This week has given me all kinds of food for thought. I’ve been jotting paragraphs down in my journal here there and everywhere which has led to me ultimately writing this blog post. The last week has been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for me as I launch myself into things I’ve never done before. I’ve certainly felt the fear this week but this time I didn’t let it stop me from pushing through to the end which it has done so many times before and I’m so thankful that this week I decided to believe in myself.
I’m a natural-born people pleaser and I’ve spent the majority of life thus far measuring my success on what other people thought of me. I’ve held back on so many occasions as not to rock the boat, upset someone or look like a fool. Ultimately this way of living hasn’t been serving me well for some time but when consumed by that negative way of thinking it’s hard to break the cycle.
So this week when I did something bloody scary I was chuffed to bits to find myself ignoring the thoughts of that doubt that attempted to take over and threw myself in regardless.
So what did I do this week that was so damn scary? Well, if you’re new here then might not know that last week I launched my very own podcast! Yep, a podcast! It still sounds a little surreal to say it out loud, or type it, whatever. Balance Before Burnout: For Nurses has been a project in the making for the past six months and has been a project in the making inside my head for over a year.
Just over twelve months ago I reached a point where I was so disconnected to my nursing role and wondered if the career was for me anymore. It took some time but after a lot of mindset work and a little help from a professional I managed to come full circle and twelve months later I’m still a nurse. I know for a fact if I hadn’t done the work then I probably wouldn’t be nursing right now. After working all over the world as a nurse I’ve noticed that no matter where you go, nurses have similar problems when it comes to mindset and feeling like they are nailing this nurse life balance thing. That’s when I decided to rebrand Alicia Overseas into a space to help other nurses struggling with this busy career. It was at that moment that I decided to make this change that I knew I had to start a podcast.
Getting everything ready to start the podcast was easy. It was easy to find information out there online about the how to’s. It was easy to think about what topics I’m going to chat about, I literally wrote an A3 piece of paper FULL of ideas in 5 minutes flat. It was even easy to start recording and come up with some show art and find a catchy introduction jingle that I’d use for the podcast.
What wasn’t easy was putting it out there into the world. Just the very thought of it made me feel queasy at best.
Cue brain to tell myself all the negative stories about what could happen if I launch this podcast into the world:
My audio definitely isn’t ready
Nobody will listen to it
Nobody will take advice from me
Nobody cares what I have to say
It will be a complete waste of time and money
People will laugh at me
I won’t be able to show my face at work
People will wonder ‘who the hell does she think she is’
I am even qualified to start a podcast?
Apple podcasts might not even approve the podcast
Pretty grim right? Twelve months ago I would’ve listened to all these stories, agreed with them all, shook the idea that I could ever be a podcast host and moved on. Luckily for me, I’m getting pretty good at recognising these negative thoughts and putting a different spin on them. This is a mindset technique I’ve been leaning into for the last year and honestly, it’s been a game-changer. I’ve gone from quite the pessimist to someone who focuses on the positive possibilities. Like:
This podcast could help other nurses that feel burnout
I’d actually be happy if only one single nurse got something out of it
If people laugh at me then its a reflection on them not on me
I can’t change what people think about me
Only people who are doing less than me will criticise me
I’m a nurse who knows that she help other nurses from becoming burnt out – definitely qualified
I wholeheartedly believe in the manifesto of creating balance before burnout for a happier life as a nurse
My passion shines through in the episodes I’ve recorded so far
What’s the worst that will happen if I don’t publish this podcast = I’ll never know either way
For every negative thought that I had there was a positive one. So I listened to my gut and published the podcast. I’m so grateful that I didn’t let self-sabotage get in the way of this one because creating Balance Before Burnout brings me so much joy and seeing people tuning in has made me so so proud.
I’ve had some amazing messages of congratulations, support and people enjoying the podcast which actually blows my mind. But why should it? It’s a good podcast and I’ve got an important message to spread.
With the little confidence boost I got after launching the podcast I then shared it on my personal Facebook page and with my wider community of nurses, another hella scary moment (anyone taking a leap into creating something new online will know the feeling). I was terrified but actually I got nothing but support and those who don’t support it or understand why I’m doing it don’t matter.
