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International Women’s Day 2024

 As International Women’s day approaches we wanted to dedicate a blog post to all the fantastic and accomplished women here at Tribe.

 

Women’s work whether it is paid or voluntary is often hidden or at best undervalued. Not to mention that we are simply far too humble to even consider self promotion. We wanted to take a moment to share and shout about some amazing achievements and work produced by some of our members over the past year. 

 

International Womens Day 2024-Anna MoffatAnna Moffat- Photographer

Anna Moffat is a photographer based in Edinburgh (and beyond). Her style revolves around capturing authentic moments with creativity and attention to detail and providing emotive and engaging images. Recently, Anna has photographed amazing individuals such as Dr. Merritt Moore who recently conquered her dream of being both a Quantum Physicist and a professional ballet dancer.

Anna has worked with Holyrood Magazine and recently picked up an award from PPA Scotland for her portrait of Labour MSP Pam Duncan.

 

“Thank you PPA Scotland for the award – I still can’t quite believe it! Also thanks to @holyroodmagazine for the opportunity”

 


Olivia Furness- Executive Director, Oi Musica International Womens Day 2024- Olivia Furness

Olivia Furness is a firm believer in music’s power to make change.  She has designed and delivered a wide variety of projects and programmes that have brought benefits to both the community and people involved. In April 2023 Oli was awarded professional development funding to spend 2.5 weeks in Cuba studying various styles of Aforcuban percussion.

In 2023 Brass Blast took home the Community Award from Creative Edinburgh.

“We’re still buzzing after scooping the Community Award for our youth project Brass Blast at the Creative Edinburgh Awards in November! The project is a proactive response to the disproportionately low numbers of disadvantaged young people taking up instruments in East Edinburgh, so we are over the moon to be recognised for the change that Brass Blast is making in our community.”

 


 

International Womens Day 2024- Jo Tennant

Jo Tennant-Photographer & Founder, 20 photos

Jo Tennant is an award-winning photographer and founder of 20 Photos, a creative service that curates hundreds of digital photos into 20 beautiful fine-art prints.

In 2023 Jo had two family photographs shortlisted for the Scottish Portrait Awards:

“One photo was shot on my phone and the other on a 1980s film camera. Our own personal photos have importance  and meaning and should be seen. We should photograph those we love and their idiosyncrasies which we want to remember. This is why I took those photos. Not for the awards- I just submitted the two photos I took this year that I loved the most”

Last year, Jo also had a feature in Stylist magazine about launching her business 20 Photos during the pandemic. She spoke to them about upskilling and taking the next steps. Read the full article here.

 


 

Rachel Mulrenan- Scotland Director, Wild fish

Rachel is the Scotland Director of WildFish, an independent charity in the UK campaigning for wild fish and their environment.

A significant area of focus for Rachel is the environmental degradation caused by open-net salmon farming. In collaboration with other like-minded organisations, WildFish calls for an end to this destructive industry. Open-net salmon farming has a hugely detrimental impact on wild fish and their habitats – from the spread of sea lice and disease to the environmental effects of the chemicals and antibiotics used on aquaculture farms.

Rachels work has featured in The Guardian and you can listen to a podcast she featured on about the damaging effects of Salmon Farming here.

 


 

Briana PegadoBriana Pegado- Author

It would be wrong of us to not mention our host for our International Women’s Day event, Briana Pegado. 

Briana Pegado FRSA is an author, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and festival founder. With nearly a decade’s experience as an award- winning social entrepreneur in the creative industries in Scotland. She works as an anti-racism, governance, and strategy consultant particularly in the creative industries.

A central theme in her work is how disrupting systems, processes, sectors, and ways of thinking can facilitate positive change. Her new book Make Good Trouble: A Guide to the Energetics of Disruption launches on 09 April 2024 and is available for pre-order now.

 

 


Sandy Brindley, Kathryn Dawson and Niamh Kerr 

Sandy is the Chief Executive Officer, Kathryn is the Director of Prevention & Training and Niamh Kerr is the Prevention Manager at Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), Scotland’s leading organisation working to transform attitudes, improve responses and ultimately to end rape and sexual violence in all its forms.

RCS works with a network of 17 independent local Rape Crisis Centres across Scotland who provide trauma-informed support to more than 6000 survivors annually. It runs a national helpline with support and information for anyone affected by sexual violence open daily from 5pm – midnight, 365 days a year. They also support the National Advocacy Project to support anyone thinking of reporting or engaged in the system to navigate the justice process from start to finish. Its Prevention work takes an evidence-based approach. Working with young people in schools and communities across Scotland looking at issues like consent and healthy relationships. It also campaigns to change and challenge the attitudes that underpin sexual violence as well as on specific issues like funding for services and access to justice.

The support Rape Crisis Centres across Scotland offer can be truly lifesaving. When a survivor reaches out for that support, they need to receive it then. Not weeks or months later. But this is the reality facing too many survivors across Scotland. In 2021, the Scottish Government delivered emergency funding to tackle waiting lists. But even with this funding, demand for lifesaving Rape Crisis support is outstripping the resources available to Rape Crisis Centres to serve survivors. This emergency funding is due to run out in March 2024. If it isn’t extended, 28 specialist Rape Crisis support workers will lose their jobs meaning survivors will be forced to wait even longer for support. To support their campaign and find out more click here.

 


Reema Vadoliya-Founder,  people of dataInternational Womens Day 2024- Reema Vadoliya

This year Reema joined Tribe as part of the Creative Informatics inclusive innovation working spaces fund. Reema is a tireless advocate for inclusion in data with expertise gained through multiple roles within the data industry and the founder of People of Data. Their mission is to challenge how organisations think about data in order to maximise impact and centralise inclusion. 

You can listen to a podcast with Reema where she discusses the importance of looking at data inclusively. Reema emphasises the power of data by telling impactful stories .Click here to listen.

Reema will also be hosting our March Tribe Talks, this is a free workshop and is open to all. Click here to find out more.

 

 


 

Louise MasonLouise Mason- Presenter, producer & Journalist

Louise Mason is a radio presenter, music journalist and producer. Last year with her cousin Fran she took on a Tuk Tuk challenge where they raced across Sri Lanka to raise money for Childrens Adventure Farm Trust. 

