My Happy Place

019DEFDC-245A-4602-97A0-834E58A67B82I have definitely found my happy place. I’ve been making a real effort to get out and walk more and I’m loving it. I’m really lucky as about ten minutes walk from my house is the nature reserve, multiple walks and the river. I’ve been combining my love of photography with my walking. I’ve taken literally hundreds of pictures!

The nature reserve is my perfect place to unwind after a long day; I can forget about everything that’s happened and just enjoy the beauty of the nature around me. It’s different everyday and ever changing so there’s always something new to see. The reserve is also the perfect start to the day if I go early in the morning.

I love knowing just where to go to see if the Robin is there, or to see if the cygnets are out. I know where the moorhen is nesting and which flowers are out in the wildflower meadow. There are butterflies and bees and I’ve heard the cuckoo many times. I know where the wren lives and where the ducks’ batchelor perch is!

The only problem is that I can easily lose track of time and lose a couple of hours down there!

 

 

The strangest feeling

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Today the strangest thing happened. I went back to work after the holidays – and I actually felt confident! I never usually feel confident. Nervous yes, anxious yes, stressed yes but never confident. And what’s even stranger is it stayed like that all day!

I didn’t even have to deal with the crippling anxiety the night before. It’s a very weird feeling. Nice, but weird. Today I walked in and I felt comfortable with who I was. I felt confident that I could do my job and do it pretty well! I rocked that confidence outfit today 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifts of all sorts

 

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I’m actually not the biggest fan of receiving presents, which makes me sound ungrateful. I’m not, I just get a bit embarrassed when people give me things as I often think I don’t deserve them.

However, I love giving gifts to people. I love the smile on their face when you give a gift and I love to spoil my friends. I love that I have the ability to bring a little happiness to people’s  days . For me the happiness is definitely in the giving part.

I also love to give gifts you can’t wrap up like words and smiles and hugs. I know how much it means to me when people say something nice or give a compliment so as often as I can I try to say the nice things that’s I think. People often act surprised when you give a compliment because it’s all too easy to rush along in our busy lives and keep our heads down.

I have learnt that life is too short to let the nice things go unsaid. So I tell the people who are important to me that they are important. And I try to say the compliments that I think.  It’s not always easy but having found my own happiness I want to share it out!

Solitude

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Recently I have been much more in touch with my introverted side. People always say that I can’t possibly be an introvert because I’m loud and chatty and don’t come across as shy. Well you don’t have to be shy to be an introvert. Introversion is defined as ‘the preference for  situations that are not overly stimulating. Introverts value their space and they don’t let just anyone in.’ (So if I confide in you, feel honoured!)

I love my friends and I love spending time with them, I literally wouldn’t be without them. But I prefer to socialise in small groups and find big and busy social gatherings a huge challenge. I also hate, really hate, being the centre of attention which is why I find birthdays so tricky (more about that another time) and talking to  groups of adults. Strangely though, I have no problem with groups of children – pretty lucky in job eh!

I also need and crave solitude. I love my busy life with teaching and brownies and rainbows but I spend all of my days surrounded by people who need me to interact with them. I love this, I love the strange and random conversations I have with children. I love their frankness and openness. I love catching up with my friends in the staffroom at lunchtime. I love chatting to my best friends on the phone or meeting for coffee.

However, I also love my alone time. I love to come home to my house, to kick off my shoes and chill on my bed watching whatever I want. I love long bubbly baths. I love to escape with a good book. I love to go for a walk and catch some pokemon or take my camera and practise my photography.

And what’s more I don’t just love my solitude, I need it. One thing I have learnt about myself is that in order to function and keep my mental health at its best I need to have time alone to reset. I actively now plan in days to do this as I need it so much. And I no longer feel bad about doing so and prioritising my own needs. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first. And that’s ok. It’s taken me a while to realise that but it’s ok. It really is.

Surprises

1C6D8BEF-C6A3-48FB-BDF1-D014085FF47C.jpegJust a happy little moment when someone bothered to send me a little surprise in the post. Was such a lovely thing to come home to, nestled in amongst the circulars and bills was a package that I didn’t order. I was very confused to start with – had someone sent it to me in error?

I went through the list of people I thought it could be. No one knew anything. And I was still guessing the next morning when I got a message saying “I hope ou like your earrings” and it was none other than my lovely co-blogger. Just a happy end of January present.

And I love her even more for recognising that January is a difficult time for me and doing something amazingly lovely to celebrate me making it through.

Books, Books, Books

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This holiday I have rediscovered my love of reading. I had been finding it hard to concentrate and to justify the time spent reading. I was also finding it hard to ‘get into’ any books. I’d picked up many old favourites and tried to read them but stopped after a few chapters. I tried new books, old books, fiction, biography, non-fiction and poetrybut I could not reclaim my reading bug.

So yesterday I took a whole day out, put down my phone and my iPad, curled up on my bed and read. I finished ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer Worth (the book the series is based on) which I had started about a month ago. I then opened Nick Skelton’s autobiography ‘Gold’. And then it happened, the magic came back. The smell of the new book, the feel of the pages and the total escapism. I read, and I read. I didn’t even stop for lunch! I made myself some cheese and crackers and propped the book up on the table. I felt again that need to keep reading and to keep turning the pages. I also read ‘All because of Henry’ by Nuala Gardner. This is the sequel to ‘A Friend like Henry’ about an autistic boy and his dog. And then I couldn’t stop, I was trawling my bookshelves for what to read next. I’ve started ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ also by Jennifer Worth and I’m half way through already. I must have read for 12 hours yesterday. But I’ve got it back! I found my reading bug again.

