// The Importance of Knowing Your Personality Traits

Personality traits are something that we all have and we’re often aware of other peoples, but have you ever thought about what they might mean?

Our personalities were always once thought to be fairly stable across time and context, and difficult to change, but it has since been found that our personalities can alter throughout the years. Although we essentially remain the same person, our attitudes and approaches to life can evolve over time.

You might often consider what type of personality you might have and finding out your personality type can really help give you some insight into yourself and discover more about your strengths and weaknesses. There are various personality tests online but you can take the best Enneagram test for free, which will define your personality from nine different types.

Advantages to understanding personality traits 

It can be all too easy to get wrapped up in your own ‘ideals’ in the world and not always consider how someone else may see things. By getting a better understanding of all the different reactions and perceptions that other people might have to the same situations, can highlight your own personal preferences. This will give you a glimpse at some of the traits that other people possess, which can really prove to be eye opening. It’s always useful to gain a wider perspective on others attitudes and appreciate that we all have a different way of seeing and interacting with the world.
Have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses 
It might not always be easy to pick out parts of you that perform well, but it’s a fact that everyone has their strengths as well as their weaknesses, so it’s important that you dig deep and really start to understand these traits. It could be anything from having great organizational skills, to be being an empathetic person.
You may have many great qualities but it’s crucial to see that some particular strengths and positive attributes can sometimes go against you in situations. By having an awareness of this, means that you can ask other people to deal with scenarios that perhaps you’re not best placed to deal with - especially so in work situations.
Don’t fixate on your type 
Your personality type may suggest that you should aim for a certain career but it doesn’t always indicate that it will be the right path for you personally. It’s most certainly more of a guide to what your traits would suggest would be suitable, but no two people are the same, nor do they have the same mix of traits that make the ‘perfect’ ideal. 
We all develop and learn over time, so it’s important to realize your potential to change your perceptions over time. If you’re rigid in your beliefs of who you are as a person, it might impede you making authentic relationships with people.
Although we all tend to have people that we warm to and get on with better than others, don’t exclude the ones who don’t fit the mold for your likes and dislikes. Over the course of your life you will have many different types of people and many fall into different categories. How many of them have surprised you by actually being someone that you can find some common ground with, or least learn from your differences? 
Keep an open mind and remember to take pointers from what you learn about yourself, but recognize that it’s not always clear cut.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Tips For Returning To Work After A Career Break

It’s not uncommon to need to take a career break at some point in your working life.  There are a number of reasons you might need to take a time out including traveling, illness, redundancy, or children. 

If you find yourself getting reading to re-enter the world of work after an extended period of time off, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions.  Getting a new job can be daunting, and your confidence might be low but there are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting a job and thriving in it. 

Get Into The Right Frame Of Mind
Some of the biggest battles you will fight will be in your own head.  Getting into the right headspace is vital. If you’ve been off through illness or injury, you may have fought a physical and legal battle, in which case you will need a personal injury law firm that can help you. The journey to getting your confidence back can take you a long time.   

Evaluate Your Situation
Before you start your job hunt, take the time to write down your qualifications, experience, and skills.  Don’t assume that you haven’t picked up any new skills since you last worked. If you took time out to raise children, you’d be amazed at the practical and soft skills you will have acquired such as organization, multitasking, and empathy. 

Take a look at the job descriptions of the kinds of jobs you want to apply for and list the skills and experience they are looking for.  Compare your two lists and you should be able to identify any major gaps. There’s no rule that says you have to go back into the same sector.  Time away may have given you the clarity you needed to choose a career that better fits your personality and needs. 

This will give you a true picture of your situation and if you need to take any extra courses or voluntary work to plug the gaps. 

Update Your Resume
A gap in your resume isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. Try and put a positive spin on it and why it actually sets you apart from other candidates.
Start Reconnecting With Your Network

Friends, family, and old colleagues are a great way to find a job.  Update your LinkedIn profile and start reaching out to people and let them know that you’re looking for a new job.  Even if they don’t know of any immediate vacancies, they might be able to introduce you to someone who does. 

Be Ready To Discuss Your Career Break During Your Interview

You don’t have to go into too much detail, but be prepared to talk about your career break, what you did during it and why you took it (if it was your choice). 

Make it clear that you’re well-rested and raring to go.

Look For Targeted Returner Schemes
Career breaks are becoming more and more common, and companies have realized that people returning to the workplace are a huge, untapped resource. In response, there are a number of returner schemes being run by some of the bigger companies.  They are a great opportunity to get back to work with a reputable company, good benefits, and a good chance of a job at the end.  

