Tag Archives: work

resetting expectations

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about how my motivation had slumped and how I was feeling lethargic and unwilling to get out and about. Having written that I had a bit of a lift. I think it was cathartic recognising and expressing how I was feeling. Later that week the weather also started to improve again getting warmer and a bit more settled. I decided to give the 30 Days of Biking Challenge a go as a way to change things up and maybe give me a cycling boost. I started well with 4 days done but then hit a mental wall again. This wasn’t helped by plummeting weather conditions and a return to very wintery weather. After a taste of Spring it feels like we’ve been catapulted back to the end of January!

On Easter Monday the forecast was for a wet and windy week with snow and hail showers also expected and I lost all interest in the 30 Days Challenge. In fact I pretty much lost interest in cycling for the whole week!

❄ 3″ of snow on my car tuesday morning! ❄

Since then I’ve spent some time taking stock. For the last two weeks I’d been getting progressively tired and fed up. I’d also started to develop pains in my knees and legs. Something was going wrong and needed to change. A number of the supportive comments on that last post mentioned Covid and/or overdoing it. Dpedece’s comment in particular stood out for me:

However, it seems to me that needing to take the lazy option means that something inside–mind? spirit?–needs healing. The lazy option allows the opportunity for that to heal.

I’ve been back at work now for 5 weeks and it’s been a big change. I’m in work from 9:30am to 6pm with a 45min lunch break. Apart from lunch I’m mostly stood in the one spot as, with lockdown, most sales and queries are coming via the phone. It’s pretty full on with the phone almost constantly ringing and possibly juggling 3/4 queries at once. It requires constant focus and concentration to ensure nothing gets missed or messed up while still maximising sales. That’s tiring both mentally and physically.

During my time off at the start of lockdown I steadily built up my activity and consequently my fitness. I was determined not to lose this by returning to work. I was also following Intermittent Fasting to try and get to my ideal weight. The table below shows my weekly activity plan going back to work.

Retrospectively now it’s a bit much and combined with work it was way too much! Additionally my sleeping pattern has been bad. To get an activity in before work I was getting up at 6:30am (away to work at 8:30am, home at 7pm) but most nights not settling down until at least 11:30pm or even midnight. No wonder I was feeling burnt out, I was and as dpedece said my spirit needed healing.

I’ve really dialled it back since Monday. The weather has stopped me cycling so I’ve just been walking and only once a day. Most days I’ve been able to have a lie in and I’ve been making a better effort to get to sleep by 11pm. I’ve completely given up on fasting by eating a small breakfast. At work I’m making an effort to reduce stress by not feeling that I have to answer every single call and dealing properly with queries before moving on to the next.

All of this has helped a lot. I’m feeling a good bit better and the pains are going from my legs. Mentally I feel a lot less wrung out and depending on the weather tomorrow I may even get out for a spin on the bike. Some of our restrictions are being eased and we are permitted to travel anywhere within our county boundary. It will be refreshing to be able to ride different routes and areas I haven’t ridden since October/November. Hopefully the customers I meet through work will also be in better form and more positive and thereby easier to deal with. There’s a rumour that winter may be retreating again later this week which will give everyone an extra boost 🤞

Header image by Castorly Stock from Pexels

work stops play

I expected it to be difficult to keep up the level of activity of the last few weeks when I went back to work but I had a plan for the week. I didn’t plan on multiple days of stormy wind and rain though.

Tuesday onwards has been pretty grim which had a big impact on my cycling. My plan was 60km each of my days off (Wednesday and Sunday) with 25km two mornings before work (Tuesday and Friday). Tuesday morning wasn’t happening as I really needed the extra hour in bed. Wednesday I did get out but the worst of the storm was to hit that afternoon into Thursday so I only managed a wet and windy 26km. It was still stormy Friday morning so the bike was out again. Today it’s Mother’s Day and #2 son’s 13th birthday so 2.5hrs on the bike was never going to happen. I had hoped for an hour in the morning but a walk was just about enjoyable, a cycle would have been hateful. A total of 26km for the week, how the mighty have fallen!

© strava

Walking has been more successful. I’ve managed to keep up my streak of walking every day. Even on the wettest days it’s not hard to dress up appropriately and make it at least partially enjoyable. My target for the week is 30km and finishing on 28.9 my only issue was skipping the 2km walk on Thursday morning. Heavy rain and hail showers was not my idea of a good way to start the day.

© garmin connect

The biggest result of the week has been finally starting a strength and conditioning program. I’ve been following the Chain Reactions kettlebell routine from YouTube. Monday, Thursday, Saturday with a 2km warm up walk (skipped on Thursday). I’ve also added in some upper body movements to give a 25-30min routine. I was very stiff on Wednesday but OK since and hopefully it’s the start of a new habit.

