Why every (sceptical) woman needs a bit of ‘woo woo’: EMMA HOWARTH struggled with crippling anxiety. But with no funds for a fancy retreat, she challenged herself to find mystical adventures in the every day…

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  • After a house move, Emma Howarth falls apart and falls into some bad habits
  • Her anxiety and depression increased after a death in the family
  • He decided to put spiritual meaning in my everyday life by challenging myself to do at least one ‘mystical adventure’ every month for a year.

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The feeling of being off-kilter, wrong, not good enough first started when we moved from Bristol to a small town in Kent for my husband’s doctor job.

Our new home was a construction site and my two daughters, aged six and eight, were living on microwaved spaghetti hoops served in a bedraggled corner of the attic.


I didn’t fit in with school gate mums. I come from Yorkshire and had no idea how to find my people in the corner of the ‘Banker’s Belt’ suburb where I crashed.

I began to fall back into the habits I had long been leaving behind – mainlining biscuits one day and then drinking juice the next, living for alcohol. I was constantly feeling tired and anxious.

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And then my husband’s father suddenly died, and I felt the weight of it pulling me down. This was followed by a suffocating feeling that settled deep in my chest.

Of course, I’m not the first person to experience anxiety or depression. Or to cope with the pressures of modern life. I’m not the first time I’ve seen someone I love and it’s so hard.

After a house move, Emma Howarth went off-kilter and got into some bad habits. Her anxiety and depression increased after a death in the family

And yet as I struggled through these difficult feelings, I felt lonely, lost, and disoriented. I needed to find an anchor. I needed to get off the hamster wheel of busy, busy, busy and do something pristine, intelligent, and meaningful. but how? I had a job, a husband and two daughters—I wouldn’t be jetting off to find myself any time soon—and I didn’t have the funds for spiritual life trainers or inspiring weekend retreats.

I could barely wave the magic wand and wander along the white sandy beaches, watching the sunset as much as I loved.

I have to find a way to change my life without bells or whistles or an escape from reality.

So I came up with a plan. I will add spiritual meaning to my everyday life by challenging myself to do at least one ‘mystical adventure’ every month for a year.

I’ll mix it. I’ll see the funny side. No purple robes or midnight chanting or dramatic announcements.

It was about discovering a side of life that was conspicuously absent. It was about tuning into something deeper, finding some kind of inner peace, and easing the stresses of life to do what was best for you.

After a death in the family, Emma's anxiety and depression increased but she found rest every day

After a death in the family, Emma’s anxiety and depression increased but she found rest every day

My challenge turned into a book, The Year of Mystical Thinking – and what did I discover? Well, mainly that slowing down and looking inside is a wonderful gift to give to yourself because maybe you just get what you see out there. It’s like letting out a big sigh of relief. Without my year of mystifying thinking I’m not sure I’d realize how much my two girls need a mom who not only works hard and gets things done but loves her life.

I found that it’s easier than you think to put a little mysticism into your world.

You don’t need to have much time on your hands and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never stepped on a yoga mat. Your path to inner peace is as personal as you are, and it only takes a series of small steps amidst the messes of everyday life to get there. So read on for some of my mysterious year’s highlights — and top tips for embracing yourself.

find your soul guide

The idea of ​​spirit guides, protective universal powers, is common to many mystical and spiritual teachings, while spirit animals are of importance in some Native American traditions.

It is said that spirit guides are magical guides, messengers, helpers, showers of the way, beings or entities dedicated to our guidance and protection. Easily bullied by the skeptic? Erm, yes! Interesting all the same? I think so. Who doesn’t love the idea of ​​a spiritual sidekick who is 100 percent Team U?

Be an astrology superfan

Look, I know it’s not scientific. I am glad to learn that planets are too far away to potentially affect life on Earth. But if you are looking for magic then there is no better place than looking at the stars. As far as I am concerned, astrology transcends logic for all the right reasons and the deeper I go into it, the better I understand who I am and what my potential can be.

It was like a road map for life, a way to become more self-aware and more aware of the people around you, yet another gift from the ancient world that matters a lot in the modern. We all know our star signs, but to go deeper than that, you’ll also need to discover the secrets of your birth chart (a snapshot of the sky at the time you were born). Plug in your details on a site like Astro.com, Astro Seek or Cafe Astrology and see what comes up – it can feel like cracking a secret code.

your turn: One of the best parts of a birth chart is finding out how other people see you – it’s a function of your rising sign, which represents your public self. You’ll need a fairly accurate birth time (within a few hours), but it’s worth trying to find out if you don’t already know. Some people find that they are more closely related to their rising sign than their star sign, and it is always worth reading horoscopes for both (the rising sign is often more accurate).

If you have a rising sign, how do others see you…

Aries: Bright-tempered, quick-tempered, quick-tempered rebel.

Taurus: Reliable, strong-willed, lover of the good life.

Gemini: Super smart, fast-paced chatterbox.

Cancer: Lover in distress, nurturer and good friend.

Leo: A confident fun-lover who stands out from the crowd.

Virgo: Organized and thorough…


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