words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “enjoy life”

Lessons from 2014

It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by.

As I write this, it’s the last day of 2014, but it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were leaving 2013 behind.

Like many people, I have spent the last few days of the year thinking and reflecting upon the year that is almost done.

In short, it’s been a busy and challenging year with lots to look back on. However, the most important things I have taken from this year are things my children have taught me.

They have taught me many things this year, but there are four things that have really stood out.

Don't let fear hold you back

This boy doesn’t let fear hold him back.

Drop the fear and get involved in life

Many of us let fear hold us back. We are afraid to try new things or do what we really want to do because of fear. We may be afraid of what others will think; afraid of not knowing anyone else; afraid that it will be difficult; afraid that it will involve sacrifice or (insert your own fear here).

However, when we listen to our fears and let them rule us, we miss out on so much.

My son, Josh is a great example of ‘getting in and having a go’. If he feels any fear, he doesn’t acknowledge it or even speak of it. He just ‘does’. He’s always up for a challenge and willing to try new things, even if he has never done them before, or doesn’t know anyone else who is doing them. He doesn’t let other people’s opinions prevent him from doing what he wants to do. In short, he doesn’t let fear hold him back. And he is loving life.

Look to the future

The future is something that can excite us or scare us. I think one of the reasons we find the future so scary at times is the fear of the unknown. We don’t know what is in store and we usually focus too much on the negative ‘what ifs’, rather than the positive possibilities.

My son is about to start a new journey at high school. Even though this is a huge change and he doesn’t know many others going to that school, he’s still looking forward to it with anticipation and excitement. He’s looking forward to meeting new people, and learning new things. He’s also looking forward to discovering just what it is he wants to do career-wise when he grows up. To him, his future is an endless sea of possibilities.

Work on your weaknesses

Just as all of us have strengths, we all have weaknesses too. However most of us focus on our strengths — the things we are good at, and avoid our weaknesses — the things we are not so good at.

At the beginning of this year, my daughter, Laura set some goals for the coming year (with the help of her teacher). All the children were asked to identify one thing that they needed to work on. Hers was ‘confidence’. My daughter is a natural-born worrier which can sometimes lead to anxiety and a lack of confidence. However, this year she has worked very hard on becoming more confident.

She has put herself in situations that made her feel very uncomfortable. So much so, that on some nights, it took hours for her to drop off to sleep due to how worried she was. She has taken on challenges that she would normally shy away from, and ended up performing very well. However, the biggest lesson she has learnt from all of this is that things are never as bad as you imagine them to be. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she has learnt that she is capable and that has led to a newfound confidence. So always, always work on your weaknesses.

Follow your own path

This girl is not afraid to follow her own path

Follow you own path

This is a hard thing to do sometimes. Often we have a goal in mind, or something we want to try, yet we get caught up with what everyone else is doing. The primary school my daughter goes to is very big on basketball. About half the school play after-school basketball (my daughter included), and many kids play for domestic teams as well. This year, many of my daughter’s friends were joining domestic basketball teams and a few of her friends asked her if she would join too. We also asked her several times if she wanted to join another team.

Her answer was a steadfast ‘no’. No, because she wanted to keep playing her keyboard and continue with her singing. In fact, she has done so well with her singing this year, she was asked to join the Australian Girls Choir, next year. So while all of her friends are playing basketball, she will be pursuing her love of singing and music. She will be following her own path. Something she is able to do, now she has more confidence in herself.

So as I sit back and think of the coming year and all it will bring, I’m not making resolutions. Instead, I am thinking about how I can make the most of the coming 12 months, just as my children have done in 2014.

In 2015, I aim to:

  • Drop the fear and make the most of all opportunities that come my way
  • Follow my own path, regardless of what others are doing
  • Work on my weaknesses, so they become strengths
  • Look to the future with optimism and hope, rather than worrying about what could go wrong.

In short, I want to be braver than I have been in the past.

This morning while at the gym, I heard the song “Brave” by Sarah Bareillis, and I felt that in some ways, it summed up how I want to approach the coming year.

What are you aiming for in 2015? Are you going to be brave too?

How many jellybeans do you have?

words by nerissaHow do you spend your time?

How valuable is it to you?

That’s something I have been challenged by lately, especially in the last month before Christmas.

As we all enter the ‘silly season’, time seems like such a precious commodity. All of a sudden, our time seems to be eaten up by attending extra events — school Christmas concerts, sporting club breakups, work Christmas parties, etc. etc.

When you add to this the list of things you need to do to get ready for Christmas itself, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Your catch-cry becomes “I don’t have time”.

However, the beauty about time is that it doesn’t discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, single or married, old or young, we all have 24 hours in the day. It’s what we do with our time that matters.

Recently, I saw this video. It really made me think about what I do with my time.

Take a look.

As the video says, we all are given a set amount of time. Some of us have more time than others, but we really don’t know just how much time we do have.

