Posted in Health, Life

Riding the Corona Roller-coaster

Let me just start by saying, I did NOT want to get on this ride. When Coronavirus, aka Covid-19, hit NZ shores and the Prime Minister announced we would be going into Lockdown – I was nervous. Kids home from school, husband and I working from home, no shops, cafes or takeaways – “Hell No,” I cried!

Covid Levels

But reluctantly, along with my fellow 5 million, we boarded the roller-coaster, strapped ourselves in and braced ourselves for the unexpected, unprecedented times ahead.

And it was scary … children who missed their friends, parents who had to work and teach their children at the same time, teachers trying to navigate online teaching whilst also looking after their own children, essential workers who worried about their exposure, people losing their jobs, people losing their loved ones and not being able to see them or farewell them properly, people trying to fathom the reality of zero income but staff who still needed to be paid – it was exhausting, sickening and we all just wanted the ride to end.

Nurse Marie

But as with life, this Corona roller-coaster was a different experience for everyone, and as much as I resisted, complained and felt like my world was upside-down after awhile I got used to it. And dare I say, actually enjoyed some of it.

I started to see some of the thrills of this ride and the freedoms it had presented to me. I started to enjoy my slow mornings and revel in my afternoon walks. We spent more time together as a family and enjoyed our time at home. The dog was in absolute heaven!

Toshi

So, now that we are allowed out again, I am yet again surprised by my feelings. I thought I would be absolutely ecstatic. But I’m not. I didn’t race to the shops or cafes and am even a bit apprehensive about getting back ‘into routine’ of school runs and working in the office again. Apparently this is quite common … a number of my friends who have always described themselves as extroverts are now reconsidering their personalities, asking themselves if they really are that extroverted as they found that they have actually enjoyed this period of isolation.

I read an article recently talking about this readjustment after a period of change. It likened the experience to those who were away in Antarctica and their feelings of unease when returning home. Because the fact is … we adapt and we change and we may just find that the person we are post-Covid is not exactly the same as our pre-Covid selves. And that’s ok, and entirely normal … apparently.

So, if you’re like me, my advice is as follows:

  1. Take it slow. Ease yourself back into life and don’t be hard on yourself if you take awhile to adjust to the return of ‘busy’.
  2. Be kind. This ride has been different for everyone. There will be people who are really hurting and that have been bruised and battered by this experience. There will be people whose mental health is in bad shape and then there will be the people who have enjoyed this ‘breathing space’ and may not want to socialise like they did before (at least for awhile).

Good luck with the journey ahead …. let’s hope we don’t have to jump on that coaster again anytime soon!

This is dedicated to the brilliant healthcare workers, such as my friend above, who have worked tirelessly to get NZ through this pandemic – Thank you so much x

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Life

Do what makes your heart sing

Today I took my children to see a light show telling the story of Matariki and the beginning of the Maori New Year.

Today we had coffee with friends.

Today we got caught in the rain.

Today we took refuge at home on the couch.

Today I am writing; today my heart sings.

Do whatever it takes to make your heart sing and surround yourself with those who allow you to do so.

 

Posted in Life

A Better Me

Gidday 2017. How the heck are ya?

I was wondering what you might have in store for me this year and then I heard you chuckle and tell me I had to figure that one out for myself. Fair enough, I guess.

So, as always at this time of the year I did a stock-take of my life and tried to imagine what it would look like one year from now (cue Baywatch model in red bikini swimming in an ocean of hundred-dollar bills).

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Then I stopped daydreaming and realised I already have the basic blueprint nailed … awesome family, great friends, enjoyable work etc. In other words, the external stuff is pretty great and I’m grateful for it … it’s the internal workings that could do with some improvement.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a pretty happy go-lucky type and it takes a lot to get me down, but I’m far from perfect. I have days I just can’t be bothered. I have days where I feel like that hamster on the wheel and I wonder what the point of it all is and days where I feel like I’m wasting my time on this earth and could be doing so much more.

