|Posted on 28 May, 2020 at 23:15||comments (0)|
In this article for Kiddipedia I share my insights on the hidden costs of doing and what to consider when choosing what to embrace in our life.
|Posted on 3 October, 2019 at 1:50||comments (0)|
If you are enjoying school holidays with your kids, it’s probably taken you a few days to switch out of work mode and into holiday mode, if you are lucky enough to have time off with your family. Reminding yourself to be present with your kids and watch them grow by playing with them, as they jump their silly’s out, is also a great stress relief for you. So, let your hair down and have childish fun these holidays! I’ve not slept much these holidays thanks to my youngest who is growing so fast and she gets me a up a few times a night to enjoy her progress but I have had lots of fun enjoying special time with my big girl (5).
Like most mums, I’m learning every day how to be a parent (just starting with that and hoping for good!). Let’s face it, every day is different and every week is a new “stage”! You may know someone who knows everything about being a parent - but they are not YOU and your life, is your life!
Earlier this year I read somewhere that we need to, “Honour the Relationship, Not the Task!” And I believe this important piece of advice has changed my relationship with my eldest child. I practise this little mantra while mentally juggling the household chores and parenting. An example is the battle to get ready for school in the morning whilst sleep deprived and cereal all over the floor, getting smooshed from one end to the other! Not to mention that I aspire to leave the house fully clothed without morning breath, gross I know, but I gave up make-up long ago to save time.
“Honouring the Relationship and not the Task” means to put your relationship first and to have in the forefront of your mind, how you feel about each other (I love this child). In my case I don’t want to seem like a bossy, controlling, shouty mum, so I’m practising compassion and empathy for my eldest and taking a bit more time to be with her when she needs me. I try to make the mornings as least stressful as possible by being organised for both of us. It’s a challenge and takes practise and I know other parents have stressful mornings too, so I’m always looking for new ways to save time and not stressing about what still needs to be done.
I’m the first to admit that sometimes in my sleep deprived state I suck at this but I remind myself to try harder next time and not beat myself up, it’s not their fault the tasks are endless and I’m exhausted!
5 things I do to make mornings run smoother.
1. Lunch boxes made the day/s before. I make school lunch boxes on Sunday and Tuesday so I know they are ready (in the fridge) and I don’t have to add that to my morning to do list.
2. Sunday night, school bags are packed and put into the car for the week ahead.
3. Each night the uniform or clothes for the next day are put out at the end of the bed. Usually this is done when the kids are getting ready for bed with a reminder to get dressed in the morning.
4. Spare hats and water bottles in the car. It’s annoying to arrive at school and know you left the hat or water-bottle at home. Spares in the car always come in handy.
5. Coffee to go! My favourite reusable cup is never far from my side in the morning.
Another valuable thing I have learned this year as a task orientated person and working parent is that my choice of words can help make daily tasks go smoother with the kids. I have switched my language to include more “Could” phrases. “You could eat your breakfast now”, “You could put your shoes on now”, “You could brush your teeth now”!
Could versus Should phrases help reframe statements and therefore kids will feel like they have a choice and more readily participate in what you are asking them to do. This strategy has helped me immensely in getting my 5yr old on task in the morning and participate in chores at home.
We cement trust with our children before they are 7 years of age. And if they trust you, they are less likely to have issues in adolescences, as they will share more of their life with you, and hopefully talk to you about their emotions. This is not my parenting tip but actual research that has been done by professionals and it feels sensible to me. I want to be the best mum I can be, so my kids look after me when I’m old, so I’m a firm advocate for that. “Honouring the Relationships not the Task” is an important part of building trust.
I’m reminding myself of this again as the holidays wind up and we approach the downhill run to Christmas (aghhhh!). I hope it’s a good reminder for you too.
Thanks for caring and sharing.
|Posted on 9 September, 2019 at 1:05||comments (0)|
I’m blessed with 2 beautiful girls, a nice home and a husband who loves me in his own kind of way – when I’m not shouting at him…………
But I admit that week to week I have stuff that brings me stress and frustration like many mothers of small children. And as a working parent, I’m working hard to find a balance between being a good mum, not letting my employers down, trying to not be too shouty a wife and to find time for self-care, whilst juggling the household running and school running… you know the constant running!
