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.

 

Image 1: RosieSandz.com Image 2: Mackenzie Horan Image 3: Lushome.com Image 4: Contesse du Chocolat Image 5: Dailycandy.com Image 6: Vianna Image 7:  Schoone Oordt Country House Image 8: Danielle Knighton  Image 9: Esquire.com Image 10: Özkan Yıldızhan Image 11: Hollywood Physique Training Image 12: kushandwizdom

Strong women say no

Are you doing this? Running rampid through town, around the house and thinking about what you need to get done tomorrow – right now? Yes, I’d be happy rocking these pins too, but let’s see how far the chase actually takes you.

I’m the first to admit to an OTT work ethic. While it’s paid off many times in the past, it’s like a drug. I know it’s bad for me, I’ve tried to kick the habit but on some level the chaos feels good. See it all seems to stem from a list. On the fridge, in the diary on a pretty piece of kiki-k ‘To-Do’ stationery (I’m a sucker for those) the list of tasks looks so structured and organised, even complete, on paper. It sits as a beautiful compilation of all the things I’m going to get done that day. There’s a mindset that it it’s on a list it’ll get it done, I’ll remember to do it.

The thing is I never actually forget. Remembering isn’t the problem. The list morphs from the paper into my head and becomes tattooed onto my brain, not as a friendly reminder (the tone of these lists get nasty), but as a constant reinforcement of what I haven’t achieved that day.

My mantra this week has been ‘Get.Your.Shit.Together’. Last night I laid myself to sleep planning out the day ahead of me. How organised I would be to have vacuumed the whole house in the hour between Harper’s bottle feed and breakfast. I’d have a whole ‘nother half-hour to hang some washing, get dressed, make the bed, do the breakfast dishes, pack Harper up and drive to the gym by 9.30am. Anyone with a child will be shaking their heads at this and not be surprised when I say I got no-where near that list done. And so that’s all I thought about… what I didn’t get done.

If someone kept telling you about all the things you’d forgotten to do, had given a half-arse attempt at doing or just ran out of time to do in the midst of chaos, that is your day, wouldn’t you tell them to back off? Wouldn’t you tell them that the reason your lounge room floor looks like a creche and your car appears to have taken on a 4WD track is because you just haven’t had a spare hour to dedicate to these jobs? Or maybe you’d whip out your diary? It’s jam-packed with work meetings, doctor, accountant and school appointments, just-need-a-decent-coffee-with-an-adult appointments and let alone tackling you’re daily sort-yourself-out schedule. Wouldn’t this be your instinct?

So do it. Tell yourself to back the fuck up.

Let’s just be a little bit more realistic. The ‘list’ does not control you. You control the list. And no matter how hard or fast you work there will always be something on the list. So it needs to be managed.

A very smart and endearing CEO once said to me, “If I see you here past 5.30pm, I don’t see that as you doing a good job. I see that as you not being able to manage your work load.”

Ouch. This knocked my whole perfectionist work ethic out reception’s front door. Fear was my first instinct and I had trouble comprehending his words. In my mind working harder, doing things faster and staying up late to fit more in was a way of life, especially in a (often egotistical) corporate world.

It’s taken me many years, a breakdown, a couple of therapy sessions and much willingness to ‘let-go’ but I now understand what he was trying to instill in his team.

Your list is your workload. Managing your workload means managing the unnecessary, staying focused, prioritising and most importantly saying ‘No’. Now this isn’t another take-control-of-your-life-and-quite-your-job kinda post. It’s a simple reminder that day-to-day we run the list. We manage the workload. We say ‘Yes’ and we should also be saying, and be ok with saying, ‘No’.

And ‘no’ this very word is not weakness, a can’t-hack-it attitude or a cop-out. It’s a conscious uncoupling of you from the list (thanks Gwenyth and Chris). It’s permission, it’s empowerment and it’s ownership. Take yourself back to a time when someone said no to you. Didn’t you feel like they had the power and the say-so? Didn’t you feel like you had to check back with them if it was ok?

So here’s three ways (another list) to try to start taking back your say-so.

1. Keep making the list. But pick only three items for that day.

My lists are epic. They’re comprehensive, detail oriented and completely unachievable. Don’t do this. Set yourself up for success and choose only three that you can achieve.

2. Verbalise it.

Say it out loud to yourself, the cat, dog, the baby – whoever or whatever. The most important thing here is that you put it out there. It’s no longer just a thought, you’ve part-way actioned it.

3. What’s the worst that will happen. Really?

Is it that bad? Will it really be the end of your world (or someone elses) if you say no? Put your big-girl pants on and give yourself a reality check on the situation – there’s a likelihood you could live with the outcome.

So, with every email, phone call, load of laundry, trip to the shops or errand you run – take back your say-so. Say yes when you can and say no when you can’t. Be honest. Don’t ignore the deep inhale when you know you’re taking on too much. You are a superwoman. But even she didn’t have super powers to do it all.

 

Image 1: via Vaunte.com Image 2: simplyseleta.com Image 3:  Lilian Ricano Image 4: webjunkiesblog