Go For ItWhatever the reason for your career break, don’t be tempted to believe that it has completely derailed your career and simply apply for any job you can find.  Your skills are just as valuable and you deserve to get your career back on track.  

// this is a contributed post for this charming life.

// Renovating Your Home Can Be A Challenging Affair

If you have any experience with renovating, extending or designing a renewed home space, you know just how challenging this process can be. Not only do you have to manage all of the logistical tensions to make any progress at all, but financial and scheduling difficulties can lead this process to a dead-end if you’re not careful.

However, even if you have everything correctly monitored and prepared on your end, it’s true to say that unpredictable obstacles can line your path. From here, deft management is all about figuring out how to jump over those obstacles, or use them to achieve a more relevant and suitable result. Now, it’s true that despite only being six months into 2020, this year has certainly made its impact. As such, planning a complex operation to this degree can seem somewhat intense.

For this reason, we have decided to accumulate some important advice, helping you manage your first or upcoming home renovation project with care, allowing you to avoid some of those difficulties and otherwise work towards a competent result.

Practical Legal Codes

Practical legal codes can prevent you from gaining the planning permission necessary to move forward. You may be in a heavily urbanized area, or an area of outstanding beauty that your local council is responsible for protecting. However, other options may exist. From single story extension options (a lighter alternative) to knocking through your inner wall for an open-plan space, the best architect and home design services can help consult with you from the first step to the last, helping you find what is feasible for your current legal situation.

Neighbor Management

Of course, it’s not always easy managing neighbors when renovating the space. You have to show your intent to extend via a public notice, the duration of its placement gives your neighbors time to dispute. However, it can be worth speaking to each of your neighbors in advance to ensure they know your plans, the exact timelines, and the work you hope to have done. Furthermore, being on good, honest terms with them in this way will help them accept this, and from there you may be expected to return the favor. It’s a small measure, but it can either aid or limit your approach from here on out.

Understanding Your Space

It’s important to understand your space before you begin to renovate it. How might the dimensions of your blueprints help you design your bathroom arrangement, for example? How may the natural light levels from the main window also help you construct an open space for your dining environment? Can you limit the space your staircase is taking up by removing said installation and opting for a spiral alternative? These questions are worth asking, because properties are much more flexible than you may consider. With a solid designer at your side, you’ll notice this truth every day.

With this advice, we hope you can renovate your home well, sidestepping the usual challenges you may begin to face.

// This contributed post was written for this charming life.

// 4 Ways To Feel Good About The Future In These Uncertain Times

It’s safe to say that you’re living through one of the most disruptive and challenging times in modern history. Not since the Second World War have people faced such huge disruption to their day-to-day lives on such a mass scale. As such, even as the gears of the world start to lurch forward once more and we start thinking about maybe going back to normal, you may not be feeling all that optimistic. After all, you’ve spent months under lockdown. You’ve done your best to use your time as productively as possible. You’ve turned your attention inwards and dedicated your energy to creating a home and garden that you can fall in love with all over again. You’ve learned to work productively from home, you’ve reacquainted yourself with old hobbies and tried to deal with your anxieties through creative outlets.

Still, with at least a few weeks more of social distancing and isolation from our friends and family to go, it’s understandable that you may not be feeling too bright and hopeful about the uncertain future that lies ahead. Nonetheless, while we can’t change the current state of affairs, we can change our outlook. 

Try to gain a better understanding of what the future holds

Possibly the greatest fear we face is that of the unknown. It’s easy to see the future as a mysterious and forbidding prospect. A mousetrap that’s just waiting to snap shut on us when we least expect it. However, while we can never completely predict the future, we can always gain a better understanding of what the future holds. 

There are lots of ways in which we can do this. We can keep more abreast of what’s going on in the present, and gain more data on which to predict our futures, or we can lean into more ancient and mystical traditions. Getting into the subtle art of major arcana tarot cards can be a fun hobby which may yield insights into what tomorrow holds for us. As tempting as it may be to bury our heads in the sand, this can only exacerbate our fear of the future. Whatever methods we choose to familiarize ourselves with it, we should learn to embrace it.

Teach yourself to accept what you can’t control

Most of us feel better about the future when we’re able to control it. That’s why we establish schedules and stick to them, even when we don’t have our bosses looking over our shoulders anymore. As such, the seemingly random and chaotic nature of the world around us can seem intimidating since it’s so beyond our ability to control. 

However, that doesn’t mean that we should live in fear of what we can’t assert our will over. 

