10 articles Tag Stress

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel… Preventative Measures As We Age

We don’t like to discuss it because of all the anxiety that comes with it, but old age is something we’ve all got to face. And while there’s a lot more in the news about what you can do to prepare for the onset of things like Alzheimer’s or dementia, what are the real issues we can prepare for at any age? And in fact, it’s not even just issues that are related to old age, but the fact is that deterioration is something that happens to all of us. So what are the main concerns and what can we do about it?

Cancer

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It’s something that affects a lot more now in the modern world than it did decades ago but that’s not to say that modern living is the cause for us all running the risk of getting cancer. The risk of developing cancer does increase as we age. And the rates of skin cancer are through the roof now, especially in younger people, so that’s not to say that it is exclusively an age-related condition. Cancer is something that can have a profound impact on our lives, and while there is no one way to prevent it, as we’ve all seen that even young, seemingly healthy, individuals can get cancer at a young age. And a lot of people are now subscribing to the fact that cancer is down to an acidic body which a lot of people are dismissive of. The only thing we can all do to keep on top of this is to make sure we get regular check ups and listen to our body. Also if you feel that something isn’t right, especially on a superficial level, such as moles or lesions, that you have a concern about there are specialised organisations like SkinHealth UK who can screen you for tests. The amount of research into cancer is continually increasing, but the cliche is, of course, that we do our best to live healthy lives and cut down on stress. And this isn’t just a vital part of your life as you get older, but it’s something you can do right now, whatever your age.

Arthritis And Osteoporosis

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In many ways, two sides to the same coin. Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and affects half of the elderly population in the world. Preventing arthritis is all about doing regular and steady exercise rather than overdoing it at the weekend. A decrease in bone mass is a major contribution towards osteoporosis which can be prevented by avoiding specific triggers such as alcohol, smoking, and even drinks like soda, which will encourage your body to lose calcium. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, it is taken from our bones. Exercise is another way to increase bone mass, and there’s a lot of research in weight training as a way to increase bone density. But the trick is, especially if you are over 50, to build up your baseline level of fitness, which means you need to do just enough to feel the benefits, but also make sure that you rest adequately.

Hearing Loss And Vision Impairment

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One of the first things to go as we age, our vision can be affected by varying ailments such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Surprisingly smokers are at a higher risk for macular degeneration, and it’s a habit that needs to be stubbed out as soon as possible. Again regular check ups will be the key to preventing something like glaucoma, because if you lose your vision due to that, you can’t get it back. Hearing loss is a major issue for people as they get older and it doesn’t just impact the quality of life, but it can be seen as a contributing factor towards depression and withdrawing from social activities. And while there are solutions for coping with hearing loss such as hearing aids, only one in four people use them. Lifestyle is a big contributor to hearing loss, especially if you go to loud concerts and use earphones that go directly into your ear canal.

Depression And Anxiety

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Naturally, as we become concerned about our mortality issues, anxiety and depression can rear their ugly heads and can cause us to feel disconnected from our loved ones. Depression is such an overarching condition, but research is showing that the one thing that will help with managing the symptoms of depression is a social life, however little it may be. Feeling withdrawn can compound itself, so if you can find a way to interact with people, this will be a big help. For a lot of people, depression arises as a side effect of retiring. Many people find their sense of self-worth is tied up into their work and so feeling without purpose has led to an increase in suicide rates. To combat this feeling of uselessness, it’s vital that you stay connected to whoever is around you. As we age, we think of more about the parents or grandparents we have lost, but with the children and grandchildren that come along, it is a new lease of life. Ultimately it’s about finding what makes you happy and gives you a sense of purpose in life, which is something we all tend to lose track of because we are dwelling on the more negative parts of aging.

These are the most fundamental parts of getting older. We are all susceptible to more disease, mental health problems, as well as losing our faculties. Prevention is always better than cure as we age, but if we can enter into old age with an open mindset rather than a negative one, this will prepare us more for the challenges that lie ahead. They say a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but also our twilight years can be a waste if we don’t use them properly. Whatever your age, you can start now to think about putting the lifestyle practices in place that will help you to enjoy your old age and make the most of your time on this earth. So, do the things you’ve always wanted to do, while you can!

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after Childbirth

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after ChildbirthChildbirth is an exciting time and there are many news skills to master – and for some women, managing incontinence may be one of them.

