Well hello there lovely readers. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. It's that time again - the weekend is over, you're feeling a bit under the weather, and you've a whole week in work to get through again. Trust me, I absolutely know the feeling. I woke up this morning and had a bit of an 'ah ha' moment (as Oprah would say!) and I wanted to share it with you all. What if we stopped looking at the work week/week in general as a big mountain to overcome? What if we stopped viewing it as a struggle and a negative thing that we have to do? Would it be possible, just for a moment, to stop wishing our lives away and to start actually living in the moment. I am no preacher because this is something I struggle with myself but I woke up this morning wondering if it is something that I have the ability to change myself, and I firmly believe that I can. After all, most of our negative thoughts, worries and anxieties are based on things that generally never even happen. I've decided to dedicate Monday to focusing on the other sides of life, the actual living part. Join me if you fancy it, grab a cup of tea and take a moment to just breathe and let the dust settle after what was probably quite a good week for you. It might not seem it, but chances are that there were lots of good things that happened last week that we sort of neglected to focus on. We probably focused on the things that we didn't like, were not looking forward to, and did not want to happen. And guess what? Most of these good things probably happened between Monday and Friday. Welcome to your new week, enjoy it!
We can all get in to that negative frame of mind where we look to the week ahead and see it as just being a slog. All we can see is the work week, the work day, the shift we don't want to work, the people we are not looking forward to running in to, the bills, the stress, the worries and the lack of time to relax. What I have realised is that it is usually a million times worse in your head than it is in reality. Working is just one little piece of the puzzle that makes up your life, and indeed your week. Why in that case would you let it dictate your entire mood? Take back your power and start controlling those thoughts of yours. Again, to avoid sounding preachy, this is as much an exercise for myself as it is one I want to share with you all. This week think of yourself as the Project Manager of your life and this week is your very first project. You've been given a specific amount of time, resources, people, skills and targets and it really is your responsibility to make the most of these resources and make them stretch as far as they can. This time next week you could be looking back on the week that has passed feeling proud, inspired and most of all not dreading the next week. Start filling your days with things that make you happy.
Michael Bublé said it himself, it really is the simple things that can make us feel good. I am not going to argue with that handsome fella. Sometimes it is as simple as a nice piece of music, a nice dinner, a hot bath, your favourite tv program, a walk in fresh air, meeting a friend for coffee, or as Mr Bublé so eloquently puts it - "sleep in peace when day is done, that's what I mean". In other words, take comfort and happiness in the simplest of things as it is these simple pleasures that can be the difference between a life filled with joy or a life consumed by worry and negativity.
Why not make a list of the things that make you happy? A simple list of a couple of things that are accessible to you and even try to implement one of those things in to your week, or if you are really feeling positive - in to every single day this week. It really is not that hard. Some of the things that I try to do to make my week have a little spring in it's step are :
- Meal Planning. Sound boring? Not for me. I love planning nice dinners, buying the ingredients (and getting good bargains of course) and after work having a lovely dinner to look forward to cooking and eating. It's therapeutic in my opinion.
- NOT PLANNING. Yep, this is an important one for me. Sometimes clearing your diary, putting off meeting a friend till next week, or allowing yourself to just not do something is exactly what you need. Why do we always need to busy ourselves? Have a bath, read a book, and learn how to switch the dial on your mind to relaxation mode. It really is so important to clear your head space.
- PLANNING. The very opposite. Sometimes the actual 'doing' is what will reduce your stress and worry. Dreading doing the ironing? Want to start a diet? Want to quit smoking? Need to change your bed-clothes? Get up off your tushy and just do it. It's amazing how all these little things niggle at us and when we just start crossing them off the list we can automatically feel the load lightening in our heads.
- As you may have guessed from above - having a bath and reading a book. Either together or separate. Both are practically free and can bring a serious amount of relaxation to your day.
- Going out for a walk. Even if it is just a 15 minute stroll on your lunch break - the fresh air does wonders for your mood and your general well-being.
- Taking 30 minutes out of your day to sit down with a cup of tea and read a magazine or watch your favourite tv show. It could be when your baby is napping or while dinner is cooking. This helps re-charge your batteries and helps you experience a lovely moment of calm amongst the busyness of your day.
These are just some idea of things you can do to get the most out of your day. Everyone is different and we all find solace in different activities. Sometimes it can feel like we are performing monkeys and living in a routine of working, eating and sleeping but why not make the working, sleeping and eating the best they can possibly be? Inject a bit of life in to your week and take a look at all the good around you. I know I will be doing that this week. Now remember, this is homework, so no slacking!
Oh, and just to give you a little example of a positive thing that happened to me last week that could be easily overlooked... I had decided that I wanted to buy a beanbag for the living room, something to use to put the feet up when I'm watching tv. I had looked in the Argos catalogue and they ranged from about €30-€50 for a cheap and cheerful one and I said I would have a think about it. The next day I went in to Dealz to pick up a few things and out of pure coincidence they were selling leather beanbags for €10. What a bargain! A lovely example of being in the right place at the right time. I was delighted with myself!
Have a lovely week everyone, and don't allow negative thoughts and worries to take over each precious day you've been given to enjoy and thrive in this world. I leave you with this, it's actually a quote my sister Leanne pointed me in the direction of and I really believe it to be true -
"Inventing problems in our minds and then believing them is a clear path to self-sabotage. Too often we amuse ourselves with anxious predictions, deceive ourselves with negative thinking, and ultimately live in a state of hallucination about worse-case scenarios. We overlook everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth. Next time you feel insecure, and you catch yourself stressing about problems that don't exist, stop yourself and take a deep breath. Then tell yourself 'this problem I'm concerned with only exists in my mind'. Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards self -confidence"