I’m a Libran (Scales) so apparently balance is important to me – but I don’t ever recollect having it. Did I lose it somewhere or just miss the introductory course that comes with my star sign? My life is constantly out of balance and there seems to be a never-ending pile of admin to do (don’t mention the laundry!).
I know many other women have the same challenges and lots of books have been written about it. Dr Libby gives lectures on Overcoming Overwhelm and Rushing Women’s Syndrome, so there is a very popular moment behind women’s issues right now.
So, here’s the thing I want to float – We made this Soup for ourselves! We need to UNMAKE it!
Or just enjoy the ingredients raw and not try to cook them so much – Are you with me?
This is a metaphor obviously. “We have all the ingredients for Soup – but we don’t need to make Soup!”
If you are still reading now, well done and thanks! You may be curious about "How NOT to make Soup," when society tells you to make Soup and post about it on Instagram.
Here’s my rules on NOT making Soup!
• Resist the urge to get Busy! PERIOD!
• Balance starts with Boundaries! Make some!
• Ask yourself – What will this cost me? Then check if the cost is worth the effort!
• There are no perfect jobs! Be proud of your work regardless!
• Exhaustion is NOT a badge of Honour! That’s a mugs game!
• Reflection is Healthy – Rumination is Unhealthy!
• Don’t deflect Gratitude! Accept it with Pleasure!
• Fear debilitates our health system and toxic emotions destroy our Liver! Let go of Fear and Anger!
• Happiness propels you towards your goal! Finding things to be happy about will get you there faster!
• Forget about the Soup! Honour the ingredients!
The best soups have the fewest ingredients and are made with Love. However sometimes in the rush of life, the endless tasks, the constant doing and the high expectations we set for ourselves and others we forget that we have all the ingredients in our basket already – The Scales ARE Balanced.
Someone I know well died recently and he was relatively young and left behind a small child and his wife. When people we know pass away, it reminds you to be thankful and sometimes it can be a wake-up call to others. What I’ve been thinking about is this. “When we die, people don’t remember how hard we worked or how much soup we made! They remember if we were Kind and Happy and Cared for others.”
Kind, Happy and Caring are 3 ingredients that make the perfect soup and don’t cost you anything!
Next time you feel like making soup, getting busy, taking on more and doing too much – just ask yourself what ingredients are you honouring!
Thanks for caring about yourself and others and sharing a kind word to make others happy and inspired to do the same.
I hope you will share this blag!
|Posted on 27 August, 2019 at 21:20||comments (0)|
When is the last time you thought; I need to buy X or Y? Or perhaps your house and garage is bursting at the seams and you think, I wish we had more space.
Moving country and moving house forces you to go through all your possessions and if you do this more than once in a year you are clearly aware of all the "Stuff" you have in your life – a reality check! I’ve twice had to declutter and pack up my house in 12 months including all my clothing in various sizes, for various seasons, much of it I may never wear again but I’m not quite ready to part with it.
I read, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and on principle I agree with it. I watched Matt Damon in Downsizing which was brilliant actually and Tiny House Nation on Netflix and I think it’s a noble idea. Now I’m not saying we all need to Marie Kondo the crap out of our life but it’s worth taking a mental inventory of what you have for several reasons.
Stuff does not make us happy! Experiences and time with people make us happy and many of us are fortunate to live in a safe world where there is an abundance of FREE experiences on our doorstep.
Abundance vs Sufficiency. Let’s consider this for a moment.
Common thinking now is we can manifest everything we want and we are ALL entitled to an abundance. Of What? Love, clothes, money? Most of the people I know do not go without essential items for living, are not hungry or really need much more stuff.
So, I want to advocate for practising Sufficiency or Lagom.
Lagom, is a Swedish word meaning "just the right amount". The Swedish-English dictionary defines Lagom as "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right". Lagom is also widely translated as "in moderation", "in balance", "perfect-simple", and "suitable" (in matter of amounts).
Why not take a few hours to do a mental or physical inventory of all your stuff (or Marie Kondo yourself) and then start practising gratitude around “Sufficiency” (Lagom) and start saying “NO Thank You, to more stuff!”
