‘Fortnite’…

Dirty word in this house, how about yours? How can one game cause so much angst, upset and ………… you guessed it………………stress? The answer lies in its superior and mastered creation. It is unbelievably good at hooking them in with its target and reward systems. Seriously, who ever you are that invented this game…….. you must be laughing all the way to the bank!

Meanwhile, the rest of us mere mortals are entrenched in the battle of our life trying to save our kids from addiction. For those in Australia, you may have watched 60 minutes last night, what a scary episode. Our whole family watched it. I wanted the kids to see why we are so worried about it and why we impose restrictions. One child watched the whole thing with a concerned expression in disbelief. The other child (the bigger gamer) although trying to cover it up with macho behaviour and the ‘as if I would do that’ attitude, was shocked and scared by what he saw (as was I). He wanted to stop watching, to walk away and pretend it wasn’t real.

It is such a scary world in which to parent these days. The number of distractions out there is phenomenal. When even full-grown adults are falling prey to things such as ‘Fortnite’, our kids have little hope of negotiating a path of balance and health. They are just not capable of fighting against this. They need us to do it for them.

I guess, the biggest thing we can do as parents is model the right behaviour. As we all know, actions speak louder than words. If as a parent, we can mostly (lets face it we are all human) behave the way we want our kids to behave, then at least some of it will hopefully rub off on them. If we can lead balanced lives ourselves with work, sport, healthy eating, play, outdoors, indoors, reading, ipads, phones, computers, TV etc. It will show them that everything is ok in moderation. After all it doesn’t matter what it is, if one thing starts to take over, it is an addiction and it will cause problems.

Another thing we need to do, is make sure our kids know we listen to them. Make sure they know they can come and talk to us about the important things, that we will always have time for them. Some children will be more prone to addictions and other mental illnesses. This needs to be recognised and kids given the help they despirately require. Obviously this starts with parents but also as a community we have a responsibility to find ways to support these kids and their families.

I can only hope that we are doing the right thing in our house. We allow it, but we restrict it (admittedly sometimes not as much as we should). Each house is different and I personally try not to judge others……………….all I can say is GOODLUCK and keep doing your best for your kids, it is all we can do………. and perhaps cross your fingers and pray that they turn out ok!

SAA

Let those feelings out!

As I expected, just getting my feelings out there yesterday helped and consequently today, I don’t feel so angry.

It is a funny thing……………….. for me it is interesting to name a feeling exactly what it is, and to not just slap the label of ‘stress’ on it (until recently every negative feeling I had, I thought was ‘stress’). This had so many of the same hallmark feelings, tight chest, brain over working, insomnia……… but it was different and I am glad to have realised it was actually ‘anger’ because I needed to deal with it differently.

My message for today is…………….It is ok to feel how we feel. Too often people try to tell us we shouldn’t feel this way or that. But, actually identifying it and acknowledging it, allows us to explore it and work out exactly why we feel this way. Often through this process we realise the feeling is unfounded or irrational, but getting to that conclusion by yourself, in your own mind is really important.

There were a few different reactions to my admission yesterday. There were the concerned……………. ‘Are you ok? What happened?’ and then there was the ‘You know what, I am feeling that too!

I say this is great! If getting it out there made someone else know that it is ok to feel like this, then I had a good day. My mission is to stop avoiding the way I feel and to stop being ashamed of it. IT IS WHAT IT IS. I AM WHAT I AM.

SAA

I feel angry and tired……

I know we are not meant to get hung up on change and the way that other people’s actions affect us. But…….man sometimes it is hard.

This blog was meant to be an honest account of how I am dealing with stress and how I am feeling. Well here it is….

I FEEL REALLY FRIGGING ANGRY (that feels a bit better getting it out there and being honest). Whether that is rational or not, that is how I feel.

Angry that I was doing really well on my quest to become less stressed and then someone else did something completely unexpected, completely out of my control, completely massive and it has set me back months (or more to the point I have let it set me back). I am back to feelings of confusion and insecurity.

But, I AM STRONG and this will not beat me.

I forget about all the obstacles I have overcome in the last 10 years. I have achieved so much on so many different levels. Often along the way I have put myself last and stupidly I thought that meant it was my turn for a quiet life. But……… LOL what is that? As we grow up we realise there is no ‘quiet life’. There is only a life of knowing how to keep the stresses and dramas at bay. But they are always still there, challenge after challenge after challenge.

This is just the next blip in the road. It may be a blip or it may be a crossroads, I have to decide. Part of me thinks I have been travelling this same road for quite some time now, it has taken me to some places I have never dreamed of and to some dark places. Maybe it is time for a new road, a new map??……..

SAA

 

The power of fire…

There is something about a fire on a chilly winters night. Especially when teamed with a glass of red and old episode of Friends (in my opinion the best TV series ever).

It is an amazing thing to watch…………….. the colours yellow, orange, red, brown all mixed and intermingling, forever changing and flowing. Mesmerizing with shapes, crevices, lumps, bumps, points and curves………. plus the lovely warmth it radiates. It brings feelings of safety and contentment.

It is also a great way to remind ourselves of our fire within. To remind us what keeps us going, what drives us to do what we do. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of this in the daily struggle to be yourself and fit in all your responsibilities.

