Time

When we think about time we rarely think in terms of it going at just the right pace. When we’re enjoying something time goes far too quick, when we’re not, like at work, it drags on and every minute feels like an hour. Looking back it seems like it was only yesterday that my 1 year old nephew was born, but now that it’s Monday it feels like the weekend is forever away.

Time is precious and I want my days to reflect that. I spend so much of it at work and on my phone mindlessly scrolling – although a lot less than I used to. I watch a lot of tv when I could be reading the many books I own but haven’t started, doing additional study in a course that I recently enrolled in and really love, practicing yoga and poses I’m having difficulty with or engaging in something that’s actually important to me. I brush those things off because I’m tired or can’t be bothered because they’re more effort than lying around.

I act as if I have plenty of time. Maybe I do. But maybe I don’t. What I can do is use my time more wisely, be more aware of how I’m spending my time and only spending it with people who are important to me.

The Truth About My Finances

I need to get real about my finances. For the last 6 months I’ve been pretending that things are going to plan but they’re not. I’m living pay check to pay check again which I hate. This isn’t as dire as it sounds. I do have savings and am paying off everything I need to but I can’t work out why I feel I need so many things. I’ve been actively working at minimising yet I go out and buy new things I don’t need. I buy clothes when I’m doing Project 333 and have donated half my wardrobe. I get caught up in things I do need – yesterday I bought a new planner for next year. It cost me $89. Did I need to spend that much? No because a $10 planner would be sufficient.

Why do I do this to myself?

Mindset.

My mindset is not right for what I want to be achieving. For one, I’m influenced by social media. I’m 100% aware that social media is not real life. But I follow a lot of coaches and health/well-being people on Instagram and they’re just so damn productive with their planners, mugs, notebooks and pens and I think “damn, if I have those things I’ll be productive too!” I know it’s a lie. And I know that it won’t help but for some reason I don’t stop myself.

Another reason is that I don’t have a lot of spending money once I’ve taken care of bills, savings and other essentials. Once I go over I think “well fuck it, I may as well blow it.” A solution could be more breathing room. I’m going to spend a bit of time working out what I’m spending again following my money method that I outlined here.

We’ve gone through some big changes this year and financially we’ve spent a lot. We’re still in the process of renovating, I had expensive surgery and booked holidays that we’ve paid for up-front. Whilst we haven’t been frivolous with our money, we haven’t exactly been careful either.

I think there’s a fine line when it comes to spending and saving. I want to be careful with my spending but still feel free to make choices without having that anxiety-inducing moment.

Back to the planner I bought yesterday. Whilst it’s certainly a lot of money, I worked out it ends up being approximately $1.70 per week. But I anguished over this choice for weeks and I don’t want that. I want to feel confident in the choices I’m making. I want to intrinsically know that it’s ok to spend money on things that are useful and important, especially when I can afford to and it’s not impacting anything else. But that is where the problem lies. It is impacting other things so until I get that sorted I’ll feel either anxious or ambivalent about every purchase I make.

So, my aim for the rest of this year is to get my finances sorted so I can start 2018 fresh.

Project 333 Update

I started Project 333 last week and have found it to be fairly easy during the work week. As mentioned in the previous post, I already have a work uniform that I adhere to, made up by me so I ensured that those items were part of my 33 items. The weekend was a little different. I longed to wear items that I haven’t worn in a long time. Items that I wouldn’t have even thought of wearing and only did because I’ve restricted myself. I think that’s the issue with these types of experiments – you don’t want things when they’re available but the second you can’t have them it’s all you want and all you think about.

I only went through a few items. I wore 3 different types of outerwear, 3 tops and one bottom. I wore 3 different types of shoes and no dresses. It’s been easy so far but one thing I realised is that I have to really be on top of washing my clothes as soon as I’m done wearing them. Being in Melbourne it rains every second day so I do tend to dry things on an indoor clothes horse and depending on the item it can take 2-3 days to completely dry but I’m sure as long as I keep on top of that, things should be fine.

