Weekly gratitude

I’ve had a few low points this week when the pain from my frozen shoulder has been high and I am incredibly grateful to friends who have sent me texts, met me for coffee or just offered a hug. However if I made every blog a gratitude for them it’d get boring very quickly so I hope they take it as a given that I am always grateful for them in my life.

So this week I am mostly grateful for the British weather in all it’s predictably unpredictable glory. A couple of weeks ago every was posting pictures of snow on social media and this week there is wonderful sunshine and temperatures in double digits (Centigrade).

One Tuesday I had to go to London for a meeting. I finished at 2.00 and gave myself 90 minutes to walk back to the train station (blog for that can be found HERE ). One of the best things was not having to wear a coat. I had an hours walk with the sun on my face and soaking up the Vitamin D.

On Wednesday and Thursday I worked from home. I usually sit in the kitchen and work from the dining table. My kitchen tends to capture the sun so I got to sit with the sun on my back.

And today I had another walk – this time to the supermarket and about a mile and a half, with my playlist blaring in my ears and more Vitamin D. I’ve even managed to hang out and dry a wash load

It really is a mood booster especially when you are having a trying week. Even though I still ache and struggle the fact that I’ve had some sunshine has made my week so much the better.

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The walk from Westminster to Kings Cross

I’ve made the walk from my office head office near Westminster to Kings Cross train station quite a few times now and always with Google maps for at least a portion of the way as I have a bad habit of taking wrong turns on the way. After reading a few articles about opportunist thieves who pick people when they can see the maps app on phones I decided to try the walk without a map, one to see if I could actually remember it and 2 to amuse myself recording a steam of consciousness as I went.

It was an interesting walk this time. Most times I spend it stopping every 5 minutes to take photo’s but it’s a case of only seeing what’s in front of you. This time I spotted 2 museums and a gallery I never knew existed but I go past every time because this time I actually paid attention to my surroundings. And for all my babbling into a recorder I was mindful of where I was all the time.

So just for fun, come take a walk with me and see if you can work out the direction…

Leave building, walk to Westminster cathedral, go left, go straight, turn right. This bits a doddle.

Up round Trafalgar square, try to take picture of a pigeon on a dolphin water feature. Fail. Keep going

Don’t go left! That leads to Harry Potter theatre and panicking

Up past the portrait gallery, turn right at the street with the antique book store, left at chipotle, pass the theatre where Aidan Turner was last year, go right, but not that right you always go that right,  it’s the other right.

Keep walking past cafe Nero, then Greggs then cafe Nero, don’t turn right past the school of rock just keep going.

Turn right not left, always left. Oh wait no it’s right bugger turn round

Oh yeah King’s way now I remember where I am. 

How many bloody cafe Nero’s are there in the city???

Missed the traffic lights trying work out the answer to the cafe Nero question

Go right at the big hotel

Love Yourself has been stuck in my head since Trafalgar Square. Thanks busker….

There’s an anesthetist college?

Turn right

LEFT!!!!

This street’s a bit shady

Children’s hospital

Stop to take pictures of children’s hospital and WhatsApp

Walk into bollard whatsapping

The bloody square that’s the bane of my life. It is not Russell Square! None of them are Russell Square not matter how many times you think they are Russell Square

Stop whatsapping!

Don’t turn left!

This street is epic

25 minutes to catch the train. Panic even though you know you’re only 5 minutes away

Bored now with this street

Pub!

Zig zaggy bit

Under the scaffold

Oh wait Scaffoldy bit is closed off. Panic!

More zig zag

I never knew British library was there

Train….and relax

The More Things Change…The More They Can Differ

I found out last week that I’ve got my third bout of frozen shoulder in 10 years. I can’t remember much about the first time beyond getting sent home from work after taking too many painkillers and getting the giggles (not good as I worked in a benefit office).

The 2nd time it happened I worked in Community Support. I had to adapt what I did to be able to carry on working. Within this job I was classed as a lone worker and would often have to travel by public transport lugging my (then) heavy laptop and notes. In the end I found my old flight bag which I could then use to pull everything around rather than carry. Regardless it all left me feeling very vulnerable. I had the constant fear that someone could grab the bag and run off with it and I’d be helpless to stop them as I only had one fully working arm. (As one of my colleagues had had their case stolen from them as they sat in their car I knew this was always a possibility being on foot).

