April Sun

For the first time in over a year, I am currently on a week’s leave from work.

Why? Well, I thought it best to do it now when things are pretty quiet after Easter, as to not put my co-workers in jeopardy while they fill in for me.

What am I planning on doing this week, I hear you ask? At this stage…nothing. I plan on reading, writing, catching up on my favourite TV shows and spending time just breathing…doesn’t that sound spectacular?

After I began my job last year after  month off due to my redundancy, I was refreshed and had no desire for the rest of 2016 to take time off. Of course, there were a few moments where I had wished I could – when things got to be a bit stressful or when my personal wellbeing wasn’t at it’s best – but I carried on.

At the start of this year for about 2.5 months, my life revolved around work. My role as a receptionist in a community college during peak enrolment period really tested my patience and my ability to solve problems quickly and without fuss. It was a demanding time period, yet as I said to a fellow co-worker, I didn’t notice just how busy we were until things started to die down and the pace returned to normal.

I was exhausted. Absolutely spent. Drained from so much customer contact, from answering 100+ phone calls every day for months. Really…over it. Thankfully, my boss noticed my deflation and recommended I plan some time off. Now, I know how lucky I am regarding this – not all bosses will suggest their staff take a week off just to recharge. I saw my opportunity, weighed it against the fact that I hadn’t taken more than a weekend off (and even in some cases, I had worked multiple weekends during that busy period) in over a year and agreed.

Now, here I am. Day 2 of my official days off. Not counting the Easter long weekend, which has already left me refreshed.

I adore this time of the year. April in Australia brings on a cool change, while keeping the sunny days we love. Mornings are brighter, evenings darker earlier and sunsets much more photographic. It’s all so relaxing and cosy.

For Good Friday this year, my family and I packed up our cars and headed to our local lake for some fish and chips by the water. It was such a beautiful, cloudless day looking out onto the water.

I cherish time with my family the older I get as it’s not s regular as it once was. My childhood memories are full of family drives to the lake; piling into the car with our walkmans and Barbie dolls and setting off on an adventure across town. The drive always seemed so long – now we’re there in the blink of an eye. It’s like that with so many things these days in comparison to days gone by. I miss those days immensely.


Easter was relatively quiet. I ventured out of the house Sunday afternoon to see Beauty and the Beast at the cinema with my Mum, sister and Zia (that’s Aunty in Italian if you weren’t aware). As the original Beauty and the Beast cartoon was and is one of my all-time favourite films, I was a bit wary as to how I would enjoy the film, but I was left pleasantly surprised! Highly recommended to those who love Disney, magic, music and romance!

Autumn is all about nature stripping itself of the past as it makes way for new and exciting things. Beautiful things. It can get dark and cold, but it’s all how you look at it. Much the same can be said about our lives and the way we choose to live them.

We can run ourselves down and not do anything to pick back up again, or we can take a break to stop and take the reigns again and prepare whatever is coming next. It’s a time for change, growth and rebirth.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the rest of Autumn has to offer.

Hoping you all had a spectacular long weekend, regardless of what you celebrated – I would love to hear all about your adventures!

6 Months – Moving On & Self Discovery

????????????????????????????????????

6 months. That’s how long it’s been since I started a brand new chapter of my life.

They say that you shouldn’t let your professional life affect your personal life. That work shouldn’t be as important as your relationships/friendships/family. But when you’re suddenly left without a job, you quickly realize just how important having a professional life can be and how it can affect you as a person.

6 months ago, I was made redundant from my job that I had held for the past 5 years. It was always something I was proud of for my age – securing a job which I not only enjoyed doing, but one that I had been able to stay at for 5 years. So many people in my generation seemed content with switching and changing, picking and choosing and trying a bit of everything before finally settling into what they wanted to do. I felt so lucky to have found something I enjoyed doing, doing it well and continuing to do it well for 5 years.

I learned that a lot can change in 5 years for a person. You learn so much about yourself both professionally and personally. But I’ve also learned how much one can learn about themselves in as little as 6 months. How much I can impress myself, looking back on what I have achieved since leaving my job in May, 2016 and how far I have come personally.

You would think that being made redundant would have broken my self-confidence and shattered my belief in myself that I could find another job that I loved just as much as the one I had. 6 months ago, I would have let my anxiety get the better of me and probably would have made myself sick through fear of the unknown.

The truth is, I do fear the unknown. I worry about not only my future, but the future of everyone I love. The difference between who I am now and who I was 6 months ago is that I realize that some things just aren’t up to us to decide. We have to be open to change, to possibility and bend when the wind tries to break us.

I’ve been working in a new job for a wonderful company for the past 4 months. Something I never saw coming, yet when it happened, it just felt right. I knew it was because I kept myself calm and positive, even though the second month of unemployment (which definitely tested my strength).

