Month: November 2018

Little Things That Make Me Happy

When I’m struggling, it can really help to take a moment to appreciate the little things that make me happy. Sometimes the littler the better!

Today? Well, that cup of tea that my husband always brings me first thing in the morning makes me very happy. The cup isn’t my everyday “mug”, it’s a porcelain cup and saucer that I bought in a local antiques market. I have two of them and only have my first cup of tea each morning in them. While Mark goes downstairs after getting himself ready in the morning, I enjoy a bit of a “lie-in” whilst listening to Radio 2 and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Usually some time between 7:30-7:40 Mark brings up my cup of tea and gives me a kiss. I can always count on this service Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekend if I am lucky. I like this slow way of starting my day even though it isn’t particularly productive. I also like that Mark starts the day with the children and listening to their clatter is soothing.

When I drop the children off at school, that last kiss and reminder to “do good things” helps them to start their school day but it also helps me to know that I am leaving them with a positive thought and the knowledge that I love them. My brief walk home is always a bit quieter, a bit slower. I make a conscious effort to slow down and breathe. To appreciate the things around me. Greeting little ones and their parents is important to me. I like to be cheerful to others because I know that I appreciate it as well.

I arrive back home, unlock the door and let myself into the house where it is quiet and still. The house, while sometimes seems too silent and lonely, is a comfort to me as well. My morning routine centres around making a cup of tea (in one of my happy mugs), eating breakfast, listening to Radio 2 and getting down to work. Part of the reason that I have Radio 2 on is that it means someone else is in the room with the dogs and me. I have someone to listen to, talk to or laugh with. I hear the news every 30 minutes so I feel like I know what’s going on in the world.

My desk is a happy place for me. It’s an old writing bureau that Mark brought home for me. I painted it with chalk paint and originally it took pride of place in my Shedquarters in the garden. But then the Autumn and Winter temperatures made the Shedquarters less of a haven so I dragged it across the garden to take up residence near the back door of our lounge. My writing desk is decorated with bits and bobs of happiness and comfort. My laptop sits comfortably waiting for the ideas in my head to pour out into the keyboard. Some days it waits a while! My laptop is surrounded by several of my colourful notebooks which also wait to be written in. The ideas don’t seem to flow as frequently these days for some reason. Perhaps it’s lack of practice?

Another source of happiness for me is the sound of children’s voices when they play outside at school. We live only a stone’s throw from school and each morning during their break time and each afternoon at lunch I can hear their (hopefully) gleeful voices. I find it reassuring although having worked at school lunch hour previously, I know that not all of those shouts and squeals are happy voices. However I like to think that my two children are happy each day.

I’m quite a social person naturally and while I love the flexibility and freedom of working from home, I find the lack of company quite oppressive some days. I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain my feelings and thoughts but am struggling. There’s no reason for me to be struggling to be fair but I am. I feel like I have just stepped into quicksand. I’m stuck but as I try to move to extricate myself from this situation I just get more stuck. So there I stand…still. Paralysed essentially. Not sure what to do or where to go.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am peri-menopausal. A few months ago, after seeing a 3rd GP at my surgery, he offered to put me on anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication, suggesting that it might also help with my hot flushes. While I have felt that the medication has helped me, to even me out more and clear away some of the black fog, I don’t think it’s actually what I need. I believe that hormone therapy of some sort is the best option but unfortunately the NHS generally chooses to ignore the symptoms of peri-menopausal and menopausal women. It’s time for me to get educated and make another visit to the GP to really see what can be done.

In the meantime, I am going to keep focusing on the little things and taking baby steps. The imperfectly happy journey…it’s quite the adventure.


Baby Steps

Don’t you just hate it when something you didn’t even know you wanted doesn’t happen? It’s been almost a month since I have written because life got very busy suddenly and I found the words weren’t coming so I just let them rest. Now I need to get them out.

3 weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook that a friend shared. It was a job listing for a Trainee Programme through the NHS. The NHS was looking for 4 people who wanted to become Trainee Child and Young Person’s Wellbeing Practitioners. The successful candidates would enter a PGCE programme to attain the necessary training and certification to become a Child and Young Person’s Wellbeing Practitioner and would also be paid a rather nice salary for 37.5 hours per week with all of the benefits of full time employment, including paid holiday, etc. This post had my name all over it! I have wanted to continue on from my initial work through Relax Kids to reach more children, help families and schools to create safe spaces and provide support for children experiencing anxiety and stress. I only had about 6 days to complete the NHS online application, contact and list references and also apply for the University PGCE programme which also required submitting my University transcripts. A lot of effort went into the applications but once they were complete I sat and waited with anticipation. The job description mentioned that interviews would take place the week of 5 November. I had been contacted by a couple of different people associated with the post asking basic job requirement questions so I was hopeful. I meditated, visualised and manifested. I could see myself in this role. I was excited.

And then it was November 4. I hadn’t been contacted. Interviews were supposed to start on 5 November. I emailed the contact person to enquire as to whether or not we would be notified if we were being offered an interview. The response that arrived at 5pm on 5 November was “We have already begun the interview process. Unfortunately, your application has not been successful this time.” Blah. I didn’t get an interview. I didn’t even get a courtesy email thanking me for applying and letting me know that “my application had not been successful this time.” I was like a balloon that was just poked by a random thorn whilst flying through the sky. A slow stream of air escaped as I began to sink and look rather less cheerful. A job that I hadn’t even realised that I wanted was not going to happen. And I was deflated.

I know, I know…I do believe that if something that you want to happen doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be. As a wise friend said, “it’s not the job for you right now if it didn’t happen”. I know all of that but it still is disappointing. And that has knocked me a bit. I have slept so poorly the last 2 days, awake at ridiculous o’clock, over-thinking and aimless. But I know too that it wasn’t what I was meant to do. I was meant to do something else. Something that I haven’t quite figured out yet. And that’s a bit of my roadblock at the moment: what do I want?

I received an email from a positive psychology newsletter that I have subscribed to. Ironically, the subject of the email was WHAT DO YOU WANT? Not, “what do you want to do or be” but what do you want. I am looking forward to sitting down with my notebook to work on this. It’s everything from what type of setting do you feel most comfortable in to the hours that you want to work to what the subject of your work will be. It’s not defining a job or role but what the conditions are that you need to be the most happy, motivated and inspired.

In addition to this journaling exercise, I am free-writing ideas for the mini-mountains that I have burbling under the surface at the moment. I am also feeling the feelings. It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to wallow a bit. It’s okay to have a nap or eat gluten-free onion rings for lunch. It’s okay to have a bit of retail therapy. It’s definitely okay to do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better. So this week is about that. Baby steps to feeling stronger. Baby steps to climbing that mountain. And I will get there.

How do you manage yourself when you get knocked back? What baby steps do you take to reignite your sparkle?