I’ve been reading a book called 365 Ways to Beat Stress by Adam Gordon and while all 365 hints, tips and meditations are worthwhile there were a few that jumped out enough to write this blog. The books isn’t out yet but you can buy it here and the blog review will be on my sister site For the Love of Books on release day.
Keep Something Absurd or Incongruous on your Desk
Our bank of desks at work is full of crazy things that catch people’s eye as they walk past. It started last Christmas when the retail store John Lewis started selling robin ornaments for Xmas which were then given paper kimonos when we drew Japan in the World Cup sweepstake. Currently we have a tree decorated with mini carrots which are the emblem of supermarket Lidl for 2018’s Christmas campaign. For me, on my desk, are the spiders that everyone insists are octopuses (octopii?) which I made for craft club. I’ve a post coming tomorrow on craft club so I’ll say no more for now.
Swings and Merry Go Rounds
This reminded something from when I was around 18 or 19. I think it was in Manchester’s Hyde Park but don’t hold me to that. I remember all of us, new adults, laying on the merry go round, firstly staring at the sky as it spun and spun then closing our eyes. Sinning around with eyes closed felt like we were going in the opposite direction to what we really were. I also remember taking lots of photos as we spun and had some amazing (if I say so myself) pictures of the sky. Sadly my life got very chaotic for a while after that and I no longer have them but it’s a memory I cherish especially on a summers day.
As part of the craft club I’ve been learning a type of origami called tea bag paper folding. Teabag folding is a paper craft art for embellishing greeting cards using small square pieces of paper (e.g., a tea bag wrapper) bearing symmetrical designs folded in such a way that they interlock and produce a three-dimensional version of the underlying design. I’ve had a couple of goes now and while I still need more practise it definitely keeps you in the now and is very calming.
Lastly BalancingFemale Hormones Naturally and Learn Sign Language. I sent pictures of these to my friend. While I appear to be going through early menopause in the manner of my aunt (little to no symptoms) rather than my mum (psychosis) my friend has a terrible time every month. She’s also signed up to learn sign language in January. I love the fact that it is seen as a calming, stress busting activity.
There are so many more things in this book I either do or want to do. I found it a timely reminder to stop every now and then and live rather than just exist.
We did the gym measurements check in early as we didn’t want to skew the stats as I’ll be spending most of next week eating hotel food so after 11 weeks (or technically 10 as I had a week off) and bearing in mind I’ve eaten cake or wagon wheels every day this week I have lost since I joined 2.2 kgs and 5 3/4 inches which I’m pretty chuffed about.
Looking at my nerdy spreadsheet I didn’t start noting inches until I’d lost a stone but in 2018 I’ve lost 26 1/2 pounds (the half’s important) and a minimum of 18 1/2 inches (they included abs and arms which I didn’t). Who knows what it should be but I’m chuffed enough with these figures anyway. So next time I tell myself I’m a rubbish dieter I should probably look back at this post!
Yesterday I mentioned watching a TED women talk on time management. Another thing that came out of it was how do we find the time. She mentioned that it’s not necessarily that we don’t have the time but that our priorities are wrong. She gave an example of a woman who had a burst boiler and managed to find 7 hours over a week or so for various repairmen to come and fix the problem. However if she was asked to find those 7 hours for something else it’s most probably the woman would have said she’d never be able to fit that into her life. It’s a case of re-prioritising.
We then did an exercise on what we want over the next 12 months in our personal life, work life and with relationships and then talked it out with a colleague as to what is stopping us. I’m stuck with my weight loss. I’m doing the same walking, I’m eating the same things that helped me lose the initial 18lbs but for the last few weeks I’m going up and down by 2lbs and feel like I’m running in circles. I want to make some changes but being brutally honest I haven’t.
I haven’t found the time to look through cookbooks for some fresh ideas despite reviewing a few on my sister blog. I haven’t changed my exercise routine. I have 3 series (seasons) worth of those 5 minute exercise routines saved on my sky + (like a Tivo) that I tell myself I haven’t got time to do. Yes I tell myself I don’t have 5 minutes to exercise! And this talk brought home just how much I’m lying to myself and how I’ve stopped prioritising my health and well-being again.
I need to walk 9346 steps per day for the rest of the month to beat last months final amount. Health professionals recommend 10k steps per day. Last night I’d got to 6500-ish and decided it was enough as the day was over. It was 6pm! I had 4 more hours until bedtime, maybe more. I was prioritising TV and reading over my health so I got my trainers on and walked around my estate. I finished the day on 11200 steps; nearly double my earlier amount. And I was still home again by 6.45. It’s been an interesting little wake up call.
