5 ways to love yourself more

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image by Getty images

 

 

 

With all of the recent research backing it up, it has become very evident that self-love is just as important, or more important, as loving someone else that you care about.

 

In order to give love, you have to know and understand it first. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, ‘You cannot give what you don’t already have’.

 

Here are some little ways that you can love yourself:

 

  1. Tell yourself you are amazing

We sometimes confuse complimenting ourselves with being egotistical or a narcissist. However, I am a firm-believer in treating yourself as your friend. Just as you would compliment your friend, compliment yourself when you look in the mirror. It’s nice to know that someone, even if it is yourself, thinks that you are lovable and worthy.

 

2. Practice forgiveness

 

I say ‘practice’ because it really is a practice. Just like we practice yoga, a sport or dance, forgiveness requires practice because we won’t always get it right. We are human and it is easy for memories of anger and frustration to come over us. However, practice makes perfect- one day. Forgive for yourself, not for them. Freeing you up to enjoy your life and live today to it’s fullest; without the cloud of negativity hanging over you.

 

3. Be you

 

If you were meant to be someone else, you would be that someone. You are you for a reason. Embrace it and accept everything about yourself. Accept your curly hair, accept that you can be petty sometimes and accept that you aren’t where you want to be in your life right now. Once you accept yourself, you no longer have to fight yourself and it becomes easier to love yourself.

 

4. Reward yourself

 

When I was younger, I often felt unworthy of anything that I received. I would mindlessly spend money when I was stressed and wonder what happened to my money the day after shopping. I have since developed a strategy where I reward myself for little things that I have accomplished. I recommend doing this for yourself. If you finished studying that chapter that seemed like it would never end? Maybe buy yourself a lipstick or cologne? Got through a tough day at work? Maybe take yourself to a movie? Tried a new spinning class that you felt was challenging? Maybe treat yourself to a delicious dessert. You are doing this thing called life well, remember that!

 

5. Use the mirror for you, not against you.

 

I teach and practice hot yoga almost everyday. If you are unfamiliar with it, the practitioner is meant to stand in front of the mirror for their alignment. As a yoga teacher, I often see students judging themselves- which can be easy to do; however, it can bring us negativity and ultimately, bring us down. Use the mirror in your favour by saying things like, ‘You are enough’ as opposed to being harsh on yourself. You can either be your bully or your best friend.

 

 

 

3 words that you should avoid on your health journey

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Image by Getty images

 

 

Unfortunately, we look at as health as having an end date or goal. However, health is a lifestyle. Eating healthily, working out and staying hydrated does not mean that your life will be complete once you have gone a month of being healthy.
No, healthy is a choice! It's a choice that we make when we are done abusing our bodies and realize that what we put into our bodies has a direct effect on it.
If you have chosen to live a healthier lifestyle or are intending to do so, avoiding these words will make it easier to do so:
1. Must

Ever heard the phrase, 'If you can, you must'? Let's emphasize CAN. There has been extensive research that clearly shows that everybody's body processes food and it's nutrients differently depending on blood type, metabolic rate, hormonal health, organ function and activity. Some people are able to go on 3-day detoxes; while others are not. Don't force your body to do something that it is not able to do. Your body wants to work with you, not against you.
2. Starve

 

 

 

As someone who has a history of eating disorders, I know first hand of the effects of starvation. Read this carefutlly, YOU WILL NOT LOSE WEIGHT BY MISSING A MEAL! Please rid yourself of this thinking. You will lose weight by replacing trans fats with healthy fats, replacing unhealthy calorie intake with healthy calorie intake, sugary sodas with water and, many more healthy options.
3. Fat.

 

Being healthy is also about being positive and affirming yourself. If you are stuck in a mindset that doesn't support you, you are most likely not to succeed. Speak kind words to yourself and you will what an impact it has on you. Yes, we all have fat but no one is fat.
*If you are seeking help on your health journey, e-mail info@biologiquelife.com for more information*

4 ways to de-stress and de-clutter your home

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image by Getty images  

 

No matter whether you ask a Holistic doctor, Western doctor or Ayurvedic doctor, they will all tell you that stress is the number one trigger of disease.


Stress has an immediate effect on your immune system and can stop your blood cells from re-forming, which makes you more susceptible to illness. So, it is best to lower your stress levels as much as you can.


Here are some simple tools to help you do so:


1. De-clutter


This one is something that I am still working on. With our busy modern-day schedules, it is challenging to keep our homes clean. BUT, it is necessary to do so. As they say, a clear home is a clear mind and I firmly believe so. I recommend setting aside two hours a week to de-clutter your home. As in, getting rid of clothes that you haven't worn in 6 months, throwing away old food and mopping your floors. De-cluttering will make you feel good about being in your home.


2. Buy Lavender and Sage scents for your home.


Both Lavender and Sage have been scientifically-proven to help people relax. I highly recommend lighting Lavender and Sage candles or using incense sticks. Please be safe to the environment by using soy or coconut wax candles; as opposed to beeswax. Also, use natural incense sticks without any fake scents.


*We love Meyer's Lavender candles.


3. Dim your lights at night.


Bright fake lights have been scientifically linked to headaches, migraines, blurred vision and elevated stress levels. So, I recommend dimming your lights while you are at home. Bright lights activate your fight-or-flight nervous system, which triggers stress responses. Bright lights might also reduce your hours of sleep.


4. Get rid of toxic-chemicals.


I often hear people say, my parents used bleach to clean for years and there are fine. This argument is scientifically untrue as different people respond to free radicals differently, free radicals are organisms that form in our bodies as a result of chemical exposure. They can take many years to show physical damage; however, they have a direct link to your nervous system. With toxic chemicals, a cough today could lead to cancer in 10 years. Our bodies process toxic chemicals as a stress. I highly recommend replacing ridding your home of chemicals like bleach, SLS and parabens.

