by Sarah

Oooh you’re moving too fast

October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Slow Down for Your Happy Life

Oooh you’re moving too fast and I don’t think it’s right – do you remember that song too? (hear it here) I might be showing my age here! It may not be about breaks/body/mind, but it works for me right now – and I hope that I have earwormed you too!

Anyway, it has been running through my head all morning as I have been thinking about and planning my next few blog posts.  The thing is I have learnt a lot in the last week about slowing down.  My broken ankle has meant that I have had to slow down exceptionally and to plan my time effectively because I have to be careful and purposeful.

I am by no means the type of person who rushes through life without taking the time to smell the roses, but I do sometimes get a bit carried away when I am excited about something – like my work for Your Happy Life, my NLP practice and designing programmes and plans to roll out for you to attend; all alongside my coaching clients and looking for collaboration opportunities.

It really is manageable when you plan, but when you all of a sudden have to limit the amount of time that you are standing or being active as well as making sure that there is significant room to rest your leg, it can be a bit of a challenge.

Trying to fit in

This past week, I have been working from my lounge as it is the only place that I can comfortably rest my leg whilst having everything that I need around me and have easy access to the kitchen and toilet.  It is in no way ideal as I have six cats wandering around which can interrupt coaching sessions or distract me from my work.  However, I am making the best of a situation – and my clients absolutely LOVE the cats making an appearance and are pleased how well I can work around them.

Sometimes our bodies just make sure that we take heed and reassess the situation or make us step back and slow down a bit. During this past week, I have had to make decisions about what is important for me to try to do and the things that can be left for another time.

It isn’t always as easy as it sound either!

I have had to make the difficult decision to postpone some of my new clients – which is always difficult as it is so exciting when there are new people to work with and help.  However, I need to concentrate on the ones that I already have and preserve the rest of my energy for repairing myself. It has also brought about an additional positive in that I have some time to work on the website and some other marketing that has been put to the wayside.

In addition to learning to find other ways to do things, I am also having to plan ahead so as to minimise the amount that I am roaming around the house or hopping up and down the stairs.  Despite being very organised, this has been a tricky one!  I have had to think of pretty much every eventuality and remember to take my rucksack everywhere with me so that I am able to carry whatever it is I need.  Take right now, for example, I am sitting here feeling rather chilly knowing that my jumper is in fact upstairs! (The sun has come out so I am sure I won’t freeze, so don’t rush around with a jumper for me as I also take an age to get to the door!)

What have I learnt so far?

That my body is telling me to slow down, my mind is learning to plan ahead and I am developing skills that have been dormant for a long time. It is not all a pain in the ankle!

I will be updating the blog on my learning and experience of having my broken ankle from time to time, so keep coming back for more pearls of wisdom – or just comments from the broken!

by Sarah

Broken and Bruised

October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah


Well, it has been a little while since I last posted a blog article and have to put it down in part to the yucky cold that I had and then to breaking my ankle a week yesterday which has had me laid up on the settee as it is the only comfortable place that I can sit and work!

You may be wondering what happened so here it is! I was out walking on the Sunday with Jit and Belle enjoying beautiful October sun and exploring parts of Lyme Park, Cheshire, that I haven’t been along in an awfully long time. We stopped for lunch, met lots of lovely people and dogs and were giving Belle an amazing run around. It was perfect.

I was taking photos to share on here and over on Intagram of Jit and Belle and the beautiful countryside when all of a sudden my ankle went sideways, I heard a crack and I was rolling along the grass.  Within a matter of seconds I was back on my feet feebly telling Jit that I had heard a crack and couldn’t stand.

Poop!  I had really hurt my ankle!

So, long story short, we had to hobble me down the valley, over the open stream, up the valley again, over a stone wall, across a field, over a 6 foot styal and over another field before we got to the car.  A whole 1.5 miles of painful limping only to be followed by a 40 minute drive and a 2 minute taxi ride to the local A&E to confirm the break and cast me up.

The things that struck me was how cheerful I was through the whole ordeal. I was aware that there was pain, but used breathing techniques to work through them and kept a positive outlook in order to get to the car.  Even with a three hour wait at the hospital, I found myself making people laugh and cracking jokes with the staff and other patients – all through the pain (without pain killers I might add as I am not a fan!)