It is a common problem that many women suffer from, mainly in the short term. In rare cases, it may be a long-term issue that requires further medical help to alleviate the systems. Being informed means being prepared and so check out these five top tips for managing incontinence after childbirth.

Tip 1 – Use appropriate pads and products

There is a range of incontinence pads in various absorbency levels that make managing incontinence on a daily basis much easier. Unlike sanitary towels, they trap odour as well as urine. They absorb the urine away from the skin, preventing soreness a common complaint alongside urinary incontinence.

They can be worn day and night, and are the ideal solution for catching accidental leaks of urine post childbirth. They allow you a sense of confidence in that embarrassing leaks are stopped in their tracks, great for when you go to post-natal exercises class or enjoy activities with your family.

Tip 2 – Pelvic floor exercises

Alongside incontinence pads, performing pelvic floor exercises several times a day help to combat a weak bladder. These exercises are discreet but incredibly powerful as they tone the pelvic floor muscles, meaning you gain control of your bladder.

The great news is that you can do these exercises anywhere, they are free and require no complicated or expensive equipment.

The pelvic muscle runs from the front of your pubic, across your body to the base of your spine. It is a sling like muscle and during pregnancy, is under pressure not only from the weight of your growing baby but also from a cascade of pregnancy hormones. It is under further pressure during labour and clearly, all that pushing during childbirth also impact on it.

To strengthen it, you need to tighten and hold the muscle for a few seconds and then perform a controlled release. Some people also suggest ‘forcing’ the muscle to relax as the final step. Doing this means that the muscles go through its full movement.

Not sure where your pelvic muscle is or which part to clench? Find out more here.

Tip 3 – Yoga

Incontinence pads and pelvic floor muscles are fantastic just after giving birth mainly because the pelvic floor exercises help you heal and the pads make incontinence much easier to manage.

Now that you have fully recovered you may decide you want to try something that strengthens your pelvic floor in the longer-term. Yoga is having some great results for people who suffered from stress incontinence – in other words, an accidental leak of urine when they cough, sneeze, exercise and so on.

Yoga strengthens and tones a variety of muscles groups, including those in the abdomen, the lower back and the pelvic floor muscle itself. There are various yoga poses that can help manage incontinence better and your qualified yoga instructor will be able to help.

Tip 4 – Train your bladder

Some people find that bladder training helps them too. This works with stress incontinence but with urge incontinence too. The latter is when the bladder has a sudden urge to empty, making it difficult to get to the toilet in time. If you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, an embarrassing leak could ensue.

Training your bladder means holding on between toilet breaks for a certain length of time. For example, when you get the urge to visit the toilet, override this urge by clenching your pelvic floor muscles and resist visiting the bathroom for a length of time, such as 10 minutes. Over time, you increase this amount of time from 10 to 20 minutes and so on. If you need help with this, your doctor may be able to refer you to an incontinence specialist.

Tip 5 – See your doctor

Incontinence can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and so if it continues, becomes worse or you are in pain when you pass urine, seeing your doctor is essential. It is common for women to suffer from incontinence immediately after birth. For some women, it soon disappears but for others, it can carry on for some weeks. However, if you are still struggling to control your bladder several months after birth, see your GP or have a chat with your health visitor.

Incontinence, on one hand, is to be expected after birth but it should right itself within a few weeks. If not, follow these tips – which ones worked for you.

HARTMANN Direct stock a range of incontinence products, ideal for use during and after pregnancy, helping you to manage accidental leaks.

When Cancer Strikes: Helping Kids Cope When Someone in Your Family Gets Sick

It can be difficult for kids to fully understand or handle the situation when someone in the family is sick and needs medical help to try and help them recover.

Unfortunately, cancer visits many families and aside from the emotional trauma of contending with such a serious condition, there is also the prospect of endless visits to the hospital and the need to help provide some peace and quiet, all of which can be difficult for kids to cope with.

Here is a look at some ways to help kids deal with someone in their family getting sick. There is an overview of how to talk to your kids about the situation, making allowances for their age and expected emotional reactions, plus some tips on getting support outside of the family network.

We need to talk

There are many distressing and difficult scenarios that you might have to contend with when a close relative is diagnosed with cancer, and one of those challenges is what to say to the children and when to have that conversation with them.

