Ma’am to Mrs

A career transition journey from Military to Civilian

Overwhelmed and Anxious – The Importance of Time Management for Resettlement — 12th Jul 2021

Overwhelmed and Anxious – The Importance of Time Management for Resettlement

Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure everything out all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You’ve got this. Take it day by day.

Karen Salmansohn

I’ve had a bit of a crazy month this month. Everything seems to be getting on top of me and I can’t focus. Part of the problem for me is not being able to say no when I really want to help. I will commit to things, but don’t then consider the time it will be taking up (especially as we only have intranet at work, so anything on the internet will have to be done outside of working hours).

So I’ve had to do some time-management – and I actually asked my boss to help me out in case I wasn’t focusing on the right things. I came up with a list of everything I want to do for my resettlement and then a separate list for the work I want to achieve in the office. Then I went through it and assigned an importance to them all – need, nice to have and drop.

Need

I have a number of projects ongoing at work, so I have prioritised them accordingly and refused to take on anything new until I’ve removed them from my list. Anything else that comes in now I will have to consider the timeline of it as I’ll be finishing work in December.

My L5 CIPD course in L&D is top of the list of course, but I have now also identified a number of other courses that I’d like to complete and use my ELC’s for, so my attention has been drawn towards that – I can’t possibly take on more courses right now, but knowing that I want to do them is enough.

LinkedIn is also a very important aspect of resettlement. Getting to grips with the consistency required is my latest learning curve with that – I missed a couple of days of content and the resulting from in visibility was almost immediate.

Next is my CV – I’ve got a draft sorted, but there’s so much more I could be doing with it. In one step, I’ve made an appointment with John at the Forces Transition Group for a 1-2-1 to go over it, but I want to make some time to step it up on this front.

Attending resettlement events and workshops from CTP is also a priority. I’ve had to remove myself from some of these due to other commitments and I find that I kick myself afterwards. I’m mindful of the remaining time I have left and I would like to fully understand the different industries out there and where my skills may lie within each.

Nice to have

I have now discovered what I’d like to do, which is a direct result of attending an event with Pearsons – I sent LinkedIn connection requests to the people running the event and ended up having a meeting with one of them, who took me through the types of role they have available. She then forwarded my details to other contacts in the same industry. The work of Skills Coach for Apprentices that we have been speaking about really sings to me as it fits within the Learning & Development field and you can have direct impact on individuals’, get to know and advise them and really make a difference to their careers. I feel like this sort of role would fit me perfectly. The people I’ve spoken to have given me next steps to look into, which is great and really encouraging.

Now that I’ve figured this out, all of my mental capacity has been taken up thinking about it and what I can do next. It’s taking up all of my mind and I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all – which is resulting in me not doing the things from my ‘need’ list.

I’ve been approached by Army Comms to help them on a campaign about transitioning out of the military. This is obviously something I’m passionate about, so I really want to help out where I can. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to hopefully give back some of the positive experiences and help others understand that the emotional rollercoaster we’re all on is both an individual and a shared one.

Drop

I’d been asked to help test out a course for transitioning military. It’s an amazing opportunity and I wish I could have engaged more with it. It should only take around 30 mins per day, but I don’t seem to be able to fit that into my day right now. Again, if we had internet at work I could fit it in over lunch, but we don’t – and it’s a 20 min walk back home so I’d not have time to eat if I did that. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t have engaged more with this – and that I’d let down the lovely lady who had asked me to be a part of it; it seemed to come at the wrong time and I just mentally couldn’t fit it in.

So what else have I dropped? I’ll be honest, it’s the constant turnaround of housework! I’ve got the boys helping me out more to get all of the jobs done and set them up a GoHenry account to drop in some money when they’ve done their jobs. I’ve not mowed the lawn for a bit but it’s encouraging the bees to come into the garden, which is great. For me, allowing myself to accept that the house is a mess and the garden needs doing but I don’t ‘have’ to have everything neat & tidy all of the time is a good feeling. I’m still uncomfortable with it – but I know that something will have to drop or my head will explode with the never-ending to-do list.

In the end, I need to give myself a break, allow the less important things to drop and realise what the most important things are for me right now. There’s so much going on and I don’t want to put myself in a position where I burnout and end up hating the transition time.

Habit Check — 6th May 2021

Habit Check

Happiness is a habit – cultivate it.

Elbert Hubbard

I am determined for this year to be my best one yet. For the last few years I’ve been overweight, generally unhappy and with no sense of direction or purpose. During this new resettlement period things had to change. If I was going to be happy, be there for my family and truly enjoy this next chapter in my life, I needed to take a good hard look at myself. This wasn’t going to be easy, change never is.

I have chosen 3 habits that I wish to change from a negative to a positive. The first being exercise, the second being my diet and the third being my brain chatter. Below I’ll go through how that’s been going so far and what I’ve done to change the negativity.

