Rocking out, and Eating Elephants

Do you know the song, Party Rock Anthem?

(I am very familiar with a variety of party/dance music – and not just because I have a teenage daughter. The familiarity dates back to when she was a little girl. She’s a dancer, and thankfully their dancing teacher always finds ‘clean’ versions of songs for them to dance to, even now. Strangely enough, my whole life, this type of music has always been a genre that has ‘got me going’. If my house needs a good clean? Dance music will be blaring. Even though I am in my early forties πŸ˜› )

Back to the song I mentioned above…
There’s a repetitive line in it that says : ”Everyday I’m shuffling”.
Well, for me, I’m on the hunt for clown shoes, because I feel like ‘Everyday I’m JUGGLING’.
On any given day there are so many balls in my air space, all at once, that it takes a very large amount of effort for me to keep them there. I’d love to say that I am always 100% successful…. but like with any good circus clown, at least one needs to drop at some time, or else it wouldn’t be funny, right? πŸ˜›

I am relieved that most times, when I drop a ball, it isn’t too much of an issue. It’s minor things I may have let slip, or forgotten – no harm, no foul. Yesterday I dropped a ball though that could have been really serious. Thankfully, somehow, there was a Plan B (I still don’t know how there was a Plan B, because I had completely missed Plan A!!!) and so what could have been a serious problem, was just a minor bump in the road.

Last night, as my son was ‘passing through my space’, and heading to the shower, he made a comment about what had happened – which is odd because I had not said that I was open to discussion about the issue πŸ˜›
(In actual fact, when I briefly relayed a summary of events to the kids, I pretty much warned them that I was feeling super sensitive about it all, and so anything they were planning to talk about, even if unrelated, that they knew would add to my stressed out mind should probably be put on hold till today…. unless it was an emergency.)

And yet my son’s comment didn’t stress me out. It was one of those things that makes you stop and think, ”Who are you, and what have you done with my kid?” πŸ˜›
And it took my thoughts a little further too πŸ˜‰

I am definitely ‘pro having an attitude of gratitude’, and even though some days are truly landslide days, I still find something to be grateful for.
I am also a ‘little things’ person – I notice and appreciate the small things, and I believe they do count.
It’s definitely a ‘lifestyle’ for me – a mindset that I have that I do without even knowing that I do it half the time.

And yet, surprisingly, there are still things that I ‘forget’. Little things that I see, without seeing.
(Kind of like when I bump into someone who says to me, ”I’ve driven past you about four times this week, and I’ve waved every time. You looked right at me, but didn’t wave back.”
And I have to tell them, ”I probably wasn’t actually looking at you – I was probably watching all the cars where you were, trying to anticipate their next move for my safety sake. I’m so sorry…. if I had seen you, I promise I would have waved.” And there is always a nod of understanding and a sympathetic comment, and off we go. Because where I live, driving on our roads is treacherous, and we all know it.)

So… sometimes it is only after a time of TRUE and QUIET reflection on events that happen, that I am able to fully SEE what I already saw in the moment. You’d think I’d do better at seeing these things, because a lot of times they’re actually kind of repetitive… but each time, there is a new ‘take away’, in some way, and so I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s not so much about the repetition / learning the lesson of seeing them every time ‘properly’, but more about the additional small things that get added along the way.

Desmond Tutu said something once, regarding ‘big’ problems :
”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The meaning behind it is that pretty much most things in life that seem daunting or overwhelming can usually be accomplished or ‘solved’ by going slowly and taking on things a little bit at a time. But of course, this is not always perfect, because hey, as we all know, some things just aren’t in our control – no matter how much time we spend chewing πŸ˜‰
But I still agree with him for the most part, if there are no control issues.

That said…

When you are presented with more than one elephant, as in a few of them? Let’s face it, that means more than one bite at a time…. and you just aren’t going to have the space in your stomach for those first bites, no matter how much you love to eat πŸ˜›
And you ARE going to feel overwhelmed and out of sorts.
Probably even more so when you gain a new elephant the next day!
(Isn’t life just the funniest thing, the way everything seems to ‘go wrong’ at once?)