“Between all the teams the donations so far have helped over 5500 families and counting” 

Recently, Louise also presented a show for Peace Frequences, a 24hr broadcast to mark International Human Rights Day. Louise’s show gave voices to poets and artists who have contributed to the Manchester to Palestine compilation which raised money for Gaza. 

You can find out more about Louise and donate to her charitable causes by clicking here.

 

 


 

Whilst International Women’s Day serves as an important day to celebrate women’s achievements, it is also a reminder that we must all still strive for gender equity in society. We must not settle. In doing so, workplaces and society at large can gain new perspectives, ideas and inspire inclusion. 

 

Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th 2024. We are hosting an evening of poetry and discussion with Briana Pegado. Click here for more information and book your ticket. All proceeds will be donated to Edinburgh Women’s Aid.

 

You can read all of our previous blogs by clicking here. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletters by filling out the form below:

 

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Do good, Feel Good

This January, Tribe Porty has partnered with Vintage Vibes, an award-winning project tackling isolation and loneliness in Edinburgh. Volunteering has enormous benefits to our mental health, our communities and our local economy. 

Why volunteering is good for your health

There’s a common misconception that volunteering is a completely selfless act and that you are some kind of superhero if you volunteer. It might surprise you to know that volunteering has some surprising major health benefits. Volunteering is good for your health and community. So it is something you might want to consider adding into your self-care routine.

Studies show volunteering helps improve your mental health and wellbeing.  Helping other people triggers a release of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone has the effect of boosting your mood and counteracts the effects of cortisol aka the stress hormone in your body. When oxytocin begins to flow, blood pressure decreases, reducing social fears and anxiety. 

Giving an hour or so a week can act as a circuit breaker to the everyday stress of work and home life. It can give you a change of scenery, the opportunity to talk to different people, more structure to your week and allow you to build confidence or learn a new skill. It can also help you reset and appreciate what is important in life by giving you more self-awareness when starting to sweat the small stuff.

 

Vintage Vibes

Nicky Shallcross is the Volunteer Recruiter for Edinburgh based Vintage Vibes, a project working to combat loneliness amongst over 60s by creating 1:1 friendships between volunteers.

Nicky explains her motivation for volunteering…

“After starting my own business in 2022, I started to feel lonely working from home on my own. I’d gone from a busy head office environment to working alone and being all departments. I realised that you don’t have to be elderly or living on your own to feel like this, it’s surprising at how quickly this can happen to anyone. I was familiar with Vintage Vibes and their work from their annual Christmas Card campaign. It made sense to help someone else who was feeling lonely too by becoming a Friendship Volunteer.

I completed my volunteer training, the Vintage Vibes team then set about finding me a “VIP” who had similar interests to me. For the past year I’ve visited my 85 year old friend Sheila every week for an hour or so. We talk about anything and everything and are always giggling. My family live down south so there is something grounding and familiar having someone who is older to talk to. She’s warm, caring and dispenses no nonsense advice just like my Grandparents used to. I always come away from our visits with a sense of calm.

Sheila never ceases to amaze me with her constant curiosity on what’s going on in the world. In the summer she went on a girl’s weekend to Blackpool and enjoyed watching the Glastonbury coverage. Her highlight was Elton John, she said she turned the volume up and had a dance around her living room. Aging is natural part of life; I really hope I’m as sprightly as her when I’m older.

I’ve taken Sheila to local places close to where she lives that she didn’t realise were there. She loves the Edinburgh Printworks and Grow Urban plant cafe. The staff recognise her and chat, it makes her feel seen and included. For Sheila’s 85th birthday we went to Maison De Moggy, sadly she had to give up her beloved cat during the pandemic and misses her dearly. Despite personally not being a big cat lover, we had so much fun! I really felt that feel good feeling seeing her so happy.

Volunteering has personally given me a massive boost to my own mental health and was exactly what I needed. I’ve made a friend and got to meet so many amazing people. It’s even led to a part time job opportunity with the charity so you never know what good things volunteering can lead to.”

 

Fighting isolation

According to a 2021 study conducted by Age Scotland, more than 200,000 older people in Scotland are lonely. This study found that 10% of people over 50 feel lonely all or most of the time. Age UKs follow up 2022 study highlights that right now in Scotland loneliness among older people is at record levels. 100,000 older people say they feel lonely all or most of the time. Two years of Covid lockdowns and living under restrictions which prevented older people seeing family and friends have left countless older people feeling acutely alone.

The Scottish Government have identified that social isolation and loneliness are significant public health concerns in Scotland. Loneliness is linked to increased risk of poor health and reduced life expectancy. A Connected Scotland – a strategy for building stronger social connections and reducing social isolation and loneliness hopes to address this. Volunteering plays a key part in the plan to help achieve this. Volunteering at Vintage Vibes can supports both health and community.

 

Community impact

Government funding cuts to services combined with the cost of living and the fallout from the pandemic mean charities are under more pressure than ever. Charities must now deliver critical community support services that local authorities cannot. Volunteers are pivotal to being able to do this.

In addition to the benefits for individuals, volunteering can also have a positive impact on local communities. According to Volunteer Scotland, volunteers contribute an estimated £2.26 billion to the Scottish economy each year. Volunteering can also help build stronger, more connected communities by bringing people of all generations together.

If you’re interested in varying your week, consider volunteering as way to do this as well as making someone else’s. Volunteer Edinburgh is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your area to fit around your schedule and support organisations that align with your values, more information can be found here. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Vintage Vibes Friendship Volunteer, please visit their website here.

 

Thanks for reading,

Nicky Shallcross, Volunteering Coordinator at Vintage Vibes.

 

An evening with Vintage Vibes

For our first Tribe Talks of the year we are collaborating with Vintage Vibes. Join us on 25th January from 18:30 for a fun evening hosted by volunteer coordinator, Nicky Shallcross.

Vintage Vibes is an award-winning project tackling isolation and loneliness in Edinburgh. The project, a partnership between LifeCare Edinburgh and Space at the Broomhouse Hub, started in 2015 as a fresh new way to combat isolation and loneliness among over 60s (called VIPs) in Edinburgh.

