My Implanon experience

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that over the last year I’ve had a bit of a struggle with birth control.  I came off the pill after more than ten years in an attempt to ease my chronic migraines.  I tried a Mirena IUD, which initially was great.  But my body expelled the IUD so I was back to square one. After a lot of research and debate, I decided to give the Implanon implant a try.

What is implanon?

Implanon is a long-term contraceptive option.  It’s a flexible plastic rod that’s about the same size as a matchstick. The rod is inserted below the skin on the upper arm.  Once inserted, the rod gradually releases hormones to suppress ovulation.  Implanon lasts three years.

I chose the Implanon for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, even though it’s a hormonal birth control method, it’s a  steady dose of hormones.  I already knew that my migraines were aggravated by the varying dose of hormones in the pill, and that they settled down when I was using the IUD.  So I felt confident that the Implanon wouldn’t trigger my migraines.

I was also keen to try the implant because it is extremely effective.  Implanon is more than 99.9% effective, making it the most effective birth control method on the market. I also liked that it was a “set and forget” method that didn’t require remembering to take a pill or get a shot regularly.  Implanon is also fairly cheap.  I paid $35 for the implant itself and then $70 for the doctor’s appointment to have it inserted.  So all up it was around $100 for three years of contraceptive protection.

Initial difficulties

I had a fair amount of difficulty getting the implant inserted.  I made an initial appointment with my doctor, who answered all my questions and gave me a prescription for the implant.  She explained that she isn’t trained to insert the device herself, but there are five other doctors at my practice who are.  For best results, it’s recommended that the Implanon is inserted on the second or third day of your period, because this reduces the likelihood of side effects.  My doctor instructed me to wait until I had my period and then call the surgery to make an appointment for the insertion.

 

Now, I live in a small country town, and it is very difficult to get a doctors appointment.  I usually wait up to three weeks for a doctors appointment. So I tried to plan ahead.  I got out my calendar and made an educated guess at when I expected my period to arrive, and then made an appointment three weeks in advance.  However I miscalculated and when that day rolled around my period hadn’t started yet.  I went to the appointment anyway but the doctor told me he couldn’t do the procedure until my period began.  He assured me that if I rang on the day my period arrived and explained the situation, I’d be able to get an appointment on the right day.

 

So three days later I got my period.  I immediately rang the clinic to book my appointment, and was told that there were no available appointments.  I explained to the receptionist that my doctor had told me I needed an appointment on this specific day, and that I’d been waiting weeks without contraception.  I asked if she had any emergency appointments set aside.  She said she did, but this isn’t an emergency so I couldn’t have one.  By this point I was fed up.  I was frustrated from the trial and error with birth control, sick of doctors appointments, tired of being anxious about accidentally becoming pregnant (despite being exceptionally careful) while I waited for long term birth control and angry that I wasn’t able to get an appointment on the day I badly needed one.  I burst into tears on the phone.  I think the receptionist was shocked and offered me an appointment the following day.  I tearfully accepted it.

 

Insertion

The day I had the Implanon inserted I was very nervous.  I was mostly anxious that the doctor would refuse to do the procedure again, and that I’d be left without contraception for another month.  But luckily for me, he was happy to put the implant in once I’d confirmed that my period had arrived.

 

The insertion process was very quick and almost completely painless.  The doctor had me lie down and remove my shirt so that my arm was exposed.  He then cleaned the inside of my upper arm and marked the spot where the implant would be inserted.  He gave me an injection of some numbing solution which stung the tiniest bit, and was the most painful part of the whole process.  After that he quickly inserted the implant using  the applicator it comes in. The applicator looks scary, like a plastic gun with a giant hollow needle poking out of it, but it really wasn’t anything to be frightened of.  Basically the needle went right into my arm, under the skin, he slid a lever across which pushed the implant out of the needle and into my arm and then carefully removed the applicator.  He then gently pressed on my arm to make sure that the implant was in there and in the right spot and let me feel it for myself.  Then I got a bandaid and a bandage on my arm and I was allowed to leave.