But last night, I was reminded yet again :

I might feel like a clown (minus the shoes because I can’t find them) in a room full of elephants, juggling far too many balls to probably be considered ‘healthy’, and I might have the odd moment where I actually end up dropping a ball (which I do not find funny at all, sigh – until much later on πŸ˜› )

BUT there’s a bigger picture, and my hope and my faith (which may be different to yours, and that is okay) sometimes works behind the scenes, and I get blindsided by goodness, especially when I had NO plan to start with.

I’ll leave you with this little note :

It is always good to have a plan – to be prepared, to have a goal with a strategic step-by-step to get you there – and to have a Plan B… C… D – because you never know what’s going to work, right?
But somedays? Somedays you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens (quote by Mandy Hale)…. especially on the days where you forgot to make a Plan A!!!
And on those days? When things turn out okay even though you dropped the ball?


Don’t forget to breathe out a huge sigh of gratitude! It will give you a reason to smile at least πŸ˜‰


my 4 ways to manage my stress

The stress management list is endless. And I find it to be yet another one of those lists with copious access to tools and ways, but they don’t all work – well, not for me, anyway.
The ones that help me may not necessarily help you. Why? Once again, it’s that necessity to acknowledge that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

The 4 ways I am going to list here are things that work FOR ME. You’ve probably heard them before, but here’s a refresher anyway πŸ˜‰
And if you’ve never tried them, then it might be worth doing so πŸ˜‰
It works the same as it does with my kids πŸ˜› I always say : ”Don’t tell me you can’t do it, or don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it.” πŸ˜‰

You know the saying, ”Dance like no one is watching”? Well, I take it one step further, and I also laugh like everyone is watching me dance πŸ˜›
I’m not a great dancer. The last time I did ‘official dancing’ was when I went into high school, and I was still taking ballet lessons. I am still sort of able to co-ordinate though, and so if you teach me a dance, I can usually manage it. But there are just some moves my body can’t do. I’ve had to accept that… which is frustrating for my dancing daughter who finds it all ‘so easy’. I think she sometimes forgets I am not 16 anymore πŸ˜›
But even as I am getting older, I have found that in moments of severe stress, if a lively dance number (yes, ‘the kids of today’ have awful taste in lyrics, but there’s normally a great beat πŸ˜‰ ) busting a move (without busting my back πŸ˜› ) usually reduces that stress almost instantly πŸ˜‰
The problem doesn’t go away, but after a couple of songs, I am definitely in a happier place and better able to tackle it.

Fresh air and sunshine can be tough when you don’t see the sun all that much. And I guess that with all the pollution in the air these days, ‘fresh’ air is a little less likely. But I think you know what I mean.
Here’s what I have found : when I am feeling severely stressed, sometimes ‘stepping away’, even just for a few minutes, can be very beneficial. Except that for me, I need to be aware of ‘where’ I am stepping to. Closing myself in my bedroom with the curtains drawn just brings on more negative emotions, and pretty much only serves to increase my stress levels.
So while some of us may like the idea of a good old door slam (I have a teenage daughter – just a tip real quick : she hasn’t slammed the door since the time I told her ‘next time you do that I am taking it off its hinges and you won’t have a bedroom door’- and showed her the screwdriver I have to prove that I could πŸ˜› ) closing ourselves off completely, without sufficient air and light, can cause more problems than our initial intention of reducing our stress.

