Broken Britain: How to deal with the frustration of backlog Britain

I am sure I am not the only one to have noticed that good old Blighty seems to be a massive shambles of late. Just when we thought we were emerging from the pandemic, so did our blessed country decide to practically fall apart at the seams – otherwise known as broken Britain.

Try to get a new passport- sorry you’ll have to wait! Try to get on a flight – it will be cancelled. Try to get a train somewhere – there will be industrial action. Try to get a medical referral – get in line, that will be 2024 thank you! And no you can’t buy that thing on your shopping list as it is currently out of stock until god only knows what date or is now three times more expensive. If you want to get something done, then backlog Britain – or broken Britain as I like to call it – will definitely not have the answer for you, and instead will just deliver one big collective exasperated eyeroll or heaving sigh as we deal with the farcical frustration of it all.

Yes not only are we also having to deal with the massive cost of living crisis and things becoming ridiculously expensive, but we are wondering what the point of leaving the house at all is because a) It will cost us a fortune and b) The outside world is apparently broken anyway thanks to broken Britain.

So when we are met with despair and dysfunction practically everywhere we turn, how can we effectively take it on the chin and not let the shambolic state of our country get to us?

We tapped Marisa Peer, world-renowned therapist and best-selling author who shared her insights and tips with us here.

Ukraine, Covid, global warming as well as polarizing politics have dominated our lives for the past decade as well as Brexit, Partygate and NHS backlogs. Dealing with one major upheaval is challenging enough to our mental wellbeing but this relentless series of catastrophes, seamlessly blending into each other has been described as a permacrisis. Levels of anxiety are soaring not only in the UK but globally and there is no immediate end in sight.

Most of us in the Western world have been fortunate enough to grow up with a feeling of  certainty and that sense of security is a real human need.  Certainty that we are safe, that life on the whole is good and has its rewards. Global events would register on our radar from time to time, but life had a comforting routine to it which we could rely on like a young child relies on a parent. But now that parent is out of control  creating a feeling of abandonment and isolation. This unpredictability makes us humans feel anxious, worried and depressed. The future no longer seems a given. That is truly unsettling and many adults are suffering from crisis fatigue.

Many of our RTT therapists have noticed an increase in people asking for help for anxiety. Last year we held a global anxiety symposium and have also developed protocols for our therapists to help them specifically deal with this burgeoning issue.

When the world seems uncertain you have to focus on your own certainty. The certainty that  you are the same person, the same parent, friend, spouse, employee and employer. When you can focus on what is the same in your life rather than what is different, you will have better coping skills. 

It’s a rule of your mind that whatever you focus on, you get more of so focus on what is still good and remind yourself that life will eventually return to normal even if it means we have to adapt to change. This is vital if you have small children. We are wired to fear change in case it’s a change for the worse and not the better. 

To help people deal with the permacrisis, Marisa has put together a free meditation session which people can download here to help with relaxation, sleep and to put things into a more manageable perspective. 

Tips to keep anxiety to a minimum

Perspective and gratitude

Looking at the terrible events in the Ukraine puts minor problems into perspective. Living with gratitude is a powerful way to be. Take time to stop and reflect on all you have to be grateful for each day, or start a gratitude journal. 

Focus on the good

It’s a rule of your mind that whatever you focus on, you get more of; so focus on what is good in your life. Remind yourself that after past catastrophes and disasters, life does return to normal. 

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Side-step the negative

Avoid doom-scrolling and don’t keep the news on in the background, as even when you’re not actively listening you are absorbing these messages. 

Focus on certainty

Instead of fearing uncertainty, focus on your own certainty that despite what’s happening there are constants in your life. This will strengthen your coping skills. 

Breathe!

When overwhelmed, just stop and take a minute to breathe. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. This is a great way to bring yourself back into the moment and break the fear cycle.

Connect to yourself

Be mindful of what you are experiencing – acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling and where in your body you are experiencing a physical reaction. By observing what’s happening, rather than repressing it, you will find you work through things much quicker.

Live in the now

Anxiety is usually a response to a fear of things that may happen, but most likely never will. Instead of focusing on the what ifs, take each moment as it comes and deal with the reality of what emerges.

Prioritise self-care

Self-care is so important and boosts resilience. Take time out for yourself each day to stop, relax and reflect. Do something you love, or anything that helps shift your energy and mood. Take a walk, play music, dance – it doesn’t need to be complicated!

Ask for help

If you are struggling, ask for help – whether this be from friends and family,  through a support group or from a therapist. Feeling connected and sharing your fears and worries helps you avoid feeling alone in what you are experiencing.

Be proactive

Feeling helpless can lead to anxiety, so do anything you can to help by donating or offering services. Get involved in your community so you have a focus and sense of purpose – be part of the solution, rather than the problem

Have you been feeling frustrated by broken Britain recently? Or perhaps you are living elsewhere in the world and can share a different perspective? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Images by rawpixel.com

Create a roadmap to change your life with the 7 stages or purpose

Are you hoping to change your life? For many people, their 40s is when they reflect on relationships, friends, and things like work/life balance – a time to assess where they are. For others, it is a time when they’ve really hit their stride, and often this is because they have found their purpose.

Look at 46-year-old actress and filmmaker Reese Witherspoon. A few years ago, she founded the production company Pacific Standard—which is now a subsidiary of her media company Hello Sunshine—to share stories written by women, with a female lead, brought to the screen by women. As Reese pitched her business venture to investors, she was informed that no one would want to watch films with a female lead, that this was not a profitable venture. She invested her own money, which she was also told was a mistake.

But with a purpose to share women’s stories on the big screen to change the narrative of women in US culture, Reese Witherspoon’s first two film productions with female leads, Wild and Gone Girl, grossed half a billion dollars. She also produced the hugely successful TV series Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, Little Fires Everywhere, and the film from the best-selling book Where the Crawdad Sings is due for release in July 2022. 

We are all born with a purpose. As unique as your fingerprint, it is held within your heart, your reason for being, your north star. With your purpose placed at the heart of your life you benefit from clarity of focus and direction. On the occasions self-doubt creeps in, purpose empowers you. Decisions become easier as you choose the path aligned with the fulfilment of your purpose.

Your purpose doesn’t arrive one day ‘boom!’ fully formed, expressed, and embodied. There are recognisable stages to the growth and development of your purpose. These stages are not linear. You may experience more than one stage at a time, and some stages last longer than others. And when you become aware of the stage you are at, you have a map and can more easily participate in your purpose being fulfilled.

Here are the seven stages of purpose. Use these to create a roadmap to change your life. Take a look and decide where you are, and this will help you define the next steps you need to take towards your true purpose and passion.

The 7 stages of purpose to help your change your life

1. Calling

You sense you have a bigger purpose than what is currently being expressed. There may be a sense of ‘something’ missing, a frustration, a sensation pulling you towards ‘something’ you can’t quite understand, it is led by a desire for more – more meaning, contribution and impact.

