5 Reasons I’m Grateful This Week

 

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I’ve read somewhere recently a mindfulness tip. Apparently speaking out loud every day three things that you are grateful for will train your brain to focus on the things that are important and improve your happiness. When I remember, I’m trying to do this every day!  In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you 5 things I’m grateful for this week:

  1. Alice has had her school nativity play this week and despite an incident with a rogue elf in the play, it went off very well. She looked so cute in her angel costume!
  2. I’ve made a big dent on the Christmas shopping! I’ve still got a fair way to go, but I’m pleased that I’ve made a big start on it. I hate going to the shops at this time of year so I’m trying to get the majority of it done online.
  3. I no longer commute into London but my husband does. In the last couple of weeks there have been ongoing issues with the trains. Delay after delay. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to do that daily battle with the train and tube anymore. I love that I can do my freelance writing work from home and that it flexibly fits in with my family.
  4. We’ve had the best school run this week since September. Whilst there have been a few bad moments, Alice seems to have really settled down and enjoying ‘Big School’ this week. I’ve had far less tears and tantrums than we’ve seen in previous weeks. It’s surprising how much happier and easier my day becomes on a good school run and for that I’m hugely grateful.
  5. Tonsillitis, upset stomachs, colds. We seem to have to have had a real run of illness in this house. After weeks of everyone in our household being ill, we are all finally on the road to recovery.

This time of year is normally really busy for most people. We get stressed out about shopping and Christmas on top of the usual every day strains of work and juggling life. I think it’s a good tip to take time out of each day to pause and reflect on what we are all thankful for. It seems to genuinely make us more thankful and a little happier.

 

The List

 

Guilt and our Demanding Lives

 

Feeling Guilty
Feeling Guilty? You’re Not Alone

I’ve spoken to lots of friends recently who are all suffering with the same type of disease: guilt. It seems that the everyday demands seems to be a constant worry and source of guilt for many women in today’s world.

What are we Feeling Guilty About?

Everything and anything judging by the conversations I’ve been having. From not spending enough time with the extended family to not eating healthily or doing enough exercise. Becoming a parent makes the guilt sky-rocket. I quite often feel guilty about the effects of what I’m doing is having on my kids. Am I being too strict? Not strict enough? Not giving them enough attention? I’ve spoken to working mums who are feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children and full-time mums that are worrying about not giving their children enough stimulation. I’ve even had conversations with some women who are feeling guilty about not spending enough time on the chores or work around the house.

My Personal Guilt List

At the moment my guilty worry list consists of the following:

  • Losing my patience with my eldest daughter on a daily basis in the battle to get her to go to school.
  • Juggling working from home with every spare scrap of time that I have, and worrying about the impact on my children.
  • Not seeing enough of all my friends.
  • Not visiting my nan enough.

Why?

So why are so many of us feeling guilty for so much of the time? I’m no expert but I think a lot of the problem is down to how busy we all are and how demanding our lives have become. It seems that everything is competing for our time and attention and we are being pulled apart by the strains. We are constantly trying to juggle work, children, relationships as well as the mundane chores and feel a huge sense of guilt if we can’t meet all of these things or give them all the dedicated time they deserve. Technology may well help ease some of the problems in our lives, but can ironically add to the guilt too. I often find that a “quick” check of my email on my phone whilst spending time with the kids sucks me into a whole host of nonsense on Facebook and it can be some time before I’m snapped back into reality and then immediately feel guilty about it.

How to Lose The Guilt

I read an article the other day that said we all need to treat ourselves more kindly and stop being so hard on ourselves; we are all doing the best that we can to get by. If we could only talk to ourselves like we would a friend who was asking for help we would be better off.  We need to acknowledge that we are not perfect and we can’t always give our all to everyone all of the time. We need to give ourselves a break, it’s a tough enough trying to get on in this world without dragging ourselves down!

Do you agree? I’d love to hear what you think about guilt.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The List

Busy Busy Bee

Busy Bees in Work and Social Life

I’ve just looked at my calendar today and realised that I don’t have a free weekend spare now until the middle of August! How can it be possible that I have something booked in every weekend for practically a quarter of the year? It feels ridiculous, but yet somehow fairly easy to achieve when you consider there’s always friends and family to see, holidays, kids’ parties and two milestone birthdays in the next few months ahead of us.

I know some people like having a busy social life, but I’m not a fan of always having something planned and my husband absolutely hates it; you begin to almost feel like you’re constrained by the diary and can’t do anything spontaneous.

Never Enough Time

Many of us are now busier than ever. Busy juggling work, children, the daily commute, school pick-ups and drop offs not to mention the inane household chores, time really does become the most precious of commodities. Yes, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and catch up with the family, but I really do believe that sometimes it’s just as important to stop, take stock and breathe. Time to just chill out, think and do whatever it is that YOU want to do.

Too many of us are concerned about trying to please other people or minimise offending others, so we rush around chaotically trying to do everything to please other people, to fit everything in and often neglect ourselves.

Work

It’s not just family and social life that this all applies too, but work too. I know people who always seem to be absolutely manic. As a freelancer, I’m fortunate enough right now to be busy but not swamped, but I know other freelancers who are fraught, trying to juggle their life around work because they don’t want to turn projects down. Like our social lives, it’s just as important to take stock and look at the situation. I wrote recently about how I’ve just gained the confidence to turn work down that I don’t think is of value either financially or in terms of the type of work I want to focus on. Whatever the nature of your work, whether it’s full time, part time or freelancing, I think it’s always really worthwhile to stop every now and then and look at what we’re doing. Are there some projects or some bits of work that can be delegated to someone else or delayed or abandoned all together? All too often we run around like headless chickens being busy that sometimes a bit of time out to re-assess can really help us get back on track and be more productive.

Be a Little Selfish

It’s important to every now and then, be a little bit selfish. Think about what you want to do. That and learn to say no to people more often. The other thing that I need to do more often is to plan free weekends into the diary. Free from making commitments, free from seeing other people and free to do what we as a family want to do. I used to work with a girl who every couple of months would plan with her husband to have a weekend spent “pulling up the drawbridge”, they wouldn’t go out and no one else would come in, and they would spend that weekend how they pleased together.

We’re all busy, but I hope this post at least makes you stop and think awhile. As John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Are you a busy bee?  Do you like having lots to do and being on the go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.