Stress Less + SPARKLE More

Photo by Kelly Adams Photography

Last year was most definitely my biggest year yet, and by big I don’t mean it was all about success. Once again my year started off with heartbreak in January after losing yet another loved one which hit me really hard.. in May I was promoted which was really exciting and then I launched this blog in July after months (if not years really) of working on it.

Over the last few years so much has happened in my life personally and professionally that eventually it was going to come to a point where it was too much if I didn’t allow quality time to heal and rest, and soon after the first part of last year it did, it all became too much. The amount of stress running through my body had become beyond imaginable, though on the outside you couldn’t see it, on the inside my heart was aching, my body was exhausted and I had nothing left to give, because I was giving too much and not filling myself back up. One day I woke up in so much pain running through my entire body, it had finally given in, it was telling me to stop, right now, that day, stop completely and heal. So I did.

That day I had a couple of days off work to rest, I had health checks, blood tests, then from there I began a journey of about 6 months of physiotherapy to mend my body, I focused on resting and worked on slowing down in every aspect of my life. I let go of the temptation to do everything and be everything to everyone all of the time. I cancelled my gym membership and stayed home a lot more to do some serious winding down and to sleep more than I ever had in my life, I literally had to come to a complete stop in order to start again. After all of this work I finally feel like I am becoming my best self again.

It’s a funny thing that it’s not until something stops us in our tracks that we take notice of what is affecting us from the inside-out. I had let life’s stressors build up pressure inside me for a couple of years, and when my physio first touched my body she could feel the intense tension, the pain, running all the way up through my back to my neck and my head. She said she hadn’t seen a young persons body like this, that it shouldn’t be like this. She was one of the first people to tell me that I needed to do some work, not just physical, but I needed to stop and heal. Notice the reuccurance so far? Stop to heal. I know I’m not the only one to push through the pain, the workload, to make my dreams happen no matter what, I’m not the only one to push aside wellness to keep moving forward in whatever way possible, but I’m not that person anymore, today I stop and heal, every, single, day.

Here are some of the things that I now know that stopped me in my tracks and the things that helped me heal..

What stopped me..

  • I held emotion in for a long time, too long.
  • I didn’t get enough sleep and didn’t listen to my body when it was tired during the day.
  • I was constantly trying to hold together toxic friendships.
  • I took on too much at once.
  • I thought I was obliged to keep going when I was exhausted, that taking time out just for me wasn’t an option.

What healed me..

  • I let everything out and talked to my loved ones about how I was feeling.
  • I seeked professional help, for my mental and physical state.
  • I began sleeping whenever I needed to, even if it meant one to two times during the day on my days off.
  • I stopped the pressure hanging over me from having a gym membership, I cancelled it and did healing exercises instead like yoga and walking.
  • I worked (and continually work) on being grateful for what I have.

I don’t want anyone to ever be where I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I thought I had it all together, that I was doing all the right things, I was exercising, I was eating well,  I was living by the ‘books’, but still I wasn’t truly listening to my body, I wasn’t taking notice of the signals until it was too late. Would you believe that on the day of the photoshoot I did for this blog (most of the photos you see here including the one above) that I was in such intense pain that I could hardly open my eyes, but yet I still pushed through? I had put my body under so much stress over a couple of years without even noticing. Never again, from when I started to feel well again I made a promise to myself to always listen and remain consciously aware through everything I do.

I hope this resonates with someone out there who has been through something similar (you are never alone) or is beginning to feel their body coming to a stop, there’s a reason for this, it is telling you to stop, so stop to heal, give yourself the permission to. I promise that it’s all going to be ok, that the world will not fall apart when you take time out. Listen to your body beautiful souls, honour it, it is the only one you have, do not be afraid to reach out for help from loved ones or professionals, and remember, finding gratitude in simply being well and feeling good is so powerful. Be grateful for your health, always.

All my love,

SPARKLE ON EVERYDAY New Year Challenge

Begin 2018 with me with heart, soul and a whole lot of SPARKLE.

This challenge officially ran from 1 to 7 January 2018 on Instagram, hosted by yours truly @chloeawilson. Each day I posted a task to complete and post about on Instagram (posting about it was optional). I thoroughly enjoyed hosting this challenge, so much so that I thought I would publish the entire challenge in one blog post so that those that missed out or anyone else that might be interested can do the challenge in their own time during the beginning of this year.

Let’s #SPARKLEONEVERYDAY and make 2018 your best year yet!

Day 1 of 7 ‘Let Go’

So many of us carry weight on our shoulders, sometimes without even realising it. This weight can be emotional and heavy, which in turn holds us back from happiness and opportunity.

Today I want you to find space and a place within your day to simply sit with yourself, just you and your thoughts. I want you to think about what held you back last year, what weighed you down. If tears come, let them, let them stream out and roll down your face, take a big sigh if you need to and do it out loud. Once you are within this moment I want you to take 3 deep breaths, in and out, and repeat ‘I will let go’ each time. Sitting still at the end of each breath and allowing the beautiful space you are making to fill you up.

Beautiful soul, it’s time to let go..

Day 2 of 7 ‘Practice #selflove’

A whole year can pass by and before you know it you are exhausted and can’t remember what you actually did for yourself, today we are going to change that. Self-love is so important, we must nurture and take care of ourselves first to be able to give our best selves to others and our work.

