Just One Thing…

Happy New Year…can I still say that on 13th January?! Well, as this is my first post of 2020 – I’m going to go with it anyway!

I hope you had a lovely New Year and that 2020 brings you health, happiness and of course, many reasons to smile!

It’s a brand new shiny year, and lots of people are discussing their new year’s resolutions, and the goals and targets they are setting themselves.

We can all think of numerous things that could possibly make our lives better, happier, or simpler, but thinking that way can be overwhelming and stressful.

So, instead, choose just one thing that you’d like to change, to give a try, or improve at, and concentrate on just that one thing, thinking about how you could achieve it.

Tackling things one at a time is much more manageable, and we often find we can do them more efficiently because we are giving them all our attention, and not getting distracted by all the “other things” –

then, once you’ve conquered that, move on to the next…

Karen x

It’s Just One Day…

At this time of year, we’re surrounded by festive cheer, laughter and talk of spending time with friends and family, but sadly, that’s just not the case for everyone.

For lots of reasons, Christmas can be a difficult time for lots of people, so it’s important to be kind to yourself over the Christmas period.

The prospect of attending gatherings or parties can be daunting, and even the fact that our usual daily routine is disturbed at this time of year, can cause additional anxiety.

Try not to put pressure on yourself to please everyone else – remember it’s your holiday time too…don’t spend it feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

If you’re feeling anxious and need to step away for a moment, do it, find a quiet area, simply breathing in and exhaling, slowly and deeply, can help your body settle down to a more natural, resting state, and ease feelings of anxiety.

If you can, keep doing the activities or hobbies that you enjoy during the rest of the year, so you don’t notice the change of daily routine too much, and remember, it is just one day…


Karen x

Keep Growing

Springtime is now definitely here, and we are loving it at TSP HQ!

The trees are beginning to turn green, flowers are starting to bloom, and if you’re lucky to live in or near the countryside, you’ll start to see the new Spring lambs arriving in the fields.

Spring is known as being a season of new life and growth, and regardless of how old we are, or what we’ve been through, we are all, also growing, all the time.

Personal growth is an important part of life, it gives us the opportunity to experience new things and learn about ourselves, about others, and the world around us.

We are always evolving as people, life is always changing, and we can choose to stay where we are, or we can continue to grow with it, keep learning, challenge ourselves and have new experiences.

Personal growth can be great for our overall well-being and mental health too, as it can make us more prepared and able to deal with the challenges that life will undoubtedly throw our way, and develop the skills needed to handle our emotions.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep fighting on, and know which direction we should be heading, and that’s Okay, but if we want to make the most out of life, we need to learn to push through these obstacles and barriers…keep going, and keep growing.

Karen x

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish…

I know, you don’t often see me blog on a Saturday, but I’ve been thinking about the importance of self-care this week, so I wanted to write a little about it.

Self-care is something we hear mentioned quite a lot, and it can sound somewhat self-indulgent, and ‘fluffy’ – but it certainly isn’t selfish, in fact, it’s essential!

Self-care is a very personal thing, and can be interpreted differently from person to person, basically, it’s the routine of doing something you enjoy, and essentially doing it, for you.

It could be down to simply being kinder to yourself. Our lives have become so busy and hectic, that most of us operate on auto-pilot. We are so consumed with work, household chores, sorting the kids out…and now, technology and social media have been added to that list too, so we forget how important it is, for our own health and well-being, to, just, press pause.

Investing in some well-deserved self-care is important to help prevent burnout, and allows us to take time out to recharge our batteries.

The practice of self-care has lots of great benefits, both physical and mental, it can help boost our self-confidence too, by taking part in activities that we are good at, and enjoy doing.

One excuse for not making time for ourselves, is that we just don’t have the time. But, the best thing about self-care is that it can fit into our routine, and can begin with small little habits implemented each day.

Ideas may include going for a walk and unplugging from technology for an hour, or trying mindfulness, and just, being still. Taking time to laugh, whether socially, or while watching a funny sitcom, or maybe, if you enjoy physical exercise, spending an hour at the gym, listening to your favourite music, or going for a run.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is good for you, and helps you to reconnect with yourself – the key to self-care, is little and often.

Karen x

Christmas Tips & A Thank You


I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this our penultimate blog post of 2018!!

I will share the contents of this month’s parcels at the very end of December, as of course, they are our Christmas parcels, and I know lots of you are saving them to open on Christmas day…which we love!

I want to start off by saying a huge thank you for all your amazing support during this year. We are always so overwhelmed by the number of lovely people we get to (virtually!) meet on our venture into running a small business.

Can you believe The Smile Parcel will be 2 years old in February! It’s gone so quickly, but we’re loving every minute of it, and receiving your feedback telling us how our parcels make you smile, and make your day that little bit brighter, reminds us why we are here, and what is important.

