Ways to reflect on yourself

7 of the best ways to reflect on yourself

So I was thinking (which is always a dangerous past-time), instead of making a New Years resolution I have been reflecting on my life, my personality traits and my core values.  I want to use this reflection to help give me more direction and more purpose in life.  After all, we only have one shot at this! In the process, I have come up with 7 of the best ways to reflect on yourself.

In all honestly, I use reflection day in and day out.  Partly this is because it is who I am.  I think a lot and I question myself constantly.  And partly this is through my training as a physio.  At University we had a whole module on reflective practice – what did you do well, what could you do better, what would you do differently in future etc. Self-reflection is a way to exercise introspection and to learn more about our fundamental nature, purpose and essence.  In fact, it is a great way to learn, to develop and to improve. 

Reflections

Reflections

Perhaps this is why I am am enjoying writing a blog.  Blogging is all about reflection, whether sharing information, knowledge or skills, reviewing a product or discussing an experience.  However, on reflection I sometimes wonder if anyone is actually interested in what I have to say?  Should I actually put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking).  Can I actually provide content that is different, unique or any better than the next blogger.  The answer is I don’t know.  However, I have come to realise that no one has to read what I write.  No one is forced to sit and scan through my website.  And to the people that do (google analytics is a very useful tool to see that hundreds of people are reading my blogs), I am very grateful for your time and support.  I do hope you get something out of what I write.

Reflection

Reflecting

‘All Shades of Grey’

Sometimes I think that I reflect too much and I overthink. I am a highly sensitive person but many people do not realise this because I hide behind a confident exterior. I admire people who ‘have it together’ and I find a no nonsense approach to life endearing.  Why do I always have to think of the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.  I see the grey – I rarely see black and white.  Which can make life complicated as I am forever questioning things.  I often sit on the fence and I can usually see more than one point of view or both sides to a story.  I could never be a lawyer!

‘Insecurities’

I want to be liked and to fit in which I have struggled with at times.  But hasn’t everyone? I hate to be misinterpreted.  I am honest to the core and therefore I hate being doubted.  Do all people feel like this? As I get older, my desire to be liked and to fit in is not so strong.  I no longer worry being excluded, but I still fear being misunderstood.  I still feel the need to explain myself and my actions.  Is this linked to my job, in which I need to be able to justify each intervention I use?  I don’t know. But isn’t everyone like this to some extent?  I think everyone has their own hang-ups. The desire to be accepted will definitely resonate with a lot of people.  I also think that many people, like me will be more accepting of themselves as they get older.

I have strong moral values – too strong at times as I expect people to live by my standards and I can dig my heels in hard (just ask my husband).  However, over the years I have learnt that my standards are not necessarily the right ones in the eyes of other people.  I have learned the hard way that people hold different weight to their values (and this by no way means that my opinions are the right ones).

‘Sentimentality’ 

And I’m extremely sentimental…..to the extent I am a bit of a horder (mum – I hold you responsible).  For example, I recently gave my daughter a scarf that my Granny knitted for me years ago.  It is too small for me and I have never been able to wear it, however I do not want it to just sit in a draw!  It is a beautiful soft, pastel coloured scarf, which is perfect for a 5 year old.

Today, my daughter managed to lose the scarf in a large supermarket.  After 20 minutes of scanning every single aisle, the realisation that it had gone started to dawn.  My daughter said that we could write to Father Christmas and ask for a new one.  I explained that we couldn’t as Great Granny had knitted it and she was now in heaven.  My poor daughter was crest fallen and I fought back tears trying to convince myself that it was just a scarf!

I decided to give searching one last shot and asked every shop assistant that I could find if they had seen it.  By now I was convinced that someone had taken it.  However, to my great relief a lovely shop assistant had found it. She was rather surprised at my animated reaction to finding a scarf!  I was so happy that my husband had to convince me that it was not necessary to buy wine, chocolates and flowers to say thank you! You see, to many people it may be just a scarf, but to me it was a gift that I treasure from a very special lady.  Sentimental value is so much more important to me than monetary value.

‘Pressure’

There is a lot of pressure to be a lot of things in life; be successful, be caring, be financially stable, be slim, be fit, be a good friend, be supportive, be understanding, be hardworking and be happy to name but a few!  It is important to remember that whatever you are is ok.  I don’t need to change my qualities.  I need to embrace them and use them to their full potential.