To quote Tony Robbins, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with”. We gain nothing by treating uncertainty like a fickle beast that could bite us at any moment. We need to make ourselves more comfortable around it. Of course, this can’t be done overnight. But by training ourselves to think in new ways, we can become more comfortable with the aspects of our lives and our futures which are outside of our control. 

This is much easier when we...

Avoid catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is one of the less helpful survival instincts which our psyches form in order to protect ourselves from being caught out by uncertainty. We get into the habit of automatically assuming that the worst case scenario is always an inevitability. Needless to say, this can cause us an awful lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. Fortunately, with time we can teach ourselves to kick this habit. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is an extremely useful process that conditions us to challenge negative or pessimistic thoughts and shed the cold light of reason on them. Most of our greatest anxieties tend to wither at least slightly when subject to scrutiny and logic. Take a look at this CBT worksheet to help condition yourself against catastrophizing. 

Make sure you always have something to look forward to

Finally, never underestimate the power of anticipation. The future always looks rosier when you have something nice to look forward to. So, if your circumstances aren’t providing that for you, you need to provide it for yourself. It needn’t be a big thing. Planning to watch a good movie or get stuck into a great book at the end of a long day can help. Promising yourself a long hot soak in the tub can help. Arranging a long video chat with an old friend can help. There are no wrong answers. Whatever brings you joy and happiness. 

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Learning To “Adult”: What Are The Big Lessons?

There comes a point in our lives where we think that we've got to get on the road to adulthood. But as we start to delve deep into the world of being an adult, there are a few pointers that come out. Firstly, nobody knows how to do it properly! Being an adult is quite strange. But when we see that there are certain aspects of adulthood that we could truly do with some sort of instruction manual to guide us, it can be useful to get a little helping hand on occasion. Some of these things are incredibly straight-forward but let's provide you with a one-stop-shop in learning to "adult."

Negotiating The Big Purchases
The big purchases in life can seem a long way off. You might be thinking about getting on the property ladder or you might be thinking about buying a car. These big purchases can seem very easy to acquire. But as there are so many people getting into all sorts of debt through credit cards and taking out loans they cannot repay this is one of the biggest life lessons that we could all benefit from early on. So many people get themselves into debt and then the time comes that you have to buy a house or a car, all of a sudden you're not able to get what you want because you've got a poor credit rating. 

Buying a house is one of those stressful processes but it is something that we should all think about preparing for because owning our own property can save us money over time, although it may not feel like it at the outset. Taking the time to find the best mortgage rates and clearing your debt is crucial. And you don't have to look very far to find mortgage brokers like Altrua Financial and housing agencies that can give you a helping hand. But one of the biggest lessons we can all learn when thinking about those big purchases is that they won't fall into our laps. We have to make financial sacrifices and keep an eye on our credit rating like a hawk. 

When we're young, we don't think about these things because we need to live our lives. In one respect, it's common sense. If you are out for a good time you're not going to care about owning your own home but things may change, especially when you find someone you want to settle down with.

Being Healthy Isn't Just About Your Diet
Part of becoming an adult implies that we have to start running or hitting the gym all of the time and eating our greens. But being healthy is a more comprehensive approach. There are parts of our lives that we feel we have a handle on, but there are other ones where we feel we need to make tweaks. We may forever be looking for the right diet so we can lose an extra couple of pounds or we try to be happier in certain ways, but no matter how hard we work at these things, they will always seem to be out of our reach. 

Being healthy is all about lifestyle choice rather than anything else. When we think about diets, they imply something temporary. If we eat a certain way or do certain exercises we get to our ideal goal. But the real way to address the happiness of the individual behind those diets is about the lifestyle choices they make. And this is where you have to make choices that fit in with your way of life but also so make you happy in the long run. So many people think that in order to be fit they have to go to the gym six days a week. But now with so many resources showing us this isn't the case, especially in terms of protocols like Body By Science, we only need to go to the gym once or twice a week and can maintain a lot of our health. 

The other part of being healthy is about being happy with the choices you've made. Health is not just about food and exercise, but it's about your own happiness. This means that you've got to prioritize certain things that will make you feel happier or, at the very least, on an even keel. We are currently in the middle of a sleep epidemic. People believe that they have to burn the candle at both ends in order to succeed in life. But if we start to look at our health in terms of our mental well-being as well as our physical, we can put certain practices into our lives that will benefit us in the long run. It could be meditating or it could just be about getting to bed early every couple of nights or so. The important thing is to listen to your body and your mind. If you go with your gut feelings, you are very seldom wrong. 

