Coming to terms with lockdown life….

These are strange times that we are living in now. “Normal” life as we know it has been paused and we are having to get to know a new normal; lockdown life. To begin with, I really struggled with this. I cried a lot.

Having never been a fan of change,  everything was changing. I really hope that we never have to go through something like this ever again. The initial days were like an apocalypse movie. Shops were shut down all around us, as well as cafes, restaurants and pubs. Life was halting. It didn’t sit well with me and it created a wave of changes all around me.

Then my children stopped going to school and I was suddenly thrust into this new funk. I now juggle homeschooling whilst working from home. I have been working from home for the last year, but not with children surrounding me all day. The change has been difficult to adapt to.

I hated the thought of not being able to see my friends or family. To not be able to take my children to the park. To not pop into Costa for a brief catch up with a friend in-between clients, emerging from it’s burgundy shop smelling like strong delicious coffee. It’s difficult to think that for the foreseeable future that my children will be home with me, relying on me to keep them stimulated and to not get that all-important alone time I had gotten used to. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but I also need space and time alone sometimes.

Slowly, but steadily, I have gotten used to this new way of life. Well, as much as I can do. I am trying to implement a little routine into our lives, so that the boys can still do some school work whilst I can continue to do what work I do have on. Somehow, the days go by quickly. The weeks are going by quickly.

Now we are almost three months into this new life.

“Normal” life seems a lifetime ago. And I am not sure how we are going to get back to it. Will it be done steadily? Or will there be a rush back to it? No one knows.

All I do know is that I will never take anything in life for granted again. A simple trip to the supermarket, or coffee out with a friend. To book a table at a restaurant or shake someone’s hand. Never again will I overlook these simple incredible things.

I have felt a sense of surreal wash over me the past few weeks, and not necessarily a bad surreal. Things are quite calm at home, there is no rush of life currently. We are just taking a day at a time. I don’t want to forget this feeling. Just living moment by moment, day by day.

As much as I want “normal” life to resume, I don’t entirely want to erase the simple feelings from this new experience.

Day by day, that’s the key. Keep busy in terms of filling your day with a mixture of self-care and productivity. Then schedule in calls with family and friends. And spend some time doing absolutely nothing. Because when normal life resumes, those moments will be rare.

How have you got used to this new way of life? 

If you need some ideas on what to do in isolation, check out this post here.

If you would like to read my thoughts on social distancing and mental health, give this a read.

4 Things I Have Learnt From Six Weeks of Isolation

It has been over a month now since I started self-isolation and practising social distancing measures. One whole long, feels like a lifetime, month. In this time, I have laughed, I have cried and on the whole I have had a huge sense of surreal wash over my existence. What have I learnt then from one month of isolation?

Time Has Little Meaning

We are trying to keep with somewhat of a routine. We get up, get dressed and begin the day with school work. We also have lunch, dinners and try and do the same standard bedtime routine that we are used to. There is some relevance to the day we are on, but even then that’s lost some meaning.

The weeks seem to go quickly on the whole. But the days seem to be long. It’s reminding me of the early years of my children’s life, the days are long but the years are short. That was the phrase drilled in to my head, and boy was it true. Even the bad days that seemed never ending, eventually ended and before I knew it another month had gone by. That’s what’s happening now.

Each morning I wake up, saddened by the prospect of another day without being able to see those I love. Without being able to nip out for a coffee and cake with a friend, or take my children out somewhere fun for the day to explore. The day goes on and on. And then it’s nighttime. I go to bed sad, knowing that it’s Groundhog day.

Then before I know it, I realise it’s been weeks since I last hugged a friend, or dropped my kids off at school. It’s been weeks of this new normal. Time has lost meaning. I can’t use dates to really plan anything, only the odd call or work committment to schedule in.

You Realise Who’s Important To You

During this time you realise who you miss and who you wish you could see. I have really missed my friends and family. I’ve been wishing I could just see them one more time for a 10 minute coffee.

The friends that have stayed in touch, that have called me, FaceTimed me, they mean the absolute world. I miss them all so much but I know that when I see them that the time apart will be worth it. Time apart like this makes you appreciate things more. Boy, have I appreciated those friendships more. I’ve realised just how much people mean to me and how lucky I am to have them.

