Around the World in 50 Books

Even though I love to travel, the reality is, with kids (and the never-ending saga that is covid), travelling is not so easy at the moment. Yes, we have managed a few places this year, but I haven’t travelled half as much as I would’ve liked to.

That being said, I HAVE travelled a lot through books! This year, I happily exceeded my target of 50 books. I know my blog posts these days are mostly about books (when I do get around to posting), but that’s because if I wrote about much else it would mostly be related to food or kids, and neither are really content-writing related!

So with that in mind, here are some of the many places I’ve travelled to this year (via books, obviously), starting in Norway, across Europe and Asia, and ending in Australia!

Christmas Island, by Natalie Normann

Based in Norway

If you’re looking for an easy read and a sweet romance that transforms you to one of the colder parts of the world, Christmas Island is a great choice! This books offers insights into the many traditions and delights of Norway, as well as the seemingly never-ending cold and darkness that shrouds the country during the winter months.

The Foundling, by Stacy Halls

Based in London

I loved this book – it was a quick read but highly enjoyable. I felt myself immersed into 18th century London, and really resonated with the main character. A well-written, interesting read, where my attention was captured from the very first sentence.  

Those Who are Loved by Victoria Hislop  

Based in Greece  

Compelling from the very first page! This book is a total eye-opener. I knew nothing about what happened in Athens/Greece during the Second World War and am still shocked about what the circumstances were like there. While I didn’t necessarily agree with the protagonist’s actions during this time, that didn’t stop me from devouring the book and not being able to put it down while reading it! Highly recommend for anyone interested in first-hand accounts of life in Greece during WWII.

Sky Burial, by Xinran

Based in Tibet 

Sky Burial is a profound and fascinating insight into life in some of the remotest parts of Tibet. It follows the story of She Wen, a Chinese woman who journeys to Tibet to find her husband. It follows her over the course of 30 years, where she spent many years living with a nomadic Tibetan family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it’s well-written and interesting – and definitely made me want to visit Tibet!

The Damage Done, by Warren Fellows

Based in Thailand

The Damage Done is a true story about a man who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Thailand for heroin trafficking. Quite frankly, it’s harrowing and nightmarish, but it’s a true story and events such as these continue to happen to this day, so if you do have a strong stomach then I highly recommend this book. It’s tough-going from start to finish, but absolutely eye-opening and thankfully short too as it’s a truly shocking read (let’s put it this way, I won’t be visiting Thailand any time soon).

The Mountains Sing By Nguyen Phan Que

Based in Vietnam

The Mountains Sing is an exquisite book about hardship – and determination. Spanning multiple generations, this book offers an epic account of Vietnam’s 20th century history, much of which I was unware of. In fact, at one point I thought I was reading about North Korea, due to the similarities in government regime! This book is beautifully written, intricately woven and thought-provoking. It’s also tragic, heartbreaking and empowering. It taught me that in the midst of hardship, we have to keep going, and that within bad luck, there is always good luck.

The Girl with Seven Names By Hyeonsea Le

Based in North Korea, China and South Korea

I’ve heard about North Korea but have never read about it from such a perspective – and to think this still continues to this day! This is an utterly gripping read from start to finish. What this woman has been through is truly unimaginable but sadly not an isolated account. I devoured this book and definitely will not be visiting North Korea EVER in my life.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, by Lisa See

Based in China

I loved this book and I could hardly put it down! It offers a fascinating insight into a remote village of China and the world of Pu’er tea (and Chinese tea in general!) I loved learning about the Akha culture, traditions, rituals, superstitions and heritage. The book also covers the impact of being adopted as an ethnic minority in America.

Geisha of Gion, by Mineko Iwasaki

Based in Japan

Eye-opening and funny at times, Mineko is such a character with a fascinating story to tell. This is a secret world definitely worth reading about, and the book offers the perfect opportunitbey to learn all about it. I found the writing a bit simple but she writes from the heart and has an incredibly strong spirit. I am grateful for the opportunity to have learnt about her experiences in Gion, and as anyone who knows me well, have been desperate to visit Japan for a while now!

