52 minutes that will allow me to change my world……..

The latest episode of SBS Insight on ‘Burnout’ may just be the most influential 52 minutes of my life. Thank you to Mum and my friend who encouraged me to watch, the timing could not have been better.

For some time now, I have been going through ‘something’. I didn’t know how to name this ‘something’. A midlife crisis? breakdown? stress? depression? anxiety? Throughout this blog I have called it all of these things. Today I found the best word yet…. ‘Burnout’. That is exactly what it has been.

How incredibly refreshing to listen to the stories of others and to realise that I am not alone in what I have been experiencing. So much of that episode hits home with me. All this time I have been analysing my stress, the way it escalated and the way I have been struggling to handle it, feeling confused and misunderstood. I didn’t know there were others out there who were feeling exactly like me and not only that, people are researching it! ‘Burnout’ is a thing.

I feel like I finally understand. I understand why it happened and I understand what I need to do to make myself better. I can tell you it is pure relief that the feelings of anger, confusion and cynicism that boil inside me, have been felt by others. The way the smallest thing could set me off on a spiral of self doubt and criticism. The way sometimes I simply can not concentrate even on the smallest of tasks.

Striving for excellence and perfectionism day in and day out has been quite literally causing that little fire inside me to burnt itself out. It has affected relationships with feelings of disengagement and misunderstanding, consumed by my work and my need to make it perfect. I lost sight of who I am and why I started all this is the first place.

Now that I can fully understand it, I can see it is time to stop this cycle before I make myself sick. Time to make a change and move forward and into the next chapter of my life.

This particular journey has come to an end. It has been full of highs and lows. I may nearly have lost myself but I have also found some things I never knew. I am brave, strong and resilient. I am persistent and loyal. In actual fact I can do anything I set my mind to.

With my new life chapter, comes the end of this blog. Writing has served me well and thank you those who have read my ramblings and offered feedback and support. I hope in some way it has helped others to know they are not alone. Thank you to my friends and family that have supported me through this turbulent period.

I will be trying other avenues to continue with some writing as it really is something I enjoy doing. My future topics will however be much more upbeat and fun!! I am thinking travel and adventure….

But, for now I am off in search of my little flame so that I can stoke it and nurture it back into a roaring fire.

Signing out

SAA or LLS or ????………….













Happiness and satisfaction

Ultimately these are the two things most humans are trying to achieve; happiness and satisfaction. We go through ebbs and flows, highs and lows. As a kid, we think life is meant to be all sunshine and rainbows. It takes us a while to realise that is not the way it is going to pan out!

I read another blog this morning that really resonated with me.  https://medium.com/the-mission/how-im-dealing-with-my-third-mid-life-crisis-3379af8e0142. It contained a graph showing the scale of happiness in our lives.


Now, this really is interesting and explains a lot!! Check out the dip in happiness we have in the 30-50 age group, centred on my magic age of 40!!!

Darren Rowse explores, in his blog, the reasons for the drop in happiness and it all really makes sense. This is the age where we are tied up by responsibilities to our kids and are constantly worrying about what they are exposed to. We are attempting to become financially secure and worry about all that comes with that. To top it off, we have often mastered our job to the point we operate on autopilot, in a perpetual state of boredom (by the way, this one is not me, I still have a lot to learn in my job, which in turn causes a different level of stress). In the back of our minds we are thinking……… is this me for the next 30 years?

Is it any wonder then we end up having a midlife crisis?!! It seems so busy, such a rut and often we feel we are not living at all, merely existing.

So how do we break this cycle? Well, like Darren, I really think it is a case of paying more attention to those little interesting thoughts that pop up in the back of our heads. The ones that give you little boosts of energy. They can come from anywhere and are often provoked by curiosity.  He calls them ‘Sparks’. Start listening for them and when you notice one that makes you feel energised try, if you can, to act on it. Recognise them and glean some energy off them. It will make you feel more alive every time.

This is exactly what I have started doing. I started thinking I would really like to write. So here I am, writing a blog. It might be small and not many people are reading it, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am doing it, fuelling my spark, and that every time I do, it gives me a little more energy and makes me feel a little more alive.

So, I am on the hunt for more. Do you have any ‘Sparks’?


Absorbing other people’s stress (or not)

So here is a test for the recovering stressaholic……… learning the ability to not take on other people’s stress.

All around us people are stressed. Stressed because they are too busy, the kids are misbehaving, work isn’t going well or finances are strained. So, when you are dealing with your own stress, taking on someone else’s can be the ‘straw that breaks the camels back’.

Many of us are highly sensitive and sensing other people’s struggles we feel obliged to help. We start to become involved, absorbing their stress, convinced we can help. In actual fact we are dragging ourselves down and that helps nobody.

More often than not, the stressed party would benefit more from us staying strong, less involved and less emotional. You hear the saying ‘He/she is my rock’, well that’s what they need, a solid person and mind, not a highly emotional busybody!!