Simon Haas, yoga philosopher and author of The Book of Dharma and Yoga and Dark Night of the Soul shares that your purpose emerges naturally when you live your true nature.

This is echoed by Jill Ellis, former coach of the USA Women’s Soccer Team sharing the experience of opening up to her team that she was married to Betsy Stephenson, a woman. Fully supported, the US women’s team went on to campaign for equal pay for women using the World Cup as their global platform. Jill said: “When I became open in who I was, I found my purpose there.”

When you experience a calling, practice bringing more of your true nature into your life every day, and as you do, your purpose is revealed to you.

2. Receive

As you follow your true nature, you begin to receive a sense of your purpose, the more you receive the clearer it becomes. At this stage, stay curious. Don’t deny it or push it away. Embrace and begin to own your purpose.

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3. Articulate

As you embrace your purpose, articulate it in a few simple words that inspire and resonate with your heart. The simpler the better. For example, TheTeen Yoga Foundation has a purpose to empower young people through yoga so that there’s a generation of kids with self-esteem, resilience and mental wellness. Maddy Cooper, co-founder of Brilliant Noise, has a purpose of protecting the earth so that families have a bright future, with sustainable marketing for brands that really mean it.

4. Align

Now your purpose is clearly articulated the next step is to align your decisions, actions, behaviours, products and services with your purpose. Let go of any aspects of your life that are not aligned with your purpose. This can take courage, but it is worth it.

5. Embody

As you make decisions aligned with your purpose, you shift from an intellectual understanding to your purpose becoming a tangible, living expression. The more you can appreciate the deep fulfilment, value and impact embodying your purpose brings, the more you grow.

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6. Lead

As you grow in the embodiment of your true nature and purpose you are now ‘walking your talk’. There is a noticeable dedication, integrity and congruence and this inspires others. At this stage, as you communicate and share the wisdom of your experience openly and transparently, you become a recognised leader in your field.

7. Evolution

Your purpose, your north star, becomes an evolutionary force, both in your personal and business development taking you into the unknown, towards new frontiers. If you haven’t already, here you are invited to surrender more deeply, to let go of what wants to go and allow what wants to come.

Kat Byles is the Founder of the True Business School, for creative leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists and healers who want to do business differently. She works with people to find and align with their purpose and creativity to build a happy, healthy, wealthy business and world. Why not get in touch and find out how she can help you change your life for the better.

Photos by Julia Avamotive, Joshua Abner, Thought Catalog

How to heal emotional trauma

I have spoken to so many women in their 40s recently who are struggling. If you have some form of emotional trauma from somewhere in the past, the absolute truth is that eventually, somehow, someway, it will end up catching up with you. I know this to be only too true from my own personal experience at the beginning of the pandemic during the depths of the first lockdown. The emotional trauma from my childhood caught up with me in a pretty major way. On the break of utter self distruction and about to take everyone I love down with me, I realised I needed to go for therapy and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

I had been pretending thus far that the emotional trauma buried deep inside me did not exist, that I didn’t need help, and I certainly didn’t need therapy. Boy, how wrong was I!

So when I heard about Anna McKerrow’s The Path to Healing is a Spiral: One Woman’s Journey to Emotional Healing, I just knew this was something we had to talk about openly on 40 Now What. If more people acknowledge, open up about, and address their emotional trauma, just think how much lighter and happier we would all be.

And so let us start with this. A deep dive on all things emotional trauma – triggers, origins, recognition and of course the very hardest bit – taking that first step to healing your emotional trauma.

What is emotional trauma? Can you give some examples of triggers?

From a psychological standpoint, emotional trauma happens when either a person is involved in a current traumatic situation (anything from the death of a loved one to experiencing war, childbirth difficulties, baby loss, a terrorist attack, a humiliating experience, rape, mugging or climate change-related traumatic experiences) or witnesses it (this might include police officers viewing violent crime or abusive video footage, or someone working with the survivors of sex trafficking or some similar support role). It also refers to historic trauma experienced in childhood that an adult may (or may not) have blocked from their memory, but which is causing problems in their adult life. Last, something that causes ongoing stress, such as a heavy workload or a stressful relationship, can cause trauma. Any of these experiences can also lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The symptoms of trauma can include depression, re-experiencing the traumatic event in flashbacks, insomnia, emotional detachment, loss of self-esteem, despair, self-destructive behaviours (i.e. drug taking and alcoholism), panic attacks, nightmares and intense anger among many others. Conventional treatments for trauma and PTSD currently include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) medication and counselling.

The holistic point of view agrees that trauma is caused by difficult life situations, but differs in the way that it conceptualizes what trauma does to a human being. In a variety of therapies, trauma is considered to be psychically “held” in the body and the energy field around the body, rather than just inside the brain, as in the more conventional psychological view.

The energetic model of healing explains that we are made up of a number of linked “bodies”, with the physical one being the densest. The physical body is (of course) visible to the eye. Around that, the emotional body surrounds us for several inches, followed by the mental and then psychic body in similar layers, growing ever more subtle in terms of vibration. When people see auras around the bodies of others, they’re seeing the denser levels of the energy body, most likely the emotional or mental energy body, often dominated by the colour of the chakra that person is most “in” at that time.

When trauma comes our way – be that some negative energy or a virus or a traumatic experience – the energetic model states that it will make its way in from the psychic energy body, to the mental, to the emotional and finally the physical where it will manifest as actual disease or pain. Similarly, when we heal, the trauma is sent back out through the system in the same way.

I was taught an interesting concept about the healing of the physical body under this rationale, which is that the dis-ease (symbolizing a virus/bacteria/trauma, etc) makes its way out of the physical body from the core and out to the extremities before continuing to depart through the emotional, mental and psychic bodies. For example, an illness might begin with sickness (core), but as the healing body pushes out the intruder, it becomes a rash that starts at the chest, moves down to the legs and then out through the toes and feet. It’s an interesting theory (and I’m not sure if it’s got the scientific seal of approval) but I have found it very useful to think about how people’s symptoms often morph over time.

Sometimes an emotional problem can even become a physical one or, sometimes, when emotional problems are dealt with, then physical symptoms disappear.

Following the energetic model to its logical conclusion, dis-ease will continue to go deeper into the body until it hits the bones and the internal organs, causing more serious complications. From a holistic viewpoint, then, it makes sense to ward off the nasties before they get that far, with regular deep healing of emotional trauma as well as psychic self-protection.

heal emotional trauma

Where does emotional pain/trauma come from? Why is it important to heal and recover from emotional trauma?

Trauma comes from being human and living life, in my opinion. I think it comes from big, one-off things like bereavement, illness, rape, miscarriage, loss, sometimes relationship breakups, all manner of things like that. But it also comes from ongoing situations like bullying, coercive relationships, domestic violence, addiction, ongoing illnesses, being a carer perhaps for an ill relative or partner over a long period of time, living in a war zone, working in a toxic environment, battling gender identity issues – the list goes on! Things that can wear you down over time and create traumatic responses and stored pain.

