What a month. May is always the month of birthdays, including my own. I’m grateful that my birthday had allowed me to reconnect with people I hadn’t spoken to for ages. But I’ve noticed this month I have been rather stressed from all manner of things, which has heightened my senses and made me rather easily annoyed at the world.
I found the main issue I had was noise. Physically from builders working nearby and neighbours blasting music to wide open windows, and then mentally from everything that is going on in my head. The triggers were absolutely everywhere: work, home, social media, the near future, and even the far away future. I realise that some of my usual things did help, like writing things down to process my thoughts.
But as I was super more stressed than usual, I needed to find more ways to relax and chill and just take some time for myself. Exercising in the mornings has helped give a little boost of energy in preparation for the day ahead. We have started going on walks in the evenings too, which absolutely exhausts me, but has allowed me to be a little more present. But music is what has really helped.
Listening to certain music transports me to when I listened to that music live. And playing music immediately focuses me on the present and stops the whirlwind of angry thoughts zooming around in my head. The gratitude journal has helped to some extent, refocusing on the good things each day. But some days the noise and stress of everything just got a little too much. I feel that I am close to burning out. And I am so glad that weekends exist to give me space to stop and be still. So here is May’s stressful gratitude journal:
1 Hubby: grateful for the hubby today. He made lunch and dinner for me whilst I was working and reminded me of work creep.
2 Friends: grateful for friends today. Had a nice group video call and in the evening had a great time playing Mario Kart online. It was tense, hilarious, and fun – just love it. 3 Ukulele: grateful for the ukulele today. Had a little time to play this afternoon and learnt a new song, La Vie En Rose, which is such a beautiful lilting song. Muscle memory really is a thing.
4 Self care: grateful for some self care today. Exercised in the morning to get an energy boost and get some sweat going and then this evening had my skincare regime and it’s nice to just look after myself. I really feel self care is so important these days, as you can’t pour from an empty cup.
5 Hubby: grateful for hubby today. Had a gruelling 9.5 hour working day today trying to get lots done. It was a slog, and then I’d turn to see the hubby beaming with his smile or randomly dancing. It really made my day, his happiness just beamed onto me. Osmosis happiness transfer through hugs too.
6 Organised laziness: grateful for being lazy yet organised. Worked a lot of hours to try and meet a deadline and I am super grateful that I cooked at the weekend so I can be lazy in the week and reheat meals. This meant I was able to work quite late and not worry about spending time cooking dinner tonight.
7 Weekend: grateful for the weekend. After a stressful and busy 4 day week I was dancing around the kitchen after the working day today. So grateful for a 3 day weekend, my brain has been fried this week, so I’m looking forward to some relaxing times ahead.
8 Technology: grateful for technology today. I went to the supermarket and used their scan and go app meaning I didn’t have to queue and scan everything at the end. Also used the new rice cooker for the second time, which is super speedy compared to previously steaming rice in a steamer. Also played Jackbox with friends via a site called Discord, which was hilarious fun. We had played Jackbox games before but not used Discord, so grateful for technology today.
9 Sleep: grateful for a lie in this morning. Woke up around 9am ish and it was great having a little lie in, recuperating and recharging my batteries.
10 The future: grateful for the future ahead. Hubby and I are considering moving, and also my birthday is coming up so I’ve been planning something for that. It’s been good and actually quite refreshing to have something to look forward to even if it’s a little way away.
11 Hubby: grateful for the hubby today for ingeniously finding a solution to my problem. Plain flour plus baking powder to make our own self raising flour, as there is just no self raising flour to be found anywhere.
12 Birthdays: grateful for birthdays. My birthday is soon approaching and even though I hadn’t actually planned anything and therefore didn’t have to cancel pre-arranged plans it’s kind of sad that I can’t do much outside to celebrate. I love celebrating birthdays as an adult as I never really did so as a kid, so today I’m grateful and excited and super happy to be able to plan something virtually for my upcoming birthday. I feel this is the first thing I’ve been excited about in so long.
13 Quietness: grateful for quietness today. Nearby there have been building works going on, quite loudly. So I’m grateful for some stillness and quietness today.
14 Friends: grateful for friends. I’ve been back in touch with a few people I haven’t spoken to in a while, so I’m grateful for these hilarious people and the connection I have with them.