Exercise

During the first COVID-19 lockdown we were lucky enough to borrow a spin bike from the camp gym. I downloaded and registered for the Peloton App (they were doing a 3-month free trail at the time). I used the bike and the app every day and managed to lose some weight. I felt better about myself. Once the lockdown was over, the gym took the bike back and it all stopped, the routine was gone and I couldn’t replicate it in the gym no matter how hard I tried. As we were missing our 10th wedding anniversary, I managed to convince my husband to buy us a Peloton bike for our return to the UK. I could tell he was skeptical – was this going to end up being a clothes-horse?

Thankfully no! I won’t lie, I’ve found it hard and I’ve been unmotivated at times, but now it’s the end of April and I feel quite safe to say that I now get up Mon-Fri at 0550 to ride the bike and listen to the positive motivational chats that the instructors have. I can feel my self belief growing and know that it’s ok to not be hitting the same numbers as the 20-something year old instructor who is way smaller than me – I am there and I’ve showed up and stuck at it. I really can’t ask for more. I’ve signed up for various challenges on the App and have either hit them or I haven’t – the good thing (for me) is that I no longer berate myself for not reaching an unreasonable challenge and end up not getting on the bike for weeks on end. I now simply shrug it off and continue. This is something I would never have been able to do previously to me starting this journey of positivity.

Of course there are other ways to do this that don’t cost as much as a Peloton and the App, but this is something that I’ve found works for me and I can’t praise it enough. Our two boys even have their own accounts on it and will happily cycle for 30-mins on a scenic route, whilst doing some arm work with the weights! We also do workouts as a family in the living room. We do cardio, strength, pilates and yoga together, which we wouldn’t have done previously and more often than not the boys are happy to help me out by doing it with me.

I’ve mentioned previously that we’ve already bought our ‘forever’ home up in the North East. There are some lovely walks in the vicinity of our home and we’ve all started taking walks on the weekend. I’ve found this to be great for blowing out the cobwebs, getting some quiet time or even to catch up on the kids’ news.

Whilst I’m not where I want to be weight or exercise-wise and there is more intensive exercise I could be doing, I’m happy with this slow start and am glad that I’m finding enjoyment in exercise again as it doesn’t hurt and I’m not being sick because I can’t keep up on a run, putting me off for weeks at a time. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to grow and build on the work I’m doing and improve my overall fitness in a happy way.

Diet

I joined Noom in January. I’ve tried all sorts of diets and methods and fads over the years, which have all worked to varying degrees but have never stuck. I really wanted something that would help me to change habits and thoughts, so I thought I’d give this one a go as a last ditch effort. I didn’t care if it took all year to lose the extra weight, I just wanted to feel happy and content that I was doing the best that I could and to stop feeling so bad about myself every time I ate something ‘bad’.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first started, but I soon realised that Noom was much more than another fad. The daily lessons are fantastic at making you think about and question your thoughts and decisions. It’s not even so much about the food for me – I eat quite healthily on the whole, it’s the way it makes you aware of what you’re doing and why your doing it.

You make a SMART goal each week with your coach, who then checks in on you to see how you’re getting on and there’s a group chat where you can put in details from the lessons you’ve completed – or ask questions and get motivation from your group mates.

Again, it’s helped me to gain confidence and has explained a few things to me in a way I can process it which has definitely made me make different choices. Again, I’m not yet where I want to be, but I can see the differences that are being made and I am sure I’ll get there eventually – no matter how slowly, as long as I’m feeling positive, I’m feeling happy. One of the boys said he could see a difference in my belly the other day, which was such a kind thing for him to say so I’m also happy about that even though I can’t see it myself.

Mind Chatter

The running theme through this has been the negative brain chatter that so many of us are in constant battle with. The one that tells you you can’t do something, you’re useless, there’s no point in trying etc. I could go on, but I don’t want to reintroduce them!

This has got to be my biggest problem. Forget the weight (for now), if I can’t get a handle on this, then It’s always going to be there just waiting for that moment of doubt or weakness so it can pounce and take hold, undoing everything I’ve been working so hard towards. So this was going to be my main demon to get past (and keep out).

I’ve downloaded audiobooks on habits and positivity but by far the most effective thing for me has been the Headspace App. It’s been an absolute revelation to me and I use it religiously every evening before bed. I’ve competed a few courses – in particular the self-esteem and confidence courses, where I actually found I was smiling by the end and have never slept so well afterwards. I also use the Sleepcasts to drift off to sleep. I find that the stories and sounds are a real benefit to stop the chatter that so often shows up when you’re trying to relax in bed. I’ve very rarely reached the end of any of them.

To keep these three areas in the forefront of my mind, I’ve removed all other apps from the first page on my phone and left the Peloton, Headspace and Noom as the first one’s I see whenever I open my phone and it seems to work motivation-wise.

So these are the three areas of my life that I am trying to change to a positive. I’m not there yet and I’m not sure when I will get there, but I am so much happier in the positivity I’ve got now compared to where I was only a few months ago.