Why Working 2 Days a Week Has Increased Productivity.

Why Working 2 Days a Week Has Increased Productivity.

1. It motivates me to earn more.

Although going down to two days a week was initially a shock to my mind and body, I am so grateful because it has driven to earn more in unconventional ways.

It has been quite difficult to let go of the “safety net” of a 9-5 job, but it has been equally thrilling to try new things and push my comfort zone further.

Over the last 5 months, I started selling furniture and clothing on Marketplace.

The more I sold, the more motivated I was to get the same results.

I decided to focus on a few avenues to achieve these results:

  • Continue selling furniture.
  • Begin a niche of pre-loved petite clothing.
  • Blogging.
  • Apply as an UberEats Driver for flexible income.

Although the above are volatile forms of income, I am working on making these permanent enough to last the 2019-2020 summer before I go back to university.

Now that I work less, it means more time to use the creative side of my brain!

It has been a challenge so far, but I would rather this experience, as it is teaching me a lot about self-discipline and work ethic.

Years ago, not working meant I binge-watched TV shows, movies and YouTube videos.

Now, it is an opportunity to become a better person in all aspects of my personal life and career.

I know that I can live on a bare-minimum income because over the last 7 years, I had to. Earning triple that amount this year taught me that more money doesn’t always mean ‘more wealthy’.

Although I was putting over 50% of my income into savings, a portion was spent on critical medical appointments (understandably, an uncontrollable variable).

Another portion of that was going straight into a travel-credit-card which required debt payments.

Yet another portion would go into retail spending because I love fashion and my restraint was low on account of personal-family crises.

Over half of what I was “saving” went straight to expenses.

This was a hard pill for me to swallow once my contract was amended.

Since I conditioned myself to ‘survive on minimum wage’, it meant I had a long way to go before I could properly manage a higher income. (It probably sounds weird AF, but that’s the truth!)

Now, I can easily break down where my money is going.

Each month, I know:

  • All necessary bills are paid.
  • A portion of income goes into savings (for travel, etc).
  • A portion of income goes into investment (a new experiment).

This knowledge will teach me vigilance once my income increases again.

This gives me the confidence to move forward in my writing and e-commerce business.

Basically, I have the motivation to earn more because I am not relying on a conventional pay-check.

2. New sense of fulfilment.

When I was working 4 days a week, I was already building The Tiny Healer.

30 hours a week was committed to my job. On top of that, the usual commitments needed tending to: dinner, laundry, meal-prep (if any), social life.

Realistically, I could only churn out one article per fortnight or once a month at times.

At least once a month, I would read or listen to a podcast where that person would emphasise, “consistency matters”.

So I tried to write weekly. I wanted to be more consistent.

So, whenever I had spare time (after 5PM or on weekends), I consciously made the decision to draft as many articles as I could.

I also started reading more: before 9AM at work and after dinner at home.

As each week passed, my passion for writing increased. In turn, my productivity increased.

Now that my job requires two days a week, I have more time to do the same tasks but within a flexible range of time.

Doing things that I enjoy = more fulfilment.

I have more flexibility to read blog posts, books (I’m currently reading Rich Dad Poor Dad) and spending time with people that matter.

When I EMBRACE the opportunity I’ve been given, the fulfilment is tenfold. I can sit back in this chair, at this desk I’m writing at and feel true contentment in what I’m doing.

Side note: I’m not perfect. I’m still working on my mindset and habits.

Yes, I have moments of contentment and joy, but there are also many moments of self-doubt and the “Poor Dad Mindset” thinking I should just find a full-time job because ‘it would be easier’ or so most people say. Even myself until very recently.

I’ve known for years that it was possible to make a living out of one’s passion. However, the people that actually do, are few and far between compared to the masses. This was something I didn’t know.

It takes hard work, commitment and patience. I have the hard-work down, but commitment and patience is still a work in progress for me.

For the time being, I can be at peace knowing that at this point in my life, I am fulfilled.

3. Mastering The 3 C’s – Content, Creation, Connection.

Every time I’d read an article or see a graphic about content creation, the consensus was the same: content is king.

Starting The Tiny Healer, I wanted to foster a sense of connection with readers who perhaps had similar experiences or interests in mental health and self-development.