Rather than just come right out with it at some unplanned opportunity, it is often a much better idea to plan what you intend to say to your kids in advance.

Working through the conversation in your mind and even discussing how to relay such traumatic information to a child with a health professional who understands the situation, can help you to deliver the news in the best way possible, considering the circumstances.

Keep it simple

The age of your children will obviously make a difference to how you talk to them about cancer and what is happening with a loved one, but the general suggestion is always to use simple language and give them ample opportunity to absorb the information.

It is often the case that you will need to repeat what you are saying several times and be prepared to answer any questions they come up with during the conversation.

Emotional reaction

Children will normally experience slightly different emotional reactions and school age children who have yet to hit their teens, are sometimes likely to experience feelings of guilt if it is one of their parents who is sick.

You will have to work on reassuring them that clearly, they bear no responsibility for what is happening.

 Teenagers are more likely to experience some noticeable emotional highs and lows, which means that they can display moments of anger, sadness, and anxiety, as well as feeling depressed about the situation at certain points.

It is worth mentioning the mandala coloring app by Apalon Apps which is an adult coloring book to help reduce stress. Suggest downloading apps like this that encourage mindfulness, as it could be a useful tool they could relate to when they are struggling with their emotions.

Keep their school in the loop

Dealing with cancer in the family is a deeply personal situation but it is important that if you have a child at school who is trying to cope with this problem at home, they know what is going on.

Their school can often be very helpful and understanding as they will be aware of how a family crisis can affect a child. They can make allowances for their performance and behavior, plus offer some extra support as and when they need it.

It is never going to be easy coping with cancer, but there are things you can do to help your kids cope with the situation as well as they can be expected to.

Sophie Horton is a whizz when it comes to keeping kids occupied. She is Auntie to 5 kids who range in age from 1 to 15. Her articles discuss looking after kids when they are away from home and keeping everyone happy.

5 Tips to Minimise Christmas Stress

Stress-Free ChristmasNow that it’s November and Bonfire Night is over, people’s thoughts are firmly turning to the next big holiday: CHRISTMAS! If you’re anything like me, the run up to Christmas is a combination of shopping, planning, getting in the mood (but not too early!) and generally trying to facilitate the whole family’s enjoyment of the big day. One thing which is really important for me is finding the balance between readiness and stress-management – getting to the big day with high blood pressure and the need to sleep for a week is not good for your own enjoyment, so I thought I’d share some tips for minimising your Christmas stress.

Plan Ahead

I appreciate that telling you to plan ahead in November is a little bit like locking the stable door after the reindeer have bolted, but do yourself a favour for NEXT year and do some forward planning! Buy decorations in the January sales when they’re dirt cheap and put them away, start a savings account and put a little in each week and do as much as you can throughout the year so it isn’t a mad rush this time next year.

Take a Break

Taking yourself off to spa might seem a little lavish when you’ve got a lot of expense coming up, but treating yourself to a detoxing winter spa day at The Moroccan Spa Urban Retreat in Harrods is the PERFECT way to relax your mind and body, leaving you feeling tip-top for all the Christmas parties you’ll be going to and is the perfect way to reward yourself for all the hard work you put into making Christmas special for your family. You could even ask for vouchers for Christmas so you can do the same thing next year!

Lower Your Expectations

There seems to be this pressure on everyone to have EVERY Christmas experience possible and between the Santa visits, the pantos, the Christmas Eve boxes as well as hundreds of pounds worth of gifts, the matching jumpers and festive pyjamas..it’s exhausting both mentally AND financially. Choose just a couple of things to do…there’s always next year if you want to try something new but cramming it all into one festive season will just drive you crackers!

Set Limits

It’s basically the law for kids to hand you a Christmas list as long as your arm and although it would be nice to buy them every single gift, it’s just not always possible. Set yourself a limit on how much you’re going to spend on food, presents, decorations and extras and DO NOT GO ABOVE THOSE LIMITS. That way, instead of stressing about how you’re going to afford one last stocking filler you can tell yourself “Nope, it’s just not in the budget”.

Have Fun!

