aniexty · April · body confidence · comparison · confidence boost · Fears · Mental Health · reflection · Uncategorized

I am

I am sensitive but strong, kind but take a hard line.

Words cut deeper than they should yet I say nothing and put on a brave face.

I am independent but need support, I love deeply and forge strong bonds,

I am like an elephant and never forget, old wounds taking a long time to heal.

I am always giving and often not taking, brave but scared inside

I am striving for uniformity and struggle when there are differences I cannot explain

I am emotional but tough, I am easily affected but not always on the outside

I am easy going but only in the right conditions, I am chief planner and organiser.

I may be difficult at times but underneath I am vulnerable and have battles just like everyone else

I am all of these things and I need to remember I am only human.

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aniexty · April · body confidence · challenge · choir · Cockapoo · confidence boost · exercise · feeling proud · fitness · goals · Mental Health · positive thinking · Uncategorized

How I’ve beaten the Monday blues

But it’s bank holiday Monday, no work, there shouldn’t be any blues right? Well laying in my bed this morning it dawned on me today was one of those days where being by myself all day I was going to have to make a choice. I could either chose to stay in my bed and listen to the rain and be miserable all day missing my girl and wishing my husband hadn’t agreed to work or I could get off my backside and make the most of this time off. I chose the latter.

Here is how my day has panned out so far;

  • Firstly I got up and dressed, This in itself was effort seeing as I had no one to make myself look nice for apart from myself and no reason to drag myself out into the rain apart from to push away this lonely mood.
  • Lonely mood pushed away I went out to do a couple of errands and had a great time singing to power ballads in my car! (If you ever needed someone to shake you out of a slump Witney Houston has to be the one!)
  • When I got back I grabbed Poppy and took her round to see my next door neighbour. She loves Poppy and we ended up chatting for about an hour, I think we both appreciated the company.
  • Then I made lunch and forced myself to get straight back up and onto some ironing otherwise I knew I would start to get fed up again. During ironing my Nan skyped so we chatted for a while which was nice, She always knows when I’m on my own and checks in to make sure I’m ok.
  • Next I did some choir practise, we have broken up for Easter but we have a few gigs coming up starting with a charity ball in a posh hotel on the 12th May so she asked us all to keep in touch with the songs over the break. I felt really good after this and was so pleased I practised.
  • The rain stopped so I took Poppy out for a mile walk. Of course she was soaking wet and needed a wash when we got back but I didn’t let this dampen my mood- sorry bad joke- and after I got her all cleaned up I went straight upstairs and got changed for a workout.
  • This month is squat month for me! I’ve set myself a challenge to do one more every day starting with 30 yesterday. I know that’s quite a high number to start on but I can do 30 so I thought why start lower? So today I did 31 squats and a 25 minute ab workout and felt really good after.
  • Now I’m sat in our reading nook with a cup of tea and am going to read a few chapters of “I am Malala”. This book is already proving a powerful read and only up to chapter 4. It’s one that was left in my community library so I thought I would give it a try and I’m really pleased I did.

Now there are several things today I’ve felt anxious about doing;

Calling on my neighbour- what if she’s busy/ doesn’t want to talk to me/has a guest?

Practising for choir-what if I can’t remember the songs, I’ve not practised all week, I probably shouldn’t commit to the gigs because I will just mess up and make everyone else look bad.

Working out- why am I even doing this? Who will know if I don’t do it? Do I need to fulfil a challenge every month to keep myself happy? Do I focus too much on my body shape?

All these things I just went ahead and did anyway, I forced myself to do them because I knew I would feel better afterwards.

Spending time on your own isn’t going to be easy but today I overcame the anxious, lonely and unmotivated thoughts and became driven and proud of what I achieved.

It might not seem a lot for some people but this could have been a whole other day if I hadn’t forced myself out of bed this morning.

Get up and out, set yourself goals, even if they are only little ones, it will be worth it and you will feel better!

Lou x

Depression · February · fun activities · goals · happy · Hygge · Lykke · making memories · Mental Health · mood · philosophy · positive thinking · thoughtful · Uncategorized

The Little Book of Lykke

I got this book and the first book of Meik Wiking’s “The Little book of Hygge” for Christmas and this week have finished the second book. This really is such a lovely little book which reminds us what is important to be happy and gives us an insight into how happiness is shown all around the world.

During the book he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to the good life. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet”

I’m going to share with you some of favourite parts of the book and what I’ve learnt from it.20180126_145933978707812.jpg

This is one of my favourite pages, I am a lover of social media to connect with family, with a sister in New York and a brother in Hong Kong not to mention family in 3 different counties in the UK it is simply the easiest way to share with them what we have been doing. Where my love ends is the endless stream of time wasting videos, the nonsense posts that friends of friends like that somehow end up clogging up your time line. Everyone has an opinion on social media, for some its about the amount of likes, shares, comments, others think its better not to post pictures of your children. Then there is the matter of how much we post, is twice a week too often? Which platform do we use? Is Instagram safer than Facebook because its private unless you accept the followers? Do people care how many years it was ago since they went for that picnic in the park? The amount of time spent on digital devices scrolling mindlessly through unimportant information really has risen to a crazy amount. But as you can see about its proven that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook!

