Which one is right for you? Quitting versus Letting Go.

A few weeks ago, in a moment of complete peace and clarity, I quit my job.

A much needed disclaimer: this is not a post about how you should drop everything (a.k.a. quite your job), buy a ticket somewhere exotic and set-up camp to go ‘find yourself”. Stay with me for a little…

I’m now well into ‘my notice’ period and I have no regrets about finishing up at the end of the month. This is highly uncharacteristic for a self-confessed planned and calculated person control freak.

I have some loose plans around what I’d like to do next but nothing rigid. And this surprises me the most. Traditionally I’m never without a clear set of next steps, I’m always aware self-conscious of what I ‘should’ be doing and rarely will I commit to any decision until I’ve researched, pondered or given it the once over with a pro-versus-cons list. I’m that friend who is annoying to shop with because she never just buys the pair of shoes. She has to check every other store for the slight possibility that she might make the ‘wrong’ choice and miss a much better style or sale. I’m the girl who fears regret, error and waste.

So why hasn’t this all kicked in to gear after I’ve completed disregarded all of the logical reasons for staying at a good paying, semi-career developing, work-life-balance-orientated and generally all-round great job?

My conclusion? I don’t think I’ve actually quit. I’ve let go.


And as a budding wordsmith I had to get deeper into what that meant – literally. And the dictionaries set me straight. As a round up…

To QUIT brings about words like:

stop, cease, discontinue, give-up, force and (as per my classic example) to resign.


To LET GO has connotations of:

permission, being released from, dismissing or escaping to be free.


It was the perfectionist mindset that I’d applied to all facets of my life that got me in the ‘quit’ space a few years ago. ‘If you can’t do it right perfectly why do it at all?’ was a re-occurirng  story in my head. So I attempted the resignation. Thanks to an incredibly wise, empathetic manager, mentor and friend – it wasn’t accepted. It’s crazy to think that sometimes people in our lives can see our lives so much clearer than us. What was said as ‘I can’t’, ‘You need someone better’ by me was heard as ‘she needs time to see the good’ and ‘here’s an opportunity to help someone’ by her. Incredibly, incredibly grateful.

So I worked on it. I continued with adjustments. I was in a financial and fateful position that saw me go part-time (and have a baby – yikes!). I accepted that my managers ‘great’ needed to be my ‘enough’ and not ‘you need to do more’. My husband gave every inch of his being to help me without request. I got a nice, professional lady to to ‘talk’ to me once a month. And with this help I found ways to enjoy what I was doing again, actually see good work being done and set time aside to answer an overwhelming call to explore what it really is I want to be pursuing.

This opened my eyes. My grey-glasses had been lifted and the world wasn’t so bad after all. I saw options I could never see in a down-an-out, this-is-my-lot-in-life-so-I-should-just-accept-it funk I’d got myself into. I saw possibility, I realised that a career change wasn’t something to fear or get right the first something. I accepted that the judgement of family, friends, ex-colleagues or people in my network impacted me as much as I choose to let it. I had a stupidly-simply revelation that no one, but you, actually makes rules about how you explore your life or structure it. The adjustment got me back into a space where I became.. content.

So I let go. I gave myself permission and am completely at peace that I no longer need this part of my life.

And here I am verging of being the stay-at-home-mum/studier/start-up-blogger/happiness seeker and what I have to offer is that maybe we get quitting and letting-go mixed up and misused. They each have a purpose in our life. The most important factor is that the definition sits ok with you.

To divorce or stay together? To keep studying or start working? To sell or stay? What do you need to quit and what are you ready to let go? The lesson I’m taking with me is to ask the question first. Don’t berate yourself on the answer, neither is right or wrong. Just make sure you know the difference before you do it.


Images: Stanley Kubrick via FlickerTalasanayoga.com

The Post-Baby Body: The Celebrity vs. You


Admittedly I was kind of shocked. The #loveyourlines campaign on Instagram is pretty confronting stuff if you’re a woman who loves nothing more than to hide them. And I am one such lady.