All these feelings this week have allowed me to identify that so often the only thing that’s in the way of the thing we want to do and actually doing it, is ourselves. I could’ve let my fear of people laughing at me stop me from trying in the first place and I see this so often amongst my friends and colleagues both on and offline. We tell ourselves such negative stories as a way of talking ourselves out of doing scary things. As I grow more confident and create more content and put myself and my message out there I see that it no matter how scared I get, almost none of the negative stories I tell myself ever come true. By listening to them the only person I am sabotaging is myself.
I want to end this post with a great quote from the one and only Brene Brown and that’s ‘if you’re not in the arena getting your arsed kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback’.
Because when we think about doing something that scares us we are usually afraid of what people think. I know for me I’m more worried about someone making fun of me than am I nobody listening to what I have to say.
This is the year where I refuse to let self-sabotage take over. So, if you want something go out there, do the work and go for it. Perhaps it’s a new nursing role you don’t feel qualified to do or that blog you’ve been longing to start, feel the fear and do it anyway because it feels amazing.
Come and join me inside the arena and start following your dreams!
Podcasting, where do I start with this one. I don’t know about you but I absolutely love podcasts. I’m a natural-born book lover, I’d choose books over movies any day of the week. When I was little my head was always nestled inside a book and still is. I think it’s one of the reasons I love writing this blog and reading other peoples blogs too. I love language and the way we can offer so much value, emotion and purpose with words.
So with that said, I was surprised to find a love for podcasts over the last few years. What didn’t take me by surprise was the reason why I fell in love with the podcasting space so much and that’s the personal connection.
Most of the podcasts I listen to are created by my most loved bloggers and authors. After I’ve listened to a podcast I feel such a deeper connection with the author of that book or blog post just by knowing what they sound like. I feel like I’m a part of their journey and I’ve been invited onto their sofa for a cuppa.
To me, podcasting feels just that little bit more personal than blogging.
Why It’s Take This Long to Start My Own Podcast…
I’ve thought about starting my own podcast for a while even when this blog was solely focused on travel. I loved listening to other peoples travel podcasts and hearing travellers of the world being interviewed telling their unique stories. I thought about taking the leap into starting my own so much but never plucked up the courage to do so.
In hindsight, considering the turn this blog has now taken I’m pleased that I didn’t. In fact, it just proves to me how important not rushing into something really is and taking the time to really dig deep into why I want to do something.
Since rebranding Alicia Overseas, to a blog that helps nurses slow down and create a balance between work and home before burnout, I knew that a podcast was going to be non-negotiable. As soon as I made the switch in my content I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
My gut has been aching for me to just do it and this time I’m going to listen to it and take the almighty leap into the world of podcasting.
In this post, I thought I’d share a little of what you can expect from the podcast and my reasons for starting, call it a little sneak peek into my thoughts and mind.
I’ve already said above why I love listening to podcasts so much and that’s for the personal connection and warmth I feel when listening to other podcasts. I feel like personality shines through podcasts and I’m hoping I can offer a friendly warm invite into my world through my own podcast, which YES does have a name…
Introducing ‘Balance Before Burnout, For Nurses’
I want to connect even more deeply with my readers and give as much value as I possibly can. I want you guys to get to know me as best as you can. When I’m writing my blog posts I often cut them so much shorter than I would like because I really can go on and on. I’m the same when it comes to talking. I love to talk and chat with likeminded individuals and I want to carry the conversation on from the screen to wherever you may be listening. There are topics I’ll be covering here at Alicia Overseas that are worth even more conversation than a simple blog post and topics that will suit a podcast much more than a written piece.
Another big reason as to why I’ve started a podcast is to connect with other nurses who are passionate about ensuring health professionals know how to take care of themselves. The podcast will initially be a solo endeavour but I plan to have some incredible guests on as we go on.
I’ve recently connected online with some nurses making huge movements and shifts in our nursing world and I would love to get their take on creating more balance and less burnout so I can provide you all with the most value and best actionable tips going forward.
What is Balance Before Burnout About?
So I guess whilst I’m here I should give a little insight into what the podcast is going to be about! Well, it does exactly what it says on the tin. This podcast is going to be all about teaching nurses how to slow down and create more of a balance between career and home life before reaching burn out. I’ve seen first-hand nurses all over the world struggling to enjoy both career and life outside of the hospital. I’ve personally experienced some dark places in terms of burn out which is what had led me into this passion.
