Love is a Limited Resource.

It seems to be assumed by many that because we can feel love infinitely, we can also give love infinitely. In principle, the idea that love (the feeling) is infinite is not all that harmful. But love is not a feeling. Love is a verb, an action. You can claim to love someone even when you do not support it with your actions, and everyone will agree that is not love. Therefore, in reality, love is the act of loving, not the act of feeling love. And the act of loving is a limited resource.

This is evidenced by people who claim to love infinitely.

Parents of many children claim to love every child, but eventually hit a point where their children are suffering the compression of their homes and their days.

Radical vegans claim to love all animals and to wish harm on none, but will cause another human vast amounts of pain for not agreeing with them.

Animal hoarders claim to love every animal they own whilst simultaneously making all of them ill and even killing some of them.

Polygamous people claim to love many sexual and romantic partners “the same”, but will readily reduce their exposure to all their partners to accommodate a new love.

Hippie types claim to love all people, but will distance themselves from people who are violent, the very people who would most benefit from their world view.

Humans simply cannot love infinitely. Our love is a limited resource. Why? Because the ways in which we show love are physically restricted.

Time.

Our time is limited. If we have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing, then every person we add to that list reduces our ability to socialize with the others. There is a reason we value having a few close friends over hundreds of distant ones. It is simply easier to love and be loved by someone you see and talk to for an hour a day than by someone you see and talk to for an hour a month.

Resources.

We show our love also by sharing resources with others. Whether it’s taking someone out for a fancy meal or simply feeding our children the bare basics they need to survive, the more mouths we add to our list to feed, the less we can feed each of them. Whatever you offer someone as a token of love, every person you add breaks it in half.

Energy.

And we also only have so much energy to invest in people. Maybe we do have six hours a day to dedicate to socializing. But that also involves the energy expense of moving to see people, engaging in actions and, for introverts, just putting on our social faces. The more people you deal with, the less energy you have to deal with each of them. So you could theoretically throw a party every night and socialize with a hundred and fifty people per night. But it will drain you.

Quite simply, we have so much to give. And we need to be aware of that. Otherwise we end up in a family of fifty with nothing to eat, or hurting a friend to prove we love an animal, or adopting three cats into a deadly environment, or seeing our partners rarely to keep face with other partners, or pushing away people who need our help to encourage good feels.

Our resources are limited. We cannot love everyone. Instead, we need to allocate some of our love to everyone of value in our lives and prioritize who gets the most of what we have to give. Otherwise we end up with nothing left to give and nobody to give it to.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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It isn’t wicked to be an enabler, just misdirected.

It is often too easy to see the flaws in a behaviour and not the healthy points at the root of it. Enabling is one of those behaviours where the healthy components are often overlooked.

When we call someone an enabler, we usually mean “a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another”. However the primary definition in the dictionary is not that. That part comes second. The primary definition is “a person or thing that makes something possible”. And that’s something important to bear in mind.

An enabler, at their core, is someone who wants to give someone else what they want. The enabler may enable an alcoholic by buying said alcoholic more drinks when the alcoholic’s state is too bad to get out the house. The enabler will do this because they believe it is good, as it makes the alcoholic happy. They do not want the alcoholic to suffer or do badly; if they did they would be a saboteur: “a person who engages in sabotage”, to “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”.

The problem therefore is in what they are enabling. They are enabling a negative habit, which in the end will cause more harm than good.

And therein lies the problem. An enabler is not a wicked person. They simply need to learn that what they are enabling is a wicked thing, that temporary happiness and praise is not a sign all is well, and often they will adjust and make efforts to enable more positive traits.

Enabling, once redirected, is a marvellous and powerful thing. Housewives and the home guard enabled healthy men to go to war when it was required. Kelly Ann Conway enabled Trump to portray himself well to the media. General Curtis LeMay enabled the Berlin Airlift. Objectively, in all cases everyone involved benefitted from their enabling.

So don’t fear being an enabler. Just ask yourself if you’re doing it for the feels or for the results.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What things have you enabled in the past? In what ways have you been enabled, for better or for worse?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… show care.

Sometimes, for some of us at least, it can be hard to get across that we actually care about someone or something. Or maybe we don’t fully understand or actually care, but we need to not alienate them. If you’re as socially awkward as I can be and need a little help, here are a few steps to showing care and concern.

1: Pay close attention.