I personally have worked with resolving trauma resulting from my mum’s illness with cancer and her passing away; my own childhood; poverty and debt; motherhood; my son being seriously ill when he was little, and a lot about just being a woman in a sexist world too.

There are so many reasons why we need to heal emotional trauma. Holding onto it means that we have less energy or capacity for other things; we might avoid making good life choices out of fear, based on something bad that has happened to us before. We might also just not have the bandwidth to progress in our lives and leave relationships or jobs that aren’t really right for us, because carrying that emotional trauma makes us so bloody exhausted! In my book I say:

“When we release trauma, it gives our systems more energy to get on with everything else. Imagine carrying a really heavy box. Once you’ve put the heavy box down, it’s much easier to think about what you need at the shops, right? If you take the heavy box to the supermarket, all you can think about when you’re walking around the aisles is Christ, this box is heavy. It’s hard to focus on what’s the best wine to go with chicken.”

The other thing to consider is that emotional trauma, or emotional stress, starts to have an impact on the body after a while. We know that stress is bad for our physical body as well as our brains.

The first step is always the hardest. How can someone go about becoming aware/acknowledging/identifying that they have experienced emotional trauma?

I would say that most of us have, so it’s almost a given. I think it’s important for everyone to get healing. You shouldn’t actually wait until physical symptoms manifest, or until you have a breakdown. In an ideal world, everyone would have regular healing, whether that’s reiki or breathwork or whatever, and head off the problems before they become too troublesome. It’s a bit like how your dentist tells you to floss to avoid having a filling later on. Healing should be like flossing: preventative as well as transformative.

The other thing to say is that you’ll probably know if you’ve experienced a traumatic experience. In my experience, people usually know: it’s more that they just ignore it and think, if I just get on with life, this will go away! I’ll just forget about it! That’s when the problems happen, when you sit down and talk to people and they say, I don’t know why I’m crying all the time. And then further on in the conversation you find out that they had a miscarriage last year and never talked to anyone about it.

There are, of course, traumas that we might have consciously decided to forget, and can be affecting your life with, say, self-destructive behaviour or another difficult thing which is coming from the unconscious, which definitely hasn’t forgotten. All the more reason to do some healing just as part and parcel of your normal life.

In the UK at least, I think people are quite averse to the concept of emotional healing. Most people will say they don’t need it, or they don’t believe in it. I would say that healing works whether you believe in it or not, because most alternative healing modalities aren’t psychological, they’re working on a holistic model of the body-mind and the body’s energy systems which is different to psychology. That said, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, as they say, and no healing professional would ever make anyone have whatever therapy they were offering, because everyone is on their own path. But if you are open to it, then pursue those instincts because it’s very worth doing and nothing to be scared of.

My other advice to people is, don’t assume that you can think your way out of traumatic experiences, and don’t expect to just get on with your life afterwards without needing to process and heal that experience. We have a very intellect-focused culture and most people think that, if they need to do anything, they need to rationalise a traumatic experience to understand it. I don’t think you do, actually. You need to feel it, and express your emotions as fully as possible. Emotions are not thoughts. They are much more primal and physical, and they won’t go away until you have allowed yourself to feel them in totality, whatever that means: screaming, punching a pillow, crying, whatever.

heal emotional trauma

What steps can be taken to alleviate the burden of trauma and heal emotional wounds?

There are many things you can do, and my main advice is try something out. If you hate it, then try something else. The worst thing you can do is nothing. I personally tried lots of healing techniques and therapists – some worked for me, some not so much, but overall, the best ones were the ones that held a space for me to cry and process my emotions in a safe environment. I didn’t like gong baths, but that might be your thing! And I have never had acupuncture, but I hear it’s great.

The other thing to say is that it’s important to share your experiences with other people. Sometimes, finding a support group of people who have experienced the same thing as you can be super helpful. I had a hysterectomy in 2020 and I found it really helpful to join a hysterectomy support Facebook group. I also joined one for endometriosis and adenomyosis sufferers, which was really helpful. I think there’s something very useful about sharing your story but also learning about what other people have experienced, and realising you’re not on your own.

Can you share a list of examples of alternative therapies you tried to heal your emotional traumas?

Yes! Reiki has been in my life for many years now. I started having reiki in 2004 and then became a practitioner myself, and then became a Reiki Master in 2021 (I was busy in the pandemic!). I’ve had shamanic healing, BodyTalk, reflexology, angelic healing, spiritual healing (they’re pretty similar tbh), crystal healing, I’ve done breathwork, all sorts. Plus I consider yoga to have helped me a lot too.

Were there some that were better for certain emotional wounds than others?

I have to say that Breathwork was probably the most profound in terms of processing really deep emotions that I’d been holding for a long time. It’s a breathing technique you do with a qualified therapist who guides you through the whole experience, and the way that you breathe puts you in a kind of trancey state where it’s easier for your emotions to come out. A session lasts about an hour or an hour and a half, and in that time you might “breathe through” a number of traumatic experiences or feelings, with the therapist supporting you gently. Like, they might hand you a pillow to hold, or they might say something very simple and non-intrusive like “it’s safe to feel this now” but really the focus is on you expressing these very deep emotions and breathing. Very powerful stuff.

heal emotional trauma

What does freedom from emotional trauma look and feel like?

Ha! I’ll let you know when I get there.

The thing is that even if you’ve done a lot of healing work, life still happens, so it’s not like there’s a point where you can become a guru and start wearing robes and all that, because there’s always a need for it. It’s more that you can find a greater sense of peace by clearing out certain emotional “weights” that you might be holding, and that we should have an awareness that engaging in a regular healing routine will be beneficial for us, whatever that looks like for us.

I think also that greater freedom from trauma looks like someone who is happier with the life they have, and is invested in making positive choices for themselves.

What advice would you give to people who are carrying an emotional wound – perhaps unknowingly – on how they can address their emotional health and needs?

Like I said before, the best thing is to actually do something! Thinking about it won’t change anything. Go to a reiki practitioner, do a breathwork session, find a support group, talk to someone, journal your feelings. Doing is the best thing, and my recommendation is do something that makes you cry a lot in a safe space. I’m a big fan of crying.

The other thing to say is look at your life, dispassionately, and think about whether you have any recurring themes. Like, do you always attract the same kind of partner, or do you have the same repeating issue happening to you at work? If these are things that you find to be negative experiences, that might be a sign that shows where an emotional wound is lurking. That emotional wound is creating a need that you are fulfilling with these dynamics in some way.

The thing is, I’ve found with emotional healing, it doesn’t really matter if you understand or deduct the reasons for your trauma intellectually or not. You might have a deep emotional trauma from a childhood experience you’ve consciously forgotten, but you discover when you heal it. The important this is that you heal it by doing rather than thinking, and process the experience.

Anything else you would like to add – words of encouragement/wisdom/inspiration?

You’ve got this! Any moment is a good moment to start investing in your emotional health – it’s never too late, and everyone needs to do this. Healing doesn’t mean you’re weird or seriously disturbed, it’s just something we all need as humans, living our human lives. I’ve found it truly transformational.