So often, us grown ups spend so much time making Christmas magical for the kids that we simply forget to have fun. Take some time for yourself, have a sherry, blast some WHAM! and let your hair down. Kids love presents, sure, but they also love relaxed, fun-loving parents who know how to have a good time as a family. Christmas won’t be fun for anyone if Mum or Dad are a sobbing wreck in the corner, wondering if 150 miles is too far to drive for that last Hatchimal in a random toy shop!

Common First Time Parent Stresses And How To Fix Them

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All new parents worry. It goes with the territory. All of sudden you have a new life to take care of, nurture and keep alive. You have no prior training, and sometimes it’s really hard. It may help a little to know that you’re not alone with these concerns. In fact, it’s all part of the process.

  1. Crying

All babies cry. We know this, of course. But before you have a child of your own, you don’t realise just how much. It can be extremely concerning but, in most cases, it’s completely natural. A crying baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Babies cry for many reasons. They may be hungry, tired, need changing or under or over stimulated.

If you child can’t be comforted and continues to cry, you should speak to your doctor. They may be suffering from colic, which can be soothed and managed.

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  1. Fitting It All In

When a new baby arrives, he or she takes over your life in a way you never thought possible. All of your time is spent taking care of their needs. Many parents worry about fitting everything in and getting things done. This might include shopping, taking care of other members of the family, and just have some time to yourself to do nothing. The last point is not selfish. When your every waking moment is spent taking care of another human being, you need a little time to relax and just be yourself for a while. It’s about putting your own oxygen mask on first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

Find shortcuts wherever possible. Accept things won’t be perfect for a while. ‘Good enough’ is fine for now. Get help wherever you can. Enlist family and friends to help out and get the shopping delivered. We live in a digital world there are services available you may not even be aware of. For example, what do you do if you’re feeling unwell but you just don’t have time to go to see your GP? An Online Doctor App may be the answer. You can book an appointment with a doctor to take place over the phone, even out of hours. You can also arrange to pick up any resulting prescriptions from your local chemist.

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  1. Bonding With Your Baby

Many parents are led to believe that as soon as your baby is born, you will bond immediately. This isn’t always the case. After a long delivery, it’s likely you’re feeling more exhausted than anything else. Bonding is something that will happen naturally over time. The process is different for everyone. Try to tune out unhelpful voices that tell you how their bonding was instantaneous. 

  1. Keeping In Touch

Many parents worry about keeping in touch with friends and family once their baby arrives. They may vow never to lose contact and to keep to regular social events. In reality, this may not be practical. As you celebrate your new arrival, you will realise that things have changed forever. Things won’t be the same again, and you wouldn’t want them to be. But this doesn’t mean that you need to lose touch with people. You just have to readjust your thinking, plan ahead, and organise a little.

There are many things that new parents worry about. As well as being a magical time in your lives, it can also be stressful. But there is always a solution and a way around things.

Go Green with PG Tips

I don’t know about you, but I love a nice cup of tea, and I’m a big fan of different types of tea too, so when PG Tips asked me to write about their new Green Tea and the enormous monkey floating on the Thames to promote it, I thought “hey, why not?”. They’ve conducted a survey which has shown some surprising results about stress and relaxation, which you can read about after this video:

The survey was conducted with over 2000 people and 7 in ten of them described feeling stressed and overworked, with a distinct lack of ‘me time’ in their day to day life. Although I’m not out there in the workplace, this is something I can really identify with; even during ‘downtime’, there’s usually a kid attached to me or the feeling that I should be doing something more productive than just sitting down and it can leave you feeling pretty frazzled.

Having said that, we’re luckier than some given the fact that we’re surrounded by green space where we are, as the report shows that this can be massively beneficial:

Highlighted among the untapped properties of the colour green are the benefits of proximity to open spaces; numerous studies have reported the impact of so-called ‘eco-therapy’, with numerous studies reporting improved feelings of positivity and wellbeing as a result of spending time outdoors.

But the green paper report reveals it isn’t only the ‘green outdoors’ that has this affect; our primal association with the colour extends to many forms, with workplaces citing improved productivity among workers when the walls are painted green. In fact, even consuming ‘green’ food and drink – from leafy vegetables to green tea – has also been shown to produce feelings of energy and invigoration simply by association.

This fresh perspective on the ‘power of green’ could hold the key to maximizing our ‘me-time’ to boost feelings of positivity and reinvigoration; further insights reveal that even when people do manage a five minute break at work, it’s rarely beneficial – just one in five said they feel refreshed after stopping.

