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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Trying to stop and smell the flowers

This blog is my attempt to live a little each day, rather than being all about my work. Who wants to be all about their day job? Actually, mine isn’t so much a day job as an all-consuming, think-about-all-day-night-weekends-and-holidays job - because I work with disadvantaged children and their families. 

“Oh how rewarding” is the response I usually get from people when they hear what I do. 

“Oh how overwhelming/exhausting/stressful” is what both they, and I, and probably you are really thinking. 

“I couldn’t do that..”, is what usually follows, and frankly I agree with them, because I really struggle to do it too. I accomplish the tasks that are required of me daily (well, most of them, usually), but my internal pressure gauge is always verging on the red zone.

I read about stress management all the time and I have yet to crack this one. I can’t switch my brain off from the challenges which dealing with vulnerable children presents. How can I stop thinking about them when I know they are going home each day to really difficult and often tragic circumstances? I feel guilty, a lot of the time, for not doing enough for them, or for my team, or for my manager. It builds up and becomes so overwhelming I don’t even want to go into work. Inside I am screaming... 

...Typically, and like so many of us in our working lives, there is no room left for me and I’m too tired in the evenings to even think about joining a club or exercising or learning a new hobby or going to a stupid evening class. Do you have the time/energy/inclination? 

I hate working really. I tolerate it because I have to, but I’m seriously trying to find a way out. And that question – “what do you DO?” really frustrates me. I don’t want to be defined by my job, any more than I want to be defined by a list of my likes and dislikes or where I have purchased my clothes (fyi usually alongside the weekly supermarket shop).

So, ranting aside (although it really feels good!), what have I done today to stop and smell the flowers? Today I went to the beach, with my lovely partner and our 6 month old puppy Poppy. We walked and played along the prom, which was surprisingly windy. It was wonderful. The sea always relaxes and soothes me. It feels like a connection to other places and other lives beyond my own. Seeing Poppy's excitement at her first encounters with the sights, sounds and smells of the sea is joyous to watch and definitely takes me right out of my work headspace.

Poppy almost has the hang of “fetch” now, she will chase the ball (I am always reminded of Dug from Up! ) but hasn’t quite cracked bringing it back yet. She is as fast as whippet when she runs – a lightning streak of orange! I can’t keep up with her when she runs flat out; time and time again she gets to the end of her extendable lead  before I can catch her and yanks her neck. I am already much fitter than when we got her, but the sooner she learns recall (and emergency stop) the better! 

She gets such a lot of attention for her foxy cute looks when we are out walking and she is loving the sea. I love showing her off. On the beach today Poppy’s tail was high and curled with delight as she tried to eat the foaming waves. I can’t wait to take her back. Pets are great therapy!

The sea was rough and grey today and the waves were pounding but it felt really good to be out experiencing the elements and I didn’t think about work once. It wasn’t too cold or windy to sit outside the seaside cafe for brunch, which was busy as usual. We sat next to lovely people who all asked about Poppy; making connections with other people (and pooches) is so good for the soul. The sun peeped out occasionally and even though the grey clouds overhead suggested drizzle throughout, the rain didn’t break until we got home. Some weather god was watching over us today. 

If you like what you have read, please share this blog and subscribe with your email! Many thanks, ChamomileTea xxx 

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