Wow I’ve managed 100 blogs in a row. That’s quite the milestone and 100 days into my 365 daily blog challenge. I’ve been thinking about a review of the last 100 days and any changes I can spot. I spoke yesterday about a lot of them.
When I started I worried about what I’d be able to write and if I could keep it up. By focusing on me and the changes I want to see I’ve found the content comes easy. I was worried I’d have an over reliance on memes when I got stuck but I don’t think I’ve done that very often.
I’ve been able through daily writing to really look at my behaviours and see the changes I want to make and actually do them. I think there’s also a level of honesty in the blogs that wouldn’t be there if I had simply kept a journal. It’s easy to lie to yourself but less so when someone else is to read your notes whether that is 5 people or 5000. You never know who may have similar issues or looking for similar answers. So by lying you’d not just be fooling yourself but others too. It’s not always been pleasant to see my negatives in black and white but it has helped to start the process of change.
I’ve also learnt to see the big picture. For example I’ve lost maybe 2lbs this month after last months excellent start. Past life me would have seen that and given up, probably eating several of those giant share bags of chocolate whilst doing so. Yet looking back over the daily blogs I can see my foot steps are going to be higher this month than last month even with 3 less days. I’m still chocolate and fizzy pop free. I’ve had some amazing feedback at work. I started my Flirtology and conversations. 2lbs is disappointing but looking at the big picture I’ve achieved an awful lot over the last 3 months and seeing it written down stops my negative thinking.
I’m looking to the next 100 days. I’ve had a chat with my manager today so there’s lots of development action to happen. I’ve got more conversations to have with people. I’ve more sugar to avoid and steps to walk and I really should get my act together and do some proper exercise. Plus I want to challenge myself by going to some new places. I’m quite excited to see what changes occur this time
The title of this blog came about after a question was raised in one of my FB groups: What was your biggest achievement in February?
For me it was simply surviving. February has the anniversary of 4 deaths. It’s also the time when 3 years ago my debt problems were at their worst, my house was falling down around my ears and I nearly lost it. It’s also the time a few years ago when my health was at its worst causing me to give up a job I loved.
So the month usually hits me hard. Last year I had to move my annual leave forward as I needed some me time to deal with everything. Up until the end of last year my normal method of dealing with anything was to eat. Big share bags of sweets to myself every day, pizzas, cake and so much more. I ate away pain
This year I tried to brace myself for the moods swings and I pretty much managed it. I found support from my management line that I’ve not had in many years. I have my friends and family to talk to.
I had a few biscuits. I had a weird urge for some Tunnocks teacakes (marshmallowy biscuits). I also had a pizza and some fish and chips. I did spend a lot of money on food but I still haven’t bought any chocolate or fizzy drinks so while I still have things to work on I didn’t resort to many of my emotional eating foods.
I kept up to my footsteps, I practised my conversations and visibility. I’ve practised mindful eating and I tried to get my sunshine in whenever the weather was good. I’m really proud of myself for not falling onto the worst of my bad habits.
I’m looking forward to March. I’ve only one death anniversary (at the end) but spring is on the way and I have my new habits to continue. I’ve proven to myself I don’t need my negative behaviours now and that I can deal with whatever stresses me positively.
I do love my self help books and in Be Happy by Rebecca Ray she mentions Joy; creating joy, spreading joy, sharing joy. So in honour of that today I am going to do a list of all the wonderful things that have happened this week:
It started off bad as I’m still going through that up and down mood swing from death anniversaries however it’s wonderful to know you have the support of your team leader when being a ‘mardy arse’
I’m still asking questions of strangers and it’s turning into some amazing conversations. I actually think having the intention to talk to people has possibly changed my body language because people I think are also approaching me more too
I practised ‘visibility’. I stood up in front of my full team meeting to offer feedback on a team building exercise. Normally I leave these things to others so I’m not noticed. AND I went and stood at the head of the table to do it rather than read off some notes. MY senior-est manager also singled me out for praise on handling a difficult piece of work and I was given a £25 voucher in reward of that.
I had good conversations with team mates; sharing stories and thoughts I normally keep to myself or my closest friends
I have really stepped up with my walking this week, beating my target every day
I had an impromptu trip to the park to enjoy some (cold but) wonderful sunshine.
I put out to the universe I’d like an abundance of money and have so far this week found 29p. I probably should be more specific next time….
My acts of kindness was to go with my friend to the hospital for an MRI scan and giving a small child my duck food at the local park to feed the birds with
Four of my too small work shirts now fit
I don’t think that’s bad for 6 days (I’m starting from Monday). The power of positive thinking brings wonderful results 🙂