Tub on the Run

Batten down the hatches


From the little trends that I can recognise in me, I know that stress typically sees me fall face first into some sort of sweet, whether it’s lemon sherberts, Krispy Kreme doughnuts or chocolate. I would say that probably 90% of my stress comes from work. I’m lucky that actually, work aside, I live a relatively stress-free life – I’m lucky to have a wonderful family, my health (albeit not optimal) is fine, I don’t have much in the way of finance worries, and there are no other big life changes on the way. And I should probably say that stress isn’t always a bad thing for me. Like many, I do pretty well on a challenge and a little stress can help move me towards a deadline.

But there is a tipping point where stress becomes a problem.

This week, my friend and colleague resigned. I thought she was joking when she told me to start off with and that she was just going to smile, say “gotcha” and bounce off with our coffee mugs to get the morning brew. I stopped what I was doing, looked at her and knew she was serious. I am so pleased for her, as this is just a brilliant opportunity and she’d be a fool to turn it down, but at the same time, I will be really sorry to see her leave my team. As we talked about her new role and how it was going to be strange not working together, I waited for the wave of argh to crash over me. It didn’t come immediately.

Now that I have had time to digest the news, I can see a lot of what is about to come. She’s our team’s administrator and as her supervisor, I can see the amount heading towards my desk as I also know that we won’t recruit her replacement in time. The work itself isn’t overly complicated, there is just a lot of it alongside looking after my own “thinky” work (which is pretty high at the moment with some projects I’m loving being part of). Okay, it’s not an ideal situation (for me), but it is rare that I have this much notice to get my bum in gear and effectively batten down the hatches so that I can weather the impending storm.

Learning to dance in the rain

(Photo credit: Jib on Flickr)

Given that I have a couple of weeks to put some plans in place, here is what I am planning to make sure I don’t end up a completely broken and grey haired by my birthday in August.

Get to bed for 10:30pm

I’m not too bad a sleeper generally, but like most people, when there is a lot going on, I struggle to switch off.  One thing I have done pretty well at recently is trying to shut off the amount of blue light I am looking at from around 9:30pm, as that has helped me “calm down”. It’s tough breaking the habit of many years though!

Take some time out while we’re still a full team

We become a team of 3 (from the current 4) in mid-May. If there is one thing I can to do help myself, it will be to take a couple of days out to do the stuff like a real good run through of housework, catch up on all the washing, finish clearing the boxes that are still floating around from our move last year, and create a proper work space. I use our spare bedroom, but I need to make it a nicer space to work. Any time that I can spend doing the mundane things now (or shortly) will stop me stressing out about it later down the line.

Get some fresh air, stretch a bit

I work a desk job. As my workload increases, I end up staying at my desk literally all day, and then take work home and work on the sofa. My fresh air exposure literally will be walking from the car to the office and back again. I plan to get outside, even if it is for a walk around the car park as I need to. I also want to get back into the habit of stretching as I really notice that movement is harder when I have been sat down all day. I fully intend to start my Fitness Blender videos in the not too distant future, but I am not there right now.

Know that I can’t do it all (and that’s okay)

I hate the idea of having to ask for help, let alone actually asking for it. Yet as soon as I can see someone struggling, I’ll offer support. Reciprocation sees me shrug it off with a “thank you, but I’m really okay” as I chow down my 6th biscuit in half an hour and peek up from my unintentional paper fort. Part of it depends on who the offer comes from – I don’t like my manager asking, as I feel it’s a failure, and another colleague would offer only to turn the knife later. So it’s time to get a bit selfish and put what I am working on first and make sure that I am prioritising well, and if it isn’t a good use of my time, it’s got to go!

It is important that while I need to understand that I can’t do it all, I do need to spend time doing the things I enjoy, whether that is blogging, some sewing, singing out loud (and out of tune probably), or getting outside. The weekends need to count – getting up and living life beyond my sofa.

What have you got coming up over the next few weekends? Matt and I are headed to Cardiff to watch Judgement Day soon, and we have my parents’ birthdays to look forward to.

Author: Steph

Blogger learning to live a healthier life, losing weight and starting to run.

7 thoughts on “Batten down the hatches

  1. I really agree with getting fresh air- I am lucky that I get some at work (although most teachers hate going onto the playground!)- but I try to have a walk or a run in the evening. Yesterday that didn’t happen though- it was pouring with rain when I got home and I had a lot of work so I just got on with that instead. I will make up for it at the weekend though! We are doing a treasure hunt for my mum’s birthday today so that will be a lot of fresh air!

  2. Working in an office too I fully appreciate being able to go for a walk at lunchtime – just to Tesco, nothing special. But it’s that in between bit where I leave the office and walk to the shop that is blissful. It just allows me outside in the fresh air to get SPACE. Staring at a PC all day is not healthy!
    I’ve just worked out you can set a timer on your iPhone to trigger a yellow backlight to come on instead of the usual blue (it’s in the settings). I scheduled it from 8.45-5am and it’s perfect as I was always worried about it keeping me awake. To be honest though I tend to read my Kindle before I go to sleep rather than use my phone…
    Sounds like you’re dealing with this upcoming stress well though by planning ahead. Hope it’s not too stressful for you though.

  3. Definitely agreed with all those points, but especiallyyyy the last one. I’ve always had the tendency to want to try to do everything in the world, but learning to recognize that that’s not always possible (and that that’s perfectly okay) has made a world of a difference!!

  4. Also totally agree with the last one, I am the same! I keep saying yes to work until I realise there is no time for life left and I am a gibbering wreck! 😕
    I have been feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate lately, and couldn’t see what I could cut back on to make things manageable….house renovation, wedding planning, away nearly every weekend between now and our wedding to attend other people’s plus stag and hen do’s, my regular Mon-Wed job, my blog, and masses of freelance editing work to pay for it all!! But then I realised, once the bedroom is done, the renovations can take a back seat for a few months. Yes, we will be living in a tip, but we have been for ages and I will at least have a nice bedroom! And then all the money I earn can go to the wedding, and also I can have evenings back to wedding plan. Phew. I feel lucky I can give up one thing on my plate…this is rarely the case! When I can’t, doing all the above (esp sleeping!) is a big help! Good luck with it all! X

    • Oh wow Anna – yes – that is a huge amount on your plate! I remember wedding planning being stressful enough as it was at times, and we weren’t thinking about moving/decorating. I hope you manage to carve out a weekend at home, chilling out between now and your wedding! Tackle everything else when you get to it, but your bedroom sounds like it is going to be gorgeous (chandelier on the wedding gift list? 🙂 ). Good luck to you too! x

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