Monday, August 31, 2015

The balancing act

I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, I have just been extremely busy settling in to work and trying to get into some sort of routine.
Work is going well and I am loving it! My anxiety has stayed at bay and I credit that to God, the amazing work environment and my amazing supervisor. I see my psych on the 8th of September and I can't wait to tell her how I am going. I have spent most mornings just relaxing and getting in a good headspace for the work day ahead (I start work at 12.00 and try to leave at around 11.15am most mornings). I hope to start studying this week at least 1 morning but I am aiming for 2 :)
I turn 21 in 2 weeks tomorrow which is scary! I guess when I was younger 21 was this magical age, I would have my life somewhat together but the reality is I am still attempting to figure everything out and I know I will never fully have my life together. I have 2 celebrations for my birthday one for the extended family and another for friends both on the Saturday before. I have work on my actual birthday which will be different considering this will be the first time ever that it has happened (I have had school on my birthday but never work). I plan on doing something in the morning and taking in cupcakes to share for afternoon but I don't want to make a big deal about it considering the Saturday will be the big celebrations.
I think that turning 21 will mark the start of my next stage in life though, the working stage! I am so thankful for this job and as I keep telling my friends I couldn't have chosen a better workplace which made the major difference. I have had a bad run of working in places where the environment is really bad, people don't want to work there, the boss spies on you 24/7 and there is no communication between the boss and the employees. Yet with this environment people want to work there, the communication is great and there are no secrets between anyone. I know I can tell my supervisor when I am having a bad day and when I need extra support and the same goes for my colleagues, I am treated as an equal despite only being there 2 full weeks and its great.
I have a few plans for some awesome posts coming up and this Friday there will be Friday Favourites (which I have been working on for the past 2 weeks but haven't gotten the chance to finish yet!). Thanks for all your prayers lately and letting me take some time to work out this balancing act which is life!

Monday, August 17, 2015

My first day

Today I had my first day of work and I am exhausted! I left home at 7.30 this morning (induction was at 8.30 and I knew it would take me around 30 minutes to get there but figured I should give myself some extra time just in case something went wrong) and got home at around 5.15 this afternoon. The day was a lot longer than usual as I had my induction then went straight into it. I am so thankful that I know my supervisor and am already familiar with the place as my anxiety wasn't too bad compared to what it could be. I spent today listening in to calls and taking notes on how to answer them and also processing payments for rates, I do admit that it feels strange to be working after so long and I think that will be the biggest challenge getting used to working everyday. Working 5 hours a day is great for me as it means I will be able to pick things up quickly (compared to if I was only 2 days a week) and won't get overwhelmed by the hours. I also like being able to take the mornings easy and still being able to study and meet friends for coffee.
I turn 21 in less than a month which is exiting and I am trying to focus on getting to that as it will be around the one month mark and things should (hopefully) get easier from there. I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself and to just take it one day at a time, I know there will be days when I will struggle and my anxiety will play up but everyone has days like that and as long as I survive them I will be fine.
I still can't believe that I finally have work and that its in such a great place and environment, once again God knew what he was doing even though I struggled at times to believe that he did.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

