Life-related objectives following a vacation

I just returned back from a family visit – it was great!

I found a chance to see my family and friends, and I have had a great time. Food, conversations, and visited places were all awesome. I am glad I have done this trip!

I also found a chance to stay away from work, especially in the last half of the vacation. I did not access and respond to emails, which was a blessing! I like this improvement in my approach to work.

My work-induced stress levels were down to zero as soon as I stepped on the plane. I still feel positive and relax. I hope to be able to respond to work related feelings and pressures better. I want to convince myself that I can do this.

One of the best things about having a break from the routine and engage in activities and thoughts that are different than what I usually have (mostly work related issues) is that it is a good opportunity to formulate new plans to remove the negativity of the past activities and have a chance to improve things that do not go so well. Today is a good day to do these:

Aims related to personal life:

1. Going back to frugal and abundant life-style.

I have been quite successful with this a couple of years back and then I broke it with junk food and can-fare expenses… I want to go back to that as of today.

My specific aims are:

  • to spend no more than 100 bucks a week on grocery and other needs (cleaning products, personal care products, etc.). This does not include medication and health-care related expenses (e.g. physiotherapy)
  • to utilize what I already have (dried food, frozen food, etc) to reduce my food cost, while not sacrificing from healthy and diverse food
  • to have another shopping freeze for flower pots, shoes/clothes, books (occasional ones are okay) and furniture
  • to keep all other frugal activities I already have (e.g. use of coupons/discounts, points, etc.) to maximize the value of my money
  • not to make any pre-payments unless an unexpected sum of money finds my way. This is to ensure that my chequing account will remain at a healthy level. I feel quite strongly about this because when it dips, first I pay extra money to the bank each month, and second, it makes me feel like I am in a financial crisis – not a great feeling
  • to eat the food that I have in the freezer and pantry (I have a lot of dried legumes/beans/rice that are waiting to be enjoyed)
  • to save around 7K bucks till December
  • to make a prepayment in December with the money I will save till then while also keeping around 5K in my chequeing account. This is an ambitious but doable aim. I feel like this will give me the best motivation to move forward and keep my frugal spending habits.

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2. Having a healthier body and weight

I have gained quite a bit of weight this year and its negative effects on my health were noticeable during my vacation: my feet ached a lot, my back gave me trouble (twice I have had my back pain/sciatica – they were minor compared to last year, but still I did not like having two episodes in a short time…).

I am aware of two reasons as to why I have gained weight this year: I did not walk as much as I did in the past years (I used to walk from office everyday – rain or shine) and I ate quite unhealthy food (pizzas and prepared food…). I still have two boxes of frozen pizza and some frozen, pre-made dinners in my freezer. I will consume them as well but with the understanding that my priority will be not to purchase them anymore so that I can eat better.

Thus, my specific aims are:

  • not to buy any pizzas or other prepared meals
  • to eat at least 6 different food (veggies, fruits, or dried food) every week
  • to cook meals at least 3 nights a week (I often consume them in two-three days)
  • to eat apples everyday at the office and to continue to eat carrots and radishes that I love so much (for some reason, these veggies made me feel much better and help me lose weight at the same time)
  • whenever feasible, to walk in the morning to office and in the afternoon from the office (this will help me feel great, lose weight, and also save from the transportation – win-win situation!)
  • to shop at the farmers’ market to have fresh local and affordable food
  • to keep take my calcium supplements and drink milk to keep my bones healthy
  • to re-start doing my back exercises to help strengthen my abs and my back muscles
  • to do light weight-lifting at home to keep my muscles and my bones healthy and strong

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3. Heaving a healthier mind and higher quality of life

I wish not to have stress and anxiety to my best anymore…. Work-related stress, sleep problems, and problems related to relations with the colleagues have hit the ceiling last couple of years… I am better at managing my anxiety by means of the worry journal exercise. But in terms of stress management I have not been much successful.