10 ways to be a kind person.

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The Dalai Lama famously said, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."

Whether you're religious or not, kindness can go a long way toward improving your overall state of mind and sense of happiness. Here are ways that you can practice kindness in your daily lives:

1. Ask your roommate or neighbor how they're doing.

Maybe they need someone to talk to, maybe they feel alone or maybe they just wanted someone to ask them that simple question. It might mean a lot to them.

2. Smile at a cashier or vendor.

When you work long hours interacting with the public, you often come into contact with less-than-pleasant people. A simple smile can improve a worker's day immensely.

3. Tip at least 20%.

If you have the money to go out and have dinner, you can spare a bit extra to leave a decent tip. While money isn't the cure for sadness, an extra couple of bucks might help out with a metro card or a phone bill. You never know when your generosity will be needed.

4. Compliment yourself!

Your love comes from the inside and is shared to others. The only way that you can truly spread love to others is by loving yourself first.

5. Offer a friend an ear just to listen.

Yes, just listen! Your friend might not need to hear what you have to say. They might need you to just sit and listen without judgment or criticism.

6. Move to the side.

There's no need to stand in front of a pathway so that others can't get through. The only thing this action achieves is frustration by those wanting to get past you. If creating frustration is your goal, stand in the way! However, if you want to be kind to others, move to the side and let others pass by.

7. Let someone go ahead of you.

Holding a door open and allowing someone to step ahead of you is a nice reminder that the world doesn't have to revolve around you and where you want to go. It is a simple act of consideration.

8. Use your cellphone considerately.

It's a sad state of affairs when a loved one tries to have a heart-to-heart conversation, only to be met with a distracted, inattentive response. Put your phone away! Have some quality time with your loved ones and surroundings.

9. Let people be!

Judging and criticizing someone unnecessarily can be hurtful for the person who is being judged. Life can be challenging as it is. Why make someone's life harder by adding negativity that doesn't have to be there?

10. Say thank you!

Gratitude is not only for the person you're thanking, but also for the one doing the thanking. Gratitude can remind you how fortunate you have been to have received something that is worth saying thank you to in the first place.

I accept my invitation into The Beautiful Journey of Life. 

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Image by getty images

 

I accept my invitation to The Beautiful Journey of Life.
I accept that we have flaws and are often times vulnerable to hurtful situations. The Beautiful Journey that I have been invited to reminds me that I choose to whom I will allow myself to be vulnerable.

I accept that we find ourselves wanting things from people that are not able to give it to us. The Beautiful Journey that I have been invited to, over time, introduces me to someone out of the six billion people alive who is gladly willing to do so.

I accept that from time-to-time someone will not agree with me. Someone will have an opinion that contradicts mine. The Beautiful Journey that I have been invited to considers an opposing opinion because the truth is the truth. However, perspective hinders or changes it. We are all allowed to share our version of events.

I accept that we are all able to be angry at something/ someone. The Beautiful Journey that I have been invited to acknowledges that emotions pass. They tell you stories of moods. The only thing that matters is what you choose for them to leave behind.

I accept that some people are not tolerant of others because of something that they have done or how they look. The Beautiful Journey that I have been invited to does not forget that we all feel the same pain. We are born the same, laugh the same and want to be considered just like others.

I accept my invitation to this Journey. Will you join me?

I ask you to join me because a Journey where 'bad' and 'good' scenarios are harmonized is a chance for you to be at your best. Yes, it is relieving to know that there is kindness in This World. However, challenge is often worn victoriously.

In this Journey, nothing is an obligation. However, situations are sent to you to question what you want and how you will survive.

Accept my invitation to a Journey that allows you to make a choice between healthy and unhealthy decisions. In this journey we embrace the power of consequence.

10 reasons why I love my body

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I am an advocate for love and the best way to spread love is to recognize the love within ourselves.

 

After many years of suffering from anorexia, bulimia and yo-yo dieting, I found love within myself and I healed myself of many years of thinking that I was fat and not enough. It's been 7 years since I released my negative and unhealthy eating patterns.

 

What really helps me is reminding myself of why I love my body.

 

Here are the reasons why:

 

1. My body is a blessing.

 

2. I am grateful for this magic machine that is in tune with The Universe.

 

3. My body is always patient with me.

 

4. My body listens to me.

 

5. My body works with me.

 

6. Despite what my body looks like, it is designed to help me be the best me.

 

7. My body speaks to me, it tells me what I should and shouldn't put in it.

 

8. My body is unique.

 

9. My body always gives me second chance to repair and restore.

 

10. My body is enough! Sure, I want it to be at it's healthiest but so does it.

Want to know more about Chakras? Here you go...

Chakras are energetic pathways in our bodies. There are 7 main ones that are located at the centre of your body, along your spinal axis. This is said to be because your spine carries your energy, flowing up and down your spine.  

 

Image by paseban.org    

Image by paseban.org

 

 

In many yogic practices, we use the chakras to access energetic flows and to help us heal, physically and mentally. Different chakras have different purposes to help you through a physical or mental block. Each Chakra is associated with a sound and colour. Many yogis believe that practicing your Chakra balancing and alignment will alleviate you from illness and help you find spiritual enlightenment.


Here is more about the 7 chakras, from the first Chakra to the last.


•The First Chakra - Colour associated: red. Sound Lam


This Chakra is located at the base of the spine. It is said to be associated with survival. I recommend balancing this Chakra out if you are feeling unstable or financially unstable.


A great pose for balancing this Chakra out is bridge pose. Make sure to contract your pelvic floor, allowing your Chakra to balance out. Hold the pose for  more than a minute and repeat three times.