I know this is normal and we can’t be happy all the time … but this year I’m striving to get those percentages up. I’m striving to be more compassionate, more patient, kinder (especially to myself) and grateful.

I’m going to be kinder to my body and try to get it moving more often and fill it with more nourishing food.

I’m going to be kinder to my soul and fill it with inspiring thoughts, nature’s beauty and children’s laughter.

And I’m going to be more understanding of those around me and remind myself that they probably weren’t put in my path just to piss me off, but they probably have a lesson to teach me.

So take a good look everyone because this is the me to be. The same ol’ girl, just a bit more ‘Zenified’ (if that’s not a word, it should be 🙂 )

balance

Happy 2017 everyone and thanks for reading.

 

 

Posted in Happiness, Life

Is Productivity Killing Passion?

We’re so bloody productive these days aren’t we? And if we’re not … we feel guilty and like we should be doing SO MUCH MORE.

I sometimes fear that we are becoming a bit machine-like. We are so BUSY doing, doing, doing … we forget to stop for a minute and take stock.

A typical day for most women my age goes something like this: Wake up, get kids sorted for school, squeeze in breakfast for ourselves (maybe, maybe not), get kids to school, go to work or get home and start work, clean house, buy groceries, fit in some exercise (maybe, maybe not) collect children, ferry them off to after school activities, do homework, organise dinner, dishes, bath, stories, kids in bed … find wine, slump on couch and crawl to bed … oh and talk to partner (maybe, maybe not).

Ok, I’m exhausted just writing that … so how does it feel living like this every day?

Sure, we may feel pleased we achieved so much in day. We may feel relieved that we managed to tick most of the boxes off our to-do-lists … But do we feel inspired? Do we feel excited? Do we feel passionate? Do we feel appreciated?

If we’re lucky we have a job that truly inspires us and fills us with joy and we have abundant energy allowing us to work, raise children, do the domestic duties, cherish our partner and find time to relax … how many of you are saying “I wish” right now?

Is this even possible? Can we HAVE IT ALL, AT THE SAME TIME and still be HAPPY?

Or are we just setting the bar far too high and expecting that we can maintain this superwoman status without flinching?

I think it’s great that women can achieve so much and the opportunities we have available to us these days … but are we being too hard on ourselves? Are we expecting too much and what are we compromising by doing so?

Sometimes I feel like we are so hell-bent on being productive and ‘successful’ that we are running the risk of becoming machine-like and losing our human connections and de-valuing that which makes us human in the first place.

You’ll notice in the above description of a typical day you don’t find the following: a long walk along the beach, sitting for two hours with a cuppa and chatting to a friend, ringing someone overseas and re-connecting with them, reading a book or going out to dinner with a loved one.

Why is this? Is it because these things are now seen as taking too much time? A guilty pleasure? Or something that just needs to wait until you have some spare time?

Is time so scarce now that we can’t use it to connect with people, pursue our passions or just slow down and relax?

Oh sorry I did forget one thing from the list … scroll through Facebook feed, like a couple of posts and maybe comment (if there’s time!)

And if we are living like this, what impact is it having on our children? Are we consistently portraying the message that we just don’t have time? Will they value friendships, nature, passions etc, if they never see us pursuing them and investing our valuable time into them?

Even the school system seems to emphasise more machine-like, productive assets than human values. For example, whilst I think my children’s school offers many opportunities and has got some good systems in place – I wonder if the school values could be a bit more human?

As they stand, the school values are Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Resourcefulness. These are all great attributes but they seem quite ‘Sergeant Majorish’ to me and I’m sure you could programme a robot to possess these same responses.

What about human values like empathy, compassion, kindness and individuality? Are these not important enough anymore?

I know that being resilient is important in order to survive life with its harsh edges, but what about the values that add meaning to life?

Are we passing these by in order to be productive?

And are we teaching our children that emotion is a weakness and that ‘being tough’ is the only way to navigate through life’s obstacles?

I personally would love to see some awards handed out to our children who are kind to others and act in a compassionate, empathic way.

