Small Pleasures

small-pleasuresBe or not to be…. happy. That’s the question! I could start writing here a wide range of theories and research about what makes us happy and a lot more about the subject. Happiness is definitely a BIG deal, but the good news is that it is made out of small things. And this is what I want to share here with you all today, how small actions, changes, decisions, can make us feel good, very good.

Not long ago I read an article about small pleasures, but what really caught my attention were the comments posted by other readers describing how they treat themselves. Proving that you don’t need a lot of money, or a lot of time to have those little moments of delight that become great as part of your well-being.

Between my favourites on that list were  “searching for new quotes and posting them around my apartment”, “planning a trip”, “getting into a freshly made bed with clean bed linen, clean pyjamas having just had a lovely bath.”, writing (yes with pen and paper!) a letter to a friend”, “warm bubble baths with a good book or magazine”, “going back in time on my fb wall for old memories and smiles” and “making a new music playlist”.

I also have my own little pleasures, and some of them are drinking a fruit tea before going to sleep, lighting scented candles, doing my nails, baking or trying a new desert recipe, calling one of my good friends for a long chat, exfoliate my hands or my feet with moisturising and sugar, lying on the couch under a blanket while I read or watch a movie, organising my closet and drawers, drinking a virgin mojito, trying new hairstyles (even if I always use the same), or listening to a song I really like, again and again until I know the lyrics by heart:) I love this one!

I found two of the comments on the list pretty inspiring:  “writing postcards or short notes to 5 people from your past you are grateful for.” how good does it feel to thank someone for something you really appreciate?“I also have a set of ‘nice things’ which are all written on small cards, I package them up into a pretty box, write an explanatory note and give them to people as a present – birthday, wedding or just when they’re feeling a little down. I usually phrase it as a ‘random reminder’ of the beautiful things in the world.” nice one! eh? there is no biggest satisfaction than giving… so, here is the full list with nice ideas worth to try whenever you want to have a ‘me moment’ or even better schedule it as a new routine every week, month, year or after a stressful day, it will make you feel great!

  • Pinterest, warm bubble baths with a good book or magazine, a good fb chat with a favorite friend, cooking something exciting or new, playing backgammon, reading favorite blogs, going out with my camera, collecting seashells and stones, Instagraming, making a cocktail, going back in time on my fb wall for old memories and smiles, staring at the sea looking for otters and seals, a proper dinner at the table, flickering smelling great candles, daydreaming about favorite times and hopeful future scenarios.” 
  • “I have an ongoing list of “small treats” and comforts, which includes going for a walk, making a new music playlist, doing a face mask, going to bed early, “window shopping” for clothing online. “
  • “Getting into a freshly made bed with clean bed linen, clean pyjamas having just had a lovely bath. Even better if I know the general household cleaning is done/things are ready for tomorrow – this is my Sunday evening treat and it’s such a pleasure I rarely suffer from ‘Oh no, it’s Monday tomorrow blues’.”
  • “Making a pot of tea rather than just putting a teabag in a mug. Somehow the ritual of it and the fact that you need to wait a moment or two for it to brew slows the entire day down and stops me feeling rushed. It’s a moment of calm!”
  • “Some friends and I once had a discussion about this on a long train journey. I can’t remember them all now but we made a list of ‘The things that make you go mmmm…’ I also have a set of ‘nice things’ which are all written on small cards, I package them up into a pretty box, write an explanatory note and give them to people as a present – birthday, wedding or just when they’re feeling a little down. I usually phrase it as a ‘random reminder’ of the beautiful things in the world.”
  • “Regarding letters … I agree! In one of Julia Cameron‘s books on creativity, she gives the “homework” assignment of writing postcards or short notes to 5 people from your past you are grateful for. Writing these was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. And imagine how delighted I was when I heard back from my favorite high school teacher after more than 20 years. Needless to say, she was delighted as well.”
  • “I love the idea of finding no or low-cost rewards! In addition to many of the rewards mentioned by others, I love: finding an inspiring podcast, doing a mini-pamper session, sitting on my balcony with a cup of tea, exploring a new suburb of Sydney, planning a trip, “dozing” time (literally lie on the couch and do nothing but let my mind wander and go in and out of naps), searching for new quotes and posting them around my apartment, finding and drinking a new tea, and rearranging my furniture.”

Being in a good mood is up to you. Let me know if you give yourself small treats, or if your feel inspired, make your own list and share it here with me:)

WHAT HAPPENS WHILE YOU SLEEP… and the benefits of good sleeping habitZzZZzzZz

I remember my dad telling me how much I was “wasting my life” when sleeping very long hours as a teenager. What he didn’t know and neither did I at that time, is that teenagers need more hours sleep, and that the average humans spend about 30% of their lives sleeping! These and many other facts are part of the reasons why sleeping is a very important part of our biology, not only when we are growing but throughout our whole lives.

