Why We Need To Stop Thinking We Can Do It All

 

There is a lot of debate as to whether stress is good or bad for you, with some people arguing that stress makes me you more productive. Which I don’t dispute.

However, I maintain that too much stress (be it good or bad) still negatively impacts on the body… otherwise we’d be able to handle it and we wouldn’t become physically or mentally ill from it.

I have learnt a valuable lesson this week… that ‘good stress’ is just as bad as ‘bad stress’ – a predicament I’ve never experienced before.

As you may know, I started my new job about 5 months ago now (time flies when you’re having fun!) and I reckon I enjoy it as much as anyone can enjoy a job. It’s the right level of challenging yet rewarding.

Because I’ve been caught up in all the fun, I didn’t realise that the stress of the challenge has continued to impact on my body and as I’ve ended up taking on the role of 3 people’s job this past week, I’ve found myself once again being on the brink of being burnt out.

My memory is shot. I’m in bed by 8.30pm most nights. My epilepsy paranoia is out of of this world. I’ve had migraines. Last week, I had a couple of nights of being inconsolable for no valid reason. I’ve not even attempted to lose weight for the past 3 weeks. My stress management strategies are long forgotten and I’ve had random aches and pains. I accidentally ate yeast because I forgot to check the ingredients before I tucked in. But the most dangerous thing of all… I didn’t realise any of this had happened because I felt happy.

I assumed because I was mostly enjoying the challenge, it wasn’t stressing me out. However, once again I’m left wondering whether long term, working as a therapist is the right job for me.

For now, I’m off to chill out and try and regain control over my life. Starting off with car insurance. Because the joys of adulthood never stop.

Top 10 Ideas For Self-Care

Firstly, self care isn’t a new concept. It’s something we’ve been doing for years – it used to be called ‘me’ time.

‘Me’ time was considered to be for stressed out Mum’s that couldn’t wait to have some time away from the kids, but nowadays it’s much more acceptable for everyone to engage in some self care time.

The point is, we all need time on our own to regroup. Spending long hours in the office, looking after the kids, being unemployed, saving for a house or a wedding, or starting a new relationship (or keeping an existing relationship alive) all put strain on our emotional resilience.

It doesn’t even need to be something as dramatic as above. Hitting up your local supermarket on a Saturday afternoon can be just as taxing.

Having a time out from life can let your body relax, let your mind sort out its affairs and let you do something that is meaningful to you.

So on that note, here’s my 5 top go-tos for some self-care:

1) Bath – I light some candles, put YouTube on and watch some random videos of health and fitness youtubers. It inspires me to remain healthy, reminds me of how I really must exercise sometime soon and introduces me to new healthy recipes.

2) Cinema – this is dependent on what’s being shown, but if it’s worth watching I’m definitely making my way to the cinema with some popcorn or a Tango Ice-blast in tow. That’s a guaranteed 2 hours on average on focusing on something completely different, allowing my brain to have a rest.

3) Cooking – I really enjoy cooking up some new easy, tasty and (mostly) healthy recipes. I get a great deal of satisfaction creating some yummy food that is lacking in the random crap they put in processed food.

4) Yoga – normally I’m getting quite stressed out if I find myself yearning for a stretch and some meditation or mindfulness. Listening to nothing but my breathing is a great way for a mental break whilst working on your flexibility and muscle strength (I wrote ‘your breathing’ and realised I sounded super creepy 😂).

5) Shopping – retail therapy. Need I say more!

Self-care is anything you enjoy. I have focused on mostly solitary activities in this post because I spend my days interacting with about 40 people a day so I like to seek out peace and quiet when I can.

However, self care can also take form in spending time with your friends, going for a massage – literally anything goes. As long as it’s time spent on you.

My Perception of the World Has Changed

I can only apologise for the lack of posts since starting my job. I’m so mentally pooped when I get home, it’s so hard to try and think of what to have for dinner not alone write a half decent blog post.

If you’ve kept up to date with my blog, you will see that during my time of unemployment I really worked hard on myself to shift my negative mindset into a more positive one. At the time I wondered if I would ever truly commit to my new thinking style… it worked in the moment but it didn’t feel real that I had changed my mindset forever.