#2 son 2008-2021

today’s perfect moment

A regular blog read for me is Today’s Perfect Moment written by Anthony, a teacher of English as a Second Language based in Canada. It’s all about finding the positives in life and especially in the small things that happen every day.

His tagline is:

Using a little bit of perfection found by sifting through the day to brighten my mood and hopefully yours.

I had a perfect moment today and I figured World Mental Health Day was a great day to share it, inspired by reading Anthony’s post this evening.

At work today I had a customer I know from before I worked in retail. She arranged the mortgage for our current house approximately 16 years ago. I’ve met her a couple of times over the years but today was the first time I’ve spent a while talking to her and definitely the first time selling her something. We talked quite a bit about her house, her job and of course her sofa and dining chairs. She asked me about work and working in my current job. I told her I really enjoy it and she very nicely told me that it suits me and that I’m very good at it. I’m still learning to be able to accept compliments but it was really nice as I could tell she meant it. I thanked her of course and I hope she understood how good it made me feel, definitely a perfect moment and especially nice as I’m now off on leave for 4 days!

getting back to normal

On Friday last week the government announced that we were moving forward into Phase 2 of the “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business” on Monday as expected. What wasn’t expected was that the roadmap would be adjusted from 5 to 4 phases and with some accelerated restriction relaxation giving us the snappily named “Phase 2 Plus“.

What was expected was that retail stores were finally allowed to re-open meaning I was fully back to work on Monday morning.

It was very weird going back to work. Everyone was quite anxious about what it would be like, how busy it would be, how we would all cope with the new requirements and changes and how safe everyone would be. This was compounded by the physical changes in the store as a lot of the store had been refitted and painted during lockdown and lots of the displays had been rearranged. It was great to see everyone again and catch up with them but it was amazing how much I’d forgotten about products and the computer system. To me it felt like we had all started a new job on the same day.

In general we’ve been very busy. Nothing unmanageable and so far we haven’t needed to close the doors or enforce a queue outside. It’s been fairly steady and most people know pretty much what they want before coming in. Wednesday was one of the biggest sales days for many years and Saturday was the same. The other days have been like a series of very busy Saturdays and even busier than a peak period like January Sale. I had my own biggest ever personal sales day yesterday so I’ve bounced back pretty quickly and haven’t lost it completely during lockdown.

The downside of all this work business is that it is now interfering with my fitness training 😆 The level of business is tiring as is just being back to work, my step count is way up and I could really feel it at the end of each day in terms of lack of energy as well as tired and sore feet and legs. Work also means less free time and mix that with bad weather on my day off on Wednesday and today is the first time I’ve been able to get out on my bike for over a week.

It has been much easier to keep running and I’ve now finished WK10 of None2Run meaning this week I’ve been running a full non-stop 20min after my warmup walk which I’m really pleased with. I went out twice this week at 6am and the plan is to do that 3 times each week. I much prefer the mornings rather than trying to muster the energy and motivation in the evenings after work.

© Garmin Connect

The surprise change in the government’s announcement was that instead of relaxing the 5km limit to 20km we are now permitted unrestricted movement within our own county and 20km into another county if we live close to a county border. This meant that today’s spin was a much more normal route taking in towns and roads that I haven’t ridden for a very long time – September 2019!

© Garmin Connect

After a break of 10 days and working all week I had pretty low expectations for today but managed to surprise myself. All the extra steps and running must have had a positive impact as I had an average speed of 27.6km/h over 72km with 505m of climbing. Pretty sure it was my fastest time over that route and I really enjoyed it despite getting soaked twice in very heavy thundery showers. It was a pleasure to ride a regular route without repetition and to be able to stop for a tea break 3/4 of the way around.

i’m just havin’ a break

The incoming week is forecast to be dry again so the plan is to keep up the running and get two, possibly three, spins on the bike.

click on the image to view on strava

re-establishing a routine

If all goes according to the government’s “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business” announced on Friday 1st May then Phase 1 is due to start on Monday 18th May which is exactly one week today. In a nutshell I could be back at work in 7 days!

I’ve pretty much been in lockdown for 8 weeks today as I was self-isolating for 2 weeks after returning from Switzerland on March 15th and this ran into the official lockdown. Lots of good stuff has been done during lockdown but I’ve definitely slipped into the habit of going to bed late and getting up late. That needs to stop or a 6:50am alarm could come as a nasty shock on Monday morning!

Starting this morning the alarm was set for 7:50am and I was out of bed by 8:05. The plan is to dial this back by 5min each morning and go to bed a little earlier each night until I’m close to being back in the old routine. I hope it is as easy as it sounds!

Photo by Mat Brown from Pexels

we’re on the one road….

