4 QUICK WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-LOVE

Hello all!

Here’s attempt #idon’tknowanymore at jump-starting my novel writing. While I managed to make significant progress during the Chinese New Year holidays, I find it hard to make further progress after. To get my engine going, I truly need to block out a fair bit of time in my schedule. That’s hard when you’re juggling several commitments. That being said, one of my colleagues at work has two kids and still managed to get a side-hustle going… that’s inspirational. If he can do it, then so can I.

So here’s a bit more life advice while I work out my writing schedule for the next few weeks and months. With how busy I am, finding quick ways to practice self love is important. Here’s what I’ve been using.

Medito App
I struggled to find a free meditation app, until I found Medito. I’ve been using it for around 1/3 of a year now and I feel like it really does help me to keep anxiety low in the mornings. (I am prone to feeling anxious when I wake up.) My favourite thing about this app is the ‘daily meditation’ section, which accompanies me on my daily 5 min meditation session in the morning. Soon, I am going to look at the other sections to further expand my journey in meditation

Headspace on Netflix
Not sure whether this is available where you are, but it provided me with new meditation techniques that I have found intriguing. The graphics are beautiful and going through the various episodes has been an experience. They also have a new upcoming series, which is supposed to help one sleep better. This is something I am definitely going to check out.

Presently – A Gratitude Journal App
There are a ton of these apps out there…but what made me stick to Presently is its very simple interface. It doesn’t feel like a chore to fill each daily entry up. Also, I keep it to 3 things I am grateful for every day so I take less than a minute to fill it up.


Create / or whatever floats your boat
After much soul-searching a few years ago, I realised what makes me feel happy is creating new things. It can be a piece of design, a blog or even a photo. It is why content marketing suits me as a career. It is the thing that I get ‘into the zone’ with. And that is also why I am here today, writing this blog. It makes me happy. It’ll make me even happier if I know this blog post has helped someone. So my advice here is to find out the thing that makes you tick. If you get to do what you love, then you’re already practicing self-love.

RANDOM STUFF#1

I wish I could say I have been working on my novel but alas, that is far from the case. I have been caught up in some real life obligations in the past few weeks and as they are very important ones, I shall forgive myself for lapsing in this blog XD. So here is my attempt at jump-starting the whole writing thing again. Today, I shall get a quick post out so as to ease myself back into working on my novel.

So here are some random things that kept my life interesting in the last few weeks.

#1 Chef Hua
(Follow the youtube link to the channel with all the episodes)

Cooking and medieval China? Sign me up! The romance is very very VERY cliche but man the food always looks awesome. One other thing that I like about this drama is that the main characters aren’t royalty. They’re just simple commoners! Also, it features a very supportive mother-in-law. That’s rare – even in real life!

#2 Alien
This is, of course, a very very old series. I basically went back and devoured all the material I could easily get my hands on (yay for Netflix!) and read up on all the lore. Ripley is an amazing female character and I hope to bring my main character to life in a similar way. Of course, the story will be completely different. I do not often delve into sci-fi/horror often but every now and then, I have this…morbid curiosity that needed feeding. Another series I kept jumping back to is the “Thing”.


#3 TED TALK – On Raising Kids To Overcome Anxiety

And just to show that I haven’t just been lazing my day away in front of the screen, here’s one of the TED talks that struck a nerve with me. Anxiety, I believe, is one of the main issues plaguing young adults in Asian cultures. This is because we have been bred to want to succeed while remaining dependent on others at the same time. For example, teachers give us oddles of content to memorise but rarely manage to cultivate a desire of indepedent learning in their students. We just take what we are given and do nothing more. By the time these students get to university, they have trouble with discipline, taking risks and feeling confident about their own decisions.

But now that I am aware of it, I can hopefully slowly undo that negative mindset. And if I ever have children, this is a video I will probably keep coming back to.



BOUNDARIES IN THE WORKPLACE

Yes yes – it has been a while since my last blog. I know that very well. I don’t have any excuse as I know very well that you should make time for the things that matter to you. And given all that I have written in my blogs about forming habits, the last thing I want to be is to be a hypocrite. So let’s get straight into the topic on my mind today – boundaries.

I think boundaries are extremely important in keeping relationships healthy. You might think it is immature or even cruel to completely ‘burn bridges’ but from my experience, it can only be beneficial to yourself. While I don’t have much problem in maintaining boundaries in my personal life, I oddly struggle with this in my professional life.

As an INTJ, I am incredibly task-oriented. When I am focused on a task, I will tend towards wanting to do everything to get the task done, no matter what. But this means I run the risk of over-stepping into someone else’s territory. In addition, it also puts me at risk of giving others the impression that I can do all the little things for them. It took me a while to realize that being helpful can actually be…a bad thing. And saying ‘no’ in a non-offensive way is a ‘must have’ skill in the workplace.

So how do I fix this? I actually like that ‘task-oriented’ part of myself and it is not something I want to change. I also like being helpful and curious as it is how I picked up all the skills I now possess.

