Why Having A Declutter Can Benefit Your Mental Wellbeing

I am a firm believer that our surroundings have an impact on our minds and mental wellbeing. There are many benefits that having a declutter can have for you and your mental health. Here are some that I thought of; 

  1. Figuring out what’s important. Being materialistic isn’t a trait I’d strive to have. In fact, I’d much rather be the opposite. I think we live in a very wasteful world (which is an entirely different subject) but for me, I have over the years found that I brought things unnecessarily for those items to just sit and create clutter. I want my children to grow up finding the joy in simplicity. Less is often more. When you take away a person’s physical possessions, it is then that they realise what is important in their lives. I want to get out in nature more as that boosts mental wellbeing. I want to spend quality time with family rather than everyone busting boredom with new gadgets or toys all of the time. By having a de- clutter, you figure out what is most important in life. 
  2. Sparking Joy- Marie Kondo. If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo, then I highly suggest looking her up. I watched a few episodes of her documentary on Netflix. Now, I’m not about to sit down on the floor and thank my house as that’s not my style, but I do believe in the element of joy. Joy is important in our lives. It’s important that what we have in our lives, be it people or material possessions, spark joy. Marie Kondo suggests lifting an item up and asking yourself if it sparks joy. When you get in the practise of doing this, you figure out what you really want and need in your home. 
  3. Keep on top of housework easier. A massive bonus of having a regular declutter, is it makes it easier each day and each week to keep on top of your housework. I follow The Organised Mum Method on Instagram and have joined the Facebook group. Instead of spending your days cleaning constantly, Gemma recommends only spending 30 minutes cleaning a day to keep on top of it all. She dedicates each day to a different room, where you can tackle it within 30 minutes. I think this makes housework become manageable, less overwhelming and she makes cleaning fun and bite sized.
  4. Less clutter in your mind. Whenever my physical space is cluttered and I’m behind on housework, it has a link to my mental clutter. I’m always losing things, or creating never ending lists in my head of things I need to do. When I’ve had a good declutter, it helps to clear out my home and my head. I know where things are and I create lists for my jobs which I can tick off and accomplish each day. This To Do/ To Buy Pad would be perfect at keeping on top of your tasks.
  5. Keeping busy. Having a declutter keeps you busy and active. It’s a good activity to do to stop you from dwelling on thoughts in your head. It’s a practical positive step to looking after your wellbeing. Keeping busy is good when you spend a lot of time ruminating- put some time aside each day for worry time and then spend your free time giving the place a declutter. 
  6. Doing good for others by giving to charity. This will leave you feeling good about yourself. Need more ideas on how to boost your self esteem? Try my simple challenge here.
  7. Being organised. Being decluttered helps you to be organised which has a huge mental health boost for your brain. I always feel so much better when I’m being organised and I feel overwhelmed whenever I fall behind. 
  8. Feeling good about your surroundings and yourself. By having an organised, tidy and non cluttered space, you will feel good about your home. You will feel positive and good about your surroundings which in turn will allow you to feel boosted and start to feel good about other areas of your life. 

These are 8 benefits of having a declutter. I aim to declutter each room twice a year. So I focus on one room a month, and it usually doesn’t take too long to achieve. But The Organised Mum Method also has a great way of managing the deeper cleans. By doing it regularly, it helps me to keep on top of everything and the home never feels too cluttered or bad. I feel positive about my home, organised and that in turns allows each day to go that bit smoother. 


I highly recommend having a declutter. Use a handy guide or book to log your process. This Cluttered Mess To Organised Success Book looks amazing!

For 12 Fun Ideas To Help Boost Happiness, click here.


Do you have a frequent declutter? What would you change about your housework routine if you could? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you. 

This article contains affiliate links, if you click on this and buy the items, you will not be charged anymore but I will receive a small commission to help with the running of this blog.

Boost Your Self Esteem With This Simple Challenge.

When you suffer with a mental health illness, such as depression or anxiety, it is easy to think negatively all of the time. This then overspills into how we feel about ourselves. When I was at the height of my suffering with anxiety, I would always think badly of myself. I thought I was a failure, I felt useless, unworthy. I didn’t think people liked or wanted me. I didn’t feel good enough. At anything. I would be negative about everything situation I would encounter, I’d worry something would always go wrong.

Changing your mindset.

The most important thing to do in this situation is to change your mindset. Which is easier said than done. But, once you start to do it, it becomes easier and it transfers to other areas of your mind. Your thinking patterns slowly then change from negative to positive. How can you do this?

I wrote in a previous blog post; one small thing you can do each day to help your anxiety. It was about writing something positive, or a couple of positive things that had happened that day. I challenged you to do this everyday for a week. If you missed this challenge, then go and do it for the next 7 days and see how you feel at the end of it. I would then recommend doing this for a month to see how you feel. You will soon find that you pick up on the small things in the everyday and you will begin to feel lighter, the days will be filled with more joy.

Getting yourself a Health and Wellbeing Journal will help you to keep track of these challenges and see how much you have grown and improved.

Try this challenge to boost your self-esteem.

