Tag Archives: self care

Mental Health: Burning out and fighting back

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post just about me and what’s going on inside my head, so I thought I’d write one. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m not writing this because everyone needs an update, I’m writing this because doing so would get a lot off my chest. I’m burning out and fighting back, sort of.

I’ve had a tough couple of months. May in particular was hard. I’ve been working over the last few years to be less anxious and less depressed and for the most part I was going ok. There has been the odd bump in the road, but returning to my self care routine and fighting everything usually pulls me out of the hole. 

May has been hard. I’ve been suffering from burnout. The boy was ill for nearly two months and the worry and stress took its toll. I work hard, probably too hard and I’m never off from work. I start early in the mornings and work till late at night and take little time for myself. There are a few other things going on too, but essentially I’ve been suffering from emotional and physical burnout. I’m spinning too many plates, struggling to keep up and it’s taking its toll.

The boys went away for a weekend and gave me a little bit of space, but it boiled down to two short evenings. It wasn’t enough but I missed them loads; proving that I’m complicated if nothing else. 

My anxiety has been through the roof, I’ve been angry at everything and everyone, I’m easily upset and oversensitive. I’ve tried to hide it all, but sometimes it spills out and without meaning to I upset people. I hate upsetting people and it just starts a weird shame, self-critical, low self esteem hate spiral which is hell on earth to get out of. 

Right now I seem like a happy and normal mum. Inside there’s all that shame, self criticism, low self esteem, hateful stuff I mentioned earlier. I hate that the careless words of strangers, or indeed of loved ones can have such an impact on me. My self esteem and self worth is an easily bruised peach and I’m feeling quite bruised and battered right now.

There’s no major plan for getting me back on an even keel. I know I need to not work as much and to take time out for myself sometimes. I know I need to look after myself more. Yes, I know I could probably do with some kind of digital detox, but that’s hard when the majority of your friends are based on twitter and you don’t want to feel more cut off than you already do.

It’s half term and we don’t have any major plans; go to the park, bake cakes, make crafts, watch telly, be excellent to one another. I’m trying not to stress, I’m trying not to let my anxiety personally attack me. I’m trying not to hit full burn out again. But I’m not well. I’m ok but I’m not well. I just need a regular afternoon off, a spa day, time with friends, time where my brain can switch off from everything and time to love and laugh again. Is that too much to ask? 

Mental Health: Burning out and fighting back

Book Review: The Children’s Meditations In My Heart

When I was pregnant I really got into yoga and meditation; although I no longer attend sessions, I do some stretches at home and I meditate when I can. Recently I’ve been reading the heart meditations from The Children’s Meditations In My Heart book to my son before bed; both of us have benefited from sharing these lovely meditations.

The Children’s Meditations In My Heart is a book by Gitte Winter Graugaard, a Danish writer and mindfulness instructor. The book has four heart meditations for you to read to your child, or children, as well as advice on how to make the most out of the meditations in the book. The meditations are designed to help your child unwind and drift happily off to sleep.

Book Review: The Children's Meditations In My Heart

My son has always struggled to fall asleep and he’s recently started taking part in a stretch and relaxation class after school. After the classes he is very relaxed and happy, which can only be encouraged. As part of the sessions, the children take part in a meditation and because of this, I knew he would respond well to the heart meditations in the book.

Before you read the meditations to your child, it’s worth sitting down and reading the introductions so you know the idea behind them. There are also instructions on how to read it and what you can do to encourage mindfulness at home. Nothing is more calming for your child before bed than listening to your familiar voice reading a story about your great love for your family.

The first meditation guides your child into their heart to teach them to fill their heart with love. In the following meditations, you teach your child to send and receive love at a distance, to catch love from a little love cloud, and to send love into the universe. It’s a special feeling sending your child to sleep with their heart full of love. 

What we do is snuggle down at bedtime and he closes his eyes. Then using a calm voice, I read the meditation to him; pausing when indicated and using his name when there is a space in the text for his name.

