Category Archives: money

The bleary-eyed banshee’s guide to keeping love alive

Romantic loveLast week, in the midst of mess, sick kids, sleep deprivation and more work than I could handle, I turned into a bleary-eyed banshee.

“You’re not hearing me,” I screeched at my husband. “Sometimes I feel like we’re talking different languages.”

He walked away. He does that.

It wasn’t our finest moment.

I said we were talking different languages, but it wasn’t so much that. It was that we hadn’t been talking about anything lately, aside from kids, finances, household chores, groceries, bills, work.

Our relationship, the big-fat-romantic-love-of-our-lives relationship, had lost its place on both our to-do lists.

Love. If it’s ‘meant to be’ it should be easy, right?

I don’t think so. The idea that romantic love should happen effortlessly is a big pile of poo rolled in Hollywood glitter. Every other aspect of your life — a fulfilling career, happy kids, friendships, healthy meals and a decluttered home — doesn’t just happen by itself, so why should your most important relationship?

It’s time to put some effort in. I’m no expert, but here are four little love ‘tweaks’ that are helping us help get the ‘elation’ back in our relationship.

Figure out your love language (and theirs)
Gary Chapman, love guru and all-round good guy, says there are five emotional love languages. According to Gaz, each of us has a dominant ‘love language’ and if you and your partner are talking different languages, that’s going to bring out the banshee in anyone.

You may feel most loved when your partner tells you how amazing and beautiful you are (words of affirmation). He may feel most loved when you initiate a midday quickie (physical touch). Doing something that doesn’t come naturally to you is a greater expression of love. And what you give, you get back (hopefully in your own love language).

Nurture your relationship by changing habits
Changing a few simple habits can make a huge difference to your relationship. Try and eat dinner together a few times a week (not in front of the telly), go on a date or plan a weekend away.

Ditch the dull routine if you can. Go roller-skating. Paragliding. No cash? A beach walk in winter or a picnic in the hills will work just as well.

Lower your expectations and find the positives
I’ve said it before, expectations are bullshit. When you expect others to act in a certain way, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Your expectations are not top of their lists. Theirs are not at the top of yours. Instead of what makes you want to tear your hair out, think about what you love about your partner. Write it down. Now show your partner your list.

Talk, talk then talk some more
You make time to talk about shopping, washing, childcare/school, money, work. So make the time to talk about your dreams, share your visions, communicate your plans, the things you love, the stuff that needs work. Tell your partner what makes you happy (and what you love about them) loudly and often.

Let’s face it — it’s not Hollywood. Relationships are hard work. But they’re usually worth a bit of effort.

So banish your inner banshee, stay in the room, get over the small stuff and put that big-fat-romantic-love-of-your-life relationship back where it belongs — at the top of your to-do list.

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Image from www.gratisography.com

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Fear — stop being scared and get stuff done

Last night, I was thinking about all the things on my to-do list: migrate my blog, set up a Facebook fan page, build my freelance writing business, put together a plan for exercising and eating well, practise meditation and yoga each day… the stuff that’s important to me.

Lying there, I realised that I have been ticking stuff off to-do lists recently. I’ve researched kinder programs and schools, given my husband marketing and copy ideas for his theatre project, helped build Lego helicopters, created advertising campaigns for clients at my day job. I’ve been kicking some serious goals.

But not my goals. My to-do list has been stuck at the same point for months. 

So why is it easier for me to ‘do’ for other people? Why can’t I find the time to help myself?

Lying in bed, I realised. It’s fear. I’m scared. 

Doing the stuff on my to-do list means I have to start living my dream. But what if my dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

I might migrate my blog and lose the readers I have. I might create a Facebook fan page and get no likes. I might put myself out there as a full-time freelance writer and get no work. I might not stick to my exercise plan. I might eat cake and drink wine. I might find meditation makes me angry again if it’s scheduled in. I might start to hate yoga…

The fear of what might happen.
The fear of disappointing.
The fear of being disappointed.
The fear of not being good enough.
The fear of other people judging me.
The fear of losing money.

The fear of failing. 

Suddenly my dream becomes a nightmare. All because of fear.