Whatever they’re talking about, listen closely and carefully. Details, emotions and hints are everywhere in conversations when someone is in need. Make mental note of everything that seems relevant to them, as it may become more important later on. When discussing sensitive subjects it can be hard to ask people to repeat themselves and clarify, so the more you pick up the first time, the better.

2: Physical contact.

When someone needs comforting physical contact is often the most reassuring thing. Don’t necessarily start hugging someone you hardly know, but a bit of friendly contact like a hand on a shoulder can make all the difference.

3: Meet their needs.

After the conversation you will have a fairly clear idea about what you could realistically do to help. Offer help when you can and make it clear that you aren’t being inconvenienced.

4: Offer food or drink.

More comfort is found in food and drink. If you can’t do much for them, at least bring them a stiff drink, some chocolate or a pizza. Something comforting, easy to consume and that may help even them out a little. It also encourages normalcy by giving them the option of sitting down to a regular meal and gives more chance for conversation.

5: Give them some space.

If there is literally nothing you can do for them, make sure they are in safe hands and give them plenty of space. Having everyone looming around can sometimes make people feel like they’re causing drama, which makes them postpone the natural recovery process. Instead, back off until you’re useful or called upon and try and encourage others to do so as well.

And that’s how I manage when I’m not sure how to react when someone is distressed.

What would you suggest adding? Open to any advice.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

5 Things To Do For Your Husband Today.

Often we rely too much on someone telling us what they want. And not everyone knows what they need, how to express it or that you can help. Same goes for your husband or live-in-partner. However close you are and however much you ask, there will always be things to do to make his life better that he won’t ask you for, but will appreciate immensely.

In my personal experience and from observation, here are five things you can do to make his day nicer that he wouldn’t even consider asking for.

1: A massage.

A staple of stereotypes and jokes, massages are really great. And I’ve found that men tend to be more likely to offer a spontaneous massage and women are more likely to request one than the other way around.

But everyone benefits from a good rub down once in a while. Start by waiting until he is sat down and relaxing and begin at the shoulders and neck. Work your way down his upper arms, then back up and down his back. Massaging his legs and feet are also options. Try and mix up the massage techniques. Men have fewer nerve endings near the skin surface than women, so a deep tissue massage where your knuckles are really digging in can feel very pleasant to them.

2: Pudding.

Everyone loves treats and most people enjoy a treat after dinner. However people turn to unwholesome foods more often when there isn’t something better on offer.

With a few minutes, some cream and some fruit you can make an ice cream, with a little extra time and a pastry recipe you can make a pie. Think of his favourite pudding and surprise him with it tonight.

3: Wash his outdoor clothes.

Many men enjoy spending time outdoors or simply have to for their job and chores. Does your husband do the gardening, go jogging, walk the dog or collect firewood? Then he will have some designated outdoor clothes he uses for them.

It might look like his tatty old jacket, muddy wellington boots and dusty overalls are meant to be that way, but as long as you don’t accidentally break them, many men appreciate coming home to the holes in their jacket patched, their boots mud-free and their overalls washed and dried.

Just because he likes his old clothes doesn’t mean he wants them to look old all the time or fall apart entirely.

4: Find/buy him something to enjoy together.

Your husband likes you. That means he likes spending time with you, seeing you smile and enjoy yourself and sharing his hobbies with you.

Look into a few of the things he likes that you weren’t all that interested in. Maybe he’s an avid gamer, a fan of a certain comic, interested in music or fond of gardening. Then, find something you think you would both enjoy and plan to do it together.

You don’t have to actually do it today or to surprise him with it. The fact that you took the initiative to learn about one of his hobbies and want to spend time joining him will make him incredibly happy.

5: Have some quiet time.

However much of an extrovert he may be, however much he adores you, everyone likes a little bit of quiet and men seem to want just a touch more quiet than women. It’s possibly even a biological difference, just like women need a bit more sleep than men.

But this doesn’t mean you need to be out of the room whenever he wants quiet. He still loves you and wants to spend time with you. Just make a point of putting on his favourite show or leaving a book on the table for him and cuddling up as he enjoys it. Make a drink, get something to do in silence and just sit there together.

And those are five things you can do today to make him happy and show him how much you love and respect him.