Book Review: The Children's Meditations In My Heart

Each meditation is completely lovely. As well as filling him up with love, they fill me up with love too. This book is a wonderful way to verbalise your feelings for your child and to encourage them to love themselves; which in turn helps to grow in confidence and resilience. The meditations take them off into a calm faraway land and helps them to visualise their heart and see and feel it being filled by love. It really is a special book and an equally special thing to do with your child.

The book and the meditations within it are suitable for all ages of child and adults too. The Children’s Meditations In My Heart by Gitte Winter Graugaard was an immediate hit in Denmark. Graugaard’s book has since been translated into English and is now available in the UK.

I love this book. It’s beautifully illustrated and easy to read and understand. It really helps my son wind down after a busy and energetic day at school. I really enjoy reading them to him and reminding him gently how loved he is. It’s a wonderful book and a great introduction to meditation for children.

The Children’s Meditations In My Heart is available from Room For Reflection for £14.95 for an illustrated hard-back copy.

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How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago I was in a horrible place, physically and mentally I was broken. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get me back to the pretty good place I find myself in today. It was a long and at times painful road. The thing that really helped me back to wellness was talking positively to myself; or rather talking to myself with a more positive voice.

I have always talked about myself negatively. I have a negative voice in my head which tells me how terrible I am, how ugly I am and how useless my life is. My negative internal voice has always had a terrible impact on my self-esteem. I don’t think the negative voice will ever really go away, but when it pipes up, I make a point of trying to find some positive things to affirm myself with.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five years ago when I was in that dark dark place, a friend sat me down and gave me a talking to. I needed to start digging myself out of the dark hole I was in. Every morning I would text them a positive thing about me. Some days it was really hard to find a good thing to say about myself, some days were easier than others.

Each time I sent a positive text to my friend I also copied it into the notes on my phone. When I needed some positive affirmation I could look back and remember good things, good times and the days when I was stronger, better, happier and know that more of those good days were ahead of me.

I no longer send those positive texts and I don’t list the good things each day. There are times when I can feel my mood dipping; my anxiety rising and I know I need to put my positivity pants on again and I make a list. I list the good things I am grateful for. I list the good things about me and my life and I try to balance every negative thing my internal voice throws at me with something good, something better, something incredibly positive about me.

It’s not an easy habit to get into, but if you struggle with your own negative voice then getting into the habit of finding something nice about yourself every morning and writing it down can help you focus a little on the positives when everything may seem quite negative.

It helped me to have someone to text my affirmation to; someone who would come back to me and say I can do better, or that’s not positive enough. It helped me to have someone to be accountable to.

It’s not a magic bullet which will cure depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. Talking positively to yourself is a tool in your armory which can help and did help me. I really do credit this daily habit I kept up for almost a year for helping to drag me out of the absolute depths of my depression.

I’ve looked back at my talking positively list. Here are a few of my positive thoughts and affirmations from that time… 

  • I know I can and will survive what life throws at me.
  • Overthinking and dwelling is bad. I can stop it and I will.
  • I am so lucky to be as loved as I am.
  • It’s a beautiful day and full of possibilities.
  • I can make good things happen to myself.
  • There is nothing to panic about. Everything is ok.
  • People can’t hurt me unless I let them.

How I learned to talk positively to myself every day

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

Where you’re busy working and looking after a family, if you’re anything like me, you’ll put yourself and your well-being in last place most of the time. I’m a spa junkie and a few times a year I’ll book a day and take myself off. Despite this, I know I need to take 10-15 minutes time out each day to keep some semblance of personal sanity in between spa visits.

If I’m being honest, it’s not always possible for me to take a full 15 minutes, sometimes I forget to put me first for just 1/96th of a day and the habit slips.

Part of my problem, and quite possibly yours too, is that I’m available to other people; friends, family, kids, the internet, every waking hour and sometimes in my non-waking hours too. It’s advisable to turn off phones, tablets and laptops at least an hour before bed. Apparently the blue light can stop us winding down properly and interfere with our sleep patterns. I’m terrible at doing this, but I’m going to try a bit harder.

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

Here are my five ways to take some time out of your busy day. 

