All posts by Vicki Shouksmith

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About Vicki Shouksmith

An productivity consultation specialising in helping you to regain a sense of control at work. Replace feeling stressed and overwhelmed with a calm and confident can-do attitude.

A Reminder

Today I struggled to find the words, so I turned to one of my favourite authors, Gabrielle Bernstein. I stumbled across a lovely reminder that I’m sure many of us need right now:

Above all else, care about how you feel.

Of course we all want to feel good, but we don’t consciously think thoughts and take actions that make us feel good.

In fact, we often do the opposite.

Caring about how you feel means that you become more deliberate about the words you choose, the thoughts you think and the actions you take,

It means that you go out of your way to realign your energy with love.

Slowing Down

Frustrated – that’s the word to best describe how I’ve felt this week.

I’ve always advocated for slowing down and taking stock of where we are instead of ploughing on regardless, but I realise now that I have in no way been practising what I preach.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives in such a short space of time, and this forced slowing of pace is definitely testing.

I have, however, been getting daily reminders that slowing down is only ever a good thing.

Being at home has allowed me to appreciate the changing beauty of our cherry blossom tree as it continues to grow and bloom.

Queuing to get into shops has allowed me to indulge in a spot of people watching which I do so love.

Last night I meditated under the Full Moon and the surrounding silence allowed me to relax into it without any disturbances.

Afternoon walks whilst trying to maintain social distancing have allowed me to slow down even more as I must embrace the pace of those ahead of me in the street.

In what ways have you been reminded to slow down and take notice of what’s around you?

A Sense of Community

As lockdown continues to test us here in the UK, I have found myself going a little stir-crazy.

I have baked, I have cooked, I have meditated, I have taken part in workshops, I have continued my job search, I have indulged in bubble baths, I have had a glass of wine (or two, or three…), I have exercised, I have read books, I have laughed, I have cried, I have felt relaxed, I have felt angry, I have watched TV, I have played board games, I have napped.

I have done ALL of the things.

And yet, no matter how much I try to pursue the route of distraction, I can’t quite guarantee how I will feel on any given day.

Sometimes I wake up feeling energised knowing that I will get through this, and sometimes I feel like I’ll never reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have no doubt that these ups and downs are something that we’re all experiencing and becoming somewhat accustomed to!

One thing that never fails to lift my heart, though, is the sense of community that is becoming ever present as we isolate ourselves from the outside world.

It’s evident on social media, as we FaceTime with friends and family for the first time, and the other day it even landed on our doorstep.

A leaflet was delivered telling us about some local residents who had taken the initiative to create a volunteering group, providing support to those that need it during these trying times.

I signed up and offered to help, but I realised that up until that point I hadn’t engaged in adding to the sense of community that is such a source of comfort for me at the moment.

Have you looked into the ways in which you can serve your community?

The world can feel like a scary place at the best of times, and that feeling is heightened for many right now, but we must always remember that there are so many kind-hearted and lovely people in the world that will always make it a better place to be – let’s all do our bit and try to be one of them J

A Lesson in Treasuring

When I was made redundant in February I naively thought that it would be the biggest test that me and my, ever increasing, anxiety levels had faced in a long while. Little did I know that the Coronavirus would soon take such a hold that it would make finding another job feel nigh on impossible.

As three job interviews are cancelled indefinitely, a quarter of Alex’s paycheck is deferred until further notice, and the deadline of my last payday in April grows ever closer, I’m not going to lie and pretend I’ve been upbeat!

What I will say, though, is that my mindset is slowly shifting.

Testing times are ahead for all of us, that’s for sure, but during this downtime, I am definitely learning how to embrace things for how they actually are and lessen my incessant need for control.

An amazing thing happens when everything that you feel could’ve gone wrong does go wrong. You start to realise that your husband is right when he says everything will be fine. For the first time, I really believe it because it simply has to be true.

When there’s so much to worry about, you quickly realise there’s little point in worrying at all.

There’s nothing else to do but hold out hope for what comes next.

For the first time in what feels like forever, I truly have nothing to do – absolutely nothing at all. And, I’m beginning to see that this is time that should be treasured because this isn’t something I’m likely to experience again. I must start embracing it for the wonderful thing that it is instead of wishing things were different.

I wake up every day next to my wonderful husband who never fails to make me laugh. I’m getting to spend more time with my Mum than I have in a long time and I’m typing this as I sit in my garden with the sunshine on my back. I have so much to be grateful for and as people around the world are sadly losing loved ones to the virus, we must remember to treasure the little things now more than ever.

Things will get better because they simply have to, but until then, embrace the stillness, embrace the calm, and make sure you’re reaching out to those close to you – for your sake as much as theirs.

Re-becoming

When the moment comes that you realise you do no know what it is you want, just know that you are not lost.

You are re-becoming.

Your life is a blank page onto which you are called to spill your soul.

If you do no know what you want to create yet, just wait.

Wait, and explore.

Think and daydream, make lists and take notes.

This, too, is part of the process.

Go out and see the world and what other people are doing within it.

Slowly, as the inspiration starts to emerge again, you will realise that what you want is what you have always wanted.

The journey was only about finding the courage to pursue it.

– Brianna Weist

Patience, please

This week, I haven’t been in the office because the redundancy consultation process is taking place. 

Being at home, alone with no distractions, means that I’ve been confronted with the realities of being ‘jobless’ for the first time.