However, I think I would have to readjust my concept of a ‘task’. It should now include considering the perception of others (aka being ‘people-oriented’) before making an action. I should also consider the function of the various departments in the workplace before deciding on a course of action. It’ll be a challenging thing to do, yes, but once I make it a habit at the workplace, everything else should fall into place.

As for being ‘too helpful’, I think I need to consistently remind myself that there are various departments in a company for a reason. I can’t do ‘everything’ like when I was in a smaller company. It is not to my benefit if I try to cover all grounds for a task. It may be a benefit to the company in the short term but it most definitely won’t be in the long run. This is because of the uneven workflow process.

I am writing this blog as a reminder to myself that this is something I must and should work on in the workplace.  

4 PILLARS OF MEANING IN LIFE

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but yay, I am back! Life has taken quite a few interesting turns lately, hence my absence from the front page on this site. I am happy to report that I am slowly developing my main character, who already feels far ‘deeper’ compared to the character I developed for the previous version of my story. But more on that another time. Today, I would like to show you all a very interesting TED talk and book I encountered on Linkedin. (BTW, I’ve been getting loads of good advice from LinkedIn lately and I highly recommend casually browsing every now and then for young adults looking to improve their careers and life.)

This is the TED talk in question:

Belonging, Purpose, Transcendence and Story-telling. Here’s her book if you would like a deeper look into these four pillars. I am about 5 chapters in and it has already been incredibly enlightening.

As an atheist, I have struggled to understand the concept of religion for the longest time. While my new understanding of these four pillars did not compel me further towards god, it did help me understand why religion has been so compelling for others.

It taught me how perspective can be a double-edged sword. Typically, looking at the good side of things helps to keep you motivated. However, what if the situation is a bad one, such as being trapped in a relationship with an abusive partner? By looking on the bright side of things, it traps that person in a vicious cycle. Some part of them knows they should leave but because they engage in the act of ‘looking on the bright side of things’, it somehow gives them meaning and a reason to stay.

The book also helped me draw connections between the many revelations I had in my adult life, such as the importance of working on my relationships, hobbies and reflecting upon the events and decisions I have made in my life. All this time, it seems I have been unknowingly working on adding meaning to my life. For example, my novel and this blog support the pillars of story-telling, purpose and transcendence. It is no wonder I have never felt more fulfilled than right now.

But of course, life is ever-changing. In the years to come, if all goes to plan, my life will change drastically yet again. The components of my life that feed into these four pillars will no doubt change too. I shall endeavor to keep this book and its lessons in mind as I waddle through the many transitions that my life will take.

3 FANTASY WORLDS & WHY THEY INTRIGUE

Thanks to the pesky insect called the Aedes mosquito, it has been a while since my last update. Honestly? I am not in a writing mood and would prefer to waste my holiday away with Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. However, I think I owe it to myself to get a bit of writing done so that I could get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later. Today, I am doing some quick reviews/reflections of my favourite fantasy/sci-fi stories/shows and pick out the elements that I think are worth taking inspiration from. I am going to avoid the big favourites, such as Harry Potter and Avatar because they’ve been overdone.

 Warning: There may or may not be spoilers for the mentioned series!

1) The Promised Neverland – Anime/Manga – Available Gogoanime

 The Promised Neverland tells the story of a trio of friends (and more) in a world led by man-eating monsters. I think it is intriguing because, while there is a clear power imbalance, the humans manage to use their smarts to gain a couple of wins. I think there is always some joy in watching the underdogs win. Also, another aspect I like is how thought-provoking it is, particularly on the topic of when it comes to farming animals for their meat. If an author can bring in some real-life concerns into their work of fiction, it adds a certain layer of realism that a typical story wouldn’t have.

2) The Dragon Prince – Animated Series – Available on Netflix (Singapore)

 Avatar fans would have heard of this series as the same directors made it. I am not sure why but I tend to like the later seasons in each of their works. Perhaps it is because they spend quite a bit of time building up the world first? In any case, similar to the Avatar series, there is a strong use of ‘elements’ in the Dragon Prince. This is also seen in their races, such as night elves and sun elves. Personally, I am not a big fan of alternative races such as giants, dwarfs, etc. However, I am keen on weaving elements into my story in a different way. I think it is useful to have classification systems in fantasy stories as it helps the reader to understand how the world works.

3) Shinsekai Yori / From the New World – Japanese Novel / Anime – Available on GogoAnime

 I’ve watched the anime and read the manga. I do NOT recommend the manga as it is basically spoiled with hentai. Anyways, what I find intriguing about this world is how KIDS are seen as the biggest threat to the human species. In addition, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where human society seems to have taken several steps back in terms of modernization. It tells a story of children growing up and learning how the world isn’t as beautiful as it appeared to be on the surface. It is also a story of loss, which is heart-wrenching to a degree.

In conclusion, there appear to be many ways to hook a reader onto a story. This is despite the fact that there appears to be a general formula to how a hero’s story progresses. These are most definitely aspects to story-writing that I will revisit as I craft my own. 🙂