I can only admire the almost 200 women who’ve hashtaged their personal struggles and stories with their post-baby body onto the page. With over 63,000 people following the trend it’s clearly a point of interest.

And I’m going to guess that’s because there’s strong support (and perhaps curiosity) for how so many women can dig a whole lot deeper to celebrate more than what’s stretched across the surface. In a world obsessed with the celebrity post-baby slim down here’s a bunch an army of women who not only can let-go of perceived perfection but are willing to declare it with a photograph for the world to see. Gutsy stuff.

I think it’s this gutsy sharing amongst women that has this campaign turning comparison on its head. When I first landed on the hundreds of images of ripples, rolls, scars and sags it kinda brought a feeling of comfort. You know that moment when you confess something to a girlfriend and she turns to you and says “Yep, I have that too.” There’s a bit of relief that you’re not alone. Or (and this probably isn’t in line with the spirit of the campaign – but) that yours aren’t as bad? It’s human female nature.

So comparison got me reminiscing on an article I wrote in my last year of uni titled The post-baby body: The celebrity versus you. It was around the time Miranda  Kerr stepped onto the catwalk three months after giving birth – and it was headline news.

I wanted to look a little closer at the celebrity-post-baby-body thing; why do we love it and hate it equally as much? Enter a switched on psychology researcher with some aussie-grown research on the ‘Yummy-Mummy’ and a recently new mum and gym instructor and I had full-term team of experts.

And for a bit of insight (and a flash-back to a short-lived interest in traditional journalism) it’s here for your perusing. And, as the article explores, whoever the comparison comes next to let’s keep it real.


Another celebrity post-baby body: Celebuzz.com features model Miranda Kerr returning to work on Malibu Beach, California on April 17, 2011. Kerr gave birth to a son Flynn January 6, 2011.


That toned and tanned tummy. Those ever so delicately defined arms. And that highly perched and perfectly rounded butt – it looks like it must have been poured into that bikini.

In a photograph taken just three months after giving birth Miranda Kerr’s beautiful body is no doubt that of a supermodel.

It’s hard for our eyes not to be drawn to yet another celebrity’s trim and tight post-baby body splashed across a cover page. Internet sites like People.com even include a body watch segment allowing you to compare a celebrity’s post-baby body before and after. But it’s this attraction to celebrity post-baby bodies that sparks a thought for any non-celebrity mum feeling pressure and expectation to lose the baby weight.

As a gym instructor said she had a horrible perception of mothers who still carried weight from their pregnancy. Laughing, Shannon said she questioned why they hadn’t lost the kilos.

“How mean is that? No sympathy what so ever…suck it up get out there and jump higher and you lose everything and that’s how it’ll work,” Shannon said.

Three years down her path of motherhood and just days away from expecting her second child Shannon is now more empathetic admitting to feeling the pressure to lose her own baby weight.

“Everyone said to me ‘You’ll bounce back straight away’. It took me a while and I thought with the fitness ability I had and the knowledge I had… I also thought a lot of people were judging me because of that. For me the expectations I felt were very high,” she said.

Despite those expectations Shannon refuses to compare her post-baby weight loss to that of a celebrity’s.

“I hate it when they bring out celebrities [as a news item]….because they don’t talk about the rest of their life.

When Miranda Kerr came out the other day and all my friends are sitting there saying ‘Wow she’s beautiful’ and I said ‘Yes she is and I take nothing away from her in regards to that however… she has a personal trainer, a chef, a baby sitter. Bring it back to reality. That is not what the majority of women can do.”

In 2008 a study titled Post partum women’s body image: The curse of the yummy mummy psychology researcher Lucia Bongiorno said over 68% of participants indicated it was comparing themselves with their peer group rather than celebrities that made them feel they should diet and lose weight during the post-partum period.