We’re on the one road
Sharing the one load
We’re on the road to God knows where
We’re on the one road
It may be the wrong road
But we’re together now who cares
North men, South men, comrades all
Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Donegal
We’re on the one road swinging along
Singing a soldier’s song

We’re on the One Road

The Wolfe Tones

On Friday evening the Taoiseach made another rare/now regular statement to the country live on TV. This statement was expected as the current lockdown restrictions are due to expire tomorrow Monday 4th of May and we’ve been promised both an update regarding restrictions and a roadmap for lifting them. We got both.

Following this statement we have also been provided with the detailed government document outlining the full “Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business“. It’s a fairly hefty document that can be downloaded and read in full here (pdf). Thankfully RTE News have provided a decent summary.

Essentially lockdown will continue for approximately 2 more weeks before Phase 1 of the roadmap begins on Monday May 18th.

As people have been getting restless with the restrictions of lockdown we’ve been given two small relaxations as a combined reward and motivation to keep going. These start on Tuesday 5th of May.

  • Over 70s and those particularly vulnerable to Covid19 who have been cocooning are now permitted to leave their house for brief exercise so long as they don’t come in contact with others.
  • Instead of being limited to exercising within 2km of our home we are now permitted to go to 5km.

It’s the second point that will have the most effect on me. It doesn’t seem like a big distance but as with the original 2km limit it covers a surprisingly large area. It allows me to take in both sides of the River Finn and takes me over the border into Northern Ireland. Technically this gives me unlimited mileage as there are no distance restrictions in Northern Ireland, as they are operating under UK restrictions, but I don’t think I’ll be going too far from home. Castlederg is a possibility but no further as I’m wary of getting into difficulties and taking up important medical/emergency resources that are needed elsewhere.

image from 5kmfromhome

The other major impact on our household is my potential return to work. The televised statement suggested this would be Phase 2 (8th June) as the Taoiseach announced outdoor retail and activities only for Phase 1 (18th May). However, the detailed document and summary state the following:

My work would fall under the category of “homeware” but another section of the document outlines the return to work strategy as follows:

While the lockdown has been creating a financial strain and has been difficult to live with, returning to work on the 18th of May feels very quick. I’m concerned that an awful lot of retail businesses will be reopening for what is supposed to be Phase 1 of recovery. This will result in a lot of people back on the move for work and bringing shoppers back out. I’d expect this to be quite a rush as people are given their first taste of freedom. It makes me uncomfortable and despite the positives of a return to work I’m hoping it gets delayed until Phase 2.

So far I’ve heard nothing from work so I’d say they may be unsure also. In addition two weeks is a long time in the current climate and lots could change if the medical improvements slow down or take a turn for the worse. In the meantime I need to stop prevaricating with the remaining DIY jobs I’ve agreed to do, I no longer have unlimited time to complete them!

f.n.g.

Today was my first day in my new job (yesterday was a Bank Holiday and we were closed). I am now the Sales Manager for Hegarty’s Home Interiors in Buncrana.

After 6.5 years in one job it was a bit of a culture shock going from being the guy that knows the business inside out and that others call when they need help to being the guy that knows basically f**k all and tortures everyone with questions!

However, they are a very friendly team, expectations are reasonable for retraining and I made two very good sales today ending as one of the top sales people.

The store was really busy today. According to the guys it was busier than normal (probably because we were closed yesterday) but this busyness is a really nice change from Dreams where the hardest thing was filling the quiet times.

I have a feeling I’m going to be very happy in my new job.

the dream is over

Today was my last day working in Dreams after 6.5 years and almost 6 years to the day* as Branch Manager in Omagh. While I’ve been thinking of this move for approximately 1 year and actively seeking another job since January it was still bittersweet leaving today.

Robin and Damien surprised me yesterday evening**. Robin disappeared just before we closed up and reappeared with Damien and 3 beers from the bar across the street. We enjoyed a pint in the store to mark my leaving and it was a cracker leaving present.

To top it all off we had one of the best sales week and weekend for a number of months smashing me through my monthly targets and ensuring a good final pay cheque next month.

We’re heading away for a few days this week and as I don’t start my new job until next week it means I’m officially “between jobs”.

*31st July 2013 was my first day in Omagh

**I have a feeling they thought I wouldn’t come in today! 😆

tick tock…

My last week in Dreams before I head for pastures new on the 5th of August and it’s getting more and more difficult to stay motivated and focused. Whoever decided it was a good idea for me to work my full notice was way off the mark!

With the nonsense that British politics has degenerated too and the “Hard Brexit” rhetoric of the incoming Boris as PM it’s looking more and more sensible for me to be working back in the Republic again. The battering that sterling has taken this last fortnight and what will come over the next few months isn’t worth the stress and worry.

Second day of the week for me. Tomorrow, off Friday and then just Saturday and Sunday to get through.