Well, I have another challenge for you now. This one is all about self-reflection. I want you to grab a pen and paper, or your laptop, or notes on your phone and write a list. I want you to fill this list with qualities you like about yourself. It could be to do with your personality, something you’re good at, your values or morals. Start writing 4. Then tomorrow add 2 more. And so on. Aim to get to 25 within a month. Then see how you feel about yourself. Soon you will find that not only do your days feel lighter, but you start to feel better about yourself.

You will realise, like me, that you’re not worthless. You’re liked. You’re wanted. You’re you and you are unique. Someone’s qualities will be entirely different to your own, and not because you are different, but because what you value as a quality will be different. Start to believe in yourself, start to build up your own self esteem based on what you value. It’s a small challenge that could well start to change your thinking patterns from negative to positive. Believe in yourself. Let me know how you get on. I’ve listed what I believe are my qualities below. I’d love to see how you get on with this challenge so do pop a comment in the comment box, or send a message on the Facebook account when you’ve done.

A list of my qualities.

  • Kind
  • Grateful
  • Good listener
  • Always make an effort
  • Caring
  • Empathetic
  • Enjoy the little things
  • Open
  • Honest
  • Organised
  • Thoughtful/ Considerate
  • Simple- Minded
  • Good humour
  • Chatty
  • Motivated
  • Clean/ tidy
  • Good baker
  • Loving/ Warm heart
  • Sensitive
  • Traditionalist
  • Cosy/ Welcoming
  • Brave
  • Strong
  • Quirky
  • Selfless

What you can do next.

Now that you have written a list on your qualities, you need to maintain this self belief and keep topping up and boosting your self esteem. Take one word a day for the next month and focus on that word. Note down anytime you do something that is related; so for example…. I believe that I am a good baker. So for one day, I will bake my family a treat, I will hopefully hear how they loved it and I will enjoy the process, taste and result of this bake. It will reinforce my belief that I am a good baker. Another day, I will focus on the word ‘Loving’, for that day, I will note down moments where I am loving. Whether that’s being supportive of my family, friends or giving lots of cuddles to my children. This will reinforce that belief that I have a loving quality.

All of this reinforcement will result in a higher self esteem and I will gain more self worth. Therefore, reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression and boosting my overall mental health and wellbeing.

If you want to work more on your self-esteem, I highly recommend this book; ‘Overcoming Low-Self Esteem‘.

Overcoming anxiety and depression.

Overcoming anxiety and depression is a long journey, but you can and will beat this. No matter what mental health illness you are struggling with, give this challenge a go and see how you feel in a months time. Don’t forget to give the previous challenge a go too. Keep following this blog for further tips and help on dealing with this terrible disease and for more self help. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (Links are above) as I post more regularly to those. Let me know how you got on with the challenges in the comment box.

If you need to start tackling anxiety, then check out my post on how to begin tacking anxiety.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase an item, it will cost you no extra but I will get a small commission to help with the running of this blog.

12 Resources You Need To Help Understand Mental Health.

It’s been over 5 years since I really started to struggle with anxiety. Those 5 years have flown by. Some days, weeks, months and even years have been harder than others. But I have always stayed determined that anxiety will not beat me. I will not let it have control over the whole of my life. A massive way of helping with this, has been to research mental health and anxiety from home.

Where can you gain knowledge on mental health and anxiety from?

Lots of places! Mental health and anxiety are no different from the other topics that you’ve had to study over the course of your lifetime, from Shakespeare, photosynthesis and media studies. You can research mental health on the internet (be aware of what sites you use and make sure they are credible and the information has been well researched), books, podcasts and factual videos. So what have I found to be useful?

Books.

I have only read a few books on mental health so far, but I have read a few on mindfulness too which has also helped with anxiety symptoms. I am always reading something new that will help with mental health and anxiety. Here are a few books I would recommend so far;

  1. DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh. This book helped me to learn all about anxiety and how it works. I learned so much about the brain and its functions. It also goes through the symptoms of anxiety and breaks them down with the aim that you stop being fearful of those symptoms happening but more importantly it teaches an amazing technique to help calm you down during a panic attack. This technique you can implement whenever your anxiety is rising. I could not recommend this book enough.
  2. Mental Health Wisdom: Developing Understanding & Empathy by Antony Simpson. This is a perfect starting point for anyone that wants to get clued up on mental health. It goes through the many different mental health illnesses, symptoms and has so much invaluable knowledge and wisdom embedded in it. It then goes on to list some tips on how to manage and look after your mental health and well- being. I thoroughly recommend purchasing this book. I was lucky and had this book gifted to me by the Author in return for an honest and impartial review. This review is of my own opinions and thoughts. I genuinely believe that this book will teach you a lot about mental health. I love the ideas throughout on how to top up your mental health and wellbeing. The pages on the seven essentials to be mentally and emotionally healthy and happy are especially useful for those suffering.
  3. Mindfulness in Eight Weeks: The 8 week plan to clear your mind and calm your life. If you want an extensive place to start learning about mindfulness and practising it daily in your life, then this is the book to start with. It is full of absolutely everything you need to learn about mindfulness. Practising mindfulness is shown to help improve your mental wellbeing.
  4. Like a Queen by Constance Hall. Although this isn’t aimed at people to tackle mental health, this book was invaluable. It had me laughing, tearing up and laughing some more. It was great to realise that we are all in the same boat and that we should all be less judgement and show kindness.