Now I’m back in the real world and my new mindset is still very apparent. It’s also being challenged on a daily basis. I appreciate I was given a (somewhat stressful) opportunity to work on myself, and not many people get that chance and it’s so easy to see who is on the brink of needing a time out and who isn’t.

I work in a very emotive environment and it’s hard to resist getting sucked into that. But so far I’m able to identify the days that I might be slipping into old habits and work on changing to stay in my more positive mindset.

If only it was so easy for losing weight 😂

The reason I don’t want to go back to my old habits is that they are pretty darn stressful and can make life quite miserable. I’m enjoying being grateful and without meaning to oversimplify things, I wonder if that’s where most of us are going wrong. What we are not appreciating is that being positive is so much less stressful than being negative.

We aren’t grateful so we always want more.

We struggle to ‘get’ more because life gets in the way (inflation, breakdown of relationships, loss of jobs etc)

We then are hard on ourselves because we have failed to get more.

For example, Tim and I were discussing the cost of phone bills last night. When I took out my first phone contract back in 2006, I paid £30 a month for an all singing all dancing contract. Now a basic contract is around £36 and people will happily pay out £40-50 for the new iPhone. We personally could not justify spending that much to keep up with the latest trends and if we were 10 years younger this might really get to us.

Our question is….when did it become okay to pay these prices – and paying for something that is impacting on our social skills and mental health?

Don’t get me wrong, I spend hours on my phone, but it’s an interesting concept.

The one downside to this shift in mindset is that I find it harder to empathise with people’s problems that aren’t actual problems.

I appreciate that all problems are very ‘real’ in the moment to that person. But when you are able to stand back and say ‘how much of a problem is this in the grand scheme of things?’ then it’s altogether a very different story.

People still come to me for advice and their problems aren’t that significant but because they are so consumed in all the stuff they don’t have, they are forgetting to look at what they do have, and it can be quite frustrating to listen to.

I maintain that if you have a roof over your head, food on the table, people that love you – then you are winning. On top of that, if you have a job that pays the bills and gives you a little spending money – then that’s the real lottery.

For the next week I challenge you to write down three things a day that you are grateful for… they don’t have to be elaborate. It can be thing such as ‘having toothpaste to brush my teeth with’. Not everyone has that luxury.

Why We Should All Try Harder To Stop Moaning

The fact that I am writing this is absolutely HILARIOUS as I was known for my moaning.

And I still moan. Today alone I have moaned about traffic lights, slow cars, being tired, not knowing what I wanted for dinner and a sore arm.

But what I have noticed is that I moan a lot less than I used to 😳

I would argue that about 80% of messages I receive from friends and family contain some form of moaning… tiredness, workload, loved ones, the weather, traffic, colleagues. The list goes on.

During my period of unemployment every penny was accounted for; we couldn’t do anything recreational, we came close to selling my car, losing our flat and my wardrobe has considerably less belongings in it than it did. As a result it made me grateful for the smaller things in life.

I realised that if we downsized our flat/apartment, we would still be able to live in Scotland, which was our main goal. In the mean time, we could still go for walks and see the gorgeous scenery Scotland has to offer. If we had still been living in Surrey and this situation had occurred, then I’m not sure what we would have done! (Fortunately it didn’t come to moving flats but we were one month away from having to inform our landlord).

As you know, I’ve spent a lot of time on social media and one thing that I found really struck a chord with me…

‘If you keep food in the refrigerator, your clothes in a closet, if you have a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head… you are richer than 75% of the population’.

Now I don’t know how accurate the statistics are before anyone starts but they are arguably within the ballpark.

We have SO MUCH to be grateful for, but instead we focus on the negative. What I should have been saying this morning is ‘I may be tired but at least I had a good sleep’ and ‘at least I can afford a car and sit at traffic lights’.

I’ve also noticed that this approach to life has had a significant impact on my happiness levels. I am happy.

As a notorious control freak I’ve noticed I’m less anxious. I’m happy for life to go the way it wants to go. What will be will be. What’s the point in stressing?

I encourage you to try the following. Instead of moaning that your soup at lunch burnt your tongue, take a moment to be grateful that you had soup AND lunch.

