Working in the accounting industry for 9 years, I learned really quickly when the busiest time of the year is. No one dared apply for leave during the month of July. I had to learn how to survive a season of chaos, and fast.
Here are a few things I do to keep myself sane outside of work hours during those busy times.
I know how difficult it can be to exercise regularly. It’s also probably one of the first things to go when things get stressful. Just keep it simple, go for a walk in the fresh air or float around in the local swimming pool.
But it becomes even more crucial during times of stress. I’m sure you’ve heard all about endorphins, and how the can boost your mood. Exercise is one of the ways to release endorphins.
Mindfulness is not for everyone. I really struggled with it when I started. But I stuck with it and now it is much easier. I use an app called Smiling Mind, which offers guided meditations. These guided meditations walk you through exercises that you can use at any time.
It is crucial to find something that you can do to really relax. For me, I like to take a bath. I light some candles and settle into a hot bath, often with a bath bomb. Sometime I will listen to a podcast or audiobook, other times I will just listen to the sounds of the house.
My husband likes to fly his drone. I suppose it’s because he has to really focus on what he is doing, blocking out everything else.
Find someone that you can team up with to share the load of house chores and cooking. It great to know that you have someone in your life that you can rely on. Even if someone can help you with just one task, its one less thing for you to worry about.
There are many ways that you can meal plan. You can plan before you shop, taking advantage of the sales. You can go through your pantry, fridge, and freezer, using what you have. Setting up a meal plan can take the guesswork out of dinner. For me, I usually work a week at a time but I have also planned based on the meats we have available. Don’t overlook simple meals like baked beans on toast, while not entirely nutritious, it is filling and also very affordable.
Make time for friends and family when things get tough. The support from loved ones can really make a difference. They can also help you out with all of the above.
What do you do to survive a season of chaos?
A short weekend getaway is so important, it can do wonders for the mind, body & soul. I’m lucky enough to have family living on a farm in the country, about 3 hours drive from where I live. It’s far enough away that it can feel like a holiday yet close enough that it’s still worthwhile to just stay for one night.
A different environment can make a world of difference to my mood, especially the really fresh air you only come across in the country. I often don’t realise how polluted the air is in the suburbs. When I was a kid my asthma would clear up after just a few days at the farm. And the stars! You can see so many more stars on clear night in the country.
There is so much to do on a farm that there isn’t much time to check your phone. When there is a moment spare we often sit in the lounge room reading magazines or books. This time I read a magazine from 1996, oh how times have changed! The television is only generally on to see the weather forecast.
I had the chance to rediscover childhood memories I have from the farm. IT was great to share these memories with my husband & reminisce with my Nan. When I was about 6 years old it snowed enough for us to make snowmen & throw snowballs.
Even without the household chores there is still so much to do, I am certainly out of my comfort zone. There are animals to feed, gardens to explore & people to visit. Each day is jam packed, I am exhausted by dinner time & I always sleep well.
Being out of my comfort zone allows me to look at things with a fresh perspective when I return home. Sometimes you realised the things you worry about aren’t so important any more, or that the worry they cause aren’t worth your precious time. Some time away also allows me to approach obstacles from a different angle, or helps me build on other ideas.
It’s much easier to relax when staying with relatives that enjoy having company. My Nan is 89 years old but insists I relax while she does everything. Occasionally she will put me to work if I persist in trying to help. Because of her age, she insists on many meals throughout the day. We have breakfast, morning tea, lunch often with dessert, afternoon tea, dinner with dessert, then supper.
While the trip home can be tiring, the amazing week that follows a getaway is always well worth it.
It only takes an hour to donate blood, but it could save someone’s life. A few years ago I decided that I wanted to donate blood. I was disheartened that I wasn’t able to complete my first donation. You see, I am a fainter. I don’t like needles. I really don’t like having blood taken. Even talking about it often makes me go weak at the knees. But I just felt really strongly that this was something that I needed to do. I felt so strongly about it that I became emotional thinking about it.
Since that first attempt, I have attempted it two more times. Each time I was unable to complete a whole donation. However, they assured me they were still able to use the small amount.
I fall into the 4% that is obstetrics. After the birth of my daughter, I received a total of 3 units of blood over the course of two days. After that, I was also on iron supplements to help me get back to normal.
I’m not sure that I believe in fate but it’s quite interesting that I had attempted to donate blood 3 times & ended up needing 3 units.
Take the quiz to see if you are eligible to donate blood here.
After my husband & I got married, we opted to be on the same Medicare card. While looking into how to go about that I learned that you can sign up to be an Organ Donor through Medicare. All it took was completing a flyer and we were both registered organ donors.
I’ve recently learned that with great doctors & surgeons, blood transfusions are not always required with an organ transplant. Miriam from But, Still Breathing had a double lung transplant at Houston Methodist on March 6, 2015. Her doctor, Dr Scott Scheinin, has made it his life’s work to becoming skilled in bloodless surgery in order to lessen bleeding & hemorrhaging during surgery, therefore lessening the need for blood transfusions. Even though lung transplants are usually considered to have a higher risk of blood loss of all the transplants, Miriam’s surgery was a wonderful success with very minimal blood loss. You can read more about Miriam’s journey over at her blog: But, Still Breathing.
To become an organ donor, register through Medicare here.
I had never experienced anxiety until I was pregnant. I didn’t believe people that suffered from anxiety. Honestly, I just thought they were making excuses because I didn’t understand it. I’m sure I’m not alone there either. There are many mental illnesses that people don’t believe just because they don’t understand.
For me, anxiety feels like I’m overwhelmed, stressed, freaked out & have energy to burn all at the same time.
The first time I thought I was experiencing anxiety I was at work. I really didn’t know what was happening to me or what I was feeling. The only way I can describe it was that I felt like I was freaking out for no reason. And there really was no reason.
Since that first time, I have learned to recognize what it is & what I can do about it.
In the lead up to finishing work before going on maternity leave, it got worse. I’d sit at my desk looking over my replacement’s shoulder feeling fidgety & helpless. It didn’t help that I had 4 days to teach her what I do. I had to find a way to deal with it, and fast.
Step away – Get up and step away from what you’re currently doing. This can break your mental focus & provide a little perspective.
Use the bathroom – This is a great way to really step away from what you are doing to take a moment to yourself.
Fix a drink – Make yourself a calming cup of tea or pour a glass of water.
Get some fresh air- Just a few minutes outside can help reset your feelings & what’s going through your mind.
Breathe – Breathe deeply & concentrate on your breath, pay attention to the sounds you can hear, and the things that you can smell.
Meditation – This has helped me most. After my daughter was born, I had trouble meditating on my own, so I used an app called Smiling Mind for guided meditation.
Five Things – focus on and name five things for each of your senses. I name five things I can touch (even if its as simple as feeling the socks on my feet or my breath leaving my nose), five things I can see, five things I can hear, five things I can smell (I often imagine some of these, using my favourite smells) and five things I can taste (again I often make up these by what I would like to eat). This helps bring me back to the present.
If you are after even more ideas to calm your anxiety, Buzzfeed has some great tips in their article 36 Simple Ways to Quiet Your Anxiety.
Leg day is one of my favourite days. I love feeling sore afterward like I’ve put in some real effort. But after a while, the soreness can become downright annoying.
Depending on what time I work out, I generally notice some soreness around 20 hours afterward, which peaks around 24-36 hours afterward.