And yes, it’s true that we need to spend a great chunk of time doing certain things such as going to work, household chores, preparing and eating food, sleeping and travelling. After you take out all of those things, it really doesn’t look like we have that much time left.

But really, we do. I think the key is to find enjoyment in all the things we have to spend time doing. If you have to spend time preparing food, then prepare food that you enjoy, that will nourish your body and soul. When you eat that food, make it special — set the table or light some candles. If you have to travel in the car, then listen to the music you love, or take time at the traffic lights to look at your child’s beautiful face. If you have to go to work, then find something you love.

And while we can’t really control what happens during our sleep, we can make our bedtime rituals a relaxing and blissful experience. Maybe having a bath, reading a novel, or simply curling up in your favourite pyjamas with a cup of tea is what takes your fancy

Many of us, particularly at this time of the year, stress out about ticking the next thing off our list. But as the video above shows, none of us know how much time we have left.

When we rush around and forget to live, we are really rushing towards the end of our lives.

How valuable is your time? And what would you do, if you only had one jellybean left?

Find your bliss

IMG_0001

My daughter made this for me last year.

As I sit here and write this, I am surrounded by a myriad of things.

There are reminders of my children — photos of them when they were younger, their first drawings, paintings they did for Mother’s Days past, handmade coasters and little notes they leave on my desk from time to time.

There are also books. Lots and lots of books on my desk. Some I have read, some are in the ‘to-read’ category. Some of them are related to my work, and some of them are for pleasure. Books give me a lot of pleasure.

I also have calendars, a diary, planners, paper, journals and lots of pens.  I love to plan and be organised. And being an old-fashioned girl, I like to do it the old-fashioned way — using pen and paper.

My favourite coffee cup sits on my desk, next to my hand cream, a candle and my ipod — things that I use on a daily basis.

Also sitting on my desk is my training program for the next 12 weeks, along with the goals I have set myself.

QUESTION: What do they all have in common?

ANSWER: They all make me happy.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

Each day, we have choices to make. Very few of us are free to do whatever we like, whenever we like. We all have responsibilities and things we have to attend to on a daily basis — whether that means going to work to earn our living, raising a family, caring for loved ones, ferrying kids back and forth.

However, there is something that ALL of us can do to bring a little happiness to our days. Even if it is only having a coffee in your favourite cup, or listening to your ipod while you clean toothpaste off every surface in the children’s bathroom.

We all have different things that we love. Things we use, things we do, life choices we make that keep us happy.

We may not always understand why something makes someone else happy, but that’s okay.

For example, I don’t understand what part of bike riding is enjoyable. All I seem to get from it is a very sore backside. However, friends of mine are avid bike riders. They just about live in lycra. It’s their thing, their passion. One of my friends rides “Around the Bay in a Day” every year. That’s 250km in a day ‘for fun’. And he rides his bike from home to the start line, and then home from the finish line. So that’s more like 300km. I don’t get it. I admire him, but I don’t get it.

Just like some people don’t get why I love to lift weights. In some ways I don’t get it either. In my younger days I hated weight training. I would start a program but I would perform it half-heartedly, always having an ‘excuse’ not to do it. As I got older I knew I really should incorporate it into my exercise routine, if I wanted to stay healthy but I kept putting it off. When I was ready to tackle it, I told my trainer that I hated weights and that she would have to make it interesting if I was to stick at it.

IMG_0002

I had to include my son’s art work.

More than two years later, I now lift three times a week (soon to be four – WHOO HOO!) and I love it. In fact, I live for it. I love getting strong. I love feeling my muscles working. I love setting goals and working towards them. I love the place I have to go to in my mind before I lift something heavy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from lifting something that I thought was too heavy. And the masochist in me loves the sore muscles over the next two days.

(Some of you won’t get it. That’s okay.)

It’s part of my bliss. It’s also something new that I have found that I love.

But it’s not all of my bliss.

There are lots of other things that make me happy, some of which have made me happy for years.

Bliss for me is reading a book while enjoying a good red wine.

It’s a good coffee and some dark chocolate.

It’s planning and making lists and writing with pens and paper.

It’s a day on my own, just for me.

It’s a relaxing massage. Total bliss!

It’s cuddles in the bed with my kids.

It’s a great conversation with a good friend.

It’s sitting at my computer, free to write what I feel like.

My favourite beach.

My favourite beach – Caloundra.

It’s watching the ocean crash on the rocks.

It’s sitting in front of a campfire and laughing with friends.

It’s a warm bath at the end of a busy day.

It’s sitting on the couch, watching a great movie with my husband.

And it’s definitely all the reminders of the two little people in my life.

Bliss can be different things for different people. It’s not our job to judge whether the things that make others happy are good or bad, right or wrong. We just need to accept that sometimes other people do ‘crazy’ things because it makes them happy.

We all have a chance to have bliss in our days, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

The trick is working out what makes you happy, and working it into each day.

