Lists

I love writing lists. I have maybe 5 or 6 notepads on the go at any one time, each full of lists. Lists of to dos, lists of shopping, lists of ideas, lists of things to make, lists of renovation ideas/plans, lists of birthdays.

Tick that to do list
To do list

Each week I sit down with my weekly planner and write lists of all the things, activities, and events that are happening, the meals I will cook, the things I should do. Then the next week I transfer all undone things to a new to do list! In fact I was just about to write another list of things to do to this blog, when I spotted this list – waiting to be completed.

Weekly Planner by The Organised Housewife
My Weekly Planner with lists, Design by The Organised Housewife!

 

Making: a new business – here, online, supporting others mental wellbeing by sharing my experiences
Cooking: Banana bread with the 2 brown bananas in front of me
Drinking: earl grey tea – I made a pot
Reading:  ‘Slow’ by Brooke McAlary – re-reading this wonderful book to find more knowledge nuggs
Trawling: mid century vintage furniture items on gumtree
Wanting: more warm sunny weather – this winter in the South West has been brutal
Looking: outside at the sun shining, but wind blowing the hedges
Deciding: whether to invest in another online course, or just do the work!
Wishing: I knew how to make my ideas into a viable business that supports others mental wellbeing
Enjoying: Crochet – I’ve made a few wash cloths and soap sacks lately – I learnt from Crochet Coach
Waiting: for our tax return to come through……$
Liking: the sound of the native birds around my home
Wondering: if anyone actually reads my blog?!
Loving: my family of boys + fluffy dog
Pondering: how lucky I am to live where I live
Listening: Podcasts – ‘The Slow Home’ & ‘Straight and Curly’  they warm my soul and are like listening to your friends chat
Considering: more ways to reduce our use of single use plastic
Buying: nothing until that tax return comes through
Watching: War on Waste, Grand Designs and Poldark (but the season just ended!)
Hoping: I can make a successful business
Marvelling: At how fortunate we are as a family to have made the change and move to live our ‘why’
Cringing: at how grumpy I am at the kids in the morning  “brush your teeth” etc
Needing: Courage to go head first into my new business, and to approach those I want to ask for advice
Questioning: how I will ever make money from writing about my mental illness journey?
Smelling: Lavender – ok so I popped outside just to run my fingers through it and see the little flowers budding
Wearing: my super comfy go to black sneakers by Frankie4
Noticing: the sound of the wind howling around the chimney
Knowing: I need to be consistent at putting in the work to make this into a business
Thinking: I have so much I want to share with others to make their lives simpler and happier
Admiring: my Blogging & Simple living Gurus – Brooke McAlary, Kelly Exeter, Tsh Oxenrider, BabyMac
Getting: annoyed at my dog for her constant growling at the wind
Bookmarking: every awesome article that relates to my business, and every beautiful inspiring image for my dream build home
Opening: browser windows
Closing: none of them!
Feeling: a bit cold – need a cardigan AGAIN!
Hearing: the wind howling, my dog growling, the windows rattling – seriously WA is ‘Windy Always’
Celebrating: my 40th Birthday in October!
Pretending: I’ll stay young forever
Embracing: getting older and wiser

I had fun answering the prompts on this list, it was a great way to kick start my week. But sometimes I feel overwhelmed on Monday mornings, with all those things to do, to remember, to buy, appointments to  go to, all swirling around in my head. So thats why I love lists. I write down ALL THE THINGS on a list and it gets them out of my head. Then I can see what is really bothering me and what truly needs to be addressed. I then follow the advice of Brooke McAlary and chose just 3 things to get done. Yep 3 things are achievable and create a greater sense of wellbeing when they are done!

So over to you, do you write lists? Are they to help you remember what you need to do? or do you write lists because you enjoy ticking things off like me?!

Don't forget the milk
Don’t forget the milk – Shopping lists

Below is the full list for you to try- credit to Pip from Meet me at Mikes and thanks to Carly at Smaggle for her post that inspired me to write another list!