“The socio cultural accepted ideal of body image is that thin is good,” Lucia said.

“Think about it if you put on weight, no one says anything to you…you lose weight and people will go ‘Oh my god you lost weight you look fantastic’. Why is it that we feel we can comment on when people lose weight but not when they gain weight? Because the socio cultural expectancies say that the skinnier you are the better you are and therefore we praise it.

While the media exerted the greatest amount of pressure on women to maintain the ideal, it was actually comparison with their peers, other mums, that made these women feel bad about their bodies and made them want to lose weight,” she said.

However the study also identified that a trend in celebrity body bounce backs was developing a new ideal for post-baby body image.

“We’ve had a group of celebrities that have given birth

Lucia explains that over a period of time the term ‘has emerged to describe the celebrity post-baby weight loss trend. The yummy mummy is young, stylish, attractive and very slim and acts as an alternative to society’s thin ideal relevant to women having babies.

“The media stereotype of the yummy mummy places undue pressure on new mothers to perform to an unrealistic ideal.”

“You’re standing at the supermarketyou stand in line to pay for petrol at the petrol station it’s there. And you might have a quick scan of the cover while you’re next in line to pay. The message is there in our face, the beautiful body image.”

But for Shannon, the unrealistic ideal is only relevant if you let yourself be carried away with that celebrity image.

“Yes the instant perception is ‘My god she looks amazing, I’ve got to look like that,’ but then maybe a bit more reflection. Keep it real.”


Images: loveyourlines, DailyNews.com


Love to hear your thoughts on this one in the comments below! Or share if you another lady needing a little post-baby uplift x

Seven for yourSelf on Sunday

 – We all have them. Bad weeks. And in the name of practicing what I’ve been preaching I said ‘no’ to a few things last Friday – blogging being one of them. So Lovely, this week it’s all sent from a well-rested and heartfelt place. And if you’re feelin’ me on the bad week then this post is ESPECIALLY for you (and the up-coming meltdown you may be fighting off!). – 

I read a lot about self-love, mindfulness and taking care of yourself. There’s a lot of good, practical advice out there. But there’s also a lot of stuff that makes me cringe. You know, the build-a-shrine-for- yourself type stuff. Or the say-you-love-yourself-in-the-mirror-three-times-a-day kinda practices. While I completely believe this kind of thing works for those kind of people it’s just not me.

What is me and what I can manage on a weekly basis is a little Sunday afternoon/night ritual – in the name of self-love. It makes me feel good and sets me up for a week that’s Teflon to any signs of feeling overwhelmed.

I think there’s a reason why Sunday has always been declared as a ‘day of rest’. We’re like any other processed-orientated being. Unless we use our down time to re-fuel, re-boot or re-whatever-the-hell-you-want-to we just can’t sustain our focus, speed or efficiency that our working week has come to indulge in. I think sometimes Sundays get taken over by family-obligated events, grocery shopping, sports, bad TV, household chores that can’t wait and even I’ll-get-that-done-before-Monday work tasks.

Try to be conscious in your down time. There’s no point in rushing through a list of ‘relaxing’ things thinking at the end you’ll be delivered with an unplugged and chilled-out feeling. The zen is actually in the time it takes you to do these things. The time you wouldn’t or couldn’t allow yourself before. Admittedly you’ll get to enjoy the smooth and soft feeling some of these things leave you with but mindfulness about why you’re doing them is key.