A few years ago, I watched an incredible short video, to motivate students in order to be able to ‘have the best for their future’. It was really fantastic, and there were plenty things in there that I found beneficial. But there was one part that had me shaking my head. He advocated for pulling all-nighters, claiming that ‘if you want it bad enough, you will sacrifice sleep for it’. My reply, in my head, was this : what’s the point of getting it if you won’t be able to enjoy it, or it ends up making you physically ill? Because THAT’S ME!
Extensive medical research shows that as adults, we should be getting 7 – 9 hours sleep a night. I wish this was possible, every night. Realistically, it isn’t. However….
Something I AM VERY disciplined on is my bedtime (much to most people’s horror πŸ˜› ) … and ensuring that I get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
I know myself, and I do not respond well to ‘lack of sleep’. Not. At. All.
But I also know many people, personally, who manage to function quite successfully on just 4 hours a night.
We need to make sure that we get enough sleep – the amount that is right for US – and make a conscious effort to make it happen! Because being well-rested definitely helps when stress comes along.
As does having moments when we unplug! Achieving the ‘unplugging for a day’ thing is really difficult in today’s world. But it also depends on your definition of ‘unplugging’. For me? It means this :
Not ignoring messages, but responding with something like, ”Can we talk tomorrow, please? I just really need today to focus on some other things. I’m fine, promise! I’ll message you in the morning.”
Staying off social media – and if there is something I really need to look up, then that is all I will go and do. Even though there is a lot of inspirational and motivational encouragement that awaits me there, it is too easy to get caught up in all the ‘other stuff’, and so I choose to just try and avoid it completely.
Choosing what I do with my time on that day – there are some commitments and responsibilities that cannot be adjusted, and so I have to fulfill those obligations. But for the rest of the time? Do my soul and mind need extra attention? Then I’ll read something to feed them good things, and help them grow. Am I feeling like I am on a soul/mind overload? Well then, mindless whatever on Netflix will do.
Getting enough sleep and unplugging are both doable – you just need to find what works for you, and the ways to make it happen.

What makes you amazing? When stress rears its ugly head, I find that one of the first things I feel is ‘out of control’. This could be because it usually happens when I actually am – when something has happened, and I have no control over it. When I am in a situation where I want to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem, but in order for that to happen, the other person (or the situation) needs to take part and be involved in some way (or change).
And one of my stress responses is to ‘feel failure‘, and pretty much ‘run myself down’- begin to feel inadequate and unworthy and incapable.
It really helps me to ‘take a moment’. (And if there is a mirror nearby, I use it. And my kids will be heard saying, ”Mom’s talking to herself again”! πŸ˜› )
Many times, I am NOT feeling it. But I do it, and say it, anyway. Three things. Just three things about me that are ‘good’. Not necessarily applicable to the situation – but three positive qualities, nevertheless.
To be honest, some days it’s so difficult that by the time I have named them, the stressful situation has actually been forgotten πŸ˜›
Again, this little thing that I do doesn’t change the situation – whatever is ‘stressing me out’ doesn’t magically disappear. But it does serve to remind me that I still have worth – I still have strength and positive attributes – yes, this will slow me down, but I’m still okay. I have to say that this one is my absolute favourite – it has benefitted me the last few years in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.
I’ll say it again – I don’t always FEEL it when I say it. And it is VERY far from easy, especially when I am stressed. But the more I have been doing it, and saying it, the more I am reaping the benefits of it πŸ˜‰

There are other techniques I have discovered over the years that also help me. But these are by far my top four. So, in short :

And just for fun, I’ll share a little statement I saw on Facebook recently, which made me laugh out loud.

”Don’t forget to drink water and get sun. You’re basically a house plant, with complicated emotions.” πŸ˜›

positive stress

Wait, what?!?

The word ‘stress’ has always held such a negative connotation for me. And 95% of the articles and conversations in my life, that have been read, heard or participated in, have all been regarding the negative side of stress – distress, as some refer to it. It has never crossed my mind that there could be a ‘positive’ type of stress… until today.

I happened to be glancing through a backlog of emails, and the subject of one was ‘positive stress’. So that is the first one I read, of course! πŸ˜‰
The official term for it is ‘Eustress’. It is defined as being ‘a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being‘.

The good stress is the kind that is nerve and hormone driven – it has to do with excitement, even if we are stepping into the unknown. The list of triggers for this kind of stress is very long, and as I read through them, I understood another statement I had read just moments earlier.

The statement was this : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”

One of the triggers for ‘good stress’ was ‘taking on a project that will help you showcase your strengths, which will not only bring you professional satisfaction, but many positive reactions in your emotional well-being too’.

