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Archive for the ‘dealing with stress’ Category

I’m on a mission… to park the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Why don’t I have time to write? Because I don’t make it a priority.

In fact, I don’t make anything about me a priority. Writing, eating well, exercising, downtime, time with people I love, FUN. Oh yes, I do all that, in between the other bits. Jammed in between.

But mostly I’m tearing down life’s highway, sirens blaring, to fix a real or imagined emergency. I don’t actually stop to question if it is an emergency, I just jump right in the ERV and go…

Which leaves me existing in the future – the “one day” when life will be calm and rational, and I’ll have the time to do all those things I’ve been putting off (or stuffing, half finished, in the bottom drawer).

So the brakes are on. I’ve already started encouraging my kids to start solving their own problems – or at least, not make mama the first call before they’ve put their own brains in gear.

And I’m taking lunch breaks. Yes, in this mad crazy year, when I’m grateful to be so busy in my business, I still need to breath – and eat – and occasionally do yoga.

I’m also stopping the multi-tasking. Being present and focused is actually working – and it’s reducing my anxiety levels. So is not always being connected.

The secret is to check in with yourself regularly – or so I’ve discovered. Who would’ve thought you’d have to remind yourself to breath, or walk, or listen, or think.

Or to remind yourself of something so obvious: who’s going to make your life happen – and when – if you don’t?

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As the song goes – some days are diamonds, some days are stones. (Well I hope that’s how it goes. I’ve only just convinced my daughter that the words to another song are ‘Deep Water’ rather than the ‘Pete Waller’ she was singing.)

Yesterday was a stones kinda day.

But today is better. Why? I think it’s all about your mental approach and having a system to deal with these things and get yourself back on course.

For me, one of the first things I try to do is get my mind thinking in a way that’s helpful to me. I picked up one of the many, many inspirational books on my shelf and looked for help. The first page asked, ‘Where will you be five years from today?’ (It happens to be the name of the book too.) It was all I needed. That one line gave me my problem and my cure.

Problem – I’m not exactly where I want to be.

Cure – Make a plan to get there.

The other thing was that it reminded me that I had made a plan, I had been sticking to it, and I am slowly getting there.

Where I want to be is published in fiction. Where I am, is writing stuff for other people to make money. (A good substitute, because I do like eating and paying my bills.)

My plan is to give myself two years to continue this way, keep finishing all my half-done projects and put them out there. I’m not starting another new thing until they’re done. Everything new gets jotted down and stuck into the ideas file.

It didn’t turn my day into a diamond, but it made it possible for me to keep on going rather than getting stuck in a rut.

So next time your day is stones, inspire yourself. You know what to do. You’ve done it before. You will do it again.

And finally, here’s another piece of inspiration from the 5 book – Give yourself permission to aim high in work and life. Take time to dream and plan.

 

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Start. Do anything. Do something. Act.

If you can do one small thing today, you are one step closer to your goal.

Do you have a goal?

Perhaps today is the day you work out what your goal is. Because that is enough to take you one step ahead and how to make progress. (Well don’t just sit there. Get a piece of paper and do it now.)

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A friend took our advice and set a goal to rise a mere 10 minutes early and do some writing. (All good so far – she loves us – she thinks this is great.)

Then she proceeds to burn her hand (significantly) on an overheated cooking utensil. (Not so good now – she’s in pain – she hates us.)

Why? Well because it’s all our fault of course for making her set that goal of getting up early, so now her mean subconscious had to step in and sabotage all these useful plans that would actually get her (slowly) to her goal of writing and instead end up in agony, clutching bags of ice that she melts like a Marvel superhero due to the smouldering heat eminating from her smouldering palm.

Now as far as excuses go, this is a good one. I mean, the amount of painkiller she downed would probably stop an elephant from rising and painting art for charity. STILL, it got me thinking about excuses. About the fact that I’ve made a truckload of them in my lifetime. That if only I’d written them down I would actually have enough words for several novels – but none of them good. (Okay, third degree burns do constitute a good excuse. But that’s not one that I can truthfully use.)

At the moment I have several reasons for why I can’t possibly get on with writing this script that I’m being paid to write. Being. Paid. To. Write. Yes, you read that write, right. What the hell is wrong with me?