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman

Based in Australia, on an isolated island off the coast

This is a beautifully written book, but more importantly it’s such an interesting concept about a couple who essentially steal a baby and bring her up as if she is their own! And because of where they are situated, they get away with it (or do they?).

Not only does it offer a glimpse into remote Australian life, but it also really gets you thinking about the bond mothers have with their children, whether or not they are truly theirs.

Where have you travelled to this year via books? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you do have any book recommendations please let me know!

P.S. I am currently ‘in the Swiss Alps,’ and things are a bit eerie. Can anyone guess which book I’m reading?

Building Your Business: A Guide to Hiring Freelancers for Marketing

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Guest post written by Poppy Williams of TechBizGuide.

As a business owner, you know marketing takes time and money. Without a marketing plan, potential customers will not know to buy your products or services. Even with a marketing plan in place, entrepreneurs need to understand how to execute it effectively.

While some businesses can afford to hire an entire marketing team, most smaller companies do not have the funds or need to pay full-time employees to handle marketing. Startups, small businesses, and other companies may benefit from outsourcing help with marketing and sales.

Stressing Less With Freelance Workers

In the U.S., the number of freelance workers continues to rise. Freelancers work for themselves. They have the flexibility to take on the gigs they want and to set their schedule. Even for businesses that have a marketing team, freelancers can help take the stress off the team.

When providing a service to your company, freelancers tend to be more affordable and adaptable. Outsourced workers in marketing are typically accustomed to working with different clients and companies and can adapt quickly to a new business’ energy and needs.

In the case of marketing, when you look for freelancers, check out their experience. Testimonials and portfolios can let you research their past work. 

Benefiting From All Types of Marketing

According to the experts, marketing determines the consumer’s needs and works to create a demand. To market successfully, you need to understand how to create desirability for your product or services. When you create a marketing plan for your business, consider the different types of marketing options and look for freelancers specializing in what you need most:

  • Inbound marketing: Attracting customers through engagement and attraction
  • Digital marketing: Using technology and the internet to your advantage
  • Outbound marketing: Finding customers through cold calling, print ads, and other direct promotion tactics
  • Traditional marketing: Using offline marketing methods, such as billboards, radio ads, and flyers

Content writing is critical in the world of online marketing. Utilizing social media, blogs, and newsletters gives you unlimited access to clients. For marketing purposes, written content needs to be well-written, valuable, and representative of your brand. Hiring freelancers can provide you with a faster turnaround time, and you can freelancers on a case-by-case basis for what you need.

Building Your Business With Outsourced Workers and Services

When building your business, you have a lot of responsibilities. Handling all of your marketing when you are not an expert can be overwhelming. Along with freelance help, there are off-the-shelf services to save you money and time when you build your company. Look for customised marketing options, or some freelancers have content or analytics they can provide without customization. You can hire people with skills ranging from digital analytics and SEO content to graphic design work to help with marketing.

By hiring freelancers, you can focus on other business matters, such as your business structure. Many businesses benefit from a limited liability company. When you form an LLC, you get more flexibility, tax advantages, and limited liability. If you do not want to face lawyer fees, you may want to hire a service to handle your formation papers and more.

Hiring marketing freelancers can benefit a company and help you grow your business from the ground up. By outsourcing, you can receive high-quality work without the overhead costs of hiring full-time employees.

Image via Pexels

8 Essential Steps to Becoming a Digital Nomad

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Guest post written by Lance Cody-Valdez of Free Lance Now.

Among many other things, the pandemic has changed the way many of us work. More accurately, it’s changed where we work. Telecommuting has become the norm for millions all over the world; some have been eager to get back to the office, while others are hoping to make remote work a long-term solution.

Working from home yields numerous benefits, including convenience, flexibility, and freedom. But did you know that you can take it a step further and become a digital nomad? If you have a passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures, and you don’t have any major commitments keeping you from leaving, then working as a digital nomad could be the perfect pathway to a fulfilling, adventurous lifestyle.

Here are eight ways that you can begin a successful digital nomad journey today!

1. Become a Freelancer

If you currently have a job that you love, you could ask your employer about telecommuting options. Most companies are much more accommodating to employees who want to work out of the office than they were even two years ago.

