22:09

Yesterday I pushed myself to see a group of friends who I haven’t seen in a while. These friends are easy to get on with but are much more extroverted than I am – which is why I do not see them that often. As a keen introvert I tend to shy away from large group hang outs and opt for smaller group occasions instead. A larger group can be mentally draining and takes more effort on my part to ‘fit in’.

The initial group of 15 was difficult to get used to. I felt like I was quiet and not really a part of their conversations – like an outsider looking in. However as the night went on and I spoke to people on a one-to-one basis, I felt more relaxed and at ease.

One friend (who I have always connected to a little more) took the time to catch up with me which made the social situation a little less daunting. He also remembered a fact about me which I didn’t even know he knew! I questioned how he knew and he gave the reply, “Everyone knows this about you.” It was such a small and passing comment but it really resonated with me. It was actually a compliment in disguise. It was a reassurance that I was not forgotten despite my absence from frequent social gatherings. It was a detail so small, yet it was comforting to know that people remembered that about me.

As the night went on, the numbers of the group dwindled down and we started to reminisce on memories. I had settled into a safe space with people I was comfortable with, talking about how we had all grown together and come so far. We ended the night around 1am (noticeably later than my usual early bed times) and went our separate ways. I left the gathering with a warm feeling in my heart – I had pushed myself into an uncomfortable situation and prevailed.

Getting out of my comfort zone is a challenge but the biggest obstacle is actually my own thoughts. There is always a ‘what if’ thought. A pessimistic thought that suggests something could go wrong. A daunting task in front of me that I can’t achieve. But what if it goes right? What if I can achieve it? I like to think that I can encourage people but when it comes to myself I struggle. It may not be easy but getting rid of the negative thoughts is the first step to success.

22:26

I have had so much to reflect on recently but have been struggling to put it into coherent sentences. When I am preoccupied with thoughts my sleep suffers, my skin breaks out in stress spots and my body’s normal functioning fluctuates.

Recently I rolled out a mental health awareness module to my team. I found when I was preparing to deliver the presentation that I really resonated with some of the points. While I may not feel like I have a mental health problem, I do see the physical changes when I come under strain.

A step towards tackling these underlying issues is to treat the physical symptoms. For me it may be swimming more during the week as stress release, watching an episode of my favourite feel-good series, or doing something as simple as chores. Recognising when my body is telling me to slow down has been vastly important in my self care journey.  For a long time I thought doing things for myself was selfish, that saying no to invites was rude, and that people expected me to be a certain way. This is all a work in progress but the more I realise my mental health comes first, the happier I can be.

19:22

Tomorrow I head back up to Edinburgh after a longer than usual time spent back at home. This year I was able to arrange my holidays so I could spend 10 days in my home town with my family in December.

Each time I come back my nieces and nephews are a little taller, have learned more about the world and are cheekier than I could have ever imagined! In the downtime at home I was able to catch up with friends and family, spending quality time with those dearest to me.

While I am looking forward to a normal routine again, I will miss the comforts of my holiday back at home. All good things come to an end eventually!

 

20:43

There has been a lot going on in my life that I wanted to reflect on but have felt like I never had the correct head space to do so. After a particularly testing day I truly felt like I could have snapped at any point. Sometimes when things go wrong I fail to see the bigger picture and let my emotions get the better of me. Even little things can trigger a sigh of disappointment or a pang of irritation, however I am trying to learn to be more accepting of both the good and the bad in life.

My manager occasionally reminds our management group that ‘you cannot control bad news or problems but you can always control how you react.’ As my manager is quite into her motivational quotes I took what she said with a pinch of salt, however I can see the relevance of that phrase to not only my work but all aspects of life.

Yes, my train was cancelled and then the next one was delayed. But would getting angry or annoyed have helped the situation at all? There is a storm hitting the UK so I endured winds and heavy rain all day, got splashed by a bus not once, not twice but three separate times. Was I vexed? Slightly. However I accepted that the weather was miserable, my clothes would dry and carried on with my day. I also thought ‘it could have been worse.’ A change in mentality takes the negativity out of a bad situation. Acceptance is key; it’s how we move forward and learn to grow.

