Dealing with difficult situations

woman stressed at work

By Paula Sgarbossa

Like so many of us, I am an introverted person and as such I don’t like dealing with difficult situations. If there is a potential for a conflict I usually try to avoid communicating with that person about it. I stick my head in the sand and hope the problem goes away.  As you can imagine this makes life difficult and of course most problems don’t just magically go away on their own.  In fact, they usually get worse until I am forced to deal with them.

Can you relate, or do you know someone else like this?

How do we learn to deal with difficult situations and stop running from them? Here are the top 7 solutions:

  1. Work out what is it about this situation that bothers you? It helps to write down your thoughts and feelings about an event or problem. Try spending 15 mins a day writing. This simple act can help relieve some of that built up frustration or stress about the situation and put you in a more positive frame of mind to deal with it productively.
  2. Come up with a number of potential ways to deal with this situation – list as many solutions as you can. Which option will get you the result you want? Weigh up Pro’s and Con’s.
  3. Ask for help from a partner or friend – they will have a different perspective than you and can probably offer a different option to deal with the situation.
  4. Look for ways to change your behaviour – that’s the only thing you can control.
  5. Accept some things you just can’t change – if the problem is with another person then sadly you can’t change that person, you can only change yourself and how you respond to them. For those things you cannot change, how can you reframe that situation into a positive way of thinking? Eg. Your mother nags you about how you are raising your children – instead of seeing her as interfering, instead she is just trying to make your life happier? (that one might be a bit of a stretch…).
  6. Develop coping skills to deal with your feelings – count to 10, try deep breathing, meditation, going for a walk, read books on controlling your emotions.
  7. Find something good that will come out of this situation – this is often a great opportunity to learn about yourself and grow as a person in mental strength. Life is all about learning so see each challenge as a way to become wiser and stronger.
women meditating
try Meditation or Yoga

This is all a learning process, so don’t expect to completely change how you respond to challenges overnight. If you are like me, then you want to become the best version of yourself and enjoy life as much as you can. This means having to make changes, learning and develop who we are at home, at work, as husbands, wives, parents, and friends.

If you have any other great tips on how to better deal with difficult situations please like my page on Facebook and send me a comment.

Wishing you great success and happiness.

How to deal with Frustration

Frustration

By Paula Sgarbossa

Have you ever felt frustrated with your life?   If you are reading this article then the answer is probably yes!

Well you aren’t alone! Actually it’s totally normal to get frustrated with parts your life – work, fitness, time, energy, family. It’s that sense of feeling stuck or fed up.  It often stems from not feeling we are making progress in that area. We’ve all been there at some point. The best thing is once you take the time to work out what area of your life is causing you the distress then you are in a position of power to do something about it. You go from feeling overwhelmed or fed up with “your life” to identifying one area that you ‘can’ change and set up a plan to achieve it.

What are the steps of dealing with frustration:

  1. Identify the area you are most frustrated with – this is important because often we leave things until we are feeling overwhelmed by many of our daily commitments and this leaves us feeling helpless . If you can narrow down the one you would most like to make improvement in, then once you’re making progress it will boost your confidence and give you more mental energy to work on other areas. Success breeds success
  2. Don’t make the problem bigger than it really is. Aim to see that one problem as a project you are working on. What will be the benefits to you in making improvements in that area? How much happier will it make you to be progressing in that area? Why do you want that result? Having a clear ‘Why’ will make all the difference between whether you will stick with your plan when things get tough.
  3. What do you want the result to look like? What progress do you want to make along the journey? It’s important to have an idea in your mind what your progress will look like as well as what the end result looks like? Plus what it will look like a year later. Often we reach our goal then relax and let all our efforts go to waste and fall back into bad habits.
  4. Come up with a plan on how you will achieve your goals. What will keep you motivated along the way? What rewards can you give yourself for each stage of progress you make? What small forms of punishment can you add into that plan if you don’t take action? This could be not allowing yourself your daily coffee until you’ve done the work you set yourself for the week? Usually we will do more to avoid pain so coming up with little ways of punishing yourself for not following through will do more to motivate you to take action!
  5. Set yourself reminders for why you want to achieve this goal? This could be visual or audio reminders on your phone, computer or around your home. Notes, pictures, phrases of motivation. They will help keep you on track when you face setbacks or challenges.

