365 Day Blog challenge Day 11 – Putting Well-being First #365daychallenge

Last Thursday when I finished work for the weekend (I work 4 days) I left a section all packed up and ready to move to a different part of the office. Arriving back on Monday everything was set up however rather than having a desk we now had to ‘hot desk’ i.e sit at a free desk and everyday it’s a lottery where you end up.

This has triggered my anxieties up so much. I’ve not had office seating issues for about 5 years. At the  height of my mental health issues I’d have regular panic attacks if I didn’t sit either near a fire door, regular door, aisle or corridor.

This weeks return to stressing over desks has made me think about the ways I put my health and well being first at work. While I don’t want special treatment with desks and have good distraction techniques in place now that I didn’t before it’s still been a rough week.

So putting my health first I’ve made sure my manager is aware of my triggers and have voiced some of them at a meeting about how the week has gone and how we can improve the situation to make the new working conditions work for everyone.

As much as I don’t want to be known as ‘the one with the mental health problems’ I have to do what is right for my health and so hopefully next week will go a bit smoother.

So the weekend is now mine to de-stress and relax. It’s also my mums birthday so I’ll be spending time with her, doing lots of reading and catching up on TV plus if the current snow doesn’t get too bad a few drinks out tomorrow. Putting my health and well being first.

It took me many years to learn how to do this and it’s definitely one of my better decisions


365 Day Blog challenge Day 10 – The Impossible Dream #365daychallenge

I’ve run around so much today with work & some early Xmas shopping I’ve not planned a blog so I thought I’d share the lyrics of one of my favourite songs. There are many, many versions of this. I have two favourites; the first is Elvis at his Las Vegas best. The other is the first time I ever heard the song. It was my 19th birthday  and I’d gone to see an Indie band Carter: Unstoppable Sex Machine and they played it as an encore. For some reason there was an outbreak of hugging among the crowd. It just felt like one of those perfect moments and it’s a memory I treasure.

I hope you love the words as much as I do

“The Impossible Dream”

originally from MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not goTo right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

365 Day Blog challenge Day 9 – Team Building #365daychallenge

One of the roles of my job is all about well being and making sure the team are aware of support available to them and trying to create ways to bring them all together. Not as easy as it sounds as we are a team of 21 who are split across the breadth of England (and one in wales) so we can go months without all being together in the same room.

So how do we find virtual ways of team bonding (and ideas are always welcome!). Over the summer we had a walking challenge where everyone competed to walk the most steps. That was the first challenge and it appears we are a very competitive team and there was lots of friendly rivalry while people increased their health.

So over the winter I’ve created a scavenger hunt and the team will be split into groups against each other. I thought it would be a fun way for people to stay in touch especially if you work remotely with none of your team around you and it’s the bleakest time of the year.

Or at least I’m trying to. There are not as many scavenger hunt lists on the internet as I expected. I thought the internet had everything! Lots of lists on Pinterest which I need to check but our security systems at work block it so I haven’t had chance to look as yet.

I’ve almost got a workable list so hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be happy for us to go forward with the challenge.

It’s fun, I like it. I enjoy seeing what I can come up with to keep my teams well being positive. It;s something I’d like to do much more of in the future

365 Day Blog challenge Day 8 – Books Part 1 #365daychallenge

Day 8 of the challenge and so far I’ve managed to do a blog a day even if sometimes I forget until nearly the last minute.

In my first post I linked to my book blog. I love books and love the fact that I’ve been able to turn something fun and enjoyable into a (sort of) paying business. By paying I don’t get actual cash. I get something better of you are a book worm – free books!

A few years ago one of my friends who had just got a publishing deal turned me onto a website where you can request books to download free in return for an honest review. I was already blogging reviews & as I have mentioned many times cash is scarce due to a debt plan so for me a really good way to get new books without cost and in return doing things I already do.