I have now set myself a mental limit when on social media, if I don’t see something I want to connect with within about 10 seconds I close the app. I know scrolling mindlessly for half an hour won’t make me happy, it usually just makes me frustrated that I’ve just wasted all that time doing nothing when I could have been doing something.

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Another way to prevent yourself from being sucked in to the “time stealers” are to use apps like the “Freedom” app which prevent you from using the internet for a period of time. Next time you find yourself well and truly stuck to that screen just think what else you could be doing, do you have long enough to read a chapter of that book you have been meaning to read? Or even just a few pages? Could you fit in a few burpees, for those fitness lovers out there! Write a meal plan for the week? Or if you must scroll, let it be through something productive. Can you say after 2 hours of looking at your phone you have planned Valentines day or researched cheap home make over ideas rather than simply gone up 52 levels on your latest game.

In this book Meik Wiking goes on to say that the richest countries are not necessarily the happiest and that we often look for happiness in all the wrong places. He says “I have yet to discover a more powerful force to explain human happiness than the fulfilment of our longing for love, friendship and community. So, people want to belong but they are not exactly sure how to make it happen.”

Five ways to plant a community Meik gives are;

1. Create a directory for your street or stairway. Knock on your neighbours doors or post a sign up sheet in their letter box saying you are creating a directory for those little emergencies. Do people know a good plumber, electrician, handyman? Add some questions like would they like their dog walking once in a while or are you prepared to look after their garden while they are away for two weeks in the summer. Who knows how to change a tyre or who owns a sewing machine?

2. Establish a book lending cupboard. A simple way to start conversation in your community is to create a mini library built on the take one leave one book principle. The library doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a few shelves with a few different books available for those who fancy trying them. I have a shed next to my house which isn’t locked so this could be somewhere I could leave books for my street, I just need to clear it of all the junk first! This is definitely on my list of things to try though.

3. Use the soft edges. Front gardens and porches are called the soft edges. Few people would dare come into your kitchen but if you are in your front garden you are more likely to start a conversation with your neighbours. The more your get to know your neighbours names and their stories the more noise from them ceases to be annoying.

4. Build a community garden. Your home may not offer any soft edges but there may be a strip of land in your neighbourhood that could be used to create a small community garden, a time tested way for you to not only grow a bunch of veggies but also for you to bring a sense of community.

5. Start a tool sharing programme. The average power drill is used for only a few minutes per year so there is no need for us all to have one, the same with hammers, screwdrivers not to mention leaf blowers and ladders. This is another good excuse to get to know your neighbours.

Another great idea is volunteering, you may be passionate about politics or love the outdoors in the UK the website do-it.org lists more than a million options and enables more than 200,000 people to donate their time every month.

If that isn’t your thing what about random acts of kindness? Here are 5 ideas of things you could do that are guaranteed to lift your mood and that of the person on the receiving end;

1. Leave a gift on someones doorstep.

2. Learn the name of the person on the front desk or someone else you see every day and greet them by name.

3. Make two lunches and give one away.

4. Talk to the shy person who is by themselves at a party or at the office.

5. Give someone a genuine compliment. Right now.

These are all so easy to implement and i’m planning on trying as many as I can in the next week, I will let you know how they go.

Now for something that has been brought to our attention by the media throughout the last year and continues to be a much talked about subject as it should be. When is the last time you asked someone how they were and actually listened and cared about the answer? I’m not just talking about 20180126_2143122142971200.jpg

family but friends, colleagues, parents at the school gates. We are all in so much of a rush all of the time do we really even listen to each other much anymore? How many people do you know that you see on a daily basis and can say you know if they are ok or not? Mental health is still so often overlooked as a taboo subject and having worked with young people that had been through some extremely traumatic times I know that these experiences leave their mark and sometimes rear their head again later in life. The next time you hear someone is off work with depression instead of judging them think what circumstances could have brought this about. Is there anything you could do to help the next time you see them? Not everyone will want to talk about their problems openly but there is nothing wrong with them knowing that someone is there should they need it.

This book has really opened my eyes as to what can make you truly happy and how happiness can be found with what is around us and without many of the things people often associate with happiness in this modern world. Its a great read and has its place in my reading nook where my husband has actually started reading it and he is not a reader!

I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do decide to read it. 