Hence, my specific aims are:

  • to walk everyday, to eat a healthier diet, and to exercise whenever I can find a chance to provide myself a healthier, nourishing way of life
  • to rest everyday. This I noticed is quite important for my stress levels. Whenever I am tired, I noticed I feel more pressurized and over-react as a result
  • to not access the emails in the evenings and the weekends, unless I have a good reason to do so
  • to take things a little bit lighter and not to react to problems when I am anxious or panicky
  • to trust the life and people around me a little bit more
  • to stop thinking that I am the only person who can do things well and on time. This is one of the main reasons that I feel resentment towards people I work with. Often times I have a good reason to think that the work is not done well and corrections/my involvement is needed. However, this also makes me over-work and over-stressed… Perhaps it is time to lower my standards without harming the quality of the work. I can also take it easy with relations. I can be more tolerant and less assuming… (wish me luck with this one. It is hard…. but I must do this)
  • to make it priority to feel calm at the office
  • to feel confident that I have solved many issues in the past and I can do so now and in the future as well. I must remind myself this everyday, especially when I face of an issue
  • to integrate a new walking route or an activity in my life over time – whether this would be going to theaters/shows, visiting a cafe on a Saturday morning, or reading about an entirely new topic does not matter. Something useful and enjoyable!
  • to continue to read my daily affirmations first thing in the morning to set my intentions for the day for the better

For example:

I am calm and can take care of any of the work-related issues easily

I am confident and successful

I have great work-relationships with everyone I see today

I am known by my high quality and meticulous work and I am respected for these

I am kind to everyone I meet today, especially, myself

I have time to do my work

Today has all the opportunities and beauties I may need

I welcome and appreciate the opportunities life can offer me

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Have a great Sunday everyone!

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all the good things – check

In a long time, I have not felt as good as today πŸ™‚ This deserves a celebration and a lots of gratitude.

  • waking up early and hitting the office early – check

there is an incredible peace coming out of early mornings. It is quiet and gives me the much needed distraction-free time to do work. I enjoy these times enormously and am kind of grateful that my sleep pattern is not the greatest, but works like a charm for me by making me wake up early πŸ™‚

  • ending a time of project writing period till August- check

I have been designing, developing, and writing new projects very intensely in the last few years. This week I submitted another one, which for now let me be free of this enjoyable but stressful activity. I feel free to move on to new activities and I appreciate the sense of accomplishment as well as the reduced self-inflicted stress πŸ™‚

  • working nice and easy and moving a number of things today – check

this is always a great feeling! being happy with my own performance is so important – it limits my self-beating episodes that inevitably reduces my self-confidence. I am very grateful

  • eating healthy, home-cooked meal and a banana today – check

I make an attempt to eat better and it shows πŸ™‚ I feel more energetic and happier when I take care of myself

  • resolving a conflict with a colleague of mine – check

this has been going for a few weeks and I think we finally are okay. I affirmed prior to meeting that I would keep calm and be supportive. I also made an effort to speak less and listen more. It did not hurt, and also supported the work-relationship. Thus, what a great feeling – win-win-win!

  • helping a team member of mine by using large papers and drawing the concepts and our work details – check

this was much needed as my team member is working on a rather quite complicated work. Many times we felt lost among the details and eventually got demotivated. The drawing was a great idea, where each detail was shown and I also advised to keep it so that we both could refer to it to gather our thoughts. I like the idea and my team member was also pleased. We will also document more so that we can refer to when we need the details. This went well and I am grateful that we have had the materials (large colourful papers and markers) to do so

  • supporting a team member by attending to their fund rising event – check

this always feels great. They often do not let me know, but when I know I make an effort to support their causes. Today they raised money to help patients affected by a disorder – I am so proud of them

  • taking the bus in the afternoon – check

I have done well by taking the bus. I did not wait too long and it was an easy ride. I also saved around 8 bucks by not taking the cab. 8 bucks is 8 bucks. It may be small, but it is mighty πŸ™‚

  • enjoying the night with all the positive feelings the day has brought – check

I am simmering this feeling of all the good things that today has brought to me. I am not in rush, nor stressed, which are additionally great. I have time to think about the weekend and what I can do for myself. For example, I think it is time that I visit the thrift stores and may be get a pot or two. Or books. I will enjoy my time there – that is for sure.