It’s been amazing. I’ve had publishers thanking me for reviews and in return offering me yet more books. A couple have sent me paper copies of books as a thank you. The next step for me is to accept some blog tours from authors and build my page even more. That’s my 2018 go

All this led to my friend then telling me that her publisher had a tasting panel and did I want to join. With this I get books before they have been accepted by the publisher and rather than just a review, it is for me (and others) to comment on the Point of View, the relatability of the hero/heroine, overall story and any possible tweaks and changes. That’s quite an ask and responsibility especially as I have to say whether I think it should be accepted for publication. But I think it helped me grow as  a reviewer. I’ve learnt to think about not just whether I like it but whether the general public would like something.

I always feel bad when I have to recommend turning something down. I am well aware how hard it is to write a book and put your heart and soul into something so I only do this if I absolutely know it won’t fit in with the publishers ethos.

Sometimes turning a hobby into more of a business doesn’t have to be financial, it can be just as rewarding in other ways

365 Day Blog challenge Day 7 – Xmas Part 1 #365daychallenge

So in a calendar months time Christmas will be all over and depending on what you do for a living you may be already back at work. This is Christmas blog part 1 as I’ sure there’ll be a couple more before the big day.

This year I’m trying something a little different. As someone with anxiety I usually try to either get my gift buying done early or do it online. I live only 20 minutes walk from a big shopping mall and once we get to mid-November it becomes a nightmare to firstly go do any shopping but also get home after work because of the traffic feeding into the mall.

This year I’ve decided one way of not doing much shopping and avoiding the crowds I am going to make a few gifts for people. I like to craft especially knitting and bead making so that it was what a good portion of the family are getting. I’ve a feeling I’ll be finishing things up to the day itself but hopefully it will be worth it and everyone likes their one of a kind gifts.

Everything is so commercialised these days and I wanted to avoid getting caught up in that trap this year of how much to spend, am I spending more that the receiver, do I buy even though I will get nothing back. It can be one of the most stressful times of the year. So by doing something that comes from the heart but is also one of my stress busters I am aiming for a much less stressful time than previous years.

And if successful, I’ll do it all again next year 🙂


365 Day Blog challenge Day 6 – Proudest Moment #365daychallenge

This is an easy one – my son’s graduation from university. At an early age he was diagnosed as being on the Autistic spectrum and non-verbal. He was told a number of things growing up:

  • That he may never speak – he went on to be a radio DJ
  • That he may never learn mathematics – a frustrating time for his teachers and purely by accident and perseverance they found a way to get him to understand
  • That he may never write a piece of original work – he did
  • That he may never sit his UK GCSE’s – not the greatest results but he sat the exams and did enough to get into 6th form college

He then chose to do a BTEC course rather than A-levels as the practical nature of the course fit with his personality and traits. He then went onto university.

It was hard and he struggled, eventually settling for a Ordinary degree rather than take the extra module needed for an Honours but…a degree is a degree and he became the first person in the family for many years to do so.

Graduation day was something i thought I’d never see  as my son was growing up so to stand there and watch my boy in his cap and gown pick up that certificate is an event I will always treasure and will always be my proudest moment and proof that, even with barriers, if you believe it you can achieve it


365 Day Blog challenge Day 5 – Dream Jobs #365daychallenge

One of the items on various blog challenge lists is to talk about ideal jobs. I’m 45 and still haven’t figured this bit out! I never had much of a dream about work when I was younger except maybe do some writing. My best school friend wanted to be a teacher and a teacher she became for over 20 years. I just wanted to bet out of school and had no thought beyond that.

Over the years I’ve done several different styles of jobs but the one that keeps drawing me back is ‘helping people’. I’ve been a mortgage seller helping people afford a dream home, I’ve been an employment adviser and I’ve worked in the community helping those with homelessness and addictions move forward with their lives. I even looked into starting my own business in holistic treatments and while it’s on hold I may go back to it n a few years time.

I’ve been in my current job for the last 15 months. It took me  along time to see that it does fit into the ‘helping people’ description as I’m now really far removed from seeing customers every day. I research benefits, find issues and write a report for others to fix. It’s only now that the identified problems are being resolved that I can see how I’ve been able to change something for the better. So while it’s not an obvious helping role I have the opportunity to make lives better.

I don’t think I’m ever gonna have the perfect job in terms of a title (teacher, nurse etc) but as long as I can feel I’m making a difference I’ll be happy in my work 🙂