The podcast is going to super accessible with nurses in mind. I’m a nurse so I know what nurses can and cannot manage so these podcast episodes will be short and around 20 minutes long. This gives nurses the opportunity to be able to listen on the go, on the drive to work, during a lunch hour, after work or on days off. I’m covering topics that I know you guys will want to listen and from what you’ve told me you’d like more of.
So When is it Happening?
Well, you can listen to the first episode of Balance Before Burnout: For Nurses RIGHT NOW – AS IF!!! Yes, that’s right the podcast is now live on iTunes and Spotify!
I’m so stoked to share it with you all! So if you’re a nurse looking for more balance in your life then this seriously is the podcast for you!
PS. If you’ve found yourself here and you’re not a nurse then it doesn’t matter so much of what I’m going to be sharing will be so adaptable for other careers and everyday life! But if you do know a nurse who you think might benefit from this kind of a podcast then please send them my way so I can get the word out about how important it is for nurses to take care of number 1 and find balance before burnout.
Personally, I always feel like there’s a negative connotation attached to the word ‘habit’. I think it’s because as children and throughout society we always use the phrase ‘it’s just habit’ as a negative. For example, biting our nails, picking our eyelashes, snoozing the alarm. We do these things out of habit right? But why do habits have to be negative? Well, they don’t. Any action can be turned into a habit if we want it to become one or better yet, become a bigger and more important part of our lives. Healthy eating, running, swimming, exercise of any kind, reading, time management, morning routines, seeing friends, cooking, shopping, literally a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g can become a habit. It’s actually when we make these things we do for joy a habit that we can suddenly fit them into our busy lives..
A great quote that sums this up perfectly is “Motivation is what gets you started and habit is what keeps you going”
So how does having healthy habits help nurses?
People often say that nurses are the best people to have around as family or friends. Nurses love helping people and taking care of others. Where nurses fall down though is looking after ourselves. We’re very good at nourishing our loved ones but what about us? When do we take the time care for ourselves?
The only way that I believe we can truly help others wholeheartedly is when we nourish our own health, mentally and physically, the better we will be able to take of others. Until then we aren’t ever going to be showing up as our best selves. I know that sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it?
Well, let me tell you from experience, the only way you’re going to be able to continue nursing long-term and take care of everyone you love is by taking care of yourself first.
The nursing army is a badass team of people both inside and outside of work. We are the glue that holds so many seams together when all is falling apart. We advocate for our patients and their families. We hold a hand as a family member watches their loved one go, we cry with families who lose children far too early, all whilst boosting our colleagues when they need it and spreading joy around on the gloomiest of days. That’s all before we go home to our partners, children and families to maybe cook dinner, bathe the kids, put the washing on and all those mundane jobs that must get done.
We are amazing but imagine how much more great we could be if we spent a little more time advocating for ourselves?
The way that I’ve learnt to successfully advocate for myself a little more is by creating a life that I love. From days at work to days off work, I transformed my days by filling them with exactly what I want too! I decided that if I was going to be happy as a nurse and be able to show up for my patients and my loved ones as the best version of myself I needed to find a way to inject more of what I wanted and what brings me joy into my life and make it a consistent habit.
Creating Healthy Habits For Yourself Everyday
The most challenging part of creating a life you love is that it can be challenging. We often have no idea where to start or where we want to end up and that’s okay. I hired a life coach to help me figure this out and perhaps that’s what you need too. Or maybe you just need a few tips and hints to create some healthier habits for yourself which I’m hoping you might find here.
The first thing I recommend doing is a big old brainstorm about what you want more of in your everyday life. Not the big things like skydiving or sailing the Whitsundays, we all wish we could holiday every day. No, what I want you to do is focus on everyday life, what do you want more of in your day to day? Because that’s the life we are living and the one we all should be cherishing.
Do you want to read more? Exercise more? Eat Healthier? Have More Time Off? Spend More Quality Time with Your Family? Write down all the things you’d love to have in your everyday life. Then afterwards start thinking about how you could inject your life with more of these things?
To make it a little easier I’m going to share some of the healthy habits that I’ve adopted recently that have changed my life as a nurse and person.
Healthy Habits to Adopt as a Nurse
Break Times – More Reading Less Scrolling
One of the feelings I wanted to get rid of was feeling like all I did was work during my run of shifts. I felt like I could only be Alicia the Nurse instead of Alicia the Person. So I started finding ways that would help break up my days to enjoy life, before, after and during a shift. Starting with using breaks at work for what they meant for..taking a break!