So here they are…

1. A good-ol-fashioned Sunday casserole

Dice it all up and chuck it all in. No browning of the meat or caramelising of the onions (I personally can’t tell the difference on a 4 or 8 hour cook) and all with a can of tomatoes and some fresh herbs. Having this simmering away in the background means you’ll not only avoid the 5pm rush hour (and the onset of Sunday afternoon Mondayitis ) but you’ll also have one less meal to cook during the week. Try this super-simple recipe from The Whole Daily for Slow-Cooked Sweet Balsamic Lamb Shanks. Last Sunday I threw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and walked away – it was da-bomb.

photo (2)

2. Leave-in conditioner (because it can ‘…happen overnight’ and it does ‘happen’)

The next best feeling to that just-had-my-hair-cut glow. Whether you’re a morning, night or both kinda shower person, on Sunday, spray or dollop some leave-in conditioner into your strands. It adds a whole 2 minutes extra to your shower routine but leaves you with glossy locks that’ll last all week (if you do this regularly). Your hair will feel smoother, softer and you’ll look in the mirror and curse at it less – promise! My favourite is De Lorenzo’s Instant Reconstructurant. It’s a perfect spray-n-go and a little goes a very long way.

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3.Change the bed sheets.

Nuff said. I’ll admit I don’t always get to it every single Sunday (is that gross?) but if the weather’s been kind for washing and I get a smooth run in the afternoon it’s the biggest pay-off: smooth, crisp and fresh sheets to dive into Sunday night.

4.Nail polish  – take it alllll off.

I know, you were thinking a top-up coat weren’t you? Well if you can make time – go for it! But personally by Sunday any nail polish I’ve skimped on quickly during the week is pretty cracked and peeling. It’s a sore sight and a constant reminder that ‘I need to do my nails’… so I take it off. A clean slate, an a-la-natural feeling and the added benefit of giving my nail beds some time to breathe and avoid them drying out.

5.Re-pack your hand bag.  

Actually, this is more of a sort-out-all-the-crap-you’re-carrying-around-with-you than a pack-situation. I gather so much stuff during the week: receipts, baby toys, fruit-I-mean-to-snack-on, more receipts, pens and there’s usually a half-drunk bottle of water swishing around in there too. And for anyone who’s tried to call me and always gets message bank…I missed you because I was elbow deep looking for my phone! Take it all out, put the necessary back in. It’s a sure way to get lighter and less chaotic when you’re out-n-about.

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6.Read or Write

This one is about mental renewal (I know it’s a random book collection we house at our place!). Mindfulness. Creativity. All the good stuff we often don’t let ourselves indulge in during the working hours. I don’t think you have to get too woo-woo here on the mindfulness stuff but just find something that completely absorbs you. This is what actually gives your mind a break from the guzillion thoughts you usually have running through your head. It’s one book with one story for one moment.

There’s also a bunch of proven benefits to reading too.

Read what makes you feel good – but check-in on yourself with this. Be honest. Don’t pick up a trash-mag because it’s a mind-numbing, easy, exercise that you know will just end up making you feel crap because you’re obsessing over the pictures and all the lumps and bumps you can’t see. You’re doing damage here. This is a small part of a Sunday you’ve chosen for yourself remember? So read something that honestly serves you, gets you feeling inspired, excited, hopeful or just relaxed.

Or if reading isn’t your bag then try writing it out – journal your thoughts, write an email to an interstate girlfriend or a cheeky lunch-box note for your partner. Pen-to-paper is gold.

Trust me, when you find the thing to read or write you’ll want to draw on this in he not-so-inspired moments of the week.

7. Skip X-Factor…get an early night.

Yeah I know – it’s not rocket science – but how many actual early Sunday nights do you get? Heading to bed at 8.00pm to only settle in front of the tele doesn’t count. Sleep is one of the best ways to nourish our bodies and if you’re going to kick-ass all week then you need to load-up. Sleep allows our bodies to restore and detoxify given they don’t have to worry about keeping up to our daily functions.

And if that’s not enough reason to get you into bed then think of all the cellular renewal that you’re not getting – Hun, it’s a free wrinkle cream!

So this Sunday be a little gentler, kinder and self-loving and set yourself up for a great week.


Images: via Pinterest,  Butter with a side of bread.com, Stephanie Hudson, Stephanie Hudson,iStockStylecaster.com, Stephanie Hudson, Gianmacro Giudici

The Food and Exercise Dance

They’re two of the most powerful forces in my life: food and exercise.

