Posted in Burnout, guilt, writing

Soon I’ll be Sixty Years Old

old three times
Despite the fact that someone asked if my son was my grandson last week, I managed to get myself out of the huff


Well actually I won’t be 60 soon, however I do appreciate it’ll be soon enough.

As life is all too short and busy, I’ve been trying to be kind to myself, generally hang in there, and not, for want of a more elegant phrase, do my own head in trying to be all things to all people. It’s only been recently that I’ve realised that stepping away from my creative outlets is not the way to achieve this and in the few weeks I’ve been away from work, I’ve felt some fairly unusual sensations wafting over me.

I realised that it was contentment. That was a weird one and no mistake.

As if by magic, (or more to the point, his Mrs. shared it on Facebook), I re-read this blog by Brian Lumsden, Life and Leadership Coach,, that hit home on a number of levels. Especially around self-care and the time spent with loved ones.

Rather tellingly, I actually meant to post this last year, but work/stress ate my life again and I never got around to it. It’s really worth a read.

The link to the post is here – Soon I’ll be Sixty years old

Posted in anxiety, Burnout, guilt, mental health

Irony in action (Or Dobby is almost a free elf)

dobby the house elf
U wot mb

As you are no doubt aware, I’m someone who’s expended a lot of effort trying to help people who experience stress and burnout at work stay sane when they are stuck in the same job. That drove them around the bend in the first place.  Ironically I have finally done the thing that I was trying not to do – i.e. leave.

However, here we are, and I will be leaving my job at the end of the month.

I’ll be honest, since making the decision, I have not felt a moments’ regret or doubt and soldiering on towards the end to finish work off and hand it over is giving me a good insight into how toxic this is for me, and how I’ve been doing a pretty crappy job of making this situation work. In the sphere of my professional confidence, I currently no longer have any.

I know it’ll return when I’m doing something I genuinely want to do, but at the moment, my primary focus is getting through to the end without swearing at anyone. (And you know I love a good swear!).

Wish me luck!

Posted in anxiety, Burnout, mental health, the feels

Managing anxiety when you can’t step off the hamster wheel

Let’s face it, work sometimes sucks. If you find you’re surrendering to creeping panic, here’s a few things I’ve found useful to stifle the screaming ab-dabs.

I’ve tried to encompass things that have helped when I’ve been in jobs where I’ve had little control over my time as well as the jobs where I have so treat this as pick ‘n mix according to your circumstances.

  1. Do everything slowly for a while, describing everything that you do silently in your head. It helps ground you in the present moment and you can do it while you’re moving around. Concentrate on what you are doing with your body, rather than “I’m going to shove this bread roll up the nose of the bloke on table 4”.
  2. Divide your tasks down to very small chunks – the advantage here is you’ll still probably achieve what you need to, without being overwhelmed by the vastness of the whole process of the thing that you’re trying to achieve.
  3. Tell an understanding someone that you are struggling. Even a text.
  4. Set boundaries and plan if that’s an option for you.
  5. (if you can) do the thing that will bring you the most joy at that given moment. (Within reason – getting someone to cover you so you can go to your child’s sports day, rather than slipping laxatives into your co-workers’ tea.)
  6. Lock yourself in the staff toilet and watch a Kitten/Panda/Puppy video so you can regroup.img_1131
  7. Go for a walk and look at trees.
  8. Pop over to Pinterest and find a quote that resonates and that you can use as a mantra that you can read silently to yourself until you feel calmer. This has the added advantage of you can be doing this while doing something else – even while being customer facing.
  9. Remember everyone is winging it.
  10. Remember that unfortunately some people are assholes and this is not your problem.
  11. Remember that other people can’t see what’s going on in your head so they probably aren’t judging you, and if they are see point 9.

Posted in blogging, reading

Self-care: more than making time to wash


So…in the name of self care not just being about making sure that you don’t smell like Satan’s gusset* , I’m going to doing the Coffee (tea) and Good Book reading challenge for 2017. I looked at doing it last year, but obviously that went a little ‘boobies aloft’.

If I plan it properly, I’ll actually do it (all that project management training has to come in handy somewhere) so here are my choices for the coming year.

  1. Author under 30 – One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest – Ken Kesey
  2. Book turned into a TV Show – Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  3. Author that has your initials – Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  4. Set in a place you want to go on holiday (I refuse to say vacation, I’m British, dammit) – Singular Rebellion – Saiichi Maruya
  5. Reread a favourite – The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Attwood
  6. A play – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K.Rowling
  7. True Crime – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – John Berendt
  8. A love story – Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  9. 2017 Release – Difficult Women – Roxane Gay
  10. Cosy mystery – Mud, Muck and Dead Things – Ann Granger
  11. Red Cover – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
  12. A genre you rarely read – Shut up Legs! My wild ride on and off the bike – Jens Voigt
  13. A book older than you – The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
  14. A book about food – The One Hundred Foot Journey – Richard Morais
  15. Audio book – Don’t Suck, Don’t Die – Kristin Hersh
  16. Book recommended by a parent or mentor – False Memory – Dean Koontz
  17. Won an award in 2016 – The Invention of Russia – Arkady Ostrovsky
  18. Popular Fairy Tale – The Ugly Duckling – Hans Christian Anderson
  19. Two authors – Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
  20. Book written under a pen name – Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
*have a shower
Posted in blogging, Burnout, guilt, Random, the feels


Generally my dreams are a load of tripe: for example, the one about trying to catch pigs in a flooded field whilst carrying a washing machine. Whilst being chased by anthromorphic articulated lorries*. This was a particular stand out in my catalogue of anxiety-ridden sleep time brain vomitings.

Last night I had an epiphany. Does anyone else have dreams that come in a series? Hopefully not just me – but if it is just me, please send me the number of a good therapist.

However, I digress. Occasionally I get to have a season finale, and so it was last night. I have been dreaming about binning off lectures, skiving off tutorials and failing to hand work in for years. Hilariously, once I actually graduated, I dreamt that I had started a new degree and I was repeating the pattern. BA (Hons) Media Communications to be exact.

Last night I graduated from the fictional degree, and got a Third – and then had the realisation that a) I had a degree already so it didn’t matter all that much and b) had a much better grade. And oddly enough, woke up feeling pretty good about myself.

Brain, I could have done with this a few years ago, you twat.

*Though any inference you might hazard to make about the fact that I was married to my first husband at the time is purely coincidental.