Apps.

We are in the age of technology. Most people find it far easier to pick up their phone these days than to open and read a book. Thankfully, you can get some great apps that are really helpful when it comes to helping with mental health issues. What have I discovered or been reccomended?

  1. 7 Cups: Online Therapy for Anxiety and Depression. This app helps you to connect with trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists. So, if you need to reach out and connect with someone, they are there right at the other side of your phone. I think this is great for anyone that doesn’t feel confident talking over the phone or in person about anxiety or depression.
  2. Headspace: Meditation. This is a great place where you can begin to start mediation. It takes you through the process step by step. It helps to establish calm and wellbeing in your life.

For more recommendations on apps to use to help promote healthy mental health, check out this link.

Resources for Mental Health.

We are at a time where, thankfully, mental health is being spoken about a lot more these days. There are heaps of resources to help you through a trying and testing time in life. Type into Amazon ‘mental health’, ‘mindfulness’ or ‘self help’ and you will find a ton of books dedicated to those that will help you. Do the same on your app store and you will find free and paid apps that you can download. Not only is it spoken about more now, but there are loads of resources and charities that are helping end the stigma and offer help with these draining and horrendous illnesses. Here are some websites worth checking out:

  1. Time to Change.
  2. Mental Health Foundation.
  3. NHS England.
  4. Mental Health UK.
  5. Mind; Dorset.
  6. Samaritans.

This month is Mental Health Awareness month. So if you or a loved one is suffering with your mental health, then looking at the above resources will help to gain knowledge and understanding in the area. It will not only give you wisdom, but it will also help give tips and help so that you can help yourself or your loved one make it through this difficult and testing time. Next week is Mental Health Awareness week. Show your support by sharing this blog, or any of the above resources on your social media pages. Spread the information like wildfire. Open up about it, as it’s extremely important to talk about mental health. You never know, you could be saving a life.

If you need somewhere to start, then my post on How to begin tackling anxiety should be of some help.

Mental health awareness month is May.

Keep an eye out next week for my very first post with Dorset Mind. It’s on a topic I think we can all relate to; Body Image. In the mean time, I would appreciate it if you could share or like this post on here and on social media. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter too (links above).

If you have any questions, then please leave a comment below and get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on these and order the items, it will not cost you anymore but I will receive a small commission which helps to keep the running of this blog.

10 Ideas To Help You Get Motivated

Recently I went on a lovely week holiday with my family. We spent the week exploring, sitting on the beach surrounded by beautiful scenery and having plenty of family time. I’m lucky to be close to my parents and siblings so a week away with them was exactly what was needed. There’s something about getting away from the mundane everyday routine that helps to reset and refresh you. I barely had any chores to do that week. No lists of jobs to accomplish each day. I just had to embrace the holiday. So I did. But coming home was difficult.

Feeling Blue.

It always is difficult. I always get the post holiday blues and nothing ever prepares me for them. Even though I get them each year, I still struggle. Which got me thinking, my life isn’t plain sailing. Even though I am doing a lot better with my anxiety, I still get my low moods. I still get my bad days and weeks. So, what motivates me to getting into a better mind frame and get on with everyday mundane life?

Here is a list of what motivates me with some ideas on how this can help motivate you.

  • My children. The thought of my children always motivates me. I either want the absolute best for them, or I want them to be proud of me. When life is dragging me down, I look to them and remember that I want them to have the best childhood and as many adventures as possible. I try to make everything into an adventure and we use a countdown board to the next special date that we’re looking forward to, whether that’s the next family member’s birthday or a weekend away. If you have a special someone in your life, focus on them and some special activities you can do together.
  • Music. Upbeat, positive and motivational music always gets me going. If I’m having a down morning and finding it hard to get on with my jobs for the day, I always choose an uplifting play list on Spotify. Listening to music helps to get my rhythm going. Try making a special playlist with all of the songs that get you motivated so you can listen to it whenever you need to.
  • Lists. I love writing lists and then ticking items off. They hugely help to motivate me. I feel so accomplished when I see chores and jobs crossed off, this keeps me going. Treat yourself to a list pad and start to organise your to-dos onto paper.
  • Fresh starts. A fresh start, such as a new season helps to cleanse my mind and allow me to think of new beginnings, which usually helps to make me feel clearer and more positive. Next time the seasons change, allow it to be a cleanse of your life and try to think of it as a new beginning.
  • Taking care of my physical health. When I eat healthily, exercise and get into a good routine of self-care, it really helps to look after me mentally as well. Try eating a more healthy and varied diet and make sure to get in some regular weekly exercise and see how you feel after a month.
  • Inspirational, positive quotes. Look at my blog post on quotes here and how they help with my anxiety. This Success and Inspiration in a Jar looks amazing and would make a great gift for someone too.
  • The seaside, beach and ocean always helps. There is something so calming about looking out at the sea and feeling a sense of immense stillness. The world is huge, and looking out at the sea makes problems seem that little bit smaller. Take yourself on a stroll down to the beach, whether thats sunbathing in the day time or strolling alongside the stars and the sea in the evening. It’ll help to boost your mental health and leave you more motivated the next day.
  • Scenery, countryside and the fresh air. Another place I love to go to is the countryside, I love looking out at beautiful scenery and feeling at peace. Sometimes looking out at the countryside, it reminds me of how beautiful the world and life can be. Getting out in fresh air is really good for the soul too. Whenever you’re next feeling in a slump, go for a walk with some scenic surroundings- even if it’s raining! It’ll help to pull you out of the slump.
  • Family weekends and being peaceful. Family weekends and being around those that I am nearest to always manages to calm my anxiety down and help me to feel boosted and more positive. Family is the place where unconditional love and support resides, try spending some time with yours and see how a peaceful weekend can help you.
  • Good friends. I am very lucky to have good friends around me. It’s true what they say, about having a circle around you that reflects your best interests and values. Since I have been through counselling, I am now more careful with who I choose to have as friends. I want positive, healthy friendships. Read my blog post on how to tell if your friendships are healthy here. Now I have a positive, healthy circle around me and I know that these friends want me to win and succeed and they help to pick me up whenever I am feeling down.