For me these two are at the forefront of most decisions I make during the day. My inner-dialogue sounds like this: “I should just stick with oats for breakfast – it’s the most nutritious option in the cupboard,” or “What’s the best thing on this menu (in leafy green terms)?” and “I didn’t get to the gym this morning – fail – maybe I could squeeze in a walk in my lunch break? No, I’ll go to Pump tonight instead – that’s a whole hour – double brownie points.”

This might seem a little OTT but my health is important to me. Food and exercise are at the core of that, so, everyday I have these types of conversations with myself. Our minds and bodies know nothing else but to be honest and when I fuel and move mine correctly I feel the truth every time; nourished and strong.

This is the dance. When the song is playing good food and moderate exercise put everything in sync. Life just flows. The body is fueled to go the distance and my mind operates with clarity. It feels natural, easy… even effortless. The nutrition packed meals slide onto the table (and into my handbag – I’m super organised with healthy snacks when in this phase) and the movement enters my life from all angles: walks, gym classes, runs on the beach, pilates and yoga. My body laps up the endorphins and sound sleep that comes when I’m in the zone.

It’s good. It’s rewarding. But let’s be honest – it’s freakin’ hard to keep up.

The winter season has set upon my little piece of the world, the most southern (and I believe the most consistently cold) state in Australia, and I’m feeling ‘meh’. This week month I’ve been berating myself for the fact that I can’t be arsed lost my mojo for the Food and Exercise Dance. Despite knowing how good it is for me, knowing what it feels like to be in flow, I’ve forgotten the steps, the rhythm, heck I’ve forgotten the god damn song.

The new dance? ‘White’ is a fair description of what’s been on my plate of late: bread, potatoes, oats and diary, they’ve become my new staple. My green smoothies have lost their pop, my clean cut meats and steamed veges taste like cardboard and I’m craving drawn towards hearty, heavy, hot meals that are low in greenery and high in the Italian-comfort-food category. And exercise? Well swapping Pump classes and sprint sessions for a walk every-third-day is an even deal right?

If you’re joining me in a case of the winter blues (which I/we will get over and eventually find my/your mojo  underneath the bed covers, couch or fluffy dressing gown – wherever it was last year) it’s got me thinking: What’s healthy motivation to stay, well, healthy?

Some might describe my behaviour (a.k.a lack dancing) sheer laziness. Weakness might get a look-in and perhaps even a good old-fashion case of dog-ate-my-workout-DVD excuses? Laziness, weakness, excuses I’m sure I’ve seen these ‘motivational’ words somewhere before…

or this…


Oh… and this one makes me feel really good…

I used to pin these images, as ‘motivation’, to a fitness and health board I thought was destined to keep me on track. Then I started to scroll back through the images and quotes, this time with a clear and reduced need-to-be-perfect mindset, and was numb. “It’s just stupid,” I thought.

Let me ask you this: if I called you lazy, put a bunch of french fries in front of you and told you to do a thousand sit-ups whilst lifting up my top (exposing my perfectly photo-shopped abs) and saying “What did you do today to earn this?” you’d laugh and mime a WTF at me right? There’d at least be one hell of an awkward silence mortification. Moving past that situation I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be at the top of your she-makes-me-feel-good-about-myself list.

My point:

Just because you ate a burger or skipped the gym doesn’t make you less than the girl who didn’t. 

Berating and scolding yourself about how well you did the ‘dance’ this week is not helping you on your way. I really believe it is so-so dangerous to assess how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you were today with how much you worked-out or ate. You’re essentially attaching your worth to this assessment. You’re comparing. And human nature tells us you’ll almost always see yourself come up short against someone else.

Now I’m not giving you a free-for-all here. I’m not endorsing a self-destructive but ‘feel-good’ lifestyle. Food and exercise are at the forefront of managing your personal health BUT (and I really like to avoid this word) should not be at the expense of damaging your inner-self.