Vintage Vibes creates long lasting one-to-one friendships offering support, companionship and the opportunity for lonely VIPs to be more socially connected and active in their local community. Vintage Vibes are looking for volunteers of all ages (17+) from across Edinburgh.

This is a great opportunity to break the ice with Vintage Vibes and find out more about their work as well as how to volunteer. Nicky will introduce you to Vintage Vibes and their work and answer any questions about volunteering or how to refer someone who may benifit from their service.

Join us for a tea and a sweet treat, click here for more information and to register.

 


 

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Working For Progress

We recently took the time to record a season wrap up episode of our podcast, Working For Progress.

 

Reflecting on Working For Progress

Working For Progress was launched with the intention of clebrating our communities and sharing their individual journeys. We are lucky to have a community of creative people, all doing interesting work and who are also interested in the bigger picture. Their health, their communities, their impact on the world. It is important for us to connect through conversations about how we craft our working life and make progress. Each episode sees us ask our communities questions about their working life, the challenges they’ve faced and the progress they’ve made.

It was funny to think back to the initial awkward fears that producing and recording a podcast brings. We are forever grateful to our pals over at Glocast for allowing us to record our trailer episode with them. Perhaps without this as a date in the diary to record we would not now be reflecting on our eleven published episodes! 

We spoke at length about what stood out to us in season one and we really wanted to thank our guests for their honesty and vulnerability. Even recording a conversation with people that you know in a place that you are familiar with can bring nerves. Not to mention that using a mic can initially feel very intimidating. It has been a joy to listen to the intricacies of people’s journeys and without creating the space to reflect there’s so much we may have never known! The podcast has made both myself and Dani feel ever more connected to you all. Taking the time to interview each person has served as a valuable reminder of how important connection and conversation is. 

 

Dani reflects: “Each person brought their unique story to the conversation, a bit of where they have come from in terms of significant life moments which have impacted on what they are doing today. Thinking back, it was often a person or an interaction which profoundly impacted a decision or direction. Sometimes only with hindsight do you notice such influences.”

 

Working at the speed of trust

We also spoke about what we wanted out of the podcast. I really wanted to showcase all of the possibilities your working life can bring and highlight the turning points in people’s career journeys. For myself, I am very early doors. I have spent most of my working life in hospitality. I adore the world of hospitality but always desired something more stable without losing what I value. Before Tribe, I remember having this weird sensation that I was failing or doing things wrong and that I simply wanted more out of my working life. 

Coming to Tribe gave me the term value based work. It’s a privilege to work alongside so many people where value is at the heart of their working lives. At points in my own journey, value based work felt out of reach and at times it just felt like ‘a nice idea’. I wanted this podcast to highlight how many different avenues and directions life could take you. Career journeys are not always a linear path like you are told at school. For me, each episode really encapsulates this as each guest highlighted the journey and risks that they have taken themselves.

It was interesting to note how the support of communities and the right people at the right time came up alot in each person’s journey. Alongside this came trust and putting yourself in the relationship of trust to find trust. These seem to be vital ingredients in both navigating working lives and in taking risks. Here’s what Nasim Forootan said about the importance of trust: 

 

“It’s okay to trust and to open yourself up and be vulnerable sometimes with how you are feeling and what you’re seeing. Sometimes you need to have difficult conversations to explore the nuisance of things. Have faith that things will come out right. If you go into a situation with doubt, you won’t let yourself explore the relationship that could be. Trust is a really strong value for me. Trust is embedded in everything I do. When we work in organizations or when we look at community spaces and governments, it’s one element that is constantly broken. If we had a tiny bit more trust in each other the world would be a better place”-Nasim Forootan

 

The importance of community

Trust and honesty certainly became an overarching theme, both in trusting in yourself and the people around you. This is why coworking is so incredibly important. It’s not often in life you get to choose the people around you and people are such a strong and beautiful part of Tribe. Tribe is not just a desk to work from, it is the people that you’re sitting next to, have lunch with and stop for a tea break and a chat with. Coworking perfectly encapsulates the human need and want for both community and connection. 

During our chat, Dani reflected: “Think of Brene Brown’s saying, ‘It’s hard to hate people when you see them up close and know their story’,  it’s true. Bear with me, I am so far from hating anyone, especially this crew. But in a similar vein, the care and love I now have for each guest has expanded. To know them a bit more, to be trusted enough that they share themselves with us (and everyone who listens) is not taken lightly. We could easily brush it off, quite normal to be on a podcast and chat about your working life. But when people share their values, why they do what they do, what brings them a sense of belonging and awe, it connects us in generative ways.”

Bob Cummins of SODAK amply said during his interview that “Emotional safety is formed with people. If you’ve got others you can take the journey with, it makes risks easier”.  We hope that in listening to each of these stories you may find more confidence in navigating your own journey and not to feel scared of taking the necessary risks. Founder of Good Life School, Lorna Lythgoe spoke of this in such a beautiful way whilst reflecting on her on career journey :

 

“I felt like I had leapt off a cliff, I was falling and would occasionally land on a shelf. It was painful and scary and uncomfortable, which sounds like I’m saying don’t do it. In retrospect, now I know that was the growth and the career path, I started to gleefully leap off as I understood It wasn’t an abyss”- Lorna Lythgoe 

 

Keep working for progress

Most of all, our podcast makes us feel so very grateful for the communities of Tribe Porty and Keystone. We are so lucky to meet so many incredible people through these communities. It is an honour to share your stories. We want to keep showcasing you as the brilliant, incredible and completely normal people that you are. People who are real and care deeply about others and this planet. We hope that our little podcast helps you to stay surrounded by good people, keep true to your values and to keep working for progress. (Too cringe? Nah, we love it!). You can listen to all of our episodes, including our season wrap up by clicking here. Fancy joining myself and Dani in an episode? Drop us a line at: more@tribeporty.org


As always, thanks for reading. You can read all of our previous blogs by clicking here. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletters by filling out the form below:

 

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Controlling Distractions

How distracted are you by your phone and is it worth your time?

