My journal and my life

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

30 day Blog Challenge #Day6

OK, I fell behind with my blogs and as mentioned in my #Day5 and didn’t have enough time to truly write down my ideal day.  What I did was copy some content from a similar exercise that I did when I first launched my business three years ago.

This was the first time for a while that I’d read what I’d written and do you know what?  I’ve achieved a fair amount of those goals as many of my days actually follow the format that I wrote about!

I do now work virtually most of the time and have regular clients; I network locally to connect with business owners and potential new customers; I’m much more active online with social media and blogging (including certain challenges) and have obtained clients in this way.  I have the freedom to work with the clients that I want to and to refuse anything that doesn’t fit with my dreams – declining a job offer for example.  It felt so liberating and right to be able to say “No!”.

So onto the next stage of living my life on my own terms as my dream has changed.  Instead of owning a lovely house and garden, I want to dogs-112519_150travel, visit beautiful places, gain new experiences and form friendships.  I identified that pet sitting was one way of achieving this without launching into a round the world backpacking trip, so I’m registered with a couple of websites.

To begin with I’ve taken on assignments within a couple of hours from my current home, but by next year I’ll be in a position to travel abroad and for longer periods of time – living my dream life 🙂

30 Day Blog Challenge #Day5

Due to a sudden commitment and life in general, I missed Day 5 of this challenge, which is a shame as I would have loved to sit down and write about my perfect day.  No matter, I’ll do this sometime soon for my own purpose.

However, when I first began as a Virtual Assistant, I signed up for a training course and had to do a similar exercise, so thought I’d quickly copy that description rather than missing a day of the challenge.  Here is an account of my perfect day from spring 2010, which isn’t at all a bad way of spending a day at work:

It’s a sunny day and I wake up at a reasonable 7am – gone are the days of leaving the house at 7.15am to commute into the city and I feel a sense of relief. It’s a lovely sunny day and I’ll enjoy walking my dog to her favourite pond in the local woods as it’s so great to have a flexible start to my work. I turn on my PC as the kettle boils and sit with a cup of tea and cereal to quickly check my emails and be sure there’s nothing needing immediate attention. Yes, there’s contact from my clients, but nothing that has to be done straight away so I mark all the emails as ‘unread’ so I don’t miss them later. The dog is getting impatient for her walk so we are in the woods by 8am.

I can hear the faint sounds of traffic, but I’m not affected & I think that thankfully it’s not me commuting to work as I stroll through the dappled light listening to birdsong. I think how scared I was when I first launched my business, how much courage it took not to fall into the trap of accepting a full-time job, although I was tempted to. I am proud of what I’ve achieved. I knew I could do it and ensured I had the necessary Hayley dogtraining to educate myself into thinking like a business owner. Most people I knew didn’t know what a VA was and I had to find the determination to continue. I surrounded myself with positive people who could encourage me and boy, did I grow. I knew I deserved to be paid my worth and no way would that have happened if I worked for an employer! I mouth my power words that kept me going “BELIEF”, “CONFIDENCE”, “SUCCESS” and “FREEDOM”.

It’s going to be hot day so with a weary wet dog, we return home. My house has tall spacious rooms & my office is downstairs at the back overlooking the garden. The old fashioned French doors are open and I can hear the bees buzzing on my lavender plants in my herb garden just outside. A quick sweep of my hands over the flowers releases their scent to add to the smell of fresh mown grass. In the distance there’s the sound of a lawn mower as my gardener cuts the grass. I can also hear the birds singing in the trees. Indoors there’s the faint sound of a vacuum cleaner as my cleaner goes about her job. I feel contented that I don’t have to do these tasks myself, it gives me more spare time and is a measure of my success that I can now afford to employ people “to do” for me, this is real luxury.

My office is decorated in cream, taupe & duck egg blue, my favourite restful colours with a large soft cream rug. There’s an open fire-place too as I have a real fire in winter when it’s icy outside – how fantastic that I don’t have to leave the house to work in inclement weather, no commuting – bliss! The furniture is a mix of old and new as I sit on a comfy swivel chair which supports my back – gone are the tension knots in my shoulders (helped in some part by the regular massages I have). With my team of Associate VAs, I have a very good income and I could probably even reduce my hours, but I’m a workaholic, always have been, although for a long time expending my energy into someone else’s business and success. Now I work full-time, but can juggle my hours to enjoy time out too as I’m able to knock off early then complete work into the evening or weekend if I choose. Choice, that’s it! I could work 9-5 if I wanted and some weeks I do, but to be able to choose not to without any loss of income – wow.

The computer is humming as I sip fresh coffee and re-check the emails. There’s some ongoing work to do for regular clients and also some new enquiries. A radio plays quietly in the background. My phone rings and it’s a regular client with a query I can resolve quickly and easily. I feel satisfied and even a little smug – this is the life! My clients are mostly sole traders and charity CEOs and I manage diaries and emails; organise meetings and travel; format and proof read reports; produce presentations and newsletters; update websites and undertake research; process new orders and send out invoices – all tasks I can do with my laptop, phone and access to an internet connection.