Over the last year, I found that posting once a month did not garner much connection or interest.

Now that I’m working two days a week, I can’t use the excuse that most of my time is spent at a job.

I can take charge of my writing, when I write and when I post.

The last few months in particular, I’ve been using my time to experiment with different ways to create content. Mainly, it has to do with writing and ways to present it differently using Photoshop and Canva.

I often think about:

  • What I’ve told myself in the past.
  • What conversations inspired or hurt me.
  • Who gave me the confidence to continue on with life.

Most importantly:

  • What is the message I want to convey every time I post? What value does this add to someone’s life?

This is a skill that needs a lot of work and harnessing, but in time, I know I’ll find a way that feels most natural.

We are all a work in progress.

Even if we reach one goal, we will soon grow restless and want to find something new to look forward to — that’s okay!

Embrace life’s changes.

Even though this new-found time has allowed me to explore my passion for creativity, my main focus is to write as I feel inspired and hopefully add value to those who happen to read my content.

At the end of the day, one life inspired is time well-spent.

What has helped you increase productivity? Was it having less time to work on your passion or did more time push you further?

4 Things to Consider When Looking for a Counsellor.

4 Things to Consider When Looking for a Counsellor.

Before I started my journey, I didn’t know where to begin. I only knew that I needed help. In this post, I’ll be listing several things to consider when looking for a counsellor. In case you or someone you love is seeking guidance, I hope this post will help.

Please note that when I mention counsellor, I’m referring to both a clinical psychologist and a diploma-certified counsellor in Australia.

1. Qualifications.

In my experience, knowing that the professional you’re going to be seeing has the qualifications to practice is a high priority.

Check their LinkedIn profile or even their business website if they have one. It could help with nerves once you know where the counsellor got their accreditation and organisations they’ve practiced at over the years.

You may be able to find client reviews too, which can be really helpful.

Websites and profiles can also clarify a list of industries and expertise the counsellor is passionate about including: working in hospitals, in a clinic helping people with eating disorders or in private-practice helping clients overcome depression, manage PTSD, family counselling and so forth.

Does their qualification and experience line up with what you’ve been struggling with? Do you think they could help you manage what you’re going through? If yes, that’s great! If you’re unsure, you can send an enquiry, call them or keep looking for other counsellors in the area.

2. Fees & affordability

Our mental health is important of course, but so is affordability.

Let’s not pretend this isn’t a topic to discuss. When I was looking for a professional to see, no one would mention or bring up the cost. At the time, I don’t think people around me knew or considered it to be a hindering factor.

Sometimes the counsellor’s website will have a fee section. In the instances where there is no mention, don’t be afraid to reach out either through email or phone to enquire. I know, enquiring can be daunting, but if you don’t ask, you will never know!

You may be able to find ball-park figures in Australian-based forums or on government/health/psychological websites.

Can appointments be factored in your budget? If not, are there ways to strategically shift your finances to put your mental health first and not break the bank? Would the Medicare rebate assist you at all?

I am a huge believer of compromise and doing my best to make the “impossible” work. So yes, I am biased in this way of thinking, but I do believe in the human ability to balance responsibilities for a healthier, happier life!

Once you have found a counsellor that is within your budget, you can look at other factors like where they’re located to prepare for a consultation.

3. Accessibility.

Is there a car park? Is the distance a hindering factor for your budget? Do they have wheelchair access? Can you take public transport if you don’t have a car? Is getting to-and-from the practice safe and sustainable long-term if sessions continued? Another thing to think about, is when their next available session is – if it is in 2 weeks, would that be viable? If it is in 3 months, will you need to consider other options before then?

Take all of these questions into consideration. If you have any other queries and can’t find the answer online, give the practice a call, send a text message (if their mobile number is provided) or email the counsellor directly for clarification.

Now that you know the counsellor, what their fees are and where they’re located, it’s time to attend your first consult!

4. Are you comfortable?

Now that you have made a decision to attend a consultation, are you comfortable sitting in the room? Do you feel heard? How does the dynamic make you feel when you talk?

Note: A 21 year old female was having her first consult with a male psychologist. During the consult, she explained how childhood abuse from her father affected her in adulthood. The psychologist listened and enquired whether him being a male psychologist might hinder progress and perhaps cause discomfort (considering the therapist-client relationship).