Anna McKerrow’s The Path to Healing is a Spiral: One Woman’s Journey to Emotional Healing is out on September 14th priced £12.99 and is available at all good book stores. Anna McKerrow is a YA author and Reiki Master. Connect with her on Instagram.

Photos by Alena Shekhovtcova, Monica Turlui, Liza Summer, Andres Ayrton

Five steps to find your voice in your 40’s

Do you find you struggle to speak up and be heard?  You try and speak only for someone to interrupt you and finish off your conversation. Do you feel like no one is listening? It feels like your opinions, ideas and thoughts are not important enough.   When you feel like no-one is listening to you it can make us feel unvalued, unappreciated, and just damn right fed up.  It can affect our self-esteem and our confidence. We scream inside our heads ‘why won’t you let me speak?’  We hear voices in our own head telling us not to bother; it’s not worth it as no-one listens anyway.  But it doesn’t have to feel and be this way.  All you have to do, is make a few changes and you’ll be amazed the difference that it will make. 

Step 1: Control your thoughts

Be in control of your thoughts; they can either help you or hindebr you.  Your thoughts can either empower you or disempower you, encourage you or stop you.  Your thoughts can change your life now and for the future.  Choose them wisely.  When negative thoughts pop in your head; challenge them.  Are they true?  Really true? Ask yourself is it true or are you just scared of the outcome?  Do you fear failure is that why these negative thoughts appear?  If so, challenge that thought. Turn each thought around, upside down and inside out until you feel it’s truth.  Challenge your thoughts to get the lifestyle that you want. 

Be brave, push yourself and the changes can really happen; it’s all in the power of your thoughts. For example, you’re heading to a meeting at work and you want to talk about an idea but your thoughts are; ‘no-one will listen to you’, ‘They will just interrupt me anyway’, ‘it probably won’t work’ and before you know it you decide to not even bother speaking up.  What if you changed your thoughts to; ‘I’ll explain all the reasons why this is a good idea’, ‘if they interrupt me, I’ll ask them to let me finish’, ‘this idea is amazing and will make a real positive difference’, ‘go on girl, you can do this’.  Can you see the difference on how you will feel when you turn those thoughts around?

Step 2: Be passionate, not emotional

Doesn’t it just make you crazy when someone says this to you ‘you’re being emotional’!  Your feelings of frustration get higher and higher, and things just got a hell of lot worse.  When this happens its crucial to flip back to Step 1.  Control your thoughts.  Most of the time we are being passionate about a certain subject only when we feel we are not being listened to does our passion turn to emotional, either upset, frustrations and anger.  Let’s not forget that our hormones will certainly be raging at this point when our emotions kick in.  When this occurs, tell yourself to stop.  Stop speaking, inhale a deep breath of calm and exhale the stress. Reflect and remind yourself why this important and start again.  Interrupt the emotion and get back the passion.

Step 3: Call it out

If someone interrupts you; talks over you, shuts you down, call it out.  Ask them to kindly let you finish the conversation without being interrupted.  Most of the time people don’t realise that they actually do it.  If it’s during an argument I think we are all guilty of this from time to time, so just be aware that you don’t interrupt too.  Let people speak and then you can challenge them to let you speak too.

Step 4: Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond

Sometimes we react and respond too quickly because we want to get our point across but when we do that our minds are not fully listening to what the other person has actually said.  They may have a totally different perspective, but they may not be wrong, and you can respond too quickly before you fully understand the other persons reasoning.  Think about the number 6 and 9.  If one person is viewing it upside down you can see why they would be adamant that they are right when they believe it’s a number 6 versus the view the other persons sees which is a 9.  Again, our changing hormones won’t help us as we can get easily fired up.  When we sense this happening, this is when we must tell ourselves to stop.  Take that breathe, check your and theirs perspective, and start again.

Step 5: Know that there is always a way

Decide and know what you want, challenge those beliefs that are getting in the way. Trust and believe that there is always a way because seek and you shall always find.

Sara Harling author of ‘Why Won’t You Let Me Speak?’  Available at Amazon, Waterstones and The Hive.

Photos by Polina Tankilevitch and Pexels

Being in your 40s! Women in their 40s tell it like it is loud and proud….

Can you believe it folks!? 40 Now What is now ONE YEAR OLD! We are so thankful for everyone who has supported us by reading our articles about being in your 40s. And what better way to mark our 1st anniversary by having some of our favourite women share their wisdom about being in your 40s loud and proud! So without further ado, it’s time to hand over to the women helping us celebrate this exciting milestone with their honest and inspirational insights…

“If you’re true to yourself and your values then it’s possible to see a massive change in your life at this juncture. Reevaluating your values in your 40s is the ideal way to review what you want and start living your best life.” – Dr Mandeep Rai, author of The Sunday Times Business Bestseller The Values Compass

“As I reached my forties, life had taught me that when an opportunity presents itself, always explore and seize it with both hands.  Don’t be afraid to have things go wrong.  I don’t like the world failure – it’s just part of your journey and as long as you learn from the experience, then it’s an invaluable part of building your character and your business. Finally, always be flexible as having the ability to change will ensure growth.” – Nicole Sealey, Real Housewife of Cheshire and businessewoman

“You are never too old and it’s never too late to live a life you love! I was bankrupt at 38 at 50 a multi award winning entrepreneur. You CAN!” – Sarah Pittendrigh, Motivational Mentor, Multiple Founder and Multi Award Winning Entrepreneur

being in your 40s
Left to right: Dr Mandeep Rai, Nicole Sealey, Sarah Pittendrigh

“40 is when it all really started to change for me – it was when I had the courage to get not only my first tattoo but the other 6 I had done in quick succession. It was also the year I changed my business stars, I left my well paid corporate job; and decided to set up my own PR business working with wellbeing and spiritual clients. This meant I could be there for the school run, work the hours I wanted and also enabled me to navigate through the hell of home schooling. I also cleaned up my act a little, I minimised my drinking habits, I practiced meditation, yoga, and started growing fruit and veg in the green house. It is in my 40’s I have truly felt comfortable in my own skin.” – Sarah Lloyd, Founder, IndigoSoulPR

“I have been loving being 40 so far. It feels like a really nice stage of life where my children (8 & 5) are a little older and need less from me. I am focusing on my business and my own health. I’ve started going to strength training once a week and have been really enjoying it. I’m loving building my business which includes a thriving practice as a clinical psychologist, an author and podcaster.” – Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist at Good Thinking Psychology & Author

“Being single and childless in your 40s does not make you a failure, it makes you the envy of your friends. It allows you to focus on yourself and be spontaneous. Stop worrying what others think, the people who care matter and the people who matter care.” – Alix Johnson, Head of PR and Communications at National Museums Liverpool

Left to right: Sarah Lloyd, Dr Marianne Trent, Alix Johnson

“My 40’s have been my best decade. My world imploded, but I rebuilt it differently. I (re)discovered myself and redefined my legacy. I took control and stopped living by life’s ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’.” – Carolyn Hobdey, Author, Motivator and Educator