My first reaction to reading that as being an example for eustress was a firm shake of my head. Because it didn’t happen that way for me at all! And as I pondered my reaction, I reread this statement : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”
And I realised that THAT was in fact what had happened to me in my situation!

In my late twenties, I had been offered an amazing opportunity to use my talents and head up a new project that my current boss was considering taking on. It would mean a lot of research, but I was going to be able to not only draft the presentation, but actually present it myself, to a group of influential people in that line of work. I hardly slept that night because I was just so excited, and the ideas swimming around in my head were ‘Olympic quality swimmers’ πŸ˜‰
By lunchtime the next day, I was sick to my stomach, and convinced my heart was gearing up to fail me.
In our meeting of opportunity, my boss had actually been the one to fail me. He’d handed me the Dessert, before showing me the full menu!

The presentation meeting had already been scheduled – I had three days, start to finish!
None of the presentation work could be done during working hours, as I was already busy all day, handling all the administration for his other three businesses – this included payroll and bookkeeping etc. I was newly divorced with an eighteen-month-old baby girl, and an eight-year-old son, with no child care options available to me.
Eustress escalated quickly into distress. And by the time the meeting arrived, I was physically ill as a result of lack of sleep, and, well, ‘bad’ stress.

And at the end of it all, I was not only physically ill, but unhappy emotionally too – I knew it wasn’t my best work, I was disappointed in myself and felt inadequate…. and my confidence definitely took a knock.
I suppose the lesson in my personal experience with work stress was simply this : to know myself, to be realistic about the resources I have, and to learn to speak up before I get overwhelmed (or overwhelm myself, I suppose).
And, in all honesty, it would serve me to remember to apply that to all areas in my life πŸ˜‰

I’ll close with this little list, which was provided as ways to include/introduce more positive stress in your life :

β€’ Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
β€’ Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
β€’ Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
β€’ Start delving into ways to set realistic, yet challenging, goals and try a new way each week, growing these over time.

And that’s all from me for today ❀
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for πŸ˜‰

Because some days…

These last couple of weeks, I have had many challenges thrown my way. Life is not handing me lemons, its not even throwing them at me. I am sure it has switched to brightly coloured yellow cricket balls instead! πŸ˜› The challenges have come by way of every aspect of my life – family, health, friends, financial. The truly difficult part for me is that although I keep having them thrown at me, every single one is at the point of a ‘stale mate’.

There are decisions to be made (some that are VERY important) and I can’t make them.
Because I am waiting.
I am waiting on other people to provide me with concrete answers so that the decisions in some of the situations can be informed ones. In other situations, I am waiting for other people to make choices that will affect the decisions that I then need to make – my heart is with them, no matter what they decide, always… but I can only ‘be of service’ if they are willing and open to it.

In all of this, every moment of the day, I have just felt drained. (The endless hours of back and forth phone calls where no one can give me a straight answer is possibly a big part of that!)

I cannot control any of it. And I can’t help but smile. Because the small challenges along the way in the past year have actually prepared me for THIS time now… where things are coming at me from all angles.
The past year, as I slowly accepted the learning and growing process, I came to a point where I was finally able to say : I will not allow the things I can’t control to afford me unnecessary stress. I need to truly accept that I can’t control them, and find a way to ‘let it go’. I need to focus on what I CAN control, and take it from there.

And no… it’s not as easy, or as simple, as we often make it sound. It’s hard work. And I am willing to do it and keep striving for the ‘unexplainable peace and ability to still have joy’ that exists within me despite all these circumstances surrounding me.

But (such is life) I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times where negative emotions DO make their appearance.

The other day, after an extremely emotionally driven phone call where MY calmness was very much required, I eventually got to hang up the phone… and I just burst into tears.
This would have been fine if I was at home… it was rather embarrassing that it happened while I was sitting in my car, outside of the studio my daughter dances at. Even worse, another mom pulled up and hopped out of her car to come and say ‘hi’.
We chatted very briefly, and she completely understood what I meant when I said, ”If I could tell you, I would. But I just can’t seem to find my words right now to even begin to explain.”
She squeezed my hand encouragingly, and we both chuckled as I whipped out my sanitiser and sprayed both our hands. And then her phone rang, and she needed to rush off again…. but she said to me, ”There is a message you sent me a few months ago. I still have it. I am going to find it and send it to you. Hang in there, girl, you’ve got this!”
And off she went.