The results

After the numbing wore off my arm was a little bit tender.  I had some light bruising and I had to leave the dressing on for a few days.  My arm was a little stiff for about three days after the procedure, but not really sore.  I had a little puncture mark where the needle had gone in and I now have a tiny diamond-shaped scar.

 

I love the fact that I can feel the rod under the skin of my arm.  It feels very reassuring to know that it’s right there, doing it’s job.  And it’s a cool party trick to be able to show it off to my friends.

 

I haven’t had any side effects at all since I had the rod inserted.  Some women report itching at the insertion site, headaches, nausea and irregular bleeding.  I have had none of that.  The only thing that’s happened is that my periods have stopped, which is very common with the Implanon.

 

After all the drama I went through to actually have the Implanon put in, I’m so relieved to have found a contraceptive that is working for me without triggering my migraines.  I feel confident that I’m protected from unwanted pregnancy for the next three years, and I don’t even have to think about it.  I’d definitely recommend considering the Implanon if you’re looking for a set-and-forget birth control method that’s fairly inexpensive and very effective.

 

Have you tried Implanon?  Did you like it?  Do you have any questions for me about mine?

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How to deal with a body that’s changed.

So, over the last year or so I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my body.  And I don’t mean like, growing hair in strange places.  I mean that I’ve gained some weight.  Not a huge amount of weight, but enough that I feel uncomfortable in my own skin (and in most of my jeans).  And I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been pretty hard for me to deal with this change in my bod.

Now, I’ve written before about gaining weight, and how it’s troubled me. And a lot of the feelings I discussed in that post are still ringing true.  I’m finding it quite hard to manage the feelings that are cropping up with the weight that I’ve gained.  So in an effort to move forward, I sat down and thought carefully about why I’m so bothered by a few extra kilos.

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While my negative feelings about my body are complicated, there are a few key issues that have bubbled to the surface during my ruminations.  The first is the realisation that even though I try hard to be body positive, even though I try not to internalize the messages I’m bombarded with about how thin is better, and how being fat is a terrible thing, I’m still affected by them.  Even though I know countless people with a wide array of body shapes and sizes who are all incredibly gorgeous, even though I constantly tell people to be kind to themselves, I still feel the weight of those messages.  I still feel like I’ve failed in some way because I’ve gained weight.  I still feel less attractive when I notice that my jeans won’t zip or that my belly pokes out more than it used to.  I still feel like I should be ashamed of my weight gain.  It makes me pretty angry that even though I’ve done my best to resist that negativity and shame, it’s still wormed it’s way into my consciousness.

I’ve also felt frustrated with myself because I keep having this idea that my weight is something that I should control.  And that if I’m gaining weight, it’s because I’ve done the wrong thing.  I feel ashamed and lazy.  I feel mad that I have to manage my depression with drugs that have caused me to gain weight.  I feel burdened by my full-time job, which takes up much of my time and energy and makes it much more difficult to eat well and exercise. And I curse my genetics which make it more likely that I’m going to have a rounder figure as I get older.  I feel impotent because there are so many factors working against me, and I imagine that I should be able to manage them and keep my figure because that’s what women are “supposed to do”.

I also feel uncomfortable with the way I look.  Now, I need to point out that I don’t think that fat=ugly.  The reason that I don’t feel comfortable is that I’m not used to the way my body looks now. Even though the shift in my weight hasn’t been dramatic, it’s enough that I feel strange in my own skin.  I look in the mirror and it feels weird to see more rounded hips, and a curved tummy  and actual boobs.  My figure has become more hourglass where it was always fairly up-and-down and very skinny.  My clothes fit me differently and hug me too tightly over my new curves.  Outfits that used to make me feel confident and sassy now make me feel like a sausage in a too-tight casing. I don’t feel like I look like “me”. It’s so difficult to learn to love a new shape when I’d barely become confident in the one I had.

But I’m doing alright.  And there are a few things I’ve been doing that have helped immensely.  I’d like to share those things with you, in case you’re also struggling with a body that’s changed.