It has now been over a week of sitting around resting and although I have had the odd day of feeling bored and very fed up of sitting I have been coping fairy well (if we ignore the fact that I shut my thumb in the hinge of the bedroom door when shutting it! Ouch!)

It is amazing how well we can adapt to new situations.  I have been on crutchers before (you can find out more in my other posts) but doing so when I have other responsibilities and have to be as independent as possible has been a challenge – think making tea!  I now walk around with my rucksack, flask and tea to make sure that I have everything to hand and can carry what I need to.

Have you ever had to adapt when experiencing a break or other injury?  What did you do to get through the time of resting and what fun activities did you find to entertain yourself in your home?

I will keep you updated on my progress but promise to bore you with the details!

by Sarah

You love it when you talk nasty to yourself!

October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

you are stupid and worthless, You'll never get anywhere

What’s the point in you wanting to better yourself? You never finish anything anyway.

You won’t get that promotion, so don’t bother going tor it, it’ll only waste everyone’s time.

You’re not going to be able to earn money doing that, do you seriously think people would pay you?

I can’t believe that you think you look good in that.


Would you really say those things to someone?  I would certainly hope that you would not because that would make you a poisonous person that really had no regard for the feelings or well-being of other people, let alone your despicable self.

So why do you say it at all? How dare you say something like that to me, is what I say!

You know exactly who you say all these horrid things to. And it is the one person that doesn’t fight back. That takes your negative comments and assumptions and because you keep saying it to them over and over, they believe you.  You beat them down, take their power and trample all over their dreams and confidence leaving them a crumpled mess of uncertainty and loss.

How DARE you say that to ME?

Yes, you’ve guessed it.  The person that you hurt with your nasty vicious words is yourself.  Sometimes you take the words of others and make them into your own verbal beating stick and sometimes you even construct your own from things that aren’t true but you shape into the greatest weapon against your self.

It is all about self talk.

Honestly, you would never dream of saying such terrible things to someone else, so why do you let yourself get off with doing it to you?  Putting you down and taking away every ounce of drive and confidence that you had leaving you with just scraps of the person that you are?

It is because it has been happening for so long that it has just become a really bad habit that lurks in the background, that brings some sort of sick comfort to you as you can’t even imagine what it was like without it.  A crutch, an addiction.  Let’s face it, you love it when you talk nasty to yourself.  It reiterates why you shouldn’t do something and justifies why you should stay in your comfort zone and not bother moving forwards.

Negative self talk is an excuse not to challenge yourself to become successful. Click to tweet!

What are you going to do about it?  Are you happy to keep hitting yourself with the same stick and staying exactly where you are for the rest of your pathetic existence or are you going to kick it to the curb, throw out that negative voice and move a better tenant into your head?  The choice is yours and if you want to stay where you are, leave this page now.  Click out of the browser, close the tab and go back to your beating.

OK, now that we have those of you that want to get a better behaved internal voice and move towards a better you let’s get started!

As you read my statements at the beginning of this post, how did they make you feel? Did they make you feel angry that I would say such things?  Did you recognise them from the things that you have said to yourself? or something else?  Whatever it was, it will have evoked some kind of emotion.

Emotion is part of the problem as we can often devise negative self talk when we are feeling low or something bad has happened in our lives.  It sets our mind looking at the bad things and focuses our attention on what will go wrong and how we can prevent ourselves from feeling that way again.  Sound familiar?  This is how we end up beating ourselves into the tightest space in our comfort zones and as a result take comfort in the negative self talk that keeps us there.

This is where you have to do some work.  It is not going to be plain sailing, but I want to be up front with you from the outset.  Depending on how long this negative voice has been with you, it might take a while to chuck them and their ties out of your mind.  But be patient, all good things come in time.

Firstly I want you to get rid of the negative self talk that you hear this week.  Every time you hear your internal voice telling you something bad, write it down on a piece of paper so you can see it in all it’s glory.  Then repeat every time the same one or another one appears.  Keep doing this every time you get a though.

I think you will find that once it is out of your head and written on a piece of paper that it starts to become silly, daft and totally irrational.  More often than not, the negative self talk is just inflated things that we know will make us sit up and pay attention.