As I write this, it is helping to provide clarity to the fact that whilst some of these traits are not necessarily ones that I would select if I had a choice, they make me me! And while some of these traits I am listing as a disadvantage – actually they can be extremely useful and easily turned into a positive.

For example, by seeing all shades of grey, I hope that I am less judgemental.  It helps me be empathetic which is an asset in my job.  Listening and empathy are some of my strongest skills as a physio.

Reflection is a really useful tool for self improvement.  We can only make effective changes when we have an awareness of where we currently stand along with a goal of where we want to be. Reflection helps to improve self-awareness and self-regulation.  This can greatly help you to understand and cope with your emotions, strengths, weakness, values and goals.  In turn, this can help to inspire self-acceptance.  Many of us live life in the fast lane and our lives are often heavily influenced by the media and social platforms.  These influences can easily throw our own self-acceptance off-key.

So, what are the 7 best ways to reflect on yourself?

1 – Ask yourself questions about yourself

For example, what kind of person are you? If you struggle to answer this, as I do, think how would other people describe you?  What have you learned about yourself from key experiences (both good and bad)? What do you appreciate most and what are you grateful for?

2 – What are your core values?

What are your beliefs and principals. For example, some of mine are honesty, perseverance and self development.  Can you remain true to these values when the going gets tough? Do you have any beliefs that may be holding you back?

3 – Identify goals

Its fine to feel like you don’t have direction.  Too many people put pressure on themselves to work out what they want to do in life from a very young age.  However, identifying goals, whether short or long term can help give you focus and direction.  Setting yourself a time-scale to achieve your goals can help to keep you motivated. Plus, attaining goals gives you a great sense of achievement.

Setting goals is not necessarily about striving to achieve something new. Setting goals does not have to be career related.  You could strive for personal growth, undertake a project or plan an experience. Your goals could be orientated around health or fitness, planned around your finances or career or linked to family and relationships. It could be a way that you hope to add value to your life or to contribute to your community.

For example, my current goals are to see more of the beautiful country I live in.  I managed to visit Carcassone and Evian-les-Bains last year.  Exploring the Dordogne region and Mont Saint-Michel are now high on the list. With very young children this may not be possible in the short term, so I am giving myself two years to reach these destinations.

My award winning friend Emma has an inspiring blog about writing a bucket list: 40 things to do before 40.  This is a great way to draw up a list of things that you would like to do and achieve.

So what is stopping you from pursuing your goals? Big things start from small places!

Aim

Learn

Perservere

4 – What are you most proud of?

All too often, many of us reflect at times when we are not feeling our best.  However, it is so important to look at ourselves from all angles.  Sometimes I feel proud just to make it through the day after I have been up half the night with my youngest, even if my clothes are on back to front or inside out!  Reflect on achievements big and small and give yourself credit where it is due.

5 – Analyse relationships

Analysing relationships can be with both friends and family.  I truly believe that friends come into your life at certain times for a reason.  This may be to support you through a difficult period, to learn through or even to share good times with!  Even friendships that don’t turn out the way that you hoped can teach you valuable lessons in life.

I am extremely lucky.  I have known some of my best friends for over 30 years…..in fact The Money Whisperer and I have been friends since we were two years old!

Have a think about some of the people that you spend a lot of time with.  How do they make you feel? Are the relationships respectful, mutual and healthy?  I am not one for ever having a clear out of friendships!  I have never deleted a friend from social media; even if we haven’t had any communication for years!  Perhaps this is because I am sentimental (and often nostalgic).  I can understand why people do this, but I would sooner gradually distance myself from someone rather than right them off!

Also think about your own role within relationships? It is all very well reflecting on how other people treat us, but what about how we treat other people?

And for those relationships that make you smile, let them know!  I think it is important to thank our friends and family for being there for us.  You never know what is around the corner!

6 – How do you handle stress and difficult situations?

Think about a time that was stressful.  This could be as simple as loosing your car keys or a more complex issue such as dealing with health issues of a loved one.  How did you cope? What emotions did you portray? Were you able to deal with your emotions at a later date?  Did your actions have a positive or negative effect on people around you?  Is there anything that you could do better or that you would do differently in future?

7 – When are you at your best?

I saved the best question until last.  What gets you excited and what keeps you motivated? I am at my best after a few gin and tonics! At least in my slightly inebriated little mind! If I remove alcohol from the equation, I am at my best when I am not sleep deprived and when I am spending time with my family outdoors.  Making memories, exploring new places and travelling bring out my best side.