Vulnerable is the word that I would use to describe how I’m feeling right now. Although I’m a firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason, I really wish I had a crystal ball so I could see how things will actually pan out over the next few months… 

When I feel like this, I try to regain a sense of control by taking action.

I’ve updated my CV, registered with recruiters, uploaded my CV onto job sites, and submitted applications for all relevant roles out there at the moment. But, now what? 

Now, I must do what I should’ve done in the first place – slow down and give myself time to process this latest turn of events. 

Alex reminded me of this when I voiced my concerns about not knowing what to do next. He smiled and told me that I have two months to find another job, I don’t need to make it happen on the first day… 

The Angels reinforced this when I pulled an oracle card entitled ‘Patience, please’. Here, it was explained that what I’m asking for is coming about, but I must have patience because there are unseen factors that must occur first. 

Is there something going on in your life where you feel a little lost and not in control? Do you also need this reminder to slow down and take a breath?

Change is Afoot

Tomorrow, I meet with the CEO to find out my fate; redundancy or a significant change in job role await.

In uncertain times like these it can be hard to remain positive, but we must always trust that the Universe knows best. It will provide us with the assurances that everything is working out for our highest good if we’re willing to see and hear them.

I visited one of my favourite bookshops, Foyles, in London yesterday.

Here, I sought out the Mind, Body & Spirit section where I’d spent many a lunch hour when I worked nearby. I browsed the books, taking in the wonderful new-book smell that filled the air, before picking up a copy of Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and settling on an exert titled: What Do You Want to Be?

In this particular story, Reverend Teri Johnson talked about a conversation she’d had with her young daughter.

Her daughter asked what she thought was a simple question, what do you want to be when you grow up, but Teri was somewhat confused. As a woman who is already a pastor and the mother of five children, she gave these as her answers, but her daughter soon grew frustrated by this.

It became clear that Teri didn’t understand her daughter’s question because her daughter still saw infinite possibilities waiting for Teri in her future. Whether she wanted to be a ballet dancer or an astronaut, her daughter didn’t see Teri’s age and life decisions to date as restrictions. She believed Teri could still go after anything she wanted.

This was just the reminder I needed and I’m very glad I stumbled across this story.

Have you had any signs from the Universe to remind you that things are working out for your highest good?

The Little Things

Sometimes when it feels like the world is getting to be too much, expressing gratitude for what we have can help to pull us back into the present.

It’s easier said than done when our minds feel like they’re constantly gravitating towards the negative, but, no matter how bad a day might seem overall, there are always little things that we can be grateful for throughout.

Here’s 20 little things that have made me smile recently:

  • Alex kissing me on the forehead
  • Finding a parking space right next to my office
  • Fresh daffodils bringing some sunshine to the living room
  • Relaxing into a hot bath full of Epsom salts and lavender oil
  • Doing yoga when I’m not in the mood, only to find that it’s a relaxing practice today
  • Eating food I haven’t had for ages and rediscovering why I like it so much
  • Belly laughing with friends
  • Someone kindly letting me out of a junction straightaway
  • Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face as I walk across the Tyne Bridge
  • A meeting being cancelled so I gained an hour of my day back
  • Green light after green light as I drive home from work
  • Daydreaming about where I would go if I had to money to travel
  • Coming across a quote on Pinterest that was just what I needed to hear
  • Finding exactly what I’m looking for in a charity shop
  • Putting on my pyjamas as soon as I get home
  • The wind blowing a gale outside while I’m tucked up in bed
  • Making homemade soup with what’s in the cupboards and it tasting delicious
  • Setting my out of office reply because I’m off tomorrow
  • Closing the front door after a long week at work and knowing I don’t have to leave the house unless I want to tomorrow
  • A song coming on the radio that I haven’t heard in years

Can you take inspiration from this and recognise the little things that make you smile each day?

Cherish Those You Love

This week, the news headlines have been filled with messages of shock surrounding Kobe Bryant’s untimely death.

A basketball star, famous for his endeavours on the court, died in a helicopter crash, together with his daughter and seven others.

The news has shaken America, along with the rest of the world.

The premature death of all those on board the helicopter that day has reminded us just how fleeting life can be. There are no guarantees that anyone has an abundance of tomorrows in their future, and moments like these give us cause to reflect.

Are you sure that everyone that you hold dear knows how you much you care?

Take some time this week to cherish your nearest and dearest and make sure you also take a moment to remember those you, too, have lost.

Finding Your Passion Again

I recently finished reading the first book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

By reading, I mean I physically held a book in my hands – something that I rarely do.

As a child, I loved reading. I was always walking to the library at the edge of our estate to pick up yet another book. I loved to get lost in the stories written by the likes of Enid Blyton or Fiona Kelly.

Technically, I still read a lot because I have an Audible subscription, but it’s not the same. I like Audible because I can listen whilst getting on with other things, meaning reading is no longer an all encompassing activity that helps me to relax.

Reading A Discovery of Witches and immersing myself in a world of witches, vampires and daemons, with tales of love and strife woven throughout was just what I needed to find my passion for reading again.

With the stresses of daily life always surrounding us, it’s important that we have ways to pull ourselves out of our own heads so we can properly relax.

Reading is one of those things for me but I’d forgotten how to enjoy it fully.

What’s something that you love doing but haven’t done properly in ages?

Give it a go this week and see how you feel 😊