I completely agree with these findings, as I know how much I love the feeling of getting out into the open. Walking the dog in the massive open fields behind our house often gives me the feeling that I can breathe again after a long, stressful day – now I’m thinking that maybe I should be taking my travel mug full of PG Tips Green Tea to really maximise the effect!

What do you think? Does being in the outdoors help you to unwind? Are you a fan of a nice, warm cuppa to aid your relaxation? Leave me a comment below.

On Days Like Today…

stressOn days like today, I struggle to cope.

On days like today, when the baby is crying, the house is a mess, my head is banging, I’m feeling guilty for not being able to give Sausage as much attention as I should, the dog is whinging, every noise from our neighbours makes me feel as though my head will explode and I struggle to cope.

On days like today, when the baby is inconsolable, it doesn’t matter if I pick her up or put her down or cuddle her or give her a time-out, I struggle to cope.

On days like today when there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, where I have to choose between writing or housework or getting the exercise I so desperately need, I struggle to cope.

On days like today, all I want to do is hide my head under a duvet but I can’t because bedtime isn’t for another two hours and I struggle to cope.

On days like today, I end up hating myself because I question whether having another baby was the right thing to do, and I’m struggling to cope.

On days like today, I’m counting down the minutes until the evening routine – bath, pyjamas, inhaler for Sausage, bottle for Burrito Baby, lights down, all quiet, because until that time, I struggle to cope.

But cope, I do.

Even though I feel like I won’t, like my brain is going to melt and my heart is going to stop beating, I make it to bedtime. Even though I feel like I won’t.

And I look at my girls with their sleepy eyes and my Husband who’s got the same haunted expression as me, mentally patting himself on the back for getting through another day whilst simultaneously trying to forget that we have to do it all again tomorrow, and I know that on days like today when I struggle to cope, things will be alright in the end and for every day like today, there’s a dozen good days that I struggle to remember through the stress and sleeplessness.

On days like today, I may struggle to cope, but I still consider myself the luckiest person in the world.

“My Name’s Mummy and I’m a Stresshead”

(Bear with me while I get through the necessary pre-amble, there is a cogent point somewhere at the bottom of this post!)

Last September, we made the decision to send Sausage to Nursery three mornings a week and I couldn’t, in good conscience, sit at home scratching my arse while she was out, when I could get a job and contribute to the family coffers. Husband had been amazing about me staying at home instead of going back to work after my maternity leave ended and I thought I’d take some of the pressure off of him for a change.

I’d been lucky in that I fell into working from home, managing social media for a few brands as well as a bit of  writing and other bits. I brought in a small wage and still continue to do most of it, alongside my ‘real’ job which is in an Accountants office. Bit of a Jack of All Trades, you could say.

But, I digress. The problem I seem to have is that I find it hard to switch off.

Take today (and I wish someone would…); I had a manic day in the office, I’ve just increased my days to four a week and it was payroll day, so I processed around 30 payrolls in about 4 hours. It’s usually fairly straightforward and most clients only have one or two people on their payroll, but today was just problem after problem. One client wanted his P45 issued..oh, did I mention, he’s moving to Australia TOMORROW so it all had to be processed, scanned, emailed to him, submitted to HMRC etc, and I was informed of this about half an hour before I was due to come home.

The actual work isn’t an issue, I can do it with my eyes shut, it’s the fact that I go into hyper-work-mode to get everything done on time and then after I leave, I can’t seem to manage to shake hyper-work-mode off and get into home-mode. Even when I go home, get out of my work clothes and sit down with Sausage, I’m still thinking about tax returns, payroll and my current side-project of getting a website up and running for my boss.

I’ve not spoken much about it, but I suffer on and off with anxiety. It’s not been getting the better of me as much lately, but it started when I was eleven, carried on through my teens and early twenties and was compounded by Post Natal PTSD after I gave birth. The crux of all of this rambling is that my unspent work-mode energy seems to be manifesting itself as anxiety. I get all hyper at work, come home, feel unable to unwind and by dinner time, I’m having a full-blown panic attack.

So, what do I do, people? Does anyone else get anything even remotely like this, or am I just a big weirdo? What can I do to stop it, if anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Last Word.

