As we arrived at Latham Place in Dartford to cut grass for one of our most valued clients Abbey Homes, it was amazing to see so many mushrooms growing on the grass. Not only was I surprised to find so many of them, it was also amazing to see just how many different shapes, sizes and colours there were.
Nature never fails to amaze and leave me in total wonder, it also leaves me with so many questions; more questions than answers. Nature not only feeds us but also heals and saves our lives - not to forget, it can also kill us. What power it holds!
Christmas and the New Year are only weeks away and each day that passes I can see that people around me are getting more and more stressed. They are worried about what they are going to buy, when will they have the time, have they got enough money, how will I meet everyone’s expectations and be the best host for the main event. List of things to do seem endless and the resources and time are limited. All this can be so over whelming that most people allow themselves to be pulled pillar to post trying to juggle everything and make the big day happen according to their hopes and wishes. Surely this is not what Christmas is all about? Where is the magic, the wonder, the faith and peace? Are we looking for Christmas in Bluewater and the High Streets and in fulfilling the desires of others wants and needs?
I decided a couple of years ago to make some changes to my habits, expectations and focus over Christmas and the New Year. I truly wanted to experience the Christmas spirit; the spirit of joy and giving and sharing. So here are some tips that you can apply and see if it works for you.
1. Put Yourself First. By that I mean, evaluate your resources, time and work and then plan a Christmas around that. Pay your bills and put all your obligations before
hurrying off anxiously trying to please everyone. Your stability for the rest of the 364 days is important and you need to keep that in mind. So have a budget and stick to it.
2. Lose Your Ego. Look at your motives behind purchasing big and expensive presents, over loading the fridge with food enough for a month, the need to have this and that and everything else in between. Most of us are competing with friends, family, neighbours and the media that we get lost in the competition and forget the
meaning and the reason behind this big annual event.
3. Make a Plan and Delegate. Write a list of things to do and share responsibility with the other members of your family or whoever is going to be involved. Sharing
responsibilities also makes everyone feel that they too are a part of the big day and have also played their role in making it a fun and happy day/event for everyone.
Research has shown that when a group of people share a common goal and work towards achieving that goal as a team, they are more likely to achieve success.
4. Get Creative. Being creative is exercising your mind and achieves a similar reaction to your mind as exercise does to your body. So cook as much at home rather than buying, get creative with your decorations, gifts and food. Not only will this save you money you will be amazed at how good you will feel.
5. Make Time To Relax. When we get busy and have lots to do to meet deadlines, it can all get overwhelming and Christmas is a time when we think we have to get everything done and make no time to stop and relax. We fear that if we do nothing then we are losing precious time when there is so much to do. The irony is that if we
stop and make time to relax, we will actually have more energy to do all the things that need to get done and are likely to achieve it without getting stressed and tired. I have found that by the time the actual day arrives, most of us are so tired that we are too tired to actually enjoy all that we have had planned.
6. Finally, Hold Gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have rather than feel depressed or inadequate about what you don’t have. It is a big world out there and so think of the bigger picture; there are so many people out there who have less than nothing and are going through poverty, ill health, loss, grief and horror. Cancer and homelessness does not go away for people just because it is December 25th, so do something to help and give to another, seek the Christmas spirit in Love and in being human, not in your bank account and a Gucci bag.
So here’s wishing you all a stress free lead up to the Big Day.
Exploring relaxation can help you look after yourself when you’re feeling stressed or worried. Have a look at these tips and ideas to see how relaxation can fit into your daily life. Don’t worry if some ideas don’t work for you – just enjoy the ones that do:
Take a break.
Relaxation doesn’t have to take up lots of your time. Just stepping away from something stressful for a few minutes or taking time away from your normal routines and thoughts can give you enough space and distance to feel calmer. Read a book or a magazine, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Run yourself a bath, watch a film, play with a pet or try out a new recipe.
Try active relaxation.