This whole post isn’t about me. It’s not about overcoming a hard time or my pride in myself for riding through the roller-coaster of change and being left relatively unscathed (although I do reflect on both regularly). I want whoever is reading this post and is dealing with hardship to know this: nobody knows what is going to happen in their lives. We have no idea what we will be doing a week or a month or 6 months from now.

I say to you, do not be afraid of change. Do not let others’ worries for you become your own. Take care of yourself, of your anxieties and your fears and do not close yourself off to change in whatever area of your life you are hoping for some kind of miracle.

6 months ago, I started a new chapter and I feel as though I am a different woman because of it on so many levels. Learning to roll with the punches that life throws at us can be tough, but once you can duck before you’re hit, things start to become a whole lot clearer and the challenge of life becomes so much more.

Try your best, take care of yourself, love yourself and never stop creating positivity within yourself.

6 months has gone and I’ll never look back.

img_0622-1

Life Advice – You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are

Untitled

Life is funny, isn’t it? Without any context, I know  you still know what I mean and I am sure you agree with me.

Everything can be running according to our plans and we can be feeling on top of the world one moment, but unfortunately with such highs also come hurtful lows.

Sometimes when we’re sinking, we are running at such a fast speed, trying to piece things back together and keep our head above water that we don’t even realize we’re sinking until we actually stop. Then it hits like a million waves…until we usually find the ability to float again.

Humans are amazing.

Personally, I’ve marveled at my own ability to push through a really difficult week, getting knocked over multiple times. But somehow, I kept getting up and only now am I able to sit and realize just what I’ve dealt with and how (surprisingly) well I’ve handled it thus-far.

During times of adversity and hardship, try to remember your strength as a person and think of other times you have been faced with challenges which you have been able to face and triumph.

It may take weeks, months or even years to fully comprehend your strength, but one day you will realize just how much perseverance you have within you. Some days it gets you out of bed, others it gets you through hell and back.

Don’t give up on yourself or your ability to conquer life, no matter how tough things seem.

Well done to you – you amazing thing!

img_0622-1

Let It Go

Capture

Making the decision to stop letting certain people and things affect me as deeply has truly changed me for the better. Especially over the past month, where I have experienced a lot of change and have learnt a lot about myself in the process.

But up until recently, I was someone who let the world impact on me in a big way. I absorbed negativity and carried the weight of other people’s problems on my own shoulders. It hurt – things were getting too heavy and I was being weighed down by other people’s issues.

I have always been able to look at certain people and admire the way they juggle everything within their lives as well as being the shoulder for many people to lean on. Think about people who work as counsellors or doctors or police officers, for example. It’s these people’s jobs to be there for people during some of the hardest moments of their lives, and then they have to go back to their own lives and enjoy themselves without letting the stresses of their jobs impact too deeply.

So, how do we do it? How do we live life so that we are there for the ones we love without getting sucked into unnecessary drama, which will eventually cause us pain as well?

From my experience, it’s about stopping for a moment and thinking: Does This Affect Me? Sometimes it’s so easy to get roped into an argument between 2 people you really care about and end up feeling like you’re somehow responsible for fixing it. Or maybe you’re experiencing a horrible attitude from a co-worker, but you know it’s because they’re going through their own personal struggle and they can’t seem to control their anger. In these instances, as much as you can be there for people and show your support, sometimes it’s best to let things go.

If these issues don’t relate to something you said or did, you can make the choice to move forward. Look at the situation, decide whether to involve yourself in it and what the consequences of doing do might be.

Hey, sometimes you might hear two loved ones fighting about something and you know you have to get involved in order for things to settle. It’s important to pick your battles, speak up when necessary, but also back off and let people fight their own battles themselves.

Be open, be approachable to others who still may need your help and advise. Don’t forget to stop and think before getting involved in drama that’s bigger than you may be able to handle, no matter how big your heart may be.

In the end, caring for ourselves and our own wellbeing should always come first – even though it rarely does, unless we make a conscious effort to stop, think and decide whether to fight or let things go.

Thanks for reading,

img_7422-3

Life Advice – 5 ways I harness my anxiety

After a less-than-positive day, I wanted to use my personal struggle with anxiety issues as a basis for this post.

Today was planned to be a very productive day, and from the moment my eyes opened this morning, I knew it would not be going according to schedule.

Anxiety of any form makes life incredibly difficult. Most days it is undetectable by others that I am struggling. And then there are days where it is out there, at it’s worst and available for the whole world to see.

This isn’t going to be the story about my past issues with anxiety, or a deep description of how it feels on my worst days to battle such a illness. The truth is: if you suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, you already know what it feels like.

I wanted to take what I have learned about harnessing my anxiety issues. I use the word ‘harness’ as that is exactly what we need to do – take the reins of the thing trying to control our emotions and our body and steer our anxiety to a safe place.

 

1.. Breathe

This is one I am sure you’ve heard before during moments where someone else can recognise you’re feeling overwhelmed. However, if you learn how to breathe for relaxation purposes, it can be incredibly calming.