Practising Motivational Ideas To Form A Habit

By recognising when you need a motivational lift, you can try a few different ideas to figure out what helps you. By practising one of these and making one become a daily habit, or weekly habit, it pushes to make sure goals and accomplishments happen. By being motivated, it helps to manage anxiety and depression and boost your mental wellbeing.

What helps to motivate you? Let me know in the comments below.

A trip to the seaside will help to boost your wellbeing and calm your anxiety.

This article contains affiliate links, if you click on these and purchase an item, it does not cost you anymore, but I will receive a small commission to help maintain the running of this blog.

10 Ways To Help Keep Anxiety At Bay This Christmas

The festive season can be the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. From the financial strain of buying presents, attending events and social gatherings and treating your loved ones, to the social anxieties the festive season and all of the parties brings. It certainly requires some strength from within. So, how do you keep anxiety at bay this Christmas?

  1. Say no if you need to. If an event or party is giving you more grief than what it’s worth, then just say no. I don’t mean shutting yourself away from the rest of the World and pushing people away, but really question the situation that is making you worry; is it worth it? This time of the year there are always events and situations that we push ourselves to be in and yet really we gain nothing from it but our own torture and upset. Learn to gracefully say no but don’t worry about letting people down, you do need to look after number one.
  2. Don’t put yourself under financial strain. If you can’t afford to do or buy something, then just don’t do it or buy it. People will understand if they are genuine people in your life. As for children, they far more appreciate the presence of a parent rather than the presents.
  3. Make time for yourself. It is so essential to press pause on plans and life to take care of yourself, especially this time of the year. If you fancy binge watching that Netflix show you’ve had on your list for months, or fancy a luscious bath or just want to curl up on your bed and read a book then please do that. Set a date with yourself for yourself.
  4. Keep a balance with food. Yes indulge, it is Christmas time after all! And don’t feel bad about it- this festive period and the indulgant food only comes round once a year so go for it. But, keep a balance- keep eating those healthy veggies and fruit because the vitamins and goodness from them really will help boost your mental health. Also, make sure you keep hydrated and drink plenty.
  5. If you’re currently in treatment for CBT or counselling, then do keep up with your treatment and sessions. Although it is a manic time of year, it is vital to keep yourself and your mental health as a priority and the more you do the techniques you’re taught, the easier life will become. You may even find the techniques help with the situations you’re dealt with this time of year.
  6. Don’t stress the small stuff. If you are busting a gut and feeling drained to try and get every little thing done for everyone, then just stop. Stop stressing; your friends and family will not judge you at all and will still love you dearly.  Sometimes, you just have to breathe and let it all just be. Everything will fall into place. If you constantly stress about the small things then the holidays will fly by and you won’t have enjoyed a single moment of it.
  7. The simple things in life will bring you the most joy. You’ll soon realise that actually, it’s the small, simple things in life that will create happiness for you. That little walk down the road, looking at the twinkling Christmas lights in the houses you past, or the smell of the festive drink from the coffee shop. Look for the small subtle things in each day and the magic of Christmas will soon shine through.
  8. Create reminders. I find that this time of year requires endless lists of everything you have to remember. From sending those Christmas cards, swapping presents, attending social events and school events. When I’m stressed, I end up almost going into survival instinct mode, where I just focus on what I have to do there and then to get by. This can be detrimental when it comes to forgetting things. So, as soon as something pops into your head, set a reminder on your phone for when you need it to go off. These reminders have saved my butt several times over the past few weeks.
  9. Seek comfort in your close ones. You’ll find that friends and family are also feeling the strain of this time of the year, so grab a coffee with them and have a rant and a rave. Offloading and bonding over it all with those you love will give you that warm cosy feeling that this time of year is all about.
  10. Remember it will all soon be over. As hard as the holidays are, they fly by. And actually for me, it is my favourite time of the year, despite how overwhelming they can be. That’s why I am going to be letting go of what doesn’t matter and holding on to those small, simple and subtle moments that this wonderful time of year brings. I am going to be festive, fun and find the happiness in the little moments. I am not going to let this overwhelm me and try to people please so much that I forget myself; so remember- it doesn’t last long. Blink and it’ll all soon be over.