The next thing that I would like you to do is to think of what you would like to be saying to yourself instead. Something positive and motivating that will challenger your perceptions and nudge you out of your comfort zone.  Something along the lines of ‘I know that I am intelligent and driven that I have a great chance at the promotion’ or ‘I know I look great in this dress’.

Make sure that whatever you choose really means something to you and is something that is real to you too.  Don’t stat creating things like ‘I can speak fluent French’ if it is not true.

Write do the new self talk, take a photo and use it as your phone wallpaper or lock screen, slap it on post-its around your house and work space and keep them in your wallet or as bookmarks.  Anywhere you will see them regularly.

Now I want you to become aware.  Aware of the situations that create the self talk.  It could be when everyone has left the house for the day to go to school or work and you suddenly have some time to yourself or perhaps in the few moments before you go to sleep at night – or even at daft o’ clock in the morning when you wake up and create something to worry about to justify being awake.

Note it down so that you are aware when it happens.  This will help you to work out where to keep your new self talk reminders to help you in building a new habit.

When you know when you get the negative self talk, change the situations where it happens.  For example, if it happens in the first few minutes that you have the house to yourself, then change the routine so that your mind doesn’t have the time to fill in the gaps by playing some great music and having a boogie in the kitchen or perhaps go for a walk before carrying out your daily routine.  Be creative.

It will take some time to change the patterns that you have created, but I can assure you that it will come.  Often by surprise too.

Be gentle with yourself and give yourself some praise!  Unlike those that walked earlier in the blog, you are doing something to change your world and make it a better place.  That is certainly cause for celebration in my book!

Let me know how you get on and share some of your new positive beliefs below!

Share this post quickly and easily, just click to tweet!


by Sarah

Are you comparing yourself to others?

October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Dear Self, Dream big Reach high. Move forward. You can do anything.


Sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you have come a long way and that you have so many great strengths that helped you to get to where you are now!

Do you ever feel like things just aren’t going the way that you want them to?

Like you’re on the wrong path or not even moving on the one that you are on?

Are you comparing yourself to others?

It is a common thing with creative and driven people to find that one day they feel stuck – I get it quite often to be honest and I have to put the work in to get going again.

When you work hard and know where you want to be it can be quite surprising to you when you hit the metaphorical brick wall and all of a sudden question what it is that you are actually doing and whether you are even doing it right to move you in the right direction.

This past week, I have been ill with a terrible cold (I’ve not had one for so long that it seems worse as I have forgotten what it is like to be poorly!) which has given me time to reflect on what I am doing and where I am going.  I found that I started to doubt my direction and ability to ‘go it alone’ into the world of entrepreneurship and started to compare myself to other people doing what I am doing.

Honestly, comparing yourself  is self destructive and no help at all! Click to tweet!

I realised that I was spending my time beating myself up… for no reason what so ever!  Comparing yourself to others is like comparing apples to oranges. Everyone is completely different with different values, beliefs, directions and skills – this is why there is such a rich picking of companies, businesses, coaches books etc to suit every taste.

So I set myself back comfortably in my chair and realised that I didn’t have to be better than anyone to be successful, I just had to be my best – whatever that may be.  I created the ‘Circle of Strengths‘ to help myself and my clients fo when we hit the wall of doubt and for when we just need that little extra boost – try it with me now.

The Circle of Strengths

Imagine yourself in a circle, it is wrapped all around you and not a single bit of you is outside of it.  In this circle, I want to bring in all your strengths and feel them warmly wrapping around you.  Imagine that you can see them as images, shapes or colours and increase them in brightness and make them larger.  Feel the strengths and know that they make you who you are and exactly why you are so great at what you do.

Feel the feelings in your body, your neck, your head, your shoulders, legs, stomach and back.  How does feeling your strengths make you feel inside?

Now come back into the room in your own time and write down the strengths that you felt – do it in a circle drawn onto a piece of paper.

Circle of STrengths exercise by Sarah Irving of Your Happy Life

Whenever you feel that you are comparing yourself or are not heading in the direction you want to be going, step into that circle or look at the strengths on the paper.  Remember that feeling and keep it with you as you move forwards.