  • tending to my plants at the office and sharing one of them with a team member of mine – check

I have had a small plant that I had grown from a small cutting. It really hit of in my office and has flowered! That little thing (7-8 cm tops) gave incredibly coloured flowers. In so many ways it is such a miracle plant. You may ask why I gave it away. My team member deserves the best as they have been doing incredible in the last few years and I thought that miraculous plant would just fit their character – resilient and mighty. I am very happy that they found each other.

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this is a different plant (a coleus) – the colours are amazing and this plant has been very sturdy and quick growing. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in a mesmerizing plant πŸ™‚ look at the structure of this leaf – what a wonderful creature. I am so lucky to have it (so can you – please adopt a plant and experience this joy)

 

 

 

 

random affirmations

It is a peaceful Saturday night. It is important for me to remember this now πŸ™‚

I am thinking about the new challenges and annoyances that appear here and there. I tell myself that I should not be scared of these. It is not the first time and likely not the last that I face adversary. I do not let myself be scared tonite.

Also, out of blue, it came to my mind that everything is happening in my life because they are supposed to be. When I think about life as a continuous thing, this gives some kind of serenity. One thing may challenge, harm, or annoy me, yet the lessons learnt from this experience will help shape better tomorrows. I surprise myself with this thought happily.

One of the anxiety creating thoughts for me is “I do not know what to do”. With many new things and lots of conflicting pressures around, it is not unusual to find myself try to get the complete picture of the situation and make an effort to do the best, most informative decision. Sometimes it is hard to get the information. This means the matter stays with me unsolved for sometime. Sometimes it also is possible that the best decision turns out to be not the right one. Some of these experiences have made me feel annoyed when a new thing comes along. I would love to take this reaction out of my habits.

Going back to “everything happening is happening because they are supposed to be”; this thought gives me peace. This can be one of the affirmations I can work on (yay! I just found a new affirmation for myself that can really work).

Going back to “I do not know what to do” thought that arises in me in a new or challenging situation; I can switch it with “how would others feel in this situation?” I think that many people would take it easier than me. This also gives me some kind of peace.

And going back to this beautiful Saturday night – my aim is to enjoy every single minute of it.

You all have a great Saturday night as well πŸ™‚

 

random thoughts

I do not even know what I will write here, but here I go πŸ™‚

My joyful affair with the online resources at the library continues. I have read two novels and am screening a self-help book now. It is about anxiety and how one person saw it, experienced it, and found ways to acknowledge, manage, and eventually overcome it. When I read the story-line, I find a lot of things in common. The ways to ease the anxiety also make sense – they are so familiar to me; a good diet, exercise, monitoring thoughts and intercepting the anxious ones, getting help, being grateful/keeping a gratitude journal, and finding (new) ways to enjoy life at the same time. So while I have the knowledge, why the practice fails short?

I enjoyed and greatly benefited from affirmations last summer. They gave me a genuine happiness for some time. I kept reading books that give positive messages and hope, and I greatly benefited from reading them as well. Yet, here I am; sometimes exhausted, sometimes down, sometimes depressed, and sometimes anxious and on the edge. My moments of positive thoughts and feelings are getting harder to locate.

I kind of think that if I find the reasons, I can deal with it better. There may be physiological or genetic causes, which I cannot fix myself. But my thoughts I can. As a matter of fact, while affirmations and positive self-help books were wonderful, their effects are transient. I think that this is because I have not addressed the process of anxiety and depression-creating thoughts. Once they start, they easily form a train and get longer and stronger with each moment. If only they could be stopped. To me, that is why affirmations look like a sugar coat on an iron stick with rust. The rust is the thought pattern due to lack of awareness, which just stays there. Sugar is consumed very easily. And once the taste of sugar is over, rust appears all over again.

