Feeling stressed? Just look up.

Most people’s lives are busy. In my case, lately, incredibly busy. I’m working full time, commuting to London every day, learning a completely new career and getting to know a whole new group of people. It’s lovely and exciting, but it is very hard work and my brain is bursting at the end of each work day. After which I usually rush home to look after my children, and attempt to look after my house and myself.

At the end of the second week of my new routine, I sat on the train and just cried all the way home. I tried to make it look like runny allergy eyes, but they were real tears. I wasn’t crying from sadness – not exactly. Part of it was just the realisation of what a huge change I’ve made in my life. Part of it was missing the support I had from my colleagues at my old job – relationships that took years to build – and the fear that I might not be able to build strong relationships with the new people. And the rest was just pure exhaustion.

However, two things happened that put things into perspective and made me feel better.

That evening, as I walked home from the train station, I took my headphones out and looked up at the sky. It was cold and crisp and the stars were out. I could see Orion with his belt. (Also, the dangling bit of stars hanging off his belt … have you noticed that? My husband likes to giggle about it when he’s had a few drinks. I informed him it was Orion’s sword but that didn’t stop him giggling).

Anyway, maybe it sounds a bit stupid, but looking up and noticing the everyday beauty of the night sky made my stress and fear melt away, for a little while at least. So often we trudge along with our eyes on our feet, headphones in, mind racing ever forward to the next task, the next problem, the next tripwire to avoid. When we look up, we’re reminded how small we are. How small all of it is. I stopped looking back at my day or worrying about the change I’d made and just enjoyed the quiet stillness of the evening.

I know, I know. So far, so cheesy cliche. Gazing at the stars. What a load of rubbish.

But since that happened, I’ve been thinking about how “looking up” can lead us in unexpected ways to just the things we need and have been looking for, consciously or no.

The next example happened early the following week, when I decided to kill some time in the library at my new workplace. I wasn’t looking for a book – I already had one with me. But I didn’t rush doggedly towards a chair to sit and bury my head in my book. I lingered, I looked around. My eyes fell on a book called The Mind Gym: Relationships. It wasn’t the sort of book I was expecting to find in a subject specialist work library.

The book is basically all about how to build successful relationships with people and get them to like you. This is a thing that makes me sweat bullets. I might be able to look and act normal(ish) while I’m talking to people, but afterwards I’m always worrying that I said something wrong. I beat myself up for being a socially awkward weirdo that everyone merely tolerates rather than actually likes.

The first chapter of the book, called “Right mind” asserts that the way you think about yourself and others, from the outset, can determine the way your relationships will go. It calls this “I’m ok, you’re ok”. You should think of yourself as “ok”. You are normal, you are likeable, you are a good person. You should also assume that the other person is all those things, and has no wish to dislike you or judge you. Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess. But if you take a positive attitude to yourself and the other person, you are setting yourself up for success.

There are lots of other chapters about various aspects of relationships, but at the heart of most of it is the belief that you have to power to decide how you look at things. Choose the happy. Tell yourself you’re ok and don’t beat yourself up. Listen to what others are actually saying rather than worrying about what you just said or what you will say.

This third very tricky week at my new job, I’ve been repeating “I’m ok, you’re ok” in my head whenever I was nervous about speaking with someone, and it’s stopped my emotions from running away with me. I’ve focused on listening instead of being insecure, and it’s helped me so much.

So next time you feel as though you’re so busy you don’t know which way is up, or you have too many stresses and worries to cope, or that nobody likes you and you can’t do anything right … look up. Look up and be open to the unexpected wisdom to be found in everyday moments and everyday things. And remember that, really, you’re ok.

Mission Mindfulness

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#EatSleepBlogRT – 7 May

Welcome to Week 7 of #EatSleepBlogRT! We’ve have decided to try out hosting the linky on both of our sites so you can now find it on Petite Pudding or The Mum Reviews. If you are a regular reader of one of our blogs, who is also a blogger and hasn’t tried out joining our linky, please join in! It’s a great way to get to know some other bloggers and get inspired with new ideas. If you’ve never joined a linky before and aren’t sure how it works, feel free to DM @themumreviews on Twitter with any questions you have.

The winner of Top Post among last week’s links was What My Fridge Says, “My boobs are not small, they are low fat.”. She writes about an unimaginably difficult time in her life and how it changed her perspective. She is, as ever, inspirational and reminds us how transformational gratitude and self-love can be even in the darkest of times.

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We are back to our old ways with Heather from Shank You Very Much (@HeatherKeet) winning the Top Tweeter badge yet again. However, @myrealfairy was hot on her heels so the game is afoot this week.

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So, as always, please link your post, comment on the one before you and tweet at least 5 links with the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag. We’re looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for joining us.

Nicole and Zoe

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Linky Rules

  • You can link 1 post – all subjects welcome
  • Please put our lovely badge on so that we can show off its fabulous design!
  • Comment on and tweet the post before yours.
  • Retweet at least 5 posts on twitter using the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag (including the hosts’ posts)
  • Hosts will retweet when you link up (if you tag us in your tweet) and when we comment.
  • We will pick one post each week as our featured post
  • A Host will comment on and tweet all posts linked up.