Making:
Cooking:
Drinking:
Reading:
Trawling:
Wanting:
Looking:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Listening:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Opening:
Closing:
Feeling:
Hearing:
Celebrating:
Pretending:
Embracing:

Plastic Free Living

Green Bags

We’ve come to the end of another successful Plastic-free July. This movement started 7 years ago here in Western Australia and has now spread across the globe encouraging everyone to ‘choose to refuse single-use plastic for the month of July’. This year it coincided with the banning ‘single use plastic bags’ in many states in Australia…. finally!

Many of us have already made the change to reusable shopping bags, but now its kinda next level in that if you forget you really do get left high and dry or paying for thicker plastic bags (which we know are not really any better for the environment)

This news just in – Coles have backflipped and are giving thicker plastic bags away free…..

via GIPHY

The second series of ABC’s War on Waste has started airing, airing our dirty waste secrets. All these facts about plastic pollution, and the rate at which we Australian’s produce it is staggering. Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed by all this?

Ok so lets breathe, take moment and work out what simple steps we can each take to reduce our plastic waste.

Step 1: NOTICE
Yup, simply start to notice how much plastic is coming into your home or life. Are you still being given plastic bags on those trips to the bakery or butcher or even when you pick up Thai take-away for dinner?

Step 2: Bring out YOUR bags
Walk through your house, look in the kitchen pantry, in the car, in your wardrobe and gather together all the possible reuseable bags you already have. You might be surprised to find a calico bag from that conference you attended, or a handy bag provided when you bought new clothes. Most likely you will have some of those ‘green bags’ from the supermarket too. (** side note these bags are not ‘environmentally green’ as they contain polypropylene (plastic number 5) and tend to break apart! So please avoid purchasing more)

Green Bags
Green Reusable Bags

Step 3: Bags of Bags
Then you might like to sort through these bags and decide which ones are useful for grocery shopping, or for your fruit & veggies, trips to the library, sports bags, bread bags. As you can see I have a wide variety of bags. The “green” ones will continue to be used for packing groceries, the large Calico bag is for my loose fruit & Veg, I also have an Insulated bag for my meat. The aim here is to use what you’ve got – even if it is plastic…..the resources have already been consumed in making these products, so lets use them until they break, then try to recycle them.

Reusable shopping bags
Fancy Shopping Bags

Step 4: Put it where you need it
Grab the set of bags for your regular grocery shop and PUT THEM IN YOUR CAR! Yup, mine live in the boot of my car. The folded floral bag is my Library bag, the handy pocket holds our library cards! It lives in the hallway by the front door. My floral roll up bags – like the 2 above, are in my handbag ready for emergencies.

Still forgetting your bags……

Step 5: Reminders
Stick a post it note on your steering wheel to help you remember when you get out of the car. Or add it to the top of your grocery list. If you are permanently attached to your phone – then use it to set reminders to take you bags to the shops, your coffee cup to work, and your water bottle too!

So I’ve been mindful of my use of plastic bags for a long while now. I’m not perfect but I have been paying attention to how all this plastic is creeping into my home and trying to reduce it. I will continue to write about it over a series of ‘Plastic Free Living’ posts.

Are you remembering to have reusable bags on hand whenever you shop?

Do you Love or Loathe those ubiquitous ‘green bags’?

Bouncing back

Yesterday was the last day of the winter school holidays thank goodness! We didn’t go away anywhere exotic or even all that warm so we all have a dose of cabin fever. So yesterday I kept my promise to take the boys to the indoor trampoline centre an hour’s drive away. When we got there they ran off and were bouncing around like happy crazy things. Its amazing how quickly their mood can change with a bounce on a trampoline. My eldest loves perfecting flips so whenever he is kicked off the Xbox or iPad he goes outside and bounces. Something to do with the raised heart rate, physical exertion and the vestibular input (flips!) all makes for a much happier kid.

Bounce Back
Back Flips

It got me thinking about what I could be doing to bounce back from adversity and shift my bad mood. I’m down in the dumps and fighting off another bout of depression since the latest job rejection. For me that means I sleep lots, struggle to wake up, go through the day in a haze, feel achy all over, and lethargy sends me to wallow on the couch often. Depression is not just in my head it affects my whole body. I’ve had a headache everyday for at least 3 weeks now, probably due to the tension I am holding in my neck and jaw.

