banish stress, be more dog, win-win

win-win!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been making a new website. And as much as I’m excited to have a new site that will serve visitors better, it’s not been easy. I’ve embarrassed to say how many hours I’ve been spending working on it. But like many things, nothing stands alone. This page links to that page so I have to update that page, which means I need to find new photos, write new text, link it all together. To be honest, that part, although work heavy, has been fun. I’ve enjoyed looking back through photos, re-reading reviews, explaining what I do and why in clearer, less stuffy terms. The bit I’ve not found fun is the technical side.

Yeah, it’s easy, just drag and drop, insert this, customise that. Choose the best plugin, the best widget, write code!!! Holy moly, another steep learning curve to add to my previous lessons on making videos and putting together online courses. My saviour has been video tutorials which I have slavishly played and replayed as I dragged myself through the mire of a million technical options, not of all which played nicely together. Being able to play and replay, go to specific sections to find out how to do one particular thing, has been an absolute must. I couldn’t have done it without them. While the written support pages that come with much of the software are jargon heavy and certainly not user friendly, I managed to find tutorials that clarified and simplified the process. Of course, finding the right videos took time as I ploughed through various offerings from around the world. Some assumed too much knowledge, some concentrated on jazzy music and whizzy graphics that frankly obscured the information, more irritation than inspiration.

I love learning new stuff, but get frustrated that I can’t retain it as easily as I once could. I managed to figure out how to change a button on the website a couple of days ago, but can I find that solution now? No chance. I might stumble on it again tomorrow. But it’s sucking up time and that is what is so frustrating. My dogs have been especially brilliant through these last few weeks. Being patient and letting me work at my desk for much longer than usual. During breaks we’ve done some training, I’ve given them chews and food delivery toys, and best of all, we’ve had our walks which helps clear my mind, give them some much needed physical exercise, let’s me stretch out from my desk-hunched posture that I’m in danger of being stuck in forever, and given us all the space to enjoy the moment and the fresh air. Yesterday Ettie and Cherry were calmly lying at the top of the stairs. I can’t tell you how stressed this made me. More stressed than if they’d been chewing on things they shouldn’t or romping around the house jumping from chair to sofa to bed. I knew they needed to do something, they were so bored of waiting for me, but I’d just found the solution to the issue I’d been working on all morning. The thought of leaving my desk and forgetting what to do was very real. But the fact that my eldest and youngest were just lying together, waiting patiently for something to happen, could not be dismissed. So I slid into my wellies and off we went.

And yes, when we returned I’d completely forgotten the fix. But I found one for another issue and i’m sure that I’ll stumble upon the solution again at some point. But I don’t regret my decision. Yes, we all have to work around each other and we can’t always do what we want when we want. Even at times when I’m working flat out, in fact most especially at these times, it’s important to remind myself why I’m working so hard. I word hard to give my dogs the best lives I can, to be able to spend time with them rather than having to leave them to go out to work. Why should their needs come after I’ve finished? I’m never finished, there us always something else, something after. By prioritising their needs we all benefit. My stress levels are always highest when I feel they are not getting my best, and my happiness always peaks when I see their joy. By looking after them, I am looking after me too. And I’d say that’s a win-win.

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