As a self-confessed (almost reformed) shopper and excellent spender of money, I’ve applied this concept recently in my own life and it’s actually been very effective at keeping me out of the shops and appreciating all the possessions I do have. Knowing that I’m comfortable and I don’t need anything else is Lagom. It’s not to say that life isn’t always changing and I will need to get some more stuff eventually, especially since I’ve now found my hip bones and waist after 20 years….but instead of wasting time and money thinking about stuff I used to think I wanted or needed, I spend time doing more meaningful stuff, like cooking, meditating, reading, exercising, walking the kids to school, turtle and duck spotting with my toddler.
Here’s a few of my tips:
A good practise or habit, is to Shop your Wardrobe regularly to see what clothes fit and make up outfits that are ready to grab in a rush. Shopping your wardrobe releases the same endorphins as shopping at Westfield especially if you put your favourite music on and grab a glass of wine (herbal tea). It's also good for the environment WIN-WIN!
Subtle shifts in our thinking, of needing, wanting and having enough can have drastic changes to our wellbeing. It can also help with feeling as though we need to keep up with The Jones’s. I’ve never needed to keep up with those Jones but apparently social media makes us envious and some single women I know confess to be married to Mr Amazon (who services them all night long)!!
We can all splurge from time to time and have dream experiences paid for with our hard-earned cash when our motives are pure i.e. to create memories with our loved ones. However, next time you reach for your plastic just check in with yourself.
If you ask yourself those questions and then look at all the things you are grateful for in your life and you may decide that right now, you don’t need it, as you have Lagom! Then put your shoes on and go for a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air.
The desire to buy – this too shall pass.
Practise Sufficiency regularly and you won’t feel that you don’t measure up or need to numb yourself with bright lights and loyalty cards.
Thanks for reading and sharing and I hope you have a Lagom day!!
|Posted on 15 August, 2019 at 5:00||comments (0)|
Transitions - lets have a blag about Transitions...
One of our biggest responsibilities as a parent and therefore challenges, is to teach our children how to transition. It’s a big part of Kindy/Prep (Reception) and I’m sure most of us give our kids a count down before we leave the park. Honey, we are leaving in 5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, ok it’s time to go… you get my drift!
As I arrived at school today it was like the Devil was hanging over the place with crying kids, stressed parents, backpacks left by the entry gate with no kids in sight. It was the kind of chaos that I recognised right away just as my toddler decided that she MUST carry her own lunch bag, water bottle and walk herself. I saw it and heard it in the faces of parents all around me who whilst smiling were thinking “step the f outta my way, I’ve gotta get to work don’t you know!”
It reminded me of the days when I would drop my first born at nursery almost crying, since she was crying and I’d then run to the bus stop, catch the bus, run for a train, catch a crowded train, run for the tube (in London), catch a crowded tube and then run for my meeting or to my office. Sit down, stressed outta my mind, exhausted, usually speed talking after 3 cups of coffee and annoy the shit outta my colleagues by trying to get 9hrs work done is 6hrs, so I could run out of the office and do it all again. Or the times I would catch the same bus, trains and tubes in my running shoes and active wear, pushing my second born infant in a pram, to a coffee shop in the centre of London. My colleagues would arrive, I’d go into a toilet, put on a dress, heels and lipstick and go and do a client presentation while one of my colleagues sat with my baby… Then return from the meeting, change and push the pram home to make puree and clean sick off myself.
Yes, my friends this is normal…. And where are the bloody experts at the antenatal clinic when we go for our pre-birth check-ups who ask;
“Are you ready to become a mum?”
“Are you ready to become a working mum?”
“Are you ready to have total chaos in your life 24/7 and you must transition seamlessly from mum, to colleague, to friend, to wife, to paramedic, to Wiggles Fan, to lover of smashed banana, to mother Teresa?”
The answer people, is freaking NO!
There is no smiling Guru stood around in the antenatal clinic offering services to help women transition to any of these, often within seconds of each other. And no bloody posters or pamphlets that I can remember.
So how do we manage these transitions? How can we not lose ourselves completely and develop some kind of multi-personality disorder from having too many roles in any given moment? I have no idea and my husband thinks I’m crazy most of the time.
But here’s what I have learned in the past 2 years that makes sense to me and might to you as well.
