I feel sad – there, I’ve said it! I’m sitting here in my very dishevelled office surrounded by piles of things that need tidying away, feeling sad.
I feel sad that Christmas is over and family times are done.
I feel sad that I can’t munch chocolates through the day without feeling guilty.
I feel sad that the suitcases are packed away until another season.
I feel quite alarmed that in the 10 days we were away, all sorts of nasty spiders have moved in to our cottage and made themselves very comfortable. Off with you ….
Holidays are wonderful, but short lived. We count down to our time away, it seems to whizz by and then all we are left is memories, and plenty of photos.
But we really need our breaks. We’re not wired to just keep working.
That’s why every week includes a Sabbath. Even if you don’t call it that – most of us work 5 days or 6, and then have a rest day to spend with family and friends, relaxing, doing fun stuff, or just napping!
It’s the same with holidays. When I was employed on a full time contract, I would get 5 weeks off plus bank holidays. Employment law is there because we need a break – roughly 1 week off in every 10, although most of us take a 2-3 week break during the summer.
I read recently that when we are on holiday, our bodies and minds only really start to properly relax on day 9 or 10. Being a bit geeky and over analytical, I tried this out last summer in Tuscany. It’s true. On day 10 I felt noticeably different. My brain started to properly switch off. I found I could read my “bestselling crime thriller”, be totally engrossed and not want to put it down. Something I rarely do at home, and found difficult even in days 1-8.
If you’ve been following my instagram you’ll know that my husband and I have just reluctantly returned from an Irish family Christmas. We’ve had a wonderful time with my parents, sister, nephew, niece and little Harvey – the latest addition to the family. He’s just 6 months, 100% sausage and is a great cuddler.
So just a short time after landing in a dark and damp Liverpool airport, I’m sitting here with my favourite coffee mug thinking about the year ahead and what will be?
Deep breath …
Friends, post-Christmas blues are real so we need to get a grip and find our joy – once again – in the ordinariness of life.
Let’s call it a “wake up call” for change.
Here’s my 6 new year goals to make us feel better.
1 MAKE A LIST OF THE THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE IN YOUR LIFE
We all know the things we’re dissatisfied with, the things we’ve been trying to ignore and hope they’ll go away.
It might be big stuff like a bad relationship or a difficult boss.
Maybe, like me, you need to exercise more, sleep better and have more energy. You’d be surprised how much sitting down is involved in cake decorating. Moving from the mixer to the desk to the sink really doesn’t qualify as daily moderate exercise!
Whatever your thing is – or maybe you have a whole list of things? Write them down (this helps make it real) and then do something about it.
2 MAKE A LIST OF THE THINGS YOU DO LIKE IN YOUR LIFE
Think about things that make you feel happy – even just small things – and do more of them.
I’m so grateful that we have a super local coffee shop, with award winning roasters both listed in the North Wales Coffee Guide. This is one of my happy places where I love to relax, write, and watch the world go by. This makes me happy and inspires me to be positive, so I’ll be spending more time in Providero.
I love to walk and we live right on the Great Orme in Llandudno. We were very sad to lose our little dachshund, Henry, a few months back. It’s hard to talk about as he was so special to us, but his aches and pains towards the end meant less walking for all of us. So I plan to walk more, and get fit again.
Eating better is an obvious thing that we could all do better. When you bake and decorate all day, you’ve just finished cleaning down the dusting of icing sugar on everything, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a wholesome meal from scratch. So my plan is to take a few tips from the Italians – simple ingredients, cooked well. How hard can it be? Rustic soups, healthy salads, fresh fruit desserts – watch this space. Also I got a new cookbook from a certain Jamie Oliver, so I’ve really no excuse when there’s only 5 ingredients required.
3 MAKE PLANS
Make plans – but not for your next holiday. It’s nice to have things to look forward to but try not to live your life from one holiday to the next, or you’ll never truly enjoy the in-between bits. Plan day-trips to fun places, go shopping and treat yourself to a new bobble hat, visit a food fayre and buy something tasty for dinner.
My short-term plans are
- to get my camera out more at weekends and practice photographing things that aren’t cake!
- Get involved in more networking events locally and catch up with biz friends
- More visits to family in Ireland mainly for puppy cuddling.
- Notice the changes in the seasons, the winter sunsets and the morning frosts – and don’t miss them by being too busy.
- Be an earlier riser and get more done in my day.
4 MAKE A PHOTO BOOK
Most of us take a zillion iPhone photos on holiday and never do anything with them. So why not spend a little time sorting out your favourites and getting them printed up into a nice coffee table book that you can pass round the room when friends come round.
I’ve been using Snapfish for years and love the hard backed books they produce. There’s lots of book sizes and layout options so you can make it exactly the way you want it. Or you could try LALALAB where I recently ordered one of their photo boxes for a gift – really impressed with the quality and service.
5 MAKE SPACE
This is my best and hardest advice. Declutter.
I spend a lot of time thinking about decluttering and looking around my house at what needs to be done. Getting on with it is my problem.
We live in an original tramway cottage with breath-taking views across the Bay. Its perfect in many ways, but it’s quite cosy. Tidiness is key for me and regular clearing up is a must to keep me organised. I’m always looking for clever storage solutions to keep the things I need close to hand but I’m also a little bit of a hoarder – anyone else?
I heard some great advice recently….
Live Simply. Unless you love it, it’s useful or it’s necessary – chuck it away.
If you want to know more about this great approach to all of our junk, look up Emily Ley and order her new book – The Simplified Life
6 MAKE TIME
It might sound a bit cheesy and a tad obvious but we’d do well to BE PRESENT more in our lives – in body and mind.
Surely our friends and family deserve our full attention? We’re all guilty of having half conversations whilst snapping photos or replying to texts. We might hear everything they say, but we’re not really present, or properly engaged.
Day dreaming, planning our next holiday and pouring over our photo book is all fine and good, but most of the time we’re at home doing everyday stuff in a very ordinary way. One of the down sides of social media is that we can fall into the comparison trap and think that everyone else has a better life than we do. Remember that Instagram isn’t real – it’s curated, arranged, perfectly lit and often photoshopped.
Your life is real. It’s the only one you’ve got and your family and friends need you to be present today and every day or time will pass us all by.
New Year is a great time for change don’t you agree? Don’t make New Year’s Resolutions though, try New Year goals – intentional goal planning for people that aren’t great with resolutions. Make changes that really matter to you and will bring more joy and less stress to your life.
What will you change? I’d love to hear from you.
So it’s bye from me, and bye from him zzzzzzz