No more silence

I apologise for all the silence over here, last week I made the decision to have a mental health week as life had been so full on and emotionally and mentally draining. I just wanted a week to do nothing and a part from a couple of appointments that is what I did!
Well I am officially un-unemployed! I start my new job on Monday which is super exiting and scary at the same time. Its a 1 year contract but I am praying that it will get extended, of course I am just super happy that I finally have work! Its 5 days a week 1-5pm which works out really well as I can study and do ReachOut stuff in the morning before work. I got the call on Monday afternoon and it wasn't a complete surprise as I had gone for a medical and drug test the Monday prior which I was told if I was one of the short listed applicants would happen. Its at the same place that I did work experience and temp work at, so I know the environment and some of the people there which is great. I went to pick up the paperwork today and took my Mum down as she had no idea where it was and she commented on how good the work environment felt and you could tell that the people loved working there. I am going to continue seeing my psychologist which I know will help with the transition plus I feel like I am in much better place with my anxiety compared to all my previous jobs.
Unemployment as unfortunately hit a 13 year high which seriously sucks and I know to get this job was nothing short of a miracle especially as the market is so competitive. For this job there was 200 applicants and they had to take down the job advert early, they interviewed 6 people for what ended up being 3 positions so the odds were definitely a lot better than other jobs I had gone for in the past. I have applied for so many jobs and I once worked it out that for every 20-30 jobs I applied for I would get 1 interview.
I don't feel like my time being unemployed was a complete waste during that time I have learnt how to better managed my anxiety, challenge myself and have grown as a person because of it. I'm not going to pretend that it was a complete walk in the park as it wasn't and I struggled so many times. It seemed whenever I got close to getting work and I would get my hopes up, I wouldn't get the job and would be crushed. Sometimes I wouldn't even hear back from interviews I went to and there is nothing worse than being on edge for days and eventually realising that you won't get a call and feeling like you meant nothing to the company.
I am so glad that I got this job and I can't think of a better place where I would rather work, it taken me many job applications, interviews and rejections to get where I am and I can honestly say that it was worth it would I do it all again in a heartbeat? No! But I am proud of myself for sticking out the past (almost) 2 years and I know that I can survive the first couple of weeks at this job.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Things I learnt from walking for ReachOut

I am not a sporty person at all so do the walk on Sunday was a big thing for me, if you ever get the chance to do a walk for charity here are some tips.

For the fundraising:
  • Choose a charity you love - I am a youth ambassador for ReachOut which meant I already love and believe in the cause. I am also passionate about mental health advocacy so this made encouraging people to donate fun and people could tell that it meant a lot to me.
  • Give people incentives to donate - I told people that if they donated before the Sunday and if I met my goal ($150) they would go into the draw to win their choice of baked good (I gave them a choice of either a dozen brownies, pieces of caramel slice or choc chip cookies) baked by me. This worked really well and I managed to reach my goal (plus an extra $104.55) within a few days of doing this, I ended up drawing a runner up along with the main winner because of this. It doesn't have to be a big reward but it will encourage people to donate.
  • Promote it regularly - I tried to promote it regularly by posting my supporter page on Facebook and twitter, sometimes it would just be the link but other times I would write something about ReachOut or how many weeks away it was.
The day/night before:
  • Get a good nights rest - I actually went to bed at 10.30 the night before which wasn't ideal! I knew I shouldn't have gone out but watching The Castle and s'mores was a too good an offer to refuse. I still got a good nights rest considering but next time I will aim to be in bed by 9.00 as waking up the next morning was a struggle. 
  • Set 2 alarms - I have been known to turn alarms off in my sleep so I always set 2 alarms before a big event (15 minutes apart) as that way if I happened to turn one off its not the end of the world. I set one at 5.00am and one at 5.15am as this gave me time to wake up a bit before having to get ready.
  • Pack a bag - I packed a small backpack the night before with the following: lipbalm, advil, water, keys, (charged) phone, sunglasses, hair elastics, purse, trail mix (for after the race in case my blood sugar decided to drop), race bib and safety pins (in a container - my advice is to buy a container of 30 and take that with you as a few people in my team didn't have any on the day) and few other things. This meant that the next morning I just had to grab it and go rather than remember everything. Other things that would be a good idea to pack are: sunscreen, hat, bandaids, deodorant, wipes, etc.
  • Set out your clothes - this meant that in my half asleep state I could get ready without thinking too much and made waking up much easier.
  • Work out your transport - with these events you can sometimes catch public transport for free and its well worth doing so if you can, as you never know what the parking will be like. Work out what time you will need to leave and the route you will have to take. I ended up driving to the train station then caught the train and walking to the venue (which also warmed me up!) this worked out well and I saw many people doing the same. Once you figure it out you can work out what time you will have to get up to leave on time and cause yourself a lot less stress.
The morning of:
  • Eat a decent breakfast - it doesn't have to be fancy just something filling with protein and carbs (like eggs on toast or muesli and cereal).
  • Give yourself plenty of time - you don't want to be in a hurry and cause yourself to skip breakfast or forget something important. Its also a good idea to get to the venue early if you can so you can stretch and warm up before hand.
During the race:
  • Pace yourself - don't try to keep up with everyone and focus instead on yourself. Try and keep a consistent pace and try not push yourself. I knew that if I ran I would end up in a coughing it so I didn't so I kept to power walking.
  • Stay hydrated - I grabbed water whenever I passed a water station and also made sure to take a good drink at the end of the race. Also carry water with you just in case as you never know when you will need it.
After the race:
  • Treat yo self - in the rise words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle off Parks and Rec its good to treat yourself so after the race I treated myself by doing a Maccas run for lunch (it was a grilled wrap and fries so not too unhealthy). You don't have to treat yourself majorly but make sure you acknowledge what you did and reward yourself.
  • Stretch - this helps prevent soreness from setting in and if it does it won't be as severe. The last thing you need is to be swore for days after the event.
  • Thank your supporters - even if its just a general thank you on social media or text or in person (if you know the people and see them often) just make sure you acknowledge them for supporting you.
I am still amazed that I managed to complete the full 5km and beat my target amount of money raised! Hopefully the above tips will help the next time you decide to do a charity walk/run, of course the important thing is to have fun (and not die at the end of it!) and know that you are making a difference.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Saying Goodbye to my Grandma