Meditate. I love to meditate. I don’t sit cross-legged on a rug, I generally make myself comfortable on the sofa, or curl up in bed and listen to a mediation app. Andrew Johnson has a great “Power Nap” meditation which lasts for half an hour and is usually enough to wind me down and then power me back up again. I’ve recently downloaded a couple of other apps – Calm and Headspace which are great for shorter bursts of meditation. Even just five or ten minutes can be enough to save your sanity; it’s important to let a little bit of peace and calm into your day.

Read a book. Finding 15 minutes during your day to sit down with a brew and a book. It’s a much better use of your time than you’d think. Transporting yourself to a fictional place and forgetting the state of the house for a few minutes can leave you refreshed and ready to crack on with whatever is waiting for you on the other side. Reading a book before bed is also an excellent way to wind down and stops you scrolling on your phone.

Have a bath. Have a bath, not just any bath, but one with nice fragrant oils or bubbles. Enjoy it in a room lit by candlelight with the door locked to stop invading children is a thing of beauty. I’ve had that kind of bath less than a handful of times over the past few years, but when I have, it’s always been incredibly relaxing. I have friends who manage this every night and their lives are genuinely enriched by having a peaceful bath before bed. Lucky them hey!

Listen to some music. sometimes I’m too agitated to focus on some meditation, so instead I listen to music. Music has the power to lift me up, calm me down, help me process anger or frustrations; it can make me sing and dance,  and it generally raises my spirits. Choose some music to fit your mood or give you what you need and lose yourself in it. For just 15 minutes sit and appreciate, or dance your socks off around the house. Whatever you need.

Go for a walk. I have a dog, so going for a walk is part and parcel of my day. Getting some fresh air, a bit of exercise and physically removing myself from the laptop and the mess in the kitchen does wonders for my mood. I know it’s not always easy to leave home to go for a walk; but even getting off at an earlier bus stop, or going for a quick walk during your lunch break can work wonders.

These are simple things that with a bit of effort you could fit into your day. So what have I done today to give myself some time out? I read a book for a while after lunch in front of the fire, and tonight I will be falling asleep listening to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Their music sends me off to sleep a treat, I say that in a good way!

How will you take 15 minutes time out today?

Five ways to take some time out of your busy day

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these 28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks!

28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks

Having an anxiety disorder I try to manage it myself. I personally don’t like myself on medication, but I absolutely don’t judge anyone who benefits from it. Different strokes for different folks and all that. What I am very keen on is self care.

I’ve had a lot of therapy and one common thing which has come up is that I understand myself, my problems and my triggers really, really well, which is great when it comes to managing myself more effectively. Understanding and recognising when things are going to start to slide is a big help, and once they do I have a whole raft of self care tricks up my sleeve. They don’t always work, but nine times out of ten I can head an episode of anxiety off at the pass these days.

There are five recognised areas of self care, these are –
  • Physical – sleep, food, exercise, medication etc
  • Spiritual – meditation, prayer, forgiveness
  • Lifestyle – routine, relaxation, time in nature, setting goals
  • People support – family, friends, therapist, church, support group
  • Emotional self care – positive thoughts, writing it out, dealing with and processing emotions such as grief.

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

28 Self Care habits to stop anxiety in its tracks

Ask someone for help. People you love will almost always want to help you, or at least hold your hand a little.

Bake something from scratch that will make you focus on the process of baking. Most baking or cooking from scratch is process driven and needs a little concentration and consideration, it’ll occupy and distract you and you’ll have a cake to eat and share afterwards.

Be in nature, go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air and gentle exercise. Try to find beautiful things to admire, like blossom on the trees, small flowers or fluffy clouds in the blue sky. Take notice of things.

Buy some flowers. Treat yourself to a bunch of your favourite blooms. They don’t have to be expensive. Right now I have a very cheery bunch of daffodils in a jug which smell fantastic and brighten up my home.

Cuddle a human. If you have a human to cuddle, a partner, a child, a parent, a friend, cuddling them can help soothe you. A therapist once told me if you hug someone and your heart is pressed against theirs, the hug has extra love and soothing power. I’ve tried it and I think she might have been right. If you can’t find a human, a cat or dog will be just as good.