I also had no support from my line manager. On bad days I could be in tears. I could do my stats from home but still had to go to work. And I often felt that I should try and get to work. My job involved helping vulnerable people who had far worse problems than me.

I’ve learnt several things since then. One that you shouldn’t compare problems. Yes these people are struggling but that shouldn’t diminish my issues. Secondly you can’t fully help someone when you aren’t at 100% yourself.

After a while gaining no support at all with management I moved jobs. I had to put myself first and practise the self-care that I preached.

Cut to now. While my job involves travel it’s mostly on train to places. I have a tablet rather than laptop and can access my emails via mobile so I can make my baggage as light as possible. If all else fails I can leave it all behind and find a hard drive somewhere to plug into. I try and go to the gym several times a week to exercise and the biggest thing I’ve noticed from the last few weeks is in the difference in people I’m surrounded by. Friends and family obviously are supportive but I’m talking those on the periphery (big word!). After a reshuffle I have a new manager and both her and the gym instructors have both used the same phrase….What can I do to help and support you?

I genuinely felt like crying when they’ve said this as it’s a complete 180 from before. Such a simple sentence and from it some simple results. I have the option to work from home where needed or come and go to work from where is the easiest on my joints. The gym has created a lightweight plan that allows me to practise movement in my arm while I wait for a physio appointment, taking into account doctor recommendations. This makes me feel more secure in myself and less vulnerable when movement is bad.

But the biggest change is in myself. I’m not afraid to ask for help and the rewards are worth it. Support is in place straight away and I feel like this time it won’t affect my mental health because both me and the people around me have awareness of what I can and can’t do and are working with me.

So it’s a reminder to people to ask for help because people do care and do want to make sure that you are ok. Asking for help is also self-care. Speaking up early this time was a kindness to myself and hopefully will mean a quicker resolve to the issues.

Acts of kindness and self care – weekly gratitude

Today is Time to Talk day, a day when we talk about our mental health and support each other. For some reason I also thought it was National Kindness Day (it’s actually 17th Feb). However yesterday on the Action for Happiness calendar the instruction was to thank someone and tell them how they made a difference for you.

This blog fits all that in and is also the key thing for my gratitude this week.

I’ve posted about craft club before. One of my goals for 2019 is to make new things, create new things and learn new things – if all at once even better. Today in craft club I learnt how to zentangle. I haven’t really done much art since school and while I say I can’t draw it’s actually that I haven’t really done any drawing. Zentangle is the art of being zen and tangling which is basically fancy doodles.

One of the crafters told me in the first session they ran everyone was their usually noisy chatty selves to start, then slowly the noise levels reduced to nothing. All she could hear was people’s breathing and then she noticed everyone started breathing in sync. How wonderful is that! And it happened again today. I forgot all about work and what was going on in the world and for half an hour it was just me, a fine ink pen and my doodles.

We crafted onto a heart shaped card which we then made into a Valentine’s card but you can do it on anything. After the session my colleague sent me an email receipt for my annual membership fee and said she was looking forward to us doing more crafts. Not just because it’s a kindness I sent a reply telling her just what I had got out of joining and how much it is beginning to mean to me. She really appreciated it (and asked if she could use my comments for the newsletter – an added nice side effect).

It felt good to actually just message someone and say thank you. How often do we pay compliments? So today, I was both kind in words to them but kind to myself by taking an hour out of the day to just focus on myself and do something fun.

Zentangle

Weekly Gratitude: Reconnecting

This week among the usual shout out to family and friends I am grateful for 4 women I met 12 months ago on a development course. 2018 was a very chaotic bumpy year. The course was split over five 2 day modules with the first starting January 2018. We were put into peer groups of 6 to work together for various activities.

The year started great and we bonded really well, sharing stories and spent a lot of time together quite a bit to put on a workshop around better ways of working. Then I missed the 3rd module because of the health problems. This really knocked my confidence as it was just after the scare with the breast lump and subsequent panic attacks. Again they were there for me, as we are all spread around the north of England this was remotely and mostly by whatsapp but it was nice to get a few messages of support.