I spent the next forty five minutes fighting off tears and sobs, trying to distract myself from my earlier phone call. I felt like I was losing a battle I hadn’t had time to prepare for. And then her message appeared on my phone. A screenshot of my message to her :

”I know you’re feeling sad, so I won’t tell you to try and be happy. I am not going to tell you to ‘go and do things that make you happy’. I am not going to ask you to be a warrior woman of strength and faith (even though I know you are). What I AM going to tell you to do… ask you to do… for now, in this moment of sadness : please eat something, please take a hot shower or bath, please put on some nice comfy clothes. Do the physical stuff that will keep you alive. I don’t know how or when it will get better… but I do know that it will. In the meantime, please just keep trying to stay alive. The rest will follow eventually. I am here, if you need me.”

Dear readers, bloggers, friends… what we put out in this world DEFINITELY comes back to us, and most times the good things come when we need them the most. So keep putting the good stuff out there, and my hope for you is that you will ALWAYS experience the returns on that when YOU need them the most! ❀

Love Taps

Most people know a ‘love tap’ as being a ‘light punch’, usually done in jest.

I prefer the other meaning that someone once told me about. They said that a ‘love tap’ is when you get a little ‘sub conscious/pretend’ tap on the shoulder, either when receiving a form of love, or when you’re being prodded to do something to give love. Now THAT really appealed to me.

As I mentioned in my previous shared post, this last week has been a tough one. And yet every day, for the last five days, I have experienced love taps…. FOR ME! People who ‘were tapped’, and followed through. In little ways…. that encouraged me SO MUCH! An email that reminded me how very loved I am, and that I am NOT alone; messages to not only encourage me but thank me for who I am; and a video that was sent to me on Thursday.

This video? It carried a powerful message. And was sent by a ‘friendly acquaintance’ who had NO idea of anything I was going through – she sent it with the caption : ”I watched this and you came to mind, don’t know why. But I am sending it to you, and I hope you have a great day!” She followed through on her love tap…. and it made a HUGE difference to me!

The video spoke of a father and daughter who were driving home after a time away. The daughter was the driver, and having only just recently acquired her license, when a storm came up, she got nervous. Her dad said to keep driving. The storm got worse, and other cars and even a great big truck, all pulled over. But her dad told her she would be okay, and to just keep driving. And then they were through the storm. And her dad said,
”You can pull over now.”
She did, and she smiled and said, ”I know, Dad. You want me to stop and thank God for bringing us through safely.”
He replied, ”Yes, but there is something else too. Climb out the car, and I’ll show you.”
So they got out of the car, and he told her to look back the way they had come, and asked her what she saw. She replied that she could still see the storm back that way. He asked her to look again and tell him what else she saw, and she seemed a bit confused, and so he asked,
”Where are the cars, and the big truck, who pulled over? Do you see them?”
She looked back and slowly shook her head.
He said, ”You don’t see them, because they are still in the storm. You see, when you pull over, you make the storm last longer. If you keep going, keep moving ahead, keep believing that it’s possible, keep your hope and your faith…. then you will make it through your storm.”

Now, there may be plenty of ‘holes’ in this story. But for me? It was just another reminder of the general theme in my life : Hold on to your hope, keep pushing on… you’ll be okay.

And I needed to hear it, and know it, and feel it.

And I know that when we’re in the storm, sometimes the generic replies like : this too shall pass; you can’t have a rainbow without the rain; it’s just a bad day and not a bad life – sometimes those replies can be frustrating, and not very helpful for the place we are in.

But for me personally? I have learned that the even if I don’t like them, and even if I don’t feel them… I will keep saying them out loud anyway – because there comes a time where THEY become the first thoughts my brain has when the next storm threatens πŸ˜‰

And one more thing about love taps …..