It is the responsibility of a mental health professional to have the best interests in mind for each person.

It is also important for us to be mindful of our own role in noticing how we feel during and after a counselling session and take action if things aren’t working.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Albus Dumbledore

A lot of people tend to talk about how important looking after our mental-health is, but not many people talk about the small steps it takes before you begin healing.

Here is a list of organisations that are here to help you:

  • healthengine – Find a psychologist in Australia
  • healthengine – Find a counsellor in Australia
  • blueknot helpline 1300 657 380 – complex trauma
  • beyondblue.org.au 1300 22 4636 – depression/anxiety awareness
  • kidshelpline.com.au 1800 55 1800 – private, confidential counselling
  • lifeline.org.au 13 11 14 – crisis support, suicide prevention
  • qlife.org.au 1800 184 527 – LGBTI support site
  • vvcs.gov.au 1800 011 046 – veteran, war-related support
  • ReachOut – youth mental health and community forums

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to visit the above organisations, email me or leave a comment below!

Image by Joshua Ness.

4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

4 Ways To De-stress When Change Occurs.

Life is a mixed bag. You never know what may happen next, no matter how much you plan ahead. I’ve never hated change, but I still struggle on occasion when something unexpected happens. I become irritable, moody and have unreasonable requests or expectations.

However, over the last 5 years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning and using self-help strategies and techniques. These days, people around me (including strangers) would comment on my calm nature, vibe or energy. Of course, we all experience stress when big changes occur. However, it is possible to manage our reaction to stressful changes with these 4 tips!

1. Read self-help books.

If you enjoy reading, I suggest using that time to dive in to the self-help section! Find a title that stands out to you, ask for recommendations from friends or Google what books have been popular and the most helpful.

A book I would recommend is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is basically about four principles that could be immediately applied to your life. Having these in mind have been good reminders to keep me grounded, no matter what change occurs.

An alternative to books is to listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos.

If you know someone personally who has gone through minor or major life changes, reach out to them and ask what helped them most!

Calming techniques are not one size fits all, it takes time and patience to find what will work for us.

2. Schedule the time to de-stress.

De-stressing allows us to be present. Since stress and change are inevitable occurrences, it’s best to find ways to alleviate stress that works for us. Finding techniques to manage fluctuating emotions can help keep us calm in our mind and body. What helps you de-stress when an unexpected change happens? Even those of us with introverted personality-types (like me) still need community-support to get through tough times.

Examples:

  • Talk to someone. Whether it’s online counselling, face-to-face talk therapy or catching up with a friend, reach out. Having someone listen can lighten the heaviness. Even if it’s just a little bit. It’s still worth it.
  • Be productive. I don’t mean be swamped with work and never feel your feelings. I mean use the time you have to write, build or invent something. This can give us a sense of purpose when things feel chaotic during life changes.
  • Get out of the house. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything when we’re overwhelmed with life changes. That’s when I try to fight it. Yes, there are definitely days/a week or so where I will “hibernate” and process my emotions alone. After that time, I push myself to see people, do activities or I ask my boyfriend to come with me for a drive around the neighbourhood.

Find what works for you. These strategies may vary depending on the circumstance, financial ability or simply the way you approach change. That is A-okay.

3. Be patient with yourself and others.

So, you’ve heard the news. The unexpected change is here. What else is there to do? Practice patience. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s all we can do not to break down. And sometimes the break down comes anyway – no matter how hard we try. That’s more than okay – it’s absolutely normal! We all respond to stress differently.

You may find your emotions fluctuate. You’ll have good days and bad days. Or maybe you’ll be easily irritated. That’s okay. When unexpected changes or tragedies occur, we are not in our prime mindset to manage emotions steadily. Be patient with yourself and others.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

If there’s something you don’t understand, ask questions. If someone sounds angry, wait until there’s a free moment and ask to clarify. If it is time to apologise, then apologise. Also remember, other people may not react the way you ‘predict’ or ‘want’. So be open, be patient and communicate clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.

With a good set of de-stressing techniques, actively building our resilience and having a support-group around us, it is possible to adapt to change. Getting lost in a book full of advice, scheduling time to de-stress and having a proactive attitude can help immensely whenever life throws a curve ball at us.