If during this time, you find that you don’t miss things or people so much, that you feel calmer and better without them- I think that is really telling. Hopefully this time will give you the strength to walk away from anything that no longer serves you- this is something that thankfully happened to me before Covid 19, so I am able to process this time far better.

If anything this time has made me feel closer to some people. As we have faced these fears and emotions together, and been a bit soppier than we would have usually. I’m not afraid to tell my friends that I miss them, I love them and I am lucky to have them.

You Appreciate The Little Things In Life

I have taken so much for granted, without really even realising. I’ve always been a grateful person usually. But this has taken that to a whole new level. Who knew that we would miss school runs? Trips to the super market? Being able to order food or go into any shop? Who knew that the coffee shops would shut down so you couldn’t even just pop in for a take away coffee, let alone see and catch up with those you adore.

If anything, the little things in life for me now have even more meaning. I will never look at life in the same way again. I don’t even know how or when normality will resume, but I know that I will never ever take any of it for granted again.

In Dark Times, Stars Shine

For me, I am noticing how kind and beautiful some souls are. In scary times, always look out for the helpers. They are the heroes. They are the ones that shine brighter than any stars.

From Joe Wicks delivering the nation’s PE lessons, to the headteachers of my children’s school sending out regular reassuring letters. Sometimes, its the little ways a person can help that make a vast difference in these turbulent times. Our local community set up a community support system, meaning those that are self-isolating didn’t need to leave to go and get medicines and food.

These times are dark, they are unsettling. But there will always be the silver linings. The kind people that help are the ones making this whole situation a whole lot better. They should always be remembered and appreciated after this.

All the key workers, bravely working throughout a time when they could be endangering theirs or their loved ones lives by just stepping out to go to work and keep the country running. Super market staff, NHS, fire fighters, police, lorry drivers, farmers, the list goes on- thank you all.

I have learnt a lot from one month of isolation. I have learnt that light can still shine in the dark times, that it’s ok if our usual modern day time and routine is washed away momentarily. Because all that matters is the people we love. Taking care of them, keeping them safe, keeping in touch. I know on the other side of this, that I will get to see those I love again. And I will never ever take them, or normal life for granted again.

What has one month in isolation taught you? Comment below, I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to hear my thoughts on why I think social distancing will have an impact on mental health, check out my blog here.

If you need some ideas on things to do in isolation, check out my blog here.

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!

Q and A With Kay; A Rapid Transformation Therapist

Kay Harrington is a rapid transformational therapist in Dorset, UK. Kay kindly gave up some of her time to sit over Zoom and talk to me about RTT; from what it is, the process and what the benefits are. If you are suffering with anxiety, depression or another mental health illness, RTT is a fantastic solution as it helps to tackle the roots and causes of these illnesses. Here is my Q and A with Kay.

What is rapid transformation therapy?

Rapid transformation therapy aka RTT is an award winning therapy developed by the British therapist Marisa Peer. It focuses on eradicating our limiting beliefs that can hold us back in our lives. Through hypnosis, we go back and look at experiences that have affected us often in childhood and begin to understand them. We look at the affect that they’re having on our lives now.

When we understand the limiting beliefs, we are able to change them and install better beliefs that help us live our best lives.

What are limiting beliefs?

Many of our beliefs that we hold as adults were installed by others from the age of zero to seven. These beliefs can become ingrained in us and they might not always serve us very well. My job is to help us delve into those limiting beliefs, how and where we got them and to begin forming and making our own beliefs.

For example, how often growing up did we hear money doesn’t grow on trees? Or we can’t afford that? Or rich people aren’t nice people? These beliefs can limit us hugely in the area of money and success as we can hold onto these throughout our life.

How does RTT work?

Using hypnosis, which is just a lovely relaxing trance that we go into similar to just before we drop off to sleep, we do an RTT session which is about two hours long. In the RTT session we do detective work to find out what beliefs are holding us back in life. We eliminate these beliefs and we install better ones.

During the RTT session, a personalised transformational recording is made and clients listen to this recording every day for 21 days. The recording is about 20 minutes long and this embeds the new beliefs and creates new strong neural pathways within the mind. These new beliefs serve us so much better than the old limiting ones. I am always on hand for 21 days to support and teach individuals techniques to help them going forward.

How long does it take to see results?

This varies from person to person. Many issues are resolved within one to three sessions per issue, (one to three 21 day packages). There are three types of change;

  1. Some people experience instant relief and a feeling of peace
  2. Others are cumulative which happens over the 21 day period
  3. Whereas others can be retroactive. For example, they look back after three months and have a sudden realisation of how much better they feel and how much more they have achieved.