To avoid all this we need to firstly recognise when it is happening and when we are most at risk of it happening. Sit down and think about when you are most at risk of taking on other people’s emotions. For example, I know that I am more likely to get involved in other people’s issues when I am feeling a bit unconfident about something and when I have some ‘extra’ time on my hands.

This is not to say I should fill every minute of the day, which was my old approach. No, instead I just need to be aware I may start to take on too much and absorb emotions around me. Sometimes awareness is all we need, the little voice in the back of our head reminding us to look after ourselves first and the rest will follow.


We need to talk about it…..

Hello world! I am a self-confessed recovering ‘Stressaholic’. Unwittingly I had actually been seeking stress, feeding off adrenaline and cortisol and seriously detrimentally affecting my health. Through my own journey I am beginning to understand there is an epidemic out there. Our current fast paced lifestyle is breeding mental health illnesses including depression and anxiety, as well as a new special brand of stress (and let’s face it, all three are very closely related).

Many people world-wide are struggling to balance careers, family commitments, exercise, sporting commitments, school expectations, eating well (and the list goes on) with the need for time spent relaxing and feeding one’s sole. Typically, people are omitting the last two, feeling they simply do not have time and are placing their own needs, mental health and general well-being lowest on the list of priorities.

When you think about it, how many people do you know that either admit to being stressed on a regular basis or display traits of stress? I am willing to bet there are a fair few. People are blaming stress for all kinds of health issues and ailments and with solid foundation. You only need to open a glossy magazine to find an article on what stress does to your body and it is scary. Increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, heart disease, obesity, diabetes to name a few.

The media is filled with stress combating tips such as ‘mindfulness’, meditation, yoga, exercise and healthy eating. But, are we listening?? and are we talking about it?? Or do we read it, have good intentions for 30 minutes then hide it away and carry on, simply falling back into our old patterns? Well, I can honestly say that was me, now and again I would have a burst of enthusiasm to do things that reduced my stress, but in the end it felt like just another thing on my list. I felt overwhelmed by the options and the expectation to do something about it and make it better.

My turning point (after things had got really pretty bad) has been the realisation that I am not alone. I realised this because I started TALKING about it. I found people who felt the way I felt and that made me realise I wasn’t failing or worse than anyone else, I am just human! This realisation in turn made me see that I actually could do something about it, I just had to shift my way of thinking and then sift through all the information out there and find what was right for me.

The absolute biggest revelation has been, not that I should avoid things that cause me stress. In fact quite the contrary. I should approach them head on but with a completely new attitude because the biggest issue ‘stressaholics’ have, is how we REACT to stressful situations. There will always be stress in our life no matter who we are, where we are or how ‘successful’ we are. The key is how we approach the stress and the amount we are willing to take on (or not take on).

So, let’s talk about it…… Let’s help each other. Please share and comment on this post.

SAA (Stressaholicanonymus)

Do what you love!

I am having the most amazing time just simply learning to do what I love doing! Instead of telling myself I shouldn’t be too self indulgent or that I shouldn’t ‘waste’ time, I am actually allowing myself time to enjoy some of the things I love and guess what……. I haven’t reduced my productivity or run out of time to do things that need doing. No. In fact, just by being happy, satisfied and more relaxed, I am becoming more efficient at getting things done (and still to my high standard).

I am no longer spending time doing things I really don’t want to be doing (within reason, unfortunately some things just can not be avoided!!). In truth this is where I really was wasting time. My inability to say NO was sapping my time, energy and enthusiasm. That will not happen anymore.

Part of this new feeling is likely just me riding on the back of the most fantastic holiday ever. But, I just feel so renewed! Things seem clearer now. The trick over the next few weeks will be not sliding into the ‘post holiday blues’ and my old outlook . I honestly think if I keep living in the moment and focusing on feeding myself with the things I love doing, I will not only avoid the post holiday blues but find those other vital pieces to myself that I have carelessly misplaced.

Today, I set up a room at home for me only. My writing room. My space. My ideas. I started (lots to add yet!) to fill it with things that I find inspiring and that make me smile. I went to Kmart and bought one of those little light boxes with the letters. I put 3 words on it. It only occurred to me hours later, how important these 3 words are, or might be ……….

If I am completely honest, I wanted the first to say love, but the set only came with one V!


When things go awry……. Hollywood style

Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan, no matter how hard you try. And…….. when you have tried and planned and tried and planned, it is super frustrating. I really need to work on how I deal with this kind of situation.

We hired a Hummer to take us around Hollywood, we got this……

What the hell? A party bus for 5??!! I was so disappointed. We all felt cheated.

Then, I felt really silly…….have I ever been in a party bus like that? Has anyone I know driven around Hollywood in a party bus? Did anything bad happen? No, no and no! This really is not a problem. The problem lies my expectations and my inability to accept change. To accept that things don’t always go as planned.