Notice that once you have your strengths clear in your head you can move forwards knowing that you are your best self and if something needs to change then you have to power to change it.

Stop comparing yourself to others and put your energy into building yourself! Click to tweet!

How did it go for you? Let me know in the comments below :)

by Sarah

Hello October

October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Hello Ocober

Hello October and welcome to the run up to Autumn.

As the seasons change so do we, adapting to the shifts in weather and preparing ourselves for darker nights.

I personally love Autumn for all the stunning colours, the changes in the landscape and the time that I can have delicious stews, casseroles and other wonderful comfort foods.  I also find it is a great time to have a clear out, blow those cobwebs out of your home and go into winter fresh and ready.

What is your favourite part about Autumn?  Do you have any seasonal rituals that you do?

Share below :)

Oh and also, you can now follow me over on Bloglovin – just click the link below! (where you will also be able to find my food blog Susty Meals)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

by Sarah

Getting on top when you’re under the weather

September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

cold again (3)

I have a cold.  A bad one – or so it seems – seeing as I haven’t had one for as long as I can currently remember and it is making me feel positively yucky!

It came on around Thursday last week with the dry feeling to my throat and an odd sensation behind my nose.  I recognised the symptoms and started on my mission to try to stop it’s inevitable engulfment of me with drinking lots of fluids, red bush tea and getting plenty of exercise and fresh air to clear out my body.

It wasn’t enough!  By Thursday evening (yes, I was on it that quickly!) I was a snotty snot monster of snotty proportions! (TMI?)

So I upped the ante and took my borrow doggy for a hike in the countryside to blow out the snot and clear my head with some fresh open air.  Following from this, not convinced that I had done enough, I decided that it would be great to take the bus into town (with Belle) and meet my other half to walk home after work.

9 miles later an Friday was complete!

To be honest, I actually felt much better for being active and out in the fresh air rather than locked away at home with the windows shut and a sedentary style of living. As a result of feeling good I decided to go on another long countryside walk to make sure that there really was enough fresh air inside my lungs.

…another 6 miles in the bag!

Sunday was our take it easy day so we went into town to explore the food and drink festival which was outside the Town Hall.  One square of activities, we couldn’t clock up that much walking with that, could we?  Well, our easy day turned out to be 7.5 miles of walking!

You might be thinking that I am crazy and insane and that I deserve to be feeling a bit run down today, but you know what?  I actually think that I feel worse today because I am sat at my desk, indoors and staring at a screen.  Yes I have a delicious cup of Manuka Leaf tea to keep my hydrated, but I really want to be moving and keeping the blood flowing though my body with fresh air in my lungs.

Yes, I may have little to no voice and I am coughing like a trooper, but there is no reason that I should stay still and fester.  I’m also not one for popping a load of pills so finding a more natural way to feel better is always going to be my first approach!

From what I have learned from having colds in the past, I can stay at home and fester in my yuckiness or I can embrace it and get moving.  Being active can help speed up the immune system, but you do need to make sure that you listen avidly to your body to make sure that you don’t do anything that could set you back or even cause you damage!

My thinking is that if you concentrate on being ill, then you will feel worse, but if you concentrate on something else, then you won’t feel so unwell.

Although I am feeling rather rough at the moment, I think it is mainly because I am sitting indoors at my desk in front of my computer screen – not great at the best of times, let alone when your head is fuzzy with the symptoms of a cold.  I am getting my work done as soon as I can so that I can get out for some fresh air later on – and with that in mind, you wouldn’t believe how productive I have been!

Here are y top tips for getting on top when you’re under the weather.

cold (1)

1. Get the work out of the way first

If you have ever ready ‘Eat That Frog‘ by Brian Tracy, you will know that you need to eat the ugliest frog first so that it is out of the way and you have nicer things to do for the rest of the day.

When you are under the weather, you can’t just stop doing everything (unless you are lucky to have someone to look after you and do your work and chores!!) so you will need to keep on top of them even when you don’t feel like doing much at all.  My advice is to get them out of the way in the morning or as soon as you feel that you can realistically tackle them.  Don’t judge yourself if you don’t do them to your usual standard, but do make sure that you give it your best.  And remember, some of the jobs can wit until you are better and have more energy to tackle them.