Talk about it.

Discussing my feelings and insecurities has been extremely helpful.  I’m lucky enough to have many people in my life who were kind to me, who listened attentively and empathised.  Talking it over with a few of my favourite people helped me to feel so much better.  It made me realise that my feelings aren’t unique, that these struggles are something that most people go through.  It gave me comfort to know that those special people didn’t think any less of me because I’d gained weight, and still valued me just as much.

Decide what action you want to take (if any)

Let me be absolutely clear: you don’t have to do anything about your weight gain if you don’t want to.  I’m the last person who will tell you that you need to go on a diet.  But I do think that if your weight gain is causing you pain and grief, then you need to do something.  For me, I’ve taken stock of my  lifestyle and realised that I could definitely improve my eating habits and exercise routine.  I know that I need to plan a more well-rounded diet and move my body more often.  At the same time, I know that unless I starve myself and stop taking my medication, I’m never going to get back to my old body.  And so as well as taking better care of myself, I’ve decided that I need to work on accepting my body and coming to terms with the changes that have taken place.  So whether you want to change up your habits, or look at your emotional patterns, or a bit of both, I think taking some action to get yourself feeling better is a good idea.

Recognise that bodies change

All bodies, particularly female bodies, go through massive changes over the course of a lifetime.  And whether those changes are caused by a lifestyle shift, hormones, medication, illness, age, growing a human inside you or some other reason, it can be difficult to manage.  As difficult as it is, it’s really important to accept that our bodies alter and shift as time passes.  It’s perfectly OK to mourn the shape and size you once were, but I think it’s also a good idea to begin to celebrate some good things about your new shape.  For example, I’m trying to feel chuffed about the fact that I finally have boobs, after years of struggling with push-up bras.  Find something that you like, celebrate that and build from there.

Get rid of clothes that trigger self hate.

This one has been hard for me, because my clothes are a huge part of my life.  I love getting dressed in the morning, and I place a lot of emotional attachment to the items in my wardrobe.  For me those skinny jeans aren’t just a couple of denim tubes and a zipper, they have the power to make me feel fierce and sexy.  And when those fierce jeans will no longer zip, their power changes….they become a trigger for self loathing.  Lately I’ve been taking a long, hard look at my clothes, and I’ve gotten rid of a few things that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wear again.  There are some I’m hanging onto because there’s a chance that they’ll fit someday.  But the ones that made me feel the shittiest had to go.  It’s hard to let go of those items because of the memories attached to them, and because in a way it feels like the end of a part of my life.  But sometimes you have to take a deep breath, let them go and then buy some new gear that makes you feel fierce and fabulous.

Do you struggle with your body when it changes?  What have you done to make that change easier?

Yoga for body confidence.

A few weeks ago I read a really interesting blog post about yoga and body image.  The post really tugged on my emotions and got me thinking about how people of different shapes and sizes experience yoga and I feel compelled to respond to it.

I should start by saying that I’ve never been fat.  I’ve only ever had a thin body with varying degrees of fitness.  However I’ve struggled quite profoundly with my own body image and perception of my body.  I’ve gone through long periods of hating my body and periods of tentative tolerance.  Only recently have I begun to make peace with my body’s appearance and ability, and I truly believe that yoga has played a huge part in that.

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I have spoken with many friends who are bigger than me, and they have told of similar experiences to those described in the article mentioned above.  Hearing those stories was heartbreaking for me.  Not only because I don’t like to hear about people being shamed or discriminated against because of their size, but because I find it upsetting that these people are being excluded from a practice that could truly help them to accept and love their bodies.

I find yoga to be an exceptionally healing and energizing practice.  The reason I’ve stuck with it for so long is that it not only exercises my body, but it calms my mind as well.  I’ve found so much peace and acceptance during sessions on my mat.  It sounds a bit silly, but it’s the truth.  Here are some of the ways that yoga has helped me to create a better relationship with my body:

–  I’ve learned to focus on what my body can do rather than what it can’t do.  I’ve learned to appreciate all the amazing things that my body is capable of and rejoice when I manage to reach a little further or balance with a bit more stability.