Declutter. This has two benefits, you get a tidy house and the act of physically doing something and focusing on the task is great. My anxiety means that over the last few months, my drawers and cupboards have had a lot of attention and it’s quite pleasing to live with some order and no chaos.

Do something you’ve been putting off – grasp the nettle. Sometimes my anxiety is around something I need to do that causes me anxiety. It might be replying to an email or making a phone call, or just tackling something I don’t know how or where to start. Just finding the nerve to just do it can take the anxiety away.

Gardening – getting out in the fresh air is almost always good, digging, planting and creating a nice spot for you to sit in the garden with a cup of tea is never a waste of time.

Get crafting. This is something you can do at home. During a very bad spell a few years ago I took up cross stitch which was great, it really focused me on something other than the inside of my head. I’ve now joined a monthly craft club and sitting for a few hours and working on creating something new gives me one evening a month which I know will be anxiety free.

Go out with friends. Anxiety can make you feel really isolated and alone. Meeting friends for a quick coffee, or going for a night out will help to remind you of the good people around you. Surround yourself with good people if you can, they can make such a difference to you.

Go to bed early. Insomnia, poor sleep patterns and anxiety go hand in hand. Sometimes when I’m anxious I won’t sleep a wink for days. Sometimes all I want to do is sleep. If you can sleep, then an early night and stocking up on a bit of precious rest can help.

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

Go to the seaside. I find being near water very restful. I live by the river, so a walk by the river can help soothe me, a lake is good too, but a walk on the beach, even a blowy wintery beach really calms the mind.

Have a bubble bath. Wind down with a warm bubble bath, light candles and create a restful atmosphere. Close your eyes and relax, or take a good book in with you to keep you company.

Listen to music. Music for most people has the ability to lift moods and put a spring in your step. I find some music empowering, some comforting, some makes me happy and some makes me sad. Make a playlist of your favourite songs and listen to them when you need a mood lift.

Make a plan. Having something to look forward to, be it something big like a holiday, or something small like a night out with friends, can give my chaotic mind something to focus on. Having something I really want to do on the horizon can give me something to focus on and aim for.

Meditate. Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, all of that can help you clear your mind and give you some respite from the constant chatter of anxiety. Look on YouTube, download an app or join a class. There will be something out there that will suit you and help you find a bit of inner calm.

Mindful colouring can be great for adults. Mindful colouring books and magazines are widely available and when my mind is really racing, sitting down for an hour and focusing on colouring in can take my anxiety down a notch or two.

Pamper yourself. Give yourself a manicure, pop on a face mask or book yourself in to a salon for a treatment. It’s easy to neglect yourself, especially if you’re feeling negative about yourself. Giving yourself a little pamper can make you feel a bit brighter about things. If I’m down I will dye my hair a cheery colour and it makes me feel a bit less grey and dowdy.

Remove toxic relationships/people from your life. If someone is having a negative impact on you and your life, then you need to start taking steps to remove them from your life, or minimise contact with them. These people are often the trigger for anxiety and removing the trigger can make a huge difference to your long-term mental health.

Say no. If you find yourself saying yes to people or things because you don’t want to let people down or disappoint them, but really you’d much rather say no. Maybe you need to look at why you’re saying yes and what you are getting out of the situation. Maybe it’s ok for you to say no to a few things. It really is ok for you to put yourself first sometimes.

Sing. You don’t have to get on stage and sing, you can sing in the shower, or in a choir, or at church or a concert. Sing along to your favourite songs, let yourself go and sing, sing, sing. You’ll feel better for belting out a tune.

Change your routine. If you can shake up your routine a bit, do. Walk a different route to work. Do something different during your lunch break. Take an afternoon off and go to a gallery, walk in the park. Find something you’d not normally watch on TV that someone has recommended and give it a try. Step out from what you’d normally do and try something a bit different.

Take a social media break / digital detox. I find at times social media can be a bit overwhelming. If it’s not the contact messages, it’s checking likes, it’s feeling bad about the number of likes, and it’s comparing myself to other people and feeling inadequate. Stepping away for a day, a week or forever can be a really healthy thing to do. Sometimes when it all gets too much I delete the apps on my phone rather than deleting the account. That way I can access things if I want to, but they’re not there on my phone, throwing up notifications and vying for my attention. Stepping away for a few days can help to refocus me on the important things in my life and just gives me space.