How many times can you go through rapid transformational therapy?

Normally one to three sessions is enough for each issue that somebody has. This is the beauty of this therapy, it stops the need for going every week for months, sometimes years on end to a therapist.

What are the advantages of RTT compared to talk therapy?

Talk therapy most definitely has a place for some individuals and my role is not to denigrate this type of therapy at all. However, what is so unique about RTT is that clarity is gained very quickly on the root cause of the issue and with this clarity it is possible very quickly to repair the situation. It’s not just a sticking plaster, it gets to the root cause of our issues.

Although the initial outlay of RTT is higher, it can save thousands of pounds in weekly visits to a conventional therapist.

Using the hypnosis allows us to access our subconscious mind which has the answers to everything. It is like a tape recorder of our life and by simply asking it, it gives us the answers we need. Hypnosis is deeply relaxing and it helps us bypass that critical chatter we often experience in order to break down any barriers that might prevent us from getting to the root cause.

How can I access RTT?

Have a look on my website Kay Harrington Therapy, or you can find me on LinkedIn.

I do a completely free confidential discovery call in which I can explain more.

Sessions can be carried out via Zoom or in person.

How much will rapid transformational therapy cost?

If you are interested in RTT, check out my website which will show you what’s included in my 21 day package. We can then discuss pricing during our discovery call. This is a completely no obligation call- I will not pressure you at all into signing up for anything but I would love to just discuss your requirements and if I am able to help with your presenting issue.

Unfortunately, I am not able to work with all cases, but I will make you aware of this during our initial discovery call and may be able to direct you to someone who can help.

I hope that this blog has given you some useful information about Rapid Transformational Therapy aka RTT. I was very lucky to get the chance to talk to Kay about this fascinating therapy.

Anxiety and depression can be extremely overwhelming, often we lose hope that we will never feel better about life, or ourselves. If you’re like me, you would have spent a lot of time being very self-critical and not living your best life due to limiting beliefs. It’s time to put a stop to this, to work on ourselves and move forward, free of these beliefs and ready to live a better more fulfilled and anxiety free life.

Have you tried RTT before? If so, what did you think of it? Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

If you would like more guidance on where to start seeking help with anxiety, check out this blog post from the archives. Full of resources, it will give you some ideas on where to seek further help.

If you would like to know more about my own unique journey with anxiety, why not start back at the beginning?

12 Ideas For Things To Do In Isolation

We are a few weeks into what I believe is a mixture of being in the Big Brother house, living Groundhog day and an apocalypse movie all rolled into one. It can really get to you when you look ahead and wonder how long we will be stuck here for. But, it is important to stay positive. I’ve decided to come up with a list of ideas of things you can do in isolation.

Binge on some boxsets.

I never usually have time to watch too much Netflix. Often, my list gets too full I can’t add any more on. Now is the time to indulge in the TV and get through my list. Have you got an endless list of films and shows that you’ve not yet had a chance to watch? Now’s the time.

Some great ones that I have viewed have been;

  1. Love is Blind. This is so cringe-worthy but also hard not to watch. I got so hooked on it last weekend and watched it all within a matter of days.
  2. The Tiger King. This is a new Netflix documentary. It’s less about tigers, more about complex lifestyle choices mixed with enemies.
  3. Dark Tourist. This is also a documentary, but each episode is based on a dark tourist spot. My favourite episode has to be where they explore Japan where the Tsunami hit a few years ago.
  4. Friday Night Dinners. This is the perfect thing to watch for some light comic relief. I’m so happy they have released a new series.

Read some books.

How many times have you wished to sit down and curl up with a book? Now you can. Challenge yourself to see how many you can get through during this time. Post your recommendations below.

Exercise.

By exercising, you are keeping yourself healthy and fit. Exercise also helps to boost your mental health as well as your physical health. If you are allowed, then take a walk or run outside. If not, try finding some YouTube videos to give you guidance for a work out.

Whether you have children or not, Joe Wicks is hosting free live PE sessions for the nation each morning at 9 am that you could join in with. Or search his YouTube channel and you will find more inspiration and videos.

Have you got an exercise bike that usually collects dust? Drag it out and start using it. You will thank yourself in months to come that you stayed active.