The last few days of this amazing holiday have been tough. It has been so hot, I mean up to 46 degrees hot. We have been in close proximity for 3.5 weeks and it is beginning to show. One minute we are up, the next down and worse still…….all at different times!!

This trip has truely been amazing. From the sights of New York, LA and Toronto (modern cities with their own character and charm) to the wilderness of Canada, we have seen so much.

I have felt awe, inspiration, gratefulness, confusion, disappointment, exhaustion, excitement and exhilaration. Such a jumble of emotion! Not all has been what we were expecting but that is a good thing because it opened our minds to new things.

We are all ready to come home. For the luxury of our own beds but even more so, our own rooms and our own space. We will be grateful for what we have and what we have experienced. The world out there is vast and exciting!

This trip has taught me that change is good. Accepting change is the hard bit, but by doing so we open ourselves up to seeing things we never could have dreamed of.


Stress alert – LA

I am trying to hold it together.

This is not work. Nothing bad is happening. There are no time pressures. We are on holiday. Never the less, this is stressful and I can feel the symptoms creeping in. Tight chest, grumpiness, short temper, heart racing.


How is it possible that one of the most exciting times (Disneyland!) planned specifically for the kids, an amazing surprise, can turn out to be the one thing on this whole holiday that really tests the family??!!!

Well……… a 46 degree day might have a little to do with it!! What the hell? I have never experienced this heat, much less walked around an amusement park in it!!

Sometimes kids these days can just be downright ungrateful and moany. Or……..is it that they too are experiencing the exact same symptoms as me and displaying it in that fashion because they know no other way of expressing it? (Probably very likely today, however sometimes they are like it for no good reason!)

Either way, today was and is tough but each time we reach the front of a line, it is pure, outright fun and for those 5 minutes, the joy on everyone’s face makes it all worthwhile.

Check it out, all sorts of Mother’s here with their kids. I wonder if these ones moan too?!



So, these are the things I have noticed this week while concentrating on being present:

  • The tiniest slit of a moon in the morning sky over the pool.
  • An amazing orange/apricot cloud as the sun rose.
  • A Vinnie’s bin in the school car park (random, but I must have driven past it for months and not noticed), so I filled it with bags of clothes we no longer need.
  • My son’s need for me to notice him and for him to have time just with me (All I needed to do was take him for a milkshake).
  • My daughter’s golden hair. A new hairbrush can make so much difference!

And then there are the things I noticed about me:

I just want validation. I just want to know that I am doing the right thing, saying the right thing, feeling the right thing. But, here is the funny bit. I noticed …… there is no right or wrong. I am just ME and I can only do what I think is right in the moment. And, this is totally ok!

I watched an awesome speech by a very clever lady called Oprah. She mentioned this very point. We all want validation, we all want someone to say we did ok. She has interviewed thousands of famous people and the first thing they ask when the camera goes off……………….. “Was that ok?”. Didn’t matter who they were.


Also, it appears this is all my son wants from me too. He wants my validation.

But, at the end of the day……. the only person who can truly give us validation is ourselves. How many times have my parents or my husband told me I have done well, for me to, in all honestly (sorry you guys!), not believe them. To think they were just saying that because it was what I wanted to hear. This is because I wasn’t validating myself.

I am a super lucky human being. I am grateful for my family, my friends and the life that has opened to me since running my business. I am grateful to have a job that is always in demand. I am grateful to be able to help others.

I am going to concentrate on living in the present and giving myself validation or as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am going to approve of myself. It is time to stop requesting validation from others or at least placing so much importance on the opinion of others. Hopefully, this will help give me direction with what is next. But, for now I am 40 and I am grateful and lucky to be ME.



Right here, right now

A wise person in my life told me yesterday, the best way to find out who I really am, is to concentrate on being present in the moment. I need to take note of the things that I am drawn to and feel strongly about. If I can live like this, something will crop up that will help me in knowing the direction I want to take (not the one I feel like I should take, but the one I truly want to take).

So, I have a new mantra………………… RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. This is something I am going to say to myself when I feel my brain floating away to somewhere not in the present moment. Yes, I run the risk of having the Fat boy Slim song stuck in my head constantly but that is ok, if it reminds me to be present in the moment.

I tried it yesterday morning while walking home from swimming. I saw the most amazing rainbow. It was a full one right across the sky, strong and vibrant in colour. I think it was a sign! It made me wonder how many others had taken that moment to appreciate such a natural and beautiful thing (aside from children who are masters at living in the moment).

This way of living is particularly important to me at the moment with the most amazing trip coming up. I know I have fallen into a trap before of spending so much time while traveling, planning and thinking about what we are doing next and what we might miss if I am not organised. I have never thought about what I might be missing by not taking the time to see the small things.

This trip is going to be about slowing down and appreciating the details…………. like that bird in Central Park, or the amazing lake in Canada and especially the grandness of Niagara Falls. Wow, how lucky am I? Now I am getting excited………………………. about the trip and about what I might find living in the present.