How to keep track of your Social Media Followers

Turn off your phone. Being available 24 hours a day is all very well and good, but there are certain times when the phone needs to be turned off or put away. Family mealtimes are a time to focus on each other. I try not to use my phone on the school run, so I can fully focus on my son and what he has to say. Turn it off an hour or so before bed and give yourself time to disconnect before bed. Plus it’ll help you wind down for sleep too!

Watch TV or a film. Turning you mind off and watching something that really interests you for a few hours is great self care. Watching a favourite film can be as comforting as putting on an old pair of slippers. Think about what your favourite film is, which film always makes you feel warm and fuzzy, or helps you process feelings of anger. Which film puts you in your happy place? Dig out the DVD, grab some popcorn and treat yourself.

Wear comfortable comforting clothes. I have some clothes in my wardrobe which make me feel better for wearing them; an especially snuggly cardigan, a nice pair of pyjamas or a special jumper. Equally, I have clothes I wear when I need to feel confident. Clothes maketh the man (or woman), so if you need to, dig out your snuggly cardigan, or your uber-confident jacket and put them on.

Write a letter to someone. My postman mostly delivers bank statements and bills. Last year, fed up with the number of brown envelopes on my doormat, I asked if any of my Twitter followers wanted me to write them a good old-fashioned letter. Five people said they’d like that very much; so I sat down and wrote five chatty letters and popped them in the post. They were thrilled and I was equally thrilled when they wrote back. It was a lovely feeling to correspond with someone, like the good old days. What was lovely was to sit down and think of lots of nice, happy, chatty things to talk about it my letters. It helped me focus on the good and the positive. Having a pen-pal is a wonderful thing.

Tell people what they mean to you. I’m a lover. I’m always telling people what they mean to me. Friends and family get told I love them all the time. People who help me get thanked and told how much they’ve made my life easier. It’s not fake, it’s genuinely meant. Sometimes I feel like no one cares about me or appreciates what I do, so leading by example, I tell people what they mean to me. Someone has to start spreading the love, why not let that start with you?

Do you have any self care habits which help you?

28 Self Care habits which can stop anxiety in its tracks

What does being kind to yourself look like?

When my Dad died (a year ago today) everyone said I needed to be kind to myself. I don’t really know what being kind to yourself looks like. I guess self kindness is a form of self care. Doing things you like doing and which make you feel good, cutting yourself some slack and giving yourself time to come to terms with things and to heal.

For the last year I’ve been in a bit of a fug. I feel a bit like I’m in a plastic box and I can see and hear the real world going on around me; but it’s all muffled and I feel slightly apart from everything. It would be easy for me to just let the loss of my Dad overwhelm me, but I have my son and I don’t have the time or the space to indulge in intense grief. I just take it in small bite sized chucks. I nibble at it every day; like a giant cake of grief, just eating a few crumbs at a time. This grief cake will take a lifetime to consume.

Last night as I lay sleepless in my bed, I was thinking, when I’ve lost other family members I was broken hearted. I grieved for them and I still miss them and probably always will, but losing my Dad has really felt like losing a limb. He was such a big, important part of my life, not in an unhealthy way, we just really got each other and he was one of my best friends.

“Be kind to yourself Jane”

What does being kind to me look like? I’ve worked a little bit less. I’ve turned some things down I knew would stress me out or I wouldn’t enjoy. I have made more of an effort; not just to spend time with my son, but to spend quality time with him. I’ve just booked a holiday for the two of us in August. We are going on a family holiday with my husband too, but he can’t get the extra time off work and I just want to spend time with and have fun with my boy.

We got a dog to distract us from the grief. She’s here to keep me company at home when I’m working and to give me an excuse to stop working and go out for a walk with her. She’s also a pretty good listener and gives great cuddles.

Going away seems to feature quite strongly in my being kind to myself plan. Before Christmas I went on a spa weekend with some friends and we enjoyed it so much we are going again this weekend. I’ve a few other breaks booked in for the rest of the year. Having something to look forward to seems to help me get through the difficult days.