If you’re anything like me, it won’t take long to notice the changes in your thought processes and at least be aware that you are moaning.

Gratitude is definitely underrated.

Life Update: 4 Months Later

It is 4 months since I started this blog (where does the time go?) and I thought it would be a good time to reflect now that hopefully I have come through the other side.

If you’ve not read my blog before you may not know that my career and I went through a bit of a breakup back in April/May time… we both said a lot of stuff and it was hard. Mostly because I didn’t know what direction to turn in next.

The biggest problem of all wasn’t the clients I was working with – they hadn’t done anything wrong; it was some of my colleagues. They were ruining everything, including my mental health.

Since then a fair few tears have been shed. My mental health did take the plunge initially but I refused to be defeated and with the support of Tim, my family and my friends I’m turning a corner, especially after I managed to get some closure.

Despite all the fun stress of being unemployed and feeling lost; what scared me the most was how much life I had missed since 2012. Some of it very superficial, some less so. As part of being a therapist I often preach about occupational balance but in fact realised that I had very little balance myself. I’d shut down all my hobbies and I couldn’t even remember what my interests were! Somehow, despite making the vow that I would never do this, I had been consumed by my job.

In addition to (re)discovering the gym, watching ALL of the vlogs on YouTube, learning the ins and outs of our finances and learning to live on a tight budget, I am now starting to develop my own business – something I was never brave enough to do prior. It’s still very much a baby whilst I try to work out legal stuff, but considering Telle’s Nutritional Life wasn’t even a thing, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s slowly forming. One thing that’s very important to me is that I don’t want to force it.

I now also have an almost full time other job that’s going to let me be more of a therapist than I have been in a while and let me develop in a way I couldn’t have done whilst working as my actual job title. In addition to this, the hours are perfect for giving me time to focus on TNL and my pay cut is barely noticeable.

My relationship with Tim is stronger than ever and I admire him more than I thought possible. I won’t gush about him on here because no one wants to read that but he is annoyingly perfect.

The biggest thing I have learnt is that you actually can’t control anything and in some ways it’s surprisingly comforting (for the most part). I learnt that I can be the friendliest, smiliest, confident (but not arrogant), knowledgable candidate for a job yet still won’t get it because of that pesky internal candidate. I learnt that you can be exceptionally resourceful when you need to be. I learnt that going for a walk in the middle of nowhere makes you realise how much we generate our own stress and that life doesn’t need to be that complicated. I realised that living in Scotland with Tim means more to me than my career. I realised that sometimes we just have to wait for our dreams to come true (and sometimes this wait may have to be a decade or so). Finally I learnt that being a ‘realist’ or ‘pessimist’ has literally got me nowhere in life. I had spent my life preparing for failure because I didn’t think I could cope with the disappointment. I now partly think that instead, I had been setting myself up for the moment where I came close to losing my career, my home and my savings.

For whatever reason I have discovered positivity (of which many people who know me think I’m faking). But genuinely… we can choose to be happy in life or we can choose to be miserable. I was placing too much emphasis on the wrong things instead of realising we only have one life to live and that we should try and make it a good one.

I May Be Unemployed but I’m Feeling Empowered

Sorry for the lack of posts in the past week… I’ve been busy tying us loose ends at my own old job.

Last time I blogged I had just quit my job and I had a week of writing 16 page reports. What I have learnt is that 16 page reports are completely pointless and can easily break you.

Wednesday was particularly challenging as I woke to the news that one of our rabbits had escaped and eaten the TV wire AND the WiFi wire which is ideal when you’re trying to work from home!

That did push me over the edge on Wednesday and I spent most of the day crying. Chronic stress can truly rob you of any coping skills eh.

Friday came and I finished my work and switched my computer off for what I thought was the last time. Unfortunately my boss got caught up in stuff and I now have to do my handover on Monday (no doubt unpaid).

However, the relief I felt at 5pm was indescribable. It wasn’t just a ‘I quit my job’ sensation but definitely ‘I just quit my career’ and I truly could feel 6 years worth of tension beginning to unravel. Which is good on one hand, but not good if you have epilepsy. The imagery in my head of the tension leaving my shoulders really reminded me of when the Beast becomes the Prince again in Beauty and the Beast. Very Disney esque.