What do you dread about this time of year? What do you look forward to? Have you got any Holiday mental health boosting tips to share? Pop a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you.

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I will not be blogging over the Christmas holidays, as I will be spending every last minute with my family and just having a well deserved break from it all. However, I will be back at the end of next month with a new post for you all. In the mean time, do follow us on social media; the links are above, for more mini doses of Me Against Myself. Thank you. Until next time, I wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Anxious Free New Year!

Why I think it’s important to be open about mental health.

Just over a year ago now, I remember having a conversation with one of my closest friends. She knew all about my anxiety and how it affected my life. She knew how I had been dealing with it and what I was doing to try and overcome it. I was still at that point, where some of the close people around me knew that I suffered, but I kept it under wraps. In fact, if I didn’t tell anyone that I suffered with anxiety, no one would ever have known. It was a secret I was good at keeping.

But, this secret, it was one that was itching to get out. I’ve always been an ‘over sharer’, I’m sure a lot of my friends don’t need to know half of what I tell them. But this was different, all around us things were happening to emphasise what a MASSIVE problem mental health issues were becoming. Male suicide rates were at an all time high and it seemed that every month, we were losing a celebrity to the terrible disease. I was already blogging; my other blog Tiny Toes and Big Adventures was my outlet. I got to write about something that I enjoyed the most in life; being a parent.

Why I decided to speak out.

My children were growing up and I wasn’t sure of how much I wanted to share about them online anymore. There was something else that I was just itching to write about. My secret. The one I was ashamed of. My anxiety.

I remember the conversations with my friend so well, I am so grateful for her support and her encouraging words to just run with it. So I did. I ran with it and here I am a year later, still writing about it. It became clear that it wasn’t talked about enough, in a time that it needs to be.

If everyone was more open about mental health and spoke out about it, perhaps none of us that suffer would feel so alone. The support I have gotten through writing this blog has been amazing. The comments on the posts have been inspiring, brave, open and so honest. There’s been no judgement. We are all the same, we all suffer the same. And it turns out, a lot of us are suffering with our mental health and need more support, more knowledge and less judgement with the matter.

Why open up about mental health?

If we shared our mental health stories as much as we share our slimming world meals on Instagram, the stigma would decrease and the support would increase. Instead of thinking that someone is ‘attention seeking’ or ‘jumping on the trend of depression’, we should actually be open and welcome to the idea, that it’s ok to talk about- in fact- it’s IMPORTANT to talk about it.

Not only would we all feel less alone, maybe it would encourage someone on the brink of the edge to actually go and seek help. We all talk about our physical ailments, but what about our mental ones? We are encouraged to go and get our smear tests, cop a feel and if we’re experiencing frequent headaches- we go and get that looked at. But why are we so reluctant to seek help over our mental wellbeing? It’s just as important, if not more important. Once we are in a healthy emotional and mental state, we are better at looking after ourselves physically.

Set yourself a challenge for mental health awareness week.

There are so many reasons why I think it’s important to be open about mental health. It’s important because it’s been shamed for too long now and too many lives have already been lost to it. It’s time to speak up and speak out about it. You gain support from friends, family strangers, you encourage others to speak out about it and be open. You could even save a life.

Mental health awareness week is the 13th May. Challenge yourself to be open about it.

I am so glad that I started this blog. I hope that my posts inspire someone else to speak out, or at least to get help. I am so grateful to be able to now contribute written posts to Dorset Mind charity. Follow me on Facebook to make sure that you see my latest posts on there that will be published by Dorset Mind. I will be doing my first post especially for the mental health awareness week, so keep an eye out for that.

What if you aren’t ready to speak out and be open?

I would suggest if you aren’t at that point to speak out and be open with your mental health or anxiety, then book in with your GP and speak to them. Or phone the Samaritans on 116 123.

You could also do some research yourself into it. One of the best books I have read for anxiety is <a href="http://Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast""“>Dare; The new way to end anxiety and stop panic attacks fast. Or look into Mindfulness; The Little Book of Mindfulness is a great place to start.

For more posts on anxiety, check out my post on 10 Things you need ignore to become happier or How to begin tackling anxiety.

Are you open with your mental health? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

Why It’s OK To Change Direction In Life And Quit What Drains You

For anyone that follows me on my Facebook page you will know that last week was a difficult week for me. It started off positively. Then a curveball came.

Life is good at throwing curveballs. They knock you off your feet and it’s up to you to scramble to get up again. If this has ever happened to you, you’ll know that at times it’s difficult to continue as normal. So, we have to adjust and redirect ourselves back to a path. Perhaps this is a new path, but still, it’s one that is going forwards and that’s all that matters.