But that’s not your only option. In fact, most digital nomads work as freelancers in one capacity or another. Typically, being a freelancer means that you provide a service as an independent contractor within your industry or niche of expertise. While you’ll be responsible for developing a brand for yourself and building your client base, becoming a freelancer could provide you the ultimate freedom for traveling and creating your own schedule.

Image via Pexels

2. Look Into Your Options

One of the best things about freelancing is that there is such a wide variety of services you can provide. Whether your specialty is centered around creativity, science, technology, or administration, you can build a thriving, long-lasting career as a freelancer. Here are just a few remote work ideas that can fit perfectly into your digital nomad lifestyle:

3. Test Out Remote Work

Whether you’re hoping to telecommute for your current employer or start a freelance career, you may want to test the waters before diving in headfirst. Rather than moving to a different country first thing, take a month or two to work remotely in your hometown. Find coffee shops, cafés, and other places in your city. If you realize that you find it hard to stay motivated and productive, or you simply don’t like it, then being home will make it a lot easier to go back to what you were doing before.

4. Leave Town

If working remotely in your home city for a couple of months is successful, then it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. Choose a city that you’ve always wanted to visit, whether it’s the same place that you want to move to or only in the city over. The important thing is that you experience what it’s like to live and work in a short-term rental, coworking space, cafe, and other establishments outside of your home city.

5. Find a Routine

One of the most critical steps to take when becoming a digital nomad is figuring out a routine that works for you. When you work with other people in person, the structure helps you to stay motivated and productive. You don’t get that structure from remote work, so you have to create your own. It requires exceptional self-discipline to be a successful digital nomad, especially in the early stages.

The key is to find a daily work sequence that optimizes your productivity and to develop great work habits. Once your schedule and habits are well-established, you won’t have to rely solely on your self-discipline; it will simply be what you do!

Image via Pexels

6. Research Visas

Many countries now offer visas that were specifically created for digital nomads. And with the economies of so many nations being negatively impacted by the pandemic, more and more opportunities are arising for those who wish to work abroad independently. Do your homework to figure out if any countries you’re interested in coming to provide special visas for your situation.

7. Get a Good Phone and Plan

As a digital nomad, having a phone kind of comes with the title. If you’re going to be running apps and holding video calls with clients, you want to make sure your current phone can handle the workload. If not, you can find many high-quality smartphones without having to spend a fortune on the latest models. You can pick up some accessories as well, such as a cover to protect your device and a popsocket for effortless gripping.

These days, you can keep your current phone number and convert it to receive VOIP calls and SMS messages. Google Voice is one of the leading platforms for this purpose. But if you’re willing to pay a fee, then you might consider a premium service that allows you unlimited calls.

8. Go Carless

Lastly, think about transportation when you’re posting up in any given location. In many countries, driving is impractical, inconvenient, and expensive. When you’re looking for places to post up, try to book accommodations that are surrounded by the essential establishments you will need for work and pleasure so that you can walk or ride a bike wherever you need to go.

If you want to experience other parts of the world while building and maintaining a solid career, then becoming a digital nomad might be the ultimate path for you. Just take some time feeling out the lifestyle, and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you quit your job and sell all of your belongings. Once you’ve determined it’s the right move for you, then give it everything you have and enjoy the ride!

Top 4 Ways to Read Books on a Budget

It’s hard to believe it’s almost March.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and even though most things have been closed this year, time really has flow. It just goes to show that you can have fun, even when life is stripped down to the essentials.

In light of the fact that most things have been closed/we’ve not been allowed to mix much, I’ve definitely continued with reading as a fulltime habit.

However, given the fact that I seem to be flying through books a lot recently, I’ve had to find ways to do it on a budget (I can no longer justify spending €5 – €10 on a book since I am currently going through around 3 – 5 books per month.)

But, as you will see below there are PLENTY of ways around this:

1. Charity Shop Finds

I got this tip from my friend and I’m embarrassed to say it never even crossed my mind before she said anything, but I’m so glad she did as you can get some absolute bargains – and great reads – from charity shops.

I recently found The Power of Now for €1.00 in my local charity shop – it’s currently €10.49 on Amazon! I often take a trip to my local charity shop to stock up on books, and what’s great about it is that there’s always so much variety as people often drop off the books they no longer want lying around at home – plus buy buying from them, you are donating to a good cause!