“One of the biggest things I have learned is that if you change the language in your head and it’ll change your life. I read a book called You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and it literally did. I also created a series of positive supportive phrases that I still repeat to this day. Slowly but surely things started to change and here I am today, living my best life.” – Jo Pickard, award-winning voiceover artist and presenter

“My life changed soon after turning 40 – I met the love of my life and we started a business – Work Pirates, I got diagnosed with ADHD and now I’m writing a book – Good Girl Deprogramming. I finally realised that I didn’t have to do everything on my own, so I’ve asked for and received all the help I need to be a success.” – Michelle Minnikin, Entrepreneur and founder of Work Pirates

Left to right: Carolyn Hobdey, Jo Pickard, Michelle Minnikin

“By her forties a woman has crystallised her intelligence – rooted in life experience – making her fearless, determined and confident to take on the world and fight to make a difference. The best is always yet to come!” – Asma Iqbal, partner at Chadwick Lawrence Solicitors

“At the age of 42, I feel that I have learnt to acknowledge both my strengths and weaknesses and have realise both have helped me grow into the person that I am today. It is important to see challenges and obstacles as a time for learning. I believe you can achieve anything you want to in life, you just need to work hard, learn hard and of course play hard!” – Maria Afentakis, research scientists and author of The Spiritual Scientist

“I finally know who I am, and where I ‘m supposed to be. If you face your fears and just put one foot in front of the other, magical things happen.” – Rebecca Hartley, Director, Saving Grace Events and ambassador for the charity Prevent Breast Cancer

Left to right: Asma Iqbal, Maria Afentakis, Rebecca Hartley

“My 30s were heartbreaking after losing my husband at 34 so turning 40 was fine. I have a son and my clock wasn’t ticking, I just wanted my life to be happy and meaningful. Hitting 40 I knew I was too long in the tooth to have my ideas squashed, style questioned and commerciality quizzed and what I know in my head can’t be put on a spreadsheet, it’s called GUT and I have bags of it. ” – Katie Moore, celebrity stylist and founder of stylepath_ldn

“We are all capable of incredible things – especially in our 40s. No matter your age, background, or title. If you want to change something – you can do it. Know you can, and do it now.”   – Philippa White, CEO and Founder of The International Exchange

“Firstly, to trust my own wisdom. To gather insights from others I admire have walked a path of self exploration, but to ultimately trust my own life, my experience, and learn from my own challenges, joy and being.” – Carmen Rendell, Founder of Soulhub wellbeing community

“I have two main feelings. One that is I finally feel like I can just be myself and live life on my terms. It feels like I’ve had enough lived experience to own my decisions which is very empowering. The other one is that I feel like with all that experience, I can make the next half of my life absolutely incredible by doing what makes me come alive, sharing my learnings with others and doing more of whatever makes me truly happy and fulfilled. It’s exciting.” – Puja McClymont, Life and Business Coach, retreat host and podcast host

Left to right: Katie Moore, Carmen Rendell, Philippa White, Puja McClymont

Can you relate to the above insights and experiences of being in your 40s? Why not add your experience of being your 40s in a comment below and join our Instagram community here where we will be keeping the conversation going.

Cover photo by Lara

How to feel sexy in your 40s – yes it’s possible!

Are you wondering if is possible to feel sexy in your 40s?

As I journey more into my 40’s and look at was to feel good I have found that no matter what I try the common denominator is ME. It is up to me to feel good in myself, to feel comfortable in my own skin and to start feeling sexy again. No amount of reading self help books or courses are going to change how I feel unless I change the way I think about myself. As Mel Robbins say “No one is coming to save you, no one “so ultimately it is up to us to feel sexy again not any partner, husband, or wife it is up to us and us alone. Feeling sexy is far more than how we feel in the bedroom it’s about confidence in how we look and feel about ourselves. It is about knowing we are attractive, beautiful and capable through our own eyes; it is self-love at its best.

Accept, like, love are the steps I use when helping women to feel good about their body and start to see themselves as sexy. Acceptance can be the biggest barrier to self-love.

Accepting where you are now, longing for the body we had in our 20’s is pointless as it will never be that way again. Looking to the past will never helps us feel good in the present moment so embrace the body you have now. Accepting your body doesn’t mean giving up it is a starting point to where you want to go and how you want to feel.

Sexy is a feeling

The sexy feeling you once had is pivotal to getting your sexy back.

I want you to think back to a time when you felt absolutely super-hot sexy . Close your eyes and let the image come to the front of your mind. Then go through these questions

  • What are you wearing?
  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?
  • What are the smells?
  • How does it feel in your body?

Now open your eyes and check in with yourself, how do you feel in this present moment, what’s happening in your body ? How do you feel? Has the feeling stayed in with you?

Our mind works in images and the image creates a feeling so when we recall the memory or image of when you felt sexy it is possible to get the  same feeling back. This technique can be used when you want to feel good about yourself or want to get that sexy feeling back.

feel sexy in your 40s

What you can do to feel sexy in your 40s

To help you start on your sexy back journey here are some scientifically and not so scientific  methods that can help you.

Get fitted for a new bra

Having your breasts all nicely supported helps you stand taller, and your clothes sit better. Buy bras in lace and cool different colours to help with the sexiness factor.

Exercise

To realease the endorphins and to remind you how amazing your body is .

Give someone a complement

What you give out you will receive back doubled. Making others feel good helps you feel good. Also practice receiving a complement don’t brush it of, just say THANK YOU !

Smile

When you smile it is impossible not to feel good – try it. Try smiling at yourself in the mirror for the ultimate feel-good factor.

feel sexy in your 40s

Stop the self-sabotage

Remember you have the power to change your thoughts so when those negative self-sabotaging thoughts or patterns creep in, catch them and change the thought.

Bring back the fun

Try to bring in some laughter and fun into your life, we can sometimes forget that we need fun in our life and take everything so seriously. This can work well if you feel self-conscious around your partner, break the ice with a joke, laughter can help you both relax.

Visualization

As I said thinking back to a time when you felt sexy or creating an image of being sexy and attractive can really help bring about those feelings. Bring in all your senses to create the image in your sun-conscious mind.

Create you own sexy affirmations

I am a big believer in affirmations but sometimes we can think in negative affirmations such as “I am not attractive, no one loves me. Saying this will never get us anywhere so you need to change it to something positive and in the present tense approve of myself I  am willing to accept love I deserve love”

Masturbate

Looking to yourself for pleasure is the ultimate form of self-love and can boost your self-esteem. So, get to it embrace your own body for those sexy feelings of pleasure. If it been a while or you are new to pleasing yourself reading erotic novels and taking a visit to Ann Summers is certainly a way to start.

Not everyone feels sexy all the time, life and being a woman in your 40s in general can see to that but remember you are not on your own. If you are trying to get your sexy back and feel sexy in your 40s believe me there are many other women trying to do the same so go easy on yourself, Don’t forget to let the fun into your life and remember thoughts are just thoughts and a thought can be changed.  