•The Second Chakra- Colour associated is orange. Sound: Vam.


This Chakra is located just above your groin area. It is said to be associated with sexuality and confidence. I recommend balancing out this Chakra if you are feeling sexually unstimulated or sexually unattractive.


A great pose to balance out this Chakra is pigeon pose or happy baby pose. Make sure to relax into the deep hip stretch so that this Chakra can open and release any negative energy.



TheThird Chakra- Colour associated is yellow. Sound associated is Ram.


This Chakra is located below your belly button. It is said to be associated with confidence and personal power. I recommend balancing this Chakra out if you feel taken advantage of in a situation or feel like you are powerless.


A great yoga pose for this is boat pose. Make sure to keep chest lifted as you pull your belly-button in, towards your spine. This will allow you to strengthen your abs, the abdomen is related to this Chakra.


• The Fourth Chakra - Colour associated is emerald. Sound associated Yam.


This Chakra is located at the centre of your chest, where your heart is. It is associated with receiving and giving love. I recommend balancing out this Chakra if you have been feeling unloved and unwanted by friends and family.


A great pose for this Chakra is camel pose. As with boat, keep your chest lifted allowing your heart to open. Your hips must be stacked over your knees and your back shouldn't hurt, a slight pinch in sensation but nothing more than that.


The Fifth Chakra- Colour associated is royal blue. Sound associated is Shyam.


This Chakra is located at the centre of your throat. It is associated with communication and self-expression. I recommend balancing out this Chakra if you feel misunderstood or having a burning sensation in your throat when you are about to cry.


A great pose for this is camel, again, or a full standing backbend. Remember to keep hips over knees- be safe to your back and don't strain your lower back.


• The Sixth Chakra - Colour associated is dark blue, also known as your third-eye. Sound is Ksham.


It is associated with intuition. I recommend balancing out this Chakra if you are feeling a disconnection between you and your inner-voice and your gut feelings about situations and people.


A great pose for this is salabasana with palms pressed placed at your third-eye. Make sure to have hips over heels. Or, if it hurts, sitting cross-legged.


The Seventh Chakra- Colour associated is amethyst or lavender.

Sounds is Om.


This Chakra is located at the centre of the top of your head. It is associated with acknowledging your connection to your higher self and The Creator or Higher-Being. I recommend balancing out this Chakra if you are feeling purposeless and wondering what your purpose is in this life.


A great pose for this is handstand or headstand. Make sure that you keep your head still in either and see if you can close your eyes once you have your balance to balance out this Chakra even more.

3 non-toxic makeup companies that we recommend.

Image by Getty Images

Image by Getty Images

With cancer, skin disorders and respiratory illnesses on the increase, it is important for us to be careful with what goes on our skin.

 

Extensive research has been done in Europe about toxins in beauty products that affect our health. For example, The EU banned any form of parabens due to the correlation between certain cancers and parabens.

 

In The US, we do not have the same banning principles as Europe unfortunately. However, this gives us a chance to use our buying power. Read labels and go for products that are known for being non-toxic.

 

I know that it may be different to differentiate what is safe and what isn't. So I came up with a list of companies that you can trust:

 

1. Honest Beauty

 

After much hesitation, I switched over to Honest Beauty. Although I am not crazy about their skin oils and facial products, I absolutely love their cosmetics. On their website, they have a list of 1200 toxic-chemicals that they will not use- which is very helpful. It is inexpensive and, because it isn't toxic, provides the skin with benefits. The foundation doesn't feel like it was put on the skin, it blends naturally.

 

2. Josie Maran Cosmetics

 

Josie Maran has created a line of makeup with the help of organic and botanicals- that nourish the skin. Her line is clean and uses few ingredients, which I am a fan of. I am also a fan of the fact that this was created by a woman for women. Her line is available at Sephora.

 

3. 100% pure

 

This Cosmetic line is very intelligent. Also organic and the foundation is light. They offer a full range of makeup, which also uses botanicals. They also infuse their products with other antioxidant-rich products like teas and fruit. The line is fun, clean and... pure.

 

*Google any of their names for more information*

How I made peace with my body.

I spent nearly two decades at war with my body. I would wake up to an image in the mirror and I would fight what I saw. I would wish for differently colored eyes, a skinnier body, a narrow nose, thinner lips, lighter skin, smaller thighs, a taller frame, less freckles ... the list was endless.

I wasted a lot of time and energy wanting to look like someone else. I didn't believe compliments, and I even told some people they were wrong if they complimented me. I was fighting a war that I could never win because as long as I was unhappy with what I looked like, I was losing out.

But I finally found peace with my body, and this is how:

1. I stopped comparing myself to the impossible.

I took a look at a magazine cover with an actress who looked like no one I'd ever seen before. She had no wrinkles, no blemishes and she had dropped about three sizes from when I had seen her in an interview the week before. It looked impossible for someone to change their appearance so drastically naturally. That's what I'd been comparing myself to, to people who have either been airbrushed or had plastic surgery.

I gave myself two extreme ultimatums: either get plastic surgery, or start appreciating who I am. Luckily, I'm afraid of needles, so I opted for the latter and started to appreciate who I am. I suddenly found no point in wanting to look like someone who doesn't look natural. As a result, I found true love for myself because that was more possible than looking like the image on the magazine cover.

2. I got tired of putting my body through torture.

The previous war I'd waged on my body consisted of telling myself that I didn't deserve to eat because I had to have smaller thighs by a certain time. I would punish and torture myself so much that even when I reached my goal weight, I wasn't happy with myself because I'd verbally abused myself. Who likes a verbally abusive person? The irony is that I was abusing myself, and through the abuse I continued the cycle feeling badly about my body. As long as I was abusing myself, I wouldn't love myself or my accept my body.

