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October is upon us and as the leaves begin to change colour and fall, I cannot help but embrace this magical and rather mysterious time of the year. It is the time of the year when the past lies ahead of you and the future walks behind you. Suddenly Halloween decorations are adorning every spare inch of every supermarket aisle and as people buy their ghoulish masks and trick or treat delights I wonder whether the meaning of this ancient festival has been lost.

Tradition has it that Halloween is the night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead thins, enabling the dead to walk among the living and the living move among the dead. Whilst commonly known as Halloween the last night of October is the start of Samhain (which is pronounced “sow-in”), the great Celtic festival which in essence is all about renewal and new beginnings. As the dead walk among the living, the fires are extinguished and rekindled, the god and the goddess come together in sacred union, and as the year turns from light to dark, the earth prepares to yield again. Often portrayed as a scary time of year it was considered by the Celts to be a time to look into the future.

For me October is always a time when I seek to make positive changes— getting organised, clearing out the old and casting aside anything not needed. Undoubtedly change can be daunting and I have found in my life that change isn’t always a joyful, happy time, but rather a time to act like things are unfolding perfectly; indeed on occasion I have been known to sport a painted smile.

Like many of us I want change as much as I am afraid of it. It is easier to hang on to things because of the fear of the unknown than it is to embrace unfamiliar territory and so whilst some people embrace abstaining from alcohol in October, I embrace clearing out all my unwanted things and patterns of behaviour. Change is part of life. It’s going to take place with or without my approval, so I may as well embrace it.

So as I prepare to carve pumpkins with the girls I will also be reflecting on some positive changes in my life as well. Making changes in your life for the better doesn’t have to mean making huge leaps forward, because, although I am guilty of plunging in head first, just a few simple changes can make a big impact on your life. My top tips for a positive October are:

 

  1. Think positive

I know you’ve read this before and you’re thinking, yeah, yeah, but really think positive and everything will be alright. Admittedly thinking won’t instantly cure everything, but you have to start somewhere and this is a good place. Life is just too short to be stuck in negative thinking.

 

  1. Focus

 

Make it a habit to focus on just one task at a time and you will get a lot more done. When you multitask, you might think you are getting more things done, but all those things will actually take longer and you won’t do them so well. When I start looking ahead at everything I need to do in a day I just get daunted and overwhelmed. Sometimes I find that the state of panic from being swamped with a million tasks just results in despair and no action so my bet advice is focus on one task at a time and you will achieve a lot more.

 

  1. Don’t put off until tomorrow

Promise to make a start on the tasks that you have been putting off. All those part complete projects just weigh you down and they are constantly at the back at your mind. My top tip is make a list and promise yourself to make a little bit of progress every month on one part completed task.

 

  1. Prioritise and make lists

 

Another good tip on how to change your life for the better is to prioritise. It’s hard to prioritise because there are always the things we want to do and the things that need to be done, so this task requires discipline. Get those important things out of the way first and then have your fun with the things you enjoy doing.

 

  1. Create a good routine for yourself

With a busy working life and children I have found that a structured day is essential otherwise I wander aimlessly from one task to another and, before I know it, the day has gone by. I plan every day and start with what time I will wake up and include what time I will start to work and what time I will finish. Structuring my day and sticking to it, really helps me to get things done and I use October as a month to tighten things up and get rid of sloppy habit that inevitably creep in.

 

  1. Avoid conflict – what’s the point?

Just walk away from unnecessary conflict of any kind and you will have more time for positive things – I know it’s hard. Arguments just waste your time and they also leave you feeling in a negative frame. If someone annoys you, then walk away, after all, it’s just not worth the effort.

 

  1. Take stock

 

Take stock of your day. Be certain to congratulate yourself on what you have achieved and learn from what you didn’t do so well. Tomorrow is another day and you can always do better.

  1. Take control

It’s impossible to foresee everything that happens, but you can control how you react to events. Avoid the knee-jerk reaction and think things through before you act. Take time and breathe before you make any rash decisions.

 

  1. Live for the now – the past is not for now

When you feel your mind wandering back to the past, apply the brakes because living in the past is no good for you. Dwelling on the past, both the good times and the bad, do nothing to help you now, because it’s not propelling you forward. We have to live in the present so it’s best to focus on being creative and happy today.

 

10.My very best tip is love and believe in yourself.

 

I hope you join me this October and have a jolly good clear out both physically and emotionally. Maybe shake up October might catch on although I’ll have to master this hashtag malarkey before it can become a global phenomenon.

 

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com