I wasn't going to write about this, I thought I would be crossing a line and I have another post almost ready to go but it doesn't feel right to post that at the moment not when so many things have happened.
I don't write a lot about my family mainly because I don't feel I should and also it doesn't feel right at times, but I am going to make an exception mainly because if don't post something I know I will later regret it.
My Grandma has spent the past 2 years suffering with a strain of Parkinson's disease that lead to dementia, this has been extremely challenging at times and whenever the nursing home would ring I would always expect the worse. She has slowly deteriorated over the years and has gone from being a bright woman who could beat anyone in scrabble to a woman who didn't make much sense at all. Last Monday my Mum and uncle met with the nursing home's doctor and were told that my Grandma didn't have long left (this was after being told the Thursday before that she wasn't eating and now bedridden), and there were multiple days last week that we felt would be her last. Yesterday at 4.15am my Mum got the phone call that my Grandma had passed. This didn't come as a shock and we all felt some relief knowing that my Grandma was now with God.
My Grandma was an extremely Godly woman and her prayers often made sense when the rest of what she was saying didn't. I remember asking her how she knew my Granddad (who passed away when I was 10 due to cancer) was the one for her and her response was the following: If you like a guy and you think he could be the one, pray to God and ask him to make it happen if it doesn't work out then know that God has someone better out there for you.
I am yet to even have a boyfriend but I always remember that advice whenever I meet someone who I see potential in and know that if its meant to be then God will make it happen.
I have so many memories of my grandparents, like how my Grandma would always send my sisters and I letters telling us about her week and her upcoming plans written on the back of old cards, how she would and my Granddad would travel down most school holidays with their caravan and how most mornings I would go visit them in my pyjamas which seemed like the biggest adventure. How my Grandma was an amazing painter and I would brag about her to all my friends. I have a painting she did for me on my bedroom wall and I love looking at it, more recently I have realised that some of my paintings have similar styling's to hers despite her paintings being in water colour and mine in acrylic.
There are many things that remind me of her and I know they will continue to do so. The 3 main things that spring to mind are the following:
  • Blue Wrens - these were often featured in her paintings and I knew she loved them for their vibrant blue colouring. She had collected quite a few blue wren items over the years and I know that whenever I see something with one on them I will remember her.
  • Princess cake - this was one of her favourite sweets and it has since become mine. The Swedish cake with layers of sponge, jam, custard, cream and topped with pale green fondant will always go down in my mind as her cake. I recently went shopping with Megan and I decided to treat us to afternoon tea and gave her a choice of what cake to share well she chose the princess cake and when I asked her why she told me it was because of Grandma.
  • Magnums - its safe to say my Grandma had a sweet tooth and Magnums were always her ice cream of choice. She loved to treat us to these during Summer and I know whenever I will eat one I will think of her.
I thought that she died I wouldn't take it this hard as I have had a couple of years to prepare for it and I have been grieving slowly for who she was but it hits me in waves and I know it will take me quite a while to get used to the fact that she is no longer with us.
My Grandma was an amazing woman and I am honoured to have known her.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Run for ReachOut