Learn To Be The Best Version Of You As Possible
Being an adult is not necessarily about being strong or being that stereotypical version of your parents. We can suffer from the expectations our parents were under. Because they actually pass them on to us, we can feel that we've got to be mature or take things seriously. And there is a big problem with taking life too seriously. Yes, there are bills to be paid and there are things that need doing but if you can't have fun in your life and take everything with a pinch of salt on occasion this can be detrimental to you over time.

Being the best version of you as possible is not necessarily about incorporating some sense of maturity into your life. It's about taking those opportunities to learn things properly. We all make mistakes but people don't always feel inclined to own up to them. One of the great things about becoming a responsible person is learning to take responsibility for your actions whether they are right or wrong. And when we think about the cliched version of being a grown-up we can start to pick holes in what our parents did, not from a perspective where we are trying to outsmart them or pick them apart, but by taking a subjective view of what our parents did and learning from their mistakes. But also, looking at our relationships with our parents and in some ways making a break with the past and learning from what they used to be like as well as what you used to be like can help. This may mean having to confront the past, or facing up to things that you've avoided for so long. But in becoming the best version of you this is what you need to do.

Find Your Version Of "Home"
Another stereotypical approach to being a grown-up is about being a provider. We have to provide some sort of home for ourselves, especially when we have children, but in doing this we may have to go far away from everything we know. Finding your version of home is about settling somewhere that you can come back to but also makes you a better person. As grandiose as this sounds, you've got to feel comfortable somewhere. Many people find in their thirties or forties that they naturally gravitate back to where they came from. Even though they spent their twenties trying to escape it, they've learned lessons now that makes them realize that home holds a lot of lessons and precious memories for them.

When you find somewhere that feels like home it can help you to settle in mind and body. Part of being a stereotypical adult is about being confident and able to live life being the best version of you. When we are learning to become an adult we can very easily get bogged down in the general duties of being a grown-up. But learning to be at home somewhere can instill you with a lot of confidence. When you find the right place it helps you realize who you are but it also makes you understand that when you are ready to move onto the next phase of your life whether it's getting a different job or settling down and having children that you need somewhere that makes you, in a general sense, happy. As soon as you find your version of home you will feel the difference.

Being an adult is full of terrible cliches but if you are concerned that being an adult means you've got to sacrifice part of who you are or you need to “grow up” because people expect this of you, this is not the case. Learning to become an adult is about navigating those big purchases in life and understanding that nothing comes for free but it's also about realizing that adulthood is the perfect time for you to learn about yourself. Life is a precious thing and while we have to maintain certain responsibilities, this isn't all that being an adult is about.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Top Ways to Makeover Your Driveway

A good driveway gives you somewhere to park your vehicle. It's also a useful place off the street where your kids can play, and it can help the exterior of your home to look good. When your driveway starts to look a little worse for wear, you might think about giving it a makeover. You could make some repairs, clean it up, or even replace your driveway completely so that it looks brand new again. You have a few different options that you could consider to update your driveway and ensure it's both practical and aesthetic. Tale a look at the ideas below.

Resurface or Replace?

If your driveway is looking a little rough, you might think about a new one. Before completely removing your current driveway and installing a new one, you might want to consider whether resurfacing the existing driveway could be a better idea. Resurfacing will allow you to give your driveway a new look, but you won't have to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of installing a new one. Instead, you can cover up any blemishes, cracks, or other problems and make the driveway appear new, even if it's not.

Clean Up Your Driveway

Your driveway might appear worn down because it's not very clean. It could have weeds growing out of it, or it might just be generally dirty. Washing it could have a significant effect, and pressure washing is an efficient way to get the job done. A pressure washer will blast away weeds, dirt, and more. You have a few options for pressure washing. You could buy one, but you might only use it a couple of times a year. You could rent one when you need one, or you could use a professional service to carry out any pressure washing for you.

Make Repairs

Perhaps your driveway needs some repairs. You might notice some cracks, chips, or even holes. They may not cause any practical problems, but your driveway might not look as good as you want it to. Resurfacing can help to fix some of these issues, or you can find that small problems can be repaired individually. Making repairs to a concrete drive can be fairly simple. A few repairs can help you to give your driveway a new look and ensure it doesn't look rundown, bringing down the aesthetics of your home exterior.

Consider Different Driveway Types

If you're thinking about a brand new driveway, you should consider the different driveway types that you could install. A simple gravel driveway is a good budget-friendly option. A permeable driveway is a good idea if you need help with draining rainwater from the front of your home. There are various paved options that can look great if you're looking for a way to improve how your driveway and the exterior of your home look.