– Yoga is very introspective.  It’s not a competition to see who can bend further or get into the most mind-bending poses.  It’s about scanning your own body and working with yourself to create space and ease in each pose.  It’s about noticing pockets of tension and gently working them out. It’s about easing into a pose over time, rather than cranking yourself into a certain shape.

– Over time, yoga has helped to tone my body.  I’m much stronger, my posture is better and I feel more balanced than I did before I began practicing regularly.

It is my belief that yoga should be for everybody.  There are so many different styles and types that there should be a variety of yoga that is suited for your particular body and abilities.  It shouldn’t matter what shape or size you are, or how old you are, or if you have limited mobility.  Yoga is a wonderful practice that should be accessible to anyone who wants to give it a go. And I find it upsetting that so many teachers and classes have turned it into a competition, or are peppering their classes with discrimination and shame.  If you’re interested in trying yoga, but are worried about feeling left out, self-conscious or being discriminated against there are a few things that I can suggest.

– First of all, research different yoga classes in your area.  Some gyms and yoga centres offer a variety of classes which target different groups.  You might find that there is an awesome Fat Yoga class in your area, or a group that specially caters for people who are recovering from injuries.  Do your homework and see what’s available.

– If you can’t find a specially targeted class, consider arranging a meeting with the teacher of a beginners class in your area.  Chat with them about your concerns and highlight any areas that you are likely to struggle with.  Then ask whether they can keep these in mind when planning the class.  If they are rude to you or if you feel like you might be treated poorly during the class, don’t go.

– If there are certain poses that you find difficult or impossible, try researching some variations to common poses.  Many of the most basic yoga poses can be targeted to different levels of fitness, strength or flexibility.  Use these variations during class when you come to a pose that is difficult for you.

– Try practicing at home.  I find it much easier to practice when I’m by myself.  I’m less likely to compare myself to others and I find that I’m more focused on my practice when I’m by myself.

– Look for at-home yoga videos that are size positive.  One of my favourite channels which I recommend to everyone is Yoga with Adrienne.  I love her videos because she gives loads of variations of poses for different levels and her videos focus on achieving the sensation of each pose, rather than attaining the perfect form.  She uses body-positive language and is really laid-back in her approach.

– Add a short meditation to the end of each practice, where you thank your body for all that it’s done and congratulate yourself on any progress.  I find it’s also helpful to give myself a little pep talk on days when I feel as though I’ve gone backwards with my yoga.  Taking the time to nurture yourself and doing that positive self-talk is very helpful.

Yoga is something that has helped me so much with my self esteem and body confidence.  It truly angers me that certain groups are being left out of this practice because of their size and abilities.  Yoga is for everyone, and nobody should be made to feel less-than when giving it a go.

The ultimate Spring-cleaning checklist.

Spring has sprung here in the southern hemisphere, and it’s the perfect time to do a little bit of Spring cleaning.  The world is coming out of the darkness of winter and the sun is peeping through and showing up all the dust and grime from a winter spent indoors.  Spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings which makes it the ideal season to get down to some serious cleaning and de-cluttering.

I’m a huge nerd when it comes to cleaning.  I love having everything looking “just so”.  I actually love the idea of spending an afternoon clearing out cupboards or washing down the walls (how twisted am I, right?).  If you’re looking for a bit of Spring-cleaning inspiration, then you’re in luck, because I’ve put together my definitive list of Spring-cleaning chores to get you started.  You might like to use this list to help jog your memory when you’re deciding what needs to be done around your own home.  Or you may feel super-inspired to try to check off everything on the list.  Or you might decide to disregard the Spring cleaning and just watch a tonne of Arrested Development reruns.  Your choice.

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Vanessa’s Spring Cleaning List:

– Wash all the windows

– Take down curtains and clean.