15 Sunshine: went outside for the first time in a while and the sunshine was lovely. I had my wedding umbrella up as I was standing in the sun and the warmth was so nice, like the sun was hugging me. Usually the sun burns, but today it didn’t.
16 Memories and mementos: grateful for memories and mementos today. I was going through old cards and found some from old friends and colleagues. I also found some old tickets which brought back good memories. Grateful for these little reminders and it made me think about how I’ve kept these things as a reminder whilst nowadays I usually just take pictures. It’s interesting seeing how things change regarding tokens and memories.
17 Sleep: grateful for sleep today. I had a lie in till almost 10am, which is quite late for me, and also had a mid afternoon nap. Grateful to be able to sleep and nap and not have anything pressing to do today to allow that to happen. Also grateful to recharge my batteries, as if my mind and body were telling me to try switching myself off and on again.
18 Mental health awareness: this week is mental health awareness week and I’m grateful that such a week exists. Mental health in general was not really mentioned, let alone talked about, when I was a kid so I’m grateful now that there is more open discourse.
19 Sunshine: grateful for sunshine today. Hubby and I took a walk outside today for the first time in a while along the park our old dog used to trot around in. The sun was beaming and we saw a few dogs and it was great. There were loads of people around and it was odd trying to predict walking patterns to avoid people and to socially distance. But grateful for the warm sunshine today.
20 Bird song: grateful for bird song today as I haven’t heard it in such a long time. We opened all the windows and doors as it was super warm, which meant we heard the builders and their machines and the music they were blasting. But every now and then, in a moment of quietness, I heard birds singing.
21 Air conditioning and work: grateful for these things today. It is super hot today so I’m grateful that we have portable AC and were able to reorganise the lounge to keep a little cooler. Also grateful for work as I received a really long email reassuring staff and it brightened up my day. This pandemic and lock down are really shining the light and emphasising good companies as being great, and vice versa.
22 Friends and family: grateful for friends today as I had a nice catch up over Zoom. It was nice hearing what’s been happening during lockdown. Grateful for family as I received some birthday cards through the post which was lovely.
23 Hubby: grateful for the hubby today as I received some lovely tulips as a reminder from the best place on earth: Keukenhof. The colours are beautiful and they smell lovely.24 Words: grateful for words today. Writing has always helped me process and deal with things, getting things out of my head and onto paper to make sense of things.
25 Hubby, friends, and creativity: grateful for these today. It was my birthday today and hubby brought gifts for me whilst I was still in bed, which made me think this is what kids do on Christmas day. I also had a virtual Zoom party with people showing and telling their cakes or baked goods. This is where the creativity came in: there were cakes, cheesecakes, puddings, candles on bakewell tarts, samosas, cocktails, and a toy cake. The creativity was interesting and hilarious. Not the birthday I thought I would have, but a great one nonetheless.
26 Quietness: grateful for quietness today. There have been building works of some kind going on near us and it has been super loud recently. Today they were a little quieter and with the doors and windows closed it has actually been somewhat quiet and peaceful today.
27 Ukulele: grateful to spend some time playing the uke this evening. Just some me time strumming away.
28 Many things. Grateful for many things today: saw many dogs on our evening walk, a friend sent flowers for my birthday, received a birthday card from family, work linked a really interesting TED talk about changing behaviours, and spent the evening playing ukulele again. Many lovely little things today that I’m super grateful for.
29 Rest: grateful for rest today. Feel I’m almost burning out this week. At first I thought it was the sounds and vibrations of the building works near us, but as they have been quiet recently I realised I’m just mentally exhausted from all the noise around me. So I’m grateful to finish work at a reasonable time and have a little rest today.
30 Hubby: grateful for the hubby today. Hubby has been very mindful that I require some peace and quiet and has been using headphones a lot today so there is less background noises. Stress levels have peaked for me resulting in my hearing being super sensitive, so I’m really grateful that the hubby has been trying to reduce these noises for me.
31 Sleep: grateful for sleep today. Had a lie in till about 9am and also had a little afternoon nap too. The nap was unplanned but I was apparently super tired. It was nice feeling refreshed and re-energised, clearly my mind just needed switching off and on again via some sleep.