What caused me to change direction?

Well for a few months now, I was questioning things. I had my fingers in too many pies, so to speak and I was stretching myself out way too much over various different things. How could I go on like this? I was exhausted, drained. So, I had my doubts for a few months that I may need to switch things up and to make a few sacrifices. But I needed a push, a reminder that this was necessary. So I had an appointment with a business coach.

He reminded me why I shouldn’t be so stretched out; all of my projects required a certain level of commitment and energy and I didn’t have enough to go round so everything suffered. By putting limited time and energy into all of it, I wasn’t getting anywhere fast but I was fastly exhausting myself. Enough was enough.

I hate making difficult decisions.

But as we know, throughout life there will be a great number of times when we do need to make a decision. We need to be logical, weigh up the advantages and disadvantages and come to a conclusion. And that’s what I did. Now for someone that often suffers with anxiety, let me tell you now, decision making is really not a strong point. But nether the less, I made one.

If you want to read what the 6 positives of having anxiety are, click here.

Once I made my decision, I cried. Anxiety thrives off uncertainty and suddenly that’s all I could see- an uncertain future. I am never one to quit things or to give in- you can thank my fear of failure and stubbornness for that- and so my anxiety set in. Then my emotions went. I cried. I cried for what I saw as failure, embarrassment but I cried because I knew I had to give up on something that I genuinely loved doing. But I knew it was for the best.

4 years ago I started writing a parenting blog.

I have put in so many hours into this blog and worked so hard on it. But after a while, I was putting in so much more than I was getting back. It became a chore. But it was a brand I’d built up that I didn’t want to let go of. Only I knew I had to.

It was the first thing I ever did for myself and to help me indulge in my writing passion. It was my project. Another baby of mine. But by the end, it had me drained. So many hours went into it and I got no return.

I was sick of never catching up with my jobs. I was tired of how much I had to juggle. Then I got the advice I needed to hear- that I needed to give something up.

It didn’t make me a failure.

If anything I had 4 years worth of written work to act as a portfolio for my future writing projects and clients. But more than that- it showed the growth of me as a writer, a mother and a person. I had grown. My blog had grown. My writing had gotten better, more emotive and the blogs were more attractive looking. My very first writing project had done what was needed- it had taught me so much, helped me to connect with wonderful people, given me experience and most importantly enjoyment. Now it was time to move on.

So that’s what I’ve done. I’m now focusing my time and efforts into writing projects for other people. Why other people and not myself? Well it lessens my work load this way- I’m not the one solely responsible for the words from start to finish. Meaning, I have more time on my hands to enjoy my family and to stop burning myself out.

It also means that I have more time on my hands to grow this blog- one that I started only a year ago but already I see so much promise with it. A blog that can actually help other people. I have a passion for parenting, yes, as I enjoy my children and love them to pieces but now they’re older- I want to keep moments with them more private as I’m sure they will respect that. But I have a passion for opening up about mental health; not enough people talk about it and the world needs that now more than ever.

Read more about my journey of mental health in my blog post Me Against Anxiety.

So, here I am.

I look forward to writing many more posts for you all.

So if you’ve ever had a project that is draining you, but you’re too stubborn to give it up- just try and let go. As they say; as one door closes, another one opens.

Don’t let the anxiety and uncertainty scare you- take a leap into the unknown. You never know, what you think is a failure is actually a lesson- and it’s time to take that forward.

Also- you can always return when you’ve grown elsewhere. Which I may well do one day. 

If you liked this blog post then please give it a like and a share. Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Also don’t forget to like my social media pages, links are at the top of this page.

I am taking a break over the Easter holidays to focus on some much needed family time and on another exciting opportunity. I will be back to publishing some fresh new content in a few weeks. So please do go and follow this Facebook page and get some mini doses till then.

Are your friendships healthy? Here’s how you can tell.

Friendships can be difficult to manage, especially when you suffer with anxiety. I have written about it before, One of the blog posts being; Me Against My Social Life. I would say that, thankfully, I have a good set of friends around me and now I feel that my friendships are healthy. But, this hasn’t always been the case.

I have been on a journey this past year.

A reflective one that has opened my eyes wider than I could have imagined and got to an underlying issue that I have a big red trigger button about not being a good person or a good friend. So anything that would threaten to trigger this, would cause me great anxiety. I was trying to make more and more friends and be constantly social as I thought that this was the issue. I was never having a day to myself, because I feared being on my own incase it triggered this. Now, I am sat in my jogging bottoms having the first comfy and cosy day to myself in MONTHS. I have been on a journey, thanks to a great NHS Service in the South called ‘Steps to Wellbeing’. I have technically completed this journey, but I believe that self improvement is a never ending journey. I learnt lot and over the next few blog posts, I am really hoping to share some of this with you. One of the most important things I learnt about was equality in friendships.

I ways always chasing people and trying to please them.

In my eyes, the friends I had could never do any wrong. They were always good for me. If there was an issue, I would put all of the doubt and self blame on myself. I was wrong to do that. I had low self esteem and self respect, I have been learning to build this up. What has happened, is I have now become aware of friendships and the equalities.