I’m a book fanatic. I always choose books over films and getting lost in a story is my favourite thing to do. When I first became a nurse four years ago I completely stopped reading during the days I worked because I simply couldn’t find the time. But somehow I was managing to keep up with what all my friends were doing on social media? So, I ditched the mindless scrolling on my lunch break.
If you watched my IGTV about how to have a more joyful shift at work then you’ll know how I feel about switching your brain off for a bit during your lunch break. Take some time to think about how you spend your break at work, do you sit gossiping for half an hour with your colleagues or scrolling Instagram. What could you do in that half an hour that brings you joy? For me it’s reading or listening to a podcast. I take my book and headphones to work and let myself indulge in 15 minutes of great fiction/one of my fave podcasts. I find it breaks the day up and takes my mind off nursing for a moment.
Okay, this one is quite a new one for me but it’s already having a huge impact on my life as a nurse. If you haven’t already then I urge you to read The Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod because it could have the possibility to change your life completely. I’ve never titled myself as a morning person, in fact on my days off if the time was anything before 11:00 I wasn’t getting up.
Then what do you know, by the time I’ve got up, showered, had breakfast and can do something with my day off its 2 pm and what’s left of the day is slim. Compare that to the girl who now gets up at 5 am on my nursing days and 7-8 am on days off, I have so much more fulfilment in my life. That time was there all along I was literally just wasting it in bed!
I could chatter on about The Morning Miracle for ages and I will do a separate post on how I adapt it to my life as a nurse this month but for now I urge you to buy and read.
If you want a quicker simpler fix to having more of a nurse life balance on your days off then try setting your alarm half an hour earlier. Get up, drink water, get out of your PJs, get a hot drink and read a book, or go outside, blog or whatever it is you like to do. Dedicate just half an hour or hell, even 10 minutes, to yourself before a shift and you will notice a huge change in your mindset on shift.
Downtime after work
Just like having some dedicated time to myself in a morning, I also dedicate time to myself at night too. This applies to me more after a shift. I follow a simple routine of getting home, showered, eating and then doing something I love for as long as I have time for. I always get into bed half an hour early before I want to sleep to read. But before that I like to catch up with some things for this business of mine. Finding something to focus on after a shift can really help you let go of what’s happened during the day. If I feel I need it I’ll journal especially, if it’s been a hard shift or I’m feeling a bit icky about something that unfolded. Check out my simple journal process for nurses here!
Sounds silly but so many of us and in particular nurses do not prioritise sleep. I get it, as nurses we are used to running on empty. So many of us have trouble sleeping during the day time during our run of night duty and that often leaves so many of us having trouble sleeping at night too. As a nurse, our body clocks can be all over the place but I’m sorry that’s just an excuse.
Do whatever you need to do to get more sleep. Turn Netflix off and get to bed so you can get as much sleep as you need. I know that I need 8 hours so in the last few months I’ve prioritised this big time and I’m so much more joyful for it. If you struggle to sleep then visit your GP, try out melatonin, eat foods high in melatonin before bedtime, get blackout blinds, an eye mask, earplugs, move to the quieter neighbourhood, find a relaxation routine that works for you! If you’re going to succeed as a nurse you need to be able to sleep.
Over the years numerous studies have been conducted which shows that 28-55% of nurses in the United Kingdom and the United States of America are overweight. You don’t need to look at the studies to see it’s a problem you just need to have a look around. As nurses, we use excuses like working nights and having irregular shift patterns as to why we can’t eat healthily. This really is just an excuse.
There is no reason why we cannot eat healthily and do exercise. I’ve completely changed the way I eat recently and I feel so much better on my shifts. We need to concentrate for up to 12 hours at a time so we need to fuel our body with good food. If you have no idea where to start I really recommend reading some of ‘The Other Shift’ blog posts as they have some great tips for eating and working shifts!
Get Outside on Days Off
It can be so tempting to sit inside on your days off and catch up on rest. I used to do it all the time but the best thing for our bodies and minds is to get outside. When we are feeling low on energy we need to create our own. We all know that the hormones realised during exercise, even the light kind, make us feel energised and more awake so get outside on those days off! Take a walk around the woods, visit your favourite park, take a day trip to the beach or simply walk around the block. Whatever you do just get out into the fresh air. As nurses, a lot of us spend our days inside an air-conditioned hospital that circulates dry air around all day. We are around sick people all day so getting out into fresh air is exactly what we need.