When I’m depressed it affects my ability to do everyday tasks. You have probably heard that before and maybe find it an odd concept. For me cooking is a hassle and when I am unwell I can’t face the kitchen and lack the energy and brain power to prepare healthy meals or even snacks. It can be a bit of a spiral of sweet and salty snacks!

I need to do something to bounce back into a healthier mindset towards a healthier me. So today I am treating myself to a change of scene. I am typing this in my local library. It is bright, colourful, warm and noisy with little kids, retirees and cheerful librarians! This change of location helps lift my mood as the chatter and people reduces my sense of isolation and loneliness, and the colourful chairs and stacks of books brighten my view.

working in the library
Bright library views

Such a simple thing as change of scene can make a big difference to my mental health. And maybe later I’ll go for a bounce on the trampoline 🙂

What do you do to help you bounce back?

Does a change of scene help?

 

Rejection

Rejection HURTS! On Friday I was rejected for yet another job. Yes, they let me down kindly, saying there were an exceptional calibre of candidates and they would keep my details on file for future opportunities. But it still stings. Yup sulking on the floor in my bedroom.

sad cos rejected

Its been 3 years since I held a professional job – I can’t quite believe it. I’ve had a few casual jobs for a few months, but nothing that really taps my expertise or has lasted. There are a few reasons behind this and I think this is a message from the universe.

Firstly you might be thinking I’m not qualified enough for these jobs. Nope, if anything I’m over qualified. I have too many pieces of paper to mark my academic achievements. I also have had a few different careers: exploration geologist, science teacher, executive officer, TAFE lecturer, e-learning technologist, and of course waitress 😉

Maybe this rejection is really a push to go in another different direction?

Perhaps all theses steps I take to get a job working for someone else are actually steps towards being my own boss. I mean, I am the boss of my own life, I have knowledge, skills and experience and I LOVE TO SHARE! So I am taking this latest hit as the FINAL push I need to really embrace myself and what I have to offer to the world and make it happen. I am going to work with my passions and help others. My passion is de-mystifying mental illness and I want to help others live their best life with their mental illness.

Watch this space…….

What job do you think I should do?

Have you found your passion project/job?

 

 

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Not just a cup of coffee

I got a text message from woman I briefly worked with, who wanted to catch up for coffee. Sure, I love a coffee catch up. So we arranged a time and place in our lovely little town. However, I kept wondering why she would bother keeping in touch with me? What did she want to talk about? I felt quite insecure about it to be honest.
When I arrived on my bike, all my concerns dissipated with her friendly wave, smile and a hug. We ordered drinks and sat in the autumn sunshine. Our conversation flowed quite easily from parenting to long weekend traffic. Then somehow quite smoothly we were talking about anxiety, and emotional struggles. It clicked, we clicked.

cup of coffee with cake
Coffee and Cake <3

My openness about my mental illness had given this wonderful women the key to connect, the permission to reach out and ask, the sense of safety to raise an awkward topic.
When things had gotten more stressful in our workplace I had been honest that it was triggering my anxiety. I had said to a couple of colleagues that I had Bipolar Disorder. I hoped by being open about my mental illness it would help alleviate the work stress, and lengthen my period of employment. It sadly didn’t, but that says more about the leaders of the organisation than the employees.
But, and its a Big BUT, it has opened this meaningful connection, this possibility for friendship and mutual support. This is so meaningful and important to me especially as I have only moved to this little town 6months ago and want to make new friends.

Having friends to talk to about everyday life and the harder things in life is necessary. Women often do this instinctively, we chat at the school gate, we meet up and talk over coffee or lunch, we ring distant friends to stay in touch. But when you are struggling with your mental health, when you are feeling anxious or lonely or stressed, we can withdraw or worry that talking about it won’t be well accepted by others. Are we being a Debbie downer? Will we scare others away with our craziness? or She won’t want to be my friend if I talk about that!

My recent experiences have proved to me that when you do talk about your emotions it builds human connections. I was chatting with a school mum who is also new to town and she opened up about her struggle to make friends. So I invited her over for a cuppa while our kids played. Our conversation easily moved from parenting to stress, frustration and anxiety. I shared my mental illness struggles and some supportive advice.