If you are willing to take some time to think about these steps and put them into practise you will be surprised by how making some progress towards your goals can energise you! You start to feel proud of yourself and that makes any struggle worthwhile. We never feel more alive than we are making progress in our lives. It’s what we were designed to do. To move forward, grow as people, take on challenges and learn both from our mistakes and our wins. It all starts with that first step.

2 friends working out on beach
exercise with a friend

What challenge can you take on?

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When is it time for a career change?

man working at laptop

By Michael Sgarbossa

That’s something that I recently asked myself.   I reached a point in time when I realised I was unhappy in my current work situation and I needed to make a change. But making a change is never easy and I was filled with anxiety about what to do. I began waking at night and stressing over what my options were.

I have a successful corporate career which I mostly enjoy, but the last year I started a new role within my company and I’ve not had the same level of satisfaction that I’ve previously felt. I have come to realise that we spend too much time at our jobs to do something that we don’t fully enjoy. So is it time for me to make a career change?

My current lifestyle is one of rushing during the week. I get up early, exercise, rush to get ready for work, then rush out the door for the train for a long commute to work. Then after a long day at work and a long commute home, I fall in the door and with what little energy I have left, I help out my wife and spend time with my son, before collapsing into bed!

Does this sound familiar to you?

What do I want?

Instead I want to create a career that gives me more flexibility and allows me to fit in all the things I find important in my day – fitness, quality family time, personal growth and a role that I find rewarding.

So I asked myself – how do I do that?

What are the career options out there:

man in office working
What are my career options?
  1. Go contracting – step away from my full-time job and go do freelance contract work.
  2. Start a business in my spare time and eventually earn enough so that I don’t have to work full time and that will give me more financial options.
  3. Start a franchise business.
  4. Negotiate with my current employer to be more flexible with my work week hours and days and work a 4 day week or a 9 day fortnight.
  5. Ask my current employer for a raise and see if that makes me happy? Or find another job and probably get more of the same?
These are my current options. Are any of these an option for you and why?  Please feel free to share with me.

Look out for my next blog in this series as I investigate each of these options for myself and discuss the advantages and pitfalls.

Ways to Deal with Stress

woman stressed at work

By Paula Sgarbossa

With our ever increasing commitments from work and family life, stress is a factor in everyone’s life. Yet how is it some people don’t seem to let things affect them as much as others? How do they deal so much better with stressful situations?  This is how:

Accept that stress is a part of life

Instead of feeling as though the world is against them, many choose to accept that tough situations will happen. When they do, they focus on finding a solution or look for the silver lining. They are aware that even in challenging times, good things can come out of it.  A great example is people I know who have been laid off from their jobs. At the time it’s a horrible thing to go through but nearly everyone I know down the track said it was just the push they needed to make a needed change!

Choose healthy coping skills

woman running
find healthy ways to deal with stress

To cope with stress, many people turn to over eating, alcohol or drugs. While those mentally strong people develop healthy coping strategies from the start. These could be going for a walk or run, yoga meditation, deep breathing, taking the time to face that situation and ponder on the ways to deal with it, or talk it out with a friend.  Other people often see a situation very differently to how you do and can help open your eyes to a new perspective.

Take better care of your Health

2 friends working out on beach
exercise with a friend

Lack of sleep can greatly impact how you handle stress in your life. I found this especially when I was a new mum and was sleep deprived. Any little thing could send me into a panic or to overreact. We greatly underestimate how important it is for our mental wellbeing to get enough sleep and rest.  Also make sure you are taking time to exercise each day. It will do more to reduce stress hormones and chemicals in our body than any other activity. Go for a walk with the dog, try yoga, take a fitness class. Getting your blood flowing will help you process and ultimately relax more.

Get more organised

Make a list of the important things you need to handle each day. By following this list and not getting distracted, you will feel more organised and on top of things. Achieving the most important things on your to-do list will help you feel you’ve achieved more each day and give you a sense of mastery.

If these tips don’t help or you are struggling to put them into practice by yourself, it may be time to ask for help. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. A mental health professional – such as a psychologist can teach you more effective methods for handling stress in a healthy way.

Just remember, you are in control of your life and the choices you make. It takes practice and persistence to put these techniques into action. Once you do, you will find a great sense of achievement and peace from all the positive benefits that come your way!

How to create a morning routine

good morning coffee

Whether you are wanting to be healthier, be less stressed or simply get more done in your day, it all starts with how you begin your day.