This post is already way longer than I expected it to be so for now, I’m going to make this the final healthy habit that has the power to serve all nurses. Get organised in life. Make charts, big charts if you need too, make lists of things you need to do but get organised. I used to leave the food shop until the day I began nights, forget birthdays here there and everywhere and just feel completely unorganised.
But when my calendar became my best friend and I started planning my days I felt like a weight had been lifted. I now plan out every single day whether it’s day at work or off work. I meal prep for my shifts so I’ve got nutritious meals to take to work and yummy meals that I can simply reheat after a shift too! I always know when the next roster is coming out and I always know what I want to request in terms of shifts. It pays to be organised, we manage our time at work so why not try it out at home?
I hope that you’ve found some of these healthy habit tips useful. And I really hope you can find some time to think about what habits you might like to adopt to help you achieve a better nurse life balance and avoid burnout! If you have no idea where to start then take one of my habits and try to implement it in some way. If you need any extra tips then please shoot me an email at [email protected]
If you’ve been following me along here at Alicia Overseas for a while then you’ll know that it’s been an interesting year. A year full of discovery and reflection. A year where I’ve learnt so much about how I want my life to look and how I can get it. It was the year I made some big decisions around this blog and my nursing career. We had my mum visit us in Australia and went on a 3 man campervan trip, we moved from Australia to New Zealand and got new jobs. So yeah, it’s safe to say it’s been a pretty wild year but a great one nonetheless. In fact, in terms of self-development and feeling like I know what I want from my life, 2019 has been the best year. So, in true blogger fashion, I decided to write up a little reflection piece for how I want 2020 to be for me based on the discoveries I made in 2019. Enjoy!
My 5 Words of 2019
This is the first year that I’ve really sat down and reflected on the past year and it must say it was very fulfilling. I used the workbook Reflect and Grow by Sophie Cliff (yep I know I’ve mentioned it before here) which gives some perfect prompts when reflecting back on the year gone by. My favourite section of the workbook is ‘words of the year’ which is how I’m going to structure this post.
Language has so much meaning in our world. The words we say, the way we say it, the not saying anything even says something. I’ve always adored reading and writing so when I started thinking about 5 words to describe 2019 I tried to go with what came to me first. It was tempting to sit and really think about words that described the year based on things that have happened but instead, I tried to snap up the words that popped into my head quickly and think about how they relate to 2019.
The words that came up for me were, discovery, love, challenging, enlightening and commitment. Diving a little deeper into these words made me see exactly why they came up for me and they perfectly sum up 2019.
It was a year of discovery from travel to myself. We discovered so many new places. We travelled the South West Coast of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia. We discovered the North Island of New Zealand and discovered that we had certainly acclimatised to the hot weather in Australia! In the world of travel, we discovered so much beauty.
I personally discovered a lot about myself which ties into enlightening too. I realised that writing my travel blog and hoping to do it full time wasn’t what I felt truly aligned to. I felt like it was making me miss special moments in our travels and decided it was time to take a back seat and rebrand, which is still ongoing! I discovered that being back on a permanent nursing roster really isn’t for me. I realised I want to live my life and help others in a different way that doesn’t follow the tradition nursing route which is okay. Not everyone has to follow the same path and I know I’m meant to be on the one I’m choosing right now.
All of these things together have made 2019 a challenging year. We’ve decided exactly where we want to be in the future and how we want to travel from now on. Making decisions about our careers and how we want to feel in the coming year has come with its challenges. Luckily for Dave and I, we usually agree on most things which leads me onto love.
I’m so lucky that no matter where I am in life or the world I always feel loved. I have a partner who constantly stands by me no matter what wild decisions I make or how many times I change my mind. No matter how many mental health struggles I face he’s there no matter what. As are my beautiful friends and family back home. I know they are only a phone call which makes me feel so loved every single day.
As soon as I saw these 5 words on paper I knew exactly why they had shown up. This exercise got me so pumped to think about some words that I want to describe 2020. I knew that with all the reflection I’d been doing throughout the year that it wouldn’t take me long to conjure up some words to think about going into 2020.
My 5 Words for 2020
I have many hopes and dreams for 2020 and getting them down on paper (or screen) makes them feel all the more real and exciting. So here my words, Joy, Presence, Love, Business, Simple. They get me feeling all sorts of tingly in the pit of my stomach just thinking about what they mean.