21:26

It seems like the time gaps between my posts are getting longer and longer. It’s not that I do not have anything to post, it is the ‘putting pen to paper’ as it were.

I am in a good place mentally so hopefully I can reflect on that in coming posts.

20:49

Recently I have been watching Netflix’s Our Planet. It has to be some of the most visually attractive footage I have ever seen. Beautifully narrated by David Attenborough and bringing valuable lessons regarding protecting our planet.

Sometimes I forget about the wider planet due to getting caught up in my own worries and troubles, but this series has really brought my life into perspective. There is so much more. There is beauty and wonder in the world if I just open my eyes to see it. There are issues which I cannot even fathom. How little am I in this world so large?

21:45

I had a productive day today.

I swam extra lengths at the pool to release tension. I didn’t over-shop at the supermarket as I looked in the fridge before heading out. I did my laundry and made a nutritious and healthy lunch. I thought I was going to be late for my choir session at church but I actually ended up early. It poured down with rain but only when I was driving in my car. I bought a cute sweater on sale that I had been eyeing for weeks. I cooked a Thai green curry for dinner and it tasted good. I cleaned the house and prepared for the week ahead. I watched some episodes of my current binge-worthy series and a documentary. I am now winding down in bed while listening to a podcast.

Sometimes it’s the little things which promote a sense of satisfaction and contentment.

19:59

Today was a difficult day.

I took my car to get serviced because my gears were grinding and unfortunately they were not able to fix it there. They carried out some minor service works which I had to pay for on top of my service fee. I now need to find a garage that can fix my gear issue.

This morning I lost my cousin to cancer. She had been fighting for a while with more time spent in the hospital than out. She suffered greatly and towards the end of her life she refused any more treatment. I last visited her on Saturday and it was very emotional to see her in that state. The family is comforted to know she is in a better place with no more pain and suffering.

I had to deal with an act of disobedience from a member of staff that I manage. When asked to do a task today, she said she would do it on Friday – no reasoning behind it. Eventually the order was followed after I explained reasons why it had to be done today. When faced with a snippy response, all I wanted was to send a snippy comment back asking that she follow orders. However after typing out an email I got a colleague to read over it, and they advised I amend it to be softer and to give reason to my words. In my emotional state the situation could have escalated to much worse.

I try to keep a work life balance. I was working 8 hours a day for a period of time to accommodate newer members of my team. I have since shifted back to 7.5 hours a day. Any time I stay later than my shift I try to analyse why. Was there a task I could have delegated to my team? Was there time I could have spent more wisely? Could I spread my work out throughout the week instead of condensing it? Management is a learning process and leading a team does not come easy. Sometimes it feels like there is not enough time in the day to complete my work, as well as answer queries from my team and deal with personal requests.

Today I came home feeling stretched rather thinly. There is a phrase my manager likes to use which is ‘being pulled from pillar to post.’ My day has been physically and emotionally draining, and the non-stop schedule is not something I want to continue.

I guess they call it hump day for a reason. Here’s to a better latter half of the week!

22:02

Today my cousin came to speak to me at church and said she had a small gift for me. It was something that I had mentioned a few months ago and I was genuinely surprised she remembered. She said when she saw it in the store she had to get it for me because she remembered how much I liked it.

There is a heart-felt joy when people are reminded of you in day to day things. I am very thankful for loved ones and unexpected sparks of joy!

22:55

Woah woah woah! Hold up! It’s the 31st December!

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

When I think back to the past year there are so many big events and milestones for 2018. I still cannot believe that so much happened this year and all seemingly in the blink of an eye. To round off 2018 I am sat in my parents’ living room on the floor typing out this blog post. My brothers have returned to Scotland for the new year countdown and my parents have gone to bed. I am calm, collected and pensive. It’s been a while since I spent new years at home ‘doing nothing’ so this restful time period is welcomed.

However you are spending ringing in the new year, I hope you have fun with friends and family, and stay safe! Wishing everyone a blessed 2019!