 

A frequent conversation around the coworking table is the nuisance and distraction that technology, phones and social media brings. This stems from doom scrolling, to issues spurred on from social media and questions on how to ‘correctly’ parent technology. It’s a big multilayered problem and it seems the thread of desire is to find a way to detach. We want to remove ourselves from passive connection and stop being distracted by our phones.

Why have phones become such a distraction?

When we use our phones we are selling only our time, it’s often the moments where we want the time to pass that we fall into the trap. We are always wanting to be busy, we always want to be consuming, maybe it’s time to step back and let yourself be bored. Let yourself day dream and be alone with your thoughts. 

 

“Solitude Deprivation. A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.”Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

 

So what are the real problems we cause ourselves when we take to our phones for light entertainment or to pass some time? A study in 2007 by Dr Martin Hilbert and Dr Priscila Lopez found that the average person is drowned in 174 newspapers worth of information everyday, across TV, radio and reading. It’s easy to assume that this figure is even greater today. When you consider how much information we receive everytime we pick up our phones you soon realise why it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the doom and gloom in the world. Or more likely, you feel yourself becoming ever more detached and unresponsive. We have no time to form any true compassion or understanding as we are always onto the next big news story. 

Time to break from the distraction?

Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics, found that on average an adult working in an office stays on a singular task for no more than three minutes before switching tasks. We are tricked into thinking that we are great multitaskers, we are not- we are however very good at getting distracted and losing focus. Mark argues that especially during computer based work, instead of seeing a new tab, email reply or doom scroll as adding a new task, see it as adding a new distraction. This sounds easy but we have already programmed our brains to shift focus constantly, this is why we always are reaching for our phones. 

After 14 years, I deleted my Twitter account and removed the app from my phone. This was spurred on by the change to X, in a weird way the visual change prompted discomfort but also made it easier to delete and let go, so thanks for that Elon! Since then, I notice myself whilst routinely checking Facebook and Instagram my thumb automatically going to tap the Twitter app. My brain is fully in a trance, it’s terrifying! Another thing I noticed, whenever I think of something funny my brain frames the thought as a tweet. It’s like an ingrained desire and need to tweet it, again…terrifying! 

Make it worth your time

I feel like I do not need to delve into the problems around phones too much as we all experience it daily. I did consider counting how many times I picked up my phone whilst writing this piece but I feared it would be too shameful of a number. However, I do not believe that a complete detox, hiatus or banishment is the answer. Nor is blaming or shaming ourselves. I think it’s more important to consider the good things phones and tech can bring to our lives. Think of how much time has been saved through emails, online banking, google and life admin. We just need to be more aware and purposeful of how we use this tech. 

For me, it’s the small impromptu moments of time where picking up my phone is becoming a problem. The automatic reflex to have a quick look always turns into at least ten minutes of scrolling. It is entirely passive consumption and is the definition of needless. I’m really good at misplacing my phone, something I’m weirdly proud of. It means that it’s not constantly on my mind or in my hand. Now when I lose track of it, instead of hunting it down straight away I purposefully question why I need to find it? What do I need it for? Unless the reason is valid, like calling my nan or if there’s a fire that needs tending to, I do not bother looking for it.

Find the balance

 

‘You want to read a book, but you are pulled away by the pings and paranoia of social media. You want to spend a few uninterrupted hours with your child, but you keep anxiously checking your work email. You want to set up a business, but your life dissolves into a blur of facebook posts that only make you feel envious and anxious. Through no fault of your own, there never seems to be enough stillness.’-Johann Hari, Stolen Focus

 

By detaching from our phones, time alone can become more nourishing, remove the need to compare and focus solely on ourselves. Instead of taking to social media for a ‘break’ try out some meditation, a little day dream, a quick stretch or a wee stroll around. Maybe what you’re craving is in fact a quick brain reset! Choose to feast on your own life, instead of small snippets of others. Rember, tech is designed to be addictive but we can choose to have a more purposeful relationship with it.

 

HERE ARE OUR COWORKERS THOUGHTS, TIPS AND TRICKS! 

 

Don’t forget, habit is key and habits are harder to break than they are to form.

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As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, keep in touch by signing up to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Step up for Pride

Pride is more than a party, for allies of the community it’s an important time to step up and create inclusive change.

Pride March Edinburgh

 

I found it hard at times to write this year’s pride blog post. I knew I wanted to write a piece about creating inclusive culture and finding strength in community, but it’s hard to write about something that you feel should be an obvious and rightful norm. I’ve always been an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, even as a youngster before the concept of an ally existed to me. So sometimes when I speak of allyship, it frustrates me because my brain can’t see it any other way.

But I have also seen friends targeted by bigotry and hate, I’ve seen friends struggle to defend their identity, I’ve seen the consequences of an innocent person being forced to be someone they are not. Sometimes it is important to remember that you as a person are shaped by the world around you. It can become hard at times to sympathise with the ‘it was different in my day’ notion. That’s why Pride is important and that’s why spreading this message is important. 

 

“I was not and had never been a part of a queer community, how to access such a thing was not just a mystery but an impossibility. The loss of which was sizable. Agony in isolation, the shame and pain that I thought was mine alone.” Elliot Page: Pageboy 

How to contribute to Pride

Pride is a time to celebrate, congregate and highlight the progress that society still needs to make. Pride is a time to spark conversations, collaborations and bring attention to both achievements and injustices all over the world. As businesses, it’s time for us to step up, contribute in meaningful ways and show our communities that we are always a safe space.

To truly be involved with pride celebrations is to contribute in meaningful ways and further the cause of LGBTQ+ rights and equality. The corporate world sees far too many important issues ‘washed’ and pride is not exempt to this. Highlighting issues around consumerism and ‘washing’ shows the growing recognition that businesses have towards actively cultivating inclusion and diversity. Every person deserves to feel safe and whilst progress has been made it’s still not enough. The past decade has seen an ever growing rise in reported hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. We must remember that inequalities and barriers still exist and we must do what is in our own reach to help. 

 

One in five LGBTQ+ people were the target of negative comments at work.

Over a third of LGBTQ+ people feel they need to hide who they are at work.