Even if you aren’t a morning person or are someone who doesn’t have much time in the morning, it will be of big benefit to come up with a few tasks you do every morning and usually in a specific order.  Setting up simple habits that you do every day will soon become second nature and in time you can come up with a routine that has you happier, healthier and achieving more each morning than you thought possible!

Start your day at the same time

alarm clock in bedroom
start your day at the same time each morning

You can start off with having a set time you get out of bed each morning. And yes you can sleep in on weekends if that’s what you’d prefer. Make your bed, grab some walking or gym clothes if that’s your plan.

Hydrate

Start off with 2 glasses of water. This will rehydrate you and get your blood moving.

Get Moving

girls workout together
make exercising fun

Aim to do at least 20 mins of physical activity each morning. Walk the dog, do some stretches, yoga or pilates or head to the gym or out for a run. The options are endless, and obviously the more time you can put in here the better for your health and fitness. Find something you enjoy doing and mix it up for some variety. Don’t do anything you simply hate just because others enjoy doing eg. Running.  If you have young kids, either take them with you or get your workout in before your partner leaves for work.  It may be a struggle to get moving but once you’re out you will feel like a winner for having achieved even one thing that morning, before the busyness of the day wears you out!

Prioritise your tasks

After you’ve showered, dressed and had breakfast, it’s time to look at the day ahead. We often overestimate what we can get done in the short term, so it helps to have 1-3 tasks written down that are a top priority to get done that morning. That way if something comes up and all you’ve completed is one of those top tasks then you feel you have achieved for the morning. This 1, 2 or 3 tasks need to be a priority. We often do the easy tasks then feel bad later when we neglected something far more important that needed doing. Do the top priority task first even if it will take longer to complete. This will help you feel less stressed and more in control of your day.  Learning how to prioritise is a valuable skill to learn.

Take a break

coffee break
take time for a break

Even if you have a busy morning planned it’s healthy to make sure you take at least 10 mins for yourself. Have a drink of water, a coffee and take a minute to find something to appreciate in your life or that makes you smile.

All of these habits are simple but over time will add up to a happier, healthier you.  What habits do you have in your morning routine?

What I did to get pregnant naturally

woman holding her pregnant belly

by Paula

Before you start thinking this will be like a 50 shades of grey type blog, I must jump in and tell you this is all about my mindset.  I believe this was the number 1 contributing factor to me falling pregnant naturally this year.

A little of my back ground. I tried to get pregnant naturally for 4 years until I turned to IVF to have my son. First round I got pregnant.

Then last year I decided I would like a second child. Well at least I thought I did, although I was a little unsure about adding in the extra complication of life of having another child especially when my son was still under 2. But age was getting the better of me reproductively so we began trying naturally. After 6 months I decided I didn’t have time to waste so turned to IVF. We did a full IVF cycle followed by 2 frozen embryo cycles all with no success. I did a second round of IVF then 2 more frozen embryo cycles again with no success.

It was at this point that I was fed up with the whole process. I felt my life was on hold. Physically it was draining and mentally it was heart wrenching to feel like a failure each month.

What happened next?

That’s when I decided to call it quits.  I decided I wasn’t meant to have another child and began to focus on being happy with the one child and the great little family we had. I started hitting the gym doing challenging fitness classes and made my fitness and health my main focus. I signed up to do some further study and made a significant financial investment to do it.

As a family we planned out our holidays for the rest of year and even began looking at what we could do the following year when our son was a little older, and hopefully easier!!  Plus we made more of an effort to go out on weekends and have fun with our friends, have a few drinks, relax and enjoy life.  I felt I had turned a corner with my life and wanted to enjoy what life has to offer, and be grateful for what I have.

Then a few friends got pregnant or had new babies and once again I began to think about maybe trying IVF again. Considering how much I was enjoying life right now and the thought of putting myself physically through another egg collection I just didn’t know if I could handle it. I spoke to my IVF specialist and decided that the following cycle I would do one last go at IVF.

husband holding wife's pregnant belly
husband holding wife’s pregnant belly

In that few weeks before the start of the new cycle I had my son’s 2nd birthday party. We had a fantastic time and I had lots to drink and really lived it up for a few days as we had family staying with us.

Then came time for my cycle to begin, but it never did. After 10 days I called my IVF doctor who had me do a blood test and sure enough, I was pregnant! I was thrilled because I had achieved pregnancy all on my own (well of course from a little help from my husband). What I had been unable to achieve for 4 years prior to my son and the previous 9 months, I had succeeded!