Get Baking or Cooking.

Now is the perfect time to start cooking using different ingredients. Rather than just popping something in the oven, why not look online for some new recipes and take the time and care of preparing a meal from scratch? This can be such a nice activity to do each day.

You can also get into baking. Bake yourself some nice tasty treats to enjoy throughout your week. You never know, you may even become the next star baker.

Here are a few things that we have cooked and baked recently:

  1. A chicken pie from scratch.
  2. Chocolate chip cookies.
  3. Chocolate chip flapjacks.
  4. McDonald’s inspired egg Mcmuffins.

Take Up A Creative Hobby.

Have you always wanted to do something for yourself that gets you in touch with your creative side? Maybe you’ve always loved drawing, or playing a musical instrument but you never usually get the time to do so. Now is the perfect time. Here are some of the creative hobbies I have enjoyed over the time:

  1. Colouring In. Colouring in can be a very mindful activity. It helps you to drown your endless worries and thoughts, instead focusing on the beautiful colours in front of you. And not forgetting to try and keep within the lines!
  2. Sewing. I was gifted a unicorn sock pack for Christmas from my brother and his wife. I started it weeks ago but it remained unfinished. But now I finally have time to finish sewing and completing it.
  3. Cross stitch. I have always loved cross stitch. It calms me like no other hobby and I always love seeing my finished pieces. I have been making some time for this peaceful craft again.

Be Youthful and Play Video Games.

I have to say this has been one of my favourite past times of isolation. I have loved getting the Nintendo Switch out and letting my inner child free. I never usually can justify spending hours engrossed in a game when I usually have so much to do. But this has been the ultimate escapism for me. The games I’ve enjoyed are;

  1. Pokemon Sword on the Nintendo Switch. I love the storyline to this game and now I am making it my mission to fill and complete my Pokedex. My boys love watching my play too so that’s been a bonus.
  2. Mario Kart. A bit of harmless fun, I have spent hours whizzing around the race tracks and escaping from the real world for a while.
  3. Two Point Hospital. Who can remember Theme Hospital? This game is essentially the same and I am hooked.
  4. Plague Inc. I used to have this on my phone, but I decided to download it again. It’s very apt for the current situation, and it is a bit addictive too.

Have a Clear Out.

Now is the perfect time to go through your house and have a clear out. You can choose a room a week, gut it and then decide what you need to do. Does it need a deep clean? A paint? Or maybe it could do with some new home touches- like a new storage solution, or a new wall canvas. Now is the best time to get your home up to scratch.

Think of those jobs that you never usually have time to do in the home- NOW is that time.

Reflect on life.

This isn’t time to dwell, but it is a great time to reflect. How was life going for you? Was there something that you’d love to change now? Now is a great time to reflect on where you’re at in your life and where you want to go.

Perhaps your job has been getting you down, you could always use this time to job hunt, or broaden your skills and knowledge. Is there an online course you could take up? This is a great time to get studying and learn something new, then you can use this for a job hunt further down the line.

Or maybe you had toxic relationships or friendships? There is nothing more cleansing than having to distance yourself from everyone. It is now that you can really reflect on who is important in your life and who is not. Then when we are able to get back to ‘normal’ life, you will find it easier to stay away from those that bring you down.

Whatever was bringing you down and affecting you negatively in life, this is the best time to distance yourself from it and never go back. However, if you equally feel like something is lacking in life, now is the best time to consider how to get that in your life.

Touch base with loved ones.

Calls and FaceTime is what has been getting me through these past two weeks. I have tried to call or video call friends each day, if not a couple of times a day and it has made the world of difference. Every time I get to talk to a friend, or family member, it helps me to feel more connected to them and it really boosts my spirits.

I really miss seeing my friends in person, but this time has given me a chance to really reflect on what amazing people I have in my life and I know we are going to have the best time on the other side of this. In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying every phone and video call we have. Try scheduling some calls into your days.

Plan for your future.

As mentioned above, this is a great time to plan for the future. Is there a skill you want to take up? A holiday destination you want to go to? Plan for what you want life to look like when we get out of this.

Do you want to be more or less social? Take up a new hobby? Find a new job or career?

What do you want to do to treat yourself and your family after this? Where is the first place you will go?

Although we can’t put a date in our diaries for anything, we can still write a list of plans that we want to do.

Catch up with life whilst practising self care.