Blog Toast Tuesday: 23 August 2016

This is my second week of my feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I – in my modest way – toast other blogs I’ve discovered/enjoyed reading over the past week. For further description of the feature, take a look at the first post in the series. Herewith, my favourite blogs this week:

Claire at Life, Love and Dirty Dishes – Parenting from the front line

She has a gift for picking out these everyday parenting gripes which are not earth-shattering but nevertheless f*cking annoying. The post that got me interested in her blog was “Doing it in Public”. Not (thankfully…or is that regrettably?) about what you think. Rather about the rather unpleasant business of changing baby’s nappy in a public baby change, and the ridiculous ways that unthinking shop builders make it difficult for us. It made me giggle. I also read with interest and glee her post about dealing with nits. I luckily haven’t had to deal with this yet, but my son did insist on checking out the sodding Topsy and Tim book about it which I had to read 100 times. It’s nice to have a more realistic perspective!

Beth at themotherhub – working, mothering, thinking, living

She writes with such skill about feminism and real-life parenting. I was once a woman who shied away from calling myself a feminist, but since I’ve become a mum, I’ve begun to feel passionate about it. I have a blog post in draft about why I’m a feminist but I’m still trying to articulate it. Beth does an amazing job addressing a range of feminist issues in a way that should engage even people who say they aren’t feminists. My recent faves are Rape culture, parenting and lessons for my children and Body Image: Built for use, not decoration. She also has great, funny posts about the hard work of parenting in general, such as How to ‘enjoy’ a family ‘holiday’.

Sarah at Mum & Mor – Ramblings of a British mother living in Denmark 

I discovered this blog quite recently when I saw her comment on Twitter that her recent post about gaming didn’t have the greatest stats. I felt for her because (a) I love gaming (although it’s currently an abandoned love) and (b) Being a new blogger I understand stat obsession. But having a look at her blog, she has some really fabulous writing there. Her tone is forthright and honest; she doesn’t make any apologies for who she is. I related to her very emotional post, Dear Mum and Dad, What would you think of me?. And I also loved her post about how she’s cutting costs for her wedding. In this day and age, more people need to know that they have options for their wedding that don’t involve getting into debt! She covers a great range of topics and is well worth a look.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Blog Toast Tuesday: 16 August 2016

I was rather excited and flattered the other day when another blog featured me! I thought it was such a lovely idea that I am going to copy her (because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). I’m going to make up my own hashtag for it (why not, right?), and anyone who wants to copy me is perfectly welcome to.

So from now on, every Tuesday I’ll be featuring 3 blogs that I’ve enjoyed over the past week. I’m calling it #blogtoast. Because I’m toasting your efforts, get it? And I like wine.

cars&cooking – From the kitchen to the racetrack and back again

This is the lovely blog that featured me and gave me the idea. The blog does what it says on the tin – shares a great variety of recipes and some very good writing about motor racing. It’s not the typical “mum blog”, but she is a mum, and I think it’s great that she just focuses on what she loves. The recipes she shares are all the sorts of things I (with my limited cooking skills) would like to try, and they sound child-friendly too. First on my list is the Chicken with lemon and caper butter. I had a good chuckle about getting rid of my aggression by pounding the chicken flat.

Siena Says – Lifestyle, Family, Writing and Chocolate

I discovered this one just today whilst participating in this week’s Big Pink Link. Siena says she tried to make her blog like a magazine she would like to read, and she’s certainly made it like a magazine would like to read. She’s got a beautiful layout and a nice spread of topics, with her main menu headings being lifestyle, parenting and opinion. Her conversational writing style makes you want to be her mate and she throws in humour and brutal honesty in equal measure. One of my favourite bits of her linked post, ‘7 Things Primary School Mums Should Know‘ was the point that ‘all school administration staff are trained at the “Had an accident/Life Insurance/PPI Claim School of Texting”‘. That’s already been happening to me with my son’s preschool!

notaneffingfairytale – Because life is no fairytale. Let’s laugh at it together

This was also on the Big Pink Link but I had seen it before. I knew it would be just my sort of thing as soon as I saw her Twitter avatar featuring a drunken Snow White. To me that said ‘escapism’ and ‘drinking’, which are two of my favourite things. Her writing is absolutely hysterical because she is not afraid to ‘go there’. Her linked post was ‘The (embarrassingly) long list of men I would leave my husband for‘ in which it’s not all about looks but she comes up with a rather interesting way to silence David Beckham. I also deeply enjoyed (and related to) ‘Toilets I Have Fallen Down Around The World and Other Travel Injuries‘. It’s not a blog you should read if you’re easily shocked or prim and proper, but if that’s the case you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog either.

What are some of your favourite blogs that you’ve discovered this week? Drop me a comment or stick it up on Twitter, mentioning @themumreviews and #blogtoast, and I’ll RT.

Mummascribbles