Thanks for reading

Lou x

 

 

Changes · dreams · Fears · health · January · Mental Health · tired · Uncategorized

My Irrational Fears

From a young age I’ve always been scared of the dark. I would have screaming nightmares where my Mum would have to come and calm me down in the middle of the night and was terrified to sleep without the hall light on.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m still that person. Although I no longer sleep with the light on I still have an irrational fear of the dark. If the lights are suddenly turned off without me expecting I either get angry or my heart races to my mouth and my breath races. Our house is very creaky as it’s warming up and cooling down and these noises are bearable if I’m in a lit room with other people but at night in bed my head turns them into the sound of someone walking along the hallway. It’s always someone walking towards our bedroom in my mind, this is why I’ve never been able to sleep with my back to the bedroom door. I need to be able to see what is coming.

Still all these years later these thoughts will keep me awake for hours and end up with me becoming terrified of nothing. Too scared to let go of the covers but melting with how hot I’ve become. When I finally fall asleep I dream. These are vivid dreams of either someone in the room or something in the bed and I don’t just dream, every once in a while I will wake up screaming full pelt and my husband has to calm me down. Either that or i will jump out of the bed in my sleep and start checking it for whatever was in it in my dream that night.

These nightmares don’t last for long and sometimes don’t amount to full on screaming but just waking with a start with my heart racing. These times I don’t wake Scott and mostly just lay there scared until I fall back to sleep again.

This is something I’ve had since I was a child and I’ve honestly no idea how to stop it. I’ve never talked to anyone about it or looked into anything that could be the trigger or might help and I’m writing about it here for the first time because I’m ready for it to stop now.

I know these fears are irrational and as a parent I would explain the same to my daughter were she to have them but how can I when I’m still having them myself?

Blogger · body confidence · Friendship · happy · health · January · Mental Health · mindfulness · philosophy · Uncategorized

Life is better

Life is better when you have people to help you through. We aren’t meant to live life alone, We are social creatures who were given the mental ability to be able to interact with other human beings on complex levels so why struggle on your own?

It’s so easy to look at other people’s lives and think of the differences and reasons you shouldn’t interact but what about looking for reasons you should? When you are feeling negative about life or suffering with low self esteem or aniexty it’s all too easy to sit at home alone and feel like that is the best option . After all why would anyone want to talk to you if you are feeling so low, they are far too busy off doing exciting things to want to spend their time talking to you right?

Wrong! Talking to people makes you feel better, fact. Even if you talk about other things You don’t have to talk about the elephant in the room, your aniexty or low self esteem but just talking and relaxing in the good company of others will make you feel human again. Laughing,enjoying yourself, spending time with people who genuinely care about you is a positive thing and you will benefit from it!

Shutting people out when you are feeling fed up is easy to do, you may feel like your problems are small, unimportant or that others are just not interested but I assure you there is someone out there that is. Whether they listen and give advice or come up with solutions that work around your situation and make you feel better without realising, seeing people is good for the soul.

Friends are friends for a reason, just remember they may have problems, niggles or just general moans they want to get off their chest too and even if they don’t they may do one day so don’t feel like you are a burden, a failure, moaning for no reason or have problems people can’t or won’t help with because spending time with people really does help. Like they say laughter really is the best medicine so laugh, joke, have fun and forget your worries if only for a few hours.

Addiction · Chester Bennington · Mental Health · Uncategorized

Chester Bennington a life lost 

Linkin Park were a band I loved from the release of their first album Hybrid Theory in 2000. Their music was like nothing else I had ever enjoyed listening to before, Their lyrics were so powerful and the delivery by Chester Bennington was mesmerizing. They made me want to play the CD over and over again.
Throughout the years I bought every album they ever released and their lyrics reached out to me during difficult times. One particular song Braking the habit I listened to when a friend was going through addiction and I was trying to help. It was then I learnt how powerful the hold of addiction was and how you can only help someone if they want to help themselves. You can’t mind them 24  hours a day and their demons will creep in at some stage. Even if you are begging them not to listen and give in, if deep down they don’t want to it’s a fruitless task.

Chester Bennington had struggled with depression and drug and alcohol problems throughout his life and in the end even his wife and 6 children were eventually not enough to stop him from taking his own life on the birthday of Chris Cornell, his dear friend who had taken his own life only months earlier.

Mental health is real, it needs to be talked about and the stigma taken away so people feel they can be open about their problems and not have to deal with them behind closed doors. Chester was in the middle of a huge tour, the band had a new album out and everything was going great. He had everything to live for but sadly that wasn’t enough and who knows maybe if he had felt he could have just taken a step back and allowed himself time to deal with the grief of losing a friend in such a way and got the help he needed he may still be here today.

Chester Bennington was a talent, a star who will always be remembered and my thoughts go out to his family and friends left behind to pick up the pieces and rebuild after the hole im sure he has left in their lives.

“I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.”  Linkin Park – In The End

RIP Chester