Once these things are done then you can spend the rest of the day doing things that make you feel better!

cold (4)

2. Manuka Loose Leaf Tea

Manuka honey is known for it’s healing properties but the leaves, stems and flowers from the plants are less well documented.  I love manuka loose leaf tea and swear that it really does boost the immune system!  I like to add a little agave nectar to the hot water and leaves to give it a cheeky sweetness to lighten my mood.

Fresh Air

3. Fresh air

Whether you like to and can get out for a walk in the countryside or not, make sure that you have some fresh air – wrap up warm and open te window if venturing out is really no something you feel up to.  I feel that fresh air really helps to clear you out and also keeps saves you from sitting ina room of germy breath!

You might not feel up to a long walk like I did, but even a stroll around your garden or neighbourhood every couple of hours will give you a great benefit.  Getting out does help too as you have different sites and sounds. Staying indoors can create a great sense of cabin fever which will not help you to recover at all!


cold (2)

4. Doing things that you enjoy and that distract you from feeling grim!

Think of the things that make you feel good that you know will distract you from your cold symptoms.  Maybe painting your nails or watching your favourite film?  Brushing the cat or reading a book.  Whatever it is, make sure you do some of it between your fresh air outings.


cold again (1)

5. Healthy yet comforting food

Make sure that you’re eating well and getting plenty of veggies into you – the more natural vitamins the better! I am going to be making a Fiery Indian Broth this evening to give my system a boost and will be posting the recipe over on my other site tomorrow (I’ll share it here too, don’t you worry!)

6. Get some sleep

I monitor my sleep using my FitBit, so I know that when you have a cold your sleep pattern is not solid and you will tend to have greater times of activity and being awake being that you need to blow your nose, find a way to lie that won’t induce coughing etc. So make sure  that you get to bed early enough to ensure that you get at least some quality sleep.


cold (3)

7. …last but not least… super soft tissues and Carmex!

If you have a snotty cold, you will inevitably get the red nose and dry skin, so getting some super soft tissues before you get to that stage will help you greatly – you’ll still get a bit red and dry, but not as much!  And Carmex!  I love this stuff for smearing over my lips and around my poor red nose!  The menthol in it gives a lovely tingle to the skin and makes it feel immediately better – to me it’s like magic in balm form!

Whatever you do to feel better, make sure that you listen to your body!  If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it and go to the doctors if you need to!

Here’s to a happy (as can be!…) cold!


by Sarah

Guiding by Desire – the to-do list

September 26, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Guiding by desire - Sarah Irving Coaching

I was working with one of my clients the other day and he was a bit stuck with how to move forward with all the things on his to-do lists, wish lists and scraps of paper that he asked me to help facilitate a session for him to work through it and to gain some clarity and focus on the whole situation.

As such I designed an activity for him to work through with me supporting him with questions and exploration (if you are interested in working with me on a similar thread, please get in touch for a chat, I’d love to help you become unstuck!) and I explained my idea of ‘Guiding by Desire‘ as a way of finding out which things he really wanted to do.

Once he had completed the paper activity, which narrowed down the tasks and action and even got rid of some!  I asked him to look at each one in turn and listen to his gut reaction whether he actually wanted to do it.  By carrying out this exercise he was able to remove more of the tasks because he simply did not want to do them.

I bet you have tasks on your list that have been passed from month to month that you really don’t want to do but keep pushing it forward like one day you will find the will to do it.  I know I have had things like that on my lists in the past (and they do occasionally sneak under the radar and appear every so often now) and my way to deal with them is to address them head on.

Do I want to do it?  And if I do, why haven’t I done it?

By exploring the desire to do something we can often find the obstacle that is stopping us which can enable us to move forward or we can simply not do the things and chop it off the list.

I think you will agree that although there are some things that you don’t want to do, laundry for example, you do do it because you know that it will benefit you and if you are honest, if you let it go from month to month on your task list then you wouldn’t have any clothes left! So you need to look at it logically.

So grab that to-do list and go through your ‘want to’ process and get rid of the things that you don’t want to do and over come the barriers that stop you from doing others.

Good luck and here’s to a more slender to-do list in the future!

by Sarah

It is YOUR path

September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Stride forward.