I have never been good at meditation or awareness of my thoughts, but I gave it a try many times. I think that it is time that I re-visit the idea.

 

 

 

Reflecting on 2018

I have had a brief survey of the year in my mind. It has been an interesting year indeed.

Important things in my personal life were:

Physical health: I re-started yoga/stretching classes in early 2018. As usual, I have enjoyed the relaxing feeling it provided me with, but eventually I pulled a muscle at home and ended up in the emergency room again. I have had excessive physiotherapy this year, which I should be continuing but cannot because of the financial reasons for one. And mostly because after a while I stopped doing my exercises, so what is the point of getting physiotherapy sessions anyhow? This can be one area to work on in the new year.

Mental health: I have had a tough year with stress and anxiety. I for the first time started to attend a counseling service and I keep it in my mind should things get unbearable again. It is a peace of mind, knowing that there is and there will be support should I need it.

Financial health: I did not save as much as I wished, but I have done what I could. I am trying to turn things around since last week with my spending curbed for now. My investments lost quite a bit due to the fluctuations in the market, but I am taking it easy, knowing thatΒ  have no control over it and maybe over time they would rise again. Hope is a great thing.

Affirmations: I became interested in affirmations and at one point they really helped me get positive thoughts and beliefs about people and experiences. I know that they can work and help me feed my mind with different perspectives and better thoughts.

Positive thinking: Being an eternal pessimistic ( πŸ™‚ ) it was great to read positive words and alternatives lately. I actually started to experience these positivity in the form of little miracles, better luck, and better feelings overall. I am grateful for the books that give me positive thoughts and am looking forward to keep doing this and affirmation practice in the new year.

Transitioning to gray hair: this saga has been going well this year. 2018 can be the first year in the last ~20 years that I have not dyed my hair myself at all. Yes, I have been to hair saloon to get toners and highlights to help with the transition, but I never struggled myself at home trying to dye my own hair. For this, I am very happy πŸ™‚

Visiting my family in summer: This was great and quite positive. Not everything is rosy of course, but I am happy to see them. It also gave me the much needed break and soothed my nerves. The positive feelings and well-being continued for a while after I returned back. It was overall a highly positive experience.

Stress, anxiety, and sleep changes: These have been I am afraid quite high this year…. It is mostly work related and deep down I know how to better handle it; walking/exercising, better diet, less work, more extracurricular activities, etc. When there are too many work to do, stress and anxiety becomes difficult to manage. I must be wiser than this. Hopefully in the new year. We shall see. Overall, however this kind of experiences help me personally develop and take things differently. Take my sleep disturbance, for example. At first I took it as a very negative experience (hence the term “disturbance”), yet later I benefited from it by ending up at the office early mornings (around 5-6 am; I realized that until 10 am, I could do much of the work I expect from me, as these are the times with no or little distraction around). This was a great realization, for which I am grateful.

Plants: My… I became interested in succulents, cacti, and house plants this year, which have given me the most satisfying and joy-creating experiences ever. they make me happy! Growing them, caring for them, watching them, sharing them with others πŸ™‚ All is well in the plant world.

My professional life:

Funds for new projects: I was able to get two projects as the project leader and another one as the team member, which are all great progress in my career. In a time when everybody is fund-crunched, these projects put me in a much higher place than many of my colleagues. I should be happy and proud of myself. My extraordinary efforts in the last few years are now paying off – this is wonderful. Perseverance, hope, and hard-work are all benefiting me. I am grateful.

Reports: I was able to get 5 big reports out this year, a couple of them especially being hard to bring to completion.

Completed projects: One big project of mine, which was lingering around for around 4 years have been finally finished in early 2018. It was a hard ride, but eventually is done, and I could not be more excited.

