Functioning on Coffee

Nothing beats a big o’ cup of coffee to give me a warm hug no matter what the time of day.

Coffee for as long as I can remember has always been a friend to me. Whether I needed a little morning pick me up, a late afternoon boost or a friend to dunk my biscuit in, I could always rely on coffee to help me out.

There was a period of time however, after leaving University and getting a proper job, that I put my relationship on hold with my favourite drink and switched to decaf, it saddens me to say.

Because, coffee although delicious can have some damaging side effects if relied on too much I began to realise, just like alcohol and smoking for example. Coffee is packed full of caffeine (of course we all know that) so you might notice over a period of time that you experience increased levels of stress, nervousness, insomnia, an irregular heartbeat and even nausea if you’re not careful.

So, you can see why coffee might not be for everyone. And actually, if you’ve been thriving off of coffee for quite a long period of time you might not even know that your stress levels at work for example might be effected because of your beloved drink, which I learnt during 2015 in my first job after University.

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My job at the time (working in a fast paced called center) was kinda mad but, I loved it. Yet, I began to notice that after having a coffee or two I would become more nervous and began to stutter on the phone to a customer. I didn’t feel more anxious in myself personally but when I thought back to before I’d had my morning coffee vs after, my telephone manner was different and not in a good way. Obviously coffee wasn’t agreeing with me at the time and I wanted to feel more confident and capable to do my job well.

So, yes, I switched to decaf as previously mentioned. Honestly, I love decaf. I was able to get the taste of coffee I loved so much without any of the guilt that I’d feel stressed or anxious at work afterwards. As a result of switching away from coffee I also ventured into the fruitie tea category of hot drinks and found a love for raspberry tea.

My journey with coffee has been a great one.

I’m actually back drinking the real stuff now and I’m happy to report that we have a healthy relationship once again. Since that crazy fun target oriented job ended and I began more calmer roles I felt comfortable enough to drink a big mug of coffee once a day, just once a day. Although, I still revert back to decaf if I’m feeling like I want the taste but not the energy boost.

The thing I’m most happy about though is that I can catch up with mum, cappuccino in hand and panini on the way once more. That’s a big deal!

Strength In Who We Are

We’re forever changing and becoming more ourselves as we grow older and, constantly I’m surprising myself with how strong and capable I really can be when overcoming an obstacle blocking my vision.

To me, strength is all emotional. You can be psychically fit, healthy and strong, which is great of course but, what about your emotional agility?

Emotional agility is all about understanding the way you go about everyday, your thoughts, core values, motivations and habits, which is similar to self awareness in that you have an understanding of your own character.

After years of feeling lost, endlessly nervous and full of worry about the future, I’ve now learnt to love and embrace my emotions. I acknowledge that I’m anxious, emotional and need structure. But, I’m also incredibly caring, supportive and resourceful.

Self awareness or emotional agility is something that keeps growing as you develop new memories and experiences though, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re still discovering the person you are because, well, we all still are!

In order to truly know your character these are some basic things we can consider asking…

Why do we behave in a certain way?

Why do we love, care for and prioritise certain things more than others?

What are our values and what’s important to you?

AND, most importantly, we all need to remember that although our opinions are important they might not always shared with others. We must have empathy and reasoning.

This leads me on to what I know and am still learning about myself.

As said before, I have anxiety. It’ll always be a part of who I am and although it drives me and my loved ones insane from time to time, it’s not going anywhere and it’s manageable now. I’m aware that I panic, become frustrated and sometimes avoid uncomfortable situations because of my anxiety, which means I spend a lot of time apologizing when I’m in a brighter mood.

I also believe that we don’t truly understand our capabilities until we are challenged in some way, big or small.

Personally, I truly started to learn my strength after losing a loved one. Although, our relationship wasn’t close my dads loss was still a significant event in my life that enabled me to grow. His loss devastated me but, because of him I sought counselling for anxiety that I had always experienced but was hightened when he passed away during my final year at University. And, because of him, I was also able to deal with the passing of my nan last year and support my mum through her grief.

I also know that, after losing loved ones I became a more empathetic person. The caring nature has always been in me but, I never knew that I could look after, support and care in my current job and personal life in the ways that I now do.

I’m constantly learning about who I am and although, life isn’t always easy, I know how to find ways to cope and manage my feelings so that my days aren’t ruined anymore.

In brief, alongside discovering who I am in terms of emotions and characteristics, I’m also learning to understand my values. For example, realising that it’s important for me to support local businesses and buy locally sourced food whenever possible, hence my recent love for Gousto.

All in all, I recognize my thought processes, know my strengths and what’s important to me to maintain a happy healthy lifestyle.

I’m my own best friend and I think we all need to focus more on our strengths instead of what we perceive are our weaknesses.

Loss in my life has given me strength, finding love has given me confidence and creating a home has given me hope.

Where Am I Going?

Does anyone really know?

I can’t imagine being someone who has their entire life mapped out but, I just thought I’d have my shit together at least a little bit by 25.

On paper I’m happy, I have a lovely little home with my partner, with a kitchen that I love, I have a job that pays the bills and that I enjoy, I live 5 mins from my mum and I’m driving distance from the ocean.  All good things that are important to me and meet my needs to sustain a healthy happy lifestyle.

I have vague ideas for the home and life I want to share with my partner one day and, I thought I’d be closer to achieving them by now honestly. The frustrating thing to accept is that I’m probably further away than I’ve ever been from a financial perspective at least.

A year ago I was arguably in a much more stable financial position but, I hated my flat and my job, so the money didn’t mean much to me in the end. Once I’d established I was unhappy that was it. It became obvious to me that it was more important to love what I was doing everyday than to earn a certain amount of money.

I still stand by that mindset and in some respects have never felt so good. Yet I don’t remember the last time I felt this financially stressed either. I’m beginning to wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life and turning 26 this year has really got my brain scrambled.

The realisation that a lot can change within a  year has hit me hard this Summer.  Last year there was a lot of loss and growth in my family and that theme has spilled over into life with my boyfriend. I could list so many things that I wish I could change but, everything is a life lesson and all I can do is hope that 2019 is good to me.

ALL I want is for things to go smoothly. I want to stay and progress in my job. I want my boyfriend to find a job he loves and, I just want to live calmly in my nice flat surrounded by beautiful houseplants. That’s my short term goal I suppose and, to go on holiday next year would be pretty great too.

So, yes, where am I actually going long term?

Well.

I wish I knew. This post would be so much simpler if I had some real direction and clue about what I was doing but, I don’t. I’m beginning to learn that making plans is all well and good on paper but, life doesn’t work that way. Life will put a spanner in the works again and again and it’s up to you to adapt your plan and learn to cope.

However I do know that I want to try my best everyday to be kind to myself and to others, to one day (hopefully) own a home with a fancy garage and big kitchen, to start a family and live amongst nature. If for whatever reason those things don’t happen I’ll be alright though, something better might be right around the corner. It’s not like I can’t change my plans and find something new to feel excited for.

I’m kind of making things up as I go a long with this constant vision of a beautiful house by the beach, where I can call home.

That’s keeping me going right now.

If I reach a point in my life where I don’t have to worry about the amount of money I’m spending on a meal out I’ll be truly happy and feel successful. But, I have no idea if I’ll get there and what career I even want to follow for that to happen.

To be unsure of everything is kind of exciting in some respects but, it’s a sort of nervous energy that I’d rather not feel.

I guess for now, all I can do is tell myself that everything will fall into place. And, despite the challenges I’ve been facing recently with my partner we’ve still managed to have the best Summer in a long long time and I’m so thankful for that.

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” – Albert Einstein