3.Istarted practicing yoga consistently.

One of the things that I love so much about yoga is that it teaches the beautiful work that our bodies do for us without our realizing it. It also teaches you that what you give your body is what you will receive back. The "yoga high" after class is a result of treating your body well. I developed a great relationship with my body since starting yoga, and I've realized that all that time spent being unhappy can be used on better thoughts. Thoughts that will enlighten me, not bring me down. I realized that I'm only ever able to appreciate the beauty around me if I am at peace with who I am and happy with the body that I've been blessed with. 

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10 things that I am stronger than

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image by Getty images  

 

Strength is within all of us. While I was on my Saturday night run, I thought of all the things that I was stronger than.

 

It motivated me to give that run and life my all. I hope that it does the same for you.

 

1. My HighSchool bully.

Yes, she may have called me fat and ugly but her opinion doesn't matter to me because I define me.

 

2. My former eating disorder.

I may have previously fallen into years of believing that it was worth buying into. But I have made a decision to be the healthiest-not skinniest- version of me.

 

3. My 6th grade technology teacher.

Sure, I might of been annoying sometimes when I was in her class but I was a kid. Now that I am an adult, I know not to treat kids the way she treated me. Kids' voices matters too.

 

4. The man who cheated on me.

He did many other things too. Yes, I am no angel but I deserve fundamental respect. I have learnt to forgive and set boundaries. Forgiveness gives you strength that no one can take away from you.

 

5. The bills that I had no money to pay.

I ended up paying them. It may have been tough and seemed like it wasn't doable. But, it's over now.

 

6. That stomach flu.

Real talk! I thought that my body was taken over by aliens! Lol! However, it wasn't and now I am grateful for a healthy gut.

 

7. Heart break.

There were times that I felt like I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. However, I did and I am a stronger person for it. I know for sure that emotions are not always true and that feelings are valid but not in control.

 

8. Depression.

Dark times can only lead to good times, if you just believe and focus on the light. And, when the light comes, it is brighter than before.

 

9. The Eczema on my back.

Since it's been gone, I have the courage to show off my back. It taught me to pay attention to what I put on my skin.

 

10. The occasional person that I encounter who is full of rage, angry or entitled.

Once I am done dealing with people who are unaware, negative or just plain angry, I am able to forget about them. However, they have to deal with themselves all the time.

10 things that I will never be sorry for

 

 

image by Getty images

image by Getty images

Recently, a colleague bumped into me and somehow my reaction to this was to think that if only I had thought to stand further out of the way, he wouldn't have bumped into me.I found myself saying sorry to someone about something that I shouldn't have been sorry for.

My irrational apology was basically saying, "Sorry for being in the way when I wasn't in the way." I began to question what else I was or had been sorry for, and made a decision to no longer be sorry for the following:

I'm not sorry for:

1. Who I am.

There's a reason why all of us are born as the people we are.

2. For not being a person that someone else wants me to be.

Nobody else can live my life, and there's nothing wrong with living life the way that I want to.

3. For not being perfect.

There's no such thing as perfect.

4. For having an opinion.

We're all allowed to form ideas based on our experiences.

5. For messing up.

Mistakes are inevitable and I have something to learn from them.

6. For loving someone.

My intention is to spread love. Sometimes I get it back and sometimes I don't. Regardless of the outcome, I won't miss out on an opportunity to love someone.

7. For feeling.

Feelings remind me that I am alive.

8. For asking someone to do something.

The worst thing that they can say is no.

9. For forgetting sometimes.

All of us forget, what can we do?

10. For failing or falling.

Both of these actions re-route our journeys and we often end up having acquired more knowledge and wisdom than we had previously thought.

10 reasons to choose love

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I used to spend so much time searching for love in other people and material things. Because of this, I noticed that I attracted people who were desperate for love and attention as I, too, was desperate for it.

One day, I switched on the TV to find Deepak Chopra on the OWN network. He was advising a young lady who said that she had trouble finding love. He told her to become love and to choose love so that she could authentically attract it.

I decided to incorporate this into my life, particularly my yoga practice. Every three months, I do a thirty-day hot yoga challenge. This time I decided to choose love for thirty days.

Here are 10 reasons why I chose and continue to choose love:

1. I choose love because love is the most powerful energy in the universe.

2. I choose love because now, more than ever, it’s important to choose love.

3. I choose love because when love is gone, nothing remains.

4. I choose love because we are all worthy of love of it.

5. I choose love because love heals.

6. I choose love because love soothes.

7. I choose love because love is the height of appreciation.

8. I choose love because love is real.

9. I choose love because love is the foundation of every healthy relationship.

10. I choose love because love is for all.

3 reasons that you might be attracting negative people into your life

image by Getty image  

image by Getty image  

Sometimes in our lives, we have to review our behaviour and the behaviour of the people in our lives.


It can often happen by force which may come in the form of betrayal or mistrust. Or, it may come at a time in our lives when we feel incomplete or feel as though we are missing genuine connections with people in our lives.


I am a firm-believer in detoxing. Detoxing your mind, body and soul. And, sometimes letting go of friendships, things and people that do you harm. Once we detox, however, it is important to think about how and why we attracted a person or situation to begin with.


It could've been one of the following:


1. You, yourself, have a tendency to be negative.


I had a client who had fallen into the pattern of being negative, which is normal. I noticed that she would project her negativity onto others and therefore, she would attract more negativity. I told her, and now I am telling you, that it is important to be aware of your own habits as we often attract similar behaviour as we have become used to it. She had no idea that she had created this pattern. This was two years ago and now she is in a happier place and surrounded by more positive and influential people. When I keep up with her, she is so grateful for that advice that I gave her as she had no idea. Some of you may have no idea, so pay attention to the people around you.