This weekend I have been trying to control my anxiety. Waiting to see if I have a seizure but also relieved I’m no longer an OT. Tim’s parents are here and I would really like to not ruin their weekend by having a seizure.

Tim meanwhile, has been an absolute angel. His love for me must be unquantifiable because I must have been a nightmare to live with and he’s just been so protective.

I’m nowhere near better yet but I’m definitely improving. My sleep has DOUBLED and according to my Fitbit, my awake time is the least it’s ever been. Definitely letting my poor brain rest.

I have also decided two further things in my quest to have a lifestyle overhaul.

1) I’m going to take up yoga – the tension in my body currently means I can’t even touch my toes and my right hamstring is the the tightest thing EVER. I feel sore every time I move and I’m only 31. I’m pretty sure it’s just tension based and I think I could really get into yoga.

2) This decision has not been made lightly. I recently posted on Instagram how I’m not a fan of water. This is partly due to associating it with indigestion and tummy issues as I had a hiatus hernia growing up. Secondly, it’s just got a really metallic taste to me which isn’t pleasant. Thirdly, I need to drink with liquids that have another dimension (bubbles or a thick milkshake) – definitely sensory related.

However, I’ve been reading up on Cola and I hadn’t realised that much about the impact of the acid – I feel so much emphasis is placed on the sugar or sweetener content but I definitely feel the acid has impacted on me the most. Starting Monday I am going to start reducing my Cola consumption. This will not only impact my sweetener intake but also my caffeine intake so I’m very excited about the impending headaches…. however, with all the plastic in the sea, I feel like I need to get my habit in control to reduce my plastic waste and and I can also take care of myself. If I’m honest, my love for Cola hasn’t been as strong for a while, so now is definitely a good time!

3) I’m already half way through my first module for my Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and a Weight Management and it’s only been a week. I’m hoping I might be able to start my case study in a week’s time (I’ll be doing it as well as my mother). I’ll be regularly blogging and instagramming about how it goes as obviously it will be the same formulae I’ll be using for my clients in the future and I need to see if it works!

With all this stress knocking around it’s definitely impacted on my weight and I can’t wait to get back in control of everything.

I still have about 20lbs to go (at least) and it will be an 8 week programme. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it!

Today we off are to take Tim’s parents sightseeing in Edinburgh (although the sky is looking a bit grey). I’d love to chill and lie in bed but that will have to wait til Tuesday.

For now, have a good Sunday and I’ll catch up with you guys in a few days!

Finding A New Career at 30

 

When I was at school I had always assumed that at the age of 18 (if not before) I would know exactly what I wanted to do and that I would do said profession until I was 60 when I would retire.

Skip forward 12 years and yeah..

I graduated from university with a 2:2 in Psychology, which is about as useful as a chocolate teacup in the world of psychology. Even now, since going on to complete two further masters, I still can’t pursue a career in psychology. Sucks eh?!

As it was a complete write off, I chose to go down a different ‘health’ avenue and became a therapist and if I’m honest, it’s been a battle ever since I’ve started training. At the moment, in order to remain in my chosen field and pay the bills, I’m finding that the only job I can get without moving house is to commute to Leicestershire and back every week (which in case you are wondering, is 640 miles A WEEK from Scotland). It’s very kind of my employer to create the arrangement that she has, but I’m 3 weeks in and I’m already crumbling.

I’ve made the executive decision to work towards changing careers. I’m a huge believer that life is too short to be unhappy and that I’ve spent the past 6 years fighting unnecessary battles (and it’s bloody expensive being a registered therapist). The only problem is I have no idea what I want to do. The only thing I know is that I’m really enjoying working on these blogs/vlogs and I like the concept of being self-employed. That is about as far as I’ve got in my new voyage of self-discovery. If you’ve got any suggestions for me, please do let me know!

Yes I am crying MANY tears. Yes I’m suffering from anxiety. No I can’t sleep. My brain feels FRIED. I’m supposed to be at a wedding right now and I’ve chosen not to go because I can’t face the ‘how’s the new job?’. I even curled my hair for tonight.

But I am holding on to the fact that this is just temporary. Nothing stays the same, and what’s for you won’t go by you. Something will change soon right?