2. Amazon Offers

Another strategy I deploy to read books on a budget is to search for the latest offers on Amazon (for Kindle books).

If you’re a fan of reading on Kindle, then I definitely recommend this.

What’s good about Kindle is if you liked the book but don’t plan on reading it again, you simply buy a digital copy, read it and don’t have to worry about having wasted paper by buying a physical copy.

Then, if the opposite happens and you liked it a lot, you can justify buying a physical copy.

This has happened to me a number of times, especially with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton, which are never far from sight and great to just pick up and flick through whenever I get the opportunity.

3. Sort by Price on Offer

You’ll be surprised what a bit of Amazon digging can lead to!

I often sort my search by price on Amazon, which leads to a tonne of free (or incredibly cheap) books, including fiction, non fiction, kids books, cookery books and more!

Simply click on Kindle Books on Amazon, then sort your search by price (low to high) for a wealth of free books.

I started off the New Year reading free books but sometimes the genres are a bit fluffy (there are also loads of free crime/detective books if that’s your thing).

Next, I moved on to £1.00 books and suddenly the quality – and variety – of books increased massively. That said, I’ve found some great classics for free, including The Jungle Book, Robinson Crusoe, Pride and Prejudice and much more!

Alternatively, look for the Deal of the Day for the latest special offers, which features countless books for as little as £0.99.

4. Book Borrowing

Up to now this has worked a treat for me, especially for kids books. This is the ultimate way to share the books you love with others, and learn about some great books that are adored by your friends! I also love book borrowing as it means you get to discuss the book afterwards – it’s always nice to gain other people’s perspectives on books.

What are your tips for reading books on a budget? Leave a comment below!

My Top 5 Books of 2020

What a year 2020 has been! This is the first year in my entire life where I’ve pretty much picked up reading as a full-time hobby. I’ve always been an avid reader but this is the first year I’ve read this many books (just hit 40 and I’m still going strong – lockdown definitely helped…).

I know 2020 isn’t quite up yet and hopefully I will squeeze in a handful more books between now and then. If any of them beat this list then I will update it!

With that in mind, here are my top 5 books of 2020:

5. The Diary of Anne Frank

Obviously I’ve heard a great deal about this book, but I cannot believe I only just read it this year.

Anne Frank is a true inspiration to us all. Something so simple about the book is how she starts each entry with “My Dearest Kitty” or “My darling Kitty” (her imaginary friend.) She was such a character and there are some truly Laugh Out Loud moments (and so many lows) that make you want to hug her and comfort her and tell her how amazing she is.

Throughout the book she talks about how much she wants to inspire the world and become a famous writer or journalist after the war. Well, with 30 million copies sold worldwide in more than 65 languages, she has achieved just that!

Anne Frank has become the most famous young author of all time, and gave a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of a Jewish person in hiding during WWII. Anne was an extremely intelligent and insightful young woman – and is definitely someone who I would invite to my dream dinner party!

4. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Earlier, this year, I helped to organise my friend’s virtual baby shower, and as a Thank You gift, she sent me a bundle of books in the post. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture and I was truly touched by her generosity.

Within the bundle was Where the Crawdads Sing, an absolute gem of a book that tells the story of Kya Clark, a young girl described by locals as ‘The Marsh Girl.’

At a young age her battered and bruised mother leaves her abusive father (and consequently, Kya), and from the offset it is clear that Kya lives an isolated and reclusive life where she is forced to fend for herself. There are so many poignant moments where your heart bleeds for Kya, but there are also so many beautiful moments where we learn about the importance of courage, resilience and determination. The initial chapters of the book also have so many exquisite descriptions of nature, which I really enjoyed.

This is honestly an outstanding read and has a shocking ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks after finishing it. I am so grateful to my friend for sending this book to me (thank you, Jess!)

3. The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

With so much going on in the world right now, it can be easy to get caught up in the never-ending stream of thoughts going on in our heads (especially mine!)