What do you do to make your husband or wife happy? How do you try and make each day special? Please share your advice and anecdotes with us!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

6 Jobs To Do From Home.

With how much I go on about traditional roles and their benefit to couples, women and men, some may think I don’t support the idea of women working. However I do think women should work. Firstly because avoiding hard graft isn’t a good indicator of character. Secondly because everyone needs hobbies. Thirdly because in this economy both partners need to make and save money together. Fourthly because it offers you some independence in case your partner loses his job, passes away or, yes it is a possibility, leaves. In short, work is good. But not all work is created equal. I also believe most women are better off and happier in traditional roles, away from the stress and drudgery of office-life, looking after their children and their homes. Someone needs to make sure the food is made, the house is clean and tidy, the laundry is done and the cupboards are stocked. And how do I propose reconciling the two angles? By working from home, of course.

These are six jobs that you can do from home whilst still maintaining a home. They will be rated on time investment, startup cost and space needed. All of them can pay very well if you make good choices, use your time wisely and advertise far and wide. So pick one and stick with it, give them all a go or try them all at once and discontinue the least rewarding.

1.- eBay.

Many people think of eBay as either for people who want to sell old rubbish, people who want to buy something or people who have warehouses full of goods. But the simple reality is that you can start an eBay shop with an empty drawer or cabinet, a few hundred to spare, a local post office and a computer.

Time invested:

Wholly depends on how much you sell and how far you are from the post-office. Expect to make two trips a week to post items if you’re successful. Packing takes five minutes per item at the very most, but put time aside at the end of every day to pack anything you sold.

Money invested:

Depends on what you’re going to sell. However I would suggest that, to make it worthwhile, you will want to be investing at least £300 for your “starter” items. That might mean 300 items you buy at £1 and sell at £3 + P&P or 3 items you buy at £100 and sell at £150 + P&P. Therefore, good research is important.

Space needed:

This will grow as you do, but a drawer, cupboard or even a box is fine for storing your items. Maybe a corner of the room or a chair could be repurposed as a packing centre where everything is kept in easy-reach. If your business grows, you will likely expand into a room.

You will need:

-Something to sell.

-Somewhere to store it.

-Packing materials in the right sizes.

-A computer with a seller eBay account.

Things to be aware of:

-Choose a market you know well and research every item before buying it. Investing too much in a loss can seriously hit you when starting up.

-It will take 10 good reviews before your account is trusted by most buyers. It starts slow and steady and builds up from there, so always provide the best service possible.

-Make sure you get proof of postage or tracking on every item you send, to prevent false claims from would-be thieves.

-Only sell as much as you can handle. If you’re struggling when you have 200 items up at a time, don’t add another 100.

Possible returns:

This is a standard two months of selling on eBay. I have five to ten items up at a time, each worth £10-60. Many will sell within a week of posting, most will sell by the end of the 60 days.

Six jobs you can do from home.

2.- Tutor.

Private tutoring isn’t the scary monster a lot of people think it is. You do need a nice room to tutor from and a tidy, sorted house to welcome people into. Or a car so you can travel to students. You also need to know the subject you’re teaching and know it inside and out. But besides that, it isn’t that hard. I managed as an overworked A-level student without connections, so I’m pretty confident when I say that just about anyone could do it.

Time invested:

One hour minimum per lesson, plus fifteen minutes preparation for the first hour and an additional ten minutes for every subsequent hour, plus fifteen to thirty minutes homework prep where relevant. So if you have one student who has two hours a week, that is 135 to 165 minutes of your time.

Money invested:

Most of the financial investment is startup. You will need to make sure you have a computer you can always access, which may involve buying a new computer, for instance. A couple of hundred pounds to remodel the room a little, get some extra furniture and stock up on “school supplies” would be needed. Then from there you only need to pay for the materials your students use and for renewing advertisements.

Space needed:

If you will tutor from your home, you will need a room that is quiet, inviting and well-equipped. This could be your living room if you don’t have kids and your partner is at work, but you will likely need a second room. If you tutor only as outcalls, then you just need space to store your materials. If you tutor only online, then you need a quiet room and little else.

You will need:

-A computer you can always access.

-Relevant books and resources.

-Accounts on various tutoring sites.

-Advertisements on free websites, paid websites and local newspapers.

-All relevant materials.

-A Disclosure of Barred Services if you plan on working with children.

Things to be aware of:

-Many parents will want to sit-in on the first few lessons.

-You can learn as you go along, but practising on friends and relatives first will help a lot.

-Your students will expect your home to be at a good temperature, pleasant-smelling, dustless and organized.

