As we wave the dregs of the last 12 months down the plughole and prepare to celebrate Christmas, I've realised that a huge amount of positives have come out of the negatives that I've endured... So I thought I'd write them down and share them - if nothing else, because I can refer back and chivvy myself up if things start going wonky again in 2015.
Unfortunately, despite all the benefits for staff and employers, well-paid and secure flexible work arrangements still prove elusive. Many employers remain faithful to the 9 to 5: after all, for years now, it's been the way to make a living.
Each time you engage in a habitual behaviour, you are rewarded with a small amount of a brain chemical called dopamine. This chemical produces the internal experience of "this is how it is supposed to be." The more you do something, the more likely it is to become an unconscious habit.
Even in our technological age, people are still the best asset of any business. Unfortunately, while employers may want the best from those they employ, not all are prepared to give it. And not all companies are willing to invest in their workforce to make sure that happens.
I feel as women we should change the tone of the conversation and learn to really support each other, to encourage and to really mean it. To want others to do well and to be truly happy is what we all should be striving for, not to be looking on through a snarl and a negative eye.
There are no short cuts to any place worth going. Making changes that are tangible come from yourself. Ask yourself this: 'Am I on the right route to get to where I want to be or am I aimlessly wandering around, stuck because it's safe and familiar?' Do you have a strategy for your life? Do you know the rules of the game and have a map, a plan and a timeline?
I see how people in my life deal with problems- some emotionally eat, some shut down, some just shut off, some drink and some just let it build. Me, I train. Why? Because from this I can get a fresh perspective on everything, I take the time for myself and get a reprieve away from all the madness that goes on and can simply just enjoy the movement, the pain!
My favourite health and fitness app measures how many steps I've taken each day and how deeply (or- most often- not) I've slept each night. It calculates the balance of the calories I've consumed, and gives me a helpful nudge if I've had too much salt, sugar or saturated fat. It sets me targets, and gives me a virtual pat on the back if I meet or even exceed them.
Part of my condition is that I have a depleted immune system that has never really recovered since the train crash. Maybe it was all the drugs I've had to take over the years, maybe the shock or the burning I sustained, I don't know, but depleted it is. I do everything I can think of to boost it and I try to be careful about hygiene especially in public places.
Being busy is a sort of laziness. While it can mean "actively fully engaged or occupied," when it rolls off the lips of most people it means being overwhelmed and unable to cope. Most people are trapped in overwhelm, and rather than actually looking at the totality of what there is to do and making rational choices...
After taking another six months off work to travel - this time with a specific goal in mind - it is fast approaching that time when I need to think about a job, about a career, about a life. To be honest with you, the thought has been weighing heavily on my mind, seemingly growing heavier with each passing week...
I want to ask you a question. Let's say a member of your team returns to work after breaking a leg or other physical ailment. Do you: a) tread on eggshells around them, b) ignore them altogether or c) ask them how they are?
Please don't stop at dreaming. Do something about it. There really are loads of opportunities out there which will help you to change your life for the better. I've distilled some of these ideas into a handy list for you. This is your 'what I could do after maternity leave' list. Read it, pick out a few, and develop them into your own ideas.
Feminism and the fight for women's equality rights has never backfired as much as during the last decade. Where men demand from women to be what they want, i.e. equal. And rightly so.
It shouldn't come as any surprise to learn that children are for the most part pretty happy. After all, they have lots of play time, get everything done for them and don't have to worry about paying the bills.
If someone asked you to stand up and sing in front of your colleagues, you might want to hide under your desk and stare at your rubbish bin. I know many people fear speaking in public but singing is even scarier. That is, until you have a go!