A Simpler Approach

My New Year’s Resolution? Putting me first
As we welcome a new year and vow to do a whole host of things most of us won’t follow through on, Amanda Dicker from The Chapel is taking a simpler approach

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The successful hairdresser and owner of The Chapel Salons in Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, London and Verbier won’t be signing up for a fad food regime or an expensive weight loss club this year but she will be putting herself first for a change, and she’s hoping others might try it too.

After years striving to be the best at everything and to everyone, Amanda reached a crossroads in her life two years ago. Juggling so many balls had left no time for herself and, realising she was becoming someone she really didn’t like or want to be, she downed tools one day and walked out of the boardroom to reassess her life and everything in it.

“Too often these days we mistake a hectic schedule for a full life,” says Amanda. “If we’re not working and putting our energy into something, we believe we’re wasting time and that taking time for ourselves won’t accomplish anything, but in my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth!

“I let the stress and anxiety build up, running round doing things for everyone else, trying to be the best mum, wife, friend, daughter and woman, and feeling selfish taking time for myself, but the reality is that if you run yourself into the ground you’re not going to be much help to anyone.

“All of a sudden I was at home during the day and wasn’t used to it. When you’re always busy and always at work, it suddenly feels really alien – like you’re a naughty child playing truant from school but I remember the first thing I did was paint the garden fence and it actually felt fantastic.”

Walking away was a huge game changer for the 46 year old who, having been diagnosed with dyslexia as a teenager, had spent years competing and comparing herself to others, and feeling less of a human being. Now with time on her hands and a clearer head to think more about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’, she realised how living in the moment was making her so much happier than reflecting on the past and chasing the future, things that have been key to getting her life back into balance.

“It wasn’t until I read up on things that I realised I’d reached burn out, probably a bit of an overused phrase now but definitely everything I was reading summed up exactly how I was feeling and the point I’d reached in my life. After painting the fence I made a conscious decision to just slow down and pause.

“I started exercising with a great gym teacher and began yoga and meditation with an amazing teacher in Tunbridge Wells, and both have really inspired me in life.

“The main thing I realised in all of this is the importance of giving yourself some time, even if it’s just a small pause in the day and how this can make a big difference, not just how you feel in yourself but how you are around your family, friends and work team.”

Amanda worked with leading perfume expert Fran Brown to develop her new range that includes candles, hand cream and pulse point fragrances in three different scents.

“I might not be the first person to create these types of products, but what I want to be different is how people think and feel when they use them,” she continues. “I would love for people to take a small pause just to ‘be’ and to think about little things to be grateful for each day, which can be really powerful.”

This shift towards living in the moment has transformed the way Amanda now lives and works and she admits she’s a much better person to be around too.

“It’s taken me three years to realise who I am and what I want from life and work. Thinking about the past and the future, whether positive or negative, makes me anxious and I realised living in the present, taking each day as it comes, can be much more beautiful. There’s no thought around it, it’s real time, the here and now, and it’s a far more positive place to be. I took my watch off straight after I finished painting the garden fence and it hasn’t gone back on. The ‘now’ tattoo in its place is important to me and reminds me to stay in the present.”

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Of course there are times when she needs to be somewhere and then she’ll glance at the clock on her phone just to keep on track, but Amanda’s certainly no slave to timekeeping.

“You can tell what time of day it is by your surroundings and lighting, you don’t need a watch and these different vibes for different times of the day are important in the new range too. I’ve created three different fragrances inspired by times of the day that reflect how I feel at home and work.”

Her advice to anyone else struggling to keep on top of everything?

“Pause and be kinder to yourself. Accept that the more time we take the more life gives us. Follow your own drumbeat, stay true to yourself and your own values. Whatever you do now will affect you later.”

And her last piece of advice?

“I would just like to encourage people to take a pause and be more of a human ‘being’ rather than a human ‘doing’. By being and living in the moment you really do have the chance to be your true self.”

More information on The Chapel and Amanda’s new range can be found at www.thechapel.co.uk