-You will need to adapt your language for every student and deal with people that you may find frustrating or annoying.

-Don’t take on a student you don’t think you can handle.

Possible returns:

Depends on the hours you work, but £6-25/hour is the usual range. Think £6 for something more people could offer, like knitting lessons, to £25 for something fewer people offer, like Mandarin Chinese lessons. You will have to charge around the same as others in your area and often you will charge less for classes at your home than you will for classes outside it.

3.- Housework.

We don’t tend to think of housework as something we can make money for at home. But many people are prepared to outsource some very simple tasks, so it could be worthwhile trying to do their work for some extra money! You could offer a laundry service, a meal prep service, shopping collection or even a firewood preparing service.

Time invested:

Completely dependent on your workload, but not a lot. The customers will drop off their laundry at your home, for example, or you can get ingredients and logs for your customers when you get your own. If you’re doing your own laundry, then put theirs through too. Do their ironing after yours. Collect their shopping when you’re in town. Cook all the meals in a couple of large pots, ready.

Money invested:

The cost of some extra detergent, electricity or ingredients.

Space needed:

No more than if you were doing the job on your own. Though if you’re looking at cooking you may need to upgrade your kitchen and get certified, depending on where you live!

You will need:

-Advertisements on free advertisement sites and in local newspapers.

-Any certification required by law in your area.

Things to be aware of:

-This will need to be something you already do to make it worth your time.

-Your reputation and reviews will be 100% based on customer satisfaction, there is no room to argue your case if you upset a customer.

-It could interfere with your life if you take on too much work.

Possible returns:

Not much, you’ll probably get £5-8 for every hour of work, but it’s extra money for minimal effort.

4.- Care.

Whether it’s pets, children, elderly or disabled relatives or just houseplants, almost everyone has something they need to care for in their lives. But people go on holidays, get ill and have overtime at work. So the care industries are an excellent place to make a little bit of money on the side.

Time invested:

Travel time and however many hours you’re accepting. You could only accept people within half an hour of your home, for example. Or only accept people who want care that is four times the travel time, for example someone who lives 45 minutes away but wants three hours of care.

Money invested:

Depends on the care. Often with pet-sitting and plant-sitting you will be left with the necessary food and care products. However with daycare you may need to assume you will be feeding the children. You will also need to adapt your house to make sure you can properly care for whoever you will care for. For example, you can’t take over elderly or disabled care for anyone if your spare room is up two flights of stairs.

Space needed:

A spare room for whoever you’re caring for. Be it a few dogs, some hens, some potted plants or a teenager, you will need a place for them to sleep, eat and get some privacy.

You will need:

-The time to travel to other people’s homes for care.

-The space to put-up however many people, pets or plants you will care for.

-Experience in a relevant field of care.

-A Disclosure of Barred Services for caring for children or other vulnerable people.

Things to be aware of:

-You may need certification for looking after certain pets or even endangered plants.

-Always investigate anything you’re not sure of and feel free to ask questions. If you’ve kept snakes for years, nobody will worry much if you’re not sure about a certain species.

-Your house will have to be safe, accommodating and roomy enough.

-What people care for may seem odd for you. Someone may love a potted plant more than you love your pets. Someone may want their terrapin to be pampered. If you must turn someone down, do so politely by explaining you’re not sure you could provide their loved one with the care he/she/it deserves.

Possible returns:

The minimum care salary for your area up to £25/h.

5.- Food.

Producing your own food may seem like a smart option, even if you’re space-restricted. But many people don’t realize how easily you can grow a little excess and sell it on. Everything from potatoes, to berries, to eggs, to jams, to cake can be produced in bulk and sold, provided you abide by local restrictions and regulations.

Time invested:

Even if you’re just growing and not processing anything, some time will need to be set aside. For example, if you have fifty rehoused hens that are largely still laying, it may not be enough to collect and box the surplus eggs. You will need to make sure the sizes are either separated (a box of smalls, a box of mediums and a box of larges, for example) or very well mixed (so no box is entirely smalls, for example). You will need to put your signs up. You will need to be hospitable to anyone who shows up asking about eggs and maybe show people the hens. In short, from the moment the sign goes out, you could be busy.

Money invested:

Not much. The cost of extra seeds or a bit of extra feed for some more hens isn’t that high. Just keep growing or producing whatever your land is good for.