This book on Overcoming Low Self Esteem really helped me to address why I was suffering with low self esteem and how I could overcome this.

We are all equals.

Despite what anyone thinks or believes, every single person on this planet is equal. We all suffer the same. Possibly about different things, but we all suffer. We all feel pain. We all hurt. We all have the same emotions. We have different chances, paths, values and morals in life. But we are all equals.

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Friendship becomes unhealthy when we see ourselves as anything other than equal.

This could be either;

  • You see yourself as above your friend
  • You see yourself as below your friend
  • Your friend sees you as below them
  • Your friend sees you as above them

If you see yourself as above your friend, you need to reflect on why that is. Does your friend drag you down? Or is your friend in a bad place and needs a boost? Remember any rough day you’ve had where you’ve felt at rock bottom, remember that when you think of yourself as above people- we are all the same. If you consistently see yourself as above a friend and the friendship is struggling because of that, you need to consider about whether this friendship is healthy and worth the effort and hard work.

If you see yourself as below a friend, again, question why this is. Perhaps you see your friend as being more successful, popular or prettier than you? Whatever the reason- ask whether you would switch lives- and I mean genuinely take on everything in their life. Because I’m betting most of the time, this answer is no. I have friends whom are more popular, pretty and successful- but they have their own downfalls in life and I would not switch with anyone. We also never know what goes on behind closed doors, someone whom is successful may still be in thousands of pounds of debt. That pretty friend may still feel insecure or have downfalls in relationships. Not everything is as it seems. Start believing in yourself more to boost yourself and regain that equal feeling. If you struggle to do this, you need to ask yourself why? Is this a healthy friendship?

If you get a sense that your friend feels that you are below them, or if they treat you as being ‘less than them’ you will get a very unhealthy friendship balance. Is it you doing all of the effort? I had this a little bit last year. And learning about friendship balances, it hit me that one of my friends felt that they were above me. Unfortunately in this scenario, there is nothing you can do as it is not your issue or your unbalance. As long as you see yourselves as equals and your behaviour reflects this, this is up to your friend to sort out. My top advice here is to stop chasing and putting in the effort. Focus on yourself as the lovely person you are. You are more than enough. You are amazing. So believe it, do your own thing and stop chasing. Read more about Why I’m Done Chasing People And You Should Be, Too.

Equally, if you get the sense that your friend feels that you are above them or they treat you as such, that is their issue and problem to address. You may even find that through this unhealthy friendship, they will try to drag you down to their level- when in reality, they are really seeing themselves as lower than everyone else and seeing you as higher than everyone else- so they will drag you down. This will ultimately make them feel worse in the long run. Just as long as you see yourself as equals, make an effort on your end and be a kind, compassionate friend, you have done everything you can. It’s about your friend working on their own self esteem and worth.

An unequal friendship is an unhealthy one.

Reflect on the last few points and where you see each of your friends. If there is that inequality there, this needs to be addressed before you can move forward positively with the friendship. For me, I often felt below friends so it was up to me to work on my own self esteem and self worth. Now I have done that, I feel far more equal to my friends and the balance has been restored. They feel like healthier friendships and I am happier because of it. If any friendship then appeared as toxic or draining and unequal, I have had to take a big step back from these ones. I’ve not shut anyone out completely, I am not the type of person to do this but I now don’t message as much or meet up as much. I now let the other side make more effort, as ultimately, a friendship should be equal in respect and effort anyway.

Sometimes it’s a great idea to show your friends you care with a great gift like this.

So as much as it hurts to begin with, this exercise really does help you to figure things out with friendships and you are able to then focus on the healthy ones and slowly withdraw from the negative ones.

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Have you ever reflected on your friendships before? Have you had to cull an unhealthy friendship? Leave a comment or get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to like and follow me on social media (links above) and if this post resonated with you- please do share it on your social media. It would be very much appreciated.

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10 Things you need to ignore to become happier

Life can be full of confusion, conflicts and chaos. Sometimes it is hard to sift through everything, especially when you suffer with anxiety, to see clearly. It got me thinking, what if we could sift through some of the rubbish. What if we could ignore certain aspects of life in order to become happier? Well, I’ve written a list of 10 things we should be ignoring in order to make this happen.

1. The media when it tries to scaremonger you. I studied media and journalism at university and so I know just how much certain news stories are sensationalised. I know all too well what makes a good news story and it isn’t one where nothing happens. The media can be good, but it can also be really bad when you suffer with anxiety. Just remember- take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t take to heart what is reported and make sure you get a balanced view of what you read.

If you’re interested in news and bias, this book has some great reviews.

2. Google and forums when you search your symptoms. Too many times I have panicked with symptoms, googled them and then panicked some more. Google is not a substitute for a doctor. If you are concerned about anything then the best thing to do is seek proper medical advice and stop using google or forums for this. Since I have stopped doing this, I never seem to panic about my symptoms, and I find me phoning the doctors less too. I seem to have really calmed down about everything medical- even when it comes to my children.