I want 2020 to be filled with Joy. Though 2019 has been joyous in terms of travel I want 2020 to be the year that I find joy in everything I do. I want to make more time for the little things that bring me joy like drinking my brew at the perfect temperature, journaling every damn day, making time for reading and crafts, making more time to boulder, take long walks, basically making time for everything I love in my life but especially the small things. We all know how much joy travel brings me and I will be travelling a lot in 2020 but it’ll be a lot different to how I’ve approached travel this year. Which leads me onto being more present.
I’ve done a lot of mindset work this year about being present in the here and now. Not worrying about what tomorrow may bring or what happened yesterday. I’m learning to take more time away from my phone and focus my attention on what’s going on around me. This Christmas Day just gone by was a perfect example of how far I’ve come in terms of being more present in my life.
‘Love’ I think speaks for itself. I want to cherish those around me who love me unconditionally and who I love back. Making more time for family, friends and more time to love me. I want to give more attention to what my mind and body needs by nourishing it wholeheartedly. It’s easy to take our loved ones and ourselves for granted so it’s time to appreciate everybody that little bit more this year. Being away from home certainly makes you appreciate those that will always be there for you no matter where you are.
Business! This is a fun and scary one. Some of you may know that I’ve dove into a new area of nursing recently which is looking at the mental health of nurses. It’s no secret or surprise that nurses hold one of the top spots when it comes to becoming burnt out and I want to explore why this is. I’ve almost given up nursing over the last 2 years due to feeling completely burnt out with the career, no matter where in the world I was. I’ve learnt that we can help ourselves a lot but also that some things in the nursing world need to change in order for our nurses to live healthier, more joyful and purposeful lives. I’ve found a passion in this work and I’m currently taking a life coaching course myself in order to help other nurses, like me. I have big plans for 2020 so watch this space!
And finally simple, I feel myself taking a huge exhale as I type that word because it resonates exactly with how I want 2020 to look in every aspect. This year I’ve learnt that life doesn’t have to be complicated and stressful. If you choose it can be slow, simple and easy. Work can be easy and joy can be prioritised. I want to do things that I feel aligned too in 2020 because when you feel aligned with what you’re doing, man does it come easy! From blogging to saving money, I feel more aligned than I ever have and honestly, I feel like life is pretty breezy right now and that’s how I want it to stay.
So that’s my little reflection based on my words of the year and how I want 2020 to look for me! I wish you all the happiness in the New Year and remember to try and stay clear of all the noise that the New Year brings! You don’t need to change anything unless you want to! If you want, let me know what your words for the next year in the comments below!
It’s been two years since we sat around the table lapping up all the traditions of an English Christmas, family, turkey, laughter, wine, children giggling and adults squabbling. I for one have always been a lover of tradition. Waking up on Christmas morning with my mum and brother launching ourselves down the stairs (yes even at 21) to see if the big man had delivered. Of course, like every year before that, he had. The 25th of December is my favourite day on the calendar and the day that always holds the most magic. So naturally, spending our last two Christmases on the road, on the other side of the world has been anything but traditional.
Last year we celebrated in Australia and whilst all of our intentions were good, the day ended up passing by in a blur of beaches, sweating whilst cooking, trying to make everyone else happy kind of a blur. So this year, despite the absence of our loved ones I was determined to make it a much more magical and joyful Christmas. The aim was to be as present as possible, take the day as it came and enjoy every single minute.
So, as I begin to type this out on the evening of Christmas Day 2019, I must say that today has been one of the most delightful days I’ve had since we left England 2 years ago. This post is more of a memory for myself to read back on and indulge on the love I felt today but I hope you enjoy it too.
A Slow Run Up to Christmas
I’ve always been a bit of a planner. I swear by having a good plan and in my career as a nurse, I love working through a process to get to answer or at least try to. In my travels over the last couple of years, I’ve planned everything from which roads to take to how much every detail is going to cost. For me, Christmas has never been any different. Especially last year when we found ourselves hosting for some friends. Though I didn’t vocalise my specific plans I certainly had a timely plan for how I thought the day should go and for the most part, the day went quite swimmingly but I felt like I was tied to time. This is a huge area of my mindset that I’ve worked hard on this year so for this Christmas, I knew it was time to ditch the plans and see what happens
I was told that Wellington, although it’s been blessed with sunshine for the last few Christmases, can be very hit and miss with the weather. It’s either scorching or miserable and you never really can plan until the day or very last minute. This notion was pretty great when it came to me wanting to play things by ear. We were either getting a hot beach day kinda Christmas or a cosy cuddly one inside. Both sound idyllic so I let mother nature decide on that one.