2. Don't base friendships on gossip and negative speech.


This is something that I have just learnt, again! During the winter, I found myself frustrated with a job that I decided to leave and during that frustration, I had become friends with another colleague. We spent a lot of our time speaking badly about that place and our circumstances. This lead to a foundation of friendship that was built upon negativity. Just like with all relationships, they need to have a foundation of truth, love and compassion - not on hateful or disappointment speech. Friendships like this don't survive. It would be different if we were supporting each other through a difficult time by affirming each other and being hopeful of the future; however, we spent a lot of time dwelling on what was being done to us.


3. Unclear boundaries


Boundaries are so important, very important. I can't re-iterate this enough. I like to use the analogy of when someone comes into your house, they ring the intercom, then they go through a gate/door then another door to get into your house/ apartment, right? This should be the same for your life. When you meet someone, they shouldn't be able to know everything about you and be able to be called a friend in an instant. As much as there are awesome and uplifting people, there are negative people who can bring you down too. Take your time with new acquaintances and start to notice if the person is worth trusting and worth having as a friend.We often let people into our lives too quickly to realize who they were until they are gone. Actively realize who you are letting into your life by taking it slowly and don't be afraid to see if someone isn't ideal for you.

10 Social Media tips from an expert

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10 Social Media tips from an expert

 

1. Get Personal

 

The  public like to know the person behind the blog/brand. The rise in popularity of bloggers proves this as we like to know who they are, what they do and if he/she is similar to us; do they read the same books, watch the same Netflix series, brunch at the same spot every Sunday etc.

There is so much competition between brands nowadays that getting personal is your unique quality they can’t replicate. Show your audience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat etc who you are: your age, your background, your dreams, your motivations and more importantly what your brand/blog means to you. Give them an added reason to follow you other than your amazing talents of course!

 

2. Images and Videos Daily

 

According tobufferapp.com tweets with images receives more than 150% more retweets than tweets with just words. This can also be said for Facebook, where posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than posts with just written word. As the old saying goes; ‘a picture paints a thousand words’.

 


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This post was created for Race Around Ireland, a cycling race in Ireland, and as you can see this image reached almost 15,000 people, this is compared to around 2,000 people reached in just written posts.


A lot of us scroll through Facebook, Twitter etc with only five minutes to spend on social media, images allow you to get your message across quickly and in a way that appeals to the masses. The images don’t have to be unique every day; they can be funny memes, old photos (throwback Thursday), photos of yourself, your pet etc. The sky is the limit, just make it interesting.

 

3. Have varied content

 

When I began working with various companies in Ireland most were just posting information, some photos and rarely some videos. Coming from a radio background I really wanted to introduce podcasts into the mix. I began working with Race Around Ireland’s (Europes toughest cycling challenge) founder Alan Heary on short and concise podcasts that would be informative, new and easy to listen to for the cyclists involved. This became a weekly activity leading up to the race and one that all racers said proved invaluable to them.

Podcasts are extremely popular now, particularly in America and it is very easy to do. Once you have a recording device- Iphone, in my case a H1 Zoom recorder or any other device you can think of, a FREE soundcloud account, yes free, Audacity is a free editing software, so now you are already half way there.

 

Podcasts aside, written posts and images must be varied also. No one wants to be shown promotional material every day, we want funny videos, cute puppies, inspirational quotes, or is that just me? One rule of thumb is to ensure only 30% of your posts are promotional, yes we need to promote our brand and make some money, but we must also increase our following and reach among the masses. You can upload personal photos, write funny stories, tell us what you did last weekend, of course funny memes, and retweet/share others funny posts also (always credit the original author). There are so many apps now that help you create collages, memes and unique content (canva, instacollage, mematic).

 

 

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This is one I created when I worked for AR VR Innovate event in Dublin. Each speaker I created a collage of their photo, name, company and title of presentation. Audiences are informed without even reading the information in the tweet.

 

A social media content calendar is a tool that can be used to help content creation and to keep you on track. Days like Mother’s Day, National Best Friend’s Day, International Human Rights Day are just some that can help you create content and use hash tags to trend online and reach a wider audience.

 

4. Consistency is key

 

Most millennial nowadays when looking at brands will look at the brands social media pages, and if they aren’t up to date, relevant and ‘cool’ then they will rethink their purchase.

Your website can be amazing, but you need your social media pages to reflect this also.

Daily posts are essential; you can schedule your tweets and posts on Hootsuite for $19 per month, which hosts up to 10 social media accounts. You can also schedule posts free on Facebook.

You should be consistent with your posts if you have themed posts- on Tuesday’s you do a Tuesday Shoesday for example, or on Friday’s you do a meet a member of the team post. If you retweet/share posts a lot then time and day isn’t as important but uniformity for some posts is a must and this will generate repeat engagement with your audience. With the podcasts we created on Race Around Ireland, we posted them every Friday and they were always met with huge reach and they became a must for the cyclists training at weekends.

 

5. Hashtags

 

Organic growth on Twitter and Instagram is by majority done via hashtags. One thing that has worked for me is logging on to Twitter and looking at what hashtags are trending and using them in my tweets. The usual ones that come up are throw back Thursday, Monday motivations, Flashback Friday etc. As of writing this today Saturday June 24th #gdocexpo is trending as number 2, the game developers of color expo is a perfect example of how events can trend on twitter and how the event can reach a huge audience. To market on this hashtag for example you could talk about games you’ve played (xbox, playstation etc), if of course it is relevant and use the #gdocexpo. Always try commercialise on what is trending if you have something that is relevant to add. A lot of brands capitalize on trends such as the Super bowl, the VMA’s, The presidential election (is is still a touchy subject), add photos, your opinions, memes, etc and use the trending hashtag to get noticed. Depending on the hashtag the content should be relevant, but sometimes the non relevant tweets are the ones who are funnier and gain more reach.