I realise this post has a lot more questions than answers and some of us are so far down the ‘life is too busy’ rabbit hole that it is hard to navigate a way back.

However, I think it’s important to take the time to think about these things once in a while and to take stock of your own life.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves whether we feel we are truly living an authentic life. One which makes us feel inspired and alive inside.

And if the answer is no … perhaps we can just allow ourselves a snippet of that golden resource called time to have a think about what changes can be made in our own lives to bring back the passion.

Good luck and keep smiling,

Kat

 

 

Posted in Life

A poem for my husband

Ten years ago
To this very day
My life was changed forever
In the very best way

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We’d had a blast in London
And then we settled down
Had two beautiful babies
And lived in a small town

Jack and mez babies

But then a change was needed
And we moved across the ditch
It wasn’t all smooth sailing
But love got us through without a hitch

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So now we’re in the Bay of Plenty
And we’ve found some solid ground
Our love has never been stronger
Of that we should be proud.

Us at Xmas

 

Posted in Life

Multi-tasking Gone Mad

As I was sitting on the loo this morning, scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and trying to determine which task I would tackle first (out of the many which needed to be completed in order for the kids and myself to get out the door on time) it occurred to me that I spend the majority of my life doing exactly this – Multi-tasking!

Very seldom am I doing just one thing at a time and hardly ever am I doing nothing. Yes, nothing. It seems like a foreign concept these days but back when I was little often when we were waiting for something we had to sit and do NOTHING!

That brings me to waiting. Do you remember waiting? Do you remember how you just had to sit there and think about something, look at your shoes or god forbid strike up a conversation with the stranger who was waiting next to you?

This is what waiting looks like now …

And don’t get me wrong … I am just the same as the folks in this picture. The other day for example: I was waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class and noticed there was a father waiting also. I said a quick hello as I sat down, to which he briefly glanced up from his smart phone and replied and then I sat down, grabbed my phone and this is how we continued for the next 10 minutes.

It would have been the perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself and get to know this ‘Dance Dad’ and vice versa or it could have been a nice chance to just sit back, relax and catch my breath for a few minutes. But it is like it is just an automatic reaction: Waiting = Looking at phone.

So it seems as if I have lost the knack or desire to wait. However, I also fear I may have lost the ability to single-task, and by doing so am missing the opportunity to fully engage and enjoy the task I am trying to complete.

Take my mornings for example: I never sit down at the table and enjoy my breakfast or allow myself time to ponder the day ahead. Instead I scoff something down my gob while preparing kid’s lunches, putting away dishes and giving my children the hurry up.

This makes for a hectic, stressed-out start to the day and one that I feel I need to change.

Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.

The scary thing is that my children have evidently picked up on my problem … When my 6 year-old son’s teacher was telling him off for talking instead of doing his work, he politely informed her that he was “multi-tasking!”

Oh god – I have a multi-tasking mini-me!

So, what is a girl to do in this predicament? Well, I am going to try to do some things better and / more often and these are the things that spring to mind:

1) When spending time with my children make sure I give them my full attention
(Trying to read them a story in the ad breaks of my favourite TV show is not working out well for anyone involved!)

2) Try to go to bed a bit earlier – meaning I can get up a bit earlier – meaning I can actually sit at the table and enjoy my breakfast.
(I’m sure that sounds way easier than it’s actually going to be!)

3) Now, here’s the kicker! When I am waiting for something i.e. a dance class to finish, a train to arrive, the doctor to call my name – I will try to either do nothing or talk to someone.
(I’ll keep you posted on how that one goes!)

But in all seriousness: I think multi-tasking definitely has its place and can be a great skill to possess. However, I also think maybe from time to time we could all benefit from just slowing down a bit, fully engaging in the task at hand and avoid having a ‘multi-tasking melt-down!’

Feel free to join me on my ‘single-tasking and waiting’ challenge and be sure to let me know how you get on.

