Time to reset

I need one of these. A go-to reset button that gives my mind, body and soul a much needed refresh. But like anything that’s worth doing a reset takes effort and it’s usually in the form of giving ourselves permission, organising the diary and the guts to bloody well just do it.

Admittedly when we’re busy scattering ourselves across our multi-layered lives it seems unatural to stop. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and before we know it the year’s almost out and we’re not far off burn out. When I get caught up in the rolling sphere of life I have this sense that I’m almost there. There’s lots of “Have a day for yourself next week,” and “Do this, then you can do your stuff,” swirling around my head. I resist the time for me. I often put off making that hair appointment, or date with myself to just sit in a cafe with a mag on my own (weird I know, but the introvert in me craves this) or even just going for a walk. I let these things go because there’s always something more pressing, more important and more valid than my own space.

In actual fact this is BS.

There is nothing more important than your mental health. Our minds are the control centre of our universe. They house our perception and guide each step we take throughout the day. Mindset gets us to work, tells us to work-out, to eat, sleep, cook, make coffee and drink green juices – it holds all reason for all things. Let that get outta whack and the many worlds you occupy will know about it, quick smart.

And here’s how it happens. The tasks of you’re normal day-to-day routine aren’t the big deal. School drop off, opening shop, responding to emails or writing a letter – millions of women tackle their to-do list every morning. We’re super stars at this stuff. But say you have a few newbies this week. The washing machine breaks down. That’s annoying but manageable. You can handle looking at multiple washing baskets for a week. Then your boss might catch you in the hall and ask for a briefing on your projects “in an hour please,”. With heart pounding and brain in overdrive you keep the briefing on your less-than-fabulous progress on these projects up beat and positive. She goes straight to the hard questions, is disappointed with the answers and pissed. Not a great outcome. Later that week you’re running late (to one of your many commitments) traffic is stupid and you left on a bad (and loud) note with your partner who just doesn’t get why you’re so upset that you have nothing clean to wear. So you’re extra pissed at the guy doing 60km in an 80km zone. He cops a finger and you cry as you arrive in the car park greeted with no free spaces. The acronym FML come to mind.

Yes, these are first world problems, and ones we should probably be grateful for, but for many of us they still trigger our body’s stress response. Whenever we get going (feeling worried, overwhelmed or in desperate need of a deep breath) our brain gets trigger happy. It releases chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol which gives us that heart pounding energy burst we need to to get ‘it’ done. Like most drugs a little at a time can be an enjoyable buzz but a chronic use and you have a problem.

Don’t dismiss the stress you’re feeling because you think your problems are less than anyone elses. No matter the size they’re valid, real and most likely making you unhappy. In fact you’re probably joining the one in seven Australians who reported feeling depressive symptoms according to a national survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society last year. And no surprises that the top five sources of stress were money, family, personal health, issues maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the health of those close to us. Our modern lifestyle is sending us all a little cra-cra.

So whether you’re a CEO or a cleaner everyone has valid reason to take time out. So here’s my go-to list of mini (uses less time and money) and maj (uses more time and money) resets I like to indulge in. Trust me, the world looks much better on the otherside any of these…


Mini: Buy flowers

This takes five minutes in your lunch break or during your grocery run but it literally means you stop to smell the roses (or whatever flower takes your fancy). Choosing a bunch of these beautiful stems is a great way to break a spell of busy and get you present and in the moment.

Maj: Make a garden.

This brings me back to earth, literally. Something about getting dirty with soil, watering the plants, being outside and making something pretty. Make a morning of it: plan out your area (pots or a garden bed), take a trip to the nursery, get some gorgeous plants and get dirty. You’ll be as proud as punch with your new little flower nook.

Mini: Drink a cup of tea

See there’s a process to enjoying a good cup of tea. Boil the kettle, let the tea leaves steep, drink it hot and sitting down. A good session of tea and a book can chase your troubles away.

Maj: Bake and share

Cooking, for me, seems to involve hurrying around a kitchen to get something on a plate for the troops to eat. But baking, baking I do with love. It takes more time and organisation but I think it’s the creation of something from scratch and sitting down with friends and family to eat and chat that’s good for your soul.

Mini: Take a bath

If you have one, use it. Dave Hughes makes a joke about how boring this is (I think it’s a male thing, my husband says the same) but if you’re in need of some quiet time away from the pack this is my no. 1 go-to. Add some candles, relaxing tunes (and in my case another mag) and there’ll be no need for the following.

Maj: Visit a day spa

This takes time, money and organisation but it’s oh-so worth it. When a major reset is due this a guaranteed way to switch off, recalibrate and completely disconnect from the norm. You’re not usually allowed mobile phones so you’re temptation to check Instagram or Facebook is removed. If you’re local my favs are Decadent Hair and Beauty  and Lotus Waters Wellness Center. And if you happen to be tripping up to the Gold Coast I can attest the spas at the Phoenician Resort and Pallazzo Versace are da bomb! Note: I’ve only suggested those spas I’ve tried.

