TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER

TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER

I might have mentioned once or twice that winter is not my favorite season ūüėČ

In fairness, it’s not just a dislike for the weather, the darkness, the grey skies or the cold. I do dislike all of them individually and of course, everything together is just like being sneezed by the devil. ¬† A devil with a nasty cold. And loads of snots…

But as well as the external nastiness, winter has a terrible habit to get me down. Every year, after the Halloween weekend, when the hour goes back, I feel very unmotivated, crankier, no energy and generally low in moral and energy.

I usually take vitamin D supplements during winter, but the supplements alone are not enough to have a smooth and balanced internal winter period. This year, however, I have been doing other things and I am delighted to report that this is the most emotionally balanced winter in a long time, and that is no small achievement.

Nope. I have not migrated to sunnier countries, despite thinking about it every rainy day. I have not got a SAD light either, although last year I seriously thought about investing in one of those lamps.

None of that. Investment has been minimum and yet the results have been amazing.

Do you want to know what I have done? These are my…

TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER

Vitamin D supplements

TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER

This is Step 1 – the most important one. Most people in Ireland suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It’s not just due to the lack of daylight in winter, but the fact that even during those few hours of daylight, the sun vitamin does not get absorbed by our skin because of the clouds.
Now, what I am about to say might be controversial, but here we go. I truly believe that we should stop using creams with SPF in winter!!! You don’t need it. Most cosmetic creams have a minimum of SPF15 in them. This is all very well and good during the summer or if you live in California all year around, but here in Ireland… in winter, you don’t need it! Try to get as much as natural vitamin D as you can by making it easy for your skin to absorb it.
Anyway, I leave that with you.

Fresh Air

TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER: Walking

When I went back to work part-time during the summer, I started walking in and out as parking in town would cost me a small fortune and it would not be very cost-effective. I soon started feeling the benefits of the walk. Not only was I getting fresh air and much-needed exercise, but it was also time by myself that I would not otherwise have during the rest of the day between work and family. It was time by myself to listen to music, organise my thoughts, listen to a podcast or simply enjoy and appreciate my surroundings and the people I meet every day on my walk. It has been very good for my head.

 See-through umbrella

TIPS TO SURVIVE WINTER: SeeThrough umbrella

Yes, I really just said that, but let me explain. It’s not as random as it sounds. As it rains a lot over here (understatement of the year!!) and I was walking to work, I needed a suitable umbrella that would survive the journey and see-through umbrellas were the obvious choice because you can lower them as much as you can in order to cover all of your head and yet you can see all other pedestrians thus avoiding unnecessary eye removal to strangers. Furthermore (oh yes, their wonders do not cease here) you can also see the sky which, as grey as it may be, is still a far better option than the dark interior of an umbrella. It makes a massive difference!

Trying to find a life balance

Tips to survive winter

I have spent a lot of my winter try to find the right¬† work-life-family-fun-friends balance. As our circumstances as a family change, the balance needs to be constantly adjust. Although¬†I have not yet¬†found the perfect equilibrium, and I can’t say that I will ever have it, I am constantly striving to find it and trying to keep some sort of balance going. This has been one of my priority tasks this winter.
I believe that the simple fact of trying to achieve said balance, has led me to make better decisions over all in terms of making efforts to see friends, organise events with family, have a date night or go to bed early. An ongoing process but a process nevertheless.

So, as you can see, these tips are not hard, they require very little investment, and they are easy to follow. They are all small things. But this very short list of silly little things are responsible for me having one of the best winters in a long time.

I have been in great form, in a very positive state of mind that has brought a lot of peace to my heart and our home.

They often say it is the small things…
They must be right…
I will keep going….

Chaotic Itzi

MENTAL HEALTH : ON COMPLAINING

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t been writing on the blog that often lately.¬†I mentioned¬†that the main radio-silence gap during the Easter period¬†was due to the fact that there were some problems with the kitchen. The problems started small but they kept coming, chipping away at my mental health.

