My thoughts and prayers go to London and the UK

Only a week since Manchester. It’s so horrific it boggles the mind.

(credit:wikipedia)

Stay strong, London, UK. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the UK today.

Let’s hope that, one day, this is just a painful memory and peace fills our world.

A little break

I’ve been debating this for a while. I’ve thought of taking some time away from the blog during the holidays but then felt badly and changed my mind. Finally, today I finally decided to go and do it. Not easy to leave a blog even if it’s only for a couple of weeks because I like mucking about on it and chatting with people online (the people I’ve met are really, really nice).

Uncomfortable as it may be, this is something that might help me write more and certainly replenish my blogging batteries. Besides, it’s always good to try new things and experiment. So I’m taking the risk and doing it.

Wish me luck! (I hope I don’t cave and run back here crying like a four year old) And I’ll see you back on January 6th!

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On the importance of my inner child

I’ve done nothing all day. I didn’t go to the gym, I didn’t do any work, I didn’t even write. I just sat on my couch and watched episode after episode of CSI and Modern Family. I think my brain has shrunk about five inches but it was delicious.

My husband, the therapist, was confused until I told him I was ‘self-caring’ and ‘feeding my inner child’. Therapists consider everyone’s inner child sacrosanct and there’s nothing more important to them than self-care.

As soon as I said those words, his eyes widened and he rushed to prepare dinner–just in case my inner child was hungry. I did feel a little guilty when I saw him folding laundry but I got over it. I’m going to go read now.

Caring for my inner child is so important. 😀

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The need for self-care

I see burnout every day at my DayJob. We work with the public and they can always use more of your time, your services or simply you. It’s really hard to put a boundary and say no but the alternative is burnout.

Writers experience burnout too. Driven by the thirst to find that elusive dream, I push myself and then push even more. Some times, I push too hard. I lose perspective. That’s why self-care is so important.

Jennifer Gresham wrote a fantastic post on burnout in her blog Everyday Bright. She warns about the danger of overachieving. “In my experience, dreams multiply over time. The more you accomplish, the more you will want and expect to accomplish.”

I don’t think she’s telling us to settle and not dream. I think she’s telling us not to burn out and to not miss out on what we already have accomplished. “The real tragedy is that my dreams often take away from the richness and joy I have in my life right now. …My #1 dream is to enjoy the life I have, not the life I think I should have.”

This is a topic that I don’t want to talk about. I don’t want to hear that my dream is taking away from my life. I’d like to hear how to keep writing and become more successful. But that’s denial and that won’t get me very far.

I loved Jennifer’s message and I want to thank her for having the courage to be honest instead of just pretending everything is fine.

She’s not alone. Here’s Barbara O’Neal’s post on writer burnout from Writer Unboxed and Shawn Coyne’s very positive post on the same subject from Steven Pressfield‘s awesome blog. And, one more for the road, this resourceful post on coping mechanisms for writers by Laekan Zea Kemp.

A big thank you to these writers for great, inspiring posts!

On gift-giving

I don’t like to give Christmas presents. I know that makes me sound like the Scrooge but I really don’t. I find it…well, silly.

Before you condemn me, imagine this, if you will. I’m at a store, smelling different creams, wondering if my friend (let’s call her Gwedoline because it’s a delicious name) will like coconut or prefer cucumber. I wrack my brain trying to think if she smells more like the tropics or a cool salad and finally make a decision and buy one of the creams. Meanwhile, Wendy (aka Gwendoline but she goes by Wendy for friends) is at another store, sniffing hand lotion and wondering if I prefer the one that smells like cinnamon (I don’t) or the one that smells like vanilla (I like unscented, Wendy! Unscented!). I’ve stood countless times in different stores buying stuff for friends wondering what scent they’d like or if they were scent-sensitive.

I do draw the line at kids. Kids need presents and they’re the exception to my no-gift rule. But adults? Hm…nope.

Instead of buying gifts, I like to choose a charity and donate the money I would have spent on gifts to it. Isn’t that an awesome idea? I choose my charities with care every year. I visit them and see what they do and ask questions and…then I give the money away and I feel all…., well, all Christmassy (not a word, I know). This year, I chose the Salvation Army.

I have told my grown up friends: don’t give me gifts. Don’t do it. Save your money. And, I go and do my own giving to the charity of that particular year and I simply love the idea.

So, what do you think? Am I missing out on a vital part of Christmas? Should I reconsider? Or is this a good idea?

By the way, we got more snow. Tons of it. I think Mother Nature’s lost it. If this keeps up, we might have to dig out the house. Yes, Fuzzy Tail is delighted.

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I want a pyjama day

We have freezing rain and ice pellets coming our way for the next two days. Open the weather website and you’re met by a wall of red followed by warnings of different types of dangerous weather approaching. If you’re courageous or crazy enough to drive anywhere, you find line ups so long those at the front still dress in 80’s gear.

I say, don’t fight it, surrender to it. Have a pyjama day.

A pyjama day involves one day of planning ahead of time. You need easy-to-prep food available, movies and/or books, writing stuff, drawing/painting stuff (or whatever-you-like-to-do-stuff) and clean, comfortable pjs (though jogging pants can do in a pinch).

A pyjama day is a day where you do nothing, nothing, that involves effort. You stay home, shower or not depending on mood, answer the phone or not, again depending on mood, and basically relax, read, watch TV and veg all day. It might sound ridiculous and silly but, when you work full-time, there are days when doing absolutely nothing is simply delicious.

A day of nothing but reading is something sent from heaven above. It’s specially nice if you have food ready for you in the fridge (There’s no way you can leave in pyjamas to go and get milk for coffee. This must be ready before you start your pyjama day). Or you can do nothing but sit and watch TV…or nothing but play with play dough if that’s your wish. A pyjama day is self-care to the extreme. Like an all-inclusive holiday, but at home.

I highly recommend one.

(credit:positivelypositivity.com)

(credit:positivelypositivity.com)

I need to go for a run

Today was…well, special. In my day job, I work with the public and, while some people are wonderful, others are…interesting. My motto for dealing with people is to be nice and, if they’re horrible, to unleash my greatest weapon: ‘kill them with kindness’. When they insult me, praise them; when they’re irrational and demanding, support them; when they’re angry, be kind. I try to melt away their anger, to tell them how they make sense and to validate their process. It really works. Most times, that anger hides an incredible amount of pain. Give them a little support and the hardest, meanest people turn into sniffing, insecure teddy bears.

I just need to make sure I vent out my own feelings because there are times when I’d like to kick someone. Since I can’t, I go to my elliptical.

I love my machine. My hubby encouraged me to buy it and it’s one of those purchases I absolutely adore. It’s in a large room in our basement facing a big window and just waiting…for me. No one has used it, no one has sweated on it, I don’t have to wait for someone to finish working out, I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing, I can work out whenever I want and it’s impact free, so I can go for as long as I want.

To say it’s awesome doesn’t even cover it.

On the elliptical, I run with our dogs (even those who’re now gone), and run marathons and shout at imaginary giants and unleash all the bottled issues I’ve carried all day. With my favourite music in my little iPod, I run and then I run some more. Afterwards, I feel like a million dollars, the issues of the day seem ridiculously simple and, at night, I’m guaranteed a great sleep.

Oh, and, as another bonus, I’m healthier and sport great muscles. Yeey!

What do you do to feel free and fit?