Sarah Lyons is an image consultant, body confidence and wellbeing coach for women, she helps women all over the country look and feel-good inside and out. Find out more at www.sarahlyonscoaching.com and follow her on Instagram @sarahlyonscoaching & @wellstyled_by_sarah.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi and Matthias Cooper via Pexels

Happiness in your 40s: 4 ways to view happiness differently

Does happiness feel elusive? Is happiness in your 40s possible? The answer for almost all of us is yes – at least sometimes, maybe often. You might feel like you’ve checked all the boxes but aren’t as happy as you’d hoped, you might wonder how anyone can be happy in the face of difficulty or you might feel like happiness is complicated. You might even wonder whether being happy is really all that important.  

Here are four ways from lawyer turned Happiness Coach, Becky Morrison you can look at happiness in your 40s that might be a little bit different than what you were taught.

Happiness in your 40s is a high value investment

To many people happiness sounds fluffy. Sure they’d like to be happier but they aren’t sure that happiness is – on it’s own – a valuable commodity. What they are missing is that happiness is a cause of success, not a result. There is a significant body of research that supports the notion that experiencing positive emotions – both the momentary experience of happiness and living happy (having on balance more positive emotional experiences than negative ones) – has significant positive impacts on your physical health, your performance and your resilience.

Happier people live longer, have stronger immune systems, are better able to manage pain and generally experience fewer adverse health conditions. In addition, the experience of positive emotions – like happiness – broadens our approach to the world allowing us to think more expansively, solve problems more creatively and build relationships more easily and effectively. It’s not surprising then that the research suggests that happy people earn more, sell more and are more productive. Finally, happiness builds our resilience so that when the tough times comes, we are better able to weather the storm.  In short, investing in living happy is one of the highest value investments you can make.

Happiness in your 40s

Happiness is not a destination, it’s an action

People often fall into the trap of believing that happiness will arrive as they meet their goals and continue to achieve. But the problem is that an unhappy journey rarely, if ever, results in a happy ending. The key to a happier life is finding happiness in the process. That means looking for – or intentionally incorporating – happiness (and other positive emotions) into your daily life.

To do this, however, you need to know where your happiness comes from – because it’s different for everyone. You can start by making a list of things that bring you positive emotions (like happiness, contentment, gratitude or even engagement). These can be big, small or anything in between. Once you’ve got a list, take one or two of your favorite items and ask yourself: what about this thing makes me happy? Keep asking that question until you’ve distilled it down into that is quick and accessible to you. For example, one of the things that makes me happiest is our annual beach vacations. I can’t escape to the beach from my land-locked home any time I want. But one of the things that enjoy most about the beach is the feel of the sun on my face. That is something that I can seek out any time the sun is shining. Having a list of the most basic sources of positive emotions is a powerful tool because you can deploy them – with intention – anytime you need a reset or an injection of positivity.

Happiness coexists

By any measure it’s been a challenging two years – global pandemic, war, social justice, changing job and home demands that came with working from home, and more. You might be wondering how can we even talk about happiness at times like these? The answer is pretty simple – happiness (and other positive emotions) can coexist with the tough stuff. You can experience happiness even during struggle. And you don’t need to bypass the tough stuff and experience only happiness.

The goal with living happier – and reaping it’s benefits – is to intentionally and authentically experience positive emotion whenever you can NOT to ignore the tough emotions that are a natural part of the human condition.

The next time you’re facing a difficult situation or a tough emotion, don’t fight it. You don’t need to force yourself out of it or through it. And while you are in it you can keep an eye out for the little kernels of positive emotion that might coexist with it – the friendly face, the helping hand, even the sunlight. Those positive kernels don’t need to outweigh or overcome the challenges, they just need to be included in the conversation. The key is to notice it all and savor the good where you can find it, even nestled in with the challenges.

Happiness in your 40s

Happiness in your 40s can be simple

Happiness doesn’t require radically changing your circumstances. In fact, the research suggests that more than anything your happiness is dependent on your thoughts and actions – something over which you can exercise at least a modicum of control. While you can take steps to make big changes in your life to yield a greater level of happiness those big steps are best made from a happier place so that you are architecting your happiness, rather than simply trying to escape your unhappiness.  That happier place is built through your daily behaviors.

If you want to be happier starting today try this simple exercise: each day, record what made you smile. How you record this information isn’t particularly important, what made you smile doesn’t matter. What matters is that you had a positive emotional experience AND you noticed it. Because remember just the experience of a positive emotion broadens your perspective and builds your resilience.  This is just one example of how simple it can really be to inject more happiness into your daily life.

Bottom line: Making a high value investment in your happiness can meaningfully benefit your health, success, and resilience. It simply requires intentional action (not radical transformation) which can happen even during challenging times and doesn’t need to be complicated.

Rebecca Morrison is a lawyer turned Happiness Coach and author of the best-selling book The Happiness Recipe: a Powerful Guide to Living What Matters. Becky works with successful but unsatisfied high-achievers to help them find their unique happiness recipe so they can live happier, lead happier and build happy businesses.

Images by rawpixel.com

Ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

They say life begins at 40 and that the last 39 years have just been a practice, which means that no it’s not too late to start – or keep – investing in yourself or thinking about fulfilling your ambitions. In fact, your 40s are the perfect time to start or keep investing in yourself as you lay the path for a second half of your life which is rich, varied and full of the good stuff.

But what are some ways you can start of keep investing in yourself in your 40s?

We recently heard about emberly, a new online platform which helps people to develop professionally, personally and socially. The site has been designed to help people ignite their inner spark, find their passion in life and to try things they’ve never tried before, including the weird and the wonderful. When we heard about it, we thought it was perfect for our 40 Now What readers and we wanted to know more…

All the courses are split into four categories ‘Energise’, ‘Create’, ‘Grow’ and ‘Relax’ and include everything from ballet and hip-hop dance classes to wild art journaling, yoga and even pasta and focaccia making! It’s all online, so it’s flexible and you can do the courses solo, or, if you want to create some special (or perhaps hilarious) memories, grab a loved one, friend or family member. 

emberly is aimed at anyone who wants to learn and grow so you may want to master the art of public speaking, gain a plethora of interesting topics to talk about at the next dinner party, wow friends with a new skill, or learn the best party trick in town, there is something for everyone.

To celebrate the launch of this incredible new platform, the site’s founder, Hiba Binz, has pulled together for us, her own top tips on how to keep investing in yourself in your 40s. So without further ado here are some ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s:

40 ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

1. Spend time with friends and family – enjoy spending quality time with people you love and never underestimate the importance of that

2. Meet with people who inspire you  – you never know where life can lead, if you are inspired, anything can happen

3. Learn more about a topic of interest– apply yourself to something that you enjoy but haven’t given much time to before

4. Learn more about a topic that’s of interest to someone else 
– to be interesting you have to be interested and one of the best ways to invest in yourself is to never stop learning and growing

5. Try something you’ve never done before – try to avoid thinking ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t’, it can be easy to create your own boundaries as you get older but aim to see things with fresh eyes and a fresh approach  

6. Try things that are out of your comfort zone – don’t set your own limitations, it’s like they say, “How do you know if you never try…”

7. Attend community events, talks or networking events – meet likeminded people, meet new people and enjoy a new experience

9. Take a course – there are so many different ways to learn nowadays so take a new course whether it’s to benefit you professionally, personally or socially – there will be a benefit!  