Space needed:

Depends how large you want to go. On a medium garden you could probably make space for many vegetable and fruit plants. You could grow herbs and keep rabbits on a tiny patio. You could turn your whole garden over to laying hens. Look at what you have and see what you can do.

You will need:

-A sign to place somewhere fairly busy, with clear directions to your house.

-A sign for outside your house.

-Enough spare food to sell.

Things to be aware of:

-In some places you can only sell fresh produce, in others you need a license to sell certain items. Always check.

-Recommend use-by dates to your customers.

-Keep hygiene spot-on.

Possible returns:

Expect to sell a few baskets of items a day, so keep them priced moderately and it will be easy to get rid of surplus food and start making a profit on your own groceries!

6.- Writing.

This is one people don’t know how to get started on. The easiest way to just start writing immediately and make money is to use a freelance website like fiverr.com. That way you can learn what you’re good at and get ready for more challenging things, like writing ebooks, blogs or novels for publishers.

Time invested:

It takes around half an hour to set up the basics to look right, maybe fifteen minutes to set up each Gig. Advertising isn’t really needed for writing work.

Besides that, however much you want to work. You can expect many people to order many types of text, so consider making a Gig for each of them and then temporarily suspending some when you’re more overworked.

Money invested:

None at all. However bear in mind that all freelance websites will charge a fee and take it out of your earnings.

Space needed:

Somewhere quiet to sit and focus.

You will need:

-A working computer with a good writing program on it.

-A backup hard-drive in case anything happens to your computer.

-A quiet space to work from.

Things to be aware of:

-It’s better to cancel an order than to get overbooked.

-Encourage customers to contact you before ordering.

-Sometimes people will be annoying. If they start acting out, check their page for reviews from sellers. Chances are they’re a first time customer.

Potential earnings:

This is a month of fiverr earnings on the side of my main work, probably an hour a day at the most.

Six jobs you can do from home.And those are six jobs you can do from home with minimal investment in terms of time, money, energy and space. With all of them you largely work your own hours, can cancel and have a few weeks off when you need to or even increase the prices if demand is high. You could do a little of all of them or make one your full-time job.

Got any questions about getting started with any of these? Just ask and I’ll help you out!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

5 Pieces Of My Own Advice I Should Probably Follow.

I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. But considering how often I’m right, it’s appalling how often I fail to follow my own advice, heed my own warnings and do the right or best thing.

5 Pieces Of My Own Advice I Should Probably Follow!

With that said, in a moment of unprecedented honesty, here are five pieces of good advice I give out more often than I act on. I will strive to actually take this advice in the future.

1: Make Yourself Happy.

This is a compound of two deeply set beliefs of mine. The first is that it is nobody else’s responsibility to make you happy, or, indeed, do anything for you. You are born into this world naked and frail and, whatever rights and contracts are formed between you and those around you and enforced, under that veil of civility we are still all barbarians who would stab each other in the kidney for no good reason. Nobody owes me anything, so my happiness should not be in their hands.

The second belief is that optimism is the only way to truly enjoy life. There is a silver lining to most things and a plan B for everything. You may not feel happy about everything, but you can find the more pleasant unintended consequences, the things that at least didn’t go wrong, the things you have left. If you lose your family, your home and your job, at least you’re still alive and have your brain and live in a world full or charitable people and resources. You are alive and will keep on living until such a time as there is nothing left.

Combine the two, and you can see why I recommend to always try and make yourself happy. So long as you’re here, you have something going for you. And the stars will never wholly align to make everything perfect. The best you can do is take things into your own hands and adopt a more positive attitude.

But I don’t really take that advice all that often. Something I’m not particularly secretive about, but don’t really go on about, is I have what we currently believe to be cyclothymia, a mood swing disorder like a light form of bipolar. So when I’m feeling generally good about myself, ie, when I’m on the way down, but well rested and haven’t got much to do, or on the way up and hitting every target, the advice is easy to follow. I slept for twelve hours, but it’s OK because I cleared my work. I lost £200 of income due to a timing error, but money comes and goes and we’re in the black anyway. But part of the cycle is occasional, pretty intense periods of existential depression, which basically amounts to alternating nihilism and anxiety, sometimes to a point where I am in deep despair and paranoid.

And, to be honest, I use that as an excuse. Yes, it’s hard to feel happy when something flips in your brain and you just want the world  to end so you don’t have to face another day on this planet. But you can at least alleviate it by focusing on the good things, relaxing and not getting wound up about things.