Today I want you to do one thing entirely for you. Now I don’t mean something that costs money, but of course that’s perfectly fine if that’s what you want to do. I am talking about the little things such as taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit and drink your coffee or tea in peace, actually starting that book you’ve been meaning to read, going for a walk or doing some yoga on the grass, putting a face mask on or even having an afternoon nap because you really need it. Just do you for one moment of today and relish in it, soak it up and let go of any selfish feelings you may have. Self-love is not selfish, it is an act of love even if it is just for you, and it might even be the most important in order for you to truly thrive.

Beautiful soul, it’s time to give yourself some LOVE.

Day 3 of 7 ‘Set Goals’

We could call it resolutions, we could also call them intentions, but I prefer the term ‘goals’. It feels firmly grounded and gives you something to set your sights on. From something as small as drinking more water, a goal is personal and the amount of pressure you apply is completely up to you. The great thing about a goal is that you can set a timeframe, but they can always be moved or changed to work in with your life. The goals you set are all yours, so if life gets in the way, work your goals around it. The goals you set should not stress you out or upset you if you don’t meet the original timeframe, they should be inspiring and motivate you to never give up.

Today I want you to set 3 small goals and 2 big goals. The 3 small goals could be as above to drink more water, eat more veggies or read more books. The 2 big goals could be to get your dream job or to run a marathon, both are entirely up to you. I also want you to write these down with a pen and paper so your New Year vision really sinks in.

Beautiful soul, it’s time to set some goals.

Day 4 of 7 ‘Make a Plan’

It’s all well and good having goals, but we also need a plan to achieve them. I’m all for going with the flow and ‘winging’ it, though at the same time it’s good to have a few things set in place to help you succeed. It is important to remember though that even if you have goals and plans, that things won’t always ‘go to plan’, but guess what? You can always edit them. Like goals these plans are all yours to do with as you wish, to edit and move around. There is no need to put pressure on ourselves when things get a little overcast. Do your best with what you have, it is always enough.

Today I want you to plan out your goals. There are so many ways you could go about this.
You could:
– go more in depth on paper
– create a timeframe plan using your new diary (or calendar, this can be on your computer too) including when you want to begin to implement your goals or achieve them by
– create a vision board (google it or ask me any questions if you aren’t sure what this is, but it’s one of my favourite things to do at the start of a New Year!)
– tell your family and friends your goals, there’s nothing better than holding yourself accountable to get you motivated, or better yet get your loved ones on board too with some of your smaller goals like getting active (and make plans with them!)
– plan little things you could do on a weekly basis to help you succeed such as picking a couple of nights a week where you swap out TV time to read your book, putting your activewear out and ready each day the night before or making a regular trip/date to the farmers markets on the weekend so you can make some beautiful healthy food

Beautiful soul, it’s time to make plans.

Day 5 of 7 ‘Create a Daily Ritual’

Today steps a little into the self-love category, but in its own way. A ritual for me is something small that I do just for me on a daily basis, a ritual that nourishes your mind, body or soul. Imagine doing just one small act each day that really helps you to thrive and SPARKLE.

Today I want you to create a daily ritual, which can be as simple or as complex as you like. This could be drinking lemon water when you wake up before your coffee, meditating in your car for 5 minutes before you hop out to go to work (check out the @1giantmind app) or writing in your diary or gratitude journal each night before you go to bed. These examples may not seem like they have much ‘life-changing’ goodness in them, but trust me when I say they absolutely do when practiced regularly.

Beautiful soul, it’s time to create a ritual.

Day 6 of 7 ‘Prepare to Succeed’

Today is all about preparing for a new week, a new year. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘preparation is the key to success’? Well, it’s true. With preparation we are organised, less stressed and have more time to focus on what’s important.

Today I want you to do some preparation. There are so many ways you could go about this, though what you choose to do to prepare ‘you’ is entirely up to you. Choose to do what works for you.
You could:
– do your housework, washing, grocery shopping etc today so you can rest and relax tomorrow instead into your new week
– meal prep for work or home (everything you chop, cook, bake, mash and create in advance, even if it’s ingredients for a meal, goes a long way!)
– fill out your diary and/or calendar for the week ahead and check for any bills that are due or events coming up
– put your activewear out ready to go or the book you want to read each night on your bedside table
– catch up with a good friend to talk through your goals and plans and prepare together

Beautiful soul, it’s time to prepare.

Day 7 of 7 ‘SPARKLE ON EVERYDAY’

Challenges are great, but if we can take what we learn from them and how we’ve grown from what we’ve done and continue to implement it throughout our daily lives, that’s when our lives really change for the better, and we really begin to thrive and SPARKLE.

Today I want you to begin to implement the last 6 days into your daily life..
Let what you can’t change or what other people think of you go, just do you.
Practice loving yourself by doing something small just for you.
Go over your goals.
Go through your plans.
Practice a daily ritual (this can be different to the one you created depending on your day today).
Do some more preparation, even if it’s only something small like getting your clothes ready for tomorrow.
SPARKLE ON EVERYDAY beautiful soul.

If you do this challenge I would absolutely love to know how you went in the comments below and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Also, if you would like to join in via Instagram use the challenge hashtag #SPARKLEONEVERYDAY and tag myself @chloeawilson in the caption and directly in the photo as well.

I really hope you enjoy this sparkly way to start the year as much as I did creating it and participating in it alongside my community.

Beautiful soul, it’s time to SPARKLE, today, tomorrow, always.

All my love,