Making over your driveway is a good idea if you want to smarten up your home. It also ensures you have a somewhere practical to park your vehicle.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// What We're Doing To Keep Ourselves Entertained During These Challenging Times

Did you have big plans for 2020? If so, you’re not alone. This year was shaping up to be a good one, with the economy in full swing and everyone planning on taking fabulous summer holidays. 

However, the heady optimism of January came crashing down halfway through March when the world realized that coronavirus was going to be a big issue. The news coming out of China wasn’t looking good. 

The best approach to life is to make the best you can from what it throws at you. The current pandemic has certainly taught many of us what really matters. We've certainly become less materialistic as a result of what's happened. 

Staying entertained under these conditions, however, isn’t always easy. Finding something to do every day of the week starts to become a real challenge, especially if you’re on leave from work

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can entertain yourself in the weeks and months ahead. Check out these ideas. 

Teach Yourself How To Sew

Sewing might seem like a bit of a blast from the past, but you’d be surprised how often it comes in handy. When you have a sewing kit ready to go, you can fix the odd rip and tear in your apparel, negating the need to head out to the store. 

Learning how to sew is also surprisingly easy, thanks to social media and YouTube. Spend your time with video courses and get your head around this useful skill. 

Get Interested In A New Sport

If you love sports, then you’re in luck: most organizations are restarting their schedules, televising games without crowds present. There are sorts of weird sports out there you might want to investigate, which depart from the usual trio of football, baseball, and basketball. How about watching an ice hockey game or an archery competition? What about some good old-fashioned motor racing? The list of possibilities is endless. 

Right now, for instance, a lot of people are getting into the sport of cycling. Everyone is desperate to experience the freedom and joy of riding on two wheels - and they want to get fit at the same time. It’s the perfect way to keep your mind active because you can go out for hours at a time plus learn how to tinker with (and maintain) your equipment when you get home. 

Read A Novel

Are you somebody who likes reading? If so, there’s a world of novels out there, ready and waiting to introduce you to magical adventures, cooked up in the mind of some crazy author somewhere. Some books are must-reads for all people who consider themselves vaguely intellectual. George Orwell’s 1984 should be on your list if you’re looking for something terrifying. You should also read War and Peace by Dostoyevski. It’s a long one! 

Take Up Dancing In Front Of Your TV

A lot of people spend their entire lives wishing that they knew how to dance? But relatively few people actually speed the time necessary to master it. 

Well, if you're still stuck at home, unable to work, now’s your chance. Learning to dance is much easier today than it ever was in the past. You can either buy DVDs or if you have a streaming service, purchase instruction online. 

There are all sorts of different types of dance to explore. The tango, contemporary, and ballet are all options. If you want to use a hairbrush as a microphone, please feel free to do so. 

Learn A New Language

People automatically respect and revere people who learn new languages, so why not try it yourself. Don’t worry: modern techniques are nothing like what you had to endure in school. Masterclasses build up language from the basics, giving you the structure before layering on additional vocabulary. You don’t start by learning all the words associated with pencil cases or Christmas. Instead, you learn the language as a native child might, getting used to the order of sentences and inflections before fleshing the whole thing out. After a couple of months, it should feel like you’re in a position to communicate what you want to say with others fluently. 

Take Some Time To Learn An Instrument

When you think about it, the crisis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something different with your time. Without the pandemic, you would have worked from today all the way up to retirement without a significant break longer than about four weeks.

If there was ever a time to learn to play a musical instrument, this was it. You can spend lazy afternoons feeling like you’re doing something productive, strumming on your guitar, or hammering away on the piano. If you’ve never played an instrument before, feel free to start from scratch on something completely new and random, like the harp. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sound perfect after the first practice session - it never does. Just keep plugging away, and eventually, your brain will make all the skills you need unconscious. Then it’s a question of continuing to practice every day while you have the time. 

Create A Photo Album

Not everyone has weeks to burn to pursue fun. Some of us have to get back to work soon and just need the odd activity here and there to keep us occupied. Creating a photo album, therefore, might be just the ticket. 

If you had a great holiday last year, you could send off to get your photos printed and then create a booklet of memories. You never know, it could be therapeutic if you’re unable to go on your regular travels this year. 

Start A New Blog

Failing that, you might want to start a blog. If there’s something that you’re passionate about, why not share it with the world? You could even use it to generate a secondary income, especially if money is a little short for you right now. 

If you’re bored, don’t despair: keeping yourself is possible in these challenging times.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.