I was thinking it will be interesting because when I decided to do this challenge, I don’t think I had planned to go on a holiday to the Sunshine State (QLD, Australia) where it’s usually quite warm. I don’t generally wear dresses without stockings and a jumper/jacket/cardigan but I think I’ll have to during this trip if I want to stick to the Project 333. I still have 2 items to choose so perhaps I’ll make that decision before my trip or alternatively, I may have to swap out some items for this specific trip. The problem with either of those options is that I only have one option for summer bottoms and they are the pair of shorts I already have included in my list so I’d have to go buy something else. But the point of this challenge for me was to help me work out whether I have a well rounded wardrobe so if I feel I’m missing a key summer piece or two then I’m more than happy to purchase something that fits my style.

Project 333

A few months ago I wrote a post about Project 333 where you wear 33 items for 3 months. I finally decided to take part from October – December. I will wear only 33 items (excluding underwear, socks/stockings and gym gear) for the 3 month duration. The exception being that I have an engagement party and a Christmas party to attend so I will wear items that are not part of the Project 333 and will come from my wider wardrobe. I’m looking forward to it. Initially I thought it’d be easy but October through to December in Melbourne, Australia encompasses such a wide range of temperatures and weather types that I’ll need to make sure that the items I’m choosing are practical and can be layered.

Here are the items I have chosen for the experiment.

Bottoms

  • Black Cotton On jeans
  • Stone Cotton On jeans
  • Black Asos skirt
  • Blue Jeans West shorts

Tops

  • Black Decjuba semi-sheer shirt
  • Black and white Katies short sleeve top
  • Black and white Portmans long sleeve top
  • Black and white Only long sleeve blouse
  • Black, grey and white Wayne Cooper short sleeve top
  • Cotton On black long sleeve top
  • Cotton On black singlet
  • Cotton On black t-shirt

Shoes

  • Burgundy Wittner ballet flats
  • Black Innovare heeled boots
  • Black Rollie flats
  • Tan Wittner boots
  • Berry Haviana thongs
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Wittner flats, Innovare heeled boots, Rollie flats, Wittner boots, Haviana thongs

Outerwear

  • Black Seed jumper
  • White Staff by Maff jumper
  • Blue H&M jumper
  • Black Cue jumper
  • Navy, blush and white Temp jumper
  • Grey Zara knit
  • Black and white Staff by Maff cardigan
  • Black Target faux leather jacket
  • Grey Cotton On cardigan

Dresses

  • Black ASOS long sleeve dress
  • Patterned Witchery dress
  • Black ASOS sleeveless dress
  • Black and white Kmart dress
  • Black Atmos&Here zip dress

I don’t quite have 33 items. I have 31. But I’m going to stick with the 31 to start with. I’m going to allow myself to add 2 more items during the time frame if I choose to. I don’t feel like I will need to but we will see.  I may add some other bottoms as the weather gets warmer but I’m very happy with my choices. I already have a self-appointed wardrobe for work so I’m actually giving myself a bit more to play with now.

I’m on day 3 so far and it’s been fairly easy. Day 1 was spent in pj’s as it was a Sunday and yesterday I wore my Rollies, black jeans, black long sleeve top and the Zara knit. Today I’m wearing Rollies, black jeans, Decjuba shirt and Seed jumper.

Only 89 days to go!

How To Not Overthink Things

One of the things I’ve become really good at is not over thinking things when it comes to other people. I sometimes still fall into the trap but I’ve gotten really good at leaving a conversation once it’s done.

Here is what I do.