I am usually an understanding person who understands that more than likely, in any given project, there is going to be a hiccup or two along the way. I am usually ready for that. I can cope with that. It is when the people you have deposited your trust and your hard-earned money to do not take responsibility for their mistakes, when they don’t seem to care about solving it and it is left to you to resolve everything, that my blood starts boiling. Lack of professionalism and total disregard for customers is something I can not abide.

Updating the kitchen @ OrganisingchaosBlogSo, what is there to do when this happens? Complain.

Don’t get me wrong. I am ok with complaining. Maybe I should rephrase that as complaining carries so many negative attributes. I am ok with letting the other party know, in a friendly and polite manner, that things haven’t worked out as expected. Constructive feedback. Usually, you get a lovely reaction, an apology and a solution. But sometimes it doesn’t really work out like that.

Sometimes, they just ignore you, they don’t call you back, they apologize but do nothing about it… so the mistakes keep happening and they keep chipping at you, affecting your daily live. That is not acceptable. Usually at this point, one has 2 options: Walk away or Stay with it.

Washing dishes on the bath during work @ OrganisingChaosBlog

Walking away is usually the smart choice.¬†Put it behind you as a bad experience; try to salvage your emotional and mental health; move on; nothing is worth your mental health. Unfortunately, we don’t always have this option. In this very example, I had to keep dealing with the company as I needed my kitchen finished, I had no choice. I had to stay with it.

So what does staying with it do to you? You need to keep chasing, complaining, double checking everything. Stress levels go through the roof and there is a knot in your stomach: a mixture of anger, upset and frustration. That is not a feeling that anyone wants to constantly have for weeks. It is awful. It eats away at you. It is not healthy. It affects your mental health, your emotional balance and your physical health.

We had a terrible experience with our kitchen. I ended up resenting them. Resenting them for turning me into an angry person for a while. For making me cry. For putting my family under unnecessary stress. For not caring. But I am letting go. I am trying. Resent is not something you want to harbor within you either. It is not a good feeling. I am trying to stay positive and move on. Put it all behind. For me. For my family. For my mental health.

Chaotic Itzi

SPRING CLEANING : DECLUTTER YOUR MIND

Spring is here and with it the traditional and infamous Spring Cleaning!

declutter your mind - OrganisingChaosBlog

Spring cleaning¬†is all about cleaning and decluttering. We need to purge the house of all the things we don’t use… the dirty, the bad and the ugly. Once we have done this exercise, the house feels cleaner, airier, and we all feel far more comfortable in it. So, if we do this with the house, why don’t we do it with our minds?

Think about it. An average person has about 70,000 thoughts a day! I nearly fell of the chair when I found out there were that many! That is an insane amount of thoughts, don’t you think? Of course, not all those thoughts are deep thoughts, at least not in case! Thoughts can go from “what a lovely skirt” to “I need to clean the bathroom” to “5 more minutes in bed please” to “why are humans to awful to other humans?”.

Thoughts come and go thought our heads. Not all of them are real thoughts, for example, the thoughts you have while¬†watching a film about the film. They are not real people and they are not real situations, and yet our brains don’t know the difference between “real thoughts” and “not real thoughts”, they are all thoughts keeping the brain busy.

declutter your mind - Organising Chaos Blog

When we are tired, worried, anxious… all those thoughts come flooding into our head at once. Real and not real. And thoughts don’t present themselves with a rational argument,¬†of course not! They just add to your worries, to your anxiety and you are too busy or anxious to know which ones of those thoughts are real and which ones they are not and it all gets very scary.

I never thought about thoughts. I never thought about anxiety or panic attacks. I was a very happy-go-lucky kind of girl keeping it all together. Kind of. Until I wasn’t.¬†What I learnt from my experience, is that we all need to declutter our minds every so often. Make the flow of thoughts stop. Think about nothing so you can slow down and start from the beginning, slowing down our thoughts so our brains don’t fry.