For module 4 I managed to get to the classroom for Day 1 but found it so stressful and hardgoing and so didn’t attend the second day where we would be just in the peer group. I wrote in an earlier blog about how my anxiety got so bad last year I lost contact with people and when I was with people struggled with the idea that they were on my side or was just weirdly angry at slights that just didn’t exist. Anxiety can be awful on friendships sometimes.

Even up until Tuesday I really didn’t want to attend the last sessions and would not be able to give the requested feedback. You know what though? It was absolute rubbish! I think this week was actually my favourite session of all. I got to really re-connect with the others and genuinely bond with them. Some of us have very similar work struggles and we had a good hour airing our grievances about jobs which was really cathartic but then after that we spent another hour trying to work out how each one of us could work around that or suggesting ideas for moving on. I came home today feeling really inspired and empowered. None of this would have happened if I’d given in to the anxiety at the beginning of the week and the chimp in my brain telling me it would be a waste of time (for chimps see The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters)

At the beginning I mentioned a group of 6 peers but a shout out to only 4 (with me making 5). Sadly one seems to have dropped out. She disappeared part way through the day I missed (I’ve been told why and it’s not relevant here) and never came back. She’s not shown much interest in staying in touch in between but that happens and on a course like this you won’t bond with everyone and you can’t please everyone.

Going forward the 5 of us are going to have monthly calls to chat about work and what our current steps are and will try and have 6 monthly meet ups somewhere. I’m so glad to have met them and grateful then when my life got chaotic they were there and supportive when I needed it most.

January Hustle review

I’ve ended my first month of side hustles and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed the little bits and pieces I’ve dipped into which have earned me £135. Of that there are some sites where I still need to earn more to reach a download limit so I haven’t accessed all of it. Then being January and a long month I’ve had to dip into the rest to pay for the dentists and some other unexpected costs but in the end today I paid off £40 towards a high interest loan I have bringing me that little bit closer to clearing it. This is the priority in my debt clearance as everything else at least has a definite end date or a lower interest rate.

I’m really pleased with what I’ve managed to do. It’s been simple and for the most part hasn’t taken up much time. I’ve listed the websites below for anyone that wants to try some of these and also the 101 side hustles blog page that I found my inspiration.

https://www.receipthog.com/

https://www.shoppixapp.com/ (Referral code: BTVSEXDV)

https://www.huyuapp.co.uk/

https://www.onepoll.com/

https://www.swagbucks.com (Referral code: https://www.swagbucks.com/lp-savings-button?cmp=695&cxid=swagbuttonref&rb=49425651&extRefCmp=1&extRb=49425651)

https://www.shopmium.com/uk (Referral: d2x5r)

https://www.mobrog.com

 

 

Weekly Gratitude

This week I’ve struggled with my health with an old issue flaring up and had to deal with lots of travel disruptions so it would be easy to end the week feeling miserable however the biggest thing I’m grateful for this week are my friends. I have one on holiday in Plymouth texting me pictures of her new puppy and then tea and cake with my closest friend.

I’ve been reading a short book by author Jill Mansell that I found in my kindle where she lists an A-Z of things that make her happy. I decided to have a go. It’s very hard to think of some things for the more unusual letters but after my friend said to think outside the box I managed it. I was going to add explanation but in the end decided a simple list is enough. The review for the book can be found HERE

What would your A-Z look like?

A = Art (Galleries)

B –Bubble Baths

C – Crafting

D – (all things) Disney

E – Exercise (Gym)

F – Friends/Family

G – Genealogy

H – History

I – Ice Cream

J – Japanese Blossom Trees

K – Knitting

L – Laughing

M – Music

N – Novels

O – Ocean

P – Pizza/Pasta

Q – (Rose) Quartz crystal

R -Reading

S – Seaside

T – Travel

U – Underwear (can’t beat a beautiful set of matching undies!)

V – Vampire (stories)

W – Waves

X – X-Rated

Y – Yarn

Z – Zoos/Farms