Sometimes all we need is a reset…… something else to focus on. A healthy break or a mental health break! This is a massively important concept on a daily basis. Too often we continue on without breaks, without time to think about what we are doing or what we have seen, instead we rush from one thing to the next, never really having the opportunity to engage in what we are doing. Five minutes or even two is enough, just to refocus and adjust.

I feel like I never get this opportunity. Nothing is ever enough…….

But…. the time is mine to find and yours too.

Seize some time, look at a fire or a picture, something to refocus. Every day, every hour at the very least. Take it back and use it. Because without it, the mind is clogged and unfocused.

SAA

 

Change…….. a scary monster?

Times of change can be very stressful and scary. We find ourselves focusing on the past as we enter new phases…. The what if’s? the maybes, the how could I have done better?

But, what if …….. we instead focus on the opportunities that change will bring? Focus on the positives, the hope, the new chances, the ability to wipe the slate clean.

If we look at it this way, then change signifies new beginnings, a chance to right some wrongs, to learn and grow. To move forward and often find opportunities we never knew existed.

Stressaholics need to learn to embrace change, to not resist but go with whatever the change brings. Just like many things in life, we often can not control the change, only the way we react to it.

The secret is to focus on what is ahead not on what is being left behind.

SAA

You can’t control others…

We are all different. Different core values, beliefs and thought patterns. If someone else’s behaviour is impacting on yours in a negative way, the chances are it comes from a background of differing values.

If it stresses you out, walk away. We don’t have to participate in other people’s negative or contradictory behaviours. Stay true to yourself and your values.

We are who we are. Different…….And that is ok.

SAA

A new piece in my jigsaw!!

As my readers know, I had a tough week last week. But, sometimes we have to have tough weeks to grow. This time, I was able to use my feelings of insecurity and disappointment to work out another of the important missing pieces in the question of ‘Who am I?’.

This is how I did it…..

I sat down and really thought about why I was disappointed with last week. What exactly bothered me about the things that seemingly went ‘wrong’ and why was I hard on myself? Well, it was because I really want to help people. I felt that I hadn’t been as helpful as I should have been. Now here in lies my issue…….. I hadn’t been unhelpful, quite the contrary, I just hadn’t been as efficient at it as I hoped. But at the end of the day I still helped!! Another example of me and the glass half full scenario I guess!

The key point here, is one of my core values is to help others. This is actually a really important (and some might say obvious) point for me to discover, because for all the things that stress me out in my job, it brings home, it is all worth it because each and every day I am at work, I am helping others. This proves that although I sometimes think otherwise, I am in exactly the right type of work!!

In fact this is a huge driving force in my life. Why do I spend so much time at the pool coaching kids? People ask me this and sometimes I wonder why I do it too, but actually it is simple, I do it because I love to help them. Not just in the pool but to be a mentor to them, someone they can look up to. I get the best feeling when one of them comes to talk to me about something other than swimming (last week it was Maths) because it means they know I care…… about them as a whole person. I think it is really important adolescents have mentors that are not their parents.

So, from my week of disappointment, comes a week of great reflection and realisation, I AM A HELPER. I spend a great deal of my time helping others and I enjoy it.

I am beginning to realise that understanding yourself and what drives you to do things is absolutely essential in leading a healthy life and minimising stress.

SAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfaction

It has been a tough week. It is Sunday afternoon and I am still feeling the effects. Yes…….. even though I said on Friday night I was going to put my ‘big girl’ knickers on and put it behind me. So, why can’t I?

Well, I think I have realised why. It is all tied up with the word SATISFACTION. I am not satisfied with my week. I am not satisfied with my performance in particular. I am my worst critic. I replay the things that went wrong and think about how I could better have handled them, but that is not helping me at all. That is living in the past and not living in the moment.

I think what I need to do, is something that will give me some form of satisfaction. To feel that I can achieve something to my standards. One might think that is just putting more pressure on myself to perform well. But I guess it depends on what I set out to do. I doesn’t have to be a big thing, or a difficult thing. Just something I can do well and feel good about. Perhaps it is writing this blog, or cooking a nice dinner for my family.

Then, once it is done and I am satisfied, I will bathe in it. Enjoy my satisfaction and use it to carry me through, focus on the satisfaction and not the dissatisfaction of the week. Focus on the positive. For some reason ‘Stressaholics’ naturally focus on the negative. It is a hard pattern to crack but I am working on it and so can you.

SAA

I let myself down….

So this week I have let myself down. Things haven’t quite gone according to plan and instead of dealing with it in a non emotional, non stressed way……. I let it get to me and worse still……… I let it drag me down. This was the overriding thought going through my mind ………..  Why is the world is against me?

What a silly, negative, non productive and backwards thought that is!

My only saving grace before heading into the weekend is that I know myself well enough to know, there are a few things that are capable of dragging me out of a funk like this.

Exercise, Wine and Chocolate. (Notice I am not completely unhealthy)

So, I have been to the gym (and have the blisters to prove it, the rowing machine copped it tonight), I have a glass of red in front of me and there is chocolate in the fridge. I am home with my beautiful family around me.

Onwards and upwards. It is time to put on my big girls knickers and put it all behind me. Tomorrow is a new day.

I don’t know how many times I will have to tell myself this before it sinks in. Stress is not in the things that happen, but in the way we react to the things that happen!! I know…………………………. I should be kind to myself!!

SAA

 

 

 

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.

SAA