We’ve got some big plans for 2019, including introducing some pre-selected, ready-to-go parcels, for those of you who aren’t so keen on the surprise element of our monthly parcels – you can choose exactly what you want inside – but don’t worry, our monthly surprise parcels will be staying just as they are!

On a personal note, I have spent the last couple of months training to become a volunteer crisis counsellor, working with a new mental health charity. I published a separate post on 7th December, which tells you lots more about the charity, and some information in case you may be interested in volunteering too!

That post is here: https://www.thesmileparcel.co.uk/volunteerasacrisiscounsellor/

As you know we are passionate about mental health, and helping to raise awareness where we can. Sadly, Christmas isn’t a happy time for everyone, and it can also be full of pressures, and the feeling that we are all ‘supposed’ to be happy, and enjoying the festivities.

Lots of us rely of our routine to keep ourselves on track, and this can be disrupted at Christmas time.

It can help to try to be as organised as possible, and not leave things until the last minute, they can then build up and become much bigger in our minds, and become stressful.

Also try to keep any hobbies going over the holidays, as we would during the rest of the year. This can be difficult if places or groups we attend are closed, but maybe swap some of these things for something else similar, for example if you regularly attend exercise groups or classes, you could go for a walk, or even a run, each morning, so you don’t feel the disruption so much.

It can be tempting to want to make everyone else happy at Christmas, and do more than we want to do, so remember to look after yourself, and don’t take on too much – it’s your holiday too!

I hope you have a wonderful peaceful Christmas, filled with joy (and a little, or a lot, of chocolate!!)

Karen x


Make Yourself Cosy

Hello, it’s time for another positive mental health tip, and this one is perfect for the colder months that are on the way…

Winter will be fully here very soon, and sometimes it can be difficult to adjust to changing seasons, especially when that change includes shorter days, and lower temperatures.

The dark and gloomy weather can easily make us want to hide away, eat unhealthy foods, and be generally unsociable!

But there are things we can do to try to embrace the winter – rather than trying to avoid it.

It’s a great excuse to make ourselves super cosy, and indulge in a little comfort, whether that be wrapping up in chunky knits, gloves, scarves, woolly bobble hats, and heading outside…
Or, if you’d rather stay indoors, snuggle under a blanket, in fluffy socks, in front of your favourite TV box set, sipping a hot chocolate (covered in marsh mallows and sprinkles)…Ooh sounds perfect!

Making some subtle changes to your home can help make it feel relaxed and cosy, like adding a throw to the sofa, and a few logs beside the fire (even if they are just for decoration!).

Stock up on warming soups and crusty bread, as that never fails to make me feel warm and cosy on the inside!

What would you add to the list…?

Karen x

Explore & Find Adventure!

I wanted to share another positive mental health tip for this blog post, and this one is a perfect fit with our parcel theme last month.

Our theme for August was ‘Hello Holiday’, and the contents of our parcels were all connected to getting outside, exploring, collecting memories, and finding a little adventure!

Travelling is something that lots of people do, and lots of people think about doing, and for some of those people, they want to travel the world, and go far and wide, and for others, they want to stay slightly closer to home, and the good thing is, it doesn’t matter which we do, exploring can be done anywhere.

Travelling allows us to learn new skills – or discover and develop skills that we already have. It enables us to face challenges, to experience different cultures, to learn new languages, and broaden our taste buds.

The key to finding the next (or first) exploring adventure, is to choose something that already interests us, whether that be tasting different foods, walking in the countryside, visiting old buildings, or maybe, photography, and let that begin the journey.

Exploring can be daunting, as it means throwing ourselves into the unknown, but no matter how far we go, exploring encourages us to step outside of our comfort zone, to find new adventures, and to escape to somewhere new – even if it is only for a short amount of time!

Karen x

Start A Hobby

Hello, it’s Monday again! I think it’s time we had another positive mental health tip – this one is all about hobbies!

We all have busy lives, and sometimes, just general day-to-day ‘adulting’ can be stressful. Having a hobby can be one way of de-stressing and taking a little time out from the real world, even if it’s only briefly!

Hobbies take lots of different forms, it could involve being creative, like designing and making, whether it be knitting, stitching, drawing or pottery, or it could be more of a pursuit, such as hiking, cycling…or water sports!

Whatever is your ‘thing’, having a hobby is great for us and has lots of positive benefits. It can give us health benefits, both physical and mental, and allows us to build self-confidence, and learn new skills.

Sometimes, rediscovering our inner-child and doing something we enjoyed as a child, helps us to reconnect with our creativity and passions. An example of this would be colouring, which has become popular for both children and adults – this may not be your first choice of hobby, but it definitely allows us to take a little time out to unwind, while the rest of the world continues around us.

So, what will be your next hobby?!…

Karen x