– Wash the walls with sugar soap.

– Scrub the bathtub and shower recess

– Put up a new shower curtain.

– Wash out rubbish bins with disinfectant

-Clean oven

– Run vinegar through your dishwasher and coffee machine.

– Empty the lint trap in your dryer,  and clean the filters on heaters and airconditioners.

– Clean out wardrobe

– Go through your makeup drawer and throw out anything you don’t use or which has expired.  You might like to read this post about the expiry date of makeup.

– Empty your fridge and pantry and give them a good wipe out.  Throw out any expired food.

– Dust bookshelves and DVD storage.

– Clean out your inbox.

– Delete any unused files on your computer.

– Wash doors, baseboards and switchplates.

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-Air out your blankets.

– Sanitize cutting boards.

– Clear out linen closet.

– Sponge-clean cupboard doors.

– Sanitize your computer keyboard and mouse.

– Clean out your handbag

– Dust for cobwebs

– Hose off outdoor furniture

– Polish all your shoes

– Wash your makeup brushes with warm water and mild soap.

DSCF8328-Move your couch out of the way and vacuum underneath it.  Vacuum between the couch cushions.

– Sweep under your refrigerator

– Defrost freezer.

-Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

– Scrub stovetop with bicarbonate soda.

– Clear out your craft stash.  Give away any materials you won’t use, or do some destashing projects.

-Weed the garden.

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-Flip your mattress.

– Replace any pillows that have become flat, lumpy or musty.

-Scrub drains with an old toothbrush

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And once you’re all done, brew a pot of tea, flop down on the couch and relax with a movie.  Aaaaah!

Have I missed anything?  Do you love or loathe Spring cleaning?

How I maintain a work-life balance.

When I got news that I had secured a full-time job, I was seriously anxious.  I was concerned about how I was going to manage to find time for all my hobbies and still get to see my family and friends.  I was also nervous about my mental health.  I manage my mental illness with a combination of CBT strategies, diet, exercise and self-care activities.  I was extremely worried that when I began working my mental health would suffer if I didn’t have time to nurture myself.

But three months have passed and I feel pretty good about where I’m at.  I haven’t had a nervous breakdown, I’ve managed to foster my most important relationships, my blog and shop are still going strong and my home isn’t falling to bits.  I’ve learned a few things about maintaining that ever-elusive work-life balance that I’d love to share with you.

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Prioritize

I often find myself overwhelmed when I’ve got spare time up my sleeve.  There are so many ways that I want to fill that time and I end up procrastinating while I decide what to do.  Before I know it, I’ve frittered away the time and accomplished nothing.

I’ve gotten into the habit of making a list of five things I want to accomplish each day.  This list usually comprises both big and small tasks, such as making an important phone call or writing a blog post or tidying my room.  I try to make sure that these tasks are ticked off before I add anything else to my to-do list.  That way I make sure that I’m using my time wisely and not wasting it by fretting about all the things I could be doing.

Let it go

 There are a finite number of hours in every day.  And many of those hours are filled with non-negotiable tasks like working, sleeping and eating. That leaves only a limited amount of time to spread between socializing, cleaning, self care and hobbies.

If you try to do All The Things perfectly All The Time you’re setting yourself up for failure.  In order to maintain your sanity you need to let go of some things.  You have to relinquish the need to have a perfectly clean house or a regularly-updated blog or nightly chats with your bestie.  You have to make sacrifices and it will mean that you don’t always get to do things as often or as perfectly as you’d like.  It was hard for me to do this because I’m a perfectionist, but I’m slowly learning to ease up and let things go.

Make time for friends and family

It’s so easy to let your favourite people fall through the cracks when you’re time-poor.  I struggle to find time to spend with my friends and family when I’m busy.  My solution?  Make time to be with them.  Carve out a block of time each day to call your mum, or email your friends.  Book in dinner dates with your lover.  Plan weekend family outings.  Don’t assume that you’ll just magically find time for your friends and family, make the effort and dedicate some time to these important people.