How to feel the fear and do it anyway

Be aware and accept
You’re scared. So what? Everyone else is shitting themselves too — at least everyone who’s doing something on their own genuine to-do list.

Ask yourself: what’s the worst case scenario?
Be rational about your fear. Would you be OK? Unless your to-do list includes bungy jumping without a rope or naked yoga in the Arctic, the answer is probably yes. The worst case scenario may not be ideal, but you’d be alright.

Be in the moment
When you accept what’s happening now, it’s really hard to fear a future that doesn’t exist. Practise mindfulness. Be in the moment. The fear will dissipate.

Do something proactive
Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is fear at its most debilitating. Start. Do one small thing on your to-do list. Spend 20 minutes on it, then give yourself a 10-minute break.

Focus on what you will gain 

If you push past your fear and do what you want to do, what will you achieve? Financial security? Creative freedom? Happiness? The ability to make a difference to others? Be bold. Be brave. You’ll never live your dream if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.

Say no to other people — just for a while
Put yourself first for a bit. Be kind but be firm. Say no, I can help you out in a few days/next week, but right now I’m concentrating on my stuff. Don’t fear being seen as selfish. Reasonable people will understand and probably respect you for it. And by giving to yourself you’ll have so much more to give to others.

Revisit your to-do list. Make a pact with yourself to start ticking things off. Everything you fear is in your head. Stop feeding your fear. Face it and you’ll realise it’s not that scary after all.

If you’re here at Wellbeing bites you’ll see I actually got off my bottom and did a couple of things on my list. But yeah — I’m scared you might not like my blog. If you do like Wellbeing bites/Apple a Day, please sign up to receive email updates. 

Abundance mentality: creating a mindset for success

It’s been an amazing few days. Two blissful nights away with my husband (with no kids). Bushwalks in the beautiful Victorian countryside. A yoga class that challenged and re-energised me. Champagne. Lie-ins. An outdoor jacuzzi…

But what have I been thinking about?

Money. Lack of it.

Thing is I don’t actually have any current money worries. The rent is paid. We’re all clothed and fed. We even have an emergency fund.

All my money worries are about what might happen.

Sometime in the future.

Maybe.

My life is so full of abundance. Yet I’m stressing about lack. No, not even that – I’m stressing about the possibility of lack.

It’s time to create an abundance mentality.

Don’t be a cheapskate
Are you always looking for the cheaper option? Do you visit the 7-Eleven for a $1 coffee instead of the local barista? Do you drive out of your way to the petrol station because you have a coupon? When you go our for dinner, do you order the pasta when you really want the steak.

Holding on to your money because you don’t think you have enough creates a ‘scarcity’ mindset.

I’m not saying splurge at every turn, but will these ‘savings’ really make a difference? Loosen the purse strings once in a while and let yourself experience what those bits of paper and metal should actually be buying: pleasure and happiness.

Give it away
Yep, you heard right. If you’re short on cash, give it away. Give to a friend in need, give to charity, give to your local Big Issue seller. And it doesn’t just have to be money. Time-poor? Give five minutes to listen to a friend. Don’t feel loved? Give a hug or tell someone how much they mean to you. 

Givers gain. What you give will come back to you in spades.

Have an attitude of gratitude
You probably think a lot about  the things you don’t have. What about all the things you do have? Take a few minutes and write a list of all the things you’re grateful for. The big and the small stuff. Once you get going, it’s amazing how long that list becomes. Give the positive stuff your energy and see how rich you really are.

Reframe your thinking on lack
In his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the ‘abundance mentality’ as thinking “there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody”. So your workmate gets a raise. Instead of thinking that’s not fair, think awesome, she got a raise – that means I might get a raise too. Be happy for others when things go their way – it doesn’t mean there’s less for you.

So pick up a pen and write your gratitude list. Be a hugger. Turn off the TV and call your friend. Congratulate others on their success. Order the steak. Enjoy every sip of that pricey coffee and tell your barista how brilliant he/she is.

Money is nothing more than numbers on a screen. Say thank you for what you have and clear the way for more of the good stuff.

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