Featured Image Template (19)

Written by Daz


Simply put, Happi-mess. 


I thought I was so darn clever when I accidentally typed the M instead of an N and discovered the word Happi-mess!

Turns out I’m well and truly not the first who has found this happy co-inky-dink. 

But it did trigger me.

And I feel like by sharing this moment (that is all it was) from my life, that there may be some meaningful learnings for you and some connection to the same breaking point feeling I was feeling.

There is a yarn to be told and this one requires the backstory in order for the learnings to be clear.


The Backstory…

I was away with work in Wellington, in 2 nights and three days we had stuck contact lenses, injuries, scary involvement with an ambulance, a bee sting, almost missing a return flight, a delayed flight with severe turbulence that made far too many people vomit on the plane, a call to say someone who had been close with our children had Omi and a lost wallet… mine… AND potentially the worst part was not realizing my wallet was lost until we were on the way to the airport in the rental car in a flurry of morning Wellington traffic. 


In the airport, I was frantically trying to sort out where the wallet could be. I ran to the car hire place as the car I thought it might be in was already returned. Nothing. 

Phone call to the motel. Nothing.

Phone two dairies that might have my wallet. Nothing.

Phone calls to fuel card, 2 different banks, a company I contract to to get cards canceled. 


Sitting on the plane stewing, ruminating, stress boiling. 

All the while trying not to vomit with everyone else on the plane!


My amazing Mum and Dad picked me up from Hamilton airport in torrential rain, Dad got out to help me load all my bags and we both looked like drowned rats by the time we hopped in the car. Sitting in the car for 40 minutes stewing, calling places, emailing places. Nothing.


When I walked into our home, it was a relief, I could stop trying to have all my shit together and just crumble. 

And then I could hear music, the further into the house I walked the louder the music was, the louder the kids were, the harder I found it to think straight and process what was happening. 

I calmly asked my eldest child to turn the music down, so did his Grandma.

He didn’t. 

Not because he was being naughty or not listening. 

He didn’t know how.

He wasn’t the one who had turned it on.

But I couldn’t process what was happening from a rational place. 

I was overwhelmed.

I was tired.

I was frustrated with myself. 

So, I did what any sane human would do, I lost my shit! ?‍♀️


Grandma tried to soften the blow to the kids explaining that Mum had had a tough couple days, but my tirade continued and the kids didn’t know what on earth was going on. 

I am certain my kids must have been thinking, ‘normally, we have the music louder and we dance and sing and giggle and have a whole lot of fun and Mum loves it, what have we done wrong?!’

But I couldn’t stop being wild. 

I was like a dinosaur stomping around with no emotional control or understanding of others.

Today, that same approach with a room full of music and happy children, that normally fills my heart with joy, seemed like the final straw. 

Except on reflection, the camel’s back was already broken. 

It was lying in the middle of a dessert, calling for a medic.

And feeling like no one could hear and no one could help.



So my learnings that will hopefully help you…

Brené’s book, Atlas of the heart, explains emotion so beautifully as the place you go when you are feeling it, and in this scenario, of stress, overwhelm, worry and frustration, I went to all the wrong places and no places that actually helped me or my family. 

Expectations of myself are high, so to lose something is a pretty hard pill to swallow. 

The expectations others have of me are just as high, I have done that to myself!

PERSPECTIVE was not coming naturally at this moment. 

I wasn’t coping. I wasn’t handling it. The quicksand was swallowing me.


But, I felt shame and embarrassment – I like to be known as organized and always having shit together. 

Reflection from a stabilized place now, with sleep, food, whānau time and connection – now I can laugh at myself and the situation. 

But I needed to be able to do that at the moment. I needed to listen to those around me who were saying it would be ok. I just couldn’t. Reason was not registering. 


Some great tools and thoughts to draw upon…

Brené has a scale that I have now put in my tool box and I encourage you to do the same:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m feeling my emotions at about …10
  2. I’m paying attention to them at about… 5
  3. And I understand them at about … 2


Daniel Stillman says “rather than marinate on assumptions and the worst case scenario, how about considering another possibility, the best case scenario?”

What a perspective shift to use in stressed moments. 


David Galbriath spoke years ago about the only areas of the house needing to be tidy and clean being the kitchen and the toilet (for hygiene purposes) and that nothing else is important in the grand scheme.

If there are forts in the living area.

If there are block towers in the hallway.

If there are cars and roads all over the carpet.

The ONLY thing you should care about is that there are smiles, laughter, love and joy?

Or to wrap this and tie it all together – HAPPI-MESS.


I kept holding on to my “shoulds”.

I should have had my shit together.

I should have put my wallet away where I always put it.

I should have come in full of joy and love for my children.

I should be calm.

I should be able to sort this out. 

I should feel like an idiot. 

When in reality, I SHOULD have taken a few big deep breaths. I SHOULD have realized that they are just plastic cards and replaceable. And I SHOULD have come in relaxed and ready to be with my children in the happi-mess that they were thriving in.

I have been reading `Find Your Unicorn Space’ by Eve Rodsky and a great line that made me really stop and think was “think like a leader in your own home”. 

I would never have flown into a room that way in my ‘professional world’.

Great takeaway! 


To round this out, a tool David shared with me a few years ago was three questions to ask your child before they go to bed, to ensure they go to bed with good vibes and optimism for another day:

What was your best memory from today?

What’d you learn today that will help you tomorrow?

What are you proud of? 


So in a nutshell. 

Shit happens right?!

But, overwhelm and stress are not places where you can manage the shit situations well.

They start you on the back foot, where you can not be rational or focused to solve problems.

Take some time to think of your strategies to manage yourself in these situations, BEFORE they happen.

And practice as much self-care as you can with eating well, sleeping effectively, and fueling yourself to handle happi-mess authentically and from a place of strength, not from the back foot.   



If you think this resonates with yourself or someone you may know, then give this blog a wee share, so that we can create that ripple effect in helping others wellness!

Get meaningful wellbeing straight into your inbox:

Our community love our newsletter and you will too! You’ll see our latest interviews before anyone else and get exclusive wellbeing tips and content too!

Related Articles

Join us for the Big Day out!

What is the Workplace Wellbeing Big Day Out?
It is a day to come together, to learn, to cross pollinate, to challenge perspectives and to leave empowered and inspired to make a difference for our teams – all in the name of long term, authentic, effective and thriving workplace wellbeing.

Some themes we will cover:
Connection, Accountability and behavior, Boundaries, Values and expectations, Communication, shared language and conversations, Diversity and authenticity, Psychological safety!

A workshop filled with connection, problem solving and meaningful kōrero!