Good luck with taking some time to gain some insight into yourself.  There is no right or wrong way to do this but hopefully I have given you some food for thought. Try and see beyond your own circumstances and continually evaluate and re-evaluate.  Weigh up the positives and the negatives, analyse experiences (both good and bad) and build emotional self-awareness.

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Great reasons to live in the alps

10 Reasons living in the mountains is awesome

Living in the mountains is awesome.  Between my husband and me, we have done over 30 winter seasons and we have lived in the Alps year round for the past 3 years.  We have visited many different resorts and recently moved from Val d’Isère to the Portes du Soleil region.  We love our alpine lifestyle and we love bringing up our children in the mountains. Physically, culturally, historically and socially, the Alps have it all.

Long weekend in Italy

Camping in Italy

Number 10: Accessibility

The French Alps are served by a number of airports including Lyon, Grenoble, Chambery and Geneva.  Living in the alps  gives us easy access to some incredible places, both in France and across the rest of Europe.  Nearby, we benefit from beautiful towns and cities such as Annecy, Evian and Geneva.  The rest of France is accessible by road, plane or train and Italy and Switzerland are also on our doorstep, which means easy weekend getaways.

Number 9: Food

France is well known for its excellent food and alpine produce certainly contributes to this reputation.  From french baguettes and croissants to fondues and raclettes, from steaks cooked over an open fire to garlic laden escargots, there are so many delicious options and delicacies available.

Living in the mountains, there is a huge choice of both local and seasonal produce.  Moderate altitudes make ‘growing your own’ very easy, and the fruit trees have been in abundance this autumn.  For the more health conscious it doesn’t have to be all red meat and cheese. There are more and more restaurants offering alternatives to the traditional ‘savoie’ cuisine.  I follow a plant based diet, which although is not easy in France (which lacks well behind the UK in terms of offering meat and dairy alternatives) it can be done.

Number 8: Wine

This is France after all.  Need I say more?

Number 7: The Scenery

We are surrounded by natural beauty.  The Alps are stunning year round with breathtaking views that change with the seasons.  Living in the mountains is truly magical.

Winter in Val d'Isere

Breathtaking Alpine Views

Number 6: Aquatic fun

Mountain lakes, rivers and waterfalls offer us both tranquility and stunning scenery, as well as sports and leisure activities.

There are a large number of water based activities to enjoy, including swimming, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, sailing, ice diving, open water swimming, giant inflatable obstacle courses, hydro-speeding and white water rafting.  There really are so many options available.

Alpine lakes

Lac Montriond

Number 5: Friends

Living abroad usually means being apart from family which can be tough at times.  Being surrounded by people in the same boat builds strong bonds and a close community.  Friendships tend to be extra special because in the absence of our families being nearby, we rely on each other.

Number 4: Healthy lifestyle

Did you ever read the story of Heidi? She was a healthy little girl growing up in the mountains with her Grandfather. However, she was sent to live in the city as companionship for another little girl named Clara.  Clara was a pale, sickly child who was confined to a wheel chair.  To cut a long story short, when Clara and Heidi return to the alps, Clara thrives.  Due to the fresh air, good food and friendships she becomes fit and well and no longer needs her wheel chair.  Whilst this fictional novel may be a little far fetched, it captures the healthy alpine lifestyle perfectly.

On top of the fresh air and outdoorsy lifestyle in the mountains, the french generally work to live, not live to work.  They have a a great work-life balance however, this does not necessarily run true for seasonal workers who often have to make most of their income in just a few months of the year.  Downtime in the inter-seasons generally makes up for this though.

Of course, leading a healthy lifestyle is a choice.  If you eat nothing but red meat, baguettes and cheese, washed down with copious amounts of red wine, toffee vodka and jager bombs you may not quite fall into the healthy lifestyle category! C’est la vie!

Number 3: Family friendly activities

The mountains are a giant playground.  Year round we play outdoors, after all as the saying goes ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.  There is so much to do at very little cost and we benefit from family friendly activities year round.

In the summer we have the lakes, beaches, mountain hikes, picnics and outdoor pools, plus the numerous peak season sports, activities and fetes that take place.  In the winter we have alpine sports, ice rinks, sledging, snow shoeing and winter walks.  In between the tourist seasons we can visit autumn fairs, playgrounds, pools and nearby towns. The list of things to do throughout the year could go on and on and the alpine exploration is endless.