Remember her? She’s your feel-good compass. She’s that butterfly feeling in your gut when you’re excited or embarking on something new: “Keep, going,” she whispers. Your inner-self lifts the mental load when you’re down and high-fives you when you’re doing awesome. But she’s also fragile, like a child. When you berate yourself for not doing (or doing) something she takes the hit too. And not to get too woo-woo on you here but Louise Hay does explain this best:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is a little child within who needs love and acceptance…There is a parent inside each of us, as well as a child. And most of the time, the parent scolds the child—almost nonstop! If we listen to our inner dialogue, we can hear the scolding. We can hear the parent tell the child what it is doing wrong or how it is not good enough. We need to allow our parent to become more nurturing to our child.”


The message? More nurturing, less berating in the food and exercise dance. The routine needs to come from a place of respect and love for you and your body if you’re to motivate your life, not just your love-handles. Get-off the Instagram and Pinterest guilt trips. Where you are is just a point in time, it doesn’t define you. After all, you’ll do it when you’re ready.

Images: witchymoo.tumblr.com, Commentsmeme.com, via Pinterest, creatina10.com

Have versus Happy

I don’t usually get attached to news readers. In fact I’m often guilty of having a chuckle at their expense. I find it a little funny when they turn to their co-host (pearly whites gleaming) and their beautifully blow-dried locks remain anchored in place. I especially love it when the vision and the teleprompter get mixed up. We hear the serious tone detailing the Rudd/Gillard leadership challenge but we see the rough play of cute and cuddle pandas at Melbourne Zoo… it could work I guess?

But this week when Georgie Gardener announced her departure from the Today Show, citing family reasons and the presence of a ‘Grumpy Mummy’, I was kind of taken back. “Wow, she actually admitted it,” I thought.

When someone like Georgie bravely comes out and admits she can no longer balance what many of us might see as a she-has-it-all kinda life, my mind begged the question: can we actually have it all? Is Georgie’s decision just the bare truth staring us in the face that we can’t? Or is it that we can but the ‘all’ part is just a stage we reach, possible only for a point in time, ending when one of the plates we’re balancing just gets too heavy?

I needed answers. I needed to research. I needed to Google.

My girlfriends will laugh at this who know I can’t help but research the hell outta something until I get the answer. And this question I couldn’t let go.

My ‘having it all’ search brought back:

  • ‘Why Women Can’t Have It All’ (Glamour.com)
  • ‘The Secret To Having it All’ (Forbes.com)
  • ‘When Women Have It All’ (Telegraph.co.uk ); and my personal favourite
  • ‘Women, Quite Bitching, You Just Can’t Have It All By 30’ (Telegraph.co.uk )

And then I stumbled on this over on Levo.com:

And after tut-tutting my initial ‘Great. Celebrities giving life advice,’ response I read it. And I wasn’t completely bummed. Despite sitting on different fences of the question these 10 very successful, wealthy and very different women had a theme to their comments: choices and happiness. ‘Yeees,’ I thought. There’s good stuff here but I needed more.

Then, going back to Georgie, I found a great article from iVillage editor, Holly Wainwright, talking about the effect Georgie’s admission had on her. I couldn’t help but connect with Holly’s comments.

Yes, at times (in my weakest and most self-indulgent moments), I do think:

  • that I am working towards a point in time when I’ll have the perfect work/life/family/me-time balance;
  • that other women have already achieved that balance and therefore it does exist and it can be done; and
  • that other women who have this balance are doing it perfectly. Ergo, they have it all. 

But as Holly rightly points out, Georgie called us both out on this.

Maybe what we can’t have is the ridiculous expectation that there are people out there who are ‘Having it all’ and doing it perfectly. Because they’re not. You’re not. I’m not.”

Amen, Holly.