 

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Another thing I do is research days that are coming up- National Puppy Day, National Donut Day, Mother’s Day ,Pride weekend, etc, this allows me to get on board the hashtag for that day with cute content (puppies), showing love and support to a cause, and showing how important it is to me and my brand.

 

 

I worked on two large events in Dublin and both trended on Twitter, both becoming the number 2 trend. This was because I ensured the #arvrinnovate (our event hashtag) was used months prior to the event, during the event, and used by all speakers and delegates attending the event. Exposure to the hashtag will ensure the public know it is necessary to use. For brands you must create a unique hashtag for your brand, one that will become immediately recognizable for your audience. Ensure no one else has it or is associated with it of course. This goes for both Instagram and Twitter. Instagram you can search the most popular hashtags, images and videos and view their content and adapt it for your posts.

 

6. It’s called Social Media because it is social

 

You must engage with your audience daily, respond to their tweets, answer their Facebook questions, regard their Instagram photos etc. Everybody loves recognition, and your fans will adore you if you retweet them or mention them online. Your audience wants to interact with you, and this builds loyalty and friendship. Always look up your brand/blog name on all social media sites and if people mention/tag you, you should mention them back, say hi, thank them for their support, compliment their photo, retweet the content (giving them credit of course), and build a relationship with them. Talking for myself but I love when brands, celebrities, bloggers like my post or amazingly mention me, it gives me a little buzz inside and makes me want to tweet more, upload more photos and gain their attention again. It also makes brands seem more human and not just a person behind a computer but someone who cares. The use of retweets can not only build a relationship but gain a larger audience for you too (see below).

At the IAB Ireland event, I retweeted many delegate tweets thus giving them recognition, broadening our content and getting another use of our hashtag, which helped us trend.

 

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 7. Relate to others

 

Like I said earlier about getting personal makes you more relatable to your audience, it is also necessary to relate to other brands, people, groups that share your vision and ethos. You should follow similar brands (competition also), bloggers/influencers with similar visions, people that inspire you etc. An example would be for a wellness blogger- you can follow whole foods, The Dalai Lama, Tony Robbins, The Happier podcast, meditation centers etc. If you connect with brands and people that represent your values you gain a wider audience, more reach from retweets, mentions, and show more of your personality. Connecting with similar brands/people will also open the door for collaborations (money), which will help you develop your brand and help you increase followers and reach a mass audience.

 

8. The connection between Social Media platforms

 

First it was Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram and now everyone is crazy for Snapchat. Know where your audience is and reach them on different platforms. Every few month’s new ways of reaching your audience are created; you must learn these techniques and optimize them for your brand.

You can post on Instagram for example and allow this post to be shared on Facebook and Twitter also, leading followers on other platforms to come to your Instagram to view the image.

It is always good to note that followers/fans on Facebook may be completely different to ones who follow you on Snapchat,you must analyze the followers on each and tailor your content for each platform if necessary.

All social media platforms are linkable and some are dependent on each other for success, once you have a presence on the most popular ones then you have created a pathway for success.

 

9. Competition

 

You must watch your competition- follow them, view their posts, when they post, what they post, their type of followers, their success etc and analyze their strategy and how you can adapt it for your brand. As a child we learn from our parents, this is exactly the same for business, except maybe they don’t give us candy or praise from looking at their every move lol.

 

A lot of new brands need competitive analysis to create their strategy, but also existing brands learn from others in the market and continually learn. If you are a blogger, what other blogger did you aspire to be like? What key tools did they have that made them successful?

Keeping it to social media, Snapchat with its instant images and videos became a huge hit, and soon followed Instagram with their instant images and videos, closely followed by Facebook.

Look at what works for them, ADAPT it for you and hopefully learn from their mistakes and develop from their success.

 

10. Analyze, analyze, analyze

 

You may have a hugely successful brand/blog but in order to continue success you must consistently analyze what you do and be pro active about what works and how you can change what doesn’t work.

Analyze weekly what posts had the most reach and why, is there a certain time in the day that helps gain more audience reach, is there a certain topic that is more popular than others? Again as research shows images and videos are more popular than just written word.

If you see that posting in the AM only gets you a reach of 100 people, but posting after work at 6PM gets you 1000 people then you know when to post. It sounds simple but it’s hugely effective and one that many people seem to miss out on.

On Facebook you can view your statistics on your page via the insights button; this will tell you your daily, weekly, monthly reach and your post engagements.

 

 

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You can also view the reach of each tweet on Twitter, but Instagram will only show you likes and views. On the most basic level you can analyze weekly the reach of your posts and see what performs better and again analyze competitors weekly and adapt to what is successful for them.

Success does not continue without growth and development, which in turn won’t happen without analysis of success and failures.

 


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Go forth and conquer the world of social media, I know you can do it! 

 

About the author: 

Hi I’m Lisa, 28, Irish and living in New York City :)

I moved to New York in September 2016, after falling in love with the city in the summer of 2014.

My aim in moving over was to expand my horizons personally and professionally. I worked in events for six years in Ireland, and more recently worked freelance for various companies doing social media, public relations and communications. I worked for Race Around Ireland, Europe’s toughest cycling race, The Wicklow 200, a countryside fun race, Gymnastics Ireland, and before you ask, no I am not sporty. I can’t even do a summersault. I have also worked on various events doing social media; including the international augmented and virtual reality conference; AR VR Innovate, and the Irish internet advertising board connect. Both events trended as number two in Ireland on Twitter, and generated a whopping 5,000 tweets between them (my poor fingers).

