“Your poker privileges have been revoked”
It flashed on my iPhone. I was sat at an online poker table playing for cash. All was going well. I’d multiplied my buy-in by five on my last hand while shopping in the supermarket but now I couldn’t continue. The feelings I had in that moment are largely a mixture of anger, annoyance and fear of missing out. Then I remember. Like many impulsive habits, gambling can be addictive. Importantly I recognise that it’s just a game and I pop my phone back into my bag. Turns out there was a problem verifying my age as my driving licence refers to my maiden name (I digress…).
I’ve been playing online poker on and off for about 12 years now and whilst it can sometimes be a big earner, I’m always way more sensible in casinos. Probably because the chips are tangible. It’s easy to gamble big money online when it’s just a bright digital number… It got me thinking about how I react to certain situations. Ultimately, the investments I make in myself. We are after all, our biggest asset in life. Awareness and responsibility is paramount. Not just in gambling but in most aspects of life.
#1 Feeling Out Of Whack
On Twitter I’ve been seeing so many sarcastic gifs and hate being directed at people. I truly believe that if people hustled as hard as they hate, the digital space would be a different place.
Whenever I’m feeling out of whack, I know that online is not the place to vent. Not only is a bit annoying for other people but negativity breeds negativity. We all know someone in the office who is inconsiderate; they’ll moan about their train journey, whinge about clients, complain about their work. They bring others down. Instead consider what can divert your attention.
Charity work is one of the best, selfless acts you can do. When I didn’t work for two months a few years ago, I was always so surprised at how many unemployed people there were who didn’t volunteer. It was a bit of an eye opener actually. So I started approaching charities, taking an interest in local non-profit businesses and doing what I could with my free time.
One of the many bloggers I admire is Megan Ellaby who never complains, just works hard on her blog and gives back to her home town. She recently raised over £5k for the Manchester appeal. Bravo!
Not necessarily religion. One thing that truly inspires me is Kabbalah (yes, you may recognise the concept from those little red string bracelets). It focuses on receiving and fulfilment in life, the spirituality of to love and be loved, have great health and the best from relationships. For me being spiritual helps me connect with myself once more and love me for who I am.
You don’t have to go too in detail on this one. I’m not saying invest in a Karma Sutra book. Take a walk, do some yoga, renew yourself. Look at your energy; what you’re giving out to the world and what you’re getting back. Getting a balance in life is so important and one of the biggest ways in investing in yourself. Discover what being successful means to you – don’t let it be money. Look at love, hope, positivity and nature. The pleasures in life that can’t be bought. Those things not even the hyper privileged can afford.
#3 Be Well Read
What I love about Amsterdam are the volumes of books piled to the ceiling inside people’s homes. There’s no denying that the Dutch are well read and it makes them such interesting people. Working in Starbucks yesterday I overheard two guys deep in conversation about the Illuminati. Not necessarily my cup of tea but listening to them talk so passionately – and so descriptively about a topic was so refreshing. To invest in my creative side, I like to read photography and fashion books. For investment in my passion for culture, I read travel books. If it’s not a novel/fiction, a book for me should be opinionated, well researched and evoke a new way of thinking afterwards. There’s a reason people have been investing in books for centuries.
#4 Strong Mind & Healthy Body
Improvements, goals and focuses. Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, eat more greens or get better skin, a strong mind and healthy body is the best way to invest in yourself.
Before I met my husband, I was a pig when it came to eating. I’d eat whatever, whenever I wanted. Nope, I didn’t care if it was family size and so what if it turned up in a flat blue box? Thanks to his healthy living though, I’ve cleaned up my act. I push myself more at the gym, I’ve cut back on takeaways and pizza’s are once a month if that. In turn, I’ve seen my stamina improve, my moods and my energy levels increase.
I don’t believe in crash diets anymore – save those for the inexperienced. It’s all about that one last weight lift, that healthier option at the supermarket. Not to say that I deprive myself but just a small shift in emphasis can really get you the right balance in life.
It plays a huge factor in my personal happiness. Does it yours? Being fulfilled in my work is of utmost importance for me because it’s where I spend most of my day. Most of my week. In fact with the average holiday allowance being 25 days, it’s a place we spend 47 weeks a year. Ask yourself how happy you are with your job, your desire to stay in that place. Are you growing as an individual? Is your career path defined?
If you think you may be in the wrong field of work (or perhaps have been stuck in a rut) and are considering leaving your job, ask yourself. Are you prepared? Do you have a plan B? Can you afford to? Are you timing it right? When I left my job to be a blogger, I never considered forgoing maternity pay and never factored in that being self employed means you can’t get another mortgage for a year or two. So whilst on the one hand it was a good career move for me, financially I never thought about the repercussions of starting a family and needing to move to a bigger house.
#6 Hello Younger You
Taking time to think back to younger versions of you enables you to see how far you’ve come. Sometimes something will rear its ugly head from my past (like bumping in to an ex, remembering that time I was cheated on etc.) and my immediate reaction is to park all negative thoughts and think of something else.
Good in one way but suppressing negative feelings will always comeback to bite you later on. Whenever I’m reminded of something from my past I think long and hard about the situation, how it made me feel and how I coped. Then I think about where I am now, how happy I am in life and how far I’ve come. A wise woman once told me that in these instances, take a moment to talk to your younger self. Tell her it’s all ok in the end, that better things came. It’s a really good exercise in overcoming anxiety and stress too.
#7 A Mid Year Review
At the start of the year I looked back on 2016. Now that we’re over half way through the year, so much has already changed. For starters, I’m pregnant! I got married! Passed my driving test and am about to have my first car (an Audi Q3). I also had my very first beauty box go on sale (in collaboration with Roccabox) and am working tirelessly behind the scenes on two new exciting brand extensions coming this Summer. All in all, a pretty awesome first 6 months. But with so much happening, it’s important to pause and take heed of what’s going on. So often I’m in a state of fidget and anxiousness, always thinking about a to do list. But without stopping and taking it all in, there’ll never be a moment of reflection. Never a time where I can congratulate myself.
Take a moment to see how your new years resolutions are coming on. Still being healthy? Going to the gym? Getting those early nights and saying no more often? It helps to break it down into smaller chunks. Write a list of what you’ve done well so far. What mistakes have you made that you’ve grown from. Most of all, what are you grateful for so far this year? This kind of awareness can really enhance productivity and positivity.
Black Jumpsuit – Next
White Shirt – Next (Old season, see similar)
Snakeskin Shoes – Emy Mack
What do you do to invest in yourself? Xx