And here it is, our old friend, Comparison. Whether you’re juggling a high profile career and kids, building a business, studying or simply working towards your greater good I think many of us struggle to let go of two things: comparison and the assumption that others are doing it bigger and better than us. I think we can all recall at least one person we’ve placed in the ‘she has it all’ category. I’m guilty of this. And when I do there’s usually a little bit of admiration, a good dose of how-does-she-do-it? and a slight sprinkle of jealously dumped together in a bowl of this bad-as-all-hell-for-you recipe.

Where is ‘She’ for you? Maybe on your newsfeed, all wrapped up in pretty Instagram filters, ‘lovemylife’ hashtags and seemingly perfect images. ‘She’ could be that Mum at school drop-off that drives the fancy car with the fancy-looking husband, the oh-so obedient children living in the oh-so-lovely house. Or ‘She’ might even be your best friend. And because she’s real, and doing it all the way you’d like to you just can’t help but think she’s so much more sorted than you.

Let’s step awaaaay from the life, body, work, business and little-green-monster comparisons. They’re addictive (I see you there, Instagram stalking), they trash your self-confidence and feed more fear and doubt about yourself into your mind than you’re consciously aware. We’re setting ourselves up for failure because it’s impossible to ‘have it all’ if we’re comparing ourselves to others. We’ll never be done.

So my wee little verdict? ‘Having it all’ seems whack. I find most who are asked about it talk about the struggle and the hardship of trying to do it. The articles written about it are a combination of yes, no, maybe, sometimes or it depends. The concept sits on shaky ground. So let’s try this:

Let go of ‘have it all’ and grab on to ‘have me happy’.

Sounds simple, and yes a little ‘Really, is that it?’, but this we can do. As a worry-wart kid I was often distracted by things, other people or anything that wasn’t in sync with what I was doing at the time. ‘You just worry about what you’re doing,’ were my parents’ words and should have been recorded on a mixed tape for how often they had to repeat it. But it’s true. If we’re focused on what we’re doing to make ourselves happy, there’s little time or energy wasted on how we’re comparing to others.

Now, the getting happy part. I get this ain’t always easy, believe me. But in each moment I do know it’s possible to get a little closer to it. Right now, what’s gonna make you happy? What do you really need to do? What’s your mind and body craving? A nourishing meal? Good conversation? Sleep? To say sorry? Inspiration? Maybe even a little help or direction. Step towards it, in anyway you know how. Let go of what others are doing. Just ‘do’ for you, just for now.

It was getting my eyes of other people’s progress and focusing on my own that lead me to practice these baby steps back to happiness. The more I focused on what made me happy, in the moment, the less I felt pressured and frustrated. I felt more energy and had better ability to suss out what was good for me and what was good for the me I thought I should be. It helped break down what to me looked like a marathon into a series of short and delightful strolls. And for this lesson I’m forever grateful.

So take a stroll, right outta ‘have’ and back into ‘happy’.

Images: News LimitedLevo.com, Becca Allen, twitter.com


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


Why you do what you ‘do’

Rock bottom. Ever hit yours? Ever crashed and burned into a complete heap? There’s a build up. A heaviness, like the calm before the stress-storm. It’s when your body says screams ‘it’s too much, too much for right now,’ but the mind says ‘you must’. Or maybe you’ve all of a sudden found yourself in the situation? You lost your job, someone broke-up with you (or you can’t escape them) or your cash-flow is getting pretty damn low? You’ve felt chained to the bottom (wherever that is).

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s good. Damn good. Get-excited-and wish-it-would-happen-to-you type good. In fact it’s a gift. While I didn’t know this at the time (and it hurt like crazy) my rock bottom gave me more than I could have ever gotten from a self-help book, Tony Robbins seminar, meditation retreat or whatever life-guidance tool I was grasping to at the time. (P.S No offence Tony, I’m sure they’re great, I’m just taking the piss.)

