// 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.

// The Transferable Skills You Should Cultivate

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Transferable skills are highly coveted by employers, which means they’re always worth developing. Defined as skills that can easily be transferred from one industry to another, you can use transferable skills to enhance your performance at any time in any working environment.

Cultivating these skills increases your employability, so you’ll find it much easier to secure the job of your dreams. Furthermore, you can command a higher salary and better benefits when you have more transferable skills.

So, what are the most important transferable skills? Take a look at these top transferable skills and begin honing them now if you want to move up the career ladder…

No matter what type of job you do, you’re going to need to communicate with people. Being able to get on well with others is a skill that’s often overlooked but it really is critical if you want to work in a happy environment.
Remember – communication isn’t solely about how you talk to people in a face-to-face setting. Practice written communication and even body language if you want to become more personable and communicate with people more effectively.

Problem Solving
Companies aim to solve problems for their target audience, so being able to identify issues and resolve them will stand you in good stead wherever you work. Top universities, like KUO, often include critical thinking and problem solving within their courses because of how valued these skills are. When you can apply critical thinking strategies in the workplace, you’ll be able to hone in on potential pain points, understand their importance, and find innovative ways to resolve them.

Although some job roles are more solitary than others, all careers involve some form of teamwork. As remote working becomes more common, companies are looking for employees that can foster a strong team mentality, even when they’re not in close proximity to their teammates. Working towards shared goals, pooling ideas and resources, and collaborating with one another are the hallmarks of a successful workplace, so make sure your teamwork skills are well developed.

Supervisors and business owners don’t want to micro-manage their staff. Being able to self-motivate means they can trust you to get on with the job at hand. You’ll notice that members of staff who are self-motivated are first in line when promotions are being handed out, so you’ll certainly want to focus on this particular transferable skill.

Time Management
If you struggle to manage your time effectively or you routinely miss deadlines, this is something you’ll really want to work on. When other team members are relying on you, they need to know that you won’t let them down. Strong time management skills are essential in any role, so don’t allow yours to slip.

Developing Your Skills
Some people assume that they can stop worrying about honing their skills once they’ve secured a job. In reality, developing your skills is something you should do throughout your career. A constant willingness to learn and a proactive approach will help you to hone the transferable skills you need to succeed in your chosen career.

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

// Exciting Goals That Will Change Your Life

There is one thing that all humans have in common: the need to achieve. We all have a purpose here, and what that is isn’t always clear, which is why we set ourselves some goals in the hope that it becomes clear later on. Life goals are not the same for everyone: what one person wants won’t be the same as everyone else, and that’s okay!

To have a goal is to have a dream, as cheesy as that sounds. It’s in these goals that we craft our futures and we choose the paths that take us to each of our wishes in turn, making them come true one by one. For example, you may wish to move to the other side of the world one day, and you’d put in place the education that you need to get there and the job to pay for it, too. When you achieve the goals that you have, the feeling of satisfaction that you get from it is worth every single worry about what you can achieve in the first place. 

There are some goals out there that are specific and others that are very much open to interpretation, and it’s up to you how you do it. So, a goal that could be open to interpretation is the one where you decide to move the other side of the world, as you wouldn't have specified where. You could then align one goal with another: emigration with buying a house, for example. Perhaps your line of work is particularly popular in Singapore, and you could buy Singapore property and really make a whole new life for yourself. You may not have considered moving abroad, but perhaps when you think about it, you may be open to the idea. Goals offer personal development as much as they do adventure, and knowing what your goals could be will give you a target to aim for. 

So, with this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some goals that could really shape your life and bring you joy at the same time.
Clear Glass Bottle on Brown Wooden Table
  • Aim To: Do What You Love
It’s the hardest decision to make: deciding on what you want to do, what you love to do, in life. You may not have any idea about it until you start getting out there and experiencing life for all that it is. You could hate your current job, but instead of wallowing in the negativity, you could get out there and really experiment with other things. Figure out what you love to do and get out and do it! There’s nothing stopping you from going on your own journey of self-discovery.
  • Aim To: Put Yourself First
Most people wouldn't put this on their list of life goals, but they should. Self-care may be shouted in magazines, but it’s something that you should be paying attention to - big time. You need to consider how self-care is going to give you a break from the everyday stresses in life. You need to put your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing first - and put yourself first more often than you don't. 
  • Aim To: Contribute
What do you offer in life? Who are you helping and how are you making a difference? These are questions that you should really be considering. Your life is going to have meaning, but it’s only going to have meaning if you know how to make a positive impact on other people. Donate the things that you don't use, and love your friends and family hard. You can be a person that puts themselves first and still be compassionate to the difficulties that others are having. It’s entirely possible to make sure that you are giving and loving, and still want to do things for yourself. 
  • Aim To: Enjoy Life
Are you going to get out there and get an education? If you haven't thought about it, perhaps start to make a list of pros and cons about going back to school. You may be one of the lucky ones who knows what they want to do in life from the moment that they are in school, but if not there’s nothing stopping you working it out now and going and doing it. You’re not a failure for not knowing what you want from life at the age of 18. Instead, you need to think about what you want to do with yourself, and then go and do it. The safest, best way to enjoy your life is to know what you want and go and do it. It’s the best way to feel fulfilled.

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