Relaxation doesn’t have to mean sitting still – gentle exercise can help you relax too. Take a walk, going at your own pace. You might choose to go for a longer walk, but even a few minutes of walking can help you feel relaxed. Look for a class you'd like to try, such as yoga, Pilates or gentle stretching. See our page on physical activity and mental health for more tips. If you're interested in getting more active to support your mental health, take a look at our Get Set to Go campaign to find out more about how you can get active in your local area.
Focus on your breathing.
Learning to breathe more deeply can help you feel a lot calmer. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and place your hand on your stomach – it should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out. Count as you breathe. Start by counting 'one, two, three, four' as you breathe in and 'one, two, three, four' as you breathe out. Try to work out what’s comfortable for you.
After a long struggle, I can finally launch with pride my new Website; another dream has come true. I looked up to the skies with gratitude; but when I finally looked down, I suddenly came to realise that 2018 is here. I remember as if it was yesterday that as a teenager at the time when the launch of the film ‘Space Odyssey 2000 ‘was due to be released, I remember thinking that the year 2000 was a million years away and that I would be old by then; too old to worry about the world….I would be 37 in 2000 and will be an old woman!! So I did not watch the film nor showed any interest in it…I mean why should I be interested in what the world would be like in the future when I will not be able to participate in it?!!
Then at the grand old age of 53 in 2016 I took the courage to follow my heart and left full time employment as an estate agent and opened up ‘The Housework Hub’, this is my way of externalising a dream towards self- achievement and through my life’s journey recognising that I wanted to buy my time back from an employer and to have it in my hands to do with as I wish. Now that I am on my way of having my dreams come true, I DO want to see how the world looks now and will look in the future, and that how wrong I was as a teenager to believe that far in the distance, tomorrow will not matter. I learnt that – not only that the future may matter, but that it may matter and therefore how I THINK NOW matters! As the year 2017 was coming to close I reflected back at the year and felt very proud of how much I have achieved in attaining my dream; and then in December I saw my father die and during the start of my grieving process I wondered what most people must also question and wonder about in their own lives; ‘what is the point of it all, what is the purpose of my life, in short, what is the meaning of life?’
I have always turned to books to heal myself and this was one time in my life when I did need/want healing. Whenever I have had questions in life, I turn to books. My father was a writer so having grown up with them; books are the first thing I turn to. They make me realise that I am not alone and that many others are or have gone through much worse; this realisation alone of being ‘better off than…’ raises my mood to a feeling of gratefulness and gratitude rather than a focus on any short comings in my own life; and I am not referring to big things; simple reminders are not to be ignored; like when I am driving in the snow and rain and sitting in traffic frustrated and desperate to get to somewhere fast; I only have to look around me and it could be that I see a bus stop with a young woman with her three children, shopping bags and a pram trying to get home. I remind myself how lucky I am that I am in my warm car, I am comfortable, I am lucky I can afford a car whilst that woman at the bus stop would be happy right now with just a lift home in one. During the many books I have read and I am reading during this grieving process, I have come to realise that we are ALL looking for happiness. To be happy is our goal both as a human being and as an individual and that we all are different in what makes us happy….but happiness is what we all seek, no matter what we do in our daily lives, what we think, what actions we take, it is all driven towards achieving the feeling of being ‘happy.’ So I reached a conclusion that the meaning of life is’ to find happiness.’
This does raise the next big question; ‘What is happiness?’ Although the question is huge; somehow the search for happiness seems far more appealing than to be in search of ‘meaning of life.’ The list of what makes me happy is long and I have decided that my new adventure and insight will lead me to my treasure. So here I am at the beginning of a New Year and it has begun like no other; I begin the year as part of a group of people who have lost their father and through this painful experience, I have been left with a truly renewed hope in life having my own personal quest to find ‘what makes me happy.’ I would like to thank everyone that has been part of my journey in the last year in the creation of ‘The Housework Hub’, all my clients so far and all of them who are yet to join me. Thank you not only for your business but for being part of my journey and story of my quest.