I recently watched this TED talk about the ‘neuroscience of sleep’ and I thought it was worth to share it here and  spread the word about the importance of getting enough sleep, and how it affects directly our mood, productivity, physical appearance, happiness and well-being.

Russell Foster, circadian neuroscientist and great speaker, explains better all these in short. He starts saying how little we know about sleeping, our “ignorance” about the subject. We don’t ask why we sleep and we don’t know why it’s so important. Sleeping plays an essential role in the status of our body and mind, and understanding the main existing ideas about the reasons why we sleep, such as: “body restoration, energy conservation, brain processing and memory consolidation”; could probably help to find the answers to some of your problems, and how to fix them easily! In addition, see why ‘sleeping is not an indulgence’, as some people may think.

Contrary to what it seems, while we sleep there is a lot of activity in our brains. It is known that while sleeping the brain presents a cycle of brain-wave activity. “What we know, and what we learn gets attenuated while we sleep; novel solutions to complex problems come up while sleeping; sleeping well enhances creativity”, Says Mr. Foster. And not only that, but sleeping well enough increases concentration, levels of attention, decision-making and more. No wonder why we say “I will sleep on it”, or as we would say in Spanish “I’ll consult it with my pillow”, when making our mind about an important matter.

While some people say: “I will sleep when I’m dead”, they don’t know that you could die sooner if you don’t sleep. Actually, if a human doesn’t sleep for about 11 to 14 days he/she will just die of sleep deprivation, passing through really bad stages of hallucination (around the 3rd day), dementia (after 5 to 6 days) and ultimately death. But we don’t need to go that far to be seriously affected by not sleeping enough. It is proved that some mental disorders like bipolar, depression and schizophrenia are associated with the lack of sleep. As well as, health problems like stress, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.

I didn’t know exactly how important it was to sleep, but those who know me, also know how much I love it. After watching this video and researching a little more about the subject, I truly believe this is one of the reasons why I’ve been always healthy, energetic and enthusiastic.

I invite you to watch it, see what to do to sleep better and help yourself to be more productive, healthier, smarter and even prettier!

Sleep is the golden chain that ties our health and bodies together

Thomas Decker

Additionally, if you are a fan of the “5 more minutes” please don’t miss this other video and think about it next time you want to press the snooze button:

I hope you liked this post, enjoyed the videos, start having longer sleep nights and consequently, more pleasant days. Do you sleep enough? Have your sleep habits changed over time? –I’d love to hear your comments, have a good night:)

EXPLORE, EXPERIENCE, ENJOY… SOME IDEAS TO SPICE UP YOUR ROUTINE

After have patiently waited over long months for the summer to come, I am very grateful. It has been so far a nice, warm time, full of activities and experiences to remember.

There is a wide variety of things-to-do you can find in London and around -“weather permitting” as they always say, and that’s been the best of this summer, the weather has been our friend! I’d like to share some of the nicest things I have done recently:

Street Art tour

Anyone new to a city, or to a part of their city would think that taking a guided walking tour is a good way to find out more about the place where you live. This is what I thought, but it was a lot more than I was expecting. This pay-what-you-like tour organised by Alternative London, turned out to be a journey through East London Bricklane, containing an entertaining narrative about history, graffiti and street art!

This passionate and energetic Aussie man started talking about some of the history of these streets, buildings and houses that were once own by French rich people and divided after the years in several apartments. He then went to explain how here is where the City of London ends, meeting this colourful area where artists have made installations, paintings and other art manifestations, here and in many other urban places around the world. Legally or illegally, artists such as Jonesy, Bansky, Vhils and many more, take ownership of urban spaces and create their own brand names, gaining recognition and admiration. Their techniques, speed and particular installations, make them unique and part of a culture full of magic, creativity and colour.

You can go on this tour any Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 12p.m & 7p.m, Fridays at 12p.m. and Saturdays at 12p.m, 12:30.p.m, 3p.m & 3:30p.m. to find out about this and other London tours and activities, go to the alternative London website. I highly recommend taking it and if you do or have done it, please come back to this post and let me know how was your experience.

Industry meet ups

I have recently attended to a great networking event for people just like me, a woman in the Digital Marketing Industry wanting to be more involved with the Digital World, where I could not only spend some time with my dear fiends in the industry but also meet some other Digital Females. You can read more about this particular meet up in my other post, because what I want to highlight here is that there are not only meet ups for people like me. No matter what you are or in what you work in, there is a meet up for you!  This is a platform where you can create a profile and instead of interacting online, or well, apart from it you can actually meet these people and share some time with others like you.