For lunch I’m looking forward to a fresh salad of seasonal veg, ham and cheese from the food boxes I have delivered from a local producer. I’ve a steady days work to do, then later I’m having my hair done at my regular hairdressers before meeting friends for a meal at our favourite restaurant. There’s a new car parked outside – something economical, eco-friendly and trendy and I’m so relieved that I can now afford all these things without planning, scrimping and worrying. I earn more than I did in any of my paid employment and my income steadily increases as business is good. This means that I can make impulse buys, treat myself to luxuries and go out on spec (work commitments allowing) without having to consider whether I can afford it or if something breaks down and needs repairing or replacing, I have the money to immediately do so. I have savings in the bank, can save regularly, pay my insurances and towards a pension so I can have an income during the quiet times or if I’m ill and be certain of affording a comfortable retirement.

Tomorrow I’ve an early business breakfast meeting, but it doesn’t scare me any more as I’m more than confident in myself, the success of my business and my good reputation to really promote myself without fear. I can even stand up and give a longer speech if necessary as I know what I say is worthwhile and informative. I’m more than happy to talk to people just starting out and it’s such a satisfying feeling to help them along their own way to success. The VA community was excellent for promoting this – where else do you have a network of like minded professionals dedicated to collaboration and sharing? I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Post #22 Gratitude Stone

Prompted by a book I read over the weekend (see post 21), I watched The Secret for the first time yesterday & had a moment of clarity when the gratitude stone was mentioned!  Something which I’d not thought about in a long time, but which I’ve carried in my handbag for years – my own favourite stone.  This is a gorgeous polished & smooth piece of Snowflake Obsidian, bought because it immediately felt right, that it was mine.

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Nearly 10 years ago I had attended a Mind & Spirit event at the local town hall with a spiritual friend of mine, more in support of her, than of any interest myself.  I’ve always been open minded & found everything fascinating & even had my first Reiki session there.  I can honestly say I’ve never felt so relaxed & at peace during my treatment as the noisy hall, busy with visitors just faded into the background.  It was definitely an enlightening &  memorable experience.

Whilst browsing the stalls, I was drawn to the polished gem stones as I love tactile, smooth objects.  I remember that each stone had a meaning, but chose this one because it just felt right for me.  It rests perfectly in my hand, on my first two fingers with a soft curve just perfect for running the ball of my thumb up & down.

Apparently Snowflake Obsidian is a stone of purity, it will calm & soothe, balance mind, body & spirit.  It teaches the value of mistakes as well as successes & helps to recognise stressful mental patterns.  That’s all good as it’s now my gratitude stone & never far from my hand.

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Post #20 Love & Sentiment

My father is still in hospital, on the stroke ward of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, although he’ll be moved to Chesterfield as soon as there’s a bed available.  We’re hoping that he’ll be able to come home in a few days, but he has some loss of co-ordination with his left hand which is very frustrating as he’s left-handed.

Of course dad’s been in my thoughts a lot this weekend & then I noticed the coffee table which so reminds me of him.  I’ve been dusting this piece of furniture for as long as I can remember which is not surprising as it’s more than 50 years old & I haven’t got that far yet, not quite 😉

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My dad made this table for my mum, for their home when they married – I tried to capture the hand-carved hearts on either end.  The wood was from an old dining table found rotting in the outbuildings of the small-holding farm where my mum lived with her parents.  He salvaged as much useable timber as he could & this was the result.  It’s always been stained & varnished dark in my memory, with spills easily wiped down – would I ever strip it back to natural wood?  Maybe, but for now this is how I fondly remember it & love it

I’m pleased that it’s here in my home & proud that my mum entrusted it to me.  She doesn’t want it to leave the family & it won’t as my daughter will probably take care if it when I no longer can.  Like me, she loves belongings that have a history, story or sentimental value.  This means items in our homes don’t match, no Ikea-like beech effect throughout for us, or even trendy shabby-chic, but quirky pieces & a general mis-match of furniture that’s pleasing & comforting to us.  By no means are we replicating the style of the houses we were raised, but we’re definitely stamping our own personalities on our homes & everything doesn’t have to be all fresh & brand new, there’s still a place for certain favourites.

Post #19 “Everything’s All Right”

This is the view that I woke up to this morning – maybe not so very different to my photo of the frost on post 10, but the white is about 2 inches deeper!

Shortly after taking this photo, my mum phoned.  Not unusual to hear from her, but she began the conversation with “Everything’s all right.”  Now if ever there was a sentence that was just waiting for a “but”!

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So I provided it & asked what had happened, aware that the weather had been so atrocious, with ice & snow causing problems.  Accident, crumpled car, frozen pipes, flood or boiler breakdown all flashed through my mind.

She told me that my dad was OK now but had had a mild stroke the night before.  He was in hospital for observation, but unfortunately not either of the local ones as they didn’t have a stroke doctor on shift when it happened.  Anyway despite the snow, the nearest ambulance had arrived in less than 10 minutes & the roads were clear enough to drive the 25 miles to hospital.