Despite my frequent weekends away and other holidays I’ve got booked, I feel like I hardly go out. My social life has almost ground to a halt and I hardly see friends or go out and have fun. This is partly because a lot of my friends don’t live locally, and those that do are busy people with busy lives. I’m also finding it hard to climb out of my shell. I’m slightly worried about how infrequently I see and speak to people in the real world.

I don’t know how I feel about my lack of a social life; it’s probably one of the reasons why I feel less like me than I have done in a while. Life is fairly humdrum. I’m busy being a wife and a mother. I hardly ever leave the house. I hardly see my friends. If I think about it a bit too hard I realise that I’m losing some of the colour and vitality from my everyday life.

I’m not sure where that all fits with the being kind to myself thing. I know at some point I need to start going out again and having a good time. Maybe I’ve only just got enough emotional energy to get me through the day and not enough to power me through the evenings too. Is hibernating being kind or cruel to myself? I’m not sure.

A year on I’m more determined than ever to be kind to myself. I need to find whatever makes me happy and to do more of that. I think we all need to learn how to be kinder and more considerate of ourselves.

How can you be kind to yourself?

How can you be kind to yourself? What does being kind to yourself look like today and what will that kindness look like tomorrow? Why does it take a death or something seriously life changing for us to stop and be kind to ourselves? Do me a favour, do something nice for yourself today. Treat yourself to whatever feeds your soul and makes your heart glad. You deserve it.

What does being kind to yourself look like?

Taking care of me – why I need some self care

Since my dad died a month ago I’ve been trying to process everything and find a way forward. It’s all become a bit too much for me this last week or so. I know I need to have a word with myself and get myself to a tolerable place before the school holidays start. Rolling around in a mixture of grief and self pity whilst looking after a lively five year old do not make happy bedfellows. Self care is the order of the day.

I have a week to sort my head out as much as I can, so here’s my self care plan:

Stop constantly refreshing Twitter. Take a social media break as best I can. Social Media, Twitter especially is a real life saver, but sometimes I need to step away and stop obsessing.

Go out with friends. I have excellent friends and they shower me with love, support and sarcasm. They will put me in a different headspace and help me process things and move on a bit.

Cuddle my boys. There’s nothing quite as healing as holding someone you love and who loves you right back really hard for as long as possible. Hugs help a lot, so I’ll be going in for them as often as I can get them from as many people who offer them. I may leave the hugee with a slightly damp shoulder. Sorry.

Sense and Sensibility. I have many favourite films and right now I have a very deep yearning to close the curtains and watch Sense and Sensibility and cry my little heart out. For some reason quotes from that film keep popping into my head and I think I just need to spend a couple of hours watching Alan Rickman quietly break his heart and mend it again over Kate Winslet.

Writing. I often (much like I am now) write my feelings out of my head and onto my iPad. Sometimes they end up on my blog, sometimes they get deleted. Either way it gets those thoughts and feelings out of me and it does help me feel better to articulate my emotions, which can only be a good thing.

Sleep. I hardly sleep anyway so it will do me no harm at all to aim for some decent restorative kip, even if it means taking pills to achieve that. I usually get around 3 hours a night and I’d like to try for 5. Anything above that would be something of a miracle. No, I don’t know how I function either.

Work. I continue to dabble around the edges of work. I’m freelance so that’s a luxury I have, I can’t really afford that luxury but for the sake of my sanity this is how it is. I’m pickier than ever because I’ve only got so much inner battery life in me each day. Work is useful, it occupies me and gives me some structure to my day, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself when I’m already feeling pretty overwhelmed by life.

Food. Well this is the best diet ever. I’m either not eating at all or eating tiny portions of stuff. Not great stuff, not overly nutritious stuff, but I’m trying to eat something every day.

Plan nice things. I’ve got a couple of nice things in the diary coming up. Again I don’t want to overwhelm myself but it’s good to have things to look forward to. Like my best friend coming to stay and us making a dent in the case of red wine I’ve got sat gathering dust.

Plan nothing. I also recognise that importantly I need time by myself to recharge, regroup and gather strength for whatever lies ahead.