So my message to all women wanting to conceive – live your life, let go of the outcome and just focus on your current life. Be happy and focus on being fit and healthy.

The universe will take care of the rest…

I wish you all the best on your journey to having a child.

How to work at home with young kids

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to work from home? Whether you want to do your current job but based at home, or starting your own business, the benefits of working from home can mean being able to spend more time with your children.  For some that may seem a terrifying thought, but there are some of us that want to spend as much time with them as we can, especially while they are little. Plus you can save a tonne on daycare fees.

Since most of us really can’t afford not to be back working earning money, if working from home is an option for you, how do you balance work plus children? Here are some tips:

Plan Your Week

It really helps to break up each day into morning and afternoon blocks. Schedule what you would like to achieve in each block. If you have a few days each week where the kids are in daycare or a day with a grandparent, then plan to do the bulk of your work on those days.

Next plan the days when you have the kids fulltime. Expect that these days you may not get any paid work done. Those days may be better spent doing fun activities with the kids plus a mix of grocery shopping and cleaning the house. That will leave your weekends free to do fun family activities and time where your spouse can supervise the kids while you do some work.

Work after Hours

After the kids are in bed or before they wake up in the morning are usually quiet times where you can get in an hour of work. Or beg your spouse bath and put the kids to bed while you sneak in some work!

Work as a team with your Spouse/Partner

Having a helpful partner can really make a huge difference. They can often take over dinner time, bath time or putting the kids to bed. Even if it’s just one evening a week or on weekends, any extra help you can get can means more time for you to get some work done. And of course that means more money in your pocket.

Plan activities for the kids

children drawing
children drawing while parent works

Before you sit down to work lay out some fun activities for the kids to work on too. This could be colouring books and pens, puzzles, an ipad/tablet for them to play games on, or taking your laptop outside while they play in the sandpit. Mostly children just want to know you are there and will leave you in peace for a little while if you are close by and they are occupied playing.

Look for ways to Save Time

Lastly, look for ways you can save time in your busy week. It may mean you actually get more work done or simply gives you a little break from all the craziness of the weeks tasks.

  • Cook meals in bulk and freeze is a simple way to save time so that you aren’t cooking from scratch each night.
  • A slowcooker is a helpful time saver.
  • Grocery shopping online will save you time as you can save a weekly shopping list that is set to be delivered on a set day and time each week for all your usual groceries.
Do you have any other great time saving ideas?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

5 Tips to working productively from home

work from home productively

by Paula Sgarbossa

There are so many benefits to working from home such as saving on travel time, no office politics to deal with, more flexible work times. Yet working from home can be a big adjustment as there are so many distractions to deal with.

It’s so easy to get distracted – the kids have left their clothes all over their room, the dishwasher needs emptying or you could just take off for a bit of midday shopping?  So went temptation and distractions are all around you, how do you keep yourself working productively from home?

Here are 5 tips to help keep you on track:

1.  Plan your day

Have a basic schedule for what time you will be sat ready to start work, what time you plan to take lunch and for how long, and what time will you finish work for the day. Seems simple, but it’s easy to get off track doing other things around the house. Set up a similar routine to what you would have if you were in the office and you’re more likely to stick to it.

2.  Get into Work mode

start the day in the same mindset you would if you were actually going to work  – get showered and dressed for the day, have breakfast and be sat at your desk or work station at your planned start time. Aim to have anything you need ready to go such as water, your phone, laptop, notes etc already at hand.

3.   Reward Yourself

Reward yourself for sticking to your plan. If you just spent 2 hours working on a project or work call, then give yourself a short break to stretch your legs and grab a water or snack. This will refresh you and get you set to get back into work. Regular short breaks help to keep your mind fresh. And if you’ve done well all week, then maybe on a Friday you will have earned yourself an afternoon off! One of the perks of working from home

4.   Have a dedicated work space

home work space setup
set up a dedicated work space at home

This could be a home office or a desk where you are comfortable to work. Ideally one with plenty of light and little noise. Another benefit to working from home is you have the choice of where you work. Sometimes you may be able to take your laptop outside or even on the sofa – assuming you can work effectively from there.

5.   Set yourself goals

Have daily and longer term goals that you can check off as you go. This will help you stay focused and productive. You may even schedule yourself a time frame each day to perform those tasks eg. Each morning from 9-11am I aim to complete…