There are YouTube videos which can help you with learning how to focus on your breathing during anxious times as well as an amazing app which I have been using for the past year. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of your day to (try) and centre yourself, your thoughts and your mind can really effect your overall wellbeing positively.

 

2.. Time Out

Not everyone has the ability to drop everything and take a sick day. However, taking time out during your day to be alone can be extremely helpful in clearing your mind and recharging your body. Whether it’s taking an hour in the morning to read, or spending some time in the evening watching an episode of your favourite TV show; doing ‘nothing’ and isolating yourself for a small time can really help defuse an anxious period.

 

3.. Write It Down

Having a place to write down how you feel on a daily basis can be really cathartic and also very helpful in the event of seeking help from a professional as you have your thoughts/feelings written down for reference. Don’t be afraid to be honest with how you feel on a daily basis, even trying to write down what setting/event you may have been exposed to during moments where your anxiety is heightened. Just as important, write about times when you’re feeling better, and how you might have been able to get your anxiety under control.

 

4.. Work Out

Now, I’m not one to tell you to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes, followed by a pilates session every morning…but, sometimes moving and working out does help with releasing tension, focusing on yourself and gaining some endorphins from whatever makes you work up a sweat. Try and find 20 minutes a day to go for a walk outside (fresh air does wonders for the soul), or put on a work out DVD or find a video on YouTube to follow which might be entertaining to try.

 

5.. Talk To Someone

As much as the thought of talking to a complete stranger about our anxiety and personal issues seems frightening (and, well, it is for the first session), getting help is sometimes exactly what we need to find a better path for us to continue learning about ourselves.

Speaking as someone who has seen a counsellor before, sometimes all you may need is someone you don’t know to tell you that how you are feeling is okay. Knowing that you are not the only one feeling the way you are can be comforting and also can be incredibly beneficial when you are seeking help.

If you are after someone to talk to over the phone, whether it’s due to an urgent matter, or you don’t wish to be seen face-to-face, there are also phone helplines which are designed to speak with people any time of the day or night (and they are usually a free call, too).

 

Your mental health is important. How you feel on a daily basis is important. My hope is that the next generation are able to speak out about their anxiety issues with more support and understanding that the generations before us.

You are never alone in your struggle and please remember that it is never too late to reach out if you think you need a helping hand in harnessing your anxiety issues, no matter how big or small they may seem.

img_7422-3

 

Life Advice – starting over

chapter, book, and life image

If you had told me this time last year that I would be accepting redundancy from my job next week, I would have slapped you in the face and called you a liar.

It’s amazing not only how much things around us can change in the space of a year or a month or even a week; but how our reactions can change as well. Our confidence levels can increase or drop and our ability to make somewhat difficult decisions can be relatively easy.

Looking forward at the coming months, I know that I will find another job. When or where is yet to be seen, but I am looking at things in a positive way. This is my chance to start fresh and start over. Sometimes all it takes is 1 thing in our lives to be out of whack for us to decide to take a new path. Whether that path is still being paved or whether we know exactly what is coming next, starting over can be daunting. But it can also be incredibly empowering.

Take matters into your own hands and make the decision to try and be positive. I say try because we all have days where we just don’t understand why certain things had to happen to us. I have questioned “Why?” so many times over the past month and have cried over the choices I have had to make more than a few times. But there is only so much moping than you can do before you realise you are achieving nothing by focusing on negativity. Stand tall, look forward and know that things will be alright in the long run.

Sometimes it can take a major lifestyle change in order for us to really start over. Whether it’s changing jobs, moving to a new city, dealing with the passing of a loved one or going through the breakdown of a relationship, these things can help us decide to begin a new path.

change, quote, and window image

Personally, I have been setting goals for myself now that I know I will most probably be without a job next month. I want to focus more on health/fitness, get outside in the sunshine more, write more and spend more time improving myself for nobody’s benefit but my own. Setting goals for yourself during times of change can be incredibly beneficial for your wellbeing. It is so easy to fall into a slump and not want to do anything, but picking yourself up and writing a simple list of what you want to achieve – whether they be daily, weekly or long-term goals – can be so helpful on getting yourself back on that path that’s being paved.

Another awesome thing about starting over is making the decision to change something about yourself. Whether you decide to dye your hair a different colour, or cut it off, sometimes the best way to start over is to make that change in your appearance. We all know of people who have cut their hair after a major life event has occured – how liberated do they always look? Do something different – wear a different shade of lipstick, wear different shoes, swap skirts for pants…change it up!

This is OUR TIME to feel liberated and motivated for our next chapter. There is nobody standing in your way of achieving your goals but you! Push past those times where starting over can feel like you’re stuck in a car without gas and get yourself to that service station for a tune-up!

If you are currently starting a new chapter in life, just know that you are not alone. Things will be okay – keep paving that path and eventually you will arrive at your next destination.

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54494-116-7F2597DEB6978B397E3436B3F5FD21B1