(And sometimes I embarrass my children, ha ha ha!)
I often have these moments where I will notice someone, and perhaps see that they have on a pretty dress, or a top that brings out their eyes, or their hair looks really pretty that day – but let’s stick with the dress for now πŸ˜‰ I say it in my head. But a minute later, they pass me again, and I have the urge to tell them, ”That’s a really pretty dress.” I hold back though. And then we’ll end up in the queue together, or they’ll pass me again, and the urge is too great… and I end up blurting it out,
”I’m sorry… but I just want to tell you, that is a really pretty dress that you’re wearing.”
Most times, they’re a little taken aback at first… and then I see the light in their eyes, and the difference my silly comment has made to them in that moment… and it makes it all worth it.

Follow through on your love taps…. it makes the world just that little bit better, for them…
and for you ❀

Calm in your heart

On Sunday, my friend, Wic, published a post called I Choose Peace.

It was, like so many of the Letters to Pogue, thought provoking, and contained many nuggets of wisdom. This particular statement from that post has sat with me the last two days :

”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, my country is one of high crime, high unemployment, huge issues with corruption within the government, and poverty – just to mention a few.

I wasn’t surprised to discover that South Africa is ranked as the second most stressed out country in the world, losing first place to Nigeria. We gained our second place standing Β based on homicide rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), income inequality, corruption,Β unemployment, pollution and life expectancy.

I found an article from 2019 – which means it was researched, tests were done, and it was written all BEFORE the current pandemic.

There is a meme making its rounds on social media that states that ‘living in SA should be allowed to be listed as a skill on my CV’. And yes, most of us here DO laugh at it – but we know the truth in those words too.

In the article I mentioned above, I also happened to have a good belly chuckle at the following extract – because it is just so true :

Bring out the stress balls – South Africa is a mess! A recent global study has revealed the main factors which have South African citizens living in a perpetual state of anxiety and despair. Let’s take a look at the findings.

It has been said that there are two types of people in South Africa: those who can handle massive amounts of stress, and those who need bail money. As South Africans, we even find it stressful to avoid stress, and end up stressed out in anyway. We wake up screaming, and then realise that we haven’t even fallen asleep yet.”

I knew the info in the article. It’s hard not to when you live it, although it’s worse than when the article was written. I also know that my American BFF wouldn’t know any of what was going on if it wasn’t for me – she doesn’t get to see our ‘true news’ in her country, as such. I send her newspaper article links and keep her informed, and she is always shocked at how they (in the US) know nothing about most of it.
I don’t like politics. I don’t like to be negative. But let’s go back to that statement I shared above –
”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”
Life, for me here, is stressful – not as stressful as it is for multitudes of others in my country – but it’s still stressful. It’s also quite exhausting – constantly having to be aware of every person who moves, looking over your shoulder in broad daylight, wondering about your safety when you’re putting groceries in your car etc. We live in a constant state of awareness – and that’s tiring.

But I sleep well at night (although if there is a report of someone suspicious within our complex, or sirens on the main road outside, or people screaming, or gunshots, then it may take a while to get to sleep) – but I sleep. I wake during the night with my dogs, but I have no problem going back to sleep unless something ails me.

I don’t worry as much as I possibly should.
I still spread kindness and a smile.
I may not have achieved complete inner peace – there are still some things I need to wrestle with – but I certainly think that peace, the kind that keeps my heart calm, is a very large part of me.
My grandparents sang in the church choir my entire childhood. Grandpa had two favourite hymns, and the one was, ”It is well with my soul”.
In the pandemic, with all that is happening around me, I find myself referring to that hymn a lot in the sense that even though I seem to have had physical ailments (not the virus, no), I have taken comfort in the fact that it is still well with my soul.
There are difficult days – where it is an hour by hour motivational talk to myself to get me through. And it is on those days where I remember how important it is to feed my soul, so that it can be well.
I do not bury my head in the sand and not acknowledge that the problems exist. Outside influences DO affect us…. but it’s how much we are willing to let them affect us where the ‘answer’ lies. I also know that there are places in the world that are worse off, and it hurts me every time I think of them.
My hope for all of you is to achieve that inner peace that can help keep your hearts stay calm in the midst of the storms of life. To pursue a path that will give you the assurance of ‘it is well, despite the circumstances’.
Keep going, dear friends. Peace ❀