By all accounts, he was examined, scanned & admitted very quickly & should be out in a couple of days.  His stroke was caused by a bleed, which apparently is not quite as serious as a clot & he does seem to have full use of his limbs & faculties.  This is most definitely a relief after losing my father-in-law to cancer very suddenly a month before Christmas.

It’s always a shock when our loved ones show their mortality, but we’re not all invincible.  I saw him recently & I’m in touch with my family regularly enough not to have any regrets if anything happened to any of them.  However, it’s important not to waste a minute, grab every opportunity, keep in touch with everyone you care about, show your love, offer help to others, accept help from them, look after your body, but also indulge occasionally.

End your day by thinking back through what you are grateful for & appreciate, no matter how small.  Start the new day with the same list & ensure you’re able  to add to it at bedtime.  Grab a pretty notebook or journal & write it down or use on of the ‘gratitude’ smartphone apps; print out the pocket gratitude diary from Leonie Dawson – I think her colourful workbooks are fantastic.

Blog #8 Dangerous Soup

I’ve always been clumsy & as a child can remember my dad always joking that I should never, ever get a job in a dynamite factory!  So I didn’t, but I’m still accident prone & today I burnt myself cooking.  I was preparing Leek & Potato soup – perhaps should’ve included a photo of the soup too – it was really tasty.  Anyway, I splashed my hand with hot oil & immediately reached for this:

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The Aloe Vera plant that I have on my kitchen window sill. Aloe is absolutely brilliant for burns as it cools immediately & quickly promotes healing.  Administering it is easy, just break off a juicy leaf, split it & use the concentrated gel, pure & straight from the plant is much better than the creams & lotions now available. It’s also an excellent remedy for sun burn.

The plants are very easy to grow – as you can see from the picture, there are many off-shoots growing in the pot, all which will have their own root tendrils, so just carefully split apart & plant!  I’ve found that they don’t like direct sunlight & live quite happily on a north facing sill.  Water well, but then leave to completely dry out in-between – simple 🙂

I’m a fan of herbs & natural remedies & would also recommend pure Lavender essential oil for burns which is gentle enough to be applied neat.  I make up my own after-sun cream using unperfumed, lanolin free base lotion & add Peppermint oil to cool (& you can really feel it taking the heat out of hot, burnt skin) with Lavender to encourage cell re-generation & healing.

Ahh, there’s a dream,  hot sun……  Roll-on summer.

Blog #3 The Dentist’s Chair

I had my annual dental check-up today & here’s the proof!

Dental Records

Now this print-out doesn’t mean a great deal to me, but for other reasons, I do appreciate being given the information.  Living in the UK with it’s Welfare State, I shouldn’t have to worry about receiving dental treatment, but I don’t actually qualify for free dental care & would have to pay for examinations under the NHS.  That’s if I was registered at an NHS surgery.  In certain areas, new patients have difficulty receiving a service as there’s nowhere near enough NHS dentists working – it’s just not lucrative enough.  But as a responsible sort of person, keen to ‘look after me teeth‘ (Pam Ayres), I’ve kept up-to-date with my appointments for years & have therefore not dropped off the list of my NHS surgery for not attending.  However they didn’t make it easy to remember when check-ups were due as no reminders were sent out & after 18 months without an appointment, patients’ records would be closed.

Then a couple of years ago, a work colleague left to manage a private surgery for her dentist who was setting up himself in our area.  As
this was someone terrified of dentists & who would willingly drive more than 50 miles for treatment, I figured there was something special
about dentist David, so I decided to make an appointment for a private check-up.

The difference was immediate as soon as I stepped into the smart, clean & bright reception area, was politely welcomed & offered a cup of coffee!  I was a customer & treated as such.  I felt special, important & cared for.  I’m not afraid of dentists despite having experienced pain during recent treatment at my old surgery, but with this kind of welcome, anyone who was nervous would surely feel reassured.  David himself stepped out to greet me & directed me to the dental couch with the softest green leather, a far cry from the last dentist chair I experienced which was patched up with silver duct-tape! During the examination David had the most wonderful gentle & soft hands – no rough poking & stretching my mouth here – total bliss.  He also kept stopping to ensure I was OK, giving me the opportunity to relax my jaw & avoiding the discomfort of trying to maintain a continuous drooling wide open mouth. Each step was explained to me, the ex-ray machine was brought to my side with the photos displayed on a monitor in front of me moments later & I was given the print-out for my records as I left.

As mentioned, I would have to pay for any NHS examinations & treatment, but for a private service I pay a monthly premium which covers the cost of an annual examination & ex-rays if necessary, but further treatment would be extra.  In my opinion it’s worth it, for the moderate additional cost, it’s certainly worth being treated as a valued customer in pleasant surroundings with consideration & gentle hands.  I was handed a small silver envelope as I left with a discreet label stating that the biggest compliment I could give would be to recommend Shine Dental Care, & I do, for all the reasons given above 🙂

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