Category: Thoughts on life

Pre Holiday stress

Pre Holiday stress

This week I have taken annual leave to spend some time with my boys for their second week of school holidays.

Over the last few years, I have vowed each time I have taken leave to be organised, on top of everything and ease into my leave feeling relaxed. My current role is busier than ever and while I am an organised person there is always the last minute rush when you realise everything you want to achieve. Add to that the mad panic of colleagues when they realise you are not contactable for a week and book meetings into every spare minute.

So each time I feel I limp across the finish line with everything done or delegated but with a stressed and tired body and mind.

Sometimes I wonder if the week off is worth it. Especially during times of lockdown when no visitors can come to the house and places to visit are limited.

However I was lucky enough to meet up with my parents who I hadn’t seen for over four months due to lockdowns. And the boys and I watched some movies, played some games and had lots of laughs. They protested my singing as I turned the music loud when doing housework, and praised my baking as they demolished scones and biscuits.

In all I will say it is worth the stress. When I log back on to work tomorrow and see the mess that is waiting for me I will take a deep breath, make a cup of tea and start plans for my Christmas leave and how I will avoid the pre holiday stress next time!

Mid life awakening

Mid life awakening

As I get closer to my mid forties (not quite there but close) I find that there are parts of my life that I am changing and other parts that I am questioning. I think this is quite natural for people in this age group.

My kids are still young but getting more and more independent and growing fast. I guess that gives me the headspace to start thinking about what my life currently is and what direction I want to move in.

As per previous posts, I have started to further align parts of my life to my values. I have also started reading books on topics of interest, especially around health, and now that my leg has improved I am getting back to walking and exercising.

All of this makes me question other parts of my life. What should I do for work? What will fulfil me and align to my values for another 20 years of working life (unless I win tattslotto). At the moment stability and flexibility are keeping me where I am in a time that is so uncertain.

So for now I am staying where I am and finding challenges and fulfilment in other areas of my life.

So I don’t believe I am going through a mid life crisis, I’m certainly not rushing out to buy a sports cart. Therefore I am calling it a mid life awakening where I am more aware of who I am and what is important to me. What is in my future? Watch this space.

Going green

Going green

After spending the last year and a half going back to basics, as per a previous post, it is time to push myself a bit more. What do I want to do for work, how will I challenge myself, what are the things that are important to me and fit with my values, and how do I want my household to look and run?

To start the thinking process I am writing an ongoing list of what I like doing (now and in the past), what skills I have, and what interests me. This is helping me to channel what I like and am good at, what I want to learn or improve at, and what is really important to my values. And there are definitely some common themes. If it is something you have never done I recommend it as it really gets you thinking.

One thing that is important to me is animal welfare. I have been vegetarian for 26 years, buy cruelty free, have rescue dogs etc.

As I get older , and especially since I’ve had kids, how we look after the planet and being sustainable is also really important. I also like to support Australian made and owned where I can. I cut down waste as much as I can (as a side note my neighbour puts more in my rubbish bin than me as it is never full). We did have a worm farm, although they unfortunately didn’t survive the hot Australian summer so we need to find a better location.

Quite a while ago I swapped my skincare routine all to Sukin which is an Australian company that make beautiful, natural skincare. And at my hairdressers recommendation I use Eleven Australia hair products.

However there is a gap between my cleaning products and my values. This may come from a time a while ago when money was extremely tight and I was watching every dollar, or maybe because I was time poor and took the easy way out. However financially I am in a better position now, and time is not a good enough excuse.

So I started researching and there are so many new companies out the doing great things in this area.

  • Reusable packaging from glass, aluminium or recycled plastic.
  • Refills that come in compostable packaging (note to self – must bring back the worm farm) or in packaging you send back to be refilled.
  • Natural cleaning ingredients and fragrances
  • Programs implemented to ensure they are carbon neutral and helping the environment through planting trees or cleaning up oceans

It made me so happy but it was so overwhelming, and hard to know where to start. So I narrowed it down to those that provided all of my key criteria – reusable initial containers, refillable product that comes in recyclable/compostable packaging, Australian business, natural ingredients and still cost effective. This got me to two companies. One was having a great one day sale on slightly imperfect containers as they didn’t want to waste them and that got me over the line.

Pleasant State seems to tick all the boxes for me apart from one – they do not have a hand soap. However like many of these companies they are relatively new so that could change down the track. And there are other companies I can buy that from anyway. I am starting with the starter pack and will review once I have used the products.

I feel good that I am starting to make more changes. I will use up the products I have here first of course as I am trying not to be wasteful. Over the rest of the year I want to start introducing more eco friendly products into my house. Let me know if you have any great recommendations from products you have tried.

Do you know your triggers?

Do you know your triggers?

Everyone has triggers. Things that seem insignificant to most people but make you react in a way that you know may be irrational.

I was reminded of this last night when watching I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Perez Hilton acted irrationally/over the top when he thought someone was disrespectful to another camp mate. He admitted later people he thought were disrespecting his family are a huge trigger for him.

I watch my son who has been through multiple surgeries and procedures. Anything medical is a trigger for him now – even going to the dentist or GP. Today we had an appointment for something minor at the GP and he ended up in tears and distraught about a needle there is a small chance he will need in a week.

I have a few triggers that I am aware of and others catch me by surprise. I have been triggered by things that remind me of the downfall of my marriage, where I am frustrated by medical ambiguity and long waits in hospital waiting rooms.

Two weeks ago I read an article that was written by my ex. It was to help get support and fundraising for the charity that helps with my sons condition. So it was for a great cause and for all the right reasons. However the language he used was apparently a massive trigger for me and sent me into a downward spiral of anxiety that lasted for two days. I found some new ways to settle my anxiety a little (jigsaws work well as my brain and hands are occupied and concentrating on something else). A couple of days later I was feeling more settled but I was shocked at how it had impacted me. And while I am rational about it right now I know that I will probably be triggered by this again.