One in five feel that being LGBTQ+ limits their job opportunities.
-Britain in Work Report

What it means to be an ally

Being an ally is an ongoing mission and is more than putting up a flag once a month, this is at best tokenistic. We often believe in the myth of individualism, that we are independent from each other and the natural world. Whilst we do have individual agency, we show our true strengths when we collaborate and we become stronger when we act together. To move past tokenistic gestures, let’s work together to build stronger communities, safer spaces and secure workplaces. 

Even when you as an individual, an employee or an employer have good intentions, unfortunately there isn’t a button for instant inclusion. Instead it is an ongoing, ever evolving journey. Much the same, there is not a singular template that forms an inclusive workplace. Inclusivity should be seen as a process, not a quick fix. 

The best employers recognise the value in taking proactive steps to create inclusive culture and there is a wealth of information out there, the internet can be a magical place! Starting points can be as simple as developing clear policies against discrimination, diversity training and the most obvious, taking action on LGBTQ+ employee and customer feedback. As an employee, it may at times feel like an impossible task to generate change. As an ally, use your privilege to speak up and have difficult conversations with managers and bosses.

Step up and use your privilege

Being asked to understand your privilege is not an attack, it is simply acknowledging that you feel safe and valued in everyday life and recognizing that not everyone has the same experience. You can put this to work by being an effective ally and advocate for others. 

I often hear people talking around inclusive culture like it’s an impossible and bewildering task. It is okay to feel lost at times in an ever changing world, but do not stand idly by and become part of the problem. It is up to you to educate yourself, it is not someone else’s job to give you a lesson on gender identity. Engage with the LGBTQ+ community, work with other businesses that do it well and stand up for what is right. By networking with other members of the community you will not only show strong allyship, but gain invaluable experience and knowledge. 

 

Not sure how to step up? Start here: 

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Each month, we offer Tribe Talks. A free evening hosted by a Tribe member or friend of Tribe. We are so excited to share that our next Tribe Talk is to celebrate Porty Pride! Our Porty Pride poetry evening will be hosted by the wonderful author and poet, Anne Pia. Click here to find out more and book your free ticket. 

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, keep in touch by signing up to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Let’s talk about Menopause

 

“Around one in five women report experiencing health challenges relating to menstruation or menopause. Among the 15% of women who report experiencing health challenges related to menstruation, over 40% say they work through the pain and discomfort.”-Women at Work

 

If not now, when?

I am 26, I was not educated about menopause at school. I feel as though I was barely educated about periods at school. And here I am now, writing a blog post about menopause, some of you are thinking, ‘little young to be writing this’. But therein lies the problem. And whilst we’re talking directly, men, you should keep reading too. The only information I have been exposed to about menopause is through mainstream media. Even then, it is at most a joke about a character going through the change and experiencing hot flushes and dryness…

By not educating people from a younger age about menopause, it neglects the notion that it even happens. Like it’s make believe or that you will somehow naturally have the resources to hand when the time comes. I remember hitting puberty and my mum panic throwing books my way titled ‘have you started yet?’ and ‘girls only’. The illustrations on the covers would have teen girls whispering between themselves, this only reinforced the stigma of periods needing to be an uncomfortable secret, never to be spoken openly about. 

Thankfully (hopefully?), we have come away from this. Which as I grow older I see growing importance in. By gendering menstruation and menopause we only gate-keep vital and important information and care from the LGBTQ+ community. It has taken a long time, and I am still in the process of understanding my ever changing menstrual cycle. Thankfully, I’ve always felt a strong attachment to understanding my body’s natural process and hormone fluctuation. I only started to meet and converse with others that felt this way in my twenties. 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that if it has taken 13 years (that’s 156 cycles!) to get to grips with periods, I can only imagine the loss of control one would feel during perimenopause. When we think about menopause, we should think in terms of the time taken to complete the whole process, much like we do with puberty.

 

“The Change” unfortunately still generally remains a taboo subject, even amongst many women. That’s why we need to talk about it, to your mums, dads, brothers, sisters, children – anyone. And for those dealing with this, or about to, it’s so important to learn about it. Do your research and approach your GP armed with the facts and knowledge.”-Menopause Mandate

 

Finding yourself in Community.

The most powerful conversations I have had with friends and confidants have sparked from one person saying to the other an honest or uncomfortable truth. No matter the subject, be it partners, periods or mental health, a friend saying I’ve felt that or I’ve experienced that too can completely shift your mindset. You are no longer alone or alienated in your feelings and experiences. It’s in this scary sweet spot that experiences and knowledge can be shared.

This is also why menstrual health should not become a gendered conversation. How can we gain vital support from our partners and loved ones if they also have no clue or understanding over what’s going on? Being in touch with yourself, at all stages of life is a crucial ally to your wellbeing. Even when looking into the future is a scary prospect, understanding your body’s natural processes and forming a connection ultimately influences your comfort and welfare.

 

“A strong theme coming through from research on this issue is that perimenopausal symptoms ‘can be quite disruptive and distressing, particularly when women do not know why these things are happening to them in the first place’. If their partners do not know either, we have the seeds for an inauthentic challenge to even the most healthy of relationships.” -Richard Hull

 

When we can’t rely on governments and policies to support and educate us, this is when community and allyship becomes a necessity. With that in mind, we took to our community to ask questions about menopause, here’s what they had to say:

 

“When I think about menopause I feel old. I know so little about menopause I cannot answer the question of how we can improve workplaces to support those going through the menopause. I feel that education about menopause should happen at an early age, and we need to integrate healthy conversations into popular culture, to all sexes.”

 

“When I think about menopause I feel unprepared and in denial despite it being inevitable. We need to fully recognise that women’s normal health is very different from mens. In terms of changes that need to be made in the workplace, I have no idea where to start. I am not sure if I would have been open to being taught about menopause when still under the influence of teachers at school. That said, reproductive health education at school (in the 90’s) felt abstract and surface. For fertility and pregnancy there is no end of advice and information backed up from the NHS with information and appointments with health professionals, and even then there are still gaps. I am also not sure medicalising menopause or any aspect of a woman’s reproductive health is empowering. Being able to notice, examine and interpret the clues of one’s own body is probably the best. So how do we teach that? And if so, starting as young as possible is best… a useful tool for both sexes.”

