Love this t-shirt from Smith & Webb – every T-shirt sold makes a donation to MIND charity.

Anxiety is awful

It’s mental health awareness week – something that a few years ago, either didn’t exist or we weren’t aware of. Shows how far we have come in just a short few years, that people are paying a lot more attention to the vital importance of mental health.

Mental Health is a big one in our household. My eldest son suffers from anxiety and has acute anxiety attacks. My step-daughter gets anxious in certain situations and anxiety has been something I’ve suffered from for over 10 years.

I heard a saying a few weeks ago that anxiety is like having the horror movie music in your head but you never see what the threat is. I couldn’t have put it better myself. As an adult, with lots of experience of it, I can tell myself that it’s *just* anxiety and it will pass but how do we help our children to receive the same message?

Today I was so proud of my 8 year old who had an anxiety attack on the way to school, had to come home and then during the day, after some talking and a nap, picked himself up and took himself back to face his anxiety fears and school.

Anxiety is utterly awful, not just for those who are experiencing it, but also those who watch their loved ones go through it. I’m really glad there are so many people on Social Media talking about it. Please let this conversation stay an open one, it’s so important to understand what we and others are going through.

Manners cost nothing

I promised myself I would parent my children a different way to how I was parented. It was easy to take that track because our generation seem to have moved on with parenting. Children these days have a voice, autonomy and are generally involved a lot more in decisions made about and for them, than our generation. These are all great things.

What I don’t do differently to my parents is insist on and teach good manners. We had manners drilled into us as children and I am so grateful for it (even if I wasn’t at the time). I was taught to write kick-ass thank you letters – seriously – the last two thank you letters I wrote, the person wrote back thanking me for my thank you letter. Whilst my children at 4 & 8 haven’t mastered the thank you letter, they do say please and thank you regularly, unprompted, they also apologise if they’ve made a mistake or have upset someone.

Therefore I’m really surprised when adults do not use manners. During my working day I am often asked if I can tweak a website, update a plugin etc and I try to not make people wait too long for this, if I can cover it in the same day they ask for it, great. What surprises me is when I email saying the work is done and don’t get a reply. Seriously, nothing. Not even a quick thank you for completing a random request within a couple of hours.

One of the beautiful things about working for myself is that I can offer a more personal service than a larger company. Jobs don’t get queued for too long and my clients always speak to me (and occasionally, Stu). Part of the personal service is having a good relationship with these clients, which I do have. Therefore it’s a bit insulting when people don’t send a quick ‘thank you’ or even acknowledgement of work done.

Going back to basics is a good thing

The last week has all been about going back to basics in both, my work and personal lives. At the moment I’m feeling an affinity with the ‘don’t try to run before you can walk’ adage and uncomplicating things, going back to basics has been a good thing. It’s taken my head from feeling ‘muddy’ and confused to feeling clear and directed.

Completing the design of the latest website I have built has made me think about how much I enjoy building websites and maybe, alongside website reviews, that’s all I should be offering. It’s always frightening to stop offering services, in this case, marketing consultancy, but it gives me the opportunity to focus on one area of expertise and be the best I can at it.

So another rebuild of the This Demanding Life website is looming and to be honest, I can’t wait!

Be specific

This ties in with the point above. Getting to the basics of what services I actually want to offer has taken quite a long time to realise. What is it I want to spend my time doing? Who do I want to be working with? What do I want my marketing and online representation to look like?

I’m a detail person. Which makes focusing on websites the perfect step for me. I notice when something’s slightly out of alignment or if a design just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Which means if I’m going to make my business solely web design then I need to have an utterly amazing website. This takes time to develop – what colour scheme is right? Who are my audience? What will make my website stand out from others’? All questions I’m currently addressing with the help of the amazing Stu Chandler, my partner (also a details person) and his daughter, who has the best design eye out of all of us. Watch this space, I can’t tell you what the website’s going to look like right now (although I do have a sketchy idea), what I can tell you is that a huge amount of thought will have gone into it and hopefully the results will speak for themselves.

I’m not a royalist…… but

I’ve never really felt one way or the other about the royal family. William and Harry are my generation and I like what I know of them through the media and that’s probably it. If we ever end up in royalist debates over drinks I usually acknowledge that yes, they’re to a certain extent, living off the tax payer’s money. It’s just not that simple though – the revenue having a royal family brings to the country via tourism etc possibly outweighs the tax point. I really don’t know that much about it. It must be horrible growing up and having to live in the public eye, having your mistakes hauled through the media and permanently there for all the world to see.

This week one of the websites I manage asked me to put something on their website about the royal wedding and it got me thinking about it… will I watch it? Probably. I remember watching William and Kate’s wedding with my Nana and think I’ll do the same this time round. However if it goes on for too long, I’m out of there. I have a very special birthday party to attend on Saturday night. It will be interesting to see how many people at the party also set aside a portion of their day to watch the nuptials.