  1. Take everything at face value
    I’ve decided that I’m an adult and that the people around me are also adults. So when they say something to me, I simply believe it. I trust that if there was a problem that they would behave like an adult and have a conversation with me about it.
  2. Accept what others say to you
    In a similar vein to the above, accept what others ask of you. If someone asks for space, give it to them. If you offer something to someone and they say ”no” move on to something else. Treat others with the respect they deserve and allow them to make decisions for themselves. Again if they say no to something that you offer, trust that if they do want to take you up on it that they will ask.
  3. Assume the best
    There are many instances where someone says something and it can be taken the right way or the wrong way. Most of the time how you feel about the person at that point in time will dictate how you take it. For example, I was once at a New Years Eve party sitting in a gazebo where there were gaps in the palings. The owners dog peed on the gazebo and naturally some of it got on one of the girls. I said to her “there’s no one better for him to do that to” because she was a vet nurse and volunteered at rescue shelters and loved all animals. She assumed I meant that she deserved it and that it was a negative. At the time she and I weren’t in a good place which is probably why she assumed I meant it as a negative. I don’t blame her for doing that but it taught me to just assume that generally people mean things in the best possible way. And to be honest, even if they don’t it doesn’t matter. If you choose to take it as a positive it means that exchange won’t consume your thoughts.
  4. Communicate effectively
    Don’t beat around the bush. If you want to ask something ask it. It’s the best way to get your answer and that way you won’t have to think about what they meant when they said x and y. But it also helps to avoid misunderstandings. Last night I went to dinner with a friend and the restaurant we went to do take away pizzas. I sent my fiance a text asking if he wanted one. As I was out to dinner when he replied to my text I didn’t really read it and all I saw was if you can’t be bothered don’t worry about it. What he had actually written was if you can be bothered get some but if not don’t worry. If he had just said yes I would have gotten him some pizza and then we wouldn’t have spent 10 minutes when I got home arguing about who was right and who was wrong.
  5. Don’t dwell on things
    If you’ve said something that may have caused someone you care about to feel hurt and they aren’t responding to you, accept it – you don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. Ensure you have genuinely apologised (none of this ”I’m sorry you feel that way” bullshit) but move on. Allow them the time and space they need to work through their feelings. Don’t sit around thinking about it for too long. Allow them to come to you when the time is right for them.
  6. Be honest yourself
    It’s easier to not overthink things if you yourself are honest with those around you. It can also encourage others around you to communicate more honestly and openly with you.

It’s actually pretty easy once you get into this thought pattern of just assuming the best of each situation. I used to spend hours going over situations in my head, wondering what I said or did to cause (potential) offence to someone else. It was a ridiculous waste of time and wasn’t good for my mental health. These days I can say that more often than not, I say exactly what I want, depending on the other person I may have edit or censor myself but generally the meaning is clear. It saves misunderstandings, it saves time and it means that I can move on to other things without thinking back.

Why Being Polite Can Be Bad For The Soul

Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught to be polite. I learnt all about manners. I learnt to be quiet when others were speaking, to always say please and thank you, to address all adults by Mr/Ms Surname and to wait my turn. It’s served me well for most of my life. Growing up I learnt to work out when it was necessary and when it wasn’t. Unfortunately what I also learnt was that whilst it usually served me well, it could cause a great deal of anxiety.

Why anxiety?

Well, because being polite can translate to ‘being stuck doing what you don’t want to do.’ I’ve learnt to speak my mind with people close to me. When my fiance speaks to me about video games and I’m in no mood to entertain him, I simply tell him that I’m not listening or that I’m not interested. With friends, I can say the same if I really want to. If we have friends over and I’m tired, I go to bed. Sometimes without even excusing myself or saying goodnight. It works well. We can be honest with each other. With people who aren’t as close to you it’s more difficult.

I’ve found myself more often than not stuck in a conversation or a situation I don’t want to be in. I can’t tell you how often I’ve listened to my mother prattle on about my nephew, detailing every single minute of the last 8 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love my nephew but he’s 1. His life is really not that interesting to me. I’ve spent countless hours listening to people go on and on about one of the things I really despise, travelling. It’s not that I hate travelling, I just don’t want to hear about it. I even wrote a post about it! But it’s so hard to get out of these types of situations.  And it makes me really anxious thinking about how long it’ll take or how I’m going to get myself out of it. Most of the time I’ve found that the other person doesn’t really give me an option before diving into something I’m not interested in so here is my question… why am I socially expected to stand there and waste my time on a conversation I couldn’t care less about instead of saying something? I understand that its not polite but is it not also impolite to trap someone in a situation they don’t want to be in?

I wish it were more socially acceptable to say no to these sorts of things.

So that’s what I’ve started doing.

My fiance’s mother recently ordered a photo book of every single photo on her Facebook account. Not only has she just uploaded everything without editing down her photos, but I’ve also already seen them when she initially posted them on FB. Of course she asked me if I wanted to see the book. She was halfway across the room to get it before she had even finished her sentence. I said no. Everyone in the room was a bit shocked because obviously social norms dictate that I should have said yes. But I just had no interest in seeing them.