I believe that honesty and truth build our relationships with others. We all need an opportunity to share, to feel connected. So please remember that its not just a cup of coffee, but opportunity to be a good friend.

Better than Before

Good Habits Checklist

2017 Better than Before

I have never succeeded at sticking to any new year’s resolutions, especially those about losing weight and improving fitness!
So this year I am determined to work out why, and overcome that to achieve some goals in 2017.
Last week I was thinking about all the good things I need to start doing and planning, to have a great year – New Year’s pressure. Then I began to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.
I turned to one of my favourite podcasts “Straight and Curly” and revisited their episode on ‘Goal Setting’. Just listening to Kelly and Carly’s calm voices explain the key parts of setting goals calmed me down and helped me realise I can do this!
I had also listened to them talking about Gretchen Rubin’s (of the Happiness Project fame) 4 tendencies with regard to meeting expectations and creating habits. It seems I am a Rebel – meeting neither internal nor external expectations. This was certainly an ‘Ah-ha’ moment of why I have previously failed at new years resolutions!!! Not even I can MAKE me!

Yesterday I bought a lovely copy of Gretchen’s book “Better than Before”. It explains these 4 different tendencies and gives strategies to form new habits! Whilst in the Kikki K Store I also bought pretty notebooks, a pen and a ‘weekly good habits tracking pad’. Clearly I like to be organised, and buy all the things to motivate me 😉

I am armed with everything I need to kick some goals and make some new great habits in 2017.

So what will they be?

Clearly health is a big focus, along with mental health, improving my work output and saving some money. All pretty standard topics for goals.

But I need them to be catchy, snazzy and motivating……..
No, really they need to be SMART:
S – specific
M – measureable
A – achieveable
R – realisitic
T – trackable

I sat down and thought about what I want to change and achieve. I want to increase my exercise, make it regular, lose some weight, save money and work more.

Good Habits Checklist
Making new good habits

These are my goals:
Walk a minimum of 5000 steps EVERY day
Exercise 5 days per week, where exercise is 10000 steps, or a yoga class, or SUP boarding or cycling.
Lose 5 kilograms over the year.
Save $5000 of my own earnings.

In short 5k steps, 5 days, 5kilos, $5k – EASY!

I also want to cultivate some good habits. I haven’t nutted them all out yet, but they are centred around the principle of ‘living in the moment’. As I learnt last year, this is our life. It is not next year when we have a better house or job, or when the kids can look after themselves, or when we are all healthy and no longer sick and stressed. THIS IS IT!

Firstly, I need to make a habit of mindfulness meditation, to calm my anxiety, to centre my thoughts on what is here and now and to remove myself from digital/ social media distraction.

I want to deepen my connection to my kids by being present to them. That doesn’t need to mean hours of playing Lego, or understanding the digital world of Minecraft. But rather creating moments of connection, by being there, sitting down together, hearing them, holding them.

In my anxious times I struggle to start tasks due to overwhelm. Even grocery shopping can seem impossible. So I am going to try the Japanese practice of Kaizen, which includes the idea of the “one-minute principle” for self-improvement. When I feel unable to start something, or unable to do something for an extended period, I am going to try it for 1 minute. Because often it is easy to keep going once you have started.

These habits can be summed up in my phrase of Minutes = Moments = Memories.

So here goes:
5k, 5 days, 5k, 5k
Minutes = Moments = Memories

What are your goals for 2017?
Do you need to change your habits?
Any other Rebels out there?

Just 5 things

My anxiety overwhelmed me last week. I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest and I burst into sobs and tears.

A dear friend texted me, I reached out to her. She told me to write down 5 things I have control over right now and text her back. For about 5 minutes all I could manage was to slow my breathing. Then I slowly thought of other things. I wrote the list in my notebook, and pressed the lavender flower.

I took this photo to share with her and to remind me of this wonderful gesture of a friend reaching out to help me. And that it works! 😍🙌

lavender heart
just 5 things

I am not alone even when I feel overwhelmed and the darkness swallowing. Reach out to someone you can trust.