Dumping a committee work: I let go of a committee I was a part of in the last 7 years. It was not an easy decision as I had enjoyed my role in it, but it was also the right one. I cherish this decision.

Taking up on a new role: I took a new role in my organization, which I have been interested in. I feel lucky πŸ™‚

Interview with an outside organization: I got interviewed by an outside but professionally related organization in Fall. They even circulated it to thousands of my colleagues all around the world via an email. I feel honored and excited by this. I am glad that I took my time to prepare this interview.

Online courses: I took two online courses this Fall, which were amazing. I want to take a little bit more, maybe in the Spring to help develop my skills and knowledge better. Learning is always exciting πŸ™‚

Overall, a year full of both negative and positive experiences, like anyone else. It has been a hard year – that is for sure, but it also showed its good side and credited my hard-work and perseverance. I think my focus for the new year will be to take things a little bit easier, caring for my mental and physical health much better, and continue to grow personally and professionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

have not written for a while….

I have not written much lately – what have been going on in my life?

Well. It was mostly quite positive experiences πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Affirmations and mental health/outlook: I have had quite reduced stress levels since I came back from home-visit. I was into affirmations, which miraculously made my mental state and thoughts positive, and me happier and healthier. They do work, my friends πŸ™‚ I think we all need to “hear from ourselves” that things are exactly as they are supposed to be, there are many beautiful things and people happening in life, there are many opportunities out there (most may be shaded by the daily clutter, but if we stop and think about them, they do appear), and love, peace, health, success, recognition, and money all comes if we think like this. Happiness is a possibility and is available. We just need to open up to it. And maybe spend some time everyday reflecting on them πŸ™‚

Succulents and new friendships: I have come across another plant enthusiast and we hit it off right away. We have similar interests and are at similar stages of life. Exchanging succulent cuttings was a blessing that I cannot cherish enough. Certainly a great experience, not only for getting new succulents, but also getting to know a person like myself in many ways and developing a kind of friendship at the same time.

Budget and frugality: My budget has been going well, with a frugal life style re-implemented. I spend more than I project, but I continue to save every week consistently. I found that health related expenses (vision care, medications, physiotherapy etc.) take up a good chunk time to time, but other times it is fine. I find ways to save, however small they may be. Of course the exceptions would be new succulents acquired every once a while, pots and soils purchased for these beauties, and occasional social activities. I made it regular to go to thrift stores for pots and I also purchased a number of nice blouses at such reasonable prices that make my life abundant and easy. I am grateful.

Changing how I work: In terms of work, I continue to change how I approach it and how I let it to shape my personal life, mental health, and life priorities. I have got new responsibilities, an additional role that I was interested in and for which I am really excited about, and am dropping yet another role that does not serve me anymore (and was getting on my nerves. They may want me back, and in such a case, I may re-consider it, but until then). And, I realize once more that a lot of people that work with me get dependent on me to conduct, move and complete the work, which is so much more load for me than I should shoulder. I distanced myself from a couple of colleagues that saved me some time. But I must also do this with my trainees, which is a challenge. I will continue to work on finding a solution to this.

Changing myself: And just this weekend, I realized that my next personal challenge will be to “express things positively” rather than negatively. This weekend I met with a friend of mine and I at one point was hard on myself and was criticizing myself (I was criticizing myself for not rescuing more plants from a certain death; they were being discarded and I took 4-5 of them to care for and the rest I did not pay attention because I already had these types of plants). She said “I cannot believe you have turned such a positive experience to such a negative one“. She was right.

I decide right now not to use “I should” “no/not” as much as I normally do.

We will see how this goes πŸ™‚

Have a wonderful night everyone!

It has been a fine day. Again.. :)

πŸ™‚

I love the serenity and joy that having some “me time” and reading positive news/affirmations and thinking that there is truth to these, bring.

Reading and thinking about positive things and possibilities, indeed are healing and making me feel more in the life and enjoying it.