Times of emotional crisis of this magnitude are thankfully rare. It’s times like this when true friends and the people who really do care step up and offer support, either by sending the odd message of support, taking me out for a pint or offering a shoulder they don’t mind getting cried on.

I’ve been lucky that some excellent people have been there for me and helped carry me from one day to the next, but I’ve found the odd person who you think will be there for me through whatever and they’ve ditched me. That’s human nature, it’s a particularly crappy side of human nature, but it happens. 

Over the coming days, weeks and months I’ll be focusing on what is best for me and my little family. I’m running on empty, but I hope some self care will help me gather the strength to continue and return to a version of my old self again.

self care

Flower Essences for Emotional Well-Being

I love my local Holistic Health Centre, Healthyspirit. I’ve had a few treatments there, most recently I had the amazing Warm Bamboo Massage, but I go regularly for juices and delicious veggie lunches at their Hub Vegetarian Cafe and to buy candles, supplements and health food from their shop. Last week I booked myself in for a Flower Essences Consultation, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I’d read a little about the power of flower essences and was intrigued.

I met up with Sharon Curran in the Crystal Room at Healthyspirit. Sharon is a wonderful, calming woman who really (really, really) listens and puts you at ease immediately. She told me a bit about the origins of flower essences and about the work of Dr Edward Bach. He discovered and explored the power of flower essences, leading him to develop his famous range of essences which are widely available today.

During the session we talked at length about what my problems were, we discussed my physical health and how that made me feel (ruined spine, chronic pain, I feel very tired and almost hopeless at times) and my mental and emotional health (dealing with trauma, anxiety and depression, alongside my feelings of incredibly low self worth). Sharon listened to everything I said, we explored some areas in more depth so she could find the right combination of essences for me (she had over 300 in her trusty box).

As a result of our consultation Sharon prescribed me a blend of the following essences:

Grass of Parnassus
This essence strengthens your ability to stand in your full power without feeling apologetic, embarrassed or unworthy. It helps you to see your innate beauty and purity despite whatever else you may have come to believe about yourself.

Inner Child – Self Worth
For loving and valuing yourself unconditionally. This essence will help you develop more self-worth, perhaps by shining a light on where you are being unkind or unloving towards yourself so you can transform your beliefs/habits and thus help you to become more of who you really are, easily and effortlessly.

Gorse
This will help ease feelings of hopelessness and despair to promote new hope and vision for the future.

Olive
This helps those who feel that their reserves of energy are completely depleted and that they have nothing left to carry on with. It helps to restore mental vitality.

Star of Bethlehem
This essence helps to transform shock or trauma of any kind, whether immediate or in the past. It assists the body on an energetic level to mobilise its self-healing abilities.

Sharon made me up a small bottle of my unique prescription of essences. There was enough for around a fortnight for me to take three times a day. The Flower Essences are there to support my emotional wellbeing. The essences are apparently very subtle but very potent in their effect and can touch deep places within your being, helping to balance and restore mind, emotions and spirit.

Sharon is an incredibly inspirational woman, I left the session feeling full of light and love, not a feeling I’ve been familiar with for a long time. During the consultation I shed a few tears, but I feel they were cathartic tears because someone had listened to me and understood me. Since the consultation I have been dutifully taking my prescription, I’ve loved myself a little bit more and I’m trying to let the light into the dark places.

I’d love a series of sessions with Sharon, I’m planning to book another Flower Essences Consultation with her soon. She also offers a bespoke soul coaching service for women which incorporates coaching, mentoring and healing using flower essences. She told me I was a beautiful child of the universe and I am.

Flower essences

For more information about Flower Essences Consultations at Healthyspirit visit their website. You can follow Sharon and read her inspirational tweets on Twitter @SoulCoachSharon.

Prioritising Me

I’ve been pretty good lately, my mood has been stable, there have even been moments of actual joy, happiness and hope. I know, get me! I feel more in love with my family every day and they bring me so much happiness and light, but with light there is always dark.