Take a slow, deep breath.

Know that you are loved.

Know that you can get through this.

My Journey on Discovering Self-worth.

My Journey on Discovering Self-worth.

The first layer: illness.

As a child, I knew I was loved. I knew there were people around me who (mostly) loved to fuss over me, brush my hair, make sure my seat belt was on and made sure I had a hot milo for supper before bed (thanks grandma!).

Being born premature, my early childhood consisted of multiple hospital visits. Doctors and nurses would check if I was growing normally, if my lungs were functioning well (being diagnosed with asthma) and if I was learning at a similar rate to other children my age.

I was in and out of hospital a lot due to severe asthma attacks and on two separate occasions, I was treated for pneumonia.

All of that coupled with having a fast metabolism, the food I ate burned quicker than my parents could feed me so I was a skinny kid.

A family friend was over one night, chatting with my parents. He must’ve thought I was too young to understand him so he asked in a casual tone, “Is she sick?”. His head jerked slightly to imply me standing behind him.

Fear set in quickly.

I ran down the hall into my parents’ bedroom.

The feeling of shame welled-up inside.

I cried silently. I was confused. He just asked a simple question. So why did it hurt me so much?

As I said, I knew there were people who loved me, but that night was a turning point in how I saw myself. I began to wonder if I was actually sick.

I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

The second layer: obedience & perfection.

Before I started primary school, I learned about obedience like most children do. If you behaved well, there was a reward. If you misbehaved it meant consequences. For me and my siblings, consequences often meant physical punishment. Being obedient was the name of the game and being fearful was a by-product of ‘playing’.

Throughout primary school and high school, I would fail or end up with sub-par results when my school report came. I excelled in English and Art but everything else was a struggle.

When I’d ask for help at home, it was met with the common response:

“You don’t know anything! How could you not know this yet?!”

That familiar feeling of shame welled-up inside.

I stopped asking for help.

At 15, I got my first job. Little did I know, asking for help would be a hard lesson to learn.

The third layer: religion & fear.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, church was a family ritual most Sundays. We’d sit quietly in the pews, listening to bible readings and the priest summarising a life lesson. As a kid, I spent my time looking at the colourful stained windows. How did they paint so high up?

Sometimes, the children were ushered into the back room that had thick windows. I learned there that children were to be seen but not heard. Church was a sacred place and all sacred places required respect.

As I got older, I learned about how humans were worthless sinners because of the fall of Adam and Eve. Yet, our value was restored by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Only Christians had this amazing Saviour.

When I came of age, youth group felt like an oasis in a world of darkness.

I understood that I was worth it because God saw something in me. A loving, kind and just God had a perfect plan for me.

I was saved and this meant freedom for my soul. I knew if I turned away from God, I would be apart from Him for eternity which I didn’t want. The more I learned about eternal suffering, the more scared I became of the afterlife.

It was a good thing to be “God-fearing”.

Because of Him, I had a family. Because of Him, I had strengths and these were a Gift. Because of Him, I could heal when I was hurt. Because of Him, I could forgive because He first forgave my sins.

Years later, my perspective would change from “freedom in religion” to “freedom away from religion”.

Breaking Down The Layers.

Growing up with these layers of self-worth from such a young age would be a challenge through childhood, adolescence and in my adult life.

As a kid, I tried to run away with my brother. We travelled 2 minutes from home and had to be picked up. As a teenager, I struggled to abide by the curfew rules and would come home late. I didn’t trust any adults, not even the school counsellor who tried to help me. I tried to run away from home for the second time. I stopped attending youth group. I stopped listening to sermon videos and reading my bible and ultimately, I left the religion I grew up believing in.

My only comfort besides the friendships I forged, was being creative. I could draw and write for hours on end. I vented my frustrations, questions and motivations.

By the age of 17, my rebellious streak calmed.

At 18, I moved out of home. I started meeting new friends who were kind, confident, care-free and out-spoken. They were beautiful people! Some of them did not have rooted beliefs in religion. How could they be so confident without the guarantee of a Saviour? By the age of 19, I realised that was the life I wanted for myself.

I stripped my life of unneeded baggage emotionally and physically.