1. As you get yourself ready in the morning and by that, I mean, pick the cornflakes out of your hair and put your clothes on, take a moment to find something good that’s already happened to you today. It could be simple as - “I got 5 hrs sleep instead of 3. My baby slept through the night, My partner made me coffee, Its lovely day outside etc.” This will help release some much needed endorphines and remind you to think positively about the day.
2. Count everyone down to leaving time. And make sure your partner and older children, if you have them, are helping.
3. After drop off (nursery, school etc.) sit in the car/bus/tube and just close your eyes for 10-15seconds and take 5 deep breaths and say to yourself.
“I am safe!” - Why? Because for the past X number of hours, since you got out of bed you have probably been scrambling and your body responds by releasing stress hormones. You want to put a stop to these hormones ASAP and you can do that by telling yourself “I am safe!” deep breaths and repeat it 2-3 times.
Then tell yourself – “May I be Happy, May I be Well, May I live with Ease!” While continuing your deep breaths.
Hopefully that knot in your gut has now started to dissolve and dopamine is now moving around your body making you calmer and ready to transition to the next part of your day.
Now if you’ve had particularly rough morning and no sleep, you may need to take it up a notch... So first do the steps above and then go to Phase 2 – This shit needs a bigger hoover!
When it’s safe to do so (I usually wait till I get to the first red light after drop off!) Take a huge breath in, then let it out with a ROAR... Yes, roar your bloody head off and get all that tension out of the pit of your stomach! Then switch on your chill music and continue your journey. If you are in a crowded place it might not be possible to “roar your head off” so you can do a silent roar into your book, scarf, work bathroom – whereever you can. Just do it – you will feel the physiological effects almost immediately. Then every time you stop at a light (or a station) consciously breathe in through your nose and out your mouth, filling up you lungs and the pit of your stomach as much as you can.
4. Work! Transitioning to work mode is generally fairly easy, because it’s familiar and you know how to put your Game Face On. But if you’ve had a sleepless night, stress at home and generally feel like you might be sick because you are so tired – going to work with pressure and expectations is not fun and often we know we aren’t performing well so we get even more stressed.
Feeling safe at work is key to a smooth transition. Sometimes an understanding co-worker is like your best friend. Someone who has your back or someone who knows you need a cup of tea and that you forgot your purse and you don’t have any lunch and they won’t make you feel like even more of a loser than you already feel. Latch on to those people and make them part of your transition.
Work can feel very lonely after kids if you work in a fairly childless work environment or you have a high pressure job and a team to manage (god forbid you run the company). If you don’t have the support of your colleagues and manager consider changing jobs, cutting back your hours or working from home – anything you can do to ease stress in what will be the most chaotic period of your existence.
5. Make a Grab Bag. A Grab Bag is essentially everything you need in an emergency seperate from your handbag or nappy bag! The idea for my own Grab Bag came to me early this year when I thought that I always want to have a bag in the car that has, exercise clothes, shoes, toiletries, yoga mat, swim costume and a change of clothes so that at any given moment, if I have spare moment/hour etc. I have everything on hand to exercise or relax or swim. There are no excuses that I don’t have the gear, so I’m always ready to exercise or relax without any big transition needed.
So, on a particularly crazy day – I can stop the car, get changed and have run or a swim or go to a yoga class and everything I need is in the car. Now, I admit I have the luxury of working from home, so this is a convenient concept but perhaps it could work for you as well. Lunch time walk/run/swim. It just needs to be convenient and by making the stuff you need available you can maximise any time you have to do something for yourself. If you need to keep your grab bag under your desk at work, then do that!
6. When I arrive to pick the kids up, I sit in my car for 30-60seconds and I take deep breaths and do a quick meditation. This is called a Transition Meditation and it helps move me from work person, to mum person. I might repeat the same mantra as the morning (I am safe, I am happy, I am well) or just sit with my eyes closed and breathe and think of all the things, I’m grateful for today, including, that I get to pick up my kids from school.