Pressure to Perform

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This happens to me pretty much every morning. Most of my days are usually quite productive though, but I never seem to get through ALL I would like to accomplish on any particular day. Some say that this is because I set ridiculous expectations of myself when it comes to ‘things I need to do’. I like to say that when it comes to what I do each day, I like to makeΒ every day aΒ Norman Vincent Peale day!Β Every morning, with my first big, beautiful cup of coffee, I think about what I’d like to achieve. And although I accept the realities, I still list those many tasks. I shoot for the moon, and then every night I smile contentedly because I know I have at least landed among the stars! (Yes, my house has a roof and no, I don’t live in the sky πŸ˜› )

Admittedly, a lot of these beautiful early morning coffee goals for the day end with me feeling something like this :

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This is partly because of all the running I do. No, not running as in exercise. I don’t run. I don’t even jog. So if you ever see me running, you should run too, because that means something is chasing me.

(I don’t know who originally came up with that quote, but according to the hyperlink it was Kristen Proby. It seems it was used in her book, and the name of the character who said it? Meg! Although that Meg is described as a sexy rocker chick πŸ˜› but having the same name still makes it mighty coincidental πŸ˜‰ )

By running, I actually mean driving around in my car for what I count as too many hours in my day, playing Mom’s Taxi. There’s the school run, and then there’s the extra curricular activities run. During the extra run, I usually end up hanging around in my car for a couple of hours. I live about 20 minutes away from where her activity takes place, but fuel (like everything else) is very expensive, and I don’t see the sense of driving back and forth in such a small time frame. My daughter is a dancer – she has been chosen three years in a row now to represent our country at World Champs. So I guess I’m a dance mom (just nothing like what you see onΒ that show!) The joke in our studio is that we all ‘live in our cars’.
(We have a non-existent public transport system, and the little of it that exists is far too dangerous to even consider.)
So from the list, I usually select things that I can do from the discomfort of my car.

The reason I am telling you all of this (other than the fact that these were a collection of Facebook pictures I had liked and saved, and discovered and was amused at how they all kind of fit together?)…..

These days there seems to be a lot of pressure to perform. Whether it’s as complex as achieving some greatness and stature in our careers, or as simple as being a ‘better, closer to perfect’ parent, the stresses that come from this overwhelming pressure can be detrimental to our health.
The sad thing is that it is not only society or other individuals that put this pressure on us. We have a tendency to do it all by ourselves, to ourselves.
We push ourselves into overachiever mode, in an attempt to do more and be more. For me personally, this is related to the fact that I am often told I can’t, I won’t, I don’t.
And so there is this itch inside me that often causes an ‘overdrive’ scratch…. the results are usually less than desirable, and I wind up in a place that is nowhere near the achievement goal I had set out for myself.
I don’t go into overdrive as often as I used to, thank goodness.

I have learnt that my brain has limitations and that sleep is necessary. I canΒ never be effective if I am dead on my feet.
I have learnt that it is sometimes necessary to take a step back when I am feeling stressed. To breathe deeply and think carefully. And use the energy that stress can create in a positive way – controlling the stress instead of allowing it to control me.
I have learnt that having a to-do list and planning ahead in certain circumstances does not make me a nerd, or detract from my spontaneity. Instead it prepares me and creates a better environment in which to perform.
I have learnt that sometimes acknowledging the small wins can open doors to greater things.
My biggest obstacle, I know, is to ask for help. When there is pressure to perform, the best thing you can do for yourself, is to ask for help (even if it’s just with menial tasks). For some silly reason (perhaps because I have always been the carer and helper, and it feels weird to ‘have the shoe on the other foot’) I struggle to reach out and ask others for any form of help. I really need to work on that!

I always end my night like this though, no matter how the day behind me unfolded….

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Are there any of these that you struggle with?