Being organised

The more posts I write for this blog, the more aware I am becoming of how happy I feel when I am organised. All aspects of organisation make me feel better, whether I have cleaned and tidied the flat, made a list, sorted through the post or made a phone-call, it all brings me a feeling of happiness. Thinking about it more carefully, I think the happiness comes from a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment that I have achieved something positive and a sense of relief that I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I also get to enjoy the results of being organised, whether that’s living in a tidy space or knowing that I have made the necessary arrangements for something good to happen.

The reduction in mental stress is huge – I think everyone knows the feeling of brain-ache, when you are using so much energy to simultaneously remember, organise and arrange 101 things and you are worried that you might forget something. I often describe this as having 72 tabs open on Google and trying to work on them all at the same time. I’m sure you can relate to that!

To help me be more organised I have many resources and routines in place:

  • Every morning I check all of the places that I receive messages – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, texts and WhatsApp and make sure that I have replied to anything I have received (and even then I miss some – as Karen will be able to tell you!).
  • I have a calendar on my phone that is automatically set to give me reminders of events. I am also able to use it to set myself reminders for jobs that need doing on specific days.
  • I have a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge to write down my shopping list – I can add items as I go so that I don’t have to remember them and I can wipe items off as I buy them.
  • I have a calendar on the wall so that my husband and I can write down any major events we’re attending so that we don’t double book ourselves (it has happened many, many times in the past…).
  • I keep pens and post-its near the calendar so that I can write myself any reminders and stick them in an appropriate place.
  • I keep a toast rack in the kitchen to store any unopened post from the letter box – this stops any post being missed and reminds me to open it!
  • I have pretty bulldog clips hanging on the wall in my office to hold any paperwork I am currently using – this stops it getting lost and stops my desk getting cluttered (they also look very cute!).
  • I have a book (yes, a book) of to-do lists. I have different lists for different areas of my life (such as home, work, Guides, Zumba) and when I have time, I work through the lists as much as I can. This helps me to allocate my time more effectively so that jobs don’t get forgotten or left languishing too long. It also stops my lists getting lost!
  • Everything has a home – nothing is allowed to live in the flat without having a place to belong. This stops the place being constantly untidy because of random items that have nowhere to go.

I could probably think of more things that I do, but we’ll leave it there for now! What do you do to help yourself be organised? How does it make you feel?

Helpful washing

Following on from my cringe-worthy admission in my last post, I have another housework related source of happiness…I know, I need to get a life. But seriously, being the resident washing fairy is made so much easier when washing is already turned the correct way round. It makes me so happy when I’m pairing up socks and I find one that is already turned the right way round – I can’t tell you how many hours of my life have been wasted turning socks! And when I’m doing the ironing and a t-shirt hops out of the basket already turned inside out, it practically flies off the ironing board with the time I’ve saved having to wrestle with it to get it in a fit state to be ironed. Now, although you might think this is weird, I bet there are lots of you out there who have just read this and smiled because you know exactly what I’m talking about…

Housework

I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this….but I love housework! Making things neat and tidy makes me so happy – tidy house, tidy mind! I feel so much better when everything is clean and tidy and I like feeling like I have been productive and accomplished something. I also find it quite therapeutic doing my cleaning while I’m watching something on the telly, just having time to myself and pottering around. I like being busy and I’m not very good at sitting still for too long so I have no problem wandering around the flat having a little tidy up while I watch my programmes! Also, from a very stereotypical and sexist point of view (now I really can’t believe I’m admitting this!), doing the housework makes me feel like I’m being a good wife. My husband does an equal share of everything at home and would never suggest that doing the housework is my responsibility, but it makes me happy to feel like I’m looking after our little home and keeping it looking nice for us (I know, send me back to the 1950’s with my pinny and my vacuum and just tell me to stop talking….). There you have it, a genuine source of happiness found in an unlikely place!

Sundays

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I love Sundays.

Well that was a short post! 🙂 I really do love Sundays and I think I love them so much now because in the past they have been a day of the week that filled me with dread. In my previous jobs I always worked weekends so it didn’t really register as anything special, and as a teacher they were a day that put a knot in my stomach and made me want to hide under the covers in denial. You see, I always chose to leave my ‘home’ work (see what I did there? :D) for Sundays which I know is a terrible habit, but by Friday evening I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait to have a break. By Sunday, the work couldn’t wait any longer so my day was always filled with planning, marking, making resources, writing emails and an endless list of other jobs that I had neglected to do. I always missed out on anything fun that happened on a Sunday and by the evening I was usually tired, grumpy and not ready for Monday. Now not all teachers live like that I am pleased to say, but that was my experience and I hated it. Since I have changed my job, Sundays have become a day that I adore, and it’s not because I’m having the time of my life on endless adventures…nope, instead I love Sundays because I have time to cook a nice breakfast, take the dog for a lovely walk, go to my mum and dad’s for Sunday lunch and stay an extra hour to play board games. I love having time to sort out the washing and do the ironing because these are all the seemingly normal activities I never had time to do before. Today is the 40th Sunday that I have been able to enjoy and the novelty has still not worn off.