 

“I have lots of feelings about menopause, but ultimately I am trying to rethink menopause like I tried to rethink birthing. It can be a wonderful thing yet mostly what we see are the horrors, the blood, the screaming women. What about the other side? The euphoria, the baby bliss, the overwhelming feeling of awe and love. So although I’m not there yet, I’m trying to think about the potential new wisdom that comes with menopause. The freedom to have some painless and bloodless months. The change in hormones that lead to changes in your body and mind. I’m not entertaining the old, dried up, wrinkled, useless characters of a postmenopausal woman. We need more awareness and research in the same way impotence is given.  There is five times more research into erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men, than into premenstrual syndrome, which affects 90% of women. And menopause happens to 50% of the population and 100% of women! We also need more research to combat the Women’s Health Initiative Study confusion over HRT.”

 


 

Each month, we offer a free talk open to the public. Our next Tribe Talk will be delivered by Yellow Empress Acupuncture. Hannah will be offering an evening around self-care for perimenopause with holistic perspectives for a healthy transition. To find out more and to book your free space, click here. 

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts, keep in touch by signing up to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Take a Breath

Breathing is easy in moments of awe.

 

Go on, I mean it. Take a breath with me now. A big chest opening deep breath. Feel good? Thought so…

The nature of this text alone probably reached you through an email, the ritualistic morning check of your inbox. Perhaps you even just got back from holiday and have been swamped with a never ending parade of virtual envelopes waiting to be clicked open. 

We are surrounded by unconscious actions, the most important of these is of course breathing. We take it for granted for the most part, to the point where a lot of us probably haven’t even thought about it for a while…

The only time I take conscious breath is when I see the sea, or a beautiful view. Naturally, times of awe cause us to become conscious of our breath. We feel our lungs expanding, filling with air becoming one with the nature around us. No distractions, just bliss. Interoception is the internal sensory system in which both physical and emotional states are consciously or unconsciously noticed and responded to. Obvious examples of these are sight, touch and smell. Breathing opens up a unique insight into our interoceptive processes as we are able to swap between subconscious and conscious control. 

Take a breath and meet your vagus nerve 

The Vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body. A healthy vagus nerve is integral to forming mindful responses to our surroundings and emotions. It is how you develop healthy stress responses and when you are in tune with this nerve, it can help counteract your fight/flight system. By incorporating breathing exercises into your daily life, you will become attuned to your vagus nerve. In turn, you can become calmer, compassionate and have a greater connection to your inner self. 

Think of how much time in a day we spend in short, shallow breath. These are arguably the times we need to breathe mindfully. However you stimulate your vagus nerve, you are connecting with yourself and tapping into mindfulness. 

“Whenever we turn inward to check in with our true feelings; to check in with our intuitive wisdom; or to find our true expressiveness, we’re lighting up the vagus nerve.” Dr Glenn Doyle

 

It’s as easy as breathing

Our initial response to anxiety and stress is often channeled through deep considered thinking. We play out worst-case scenarios in our minds and drown in negativity. It can also manifest physically through a tight chest and sweaty palms. Breathing offers a different approach to responding to stress or anxiety as it targets the body directly. By breathing deep and slow we can calm our minds and sometimes even gain immediate relief. 

“the vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing; its increase through meditation and yoga likely contribute to resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.” Frontiers

 

The vagus nerve is in direct correlation with our capacity to regulate stress responses. This response can be managed through conscious breathing. By stimulating the vagus nerve, your body is calmed and can even activate oxytocin release, this in turn can generate feelings of connection and stress relief. 

“If we’re breathing really shallowly and fast, it causes our nervous system to up-regulate and we feel tense and anxious. If we’re breathing slowly, it actually turns on the anti-stress response.”Elissa Epel 

Humans are complicated, we are often drowned by our own thoughts, feelings and traumas. Becoming attuned to your vagus nerve unfortunately won’t fix everything. But, it may become a helpful friend. There are not many functions that we can choose to control, but we can control how and when we breathe. Next time you feel overwhelmed, overworked or stressed, try out some basic breathing exercises to bring you back to yourself and look after that vagus nerve. 

“In the same way that mindfulness practice isn’t just meditation, breathing as a practice isn’t just waking up every morning and doing 10 minutes of box breathing. It’s also important to be aware of the way you breathe in everyday life (or while you’re checking your email).”Kira NewmanAT

 

Breathing exercises

Take the time now to try out some of these short desk friendly exercises, notice how your breath, body and mind feel. I think it is also important to not overcomplicate the action of conscious breath. Sometimes it is just as powerful to check in with your breath periodically through the day. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on this, perhaps you already have some favourite breathing exercises you can share with us. 

breathing exercises

Share your thoughts and keep in touch by signing up  to our newsletter below! You can find our previous blog posts by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Finding Your Ikigai

Is ikigai the ultimate answer?

The Man Who Wanted To See It All

I recently stumbled across a documentary titled, The Man Who Wanted To See It All. It told the story of Heinz Stücke, in 1962 he left Germany and set off on a bike ride touring the world which spanned close to 50 years and covered enough distance to circumnavigate the world 15 times around.

What I found striking about this documentary is that Heinz did not set out to be the best cyclist, or the best photographer and any records that he broke were seemingly a welcomed accident. His soul focus and purpose were set on experience, connection, seeing and being. After leaving his home town in 1962, Heinz decided to not return home as he deemed going home as the end of his adventure. After over 50 years of nomadic living, this is where the documentary found its focus.

The documentary shows Heinz putting his memories in order and sorting through his tens of thousands of photographs, reuniting with family and friends and reflecting on his achievements and sacrifices. Something that has stuck with me since watching this documentary was how his friends spoke of his life journey. Friends from childhood reflected on his journey with great solace, they asked the question “I wonder if he is happy?”. The conversation felt heavy and remorseful. In contrast, the family that grew close with Heinz in Japan spoke of Heinz and his journey with tremendous joy and fascination, they remarked that Heinz had achieved Ikigai. But what is Ikigai and how do you find your ikigai?