Even when I feel out of control, I can still control at least 5 things, starting with my breathing. Just breathe

Self care activities do work and are definitely worthy of your effort and time. Smell the lavender, colour in the heart.

Thank you to my dear friend 💜

Am I ill or just mentally ill?

I’m sitting by a tropical pool in Broome, recovering from a terrible stomach bug that went through the whole family. I’ve been lacking energy, zest, patience and tolerance for a week now. I was prone to snapping at the kids and any noise they made was incredibly annoying. My husband kept telling me how mean I was being. I started to think this big family trip of ours was bad for my mental health. I was not feeling motivated to do anything, making decisions was difficult. This trip around the North of Australia was supposed to bring us closer as a family not make us hate each other.
Then my youngest started vomiting, right there by the campfire. A picturesque evening by the banks of the De Grey River, bush camping, everyone happy for a moment staring at the flames of the campfire, anticipating the toasted marshmallows.
After a pretty rough night of half hourly vomitting from Mr T I was tired too. We stumbled our way into our next stop, where I could no longer ignore my throbbing headache and now started to feel nauseous. Thank goodness I was able to snooze away the afternoon with Toby.

Like a bear with a sore head!
Like a bear with a sore head!

Now that I was officially sick too, there was more tolerance from others for my requests for help and also to be left alone to rest! But when I was just plain grumpy there was no forgiveness, maybe I even looked like Cruella DeVille?

Mean and nasty
Mean and nasty

Was I getting sick all along? or was I not coping mentally with all the change this trip has brought?
Was I just ill? or mentally ill?
These thoughts are still rattling around in my head. This second guessing of my ability to ‘adult’ and ‘cope with life’ is taxing on me.

Do you ever wonder if you are just sick or if it is your mental illness closing everything?

Does an illness sneak up on you with a case of the grumps first?

Life is not a destination, it is a journey.

Winding Road in Outback WA

Well this is our journey. We have packed up our home in Perth, Western Australia and decided to travel North with our caravan. Sounds idyllic to many people, in fact envied by several of our friends. This journey is not like a holiday where you have a set destination or 2 and a specific length of time away before you return to normal life in your own home. This journey has required us to work hard to leave, in fact it was so hard to leave we delayed our departure 3 times!
Now we are on the road and finally far enough North to wear shorts and thongs even at night. After 2 weeks of cold and mostly rainy days, we have finally found the land of almost eternal sunshine – the Pilbara region of WA. We had freezing cold nights in Geraldton, then rain that seemed to follow us all the way North to Exmouth! Three beautiful days of sunshine – one each in Coral Bay, Exmouth and Ningaloo (all within 100km of each other!).

Winding Road in Outback WA
Winding roads of the Journey of Life

We feel weary and the kids are still getting on each other’s nerves and ours! Why? Isn’t this the trip of a lifetime? A dream come true? Is it just the rain and wind wearing us down?
After driving 580km yesterday in 8 hours, including nearly 2 hours on rough corrugated station tracks, we could be excused for feeling tired. But I fear that it is something deeper.
Are we worried about the cost of fuel, food and accommodation on our limit funds? Of course! But we have the support of our family and we are managing to stay on budget so far.
Do we know where we are going and when? Well, yes and no.
And there’s the hitch!
Our lack of itinerary is freeing but also tiring as we weigh up our options, consider weather, distance, costs and almost each day we decide. Yep it’s the decision making that’s draining our brains and our energy.
It’s a well known fact that decision making uses up brain power. As Kelly Exeter so succinctly says to make our lives more efficient and manageable we need to minimise these decisions and create routines.
Routines are exactly what we are lacking on our trip. From what we will eat for breakfast, to what schooling will we do for the day right through to where we are going next?
So here’s challenge number one for our journey: how to create routines whilst living a travelling lifestyle. These new routines need to be flexible enough to suit travel days, activity days and rest days. Routines that will create stability for the kids, respite from the battles and reduce the number of decisions in our day.
Back to the itinerary, I think it is time we had a plan. Well we have a plan (in my head) but it is time to put our plan down on paper and flesh out a few more details. The best-made plans are the ones you change……….