A lifetime of training in making excuses, and it’s gotta stop. Excuses might make amusing anecdotes for cafe conversation, but they can make the rest of your life a misery. This is what I want to be doing. Why am I not doing it? I’ll tell you why… [insert pathetic excuse]

So what’s your best excuse? Got any good ones? We could write a book you know!

 

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Today, the torrent that’s been my year-so-far has slowed down – momentarily at least – and I’ve risen, gasping for air, to the surface. How exciting! A few days to breathe, kick off a couple of other projects I thought would require the midnight oil burner, and maybe get some me-time.

Right. Tomorrow. #1. Start the …. #2. Sort the…. #3. Clean the…. #4. Get the….. #5. Go to….#6. Have lunch with…. #7. Call…..

Oh god, there I going making lists again.

Why can’t I stop doing that? What’s so addictive about lists – especially really, really long ones I can’t possibly get done in the one, tiny, weeny day I’ve had off in god knows how long.

I saw a sticker on a car the other day, in fancy schmantzy writing: Justify your existence. I wanted to shout, NO! Don’t you get it?? I want to stop justifying my existence. It’s all I ever do…

The endless to-do lists are a clue. So is my inability to stop and smell the roses (without noticing the weeds I have to pull out or that the poor things could do with some fertilizer).

…the thing is, I know I’m not alone out here. We get just a bit addicted to our busy-ness and we find it hard to sit still – in a conscious state that is. Yeah, we might vege out in front of the TV after our power wind-down (aka wine-downing), but we’re not so good at not trying to be everything to everyone, while keeping the house in order, the kids lives in order, and the business/finances in order.

When was the last time you looked at the chaos around you and shrugged. Or when your kid/significant other said ‘have you seen my…’ and you said ‘nah’ without budging an inch. Or when you, in a fully-conscious, living-in-the-moment state, just didn’t try to do everything.

I can’t remember the last time I did that. Except in my head. Because we’re programmed to nurture, reduce chaos, facilitate others, and look good doing it.

“Justify your existence”? Oh, we’ve done that already.

Rip!! Crumple!! Chuck!!

That was the to-do list for tomorrow. Hmmmm. I’ve just discovered my diaphram – and I’m breathing again.

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In the spirit of ‘being enough’, today’s FIVE FOR FRIDAY is about turning negatives into positives, and making life simpler and happier.

Number one – Weighing yourself with glasses on can be disturbing at first. You will weigh more than you thought you did. (Can you tell what I did this morning?) But fat can be good. Find the good, whether it’s larger mammaries or an increased supply of human body fat to sell on the black market, and work with it. Once you’ve worked out a positive in any situation, it’s easier to make an effective start on changing the negatives.

Number two – Christmas can suck. There, it’s been said. There’s so much pressure to buy, buy, buy. And do we really need any more ‘stuff’? This year I’m avoiding the ‘stuff-trap’. I’m spending time with my kids, making small Christmas packages of specially decorated biscuits for the people we really don’t need to buy any ‘stuff’. Yes, it’s an easy option with kids. But what about a disc with a photo slide show, or a video you can make for family? If they don’t like it, they can always use it as a drink coaster or a bookmark, which was probably the level of ‘stuff’ you’d have bought for them anyway.

Number three – still on Christmas. Avoid the big shops when you can. There’s nothing that makes me more miserable than fighting for a carpark in a large shopping centre. All bets are off during December in carparks. I hate it. So go to that smaller, daggier, shopping centre, that’s probably closer anyway. No they won’t have a huge range, a food hall, or that favourite chainstore cafe you like. But it’ll be less stress, probably support a number of struggling small businesses, and you won’t get into a punch-up in the carpark.

Number four – moving on from Christmas. Plan for next year now. Don’t leave that New Year’s resolution until the New Year. Start putting it in place now. What do you want to be doing next year? Work out a schedule, an action plan, perhaps even a budget and map it out. If you want to lose weight or get fit, join the gym today, don’t wait! If you’re ready to go on day one (or already going), this year’s resolution might just be the one you stick to.

And finally, number five – Put it all into perspective. There’s always someone worse off, always someone better off. Stay positive, as much as you can. Give yourself reminders when you’re giving in to being down, and create ways to avoid the black dog. If you’re still here, there’s still hope. Any library has a range of books with stories of desperation and hope – read one. Then get up and do something, even the smallest thing you can think of, to achieve the things you want from life.

Have a great day everybody!

S & L.

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