Don’t get me wrong: just because I’ve read this book (and bookmarked about a gazzilion pages) doesn’t mean I’m suddenly the most Zen person in the village (quite the opposite actually; more like the nuttiest person in the village!) BUT what I did take from this book is that no matter how cloudy our thoughts get, the blue sky is always there. We are not our thoughts, and the storms always pass.

If we can just centre ourselves in the present moment, even just for twenty seconds, that’s something very powerful indeed. As Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book, Silence: “One nerve impulse, one action potential, needs only a millisecond. Giving yourself twenty seconds is giving yourself twenty thousand milliseconds to stop the runaway train of thought.”

I’ve read a lot of books on mindfulness but The Power of Now, which I purchased on Kindle, is one book I plan on buying in physical format so I can have it on hand and just flip open a random page for some quick inspiration (Hi George! It’s Christmas soon!)

2. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

I have to admit when my sister first pitched this to me as a ‘must-read book about the Second World War’ I wasn’t exactly jumping with enthusiasm about reading it, but boy was she right in recommending it. It took me a single weekend to get through this book (and at 450 pages, it’s a long book!)

This is an incredible story about two sisters in France and their battle to survive during the Second World War.

There’s so much depth to this story and it is so shocking and truly horrifying what went on in France (and across the globe) during WWII, and I had no idea about most of it. This is such an inspiring and gripping read and reminds you what true hardship really means, and how much people endured during the war. It also reminds you about the power of resilience, love and freedom.

The Nightingale stays with you long after you’ve finished it. It is such an eye-opener and so beautifully written; I cannot recommend this book enough.

1. Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins

This list would not be complete without this exceptional book and if there is one book you need to read at some point in your life, it’s Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.

It begins with his (terrible) childhood, then goes on to describe the ups and downs he went through throughout his life.

Goggins is someone who simply never gives up and perseveres where most of us would give up or quit or think negatively, very early on. On the contrary, he just keeps pushing himself beyond his mental and physical limits. He thinks so differently to most people and is massively inspiring to us all.

His theory is that we only use 40% of our brains and I totally agree. We just cop out so quickly or convince ourselves that we can’t be bothered or it’s too difficult or we’re not capable etc., when in actual fact, anything is possible. It’s all about mind over matter and shutting up that voice in your head that’s constantly trying to convince you otherwise.

Goggins is an incredible human (superhuman?) who is solid as a rock, both mentally and physically. He has been described as the toughest man alive and if I could just steal 1% of his thought-process, I’d be a really happy human (superhuman?)

So there you have it, my top 5 reads. What books have you read this year that have inspired you? Leave a comment below!

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent in Cyprus

A guest post from a close friend of mine and real estate agent in Limassol.

Some people think being a real estate agent in Cyprus is easy. You simply take some photos from your phone, answer a few phone calls, go to some viewings, and then get the deposit and the client to sign on the dotted line.

 Job done.

Oh and let’s not forget the benefits….the commissions.

All sounds so easy and appealing, right?

The truth is, everyone in real estate knows that this job can be tough – especially in this current climate. (In fact one has to be tough especially in Cyprus and its climate!) It can also be a huge burden, especially when people expect you to be constantly available. There’s no ‘clocking in’ or ‘clocking out’, and even though I do my best for each of my clients, there’s no guarantee that a potential deal will end in success.

A typical day involves making and receiving A LOT of phone calls, SMS messages, WhatsApp messages, Viber messages, Messenger messages and emails! But clients can get excited and I’ll often wake up to countless missed calls from throughout the night that continue throughout the day – and well into the night. Thank heavens for silent mode.

Some clients’ expectations are through the roof, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard and read people complaining that agents don’t answer their phones or reply to requests. There have been so many occasions where I’ve received numerous missed calls and messages from the same person; I try calling back and we keep missing each other countless times.

Day to day, even hour to hour (sometimes minute to minute!) my schedule is forever changing. Aside from the constant stream of phone calls, messages, voice notes, voicemails and emails, we also need to handle listings, attend viewings, take professional photos (from a professional camera!), process paperwork and visit various legal and administrative offices. Imagine having to call these offices too!! I could easily spend one hour or two trying to get through.

Sometimes I feel like my to-do list is never-ending and different things can crop up at the last minute, meaning I’ll often have to drop what I’m doing to deal with something more urgent. In fact, I’ve realised that if I answered every call and message the moment it comes through I will never get anything done at all!