Number 2: Language skills

My children will grow up bilingual.  My 4 year old already speaks better french than I do! I feel that it is a great gift to be able to speak two languages.

Family ski

Family ski time

Number 1: Skiing

For both me and my husband, it was the allure of skiing that brought us to the alps.  My husband fell in love with skiing when he first hit the slopes as a teenager and started training to be a ski instructor in his twenties.  I was talked into to doing a season as a chalet girl when I was 21 and my love affair with the mountains started from then.  Our oldest daughter has been on skis since she was two years old and it won’t be long until our youngest joins us too.

Skiing on our doorstep has got to be our number 1 awesome reason for living in the mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

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Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Thonon-les-Bains port

10 family friendly summer activities in and around Morzine

By writing about our top 10 family friendly summer activities in and around Morzine, I hope to inspire families to get outdoors and have fun without spending too much money.  I hope our summer adventures will motivate you to hike, picnic and play outside as much as you can – even with babies.

To start with I will be sharing my top 10 summer adventures with young children.  Often people associate Morzine with mountain biking or road cycling. Both of these are huge here, however there is so much on offer that doesn’t involve being on two wheels.

There are some incredible activities in and around Morzine, however my top 10 are all baby friendly and free or low-cost.  My mountain girls are young – the oldest is four and the youngest is not yet a year old.  This rules out some of the more extreme sports and difficult hikes. I am looking forward to doing these with the girls as they grow up.

Excenevex Plage

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Excenevex Plage.

Excenevex Plage

This beautiful sandy beach is on the shores of Lac Leman and is just over half an hour from where we live.  The beach is extremely popular in the peak summer months.  Our visits have mostly been during this beautiful warm Autumn.  The water has been surprisingly warm and the lake is shallow for a long way out, which is perfect for little ones.

Excenevex is the only natural sandy beach on the shores of Lake Geneva. There are restaurants and snack bars around the beach, kiosks to hire paddle boards and pedalos, volley ball courts, and a fantastic play park right on the beach.  During the peak season, you have to pay 5 euros for parking, however we have not minded this as it is to keep the beach clean and groomed for all to enjoy. To live in the mountains with a lovely sandy beach nearby is a dream come true.  Next summer I’d like to take our tent to the campsite next to the beach so we can wake up at the waters edge.

Lake Montriond

This is one of the most stunning areas that I have visited in the Alps.  We are extremely fortunate to live only ten minutes away.  Needless to say, this is probably our favourite local place to visit.  My eldest daughter loves the play park which includes a mini zipline.  On the large lake, you can hire a canoe or stand up paddle board.  With children the smaller swimming lake is a big hit.  The water can feel a little fresh, it is a mountain lake after all, but on a hot day it is a perfect way to cool off.

There are a number of restaurants around the lake, including a new one at the entrance to the main carpark.  We often picnic around the lake, then head to the restaurant kiosk for an ice cream.  Other activities on offer include hiking, pony riding and fishing.

With its glistening emerald waters set against towering cliffs, Lake Montriond oozes peace and tranquility.  When we first moved here, the stress of the move, my husband working away and endless unpacking whilst looking after a baby and a four year old was overwhelming at times.  A trip to Lake Montriond would immediately give me a sense of calm and tranquillity, so this became a regular outing. Lake Montriond therapy……..health and happiness in the mountains!

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Lake Montriond. Lac de Montriond.

Lake Montriond. Lac de Montriond

Aquariaz Pool

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Avoriaz. Aquariaz.

On top of the world in Avoriaz

We visited Aquariaz in Avoriaz on a rainy day when my sister and her family came to visit.  It is a fairly windy drive up to Avoriaz, but once you are there the views are stunning. Entrance to the pool was slightly on the pricy side (9 euros for adults and 6 euros for children aged 3 – 11 years. Babies are free) and being a rainy day the pool was busy, but my four-year old was in her element.

She loved floating around the lazy river, playing in the aqua park and riding the little water slides.  The kids area was a little too chaotic for my liking, with over excited children running in all directions and the occasional pile up on the slides.  However, this has made my top 10 for my daughter!

For older children there is pool side rock climbing, a rope swing and a rubber tubing half-pipe which looked like great fun!  We will be back.

Seytroux Natural Pool

You can see the inviting natural pool in the background of this picture.

We headed down to the village of Seytroux and followed the signs to the mini golf.  When we arrived we were greeted by glistening turquoise waters, where the river ran into a beautiful natural pool.

