living in a mental prison that I had to silently endure and carry with me. I may sound like an ungrateful person but until now my parents only look at the achievements of our peers - who are lawyers, doctors, who finished their Masters and PhDs… etc. My immediate retort in my mind would be “Did you even give us the financial resources to pursue those ends?” but then suddenly shift to questioning my capability and why have I not exercised my own resourcefulness: Why am I not a doctor? Why am I not a lawyer? Why have I not finished my Master’s degree? But realizing that these are not my dreams, there is no merit in being envious. Understand that our parents just want what is secure for us, given what they know with the world.

In my search of a “cure” on how to feel better about myself, I came across several ways to let go of the thinking of not being enough because truly, we are enough. The biggest way is actually simple – to be able to love oneself, unconditionally, but also tricky when one has been conditioned to do otherwise.

I have been using two applications to manage spiral of negative thoughts: Pacifica and 7cups. Pacifica is where I record and track my mood, sleep, water intake, exercise, and meditation. 7cups also has a selection for guided meditation but what I like about it is the access for Listeners, people trained to listen to the client’s ails. I have interacted with different Listeners and one has given me advice that I am holding on at this point in life: Remember how to be a child.  When you are a child, you were able to get anything you want. But now that you are an adult it is more difficult to do so because of the ego. A child has no fear. Fear is something that he/she picks up from his/her parents – based on how they react on what a child does. He also said that doubts are other people’s assumption of what they think about things and are not your own. The next time you doubt something, ask yourself who was the person who had doubts about it first. Our self-defeating behaviors come from allowing other people to take over our lives. He also said something about parents as a vehicle of allowing us to manifest in this world. He has a take that we are not really our parents’ child but the Universe’s (or in monotheism, God’s). This was useful for me in practicing gratefulness for parents instead of resentment. Whatever journeys we had in our upbringing (whether categorically good or bad), is just part of our becoming. Just take it simply as an extra challenge or handicap that will help you bloom.

I have also been taking online classes on Buddhism via Skype (since September last year). Among the different systems of beliefs, I think Buddhism is the one nearest to human psychology and experience. It also fits well with my world view. Understanding oneness, impermanence, and other tenets makes me more compassionate and kind to myself and others.  

Anyway, what am I even trying to say with this post. I believe it is healthy to examine our fears, doubts, and anxieties – of checking on our beliefs which served as coping mechanisms before but are no longer useful this time around. Depression is an indicator that we have already crossed the line, that we are no longer serving ourselves. Knowing about the origins of our fear (or even of our other emotions) helps us weave the narrative of healing. It may not be something that we can heal on right away, especially if we have been carrying such for so long, but being able to take notice, becoming aware and acknowledging it as part of oneself is the first step. You will be surprised that there will come a time, upon understanding what happened and why it continued to happen, you will be at peace with your past and just enjoy the present. At that point, we have allowed ourselves to be free from the invisible cage that our minds have set up.   

Let us allow to manifest what is already internal within us. To quote Pema Chödrön, “Wisdom is born from pain. Suffering is the main prerequisite for courage."   

Happy Mental Health Awareness month.

Soya