My rock bottom was the complete inability to control my own mental state. It broke me. Key words: inability to control. In that moment everything in my world was bad. I hated the State I was in, the house I was in, the job I was in and even the clothes I was in (given the latter a healthy amount of retail therapy kept me afloat there for a while). I could not stop stop the negative. Of course when you’re looking at your life through a perfectionist’s eyes, comparing it against a standard of rules and expectations, nothing will ever be good enough. And so, with nothing meeting the mark, I felt like I’d failed. I’d convinced brainwashed myself into believing that there was no way out, that I was stuck in this vortex forever and I should just give-up and accept the cards I’d been dealt. Depressed much?

What a drama queen. Really, why was my brain functioning like this? I used to be such a positive person. When I looked at the facts I knew logically that  life wasn’t as bad as I felt emotionally but I just couldn’t shake the overwhelming, all-consuming cloud that haunted me every day.

The thing about rock bottoms is that everybody’s is different. And each is justified – no judgement here at all (and like I’m in a position to judge!). For me it was loosing control. For others it might be having to ask for money, for help or taking a less-than-desirable job. Some things just seem like the end of our world as we know it.

Needless to say it was a ‘Hail-Mary!’ moment when, with the help of a professional, I could actually see why my reactions were my reactions. Why I saw the world around me in black and poo-colours and no longer in rainbows.

“In times of stress we revert to the opposite of our type,” my therapist said.

“You’re not crazy, you’re just not yourself right now,” she said.

After a quick Tom-Cruise-jump-on-the-couch type moment and a shout of relief that I wasn’t sentenced to this state forever, she handed me a Myers-Briggs Personality Type test. Seeing my natural tendencies on paper brought me peace and pride.  ‘I knew this was who I was,’ I said with tears in my eyes. Suddenly the why I was doing what I was doing started to make perfect sense.

Fancy knowing yours? You can take the test here.

Me? I’m an INFJ. I get my energy as an introvert, I favour intuition when considering new information, I use my gut feeling to make decisions and I structure my world by judging decisions quickly, planning and organising accordingly.

If you’re also this type it might resonate with you that we can be determined and passionate, have a creative flair, seem to be able to ‘gel’ with people easily and, as such, seem to be able to talk them into whatever we’re passionate about at the time. Those are strengths.

However, here are some danger zones. Without a goal or direction INFJs loose their sh*&*. What’s the point if we can’t see it, right? If we’re not moving towards a ‘worthy’ goal then that’s just whack. As natural perfectionists we try to match everything to the beautiful and unrealistic picture in our head. It must be ‘just-so’. Which is great, until it must be ‘just-so’ everywhere. At work, at home, at the gym, with our bodies, our outfits, our cooking for Christ’s sake! We fight for the ideal. Always.

This is why I was so crazy, tormented unhappy. I couldn’t see a clear link between my job and my career goal. Nor could I connect the state I lived in to the environment I wanted to raise my family in. I felt like I couldn’t ‘organise’ my way out of the situation so I tried to perfect it instead. I became obsessed with the facts of eating right, to the point where I’d decline dinner invites to avoid ‘bad’ food. I’d prepare the house every morning to a standard Martha Stewart would be proud of. I’d stay back hours at work editing, reviewing and trying to perfect reports sometimes days in a row. And I felt compelled to be out-and-about with work, friends or family events. I was becoming extroverted, super-sensitive, over-thinking basic information and could not commit to a cupcake. The complete opposite of my natural type.

The lesson? My rock bottom was heavily related to the way I’m wired a.k.a my personality type. Without first understanding why I do things, I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting out of my big, over-inflated, depressive rut.

So if you’re toes are touching the bottom, you’re second guessing your thought patterns or you’re just curious about yourself then start on a new little adventure – get to know your type. You’ll be kinder to yourself because you’ll know what drains you. You’ll be happier because you’ll find what feeds you. And most importantly you can be at peace with what you do. Say hello to the naturally perfect you.

P.S I’d love to know what you thought of your type so post your ponderings in the comments below!