I came to realize that not everything was a hurdle or difficulty I had to go thru, but rather there were many beautiful things that were happening and awaiting me to recognize them.

Today the most sweet of all was to recognize that there were many opportunities out there (whether work or personal opportunities is irrelevant) and if I had wanted, I could reach them. I in fact have been reaching to some of them lately. Like the additional position I have got lately. I wanted it, genuinely, and it just fell on my lap after a year or so. I feel lucky!

And today, I was just walking to help warm my muscles and found out a yard sale in my neighbourhood. I managed to find a great book on self-development that I read with great interest and a pot that I have loved dearly πŸ™‚ All for a couple of bucks. I was one happy and lucky person again, all by chance again! Should I not have wanted to walk at that random time, I would have missed this beautiful opportunity.

Sometimes my friends, we just need to show up and life will deliver to us. This is a fact.

If we look, we can see.

I am looking at life now and am excited about all the great things it can bring to me. I am ready to reach, savor, and be grateful for them!

I am lucky.

I choose to have thoughts that empower me.

I choose to have “me time” and read and contemplate on positive thoughts.

I choose to believe that I am capable of reaching out and succeeding in life and at work.

I, my friends, am choosing to bless these thoughts and the mental state “me time” can bring.

*me time: not working or using computer. Rather just sitting and making it a priority to go through my thoughts and make conscious choices to switch to joyful ones – try it πŸ™‚

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joy journal – Feb 4, 2018

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and peacefully. I had no dreams and my morning was easy and without negative thoughts crossing my mind.Β 

2. I am grateful for working till noon and learning some important and complex information that will be very useful tomorrow in a meeting and three other meetings the next week.

3. I am grateful for baking my sourdough and eating it warm with butter πŸ™‚

4. I am grateful for eating fruits today.

5. I am grateful for chatting with one of my neighbours.

6. I am grateful for not working a lot in the afternoon and enjoying this freedom

7. I am grateful for listing the work I must do for each of the day of the week. I have important deadlines this week and I cannot miss any of them. This kind of lists help me a lot keeping track of things.

8. I am grateful for speaking with my family today; it was a nice and lovely talk that brought laughter to my life πŸ™‚

9. I am grateful for getting interested in affirmations. I know that my mind listens to itself a lot and my mind usually focus on negative issues or problems. Why not the opposite? I am making an effort to read some lovely affirmations and reflect on them.

10. I am grateful for one of my colleagues not sending me their comments this morning. I feel free to move on without the need to integrate their comments in my report and the need to deal with the frustration and negative feelings their words would bring. I really dislike this person. I must exercise forgiveness to remove these feelings from my life. Or, remove this person from my life. Which one is easier?

11. I am grateful for having a safe and sound home; power to heat my home; clothes, furniture, and all other things that make my life safe ad comfortable. I surrounded myself with great items that I like or use. All is welcome in my life.

12. I am grateful for listening to the fearful voice in me during my anxious moments. Although it is hard to listen to it, it helps with extracting information that will be useful for me to prevent future events. That can be the main benefit of anxious thoughts…. So be it.

13. I am grateful for feeling free and knowing that I can do whatever I want to do!

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for easily having a mixture of both positive and down moments during the day. I survive it and I do not resist it
  2. I appreciate myself for eating better today
  3. I appreciate myself for being kind to myself
  4. I appreciate myself for changing and implementing new ways to enhance my life. For example; I decided social media and news was giving me depressive thoughts – so I will limit my exposure. I will continue to say “no” to unnecessary tasks; I will continue to turn my email off at the office while working; and I will continue to let my perfectionist habit to ease while doing un-critical work. I will handle my interactions with my colleagues better too; I will keep it to professional topics while interacting with them; I will not help or listen to those negative people that drain my time and energy. I will keep thinking about how to do this better. Things will get better. This new chapter of my life, leaving things behind, and being excited about a new life experience is exciting!

 

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