2: Let it go.

This one is based off a simple principle. Things will always fall outside your control. You may be lucky or you may not, you can influence the outcomes, but you can never decide them. Sometimes things will go wrong, people will act like idiots or life will just generally be rubbish.

And, just as with making yourself happy, you need to let go of these things. Sometimes being stressed helps you focus and deal with things, but sometimes it’s just stress.

This was related to my #NoNothingNovember challenge and I’m still working on it. The problem is that stress is almost addictive. And once you get it started, it just keeps going. Every single thing becomes straw on a camel’s back, when it should be water off a duck’s back. And the more stress I add, the more I hold onto it.

Releasing emotions is fine. Easy even. I can forgive, forget or despise someone in a blink of an eye. That much “letting go” comes naturally to me. But stress? I’ll hold onto it to a point where I break down and procrastinate rather than get anything done, because if I start working I’ll remember how much I have to do and panic. Not a good cycle.

3: Look after yourself.

Another important one. Often we focus too much on other people and forget to look after ourselves. You know that warning in airplane safety videos? “Please put on your own mask before you assist anyone else”? Well that’s true in all of life. You may think you’re being good and generous, but you aren’t helping anyone if you’re jobless, homeless, penniless and destitute. You need to find a safe place you can work from before you decide what you can do for others.

There are so many little and big ways of caring for yourself, from having a relaxing bath to ensuring you are as independent as you can be. And all of them help us live longer, happier lives, and ultimately help others and society more than if we hadn’t looked out for ourselves.

Which is why I’m confused and annoyed every time I feel run down and realize I don’t have to feel run down, I did it to myself and I’m the only one to blame. I don’t put many people before myself. But the few people and the work I put before myself is enough to weigh me down. And I do love Jon. And we do need the money from my work. But getting so ill I can’t work for a week because I didn’t want to take a day off lessons and I wanted to make his favourite dinner isn’t going to help. It does him no good when I’m ill and I can’t earn when I’m ill. Likewise for stress, undereating or any other way I neglect myself. And I do it because I put every essay, every exam, every meal, every task, every animal, every lesson before my own wellbeing. “Just one thing more” is sometimes too much.

4: Spend less time online.

The time you spend online is the time you don’t spend offline. It sounds simple and obvious, but I think it actually needs mentioning and giving some thought. When our entire world is connected by assorted websites, programs and devices, we forget how much time we spend connected. Especially so when more and more work is done online and online content is so easily accessible and engaging. You log on to check your emails or Skype or do some research and you stay online watching videos and looking at daft pictures on reddit.

But all that time doing mindless things online is taking away from your time in the real world. And whatever some people feel, most of us would rather be in the real world. We would rather talk to friends and family than argue with strangers online. We would rather care for our homes than blog about them. We would rather watch a film than trawl YouTube or go to a park than click through Facebook.

And that was the main reason I chose to eliminate timewasting websites and restrict access to useful websites that lost their productive value as part of my #NoNothingNovember. And I am sticking to that.

But I’m still easily spending far too much time online. I need to get myself more focused, use my time online sparingly and wisely and try and spend more time with Jon and out in the open. It’s so easy, even when you’re being productive, to assume the online time isn’t having much of an impact. But even if it’s work, if I spend a week writing scheduled blog posts, forget to do my work and have to spend one of Jon’s days off catching up on work, that impacts our life negatively.

5: Ask yourself why.

Often it’s easy to get wound up, stressed, distracted and not notice why. We find ourselves in a state and just get caught up in it and don’t ever track it back to its source. Sometimes when we track a problem back far enough we find a root cause that is completely unfixable, such as the genetic lottery or someone or something else’s actions. But most of the time the cause of our troubles can be found and fixed on our own.

For example, we may find our health suffering because of poor diet. If we just look at the ill health, we may see no solution. But if we track it back we see all the causes. The ill health is caused by a bad diet, that was caused by a childhood eating disorder, that was caused by depression, that was caused by an internal malformation of the brain you were born with. You can’t fix your brain. You can’t undo the eating disorder. But you can work with the depression and you aren’t doomed to eat a bad diet.

Likewise, we rarely ask ourselves why we are in a situation. We need to ask how we wound up there, what we did to contribute to it and how we can remedy it. It’s no use to stay focused on your problems if you aren’t looking for a solution.