It is an interesting thought though – what do you know is a trigger for you? Or have you not discovered yours yet?

Starting with intention

Starting with intention

Happy new year everyone.

This year I am taking the advice of another and have started by taking some time to reflect on the year gone by and set my intentions for the year ahead. This is very different to setting resolutions which is something I have never been big on as I think it sets you up for feeling like a failure when you slip up.

I am very big on being grateful for what I have and have written about this before. Every night I take the time to record three things I am grateful for – even on a rough day I manage to find three things (sometimes it does include things like take away food after a hard day). I also encourage my kids to think of the best thing from their day over dinner to try and show you can always find good moments even in the toughest days. And from January 1st I have started journaling about one of my three gratitude points as it is said that reliving the point provides the benefits of when you experienced it the first time – reducing stress and helping you feel calmer. This is perfect before bed and something I have planned to do for a while however wasn’t in the right headspace the last few months.

So getting back to how I have started my year. The first part is to reflect on the year gone by. What happened, what am I grateful for and what did I learn.

Then I set my intentions for the year ahead. What do I want to do, what do I want to reduce and what am I grateful for at this time of my life. And unlike resolutions there is no failure and giving up if I don’t achieve. It is more about setting the direction I would like my year to go and things I would like for us to try and achieve/do together as a family.

I found it a really positive and clarifying experience and have shared my answers with my boys. I did also give them the same sheets to the boys and discovered something. Everything they could remember for the last year happened in the last few weeks other than one major event. Which I guess is why it is important to talk about our days a the time while it is fresh in their mind.

Wishing you all an amazing new year/decade that is full of moments you are grateful for.

Friendships

Friendships

I have a small eclectic group of friends that have been gathered from different times throughout my life – family, school, work, marriage, becoming a parent. And I truly believe some friends are around for the long term and others come in and out of your life. Many people you meet during school or work are friends for the purpose and time and when you move on and no longer have that in common the friendship has run its course.

It is always so much harder for adults, or even older children, to make friends than young children. My youngest used to have a new best friend every time he went to the playground when he was little. And when we moved into our current house he made friends with the boys across the road on day one and they are still going strong two years later.

But how do you know, as an adult, when some friendships have run their course? Especially if you are the one who normally reaches out, makes contact, organises get togethers. When circumstances change in your lives – work schedules, children’s activities, kids with health issues – how do you know if it is life getting in the way or the change of the type of friendship?

In many of my friendships I naturally take on the role of organiser, have for many years. But over the last couple of years I have seen a change in a couple of friendships where I feel like maybe it is just me trying to hold on to what was so important in the past. As I reach out less due to circumstances, I also get frustrated at them not reaching out more. But is that fair given the role I have taken in the past? I also worry that maybe they just don’t want to hear about the issues that have consumed my life over that time anymore. and while I am in a better place these days and more accepting of what my new normal is, it is still my new normal and therefore the main topic of many conversations.

So how do you know? And do you just confront them and talk about it or ride the waves and see where they lead? I am not sure I have the answer to that yet and possibly it is different with each friend. My oldest friend (nearly 30 years since we met) and I can be honest and bring it up, with others I am just not so sure.

One thing I do know is that it is not see easy to make new friends as you get older. maybe tomorrow I should go to a coffee shop, start talking to someone and announce that she is my new friend…..it works for five year olds!!

The new normal

The new normal

This year my family has had four surgeries, one to fix my youngests teeth, two leg surgeries to correct my eldest sons deformity and one to remove a very large lump from my leg. And later in the year we will find out the timeline for the third leg surgery for my eldest.

So life this year has a little bit crazy, with each surgery there has been recovery, physio appointments and it is all being juggled amongst our everyday life.

Most people who check up on us comment on our crazy life/crappy year/how do we cope etc. However while we have had our ups and downs in general I feel we are managing well. Which made me start to think…is that because this is just the new normal?

At different stages of life I think your “normal” alters. There are things that you never think you would do that just become part of every day life. Think of major milestones in your life and each of them probably altered your normal – first love, moving out of home, getting married, having children there are so many of them. For me I add separating from my husband and getting my sons diagnosis.

And while my new normal is busy, crazy and often exhausting it is also what makes me who I am today. I am stronger, more determined, understand my core values better, and prioritise what is best for my family.

So while I would change some of the reasons why this is my new normal I also try to appreciate the good points of it.

And look forward to the next new normal – who knows what that will bring. Hopefully a little less crazy and a little more me time!!

Customer Service – good vs bad

Customer Service – good vs bad

I spent many years of my early working career in front facing customer service roles.  While studying I worked in retail, then a job as a waitress before going back to retail.  After studying my second job saw me go back into a customer service role at my current employer that got me a foot in the door at a large global company.

With all of this experience I think of have some ideas of what the basic requirements are for good customer service.  Recently I had the need to deal with two customer service centres and the experiences couldn’t have been any further apart.

One experience was with a very large global company and was one of the worst experiences I have ever had.  Two days of staying home for the delivery of a very expensive product that didn’t arrive, customer service reps who would say anything to get me off the phone and being advised I could pick up the product from their warehouse but not being able to tell me where that is.

The second experience was with a small overseas company who I contacted to see if I could buy a replacement part for a toy that my eldest had accidentally broken when opening the box.  They got in contact with me quickly and offered to send me a replacement free of charge as they wanted my son to be happy and appreciated my support.

I’d like to think that when I was in customer service I provided support that was more like the latter.  Possibly the large companies need to learn a lesson from the smaller companies who appreciate your business and think every customer is important.