Set boundaries at work

One thing I’ve found vital to my sanity is creating boundaries between my work life and my personal life.  I make sure that I get all my work done during the work day and I always aim to leave the office on time.  I’ve asked my workmates to only call me outside of office hours if it’s truly urgent.  I don’t check my work email at home and I don’t come into the office on days when I’m not working.

 

It can be very hard to do this.  I don’t like to disappoint people, and I’m always worried that I’ll be perceived as lazy.  When I was in high school I got this idea in my head that in order to be successful, you had to be working hard all the time.  That busy = important and worthy.  I don’t like feeling as though I’m letting my boss down.  Especially when so many other people in the office are happy to work late into the evening and call into the office on their days off.

 

But  if I don’t set those boundaries, nobody will.  My boss isn’t going to tell me not to stay late  or discourage me from doing office work in my own time.  I have to stick up for myself and set realistic boundaries.  I work very hard during office hours and I don’t actually NEED to be at work outside of my scheduled roster.  It’s not lazy to take time for myself.  It’s just a job, and it’s only one part of my life.

 

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Embrace lazy days

Full time work can be exhausting.  While it can be tempting to cram your free time with as many activities as possible, it’s not always a great idea.  Your brain and body need time to relax and unwind.  For this reason, I make sure that I have one “lazy day” each week.  On my lazy days I don’t do any work.  I spend the day reading, exercising, crafting and chilling out with my favourite people.  I can’t stress the importance of having dedicated “do nothing” days to help your body and mind to recharge.

 

How do you maintain a work-life balance?  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks.

My period survival kit.

Let me state the freakin’ obvious here: periods aren’t the most fun thing in the world.  I can think of better ways to spend an afternoon than curled up on the couch in a crampy, cranky ball.  I have found a couple of fail-safe items that really do help make periods a lot less sucky.  This is what’s in my Period Survival Kit:

Cute underpants

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to feel good about myself when I’m wearing a pair of saggy, daggy underpants.  I know that a lot of women save their grungiest undies for when they have their period, but I don’t like to do that.  To me, having a pair of yucky, “period panties” just reinforces the idea that periods are awful and makes me feel worse about myself.  I find that slipping into a pair of cute, cotton underpants gives me a little lift.  I got some gorgeous hand-made underpants from Katastophic Designs and that are perfect.

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Herbal tea

A soothing cup of tea is perfect for calming frayed nerves and settling a frazzled mind.  I try to avoid caffeine when I’ve got my period, because I find that it makes my cramps and mood swings worse.  Instead, I stick to herbal and fruit teas.  My favourite blend is Twinings chamomile, honey and vanilla. It’s deliciously sweet and calming.

A heat pack

A heat pack or hot water bottle is heaven when you’re cramping.  I have a microwavable heat pack that’s filled with wheat.  It provides warmth and slight pressure to my tummy or lower back to ease period pain.

Luxurious bath products

Another way to ease cramps is to take a soothing bath.  What better way to make a bath even more luxurious than with some fancy oils, bubbles or salts?  My favourite thing to use when I’m feeling icky is my home-made tub tea.  I mix milk powder, rolled oats and Epsoms salts with a few drops of essential oils.  I make little bags out of old tights and fill them with this mixture.  All you need to do is toss one in a warm bath for a soothing infusion (and the bag catches all the bits so you don’t have to fish oats out of your drain).

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Cloth pads

I infinitely prefer cloth pads to their disposable cousins. They’re more environmentally friendly, they’re cheaper and they don’t rub my lady garden red-raw.

Yoga videos

In my experience, yoga is one of the most effective ways to ease cramps, settle your mind and sooth headaches.  When you’ve got your period, opt for a slow, gentle practice to nurture your body and leave you feeling refreshed.  My all-time favourite yoga workout for period pain is this one from Yoga with Adriene.

 

 

Chocolate

I’m not usually a big chocolate-eater, but I always get massive cocoa cravings right before my period.  I always make sure that there’s a block of delicious chocolate in the cupboard to deal with these cravings.