YOU make YOUR decisions

and choose YOUR own path.

It is your path, no matter what


by Sarah

It’s all about the small things in life

September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness

I was out and about in town yesterday, following a meeting with a client in town and I found myself walking to my bus stop feeling like I was in a new and exciting place – not the city where I have lived for the past 13 years!  It was an amazing feeling and not entirely abnormal either.  I was able to see things that I have never noticed before – graffiti which made me smile, a bird statue strategically placed on the ledge of the upstairs window of a backstreet pub and spots where people gathered to chat over their morning coffee.

It got me thinking about how we take for granted the things around us as we rush from appointment to appointment and task to task without taking the time to be in the moment.  All it takes is a few seconds and you will speedily be grounded and present where you are; able to see the exciting things that surround you.

As Thích Nhất Hạnh said,

 “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” 

If we continue to run around like mad things paying little attention to the world around us, we will miss out on so much wonder, joy and happiness.  Sometimes it is the small things that bring the greatest joy into our lives.

I remember when I used to commute into the city to my job at the sustainability charity.  I’d get up early to get to the office before everyone else – with extra time to have a walk around the back streets or the Northern Quarter before committing to my day.  It was on these early morning quests around the hidden areas that I discovered some of the best graffiti I have seen, some of which would leave me grinning all day long!

Office View (2)

Not only that, the small thing of being in the office before anyone else arrived really set me up for the day.  I would make a cup of tea and sit for a moment on the window sill looking out over the quiet car-park and beyond to the stillness of the Rochdale canal. It was so serene that you could hear a pin drop. It really is all about the small things in life!

Taking a walk and sitting in an empty office may not sound like much, but to me it was worth the extra effort to get up and out early.  I noticed new things, I filled my mind with wonder before setting about my daily activity and knew that there was going to be something new the next day and the next that I hadn’t noticed before. (the picture below is one of many from my window relaxations!)

Office View (1)

If you really want to feel a part of the world around you, you need to slow right down.  Create time so that you no longer need to rush, so that you can explore and learn.

When friends say that they are bored or fed up or even that they feel stuck, I always suggest that they go for a walk and explore the back streets or even find any street that they have never walked before.  The act of waling and exploring really play a strong part in making you feel refreshed, grounded and present.

Try it!

twitterlogoToday I choose to explore the small things around me! 

Click to Tweet!

by Sarah

Declare Today a Holiday

September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized by Sarah

Declare today a holiday

As summer comes to a close (although we are having a bit of late summer sun here in Manchester, UK) and the holiday season slows down, I like to have a bit of a clear out to get things in the house ready for the colder months when we spend more time at home than at the beach!

During my most recent spate,  I rediscovered this little book that I was gifted many years ago hiding on the shelf in my studio.  I remember it well because I used to dip into it regularly for a mini mood boost.  The book is called “The Little Book of Calm” by Paul Wilson.

The Little Book of Calm by Paul Wilson

It reminds me that some of the best things in life are small and seemingly insignificant – especially if you see it next to my art ‘coffee table’ books that accompany it on the bookshelf. The things with books like this is that you can pick it up and open it at any page you like to get a little snippet that can boost not only your day, but can even change the way you live and look at life – yes it really can do that. One of the little tips that really called to me (and you will know that I love doing this from some of my other posts) is this one:

Declare Today a Holiday

Imagine every day is a holiday.  Do one little thing that stimulates this holiday mood each day, then watch your worries fade away.

It really is the little things that can boost your days the most.  It is also very topical with Summer drawing to an end.  So why not keep that holiday feeling throughout the year and make every day a holiday? Yes, we all have chores and things that need to be done and jobs that we need to go to, but if we see it through joyous eyes and make time for some small things that make us smile from the inside out then we are half way to getting things done in a happy and productive way. Today the little things that I did to declare my day a holiday was to walk around town this morning before the hustle and bustle began.  It truly is a simple thing but I find the morning in the city to be the most energising of experiences and sets me up for the day and some productive work.

What things can you identify that would make your days feel more like a holiday?

What benefit would it have for you?

Let’s keep that holiday spirit (not the alcoholic kind!) throughout the year!