I started seeing a counsellor. I had to face the past abuse, exercised control throughout my life and the belief of worthlessness. I now saw my passion for perfection as a strength. Even if I make mistakes, I will always strive for excellence. It doesn’t mean I’m “dumb” or that I “don’t know anything” – it means I am persistent and resilient. I learned how to reframe my mindset.

I began a decluttering journey, getting rid of unusable items. I realised I held onto all my belongings out of comfort and as a distraction to facing the pain I felt within. For a period of time in my life, I felt empty. Instead of becoming self-aware, I kept things I didn’t need to fill the ‘void’. Letting go of my hoarding habit was such a cathartic process.

The more I healed my emotional wounds, the more I realised:

My self-worth was up to me to decide.

No matter what others did or said.

As each year passed, I continued to break down these layers of self-worth that I’d taken on. It is still a work in progress, but a path I am so glad I walked down years ago.

Remember, your worth is not reliant on any thing, person or being.

You are worthy, just because.

Part 2: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

Part 2: Why You Should Write Letters to Yourself.

If you’re here from my previous post, welcome back! Today I wanted to share a few more tips when writing letters to your future self. I also share excerpts of letters I’ve received over the years!

Tip 1: Stop over-thinking.

When I first started writing these letters, I’d worry about whether it was structured correctly. I picked apart what I wrote, deleted and re-typed.

Don’t be like me when I started. Stop over-thinking!

The aim of the game is to express yourself and your emotions without a filter!

Tip 2: Don’t stop at your own inbox.

Send a letter to a loved one. I haven’t tried this yet, but it could be a great way to connect with others.

Whether the person lives abroad, interstate or in the same city, it could be an interesting way to delve into memories, conflicts and joyful moments.

You could even find a writing buddy! I have seen this across platforms and it could be a new “pen pal” set-up!

Tip 3: Celebrate the wins in life.

Venting can be cathartic for many of us. However, if we focus too much on negativity and pain, it can create an unpleasant atmosphere both in our minds and when in community with others.

Remember to celebrate the good stuff! Even if it doesn’t seem super important, mention it in your letter. You’d be surprised how much that can boost your mood!

Tip 4: Learn to let go.

One of the benefits of sending a letter to the future was to practice the art of letting go.

I noticed in my behaviour that I could easily hold-on to bad memories, and replay scenarios in my head. I knew it wasn’t healthy but the habit was hard to break.

I made a conscious effort to say what needed to be said, took a deep breath and released the emotion.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Below are excerpts of letters I’ve received over the years. A little vulnerability might help others take the next step in either writing or finally being honest about their emotions. Either way, if it helps just ONE person, then I know it was worth it!

 “I really hope you’ve found purpose in the small, slow, tedious moments. and if you’re still trying, then good! keep trying! 🙂” – July 2015

My impatience is real. If I weren’t working then it’d be the bomb.com. I don’t know how to cope with study and work… anyway I hope you are well, Angela. Keep your head high. Reach out if you need to.” – August 2015

Look after yourself. Remember those that matter. We all have a place in this world! And change is constant. Be open to life’s challenges and welcome love in. Here’s to you; for strength, courage, laughter and light. – August 2015

All of a sudden I would feel detached. Not there, not feeling anything. Numb. I’m so so angry. I’m hurting. I don’t know how to release it or what to do. I shouldn’t dwell but right now I’m still trying to process everything. I don’t know if I/we can overcome this.” – October 2015

Oh gosh this bed it feels so cold,
My head was led by the lies you told.
But to this day my heart you stole,
In a bind left behind waiting for your call
.” (Pour Me Out, He Is We) November 2015 I sent myself lyrics.

What scares me though, is the future. What if I wake up and feel different about everything? What if this course isn’t what I want? What if I don’t get this new job? Nothing I can change at this moment or exactly ‘work towards’ so I will quieten these thoughts.” – June 2016

Practice thankfulness. Even if it’s one thing. Fight through the darkness. You are strong. Your body is strong. Your legs carry you wherever you need to go. Your voice is loud to be open and honest to those around you. Your heart is big and beats sure. There is beauty in everything. Always seek the beauty. – May 2017

I hope these tips were helpful and reading a few excerpts gave you an idea of what you might write about! It doesn’t have to be perfect – just honest!

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramDepop and Twitter!

Image is by STIL.