My New York career has been in sales at an Irish hotel brand, working on events and marketing for both restaurants and bars, including working on their social media platforms.

 

Personally I love positive thoughts, cupcakes and frozen margaritas, most of the time in that order, but not always. I always believe in aiming for the stars and working hard towards your dreams (I am in New York, so it definitely works). For those of you who may not have visited Ireland yet, it is an amazing place and you must go, think less leprechauns,  more like unmet friends, beautiful scenery and a culture that will make you all want to be Irish

5 tips to help you get back to working out.

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 image by Getty images

 

As a health coach, I completely understand falling out of workout routines, as well as diets. Getting back into regimens can feel overwhelming as deep down we all fear failing.

 

Let's focus on exercise this week. There are tips that can help you get back into a workout regime without anxiety and fear that you fall back into not working out again.

 

1. Be honest with yourself.

 

Truthfully, I don't like the gym and I just won't go to it. But I exercise in other ways. It took me a while to realize that I didn't like the gym and when I did, I found other ways to exercise that were fun to me. There is no point in forcing yourself to do something that you really dislike doing.

 

2. Find a fun exercise for you.

 

Which brings me to my second point, life is meant to be fun- including exercise. I love yoga; however, I found myself bored and decided to switch up a few days with Pilates. We live in a world of so many exercises and workouts, find one that you can enjoy and don't limit yourself, enjoy and explore!

 

3. Let go of needing to be perfect on your first day.

 

Working out is a journey and, just like with other journeys, we start off wanting to be perfect. The problem with this is that nothing is perfect and once you discover that, you can start to enjoy your workout as you decide to no longer judge and limit yourself. We all have our 'First-days' or 'First-days back', they have to happen in order for us to improve and get stronger.

 

4. Aim for 3-4 times a week.

 

Sometimes guilt leads us to overestimate how much we should be working out. However, when we overestimate our workout routines, we tend to fall behind because the routine becomes this big dramatic thing that we need to conquer, often leading to mental defeat. Help yourself get back in the game by easing into your routine a few days a week and slowly add a day after a month. You'll find that it will be so natural that you won't need to force yourself to workout overtime, it will happen naturally.

 

5. Support yourself.

 

I had a client that had developed a nasty way of speaking to herself to get back into working out. She would call herself nasty names in a way to force herself to exercise. Together, we broke her of this pattern and she has learnt to support herself. Which has been more beneficial. Please speak to yourselves with love and support, it cultivates positive energy and anything that you do with positivity already becomes more fun.

 

5 quotes to inspire and motivate you.

I am in love with quotes. When I started practicing yoga, I would practice at a yoga studio that ended with yoga quotes and I would carry those quotes with me.

 

So, in honour of how much I love quotes, I would like to share 5 quotes that have helped me through difficulties:

 

1. 'Behind rejection is God's protection and redirection' Anon

 

It's so true. The reason why it's true is if things are not working in a relationship, work venture or any other situation- feeling like the effort that put forward is a waste, that's because it is. If things are meant to be, they will be. If someone leaves you, make space for someone who wants to be with you. If you get fired, get prepared for a job that is eager to hire you. It will happen.

 

2.' Why should I be unhappy? All of my being is in full bloom' Rumi

 

This quote refers to gratitude. Sometimes we dwell on things that aren't going right. I found myself recently fixated on needing to make a certain amount of money and wasn't looking at the blessings in my life.Whatever it may be in your life, look at what is going well! You're alive, you can breathe! Whatever is working for you, let it work with you to make the most of today!

 

3. 'Just do right' Maya Angelou

 

In an episode of Oprah's Masterclass, she explained this quote by saying that being a good person provides you protection and people's love- which is so true. When we are good and kind-hearted people, we feel good about what we are doing in this world and we tend to treat everything that we do with more care and we hold ourselves up better. Keep righteousness in your heart and let it elevate your moral compass and value as a human being.

 

4. 'Your life is a message to the world. Write something inspiring' Beyoncé

 

We forget sometimes that our lives are meant to be lived for good and for/with purpose. We have been given the gift of life to use it to our advantage and, I believe, to leave this world with a print of all things good that we are able to see offer. Whether it is through art, science, writing or speech, spread your inspirational message everyday that you can.

 

5. 'Refuse to fail' Iyanla VanZant.

 

Inside all of us, there is determination. It's survival. If you are familiar with chakras, it's the first chakra/ the root chakra. We have a tendency to take survival for granted as our needs for survival have changed. Our ancestors form of survival was food, water and light. It may still be like that for some; however, for most of us who are grateful to have all these essentials already, it's time to elevate our idea of failure. Refusing to fail might mean not allowing people to get the best of us with nasty comments, it might mean getting out of credit card debt or it might mean getting out of bed after a terrible break-up. But please please please, 'Refuse to fail'

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4 tips to ease your financial worries

I don't know about you but sometimes budgeting can be a real pain. It's so easy to feel like you are losing control of where your money is going. Which is understandable, as we pay a lot of taxes and living- particularly in cites- can be expensive.


Here are some tips that have been passed onto me that I would like to share with you:


1. Limit the amount of coffees/teas that you buy in a week.


Sometimes, numbers can overwhelm us. For example, when we save up for a trip over a few months, we get overwhelmed by a big number. However, if you replace an item and don't think about the money, you will be surprised by how much money you are able to save. A cup of coffee is approximately $3-$4, having one everyday is $21-28 a week, right? How about reducing it to once and saving $18-$24 a week. Which, could save you $1344. Thus could cover transit for your year.


2. Cool your own food.


Following the same principles as limiting your coffees and teas, limit the amount of times that you eat out- that includes take out. A $10 five-times a day can lead to $2400 a year. Which could pay your health insurance or other bills that seem exorbitantly expensive.


