No blog this week?!

First of all, please let me apologise for not publishing on Monday, and then again, yesterday. It was a tough and frustrating decision to not publish a blog post this week.

As my loved ones say, I have a tendency to overcommit and want to do a good (note, not perfect!) job. Last weekend, I had to complete a couple of projects and I also had some engagements this week. Knowing that my energies were running low, I chose to not publish this week.

It was part of saying my approach of “Say No to say Yes”.

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Overwhelmed – Where to start?

Have you ever experienced this? Your life is fine, you have a beautiful home and yet, there’s a room or an area which is just full of clutter. You feel it’s just too much to tackle. It’s so much easier to close the door or put a blind eye to the mess. In short, you’re overwhelmed!

Last week, a client felt overwhelmed with the question: “Where do I start?” She had a number of areas in her bedroom which she wanted to organise: The closet, the dresser and the en-suite bathroom. Yet, she didn’t know how to get there and became overwhelmed working on these 3 projects simultaneously. Since we started working together, we broke down her projects, removing the feeling of being overwhelmed and replacing it with the joy of quick successes!

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How to be mindful in the present

For the 16th time, the Emirates Literature Festival took place again last week. What a great event it was this year! Filled with exciting and insightful presentations from John TorodeJulie Lewis to Michel Bussi, workshops and masterclasses and plenty of activities for kids, it was such a wonderful way of spending some time in an almost different world, the literary world.

MindfulOne of my absolute favourites is Ian Rankin, the Scottish crime writer who created Inspector Rebus. While having heard Rankin speak before, this time was very special to me. He captured my attention for his entire presentation. Listening to his stories was so amazing that I forgot the exhaustion from my overnight flight and I was truly in the present. I was mindful!

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Be cool. Be grateful.

Simple MindsIt’s simple. I love my weekends and what better way to start it than by attending a concert with my friend? Simple Minds were playing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Wow! The stadium was packed, the band put on a great show and we were just soaking up the fun surrounding us.

As I looked at the stars during one song, I realised again how lucky I am. It’s late January and we were outside (I admit the 21C/70F did feel cold though). It was a Thursday night, last day of our working week, and we were being entertained by a fabulous band from my childhood. I was spending the evening with one of my closest friends. I was simply grateful for what life gave me.

Gratitude which is defined as “being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.” can be such a cool thing. What are you grateful for?

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Me time – Take care of yourself and just breathe

Christmas BeachThe festive season is almost over and the long weekend seems to be months away. It was such a wonderful time celebrating with my loved ones on the beach. But then, I was shocked seeing a Facebook post about my cousin in the US. She was hospitalised – suspected stroke! While she’s better and at now home now, it was terrible news.

It made me realise how important spending time with our loved ones really is. We’d expect something to happen to our parents, not to our cousins and friends.

We’re all so busy wrapping up outstanding projects at work, finalising that sale before year end, preparing for the Holidays, rushing from one party to another, getting the nails done and so on. There’s hardly any time for us to just breathe. Even at the hairdresser’s, it’s writing down what needs to be done next.

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Wrap up the year

Year End PartyThe last few weeks of a year always seem to be a mad rush. Last week, we had our company year end party which was such a great laugh. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Christmas. For a lot of expats in Dubai, this will be time to travel to their home countries and many are also thinking how and where to spend New Year’s Eve. I’m so happy that all this is sorted and I’ve some peace of mind!

Yet, as we’re getting ready to celebrate, it’s also time to wrap up 2015. Nowadays, year end is almost forgotten and few people only use it to reflect. Instead, we’re already focusing on the next year. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish this year first. Here’s a list of activities to wrap up in 2015:

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Unplug

This weekend, my friend from London was visiting and we were enjoying the beautiful weather in Dubai. Laying at the beach, soaking in the sun, relaxing, it was gorgeous! As I was looking around, I realised how much I love these moments of peace, quiet and sunshine.

I also noticed how well my friend did without her phone. Fair enough, she didn’t have data roaming and free wifi was not always available. Still, seeing her carrying on a normal face-to-face conversation without looking at her phone every 2 minutes was almost a new thing for Dubai.

It made me look back at a previous holiday where my work phone didn’t have reception. While it was only a short break, it was a very uncomfortable feeling for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m easily replaceable, or so I think. My colleagues thought differently and relaxation was gone once I saw the number of emails in my inbox. For me, this holiday showed me that I can unplug and live without my phone after all!

When was the last time that you stopped being connected 24/7? 

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Emotional Clutter – Get a tissue

About 2 years ago, my mother and I embarked on our own little decluttering journey: We went through the storage room which also included some of my grandma’s stuff. Even though my grandma passed away in 2000, it was a deeply emotional process. For my mother, it was a final good bye from the woman who meant the world to her.

There was the manicure set which my grandma frequently used. It had surely outlived its days – it was so loved. It was time to throw it out. Besides, my mom probably had 2 or 3 manicure sets of her own. Yet, she struggled to put it in the bin.

The question asked most often that day was: “How about we give this away? You don’t need and there are other people who’ll enjoy having this item.”

Knowing that she could help other people made the process of clearing the storage room and letting go of my grandma’s belongings a lot easier. She would make someone else happy with things she no longer needed or wanted. And for that, my mom was grateful.

You may have gone through similar experiences. A relationship has ended or loved one has passed away. You don’t want to simply throw out their things. Emotional clutter, just like physical clutter, can weigh you down and pause your life. But what do you do with emotional clutter?

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Mindful – Welcome to the here and now

How often are you answering emails while watching a film? How often are you in a meeting while thinking about the outstanding deadline? How often are you calling to a friend while driving? These days, multitasking is normal. We’re doing 2, 3 or even more things at once. And yet, we’re not dedicating our focus on them.

Mindfulness is a great way to fully live in the moment. It’s a deliberate choice to experience that particular moment. Mindfulness allows you to take it all in: What’s happening with your body, mind and emotions. And it’s all without a judgement. You just live in the here and now. How often are you practising mindfulness?

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