I think this is a great way to do something different, meet people outside your common social networks and expand your knowledge in anything you want to. There are no excuses as this meet ups run throughout the whole year and give you the opportunity to plan in advance and squeeze one or two into your busy schedule. Check this out on the meet up website.

Camping

I know some of you are already thinking ‘camping is suffering’, without all the comfort of home, your own bed, TV, laptop and in the worse case not mobile signal. But think again, all these in the company of friends and a nice natural landscape surrounding you… It couldn’t be that bad eh? So this was my case, with the plus of the UK non-tropical weather where there are no bugs in summer ☺.

All planned and organised by my lovely man this mid-July weekend was all about exploring the nature, enjoying with friends and meeting new people. We left London pretty early on Saturday morning heading Seaford, bought some food on the way and arrived by midday to Alfriston Camping Park, where we set up our tents and went to walk around the town. Later in the evening we set up a nice fire, started cooking a BBQ to then sat down and chat under the light of the full moon. Next day on Sunday we took a long walk enjoying a natural trail along the river, all the way to the sea at the side of the seven sisters. The brave swimmers went into the cold water and some others walked up the cliffs where the view was amazing.

Most of us were not exactly camping persons but this weekend was a lot of fun, truly enjoyable and relaxing. I really recommend a plan like this if you are tired of the routine. You can find out more on the Alfriston Camping website, don’t forget your camping equipment such as backpack, tent, sleeping bag/blanket, airbeds, disposable bbq, food & drinks, and very important: to bring lots of water to the walks!

I hope you liked this post and found some ideas to vary your routine. Although the weather can be overwhelming, London is never boring… and not only London but also any place in the world can be fun if we want it to be. What other interesting activities have you done this summer? Please leave your comments below ☺

HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE PERFECT CONTENT STRATEGY

I have recently attended to a great networking event just for us, Digital Females. It was a pleasure to have joined a group of smart women on ‘An Evening of All Content in Marketing’ presented by Digital Industry Females –The Digital Networking Group Exclusively for Women, and be the guest of a valuable presentation, free drinks and yummy snacks.

Unfortunately, I missed the first talk because of work-related reasons, but I’m looking forward to meeting Danielle Fudge, SEO Director at Forward 3D in a future opportunity.  Arriving just on time for the second presentation, we listened to Jo Price, Content Marketing Manager at Zazzle Media, who gave us some useful info and tips on online Content Marketing, sharing her ‘RECIPE FOR PERFECT CONTENT STRATEGY’.

Starting on how content needs to be fresh and never boring, she took us trough an easy-to-follow recipe. According to Jo, there are five key components on creating your content strategy, which will be shortly explained below.

Data comes first to help us understanding opportunities, especially social data, from where we can analyse our audience’s likes, dislikes and demographics. Understanding your PERSONAS and key audience will take you to specific content.

Ideas – setting the scene for creativity and preparing your team for brainstorming is really important. ‘Creativity takes courage’ and this is why we shouldn’t ever discard any ideas coming out from a brainstorming session, ‘there is not such thing as a bad idea’ mentions Jo. During a brainstorming session it is advisable not to go into details, but give quick and short ideas to keep the flow going. We must develop and implement our own IDEAS CREATION PROCESS with our team, and for this Jo suggests some wonderful free tools available on-line: Übersuggest and LSIKeywords.com are some of them, easy to work and very useful for Google suggests and semantics.

The Plan is what would take us to the actual action, this is why is essential to have one and stick to it. Taking into consideration seasonal and industry events that can become opportunities, because knowing what to do in the right moment is what will make your marketing activities successful.

Relationships are valuable and meaningful, making friends within your niche and engaging with your audience is key. So why not to use technology on our favor and sing up for some other free tools, such as Buzz Stream and Links prospector to help promote your content and accurately reach prospects based on keywords. Additional help on this is Majestic SEO, being the largest Link intelligence database in the world and updated seven times a day. All the above mentioned to make the magic happen, Action.

If you carefully follow this recipe, you must achieve satisfactory results and the best to know how good they are is tracking your progress of your strategy and the outcome of your actions. Google docs and Analytics are great if you want accurate measurement and insightful stats. ‘Practice makes the master’ and doing it all again will take you where you want to be with your content strategy. Obviously, learning new things on the way and adding up fresh ingredients to your strategy. Jo’s presentation is on Slide Share.

I’m glad to have attended to this event and hope to be there for the next one, joining the friendly atmosphere and great talks offered by Digital Females. Additionally, I’d love you to share some thoughts on brainstorming sessions with me, what techniques do you use with your team? What are the most crazy ideas or funny situations during a brainstorming session? Please leave your comments below, I’ll be happy to hear about your experiences and ideas!