 

Mini: One episode of Sex and the City

You know what I’m talkin’ about. Just searching for an image to place here makes me want to grab the SATC DVDs, turn off my phone and snuggle into the couch and start that whole love-hate relationship with Mr. Big again. The frustration was enough forget anyone’s problems!

Maj: The entire box set of Sex and the City

A rainy weekend, hot cup of tea and a packet of Tim Tams. Nuff said.

Mini: Walk on grass with no shoes

My husband swears by this and it turns out he’s not wrong (dang it). As well as helping you to reset and clear your mind, Mind Body Green notes there’s a few extra health benefits too.

Maj: Go for a run

Yes I hear the groan but it works. Try committing to just 20 minutes, even if it’s a jalk (alternating between jogging and walking). Getting your heart rate up, breathing in outside air (I hate running in gyms) and having your mind focused only on taking that next breath is a cleanse like no other. I know it hurts but it’s a good one.

And when all else fails (and this is soooo true) just spend 5 whole minutes doing what you were born to do.

 

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The perfect deadline

Writing this was like jumping off a cliff. Returning from a fun-filled, long overdue girls’ weekend in Sydney I’m coming off a high. It’s a slow descend from wining and dining, ice cream indulgence, make-your-eyes-water belly laughs, late night chats and dancing until kick out time. A complete disconnect from my normal routine and seemingly exactly what I needed to finally press ‘publish’. I’ve been given a deadline. An ultimatum to save me from myself. ‘Publish by Friday or I’ll do it for you,’ said my girlfriend. ‘Seriously.’ Tofindandshare.com has slowly been developing in the background for over a year. Why so long? Because I suffer from the killer disease known as Perfectionism. And apparently you might too? It might not seem like a big deal at first but I stumbled across this article from Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney (a.k.a Mimi from The Drew Carey Show) who say it’s the leading fatal disease among women 18 to 100. So pretty much everyone. And they’re right, it does kill. At the top of the Perfection spectrum is the slow and inevitable death of confidence, flow, trust and good old-fashion fun. These life essentials are shot down in an effort to keep things ‘just right’. Instead perfection thrives on thoughts like “I’ll wear it when I have the right shoulders for this dress,” or “I know she said it was good but I really should’ve done it better,” and my personal favourite I’m very guilty of: “No, I’ll do it when [enter your ridiculous milestone here]”. And you know what…

 

I’m making the commitment. I’m letting-go. And I’m giving a big F you to the pursuit of perfection. Why the drama with being perfect you ask? What’s so bad about trying to do things right- ALL the time? Put simply, it’s killing me.

At the end of a whirl-wind 2012 I found myself involuntarily taking a crash course in stress management – a.k.a  breakdown. I lay bare most of the gory details here but essentially it took a physical and mental hold on my ability to function before I could stop and check-in with my health and reality. I’d let perfection take over my life. It’s standards ruled every aspect of it and anything less than meant I was too. It meant failure and being vulnerable to judgement. I needed approval and delivering perfection usually gave it to me. If it didn’t I’d convince myself I’d done something wrong or that next time I had to do it better. The standards were always there, in big things like graduating uni or small things like how I’d pack my suitcase. Yes, a suitcase. When I’ve felt brave enough to share this experience and the mind-set that drove me to crash I’ve found I’m not alone. I get lots of “I do that,” or “I think that too,” and “I know, why do we do it to ourselves?”. So it’s left me to realise that trying to be perfect is something most, if not all, women struggle with – just to varying degrees and in different aspects of our lives. So here goes…the launch of my own little cyber baby. You’re reading its first words. All of which are put together with complete sincerity and a hope that sharing my story might resonate with another girl out there who needs saving from a little insanity of her own and ultimately know that it’s ok to let-go of perfection. She feels the pressure. It pops up everywhere. Dominant in some places, a little less in others. Maybe at work where she must be ‘doing really well for herself’ and where ‘good enough’ is just an indicator she needs to do more. Or at home, where the just-in-case-visitors-pop-in mind-set has her vacuuming at midnight and forever at the sink. Her effortlessly fabulous housewife-look is turning out to be a full-time job. Her gym workouts are out of guilt, never for fun and always for work. How else is she gonna get that Miranda Kerr body without back-to-back Pump and RPM classes 5 times a week and complete deprivation of any food that resembles carbs or sugar, right? She tries to be perfect. Life happens and she fails. She feels bad…judged. She tries harder and she’s back chasing a first-class ticket on the Perfect Express. tofindandshare.com is about my journey to find and share ways to stop the perfection pressure and start enjoying who, what and where we are right now. Right now. Let’s start the journey. This moment, this day, this weekend try letting go of just one thing and let it be perfectly imperfect – whatever that is to you. If you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down or just curious about this little space I’d love to send my posts to your inbox every Friday (head on over to the right). Here’s to sharing some imperfection love! Image 1: missmerimac Image 2: mina jafari