Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happiness tip - Move!

Have you thought of having 'Happy hour' at home? Not the Friday afternoon one, guzzling cheap wine and warm beer (no offence meant to my British readers), but something a lot more personalised.

I'm referring more to doing something for yourself, something that makes you feel special and which supports your values. It doesn't have to be a major change to your routine or even take a whole hour.

I've been pulled up short a couple of times recently by friends who have ever so tactfully pointed out that I'm not practicing what I preach.

One of the things I value is feeling healthy, but I wasn't allowing any time for exercise. Not good Sue.

Movement other than from desk to car and back again had gone by the board. I'm not keen on sport and don't like gyms - but I knew I had to do something, or my poor little body was going to seize up or atrophy or something horrible. I know exercise is good for my brain, I know it's good for my body, I know I feel better when I move - but I hadn't made it a priority in my daily schedule.

If I truly value feeling healthy I need to allow that value space to flourish. It simply can't happen if I crowd the day with other stuff (including work).  But how to squeeze it in to an already full day? Happy hour for the body? It's a good ideal and might work for some, but nope, that's not going to happen for me, not every day - that would end in frustration, failure and feeling defeated.

But what I can do is start where I am, and take small, achievable steps, non threatening tiny steps, in the general direction of my value.

What I've done is set my phone alarm for twice a day to remind me to move. The alarm is a chirpily sweet bingly beep, it's lighthearted and cheerful to remind me that exercise is possible and achievable NOW! 2 or 3 minutes doesn't sound much, but it's in the direction of a core value and that's good, right? Happy minutes for my body, brain and spirit!

I've been moving more (could this be called exercise?) for a couple of months now and it's not scary or intimidating. I can do 2 or even 3 minutes (stop laughing!) and sometimes more. I have a small wooden box, just the right height to step up and down, up and down - 20 reps, twice a day, and then some twisty things to help my middle become more mobile. I know I need to keep it up for a bit longer for it to become a habit, but it's very much part of my routine, equal to brushing my teeth after meals - not a chore, not disliked, just there to be done.

The benefits so far:
a) I haven't noticed any particular loss of time from other things (like work).
b) I feel generally better physically and more energised and alive after even this small amount of movement.
c) I feel good about myself - I'm supporting a core value and feel good at achieving my simple goals.
d) I was able to walk and walk and walk in China, up steepish inclines, along rough tracks, for kilometres around Shanghai with no stiffness at all. Now, that was a real benefit and far better than any commercial 'Happy hour'. I could so easily have said: "Oh, 2 minutes is nothing, it's not worth doing". It was a direct, tangible benefit ... yippee!!

Have you been ignoring any core values that would enjoy being nurtured for a few minutes each day?
Could you spend time reflecting on your thoughts and feelings, relaxing or being mindful? 
How will you benefit?

Ping An - looking up - lots of steps! The terraces contained rice
and a wide variety of vegetables.
Ping An. Is it possible there were less
downward steps? We seemed to get back very quickly.

More China reflections over at Jumping aground.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stepping on an aphorism - or not?

Seen woven into a carpet in a Shanghai restaurant:

The darkest places in hell 
are reserved for those
who maintain their
neutrality in times of
moral crisis

or not

What do you think?

More photos and comments about my recent trip to China are over at Jumpingaground.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Making space in a crowded schedule

Has anyone else noticed how easy it is to give sound advice to others, but how hard it is to take that advice yourself?

I’ve mentioned before how important good sleep, healthy diet, adequate exercise, mindfulness and hanging out with friends are for general wellbeing. Of course I know these things are equally, if not more important to pursue when things aren’t going so well. Having said that, it’s then that they seem to go down the gurgler.

A local employer, BlueScope Steel at Hastings, has recently laid off 270 people, and I’ve been involved in the services offered to help these employees retrain and find future employment, all of which I am not only good at, but thoroughly enjoy. I like being part of a professional team using my skills, lateral thinking, knowledge of retraining options and career development to help make the path from redundancy to re-employment as smooth as humanly possible.

These men who have worked with steel, have loved their work and the culture at BlueScope and many are really suffering with new, painful, raw emotions: grief, loss, frustration, panic, anger and fear. Being able to assist and support is a great privilege, but there is a personal impact as well.

Other than not getting enough exercise, eating poorly and having too much sugar and coffee, (all of which I advise others to beware of) one of the other things I’ve skimped on is blogging. Blogging has come to be surprisingly important in my weekly schedule by giving me a space to reflect and grapple with issues of values, ethics, integrity and many other things as well. But it’s also very time consuming: writing, visiting others, reading, commenting and replying to comments has gone by the board.

I’m keen to get back to discussions about bullying, as well as the recovery process and techniques for healing, including mindfulness, and I’ve missed visiting your blogs! However, for the time being, blogging and all its pleasures will have to wait as I focus on this work role, cook healthier meals and get adequate exercise and rest.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

a question

Can you identify what's involved in walking the extra mile so that you can achieve your current goal?
Frankston pier.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Illness strikes 'the Report'

Isn’t it frustrating when something goes wrong with Blogger. If you’re like me you fumble around trying to see if it’s something obvious, grumble a LOT, then in desperation head off to the Help Forum to see if others have had the same issue. More often than not, an unknown person, usually operating under a pseudonym, will take up your question and do their best to help us fix the problem.

Sometime last year, I was extremely frustrated by a Blogger issue that I knew would be obvious to someone in the know. So being the sort of person who insists that “the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask” thought I’d better hightail it to the forum for help.

My confusion was sorted with the minimum of fuss.

It’s easy to forget that the help forum is “staffed” by real people who want to share their knowledge and contribute positively to the blogging community. They are unpaid, often unacknowledged, and, I suspect, rarely thanked.

One Blogger Help Forum bloke (who I’ve never met in person) has provided me with a great deal of technical support. the Report is peppered with outstanding Blogger information, good screenshots and explanations - that for the most part I can understand!

Unfortunately, Bob of the Report (and around 30 - yes you read that right, thirty - other blogs) has had an Ischemic stroke, and is pretty much out of action for the moment. I’m sure he’ll be working his guts out to overcome the problems he’s being faced with and will show the same focus on contributing to his own recovery as he’s shown in helping us overcome Bloggers irritating glitches.

Bob is very frustrated, not only by being unable to contribute on the Help Forum or write any posts, but because he can’t communicate as he’d like to. He hasn’t suffered any obvious paralysis, but finds typing excruciatingly slow and difficult. He has trouble interpreting words and his fingers simply won’t hit the keys he wants them to.

I’m sure that anybody who has dipped into Roberto’s Report or been helped by Bob on the Help Forum will agree that Bob has contributed significantly to easing the frustrations we experience with Blogger all too often. His help will be sorely missed, but he assures me he'll be back as soon as possible - "Good onya Bob!"

I just want to thank Bob for all his help. And so, Bob, thanks from me and from all the other people in blogland for sharing your expertise so generously. I'm sure we all wish you a full and speedy recovery.

Get well soon Bob, keep exercising, and look after yourself.