It was this decision that lead us to enjoy a slow run-up to Christmas, in a good way. I didn’t do any food shopping until the 23rd and only had cards to send to England this year. Instead of getting myself all stressed about how I wasn’t sending presents I was comforted by the fact that I’d made a decision regarding spending that was what we needed this Christmas. It also meant I spent extra time savouring the presents I did buy for David as I really do love Christmas shopping aspect of Christmas.
14 Degrees, Cloudy and Windy…
As the big day got nearer it was evident that a BBQ on the beach for two wasn’t going to be the likely winner. Instead, we opted for a day inside full of delicious home-cooked food and board games.
Creating New Traditions
With the fridge fully stocked with food and wine, we were ready for that cosy indoor Christmas for two. The best thing about Christmas with a blank canvas is the opportunity to create new traditions. As the sun crept in through the gap in the curtains we made a piping hot brew to snuggle down with back in bed. As the big kids that we are, we then opened our presents in bed with our brews to hand, Micheal Buble playing in the background. There was something especially childhood like about opening presents in bed despite having never done that before. I don’t know if we’ll keep this notion as a ‘tradition’ but for this year it was certainly special.
A tradition I do want to keep though is the Christmas morning walk we enjoyed post breakfast. After a generous serving of croissants, we took to the outdoors for some fresh sea air along with plenty of other fellow travellers. The harbour front in Welly was busier than I expected it but the vibes were wonderful. Smiles shared amongst strangers and the occasional ‘Merry Christmas’ at those brave enough. We nodded at the campers in the car parks feeling like we had a mutual connection whilst being away from home at Christmas. So, when we do return home to England I want Christmas Day walks to be a part of our life – a great excuse to get a puppy right?
After we got home we got stuck into the Prosecco and started on creating the best ever Christmas dinner – with Jamie Oliver’s help of course! We pulled it off pretty well I must say and here’s the proof:
I’m not sure we are up to hosting the more than the two of us just yet but I loved getting in the kitchen making everything from scratch. They often say. You don’t enjoy the food as much if you’re the chefs but today we felt nothing but proud and totally got stuck-in! It’s safe to say. We’ll be eating Turkey for the rest of January but that’s fine by me!
We finished our Christmas Day off with the new tradition of catching up with our loved ones over FaceTime as they begin their Christmas Days in the United Kingdom. Seeing the joy on my little cousin’s faces after they’ve opened all their presents is enough to keep me smiling into the New Year. No matter how far away we are family will always be the most important part of Christmas time for me.
Boxing Day – Bike Rides with a Sea Breeze
After the slow festivities on Christmas Day, it was only right we continued these onto Boxing Day. I felt so lucky to have both days off work this year which as a nurse is so very rewarding. Dave was also off which meant we really got to celebrate Christmas together fully. As the sun shone over Wellington there was only one thing for it, bike riding!
I’ve wanted to head out to Pencarrow Lighthouse for a while now but the wind that engulfs this part of New Zealand always puts us off! Despite the wind though on Boxing Day, we headed out for some fresh air and much-needed exercise! Since travelling Oceania I haven’t been able to get on board with Christmas in the sunshine but on Boxing Day it was welcomed. We rode beside the sea, our skin soaking up the sunshine whilst our legs went round and round.
It was the perfect end, to a perfect Christmas.
Taking Christmas into the New Year
This Christmas Day has been exactly how I want our life to look in the New Year. I want 2020 to be slower, more joyful, creative, full of love and most importantly I want to be more present. It’s something I’ve learnt to do this year and I’m getting better and better at it as each day comes. Less screen time, listening harder and being quieter, is exactly how I’m doing it and I must admit the difference to my mood and mental health is remarkable. Living life in the fast lane used to excite me and a year or two ago and was all I wanted. Thinking back to those thoughts reminds me how okay, it is to change my mind whenever I want to, about anything.
I hope that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas whether your day was filled with festive family fun, or simply you and a loved one drinking a hot cup of cocoa.