Keep smiling,
Kat

Posted in Health, Life

Life Lessons Learnt From The Sofa

Recently my husband worked away from home for about a month. Initially I freaked out at the thought of being alone with the children for so long and wondered how this ‘Damsel in Distress’ was going to cope. However, my friends rallied around to ensure I was not lonely and that I retained some sense of sanity and, with their help, I got through it ok. I must admit, it was a very busy few weeks, especially considering the children were on school holidays at the time and I distinctly remember several moments where I wished I could “just put my feet up for a while.”

So, as often happens in my life, the universe delivered: Shortly after my husband returned I managed to misjudge a step outside of the house, roll my ankle and consequently end up unable to walk and destined for a few weeks with my feet up. I obviously need to be a little more concise when I put my wishes out there: I was actually imagining a scene where I was stretched out on a sun-lounger, dressed in my bikini with cocktail in hand – not on the sofa at home with an ice-pack on my ankle and a couple of Nurofen to swallow!

photo credit: ΠάνοςΤ via photopin cc

However, as much as I was not at all happy about my predicament, being forced to rest reinforced for me a few of life’s important lessons:

Life goes on

While I was staring out the window, at the television or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I came to the realisation that the world was still spinning and life was soldiering on regardless. This was despite the fact that I was not racing around trying to fit 30 hours into a 24 hour day!

Letting go


My lovely husband had no choice but to take a week off work to organise the children, get meals and generally attend to my every need. Lucky man! He tried his best but of course he didn’t do things exactly like I do: Wet towels were left on the lounge floor; Dirty dishes were often left in that state overnight; Toys became more visible than the carpet beneath them and the outfits my daughter ended up in – don’t get me started! However, he was trying his best and due to his efforts we all got fed, the children got bathed, dressed, taken to school and put to bed and life went on. Therefore, I had to learn how to bite my tongue and let go of the reins. It definitely wasn’t easy but was a valuable lesson for me to learn that things can still get done even when they are not done my way!

Asking for help

After a week off work, my husband really wanted needed to get back to his regular job. Therefore, as I have no family here, I had to take a deep breath and do something I often struggle with: ask for help! So, with the help of my wonderful friends, I was driven to appointments, my children were looked after and taken to school and everyone pitched in to get me through. My children were also a great help to me and were more than happy to help out with the chores, get themselves dressed and find their own food. This made me realise how independent they can be and how they are much more capable than I gave them credit for. I also learnt that you should not be too proud to ask for help because more often than not, people are very happy to lend a hand.

It’s ok that we’re all different

My husband is not big on talking about emotions, his or anybody else’s. So when I injured myself he was brilliant with his actions – racing to get me ice-packs and painkillers, taking care of the children and cooking us meals. However, he didn’t come and give me a big hug. He didn’t ask how I was feeling or ask how I was coping and he didn’t know how to react when I was upset.
At first, I was a bit peeved about this. His actions were practical and necessary but some of the time all I wanted was to have a cry and be given a hug. However, I realised this would be how I would be acting and he is not me. In fact, he is probably my polar opposite in many respects. So, instead of being cross with him I had to learn to be grateful for his actions and realise that this was his way of telling me he loves me and feeling sorry for me – and they say women are complicated?!

Be grateful

I consider myself to be a positive person who counts her blessings. However having to rely on others as much as I have had to the last few weeks has reinforced just how grateful I am for the people in my life:

– I am extremely grateful for my wonderful friends who have rallied around to keep up my morale and help me out. I am blessed to have found such a great support network in my adopted country.

– I am thankful to have a loving husband who is also a great father to my children and a great support to me (in his own way!)

– I am blessed to have such helpful, caring children.

– I am grateful that the angels were looking out for us the day I fell, as I was carrying my 4-year-old daughter and she survived without a scratch and my injuries could have been worse also.

photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

Although fracturing my ankle was not a life-changing event, it has still put things in perspective for me. It has made me realise that if I allow myself to slow down a bit I will have more time to enjoy life’s precious moments more fully, be more relaxed, happier and not miss out on what is right in front of me.

Now, that’s one awesome silver lining!