Today my anxiety peaked. It’s been a really busy month so far with Christmas preparations, doing my usual freelance work, blogging (Blogmas anyone?) and I’ve got a part time job in a small, independent and extra lovely toy shop. The downside of all this busyness is I’m not getting much time for me, my head needs a bit of breathing space sometimes, I need quiet, I need time just to recharge and refresh myself, this hasn’t been happening.

December has been full of lovely things to do as a family and as well as numerous nice trips out I’m busy literally every evening. My days are full, my nights are too and I’m dying for a few hours to myself where I’m not working or prepping something or getting ready to go out. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for being busy, I’m not.

My anxiety kicked off today at a really stupid moment. Sat in a room full of bloggers, some of whom I know pretty well, the low level anxiety I had that morning suddenly ramped up and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t speak, move or make eye contact with anyone, so I picked up my phone and made myself look really busy. I wasn’t, but it was better than sitting there staring into space hoping the chair would swallow me up,

It worked temporarily and then I was given a craft task, so I got on with that, focussed on the small details I needed to complete what I was doing. Folding, cutting, sticking, curling, sewing, all of that, it pulled me out of myself a bit, gave me a focus and all was ok.

Session over, I got the bus home. The anxiety started tightening in my chest again, a voice in my head telling me I’m bad, useless, a terrible, really terrible person, I’m not, I just need the world to shut the hell up for a bit. So I turned my personal Twitter off my phone and I won’t switch it back on until I can breathe again.

I love Twitter, it’s often been my lifeline, but now, tonight, tomorrow probably I need a break. The social noise needs to stop and I need to look after myself, nip this in the bud, it can be done, I know it can. I can’t stop the busyness, but I can turn off some of the social noise for a while and I can snatch moments of quiet here and there. Most importantly I can be kind to myself, something usually way down on my list of priorities.

So I’m sorry friends if I let you down this week, I will try my best to be everything you normally expect of me, and be the places you want me to be. But right now I’m prioritising my mental health, because I absolutely refuse to ruin another Christmas for my family. I hope you’ll understand. It’s not you. It’s me. Sorry.

How positive thinking turned my life around

Low self esteem sucks. Feeling down on yourself the whole time and having that negative voice in your head pointing out all the bad things about you takes its toll. My negative voice tells me all kinds of “home truths”. It tells it like it is and is brutally honest. Whenever I tell someone else what this negative voice is saying they usually give me a whole list of reasons why it’s lying to me. Over the years I’ve worked to silence that negative voice. How? Through positive thinking and positive talk. Here’s how I did it.

A wise old man once sat me down and gave me a talking to. I needed to stop listening to the lies my negative voice told me and I need to drown it out with positivity. Every morning before the day got started I was to write down three positive things about me and my life. It could be about anything, including little wins I’d had in the previous 24 hours. Slowly this started to work. Slowly I stopped absolutely hating everything about me and my life and slowly I began to see positive things and make positive changes.

Positive thinking

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve decided to write down ten things which are good about me. A little bit of positive thinking never did anyone any harm, and for me forms part of my daily self care routine. Focus on the positives and less on what I think is bad. How’s that for real positive thinking?

♥     I am funny and quite quick witted.
♥     I’m creative and can think on my feet.
♥     I am a good mum. No, I’m a brilliant mum.
♥     I’m a good friend.
♥     I am very caring, I love to take care of people.
♥     I have nice, dark, soulful eyes.
♥     I’m honest and open.
♥     I have decent legs.
♥     I’m brave and stronger than I give myself credit for.
♥     I know I can and will survive what life throws at me.

It’s not all positivity. I could write a list of negatives more than twice the length of this little list, but I wont, because who wants and actual list of everything they think or imagine is wrong with them?

Positive thinking has changed my life. What I do can’t work for everyone, but it can’t hurt either. I know that drowning out my negative voice has helped me to step away from antidepressant medication (under supervision).

Positive thinking has helped me see more good in my life than ever before. I don’t skip through life carefree and bursting with positivity, but there is more of a balance between the good and the bad. If I find myself slipping, I just turn to my notebook of positive things and good memories and I’m reminded that I am ok. That I am worthy and I am valued and valuable.

Read more about how my low self esteem effects me here.

How positive thinking turned my life around