 

“I consider myself a treasure trove, what I hope of the day is that it gives me the pleasure of finding something new” – Heinz Stücke: Home is Elsewhere.

 

What is ikigai?

Ikigai roughly translates to, a reason for being. The word itself is composed of two worlds: iki, which means life and gai, which describes value or worth. The word can be used similarly to happiness but ecompasses a deeper nuance. Ikigai is also about discovering your purpose and aligning your actions with this. If you have a clear sense of purpose, you can then align your sense of purpose with your values and goals. 

By thinking of ikigai in relation to Heinz, it’s easy to assume that to achieve it you must do something extraordinary, however the true meaning of ikigai is rooted in the ordinary. Ultimately, this practice allows for moments of happiness in each day, you can find meaning and joy in even the most mundane tasks. 

 

“I found the way of life I enjoy, and what is better than to follow a life which is fulfillment. The journey is my fulfillment.” –Heinz Stücke: Home is Elsewhere.

 

Using ikigai as a tool 

In Western society, ikigai is seen as a tool to achieve a long and happy life. A google search will show you a plethora of venn diagrams on how to achieve it with four overlapping qualities: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.

This Western approach includes work and payment which isn’t necessarily the truest adaptation of the meaning. At its core, ikigai is as simple as finding out what makes you happy each and every day. When you ask yourself questions around the principles of Ikigai it is vital to curate answers about you and your soul, not your work.

Of course I agree that you can align the principles of ikigai with your working life in order to achieve happiness and satisfaction in all meanings of the words. Nevertheless, I think it is wrong to consider your work when asking questions around ikigai. Ikigai is deeper than your work, it is about you, your inner being and how to nourish your soul. Once you have answered these questions honestly, you can then apply these to your work practice.

 

“Japanese people believe that the sum of small joys in everyday life results in more fulfilling life as a whole”- Yukari Mitsuhashi

 

Asking the right questions to find your Ikigai

Your life is not limited to your work. It is only possible to find ikigai in your practice if your work’s values and ethics align to your own, your work must also actively nurture your personal growth and wellbeing. There is nothing wrong with the Western adaptation of ikigai and it can be used as a powerful tool to navigate and curate your working life.

Regardless, I think we should break away from ‘Ikigai in the workplace’ and instead keep it simple. It is far more powerful to get in touch with yourself. If you can find something in the everyday that makes you happy, brings you joy or a sense of awe you too can find ikigai. No matter how big or small.

Write down your answers to these questions and actively incorporate the answers into your everyday life. This is how to find and nurture your Ikigai and lead a happier and fufilled life.

“essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Hector Garcia, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.

 

Helpful Links

To read more about awe, click here.

Want to find out more about Ikigai, click here.

To find out more about Hans Stücke, click here.

We post new blogs every month. To see more, click here.

Join us for our next Tribe Talks with Rise of Happiness to help create your path to happiness. To book your free ticket, click here.

Share your thoughts and keep in touch by signing up  to our newsletter below!

Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Embrace Equity

International Women’s Day is on the 8th of March. This years theme is Embrace Equity. But what does equity mean and how do we embrace something that isn’t always there?

What is Equity?

“An equitable outcome is one where every individual from every demographic has the opportunity to reach their full potential resulting in more economic opportunity for everyone.”

Imani Dunbar

The simple definition of equity refers to fairness and justice. Whilst it is easy to list it as a synonym to equality, it is in fact a very different matter. Equality fights for the same for everyone, expecting that this will make people equal. However, this wrongly assumes that we all start out in the same place. Inequality affects many people, historically it has and continues to block marginalized communities. 

Equality revolves around the concept of fairness, which makes things tricky as it is often assumed that being fair means that everybody should get the same thing. Equality is only fair if we all start with the same things, equality only works in a world where we are all equal to begin with. The only way to truly remove these barriers is through personalized approaches. 

The goal of equity is to change systemic and structural barriers that get in the way of people’s ability to thrive.  Equity acknowledges that people do not begin life in the same place and unfortunately, evolving circumstances make it increasingly difficult for people to achieve the same goals. Despite leaps of progress, women are still under-represented in the workplace. Even more so, inequality affects people of colour, people with disabilities, economically disadvantaged groups and those in the LGBTQ+ community. This is why equity is so important, peoples experiences are diverse and reach beyond gender. 

What does it mean to Embrace Equity?

“ 42% of young women have experienced discrimination whilst working or looking for work. Furthermore, 73% of women experience bias at work—yet less than a third of employees are able to recognize bias when they see it.”

Young Women’s Trust: Annual Survey 2022

Whether it is deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it not only harder for women to get hired, but it blocks promotion and career progression. Aside from this, it negatively impacts day to day life. Finding connection and support at work is a major challenge. Since most senior leaders are men, women are less likely to have access to mentors who can not only relate to their experiences, but promote important change. 

Significant numbers of young women are in precarious financial situations, this hardship is only spurred on in the ongoing cost of living crisis. Young Women’s Trust: Annual Survey 2022 found that 44% of young women have been offered zero hour contracts in 2022, compared to 33% of young men. 

Active Allyship in the Workplace 

“Women and underrepresented groups alone cannot solve diversity and inclusion problems. An ally is a person who stands up for others to proactively build inclusion in our workplace”

Rosanna Durruthy

So how do we as individuals, or as employers, managers or coworkers ‘Embrace Equity’ in a system which is flawed? One vital way is to become an active ally. Active Allyship in the workplace means that we as individuals must put in the groundwork to not only examine, but confront personal and systematic bias. When we not only witness, but acknowledge bias we can then build actionable change. 

Active Allyship is arguably the most important catalyst to not only build but drive inclusion in our workplaces and communities. It must become a daily practice sustained through not only action, but education. Rosanna Durruthy writes about the importance of connection in order to “explore where you can be creating opportunities, build professional bonds and act as a resource and advocate for others in your professional community”.