3. Throw house and park parties.


Truth be told, going out and hanging at bars and clubs can be expensive. If you go out and spend $50 five-times-a-week on restaurants, bars and clubs, it could save you almost $10 000 annually to throw parties where you bring your own drinks and you still get to hang out with your friends. Remember, a simple $12 drink can turn into a night of $50. When you're socializing, it's rarely ever just one drink, so spend quality time with friends while you save money.


4. Use coupons and deals.

I am a huge Wholefoods fan; however, it can be expensive to shop there. In fact, a friend of mine referred to it as WholePaychecks. Eating healthily can be way more expensive, so it is important to look out for saves and coupons that can save you $1 or more per item. Imagine! $1 off an item from 20 items could save you $20 every time you shop.

Image by Getty images

Image by Getty images

12 reasons to smile everyday

As Mother Teresa said, "Peace begins with a smile." I came up with daily reminders that helped me maintain my smile and peace, even during difficult times.

 

1. I smile because I've been blessed with today, and I can make the most of it.

2. I smile because there's no one else like me alive.

3. I smile because I'm choosing to enjoy my life regardless of the obstacles I will face.

4. I smile because I choose to wear my experience as wisdom, not baggage.

5. I smile because the Sun and the Moon are smiling back at me.

6. I smile because I'm aware of the negative and positive aspects of my life; however, I am choosing to focus on what is going well in my life.

7. I smile because I have hope.

8. I smile because today is the best day of my life, and there will be many more on the way.

9. I smile because I live in a world of endless possibilities.

10. I smile because I have faith that whatever is meant to be will be.

11. I smile because I have been given this life for me to enjoy.

12. I smile because even though people come in and out of my life, I will never be alone.

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Image by Shutter Stock

10 songs to uplift your spirit.

I am so grateful for the gift of music. Music helps us celebrate, accomplish and survive. 

Here is a playlist of some songs to inspire, uplift and survive. Highlighting some powerful lyrics

image by freepik 

image by freepik 

 

1. Wide awake by Katy Perry.

Helped me through a tough break-up. With lyrics like, 'God knows that I tried seeing the bright side, I'm not blind anymore'

 

2. I was here by Beyonce.

Reminds me why I am alive. 

'I will live my life so everyone knows I was here'- this lyrics give me life.

 

3. Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

Has taught me that I can rise in the darkest time. 

'You can take everything I have , you can break everything I am. Like I'm made of glass, like I'm made of paper... I will keep rising from the ground like a skyscraper. 

So moving and inspiring!

 

4. Part of me by Katy Perry.

One of my favourite songs, the lyrics speak for themselves.

'This is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me'

 

5. Stronger by Kanye West

We all possess strength, why not embrace it?

'That that that that that don't kill me can only make me stronger'

Yes!

 

6. Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Sometimes it's great to embrace the fighter within you. 

'Thanks for making me a fighter'- every challenge is towards something.

 

7.  Survivor by Destiny's Child

How can anyone not like this song? 

'I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna stop. I will work harder.' If you don't believe, who else will?

 

8. Strength, courage and wisdom by India.Arie

She sings affirmations that are so powerful.

'It's always been inside of me' - she's talking about strength. 

 

9. Faith by George Michael

A sexy and fabulous song that unleashes inner supermodel within all of us. In my mind, he is talking about having faith about anything, not just sex.

'I gotta have faith'

 

10. Stronger (What doesn't kill you) by Kelly Clarkson.

The perfect workout song.

'Baby you don't know me 'cause you're dead wrong'- your haters are dead wrong about you. Trust me!

5 helpful tips for meditation

image by Shutter Stock 

image by Shutter Stock 

Throughout my life, meditation has always been there. You might be thinking, obviously, right? However, what I mean is that, there had always been someone in my life who was trying to get me to meditate.

 

My aunt used to recommend it to me while I was writing my final exams of high school. So, I tried it. And then never did it again for the next 7 years. Although, I did yoga very consistently, I refrained from meditation. *Yoga and meditation are not the same.Yoga is recommended to be supplemented by it. However, asana (postures) and meditation are separate.

 

I finally decided to give meditation a go again when I had developed stress knots in my shoulders and jaws from tension. A fellow teacher recommended that it would help ease it. 

 

So, I began. I began with merely 2 minutes a day- which felt so long. However, three years later, my 20 minute morning meditations feel like a breeze. 

 

This is how I developed a solid meditation practice:

 

1. Patience with my mind.

 

Meditation teaches you patience. If you can't be patient with your mind, you will get frustrated during your meditation and it will do the opposite affect. Your mind is meant to think, it will have to adjust to meditation so give it time.

 

2. Find a comfortable position. 

 

Meditation is more difficult when your body is uncomfortable. Many recommend sitting upright; however, I say as long as your back is straight, it's okay. Whether you are lying down or sitting up, a straight spines allows for chakra alignment and optimizes your meditation experience.

 

 

3. Start with short meditations.

 

As I mentioned before, I began with short meditations. This is so that your mind can adapt. Just like with running, your first day of training, you wouldn't run a mile. Meditation is also training, you are training your mind. In order to build a daily meditation, start with a few minutes a day.

 

4. Use YouTube for meditations.

 

YouTube is great for finding meditations. I recommend searching YouTube to find meditations that will help you through whatever you are going through. For example, if you are feeling anxious, search Meditations for anxiety.

 

5. You can always start again tomorrow

 

We have a tendency to do our best, which is great; however, when you begin meditation, you might not feel great as you still have to train your mind. You might feel as though you are disrupted a lot and, that is okay. Just know that tomorrow is another day for meditation and you don't have to NOT think about anything else to meditate. It's about bringing your mind back to where you are. Overtime, it will happen naturally. But, BE PATIENT.