10. Start a new hobby – children growing up go to all sorts of extra-curricular activities; ballet, music lessons, horse-riding, Brownies, why shouldn’t 40-year-olds?!

investing in yourself in your 40s

11. Spend time doing what you enjoy  – it’s definitely easier said than done but see what you can streamline to gain a bit of time back – even 5 minutes saved here and there, can give you a 30 minute chunk of time to spend doing something you love

12. Set time aside for YOU every day/week/month – if you can’t make ‘you time’ every day, then aim for once a week, or even once a month and if you can make it part of your routine – even better

13. Listen to an inspiring podcast and discuss what you learned with someone else – teaching others helps to embed the information into our owns minds, so you’ll get extra benefits from telling a friend


14. Tackle nagging tasks – sometimes the time we spend thinking about these things is far greater than the time spent on the task itself, you’ll feel better once it’s done

15. Take time to recharge and relax – whether that’s 10 mins of meditation, a bath or a spa break, you choose. It could even be listening to your favourite song through your headphones 

16. Create memorable moments with loved ones – put the phones and screens down and create moments you can share together, enjoying each other’s company

17. Create a ‘you’ fund setting aside money to spend purely on your growth
– we spend money every day on all sorts of things, but have you considered spending a certain amount on investing in yourself?

18. Find a growth buddy – it’s easier in pairs – you can hold each other accountable for your goals but even more importantly you can enjoy it and have fun together

19. Be open minded to new ideas and experiences – the only thing that’s constant is change so if you can be accepting of that, you’re already ahead of the game

20. Travel to new places even if it’s just a part of your city you’ve never seen before – you don’t have to go on a long-haul flight, you’ll be amazed at how many incredible things there are right on our doorstep

investing in yourself in your 40s

21. Do something you used to love doing as a child  – is there a skill, a game or a hobby you used to love but have long forgotten about? Why not give it a try again just for fun? Skip down the road, read a children’s book, wear a sparkly necklace…

22. Meet with likeminded people to discuss a topic, perhaps a book club – it’s a fantastic opportunity to have a voice and an opinion and to express that with others. It’s a great way to build confidence especially if you’re not used to speaking in front of others

23. Express your creativity – even if you don’t think of yourself as ‘creative’. This can be anything from singing along to some of your favourite songs, dancing in your living room, writing in a journal or cooking something with extra flair

24. Do something to improve your professional skills  – 40 is a great time to reflect on the skills you have, the skills you would like to have and the areas you could improve in

25. Save for the future  – this is a practical tip, but it will also give you peace of mind, which is very beneficial for your mental health

26. Find a mentor or business coach – work with a professional when you can afford it. Warning: you may become incredibly motivated and productive…

27. Take care of your physical health  – stay active. Integrate the things that don’t feel like an exercise to you: dance, hike etc. Prioritise mobility

28. Say no, decline when you need to – don’t feel the need to please everyone

29. Unsubscribe and declutter everything!- get rid of what you don’t need, keep only what you love or things that are useful  

30. Take care of your emotional wellbeing – look after yourself like you would look after someone you love. If there is a negative voice in your head, ask yourself, ‘Would I say that to my best friend?’, if the answer is ‘No’, don’t say it to yourself

investing in yourself in your 40s

31. Spend time with people from different generations. It’s amazing what you can learn from them all. Ask questions, listen deeply

32. Prioritise your energy into the right places – to help you, you could list anything that brings negativity into your life and feelings of anger or guilt and then list things that bring you happiness. See what practical changes you can make to reduce your list of negativity

33. Spend time in nature – nature has lots to teach us and it’s definitely good for the soul

34. Set financial goals – save, spend wisely, invest – the best way to do this is to take control of your finances with a finance plan. Find out your disposable income by listing all your outgoings – bills and regular payments, take that from your incoming amount, then you can make a plan with the money you have at your disposal

35 Take on a big challenge- i.e., a run, a performance of some kind or the organisation of an event (even better if it’s for charity)

36. Learn something new – but focus on the journey and detach from the outcome

37. Pick up a mindfulness practice- choose something that works for you such as Qigong, yoga, tai chi, meditation

38. Harness the power of your voice- this could be through a voice coach or through vocal lessons or it could be speaking in public

39. Do the things that make you forget to scroll – keep a book or several handy and on the go

40. Prioritise sleep – the benefits of sleep are endless, and now is the time to reap them


investing in yourself in your 40s

If you give any of these tips for investing in yourself in your 40s or have some of your own wisdom to share do let us know in the comments below!

Explore your passions with emberly’s variety of inspiring online courses. Energise, create, grow and relax with a monthly membership and unlimited access, or purchase a single course on-demand and find what makes you glow. Visit emberly.co.uk and follow emberly on Instagram @emberlylearn, Twitter @emberlylearn and Facebook @emberlylearn.

Images by rawpixel.com

4 ways you can keep your aging parents safe

While gals in their 40s are always looking for ways to be healthier and ensure they can still do everything they used to do in their 20s and 30s, their parents are another issue. The older you get, the older your parents will be, and this means they may require more care and support. And of course, you’re going to provide that care and support to say thanks for raising you and making sure their quality of life remains as good as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to keep them safe, but how?

Move closer to them 

aging parents

Moving closer to your parents will make sure you can look after them in case anything happens. If they cannot move in with you due to any number of reasons, you can at least try to be as close as possible. 

Being closer to them will allow you to respond immediately. You don’t want to be on the other side of the country if something happens, so being able to act quickly can put your mind – as well as theirs – at ease. While moving house is not always convenient, it’s something to consider as your parents get older. 

Consider care options 

If moving house isn’t on the cards right now, you can look at other options, especially if your parents have suffered an illness or a fall that has affected their mobility and overall health. 

There are many care services to consider, such as care homes, while live-in care has become an increasingly popular option for elderly folks who do not want to move out of their house. With this, a professional carer will be on hand at all hours to provide support and company, which can make it easier for you if you do not have the time to drive back and forth due to other family or work commitments. 

Check-In regularly

Sometimes, you don’t need to be right by your parents to keep them safe. It might be that they just want you to check in regularly so you can see how they are doing. 

A phone call every night or every other night is often enough, especially if they live far away and you can’t nip over for a quick chat and a catch-up. You could also buy them a smartphone with messaging apps so you can get immediate responses. 

Let them keep their independence 

aging parents

Your parents’ independence is crucial for their wellbeing, so allowing them to maintain this independence can be beneficial for keeping them safe. 

While you might think that they cannot take care of themselves like they used to because of old age, there’s a chance they will surprise you. They don’t want people to coddle them but instead let them live their lives and feel they are in control, which will keep their mental capacity in excellent condition. 