So I’m going to continue that. I’m not going to be rude about it. I’m just going to say no if the offer does not interest me. People need to learn to accept it and learn that just because you want to share something, it doesn’t mean others want to be involved.

I want to stop having pointless conversations. I want to have deeper connections and whilst it seems counter-productive to have less conversations, I don’t want to resent those around me just because I feel trapped in a situation.

It’s a skill that I’m hoping to refine and extend. Refine by not allowing myself to be in situations that make me uncomfortable and to extend by extracting myself from those situations should I find myself stuck in one.

12 Ways To Make Yourself Feel Better In 10 Minutes Or Less

We all have days where our self-care game just isn’t on point. It’s ok, not every day can be a great day but there are ways to make the less good days seem a bit better.

I’ve had more bad days than good lately. I’ve been home sick a lot and I really don’t enjoy it. I had 3 weeks off recovering from surgery, was at work for one week and then off again for a week.

It’s the boredom that gets to me because I can’t manage to do much when I feel this way. If I do anything for too long I get a headache – sleep too long, read too long, watch tv too long, colour too long.  I still don’t have a lot of energy as it can take up to 3 months to recover completely from the surgery I had.

But I’ve found ways to make myself feel better, even if it is just for a short while.

Here are 12 ways to self care in under 10 minutes

1. Breathe

Its the easiest one that only requires you.  You can literally do it anywhere and no one will be any wiser because hey, we all need to breathe. There are many different breathing exercises that you can follow as well. I have a Fitbit Charge 2 that has a Relax mode and all you do is follow the breathing instructions for 2 minutes. It really helps when I need a me moment.

2. Freshen Up

Wash your face, have a shower, brush your teeth or do all 3. Feeling clean can really help your mindset if you’re feeling off. I know it’s tempting to stay in pjs all day but that can actually be counter-productive if you want to feel better.

3. Dress to Impress

But to impress yourself. Those days where I feel like shit and don’t want to do anything are the days where I know I need to get up and actually get dressed and not just in see through yoga pants dressed, I mean proper dressed.

4. Meditate

If you’re new to meditation or skeptical of the benefits, meditation will be really hard. It is called a practice because you need to do just that, practice, to benefit from it. There are apps you can use to help. Headspace have a 10 day guided intro to meditation but my favourite app is the Calm app. I use the free version and its great. My one complaint is that I wish you could buy certain features rather than sign up monthly but its a small annoyance. They have guided and unguided meditations where you can choose the length of time. I also use it a lot at night time as they have sleep stories to help you get to sleep.

5. Practice Gratitude

And not just the basic I have shelter, food and people who love me even though these are great. Something a bit deeper like ‘I’m grateful that I can buy a $40 umbrella cuz its raining and I don’t have to worry where that money came from’ or ‘I’m grateful that despite being caught speeding, I and no one else was hurt by my actions.’

6. Journal

Grab a notebook and write, draw or doodle for a few minutes. Don’t worry that its not all perfect. It doesn’t need to be. Just get out whatever it is you need to. It’s not about having an insta-worthy, perfect layout notebook/journal. It’s about having a space to let out what you need when you need to.

7. Write a to-do list

Even if your list literally consists of get up, have a shower, get dressed, eat something nutritious. I get it. Some days that’s all you can manage. And you know what? Its still an accomplishment. You did it!

8. Tidy something up

Whether its your room, your desk or your car, you’ll feel better once things seem to be in order. Plus it amazing how much you can accomplish in 10 minute slots.

9. Sing and dance to your favourite song

I have a playlist called Shower and its all the songs I love to sing and dance to in the shower. I play it at other times and it always puts me in a good mood.

10. Stretch

Its no surprise that when your body feels tense, you feel tense and when your body is loose, you feel loose. One of my favourite stretch/yoga sequences is only 7 minutes long but it makes a world of difference.

11. Water

Drink water. And keep drinking water. It can help with alertness and movement and has so many benefits to your body. Chuck in some mint or lemon too if you feel like it.

12. Physical Contact

Physical contact can drastically improve mood. It can foster greater intimacy and trust between two people and can greatly improve communication, bonding and health.

So there you have it. 12 different ways to improve your mood in less than 10 minutes.