Ok things have improved over time, but this doesn’t mean we should settle. Nor does it mean that we should overlook barriers that disadvantage groups still face. Make the commitment to yourself to become an active ally, ensure that people’s rights are upheld and respected. It is important to create communities that revolve around compassionate accountability. Remember, your perspective will always be limited by your own circumstances and personal biases. Keep listening, sharing and growing and actively drive for inclusive culture. It is only through embracing equity that we can achieve equality. 

 

Get involved with International Women’s Day:

International Women’s Day Events

Tribe Porty: Celebrate International Women’s Day

Keystone Women: Find Your Community

Building an Equitable Workplace Culture For All

Edinburgh Women’s Aid: Challenge 50 Fundraiser

 

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Thanks for reading,

 Alice.

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Curating Habits

It’s all too easy to reflect on time past as lost or wasted, the consequence of losing time only becomes apparent during moments of guilt based contemplation. Guilt causes us to value lost time to a higher level than the time we still have ahead of us. But perhaps this perpetual way of thinking is too caught up in regret and therefore we continue to waste time rather than build sustainable change to obtain our desires and goals. It’s easier to overestimate the power of the past and therefore underestimate the value of small changes and habits to daily life. 

I had not considered the power of small habits until recently, this realisation came from an enormous change in the routine of my work life. I had spent the majority of my adult working life sacrificing a minimum of 40 hours a week to a physically and mentally challenging job. On top of that, I received my rota a week at a time, usually a day or two before the week started. The notion of habit and routine was impossible for me to obtain due to these constraints. The impact a lack of routine had on my physical and mental wellbeing was not unnoticed…definitely suppressed. When I think back to this lifestyle a quote from Bruce Tift rings true: “we don’t have to consciously participate in what it’s like to feel claustrophobic, imprisoned, powerless, and constrained by reality.” I felt as though I was down a rabbit hole with no idea how to get out. I needed more good days. 

Personal time became a sparse luxury, when not at work I either needed to clean my flat, do laundry (AGAIN), or simply turn my body off and enter the abyss that is reality television. It wasn’t living, it wasn’t even surviving, it was simply existing. After having a sad and almost existential realisation that my work was the root cause of my unhappiness, changing my job became a necessity. Fast forward a year and two jobs later I finally found myself in a job that gave me TIME! Beautiful time! What did I do with this time?! I watched more TELLY! I mean…c’mon it was well earnt and a new series of Euphoria was calling my name. This didn’t last too long as I was well aware that this time could be better spent. Having said that, it’s just as important to know when to hibernate and recuperate.

 

“We often seem to dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much in the moment.” -James Clear: Atomic Habits.

 

The first small change that I made in an attempt to improve my wellbeing was to go to the gym. When I say I hated it, I really mean it. I hated the smell, the music, the sound and the look of the machines. Everything was monochrome and industrial. However, it became an important first step towards my ultimate goal. I wanted to become a runner. I knew I would never have the confidence to run in public without an improvement in my fitness levels. Even once I made it out of the gym and into the great outdoors, I kept running a well guarded secret. I wanted to protect my desire to run as far away as possible from the stigma of weight loss, this was not my goal and not my intention. I feared that outside opinions would push this unwanted pressure onto me and the public declaration of being a runner would skew my own vision.  

Why am I running? Metaphorically form the patriarchy, in reality for myself! Overestimating the importance of a defining moment is easy, it’s even more important to value small improvements that you create daily. Success and achieving a goal does not require massive action. For me, the reason I run isn’t to run a marathon, it’s to have time to myself, to listen to music, to be outdoors and see the seasons change…

Routine aided in me identifying as a runner, now I can’t imagine not doing it and i’m certainly no longer scared to say that I do it. James Clear prompts the celbration of identity as it is a form of intrinsic motivation, “It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.” Schedule the time and show up for yourself, routine will form confidence in your actions and they will therefore become sustainable and with time, unconscious. 

I felt that it was important to tell this story as it points out some fundamental things that first must happen in order to engage in positive lifestyle changes and become your ‘best self’. First, is your environment. This is both your home life and work life and acknowledging that a balance is needed. The second is motivating habitual practices in order to achieve a positive change. 

 

“Your goal becomes your compass, not your buried treasure. The goal is your direction, not your destination. The goal is a mission that you are on, a path that you follow. Whatever comes from that path—whatever treasure you happen to find along this journey—well, that’s just fine. It is the commitment to walking the path that matters.” –James Clear: Atomic Habits

 

When you identify a change you want to make in your life, or set a new goal the most important part is to make it a manageable change. If you set a goal that is too impossible to reach, it is unlikely that you will achieve it. Instead manage ambitions into smaller goals, this will enable you to change habits and generate sustainable progression. An unattainable goal will cause you to fall possibly at the first hurdle and therefore instantly lose motivation. Your habits must also align with your environment, looking back now I would not have made positive and sustainable changes in my life without changing my working life. 

It’s difficult to appreciate small changes and the creation of small habits because they do not matter in the moment. We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to those who are already where we want to get to. It doesn’t matter how unsuccessful or good you are right now, the thing that matters is curating the time, environment and nurturing the habits. Once you’ve consciously made these decisions (and ofcourse stick to them), everything else falls into place. 

Curating your environment will expose many practical changes that ultimately lead to good habits and rituals. For example, I’m personally guilty of leaving my phone to charge on top of my ever growing pile of unread books. It’s as easy as charging my phone in a different room, by removing the distraction of a phone (and silly animal videos), maybe…just maybe, those books will get read! 

 

“Making a better decision is easy and natural when the cues for good habits are right in front of you […] be the designer of your world, and not merely the consumer of it.” -James Clear: Atomic Habits.

 

As we come into colder and darker months, it becomes even more important to consciously establish positive habits. Maybe it’s just as much about understanding the deep route of why you want to do something, or embody something? What does it bring to your life? I think without at least a curiosity to understand why, perhaps it won’t bring you the redemption you want it to. Is there a change in your lifestyle that you want to make? Ask yourself how you can create meaningful habits to build and shape your world. Write it down, break it down, enjoy the process of change and have more good days! 

 

“[Life] is a dance, and when you are dancing, you are not intent on getting somewhere. The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.”- Oliver Burkeman:The Antidote.

 

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 Alice.

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