There are also lots of sacrifices that come with this job, so striking a balance is crucial. And while I don’t always get it spot on, I do try my best and I always strive to go above and beyond, because I love this job and genuinely want what’s best for my clients, even when someone is being a pain in the ***.

Being a real estate agent can be stressful, but part of the fun – and the craziness – of the job is that it’s constantly changing, and there’s definitely never a dull moment.

I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world, even though I have had some experiences that I’d rather bury deep into the recesses of my mind… 

So for those of you who still think our job is easy or would rather cut out the middle man, please remember that we put a lot of time, effort and energy into what we do. We are also experts at handling multiple requests, multiple schedules, multiple clients, and multiple responsibilities.

Through the ups and downs, I do what I do with knowledge, professionalism and a smile on my face, knowing that no matter how demanding it gets, there’s a solution to everything, which sometimes involves a glass of wine – and putting my phone on Silent!

My Top Books on Resilience

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Reading is one of my all-time favourite pastimes.

You get to absorb yourself in another world and switch off from your own; you get to learn about faraway lands and places, some real, some make-believe; you get to while away an evening without the usual distractions of television or phones. These are some of the many reasons I love to read.

One subject in particular I love reading about is resilience. I love reading books about other people’s struggles, because you learn so much about their abilities to endure and come through stronger than ever.

These types of books are so inspiring for so many reasons. They motivate, uplift and make us feel empowered. They equip us with knowledge and show us a strength we didn’t know existed.

Here are my top books of all time on resilience:

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Written by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner.

A woman and a girl form an unexpected bond during the volatile events that shook Afghanistan during the past 30 years, including the Soviet invasion and the reign of the Taliban.

During a time when women were not allowed to leave their homes unchaperoned by a man and public stonings were the norm, Mariam and Laila manage to support one another through some of the toughest and most challenging circumstances, and the most inconceivable suffering.

This is an evocative and beautifully written book that makes for a very emotional read. Some bits were so moving they genuinely brought me to tears.

I would definitely recommend reading this book!

Total Number of Times Read: Twice. This is my favourite book, so I plan on reading it again sometime soon!


Pachinko is a novel about Korean immigrants living in Japan during the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910 (and beyond), when Japan formally annexed Korea. It is so interesting and I knew nothing about this situation before reading this book!

Again, the protagonists endure unparalleled suffering, including poverty, abuse and war. But their resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship is admirable and awe-inspiring.

Total Number of Times Read: Once; would love to read it again!

Memoirs of a Geisha

Young Sayuri is unwillingly thrown into the mysterious world of the Japanese Geisha, where she is forced to survive in the same okiya as the wicked Hatsumono, in the hopes of one day becoming a successful geisha herself.

This is an intricately woven tale of hope, beauty, innocence and the complex world of the Geisha.

Total Number of Times Read: I have lost count! At least 20, if not more!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

This is the first time I’ve read a book about Auschwitz, and I’m so glad I did.

Even though it was very difficult to stomach at times (it’s so difficult to fathom what went on in Auschwitz, and the book is based on interviews with Holocaust survivor, Ludwig Sokolov, so a lot of it is based on fact), I couldn’t put it down, namely because of the resilience that the characters demonstrated in the midst of the most terrifying and disturbing circumstances.

Total Number of Times Read: Once. Would consider reading it again!

What are your favourite books of all time? Leave a comment below!

Coronavirus Survival Kit: Evenings

Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

This is a trying time for all of us.

No one really knows the full impact that this virus is likely to cause (though we can look to China for some ideas). In the meantime, for those of us who are stuck at home, I have come up with this little guide on how to weather the storm.

As a mother of two, I’ve found the more mental health preparation I do the evening before, the better I manage the following day.

While school is out, we’re adhering to our usual routine, so once the kids are asleep I begin to unwind from the day just passed. My first step is to either take a shower, or if I’m feeling indulgent, I’ll have a bath, light some candles and relax, away from my mobile phone and the endless spiral of news stories, articles and opinion pieces about this disgusting virus.