Where do you find your bliss?

follow your bliss2

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Tell me why….I don’t like Mondays

Monday. All you need is Monday

What’s your reaction to that word? It’s just another day of the week, isn’t it?

Apparently not.

Because most posts I see on Facebook on Mondays are negative ones. In fact, there are far more negative quotes about Mondays on the internet than positive ones.

So what’s going on?

Are our weekends that fabulous that we can’t face the thought of it all coming to an end on a Monday? Are our jobs that bad, that the thought of going back to them is almost unbearable? Or has it become the norm to whinge? Just because it’s Monday and everyone else is doing it?

So to find out the answers, I turned to science. Yes, there are scientific studies for this kind of stuff!

In 2005, a study carried out in Japan (which was later published in the American Journal of Hypertension), showed that many workers suffer a significant increase in blood pressure as they return to work after their weekend.

A few years prior to that, a study in Britain showed that there was a 20 per cent rise in the number of heart attacks at the beginning of the week. It was believed that work-related stress was to blame.

Recent studies in the UK have focused on which day of the week is more ‘dangerous’. And guess what? Monday is relatively low on the danger scale. It’s on Friday that you should be more careful!

More recent studies in the US have shown that there really is no difference in mood between Monday and any other day of the working week, except for Friday. Funnily enough, mood tends to rise on a Friday afternoon. So why does Monday get such bad press?

One researcher believes it’s because the contrast in mood from Sunday to Monday is the greatest, which leads to Monday being singled out.

And therein lies the key. The contrast in mood between your weekend and your working week.

Which leads me to this question — what is it about your working week that is so bad? Is there no purpose, no meaning, no joy in those five days? Are you only enjoying two days of the week?

Because that’s only about 104 days of happiness each year. And at last count, there is 365-366 days in a year. To make matters worse, I am sure that not every weekend of yours is bursting at the seams with happiness, joy and purpose. So how much of your life are you really enjoying?

Why are you wasting your time complaining about what day it is?

It’s really childish and self-indulgent.

There are many people in this world who would give anything for another year of Mondays. But unfortunately, their terminal disease means that’s not possible

There are plenty of people who have lost loved ones — who would probably live through a life-time of Mondays if it meant they could have that person back.

I realise that some people out there may be going through life-saving chemotherapy (or any other necessary medical treatment) on a Monday. In those cases, I totally understand why they may not enjoy Mondays. However, on the flip-side, they are probably the ones who can see the positive amongst the negative.

Wake up and realise what you’ve got.

You need to realise how lucky you are compared to so many other people. Mondays come around every seven days. So grow up, get over yourself and change your attitude. You’re not the only one who has to live through a Monday (or a working week for that matter).

There. I said it. End of rant.

Now for some more positive thoughts about Mondays.

  • Without them (and the rest of the working week), you’d be broke, have nowhere to live, and would probably be terribly bored.
  • Mondays can be a time when you recommit to a healthier lifestyle. The working week can be when you focus on eating well and exercising, so you can let go a little on the weekends, without compromising your overall health.
  • Routine is good. Without it, we probably wouldn’t get much done.
  • Mondays can represent a brand new slate. New beginnings, new goals, new focus.

However, if the above is still too hard to get your head around, then try incorporating some of your weekends into your working week.

Why save going to the movies for a Saturday night? Go mid-week instead.

Cook French toast on a Tuesday, rather than saving it for Sunday.

Go for a walk on a Monday instead of the usual Saturday.

Hit the shops on Thursday night, instead of waiting for the weekend.

You need to find the miraculous, the pleasurable, the inspirational throughout your whole week. Not just on the weekends.

Life really has so much to offer. However, if you spend five out of seven days with your head in your hands bemoaning the fact that it’s not the weekend, then you are missing out. Big Time.

What will you say on your deathbed?

“Man, I hated Mondays”?
OR
“Gee, I wish I had enjoyed more of my life”?

Are Mondays really that bad?

References:

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/BUSINESS/02/03/monday.pressure/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19316104

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/may/29/most-dangerous-day-of-week

Post Navigation

Write Way to Health

Promoting happy, healthy living

VitaWarrior

“Success isn’t given, it is earned. On the track, on the field, in the gym. With blood, sweat and the occasional tear.” – Nike

Write ... to the Point

- writing tips and tricks

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Dream, Play, Write!

Today, make a commitment to your writing.

The Eclectic Moose

Occasionally Moose have some interesting ideas; I write them down...

Chocolate Covered Race Medals

Where I race to the chocolate bar

Made by you and I

Cooking -- and photography -- are personalization

NERDSTEAK

Food and Culture Shenanigans

Eli Glasman

Site of author Eli Glasman

exercise oncology australia

Supporting cancer patients through their journey one step at a time

My Journey to Healthy and Happy

Sharing my journey to being healthy and happy.

shirleyshirle

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Reembody

You Are Stronger Than You Think

The Real Me and Life

Finding me without a uniform.

Hart Helps

explore ways to win the wars waged within the mind

words by nerissa

...observations, thoughts and questions