And somehow, knowing all this, I manage to get het up about problems that often have very simple solutions. I don’t always remember to ask why I am in that situation, only what I can do to get out of it. And that way I am only looking at the symptoms and getting distressed, rather than actually noticing the disease.

And those are five pieces of my own advice I should probably follow. What advice do you wish you followed more often?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself.

We all know and understand the message of looking after ourselves first. Everything from the little reminder during airline safety videos to advice for first time mothers reminds us that you can’t help someone before making sure you’re safe yourself.

But it can be hard to stick to this. Most of us have someone we put at the same level as ourselves, if not before us in terms of wellbeing. All of us have at some point harmed our health by trying to care for someone else. It’s all well and good to say “look after yourself”, but when the time actually comes, all you want to do is give everything to your partner, child, friend, relative or pet. When we try and look after ourselves first we can feel guilty or worried.

So what are some ways we can take care of ourselves when really all we want to do is run around looking after other people?

1. Quiet corner.

This is first because it’s the very first thing you can do. Everything else comes in no particular order, but this is big. Find yourself a nice, quiet corner of the house to call your own and to make comfortable. Try and keep any stressful work away from it and make it pretty clear that it’s your territory and refuge. It doesn’t have to be a room. The bath, a comfy chair or even the garden could do. Wherever you are comfortable, happy and out of the way of household traffic.

2. Eat well.

Eating healthy is vital to looking after yourself. Make sure that you eat food that energizes you and refreshes you, avoid food that makes you sluggish or unwell and don’t eat too much or too little. Eat when you’re hungry and not just when you get the time. Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t let yourself get away with a diet you’d never feed someone else. You deserve as good and healthy a meal as anyone else.

3. Bedtimes.

Set a bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. Sure, you may get up to care for someone who is sick or to put a child back to bed, but in principle, lights out is lights out. Try and guarantee yourself a routine, some proper rest and some bedroom privacy.

4. Dress up.

Make yourself look nice every day. Maybe not dressing to the nines, but wear practical clothes you like seeing yourself in, sort your hair, put on a bit of jewelery, a dusting of makeup, get rid of hangnails and dirty hands. Seeing yourself looking good will boost your confidence and mood.

5. Have a treat.

Even if you’re making sure to eat really healthy, budget properly and stay focused, from time to time give yourself a treat. It doesn’t have to be something massive, expensive, extravagant or anything of the sort. But if you’re the sort of person who will, in a week, buy £20 of chocolate for a loved one and not allow themselves a boiled sweet for the entire seven days, you’ll understand when I say: it really isn’t that big of a deal. Have a little treat. Enjoy it.

6. Get a hobby.

Find something you can do that you love. It might be scrapbooking, painting, dancing, cooking, rappelling, sewing, anything. But find something you love and make a habit of doing it. Maybe you’ll go to a monthly book club or maybe you’ll set aside twenty minutes a day to garden. Whatever it is and however often, take some time to just be you and have fun.

7. Exercise.

No matter how healthy you’re eating, how well rested you are and how little time you have, try and find a few minutes a day to exercise. It will build your muscles, burn through fat, elevate your mood and get you fired up and ready for the next challenge. Maybe you can only manage a four minute emergency workout in the morning. Or maybe you have three hours a week to dedicate to jogging. Whatever it is, do it.

8. Unwind.

Just because you have your quiet space and bedtime doesn’t mean those are the only times and places you can relax. Sit down with the kids and read a book. Watch a film with your partner. Just soak in the bath. Do something once in a while to completely put your mind and body at ease.

9. Get out.

It can be very easy to get locked between work, home, shopping and any other closed spaces, like bars, clubs, gyms, restaurants or friends’ houses. But the great outdoors can help you in many ways. Just looking at plants can relax you, fresh air does a body good and sunlight provides life-giving Vitamin D. A brisk walk in the park once a week could make life so much easier.

10. Laugh.

Laughter being the best medicine is a commonly repeated and mocked expression. But, in reality, it does help. Laughter can provide pain relief, relax you, make you happy and boost your immune system. So find something comical, sit down and have a good laugh. Laugh even at the bad jokes, the inappropriate ones, the offensive ones, the ones you don’t like. Laugh more and you’ll feel better all round.

Do you think you look after yourself well? Or do you always put others first and yourself last? How do you look after yourself? How could you improve? Feel free to share.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!