Taking care 

While not all parents will require all-day care and support immediately, it is something that may happen to your mother or father (or both). If you know your options before something happens, such as an illness or a fall, you can make sure they can enjoy the rest of their life with independence and support.

Are you currently dealing with your aging parents? Let us know by commenting below or connect with us over on Instagram.

You can also keep up to date with all the latest articles by subscribing for FREE in the box below.

How to cope with rising cost of living

The first time I really felt the rising cost of living was back in January where we went out for Sunday roast and ended up paying £80 for four people! I kid you not. My face probably looked like a slapped arse, and I immediately vowed that I would begin a mini campaign to skip on eating out. Then there has been the price creep on the groceries every week. The last time I needed to just “pick up a few bits” from our local supermarket, I almost had a heart attack when I left with just a few items and £50 poorer. We luckily have an electric car, but I have in recent weeks become the central heating police (thank goodness for the warmer weather!), and have been going around lecturing people on leaving the lights on sounding very much like my own father.

I pretty much try to avoid leaving the house altogether these days as I know everytime I do my wallet will just get an almighty spanking. But of course, there are plenty of ways to feel the rising cost of living without even leaving the four walls of your home especially with rising energy prices and the necessary evil that has become online shopping.

This sentiment is no doubt being repeated in households up and down the land as we all start feeling the rising cost of living in pretty much everything we do. After all, inflation is surpassing 6% for the first time since 1992, and Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to respond to increasing levels of inflation in his Spring Statement.

So how do we cope with this new cause of concern layered upon those which we have already had to shoulder over the past two years? We spoke to some experts to get some tips on how to cope with the rising cost of living.

rising cost of living

Know your finances

If you don’t know where your money is coming and going, now is the time to get on top of it all. Melina Abbott, author of Sacred Selling and all round money ninja advises, “Create a cashflow forecast in something like Excel and each day keep track of all money coming in, and money going out plus the balance of your account.  Do this at the end of each day for money you’ve received and money you’ve spent.  On the same spreadsheet, track money due to come in and go out in the next 30 days.  This gets you very present to money and what you focus on expands.  It also shows you where any danger zones are – so you’ll know in advance if you’re going to struggle to pay a particular bill and you can therefore take action before it happens by cutting unnecessary expenses. 

Get conscious of where your money is going and be very discerning where you choose to spend your money.  Much of what we spend money on is a habit – we do it without thinking.  For the next 3 months, for every transactions ask yourself “do I really need this?  Could I leave buying it for another few weeks?”  If the answers is yes, don’t buy it.

Look at your cash-flow forecast and if it looks like you’ll have some money left over before payday, put it in a savings account that’s not linked to your main current account.  You want to have access to it, but not be able to see it each day.  Put it aside as soon as you receive the income, not at the end of the month.  If you try to do this there won’t be any left as our outgoings always expand to fit our income.  By putting it aside first it protects our money from ourselves.  Make a pact that you’ll only spend it in an emergency.  Having savings to fall back on gives you peace of mind.” 

If you find all this terribly boring, then fret not. Another great tip from Abbott is to treat saving money as a game. Yes really! But how? “Make it fun and get the whole family involved.  Give it a name, for example Austerity Measures, Money Magic, Money Matters.  Make it short-term – for example, the next 3 months.  If we think we’re going to have to scrimp and save forever it can get very depressing.  But looking at it over the short term, say 3 months – then it’s much easier to make changes.  See it as an adventure rather than a hardship – you might not enjoy camping but it’s fun to experience once in your life.”

rising cost of living

Know where to get help

Greg Wilson, founder of energy comparison website Quotezone.co.uk, advises that households should double check they’ve made use of all the help available such as:

  • Government schemes: research government schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment which provides £100 to £300 to help pay heating bills. Customers are eligible for the scheme if they were born on or before 26 September 1955.* Be aware that the government is also exploring options such as making payments to energy suppliers to soften the blow to consumers.
  • Switch providers: according to Ofgem, households can save around £360 every year. Switching provider doesn’t just help save money, it can also allow consumers to seek out more environmentally friendly suppliers and those with better customer service. 
  • Tax relief: check out the tax relief option, which allows anyone working at home on a regular basis to claim relief on gas and electricity bills – as well as metered water and business phone calls. HMRC are offering relief worth £312 per year with no need to provide receipts or factor in any complicated calculations. 
  • Discounts and efficiency checks:  use energy efficient lightbulbs – a relatively inexpensive solution which helps to reduce costs over a long period of time.  Also, look out for schemes such as the Warm Home Discount that provide a one off discount of £140 off the winter electricity bill between September and March.

He comments: “Given the upcoming rise in energy price caps in April, it’s important that people get on the front foot and look for ways to save.

If you’re eligible, making use of the government’s schemes to help with the cost of energy bills is a good start. There are many schemes out there, including the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments scheme, that should make bills a little easier to pay. These schemes are targeted to both the elderly and those on a low-income, providing support to the most vulnerable demographics.

But there are also many other ways to tackle increasing energy cost – one of the most effective ways is to switch provider, a process which has never been easier. By choosing an Ofgem-accredited comparison site, consumers can get an understanding of what’s on offer across a range of energy suppliers – instantly providing an overview of more competitive prices.”

Be savvy and cut back on non-essentials

Rest Less Money Expert, Mel Wright, adds: “If you’re operating on a reduced income, your focus should be on covering essentials and you should think about cutting back on non-essential spending.  Cutting out or down on subscriptions is a good place to start whether it’s magazines, gym or TV streaming.  Check your bank statement for your spending over the past few months to remind yourself of your regular payments so you can review other spend you can cut back.

When food shopping, consider buying supermarket own brand items rather than sticking with well known brands.  This can save you hundreds of pounds each year.  Also shop in the evening so you can benefit from yellow sticker items – products that are close to their sell-by date.  You can usually freeze what you aren’t going to use immediately.

Use tech to help you reduce your food waste and can help you find food at a reduced cost, sometimes even for free.  Olio and Too Good to Go are two great options.

Energy bills are soaring but there are ways you can cut back: as well as replacing light bulbs with energy efficiently LEDs, draft proof windows and doors, block cracks in the floor and skirting boards – these are just some of the ways you can shave some money off your energy bills each month.”

Find ways to supplement your income

We’ve talked a lot about saving but what about the flip side – earning? Aside from landing a new job, making money outside of work is one of the best ways to supplement your income. Abbott suggests we think about ways we can supplement income aka get a side hustle, “Do you have a skillset that others would pay for?  A spare room you can let out?   Brainstorm all the ways you could generate income – some will be nonsense but there might just be a golden gem you can test out.”

Need some inspiration of side hustle ideas? Check out this extensive list of side hustle ideas for more inspiration.

Are you feeling the effect of the rising cost of living? How have you changed your attitude towards money recently to reflect the current economic situation? Let us know in a comment below or over on our Instagram community here. Keep up to date with all the latest articles by subscribing for FREE in the box below

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