Transitioning from work to home is also a challenge with tired, hungry lions in the car who are roaring at you and you know you’ve got a day’s work ahead of you at home before you can get any rest. My car resembles a homeless person’s squat. There are clothes, water bottles, food and empty containers strewn all about. It’s a freaking pig sty, that I try to tidy and clean regularly but I allow my car to be as chaotic as it needs to be so I’ve always got everything on hand. Including a bag full of snacks for hungry lions and my Grab Bag, that lives in the car constantly refreshed with clean items whenever it’s been used.
7. Evening transitions are important as they set you up to fall asleep and not let insomnia take hold. This year I’ve made my own bed-time routine and after 5 years of not sleeping, I’m now a much more rested person. My bed time transition starts usually straight after dinner. I trade shower times with my husband so I can shower before I do the kids bedtime. After the kids are in bed, I make my herbal tea and take my night time supplements. Then I switch off most of the lights, read, stretch for 30-40minutes and listen to relaxing sleep music on YouTube. I get into bed when I feel tired and ready to fall asleep. I very rarely watch TV and I try to limit working at night, as it stimulates me too much. I also try not to have more than 2 coffees per day and not after 10am because caffeine stays in your system for 12 hours so if you want to be asleep by 10pm don’t drink coffee at 11am.
Each of these small changes have helped me manage the chaos and be more compassionate with myself and others.
Your own transitions and routines change as your child’s does but rather than always be reactive if we recognise the transitional moments, we can be more proactive in managing them.
For now, I’m looking for the Fun in Transitions and Roaring my way through the chaos!
Thanks for you visit. Please share this blag if you know someone that needs a hug.
|Posted on 12 August, 2019 at 0:20||comments (0)|
August 2019 Blag!
I’m not so happy with the word Blog – it feels like an overweight word. I’d be happier with Blag so "Welcome to my very first Blag"... like a chin wag but one sided (and let's face it, we all blag it sometimes)!
It’s 8 months since I started my road to Wellness after 16 years of focusing on work and not myself. My only feelings of self-worth were through my professional success. Being good at my job meant that I was being successful in life. I realised a few months ago that this is a by-product of my childhood. I was praised when I did chores and I felt loved when I got praised for helping. Praise or kind sentiments were not dished up at dinner. You had to earn them!
I look back now at all the things I’ve done professionally and I know I’ve had amazing professional experiences but my god, was I stressed most of the time. I was constantly worried there was not enough time to get everything done and disappointing people. I felt wholly responsible for the success of any project and I put the weight of the world on my own shoulders (and consquently my hips). Well the spin off to this is that I got fat, unhealthy, suffered with insomnia, numbed my feelings with alcohol, cigarettes, shopping and did not pursue any recreational pursuits for fun! The upshot was that I made some amazing friendships, travelled the world and made decent money that has enabled me to have some nice things in my life and gave us the money to conceive our two beautiful IVF children.
It has taken this long to realise my balance was all wrong and that many of the things I spent hours, months and years talking about, stressing about and doing are really just quite meaningless and insignificant in the universe but at the time they were the root of my very existence. Caught up in this state of “working” really cocooned me from what else was important in life and any meaningful personal growth. Real life – relationships, connectedness, supporting, creating, expressing myself in a “non-crazed animal” kind of way.
A year ago, I made a life change that has been the catalyst to a new beginning for me. Where I could leave that “work” person behind me and focus on my “own” person – one that has self-worth and value that isn’t attached to a job. I still have the same job (albeit from a different location) but I have a new perspective. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons in the past few years as I tried to balance becoming a mum with holding a job, studying and the weight of my own expectations. Expectations are a killer (mentally, physically and emmotionally)! We expect so much of ourselves as women and mums.
I read a very insightful book this year called "The Gifts of Imperfections" – Brené Brown. Many things in this book hit home for me but one that stuck is that sometimes, “Just Showing up is Enough!” I’ve made that saying my mantra this year as I get to know myself again, discover what I like, think and want and I’m just “Showing Up” each day figuring out what kind of person and mum I want to be. One that is not defined by my Job but my Spirit.
My self-worth is measured by what is in my heart not on spreadsheets or client feedback forms.
I wrote this poem when I was 11. I’ve never forgotten it and it’s very pertinent in my life right now.
I sit here watching day by day,
My life before me pass away,
And even though no one else can see,
At least I know my spirits free.
Thanks for reading my Blag!
The Wellness Poet – K Regan