Running to declutter your mind - OrganisingchaosBlogDecluttering your mind is easy. Some people do it in a natural way by going for runs a couple times a week, by writing, hill walking, cleaning, reading… For others, like me,¬†we need to work at it, find time in a day for yourself to do something. I usually meditate every morning. It doesn’t take long and it helps me slow down and structure my day. It works for me. ¬†It helps me being more patient, more understanding…

We are always so busy and our mental health is so delicate that we need to make sure to pamper it, to look after it and to nurture it. For ourselves and for others. So take little time to yourself, to declutter your mind.

Give it a go.

Chaotic Itzi

OrganisingchaosBlog

ON COMPROMISING

We are always compromising to a greater or lesser extent. When choosing where to go out with friends, when deciding what to do at the weekend, when buying anything… always compromising with others.

It is a bit lesson that we try to teach to our kids. If they want to watch a film but not the same one, they are always told to have a chat about it and reach a compromise. Maybe if one chooses to watch what the other wants, he can later on get¬†make a decision about something else… It is an important lesson to learn in live – compromising.

But what about learning to compromise with ourselves? This is a lesson I have been learning lately.

On compromising - OrganisingChaosBlog

Sometimes it is strange for me to look back at 3 years ago and see how much I have changed and different I am now. How different my life is! I never thought I could change this much in my mid thirties/early forties.

Four years ago I thought I had everything figured out. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was working full-time, from home at that point; I had two amazing¬†boys and a wonderful husband; I was cooking super healthy food, all from scratch, all home-made; I was supporting my husband realize his musical dreams; I had a clean, tidy and beautiful house;¬†brilliant friends…

On compromising - OrganisingChaosBlog

As I was working from home, whenever I left my office to get a coffee, I would put on a wash, empty the dishwasher,¬†hoover, mop…¬†do something in the house. During my lunch I would cook dinner and then get a sandwich and eat it at my desk. When I finished work, I would collect the kids from childcare, feed them, play with them, have some family time, put them to bed, get the laptop and work for another 3 hours. The kids were only 2 and 4 so weekends were very busy and intense. Some weekends MR B had gigs which meant I was on my own with the kids.¬†Life with small kids is busy and tough. Also rewarding,¬†don’t¬†get me wrong, but tough. It gets easier¬†as they get older. Much easier.

I crashed. There was a serious of events at work that brought things to a head but the reality was that I was juggling too many balls. I suffered with anxiety and panic attacks. It was a really tough and dark time for me and my family.  There are days that I feel like it is all behind me now and there are days where I still feel extremely fragile but it is about finding the balance and learning to cope.

On compromising @ Organising Chaos Blog

The reality is that I had to learn to compromise with myself. Expectations versus Reality. Compromise that the boys can eat a ready-to-go or pre-made meal once in a blue moon because everything else is home-made and healthy; compromise¬†that the house can stay messy few more days but I will sit down and relax and no one will care; compromise that spending a morning reading in bed is not a waste of time but good for the soul… so many compromises.

All these things are of course facts that I already knew. Not only did I know them but I would support them and encourage other people to do them! Of course! But for some reason I would not follow my own advice.¬†For some reason I wanted the perfect life, the one that doesn’t exist, with the perfect family, the perfect house, the organised home, the family walks in the park with the sun shining! The thing is that I didn’t even know that that is what I wanted, what I was reaching for! I don’t want to blame the media for selling me that perfect life. There are plenty of things for sale that I don’t buy. I just simply got caught up in the rat race and, although it is perfectly fine for some people and it works out great for them, I found out the hard way that it¬†is not for me.

Everyday I have to make compromises. The harder ones are with myself. It is easier to compromise with others, ok, not all the time, but it is more embedded in us. Compromise with oneself is a behavior learnt late in life, at least for me, and that is what I struggle with the most.

Chaotic Itzi