I then do a 10 – 30 minute meditation, depending on how I feel. I typically use Headspace and they have just introduced an amazing collection of meditations designed to support us during this crisis, which, as far as I’ve understood, are completely free of charge.

I highly recommend doing some of these meditations; some of them are just one minute long and you’ll be surprised at how impactful just a short meditation can be! I can’t recommend meditation enough!

Following this, I then read for a bit before switching off my mobile phone and fullying absorbing myself in a TV show or movie for the next hour or so.

Before going to bed, I write in my journal and this is something I have strictly adhered to for about a year now! I make a habit of writing only the positive things that have happened that day, and this is honestly the best thing to do just before I close my eyes.

While all of this might seem fairly dull and straightforward to some, these are my essential tools for supporting and maintaining a positive mindset and avoiding any sort of mental health spiral – particularly in the midst of a crisis!

Weathering the Coronavirus Storm…

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

I’ve certainly been going through the motions when it comes to the Coronavirus. First came nonchalance, then full-blown panic, then anger…

Now I’ve accepted it; it is what it is, it’s not completely out of our control and no matter what, the show must go on.

Yes I am worried; of course I am. Here in Cyprus, all schools and nurseries will be closed as of tomorrow. The Education Ministry has announced closure for one week, but who knows how long this could go on for?

We are not allowed to go to public events with 75 people or more, and after-school lessons have been cancelled. Private tuition centres are closed, some yoga studios too, while many businesses are making preparations for their employees to work from home… You name it, people are taking action.

And while many of you reading this might think that is extreme (especially since we don’t actually have that many cases of it here in Cyprus), I believe it is better to be safe than sorry. Cyprus is a small country with a tiny population, and things could very quickly spiral out of control if we don’t take stringent measures.

But that inevitably leaves me with a lot of questions, including… What on earth does this mean for my work?

An important meeting got cancelled yesterday due to Coronavirus fears, and while I am disappointed about the cancellation, I also fully respect the company’s decision to cancel.

I’m also worried about the potential implications of the virus on my workload, since I am a freelancer who earns my keep from projects as and when they arise.

If the meeting got cancelled, does that mean they won’t want me to write any further articles this month? What about next month? What if my other clients cancel? What if this thing takes months to go away? Will I be out of a job?

As you can see, it’s easy for me to allow my thoughts to spiral out of control (especially as a sufferer of anxiety), but I’m doing my utmost to avoid panicking.  

Health comes first, and if, unfortunately, my work does take a blow, then that’s out of my hands for now. If things get worse before they get better, then so be it. Of course I want this thing to go away; of course I wish it were all just a bad dream; of course I wish I could click my fingers so that everything could go back to how it was, or we could fast-forward to a Coronavirus-free future where this is all well and truly behind us.

But I can’t do that. And so for now, we must hold our heads high, continue as well as we possibly can, and stay positive.  

The show must go on!

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Only for Lovers

Valentine’s Day is here and I haven’t posted in months, so I thought I would take this opportunity to create a quick post about… you guessed it: Love!

This post hasn’t got an awful lot to do with content writing. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with content writing at all. But words are my thing and writing is one of the many ways in which I process my thoughts and manage my life.

I understand that life can get difficult, stressful and downright depressing – I am absolutely no stranger to that. But I am so blessed to know that there are a handful of people in my life that I can reach out to during difficult times. They know who they are and I am utterly indebted to each and every one of those people for everything they do for me, no matter how small it may seem.

Come to think of it, this post IS about content writing because if I wasn’t able to get through the bad times, my writing would suffer as a result. When I’m functioning at my peak, I can feel it in my writing; the inspiration flows from within me, and I feel compelled to write and write and write to my heart’s content.

But when I’m struggling with a difficult emotion or having a hard time, it can be so hard to focus on my writing. Everything seems fuzzy and confused; my thoughts don’t connect like usual and I really have to focus just to string a sentence together (to my clients, don’t worry, this doesn’t happen often ;)).

Which is why I am so grateful to the handful of people in my life, who are always there for me through thick and thin (they know who they are!) They never judge me or put me down, and always fill me with encouragement.

So this Valentine’s Day (and beyond!), spread some love not just to your lover, but to your loved ones too!