INTRODUCING WEEKEND INSPIRATION WITH MELISSA

Welcome to Pretty Normal Me's brand new instalment with our very own agony aunt (although I don't love that expression): Weekend Inspiration with Ms. Porter! (Or WIP for short, which we thought was rather fabulous!).

Melissa Porter is a certified life coach and I feel very very lucky that she has come on board to answer our questions. From now on, every Saturday, Melissa will be answering the questions sent to her during the week about life, money, stress, body image, whatever it is that's bothering you!

If you have a question for Melissa or something that is bothering you or getting you down, fill in the form below (ANONYMOUSLY) and she will do her very best to answer them in time for next Saturday.

I'm doing my A levels, am overwhelmed and not sleeping properly. Any advice? 

Exam time can be stressful and often seems like the end of the world. With deadlines looming it can feel like there'll be no end to the work. I like to remind myself that every person in the world has the same number of hours per day available to them. Even Bill Gates who runs Microsoft and earns billions of dollars a year. He also has 24 hours available to him each day. To maximise our time it's vital you're present. Here, right now. What does this mean? It means that your thoughts are truly focused on what's happening right now as opposed to thinking about what to eat for dinner or to wear for your dinner date.  Being present means you're more receptive to comprehending and assimilating the words you're reading on the page. Presence is the most effective way to manage your time. To encourage a state of presence, build regular exercise time into your schedule. Did you know that exercise is the most underused antidepressant? Working out can relieve stress and tension and inspire focus and presence within of you. Daily meditation is also a jewel in the crown for being in the now. It serves to clarify monkey minds and simplify messy thinking. Take a walk in nature daily. Remember to breath and to focus on the repetition of your breathing, is a calming technique. Finally compartmentalise your day by carving out hourly blocks in which you allocate different activities within. (Shorter blocks may work better for you.  Whatever it takes) within these blocks of time be present and also intentional.  Make a decision to stick to the schedule for 21 days and it will become a habit. No longer will you yearn to be distracted from your work to look at social media. Why? You'll build in social media scanning time. Create a deadline for social media in the evening. It's proven to disrupt sleep patterns and I recommend no television, computer screen time or phones for one hour before you sleep. Keep me posted. 

I feel fat and don't know how to diet or exercise. Help

If you're seeking to lose weight, theoretically the formulae is simple; eat less calories than the energy you are expending and you will lose weight. There's a great app called fitness pal that serves to record all your calories and exercise details. It then provides an estimate for how long before you reach your goal.  Food prep is key to your success as means you will always have nutritious food available to satisfy your cravings. When I decide to lose weight post a holiday feast, I like to order in via balance box who provide me with three clean meals and two snacks all totalling 1200 calories. The key to success with exercise is routine, disciple, focus on your WHY and action. I like to schedule my training in at the same times each week and by doing this I know my meetings need to be organised around them. There's a tonne of great people to follow on Instagram for training inspiration and I like to mix things up. I use a personal trainer three times a week for fitness and toning and I do pole dancing and aerial silks for stamina and general fun. Remember you can't out train a bad diet and clean eating will be 80% responsible for you achieving your health goals. Mindset is also key. Avoid dirty thinking such as 'I am fat'. This poor quality thinking serves as a filter through which we then make our choices. If you feel fat you may chose larger and loser clothes that then make you feel less sexy.   As a result you might start to avoid going out. Eventually you'll feel isolated and lonely and of course this affects your moods. Your moods affect your thoughts and the cycle begins again. Chose clean thoughts coupled with clean eating and you're onto a winner.

I'm unhappy in my work and not earning enough. Any guidance to get me back on track?

Sounds like it's time for a change. Feeling unhappy is a sign you're unfulfilled and not making choices that serve you any longer.  Living in a world where we make choices based on our passion and purpose Is our optimum way of being. When we work at something we are passionate about, it will feel like you're never working a day in your life. Living passionately is energising and invigorating. Money follows passion.  Its the law of life. To figure out what floats your boat start by value mining. This is a coaching technique that serves to remind you of what's important to you in your life.  Start by considering what is important to you when you chose a new career? Is it money? Freedom? Autonomy? Being part of a team?  Proactively network, connect and surround yourself with people who are already in the type of role you wish to work in. 

I'm a new mum and want to get back to work for financial reasons. I'm lacking direction coupled with being riddled with guilt. My parents feel I ought to stay at home until my son is 2 years old. 

Did you hear the saying, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree? Well it's not true. It's a metaphor to describe how we turn into our parents. I'm here to tell you we do not. We don't, If we chose to learn from our parents and chose to challenge what we were taught to believe by them and to decide what our beliefs are. We do not turn into our parents. We instead become an improved version. Homeostasis eg staying stuck and repeating patterns of behaviour occurs when we live according to the rules of our parents. The guilt you're feeling is an emotion caused by you living a life according to the rules of another vs the rules you've decided are your own and acceptable. Challenge what you believe to be true. For example. Do you really believe blood is thicker than water or that it's important to not live together before marriage? Write your own rules. The reread my previous answer above and get busy doing some value mining. Figure out what floats your boat and live your life authentically according to your rules.  I love my work and was working the day before I gave birth and a week or so after. My life. My rules. 

I'm single and don't know if I'm going to meet anyone. I'm scared to go online. 

You also don't know if it's going to snow tomorrow or if you might get hit by a bus. If you chose to live as if these two situations might occur image the effect on your life.  My point? Of course one day you'll meet someone or maybe you won't. No one knows. Or maybe they do. Although equally It might happen in the next thirty minutes. Imagine that. So while you're waiting for it to snow, for the bus to hit you or your soul mate to pop up, live. Live large. Become the best version of yourself in order that when you meet each other you have been busy having fun and experiencing life. Enjoy! 

Melissa has her own blog which you can read here. And a website where she offers her life coaching as a service, you can read more about it here.