Last year, not long after I started this blog, I wrote THIS post about how I collect straws. The basic premise of being a straw collector is that a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap. I’ve been trying my hardest to not do this, and although I still have a bit of a temper if I’m pushed, I am a lot more chilled out in a lot of ways.

There is, however, a character flaw that I have which is something else that I should really work on, and that is the fact that I feel like I must have the last word. If I argue with someone or have a disagreement, I always feel like I’ve been totally wronged unless I get them to change their opinion. I’ve had disagreements with people in the past which still weigh heavily on my mind because I didn’t get an apology or a retraction from them, even though I know they were totally wrong. I’ll admit, I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to people judging me wrongly. I know who and what I am, and I think I’m a very honest person when it comes to myself, but when people get it wrong, it winds me up terribly.

I have internal conversations which people where I say all of the clever things that I wanted to say during an argument, all of which prove them wrong, make me look wonderfully intelligent and urbane, whilst employing great amounts of grace and wit. Of course, arguments generally just degrade to a point where no one employs much wit, and all that’s being slung is something which rhymes with wit, so I never get to really employ all of these skills that I’ve honed so well inside my own head.

But it’s not very healthy, is it? Sometimes, when I’m walking the dog or washing up or going about some other brainless task, I go over petty rows in my head and I get so wound up that I end up with an ache in my gut and a mood like a bear who’s been disturbed, mid-hybernation. I suppose it’s a bit of longer-term straw collecting, but I just can’t seem to let it go.

I suppose I need to know that I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else do this, or am I the only one with an over-developed jaw muscle from all of the teeth grinding that I do? It can’t just be me, can it? Does this make me a terrible person, this need for people to know that I was right and they were wrong? Gosh, when I put it like that, it does sound that way, doesn’t it?

Collecting Straws

My husband is one of those people who knows everything.

Not in a douchey “I’m a know-it-all” kind of way, he’s just got one of those amazing brains which stores an unfathomable amount of stuff. Couple that with an overactive thirst for knowledge and he knows a lot. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team at a pub quiz.

So, the other day, he was doing some reading about various different philosophies relating to anger and he came across the phrase “collecting straws”.

Basically, a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap (the straw that broke the camels back, if you will). The thing which finally makes them snap is generally something quite minor, but they break under the strain of the weight of all the straws they collected throughout the day. Some people may spend their whole lives collecting straws.

Now, he told me about this and it started ringing some Big Ben sized bells.

I am a straw collector.

And I kid myself that I’m actually a super patient person, that I just lose my rag when something really pushes me, but it’s not true. I’ve lost count of the amount of days I had where I’m absolutely seething by the evening, and can reel off a long list of so-called disasters which have made my day so shitty.

My anger is like one of those huge cardboard cut-outs of a thermometer that they have at fundraising events. You know, the ones where the more money they raise, the more of the thermometer they colour in, until finally the top of the thermometer ‘explodes’ when they reach their target?

That’s me.

So.

Where do I go from here, now I know that I’m a straw collector?

Some self-motivated anger management.

I’ve had people suggest to me that I should count down from ten when I get cross. And you know what? That just makes me want to punch that person. Punch them in the face.

I’ve never actually punched a person in the face.

So how do I go about stopping myself from storing up all the silly little ‘straws’.

I have to say, when I think about it, straw collecting is a family trait. My mum is an avid reader of my blog (Hi Mum) and I think she’ll agree with me when I say that it comes straight from the top. My Nan is the Queen of the Straw Collectors. We really have been taught by the best. My Nan doesn’t just collect straws on a daily basis, she’s been collecting them FOR LIFE! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Nan a lot, she’s great and has been like a second Mum to me.

But I wish I’d got to her earlier.

I wish I could go back about 40 years and say to her “You know what, Nan? This straw collecting bullshit just isn’t worth it.” I wonder if she’d have been happier in life if she could have just let some of the small stuff go? I wonder if she’d have felt more fulfilled, more content with the way her life turned out?

But it’s too late for my Nan. She’s got a lifetime of straws, all stored up. So, I’ll tell myself, instead. I’ll tell myself, every time I realise that I’m doing it again…CUT IT LOOSE.

A far more profound person than I once wrote

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

That just about sums it up, doesn’t it?

And because I now know all of this, I’m very glad to have a husband who reads so much.