Overlooking the pool there is a bar-restaurant which also provides deck chairs for relaxing next to the water. Instead of playing mini golf we ended up splashing around in the water.  Next time we go, I plan to follow the river walk from our house to get there.

Thonon port 

When we moved to the area earlier this summer, we had no idea that Thonon-les-Bains has so much to offer.  We love going down to the port for an ice cream and a walk along the shores of Lac Leman.  We like looking out over the water and choose which boat we would like to own!

The port is linked to the town centre by a cable car.  There are a range of water front restaurants, a children’s play area and a carousel during the summer months.

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Port at Thonon-les-Bains

Port at Thonon-les-Bains

Plage Municipal Thonon

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Plage Municipal Thonon-les-Bains

Fun times at the Plage Municipal, Thonon-Les-Bains

Not far from the port, right on the waters edge is the Plage Municipal.  Here are find various sized swimming pools, a lovely splash pool for little ones and a water slide.  There are also diving boards and a slide into the lake.  There is a large grassy area with the bonus of being shaded by tall pine trees, a children’s play park and various sunbathing areas / solariums.  The lake is easily accessible for a swim and all areas are well monitored by life guards.

We think that the Plage Municipal is great value for money. Entrance is only 4, 50 euros for adults and it is free for children under 5.  The beautiful views over the lake set against mountain backdrops are a bonus.  We took a picnic, although there is a restaurant and a snack bar on site.

River walks

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine.

Family stroll along the river

Running from Morzine all the way down to Lac Leman is the river Dranse.  During the summer months it hosts a whole range of activities from white water rafting and hydrospeed to fishing.   Unfortunately, my girls need to be a bit older before we can play on the river, however there are plenty of beautiful river walks to do all the way down the valley.

Our chalet is located just off the river.  We often pick up a river path from home and wander as far as a four-year-old’s legs will allow.  Being in the mountains, we have an off-road pram; the Jané Trider which allows us to be adventurous with our terrain.  There are plenty of places to sit by the river, paddle and skim stones.

Lake in Les Gets / Lac des Ècoles

Another day, another picturesque mountain lake to visit!  The Lac des Ècoles is yet another beautiful place to relax, enjoy a picnic (although there is a bar-restaurant at the lake) and have lots of fun!  During the summer you have to pay a small fee for access to the lake (although it is free if you have a multipass), however you benefit from lifeguards being on duty.  We have not swum in this lake yet, however we went for a lovely stroll and used the play park.

On the lake, the Witbit water park looks like great fun. The minimum age for Witbit inflatables is 6 years and you must be able to swim. There is also a water slide which looked very popular with children.

Play park in Morzine

If you head to Parc des Déreches and walk along the river, past the swimming pool complex you will come to a lovely children’s play area.  The park is surrounded by tall trees, providing much needed shade on hot days.

Nearby is the Indiana Park which has high ropes and zipwires. We are looking forward to trying this next summer.

The Goat Village / Lindarets

Family friendly things to do in and around Morzine. Goat Village. Lindarets

Feeding the goats at the Goat Village, Lindarets

My brother-in-law first told me about the Goat Village.  He said that you were served by goats in the restaurants and that the goats manned the shops (this is not an insult to the actual people working there – more a testament of how many goats there are freely wandering around!) and he wasn’t far wrong.  The goats certainly seem to rule the village!

Whilst I do question how much the goats really do enjoy being overfed by the huge numbers of tourists that visit, Lindarets is a picturesque old style alpine village set high up above Ardents with stunning views.  My daughters were both enamoured with the goats, which roam freely around the village.  Goat feed can be purchased for 1 euro in the local shops.

There are a number of restaurants in the village, and although we didn’t eat here some of the daily specials sounded great and the food looked yummy.  My taste buds were slightly put off by the ‘eau de Goat’ aroma, although I will definitely go back to try the alpine specialities on offer.

There is so much to do around Morzine and Thonon and we have barely scratched the surface.  On our autumn and next summers bucket lists are:

  • Les Gorges du Pont du Diable,
  • A visit to the town of Evian,
  • A trip to the medieval town of Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman
  • A walk to Ardent falls
  • A boat trip to explore Lac Leman

If you live here or know the area well, I would welcome other suggestions of activities to do with young children and babies. You may also be interested in our blog on why we think that living in the mountains is awesome. 

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