Have you travelled long term with kids?
Ever felt tired even on holidays?
Do you stick to an itinerary?

Eat the Frog

Frog
Frog
The Frog (Splendid Tree Frog – WA Museum)

Hi there, long time no blog posts. I’ve been busying myself chasing around after my 2 boys and puppy,  running the household and keeping myself well. I’ve also enjoyed listening to a lot of Podcasts lately. When I’ve had a a mountain of washing to fold, or need to clean the kitchen I bribe myself with the  company of one of these great podcasts: Straight and Curly, Let it be, Slow your home. If you are new to Podcasts then let me explain – it is the internet’s version of radio only with much better choices of hosts, topics and even music 🙂 You can listen via the websites linked above or via iTunes or the Podcast app on your iPhone.

Rosie on the beach
Rosie in the sand

On the Straight and Curly Podcast my friend Kelly Exeter and co-host Carly Jacobs recently talked about procrastination. Now let it be known I consider myself to have a University Degree in Procrastination Techniques (Geology with a Thesis). Hence the lack of posts on this blog. I’ve been far too busy, well being busy or making myself seem busy.

So today I’m following Carly’s advice and Eating the frog! What? Yep, I’m getting up and getting on with that thing that I am avoiding, the task that seems too hard to start, seems too big to conquer. But actually when I get down to it, its just taping on a keyboard and it will be done. TICK!

I do like ticking things of a list, I’ll write a to do list just to feel that satisfaction (just like Kelly). And if I’m starting to feel overwhelmed, or I’m not making any progress, the act of writing that to do list helps me clarify what really needs to get done, or what it is that I am avoiding. I hate that feeling of going around in circles and not getting anything done. You know when you sit down at your desk and the first thing you do is check your emails, then reward yourself with a coffee break and a quick check through Facebook, and Instagram, then go back to your emails and start all over again – yep me too! Kelly and Carly nailed it in their recent episode “Stop starting again“. Now I’m a ‘stay at home’ Mum, I do this by walking around the house, picking up 2 things, taking them to the room they belong in, then getting distracted making my son’s bed and picking up his Lego, then ‘beep’ the washing finishes and I hang it out, noticing the garden needs watering and the puppy insists on a play session and afterwards rewarding myself with a coffee, then where was I? Oh thats right my to do list……. still haven’t ticked anything off yet.

Tick that to do list
To do list – TICK

 

Recently I reached a crazy point – it took me 2 weeks to ring the plumber, and in that time I even spotted him across the school grounds twice! You know how long that phone call actually took? – 2minutes, yep, 2 minutes and Dave the plumber was all lined up to come around and quote for my laundry job. TICK.

Another thing on my long to do list was to sort out my Superannuation – BORING! I discovered I had 3 different Super accounts – all silently ticking away and costing me money. So I got on with it, followed the sage Straight and Curly advice of single-tasking. No, I did not try to juggle my phone under my ear, whilst sipping coffee, scanning my emails and completing paperwork all at the same time like normal. I sat and instead focussed on my Super mountain of paperwork, analysed the facts and got on with changing one Super to my married name (only 8 years overdue) and then rolling them over into 1 Super account. I felt SO GOOD when I got this #onething done – just as BabyMac (one of my favourite bloggers) says its great to finally do that #onething and this one also felt like a whole lot of ‘Adulting’. So thanks for the motivation (aka kick up the butt BabyMac 😀) TICK

As I mentioned I have been running around after our cavoodle puppy Rosie – generally with paper towel, vinegar and bi-carb soda……..to sort out all the ‘messes’ on the CREAM carpet – ugh! It seems Rosie Posie preferred to do her business on the ONLY carpet in our house. After weeks of this spot cleaning, that carpet had more spots than a leopard and looked feral. So #onething last week was call the carpet cleaners. So glad I did because they worked a miracle and the carpet looks fresh and smells it too!

Carpet Clean
Clean Cream Carpet

So by exercising some self-control I have finally got stuff done!
My #onething for today was write a blog post – TICK 😀

What’s on your ‘To do list’?
Do you like ticking things off?
Can you do #onething today?