 

 

Lavender oil

There’s something so calming about the scent of lavender.  I like to use a lavender body lotion to give my feet a little rub when I’m feeling a bit tired and emotional during the first couple of days of my period.  a few drops on your pillow will promote restful sleep and a lavender-scented candle can be used to create an atmosphere of tranquility at your desk.

Comedy DVDs

I find a good chuckle is just the thing to chase the monthly blues away.  Laughing releases endorphins that actually increase your pain tolerance and improve your mood.  I love busting out some of my favourite comedies and having a little giggle-fest to cheer myself up.

 

What’s in your period survival kit?

5 simple ways to make your workday better.

I’d wager that there aren’t too many of you out there that skip to work every day with a song in your heart.  Even if you’re lucky enough to have the job of your dreams, chances are there will still be days that make you want to cry and rend your clothing.  And if you’re one of the many peeps who has a job that falls somewhat short of your dream career, then you probably have quite a few of those hair-ripping days.

As someone who has worked at a number of less-than-fabulous jobs in her time, I’m here to tell you that there are a few things you can do each day to make even the yuckiest job bearable.

1. Pack a lunch

If your lunch break is the shimmering oasis in a desolate workday, it definitely pays to make sure that that time is as awesome as possible.  You don’t want to waste a second of it standing in line waiting to buy a sub-par sandwich and weak coffee.

What if you knew for sure that you had a delicious lunch to tuck into the moment you set foot in the break room?  Wouldn’t that make the morning a little bit more bearable?  Sure it would!  So take the time each morning to pack a lunch for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal, even a delicious sandwich and a piece of fruit would be great.  I love to package up my leftovers from the night before for my lunch.  Not only is it economical, but my co-workers are always jealous of my lunches.

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In addition to giving you something yummy to nosh on, a well-planned lunch will revive your energy levels and give you the stamina you need to get through the afternoon.  You’ll be much brighter after a lunch of leftover spaghetti and a banana than you would be after wolfing down a chocolate bar from the nearest shop.

2. Take something to do in your lunch break

Following on from my previous point, it pays to think ahead and plan what you’re going to do during your lunch break.  Take a brilliant book or your favourite magazine to flick through.  It sure beats re-reading the copy of Women’s Weekly that’s been sitting on the break-room table for six months.

If reading isn’t really your thing, there are loads of other things that can make your lunch break special.  Bring a journal and begin working on that story you’d been meaning to get down.  Listen to music, email your friends, paint your nails, walk to the park.  Just do whatever you need to do to make that little chunk of mid-day time a bit more blissful.

3. Wear something fabulous

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I always feel so much better when I’m wearing something that makes me feel happy.  Even if you have to wear a uniform, there are plenty of ways to inject a little of your own style into the mix.  Pop your hair into a delicious beehive.  Experiment with braids.  Add a beautiful pair of earrings or a stunning brooch.  Even a slick of delightfully lush lippy can give you a pick-me-up and make you feel more like yourself.

4. Plan something to do after work

Give yourself something to focus on and look forward to by planning something special to do after work.  You might make a reservation at your favourite restaurant or buy yourself movie tickets to get you through the drudgery of the work day.

Your plans needn’t be so elaborate.  You can simply set aside an hour to take a bath, do some yoga or read your book on the couch.  You might like to make a Skype date with your bestie or plan to catch up on your favourite T.V show in bed.  Whatever you decide, knowing that you’ve got something special to look forward to makes the hassles of the day so much easier to take.

5. Look on the bright side

Your attitude can make all the difference when it comes to facing the work day.  If I can, I like to try to approach each shift with a positive attitude.  I find that if I try to smile, relax and just enjoy myself, the work day doesn’t seem so bad.  Constantly telling yourself, “I hate working here, all these customers are bastards, I just wish everyone would leave me alone” makes it so much more difficult to cope at work.  If you can, try to maintain a positive approach and just go with it.

 

What do you do to make your workday better?  I’d love to hear your tips.