I have completed my first ever 'fun' run for ReachOut! I still can't believe that its over but I am happy with how I did. The timing of it wasn't the best as I had been dealing with a cold and when I get a cold as soon as I get a cough it likes to linger due to being asthmatic, because of that I didn't want to really push myself. I still completed it in 52 minutes though which averages 1km per every 10 minutes (the total distance was 5.3 km I think) and I know if I had done some more preparation for the race and hadn't been sick in the 2 weeks leading up to it I would've done better. My aim was to keep a decent pace and if I walked it in my target of 45 minutes that was great but as long as I got it under 1 hour (and wasn't the last person) I was happy.
One thing I was surprised about was how soon it was over, I hadn't planned to go to church after it but after finishing the race and getting back to my car it was only 9.30am and heading to an empty house just didn't seem that appealing so I went to church (still in my gear) despite going on Saturday night. I was surprised that more people didn't comment on how casual I was, it did mean that I got an excuse to talk to people about ReachOut and why I decided to walk for them.
On Saturday night after church I ended up watching the film The Castle and making s'mores with some of the young adults instead of heading home to bed. This wasn't the smartest idea (though it was still fun) and made getting up at 5.00am a bit harder than I would've liked, but once I was out of bed and getting dressed I was wide awake. There is something about getting up and leaving home in the dark which is oddly calming, of course it was so early that not even the cats were up.
All in all it was a good experience and I have already decided that I will aim to do it next year and actually train for it (famous last words?).
Thanks to all who sponsored me, I still can't believe I managed to beat my target by $104.50!

*I know the photo isn't the best due to the shadows but its the only one I have so it will have to do (plus the quality isn't the best as it was taken on my phone).

Friday, July 24, 2015

I wanted this week to be quiet

I have sat down to write a post so many times this past week but life decided to get hectic, as much as I wanted this week to be quiet it didn't.
Monday and Tuesday were a blur and I have no idea what exactly happened on those 2 days! On Wednesday it was job interview time which went really well and I will find out if I have a job within the next two weeks. It was really nice to go in and know the people and the place which made it a lot less nerve wracking and I felt my interview was on point. I actually ran into two people I had worked with before the interview and they were really happy for me which was nice. The job had 200 applicants and they had to close the advert early to prevent more. This is actually the average amount of applicants for admin jobs at the moment which is crazy when you think about it! I was 1 of 6 interviewed and there are 2 jobs going (I think there now may be 3 jobs going now but I'm unsure?) which puts me at better odds than any other job I have gone for. If I get one of the jobs I know my anxiety won't be as bad as I know the place and some of the people there which will make things a lot easier (one of my triggers is new situations and though this will still be a new situation it won't be as new if that makes any sense). I have always throughout my job hunting process that God has the right job out there for me and I will get it at the right time so if this job isn't the one for me there will be a better job out there.
In other news on Sunday I do my run (well walk) for ReachOut, I picked up my bib today (along with 2 other youth ambassadors bibs) and it feels very real! There is still time to sponsor me click here and every dollar goes to ReachOut which is such a great organisation. I have actually managed to reach my target amount by an additional $104.50 which is amazing and I am so thankful to those who have supported me. I still can't believe that I have signed up to do this, in high school I HATED cross country and would use every excuse in the book to get out of it but thankfully I can walk it all and there won't be scary PE teachers telling me to run faster. Having Dyspraxia means that running is a bit of challenge for me (I can't run properly and when I do run I get strange looks) plus I am asthmatic so power walking it is. I actually like power walking and find its something that I can do which compared to most other sports I am extremely bad at (and am a safety hazard to other people when I do participate in them). The one thing I am dreading is getting up at 5.30am and having to be there at 7.00am. I would call myself a morning person but by morning I mean 7.00am not 5.30am! I am sure once I get there it won't be a big deal it just means that tomorrow night will be an early night and I may have to set a few hundred alarms (sorry Jocelyn!) to get me up.
Next week I will be back to more regular posting (hopefully!) along with a recount of how the walk went :)