Love at Christmas and Beyond,
Don’t forget if you want a more mindful start to 2020 then subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Mid-Week Check-in. You can find more about it here but essentially every Wednesday I’ll be bringing you a dose of inspiration as a prompt to check in on yourself and your week so far. I love writing them and I hope that you’ll enjoy reading them just as much.
This is probably the first year that I’ve ever conducted a life reflection. I actually used the fantastic workbook created by Sophie Cliff, Reflect and Grow. It’s a wonderful resource to really hone in on what kind of year 2019 was for you and what you’d like 2020 to look like. I have some pretty big ideas for 2020 which I’m so excited about. But I also know to achieve some of these big dreams there have to be some bad habits that I need to let go of and leave behind on December 31st. So, in true blogger fashion, I thought I’d share them all with you today, here are the 5 habits I want to leave behind in 2019!
I would also love to know if there’s any habit you’re leaving behind this year, let me know in the comments.
Not Believing in Myself
For some crazy reason, I’ve never been a big self believer. I say this is crazy because there isn’t anything that I’ve ever set out to do and haven’t achieved. Like honestly, when I make a list of everything I’ve achieved in my life thus far, it’s pretty incredible. So why do I struggle so much with believing in myself? Well, I think it has something to do with being a people pleaser and wanting to be liked by everyone. Unfortunately, I’ve learnt the hard way to find out that it’s impossible to be liked by everyone. I certainly don’t like everyone I meet, and you really cannot please everyone either.
But what I’m also coming to learn is that it doesn’t matter who else you are pleasing if you’re not pleasing yourself.
We are taught by society that loving yourself comes with an ugly ego and I’m realising that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s time to start believing in my dreams because only I’m capable of making them happen. And I didn’t make this far in life by accident. I’ve travelled to Australia and New Zealand within the last two years because I made it happen!
Using Negative Language Towards Myself
I’m getting rid of the ‘I can’t’s and replacing them with ‘how can I learn how to do this’. I’m replacing the ‘people like me don’t do things like this’ with ‘I am capable of anything’. The ‘I’m not good enough’s are turning into ‘I am worthy’. Get the picture? I’m certainly guilty of talking negatively about myself to myself. Even for the simplest things like bumping into the chair by calling myself clumsy instead of thinking ah maybe next time I’ll walk a little slower through the stock room that resembles a death trap.
The words we use about ourselves can have a harrowing effect on our mental health. I wouldn’t dream of calling one of my friends or colleagues ugly, stupid, an idiot so why do I think it’s okay to call myself it? Well, it isn’t.
As I get older my friendship group gets smaller and smaller. Probably because I refuse to keep company that doesn’t make me feel good. I’ve had a habit of doing this in the past and holding onto toxic people and friendships. Anyone who doesn’t believe in your dreams or cheerlead you on isn’t a friend. People have a funny way of showing us they love us sometimes but at the end of the day, I only want people in my life who cheer me on, believe in me and make time for me. Being a friend, wife, daughter, a partner is a two-way street. I’m so done with making efforts with others and not getting the favour returned. Brutal, I know!
I’ve always been a bit of ‘sod it, why the hell not’ type of gal. This, for the most part, is a great personality trait to have and something I cherish often, however, one area of my life I don’t need that attitude is impulse buying! I have a terrible habit of wanting something and just buying it often with very little thought. I’d love to spend a little less and save a little more next year so I’m going to make a conscious effort before buying things/spending money.
Self Sabotage Stories
I often tell myself and others that I have a vivid imagination. This comes in pretty handy when I’m writing blog posts or creating other types of content but it also means I create some crazy situations in my head too. My mind often goes into overdrive when I think I might have upset someone or done something wrong. For example, I see that someone hasn’t replied to an email or message and of course that automatically equals pure hatred from them to me right? When in actual fact they probably just haven’t looked at their phone or simply forgot! The negative stories we tell ourselves often never come to light so in reality we just worry about a whole lot of nothing!
So there you have it. The 5 habits I want to leave behind in 2019. Perhaps this time next year I’ll let you all know how it went. One thing is for sure though, 2020 is going to be filled with a whole lot of love, joy and smiles.
If you’re reading this when it goes out then I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! And for anyone else I’m just glad you found your way to this page no matter what time of year it is! Remember, It’s never too late to try and swap out some of your life long habits for healthier ones. I hope that you enjoyed this little post if you did let me know and of course, please share it with your friends if you think they might like it!