3. Jealous friends and aquantaces when giving advice. If you suspect a friend of being jealous of you, then take any advice they give with a pinch of salt. You should only be asking true friends which have your back through thick and thin for advice or you may end up in a worse situation then you already were in. Sometimes, we give ourselves the best advice too, so try that too. Be your own perfect nurturer and you will not be let down.

4. Silence. Silence is the worst when you are feeling lonely. At times it can be a pleasant retreat for me as a Mother- having silence grace my life from time to time can be a blessing and something my body needs. But when I am feeling lonely, silence needs to be banished so I always fill it with music in these circumstances. Music heals the soul.

Need a CD to help you feel good? Try this one.

5. What other people are doing. We are all different. We are all on different unique paths in our lives. As long as we are living the life we want, we shouldn’t compare. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Do This 1 Thing Each Day To Help Anxiety and you will soon see the light in your own life and realise that it doesn’t matter what others are doing- as long as you find happiness and meaning in your own life, than you are doing incredible. Never compare yourself. Just focus on yourself and things will feel lighter and happier.

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6. Ignore social media. This is similar to the last one in terms of having to ignore what other people are doing. But this is in a broader sense. It includes what people’s statuses and pictures seemingly show. You must remember that social media is a highlight reel. It only reveals what people want it to. Who really knows what goes on  behind closed doors? It’s an exaggeration of real life. And at times, it is even make believe. So take it lightly. And don’t fret over what pictures or statuses people put up.

7. Other people’s ‘likes’. It’s easy to get drawn into the social media craze. This modern day obsession with everything social media scares me at times. And I think it’s no coincidence that the rates of depression and anxiety are increasing. The pressure that social media creates is ridiculous. There are new worries and things to obsess over thanks to social media. One of those is comparison of ‘likes’.

I’ve been there- thinking how mad it is how someone can have a certain number when I’m pretty sure I don’t even know that amount of people. The main thing to remember, is that we are all different. Just like school days, there will always be people more popular than you, the same or less popular than you. We have all walked different paths and along those paths we have met different people. For me, I have been a stay at home mum the past 7 years now. So, the amount of people I have met along this unique journey of mine is far less than anyone that has had multiple jobs in this time. Other things to note, are these people may not be active in the person’s life, they may never have met in real life, they may be family or clients. They could come from anywhere- but the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t the likes you should concern yourself with.

You could have 100 likes but only 1 friend reaching out to you. Or 1 like and lots of friends reaching out to talk to you. Which would you prefer? I know which I do. I used to be confused, I used to want to try to compete at the likes game. But it’s ridiculous. It’s false, and it’s not the type of world I want to engage in. I want the real word. The real friends. I want to base my respect on someone, not on how many likes they have gotten, but how kind they are. I am lucky to have such wonderful friends that take the time to message me and see me, this makes me ultimately far happier than them liking my posts. Because that doesn’t last as long as bonding with a real friendship does.

Read more about social media on my Me Against Social Media post here.

8. Your phone. I think it’s great to ignore your phone, at times. When you’re with your friends or family then learn to put it down and take in life. You will end up connecting and bonding far more with the people in front of you than anyone on the other side of the phone at that time. Give people your full attention. I do tend to have my phone out on the side during dinner, but that’s only for one reason- incase my husband needs to call me if anything happens at home. Also, the odd photo is lovely to take to capture a moment- but don’t let it dominate your time out.

I love to put my phone away at other random times- of an evening, I tend to put it to one side so that I can indulge in the time with my children- especially when we play a board game and do stories before bed. Also, if I want to get creative, read or just binge on TV. I find it so important to switch off and take time for myself. The messages can and will wait until I am ready. I will always be there when people need me, but if a conversation can wait a few hours or till the morning than it does. I think having time away is essential for improving mental health.

9. Your doubts and fears. It is so easy when you suffer with anxiety to doubt yourself and everything you do constantly. But try to change this and your way of thinking. Start believing that you can do it and that you can achieve your goals and dreams. Then start putting steps into place.

This pack of Power Thought Cards are a great start to get you thinking positively.

10. The anxious demon that sits on your shoulders. Anxiety is a monster. One that sits on your shoulder and makes you second think and doubt everything. And it’s not just doubt and fears. It feeds off negativity and drains you of anything positive. You come away assessing every conversation you had whilst you were out, wondering if you came across annoying. You go to plan something exciting, then doubt if you can do it. There is so much that this anxious demon does and it is trying to quieten the real you. It’s time to ignore this anxious demon and take back your life. There is so much you can do to begin this. Try cycling through previous blog posts to get inspiration- like How to Begin Tackling Anxiety.

This book- DARE- was an incredible read and helped me so much.

 

I hope that this post has helped given you some ideas on what you should begin to ignore in life. Try to turn your attention to all of the positive things in life, maybe the sun was a bit brighter today, perhaps one of your favourite TV programmes has a new episode out or maybe you were able to feel pride in something you did. Whatever it is, let the positivity rise and ignore all these downfalls that modern life has to offer.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media (links are above) for more regular updates on my journey on overcoming anxiety.

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