How many times in the past year have you wished for life to slow down? Before this, I was always so busy and I kept saying to myself, “Next week life will slow down and I can spend time on myself”. Only that never happened.

Until all of a sudden, life was forced to slow down.

Although I am now juggling work and children, I have still got a little extra time on my hands and I am still able to begin practising self care more regularly. I have started going on a daily run. This is something I would never have had the time or chance to do.

What self care can you partake in? Start today. You will soon feel a huge difference and hopefully going forward, it will soon become routine so that when life does resume, we still prioritise it.

Being still.

There is something quite magical about being still and observing life as it is. Or just being still outside in the garden and noticing nature around us. Nature is healing. Earth is healing.

It is deeply heartbreaking that so many people are suffering or losing their lives in these upsetting and turbulent times. It is time to be still, to acknowledge everything we should be thankful and grateful for. To take a big breath. This is life, this is history we are living. We are brave, we can get through this.

I hope that this blog post has given you some ideas on what to do during this time of isolation. I seem to have a few good days, followed by a few very down days. It’s only natural for our feelings to be turbulent and all over the place, just like life is. Ever since I have suffered with anxiety, I really struggle to adapt to change. The only thing I can do is take one day at a time and focus on what I can control; and that’s all of the above.

Social Distancing and the Impact on Mental Health

It’s been a few weeks since I last published a blog post for Me Against Myself. I had one lined up as a new blog post, but it’s hardly relevant now. The World as we know it has quite literally been turned upside down. It has affected the lives of so many, if not everyone. We are now effectively in ‘Lock-down’ in the UK. Now this is affecting many aspects of our lives and our freedom is the main element. But also social distancing is having a huge impact on our mental health.

Worrying and Anxious Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I have had a bucket load of worrying and anxious thoughts. I feel like the vast majority are in the same boat here, we are worrying about the coronavirus itself and either ourselves or our families getting infected. But also, worrying about the impact this social distancing and lock down may have on us financially. Many of us will see our employment, or businesses suffer due to the current situation.

We may also be worrying about food, getting food and the supermarkets potentially having a shortage. In fact, there is just so much you could worry about when it comes to Covid 19.

What can we do about our worries? The main thing to take away here, is that these are unpredident times. No one knows what is happening, or what the future holds. There is so much uncertainty and of course, the climate changes daily. So, it’s almost like having a constant knot in our stomachs waiting for the next wave of news to hit us.

Why not try worry time? No, it won’t take away these worries completely- and they are only natural. BUT it may just help to control them a little bit.

Social Isolation

One of the biggest changes to life is our inability to be social. Now usually we are naturally social beings, however, we are have to put a pause on all social encounters for now. This is obviously for the greater good to help stop the spread of the virus, however it is bound to affect our mental health.

I have always said that a cuppa and talk with a friend does you the world of good. Hugs and warmth from someone else help to comfort you when you’re feeling low are priceless. I have on many occasions cried over the past week, not only because of my worries of the invisible killer, but also at the thought of not being able to see my friends for months.

Never again will I take for granted going for a simple coffee and cake with a friend and discussing life. And what I wouldn’t give to have a girls evening in with one of my best friends, howling with laughter like we usually do. There is so much I wouldn’t take for granted again. Like going on a school run and having that 10 minutes of conversation at the start and end of the day with others.

What can we do about social isolation? Just because we are practising social distance and essentially in a ‘lock down’, it does not mean we need to socially isolate. Keep in touch with loved ones, whether they’re friends or family on social media, by messages or phone calls. I have already Face-timed a friend whilst we both sat, had a drink and caught up. I have also made a phone call at least once a day touching base with friends. At the end of each phone call, my spirits were lifted.

It’s funny, as before this, we had to be careful with social media but yet now social media and our smartphones are our lifeline when it comes to coronavirus. Through them, we can still touch base with friends and family. I encourage you all to regularly call and keep in contact with your friends and family. Before we know it, we will be sipping on a warming mocha and looking into the eyes face to face of those that warm our hearts. Just hold tight for now.

Trapped Inside Our Heads

Not only does the coronavirus lock down mean we will feel trapped inside our homes, but it will also be hugely testing for our mental health. That means that we will also feel trapped inside our heads too.

There is so much more that could cause ourselves low moods, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. It can exasperate conditions that were already there, even if they were fairly dormant. My anxiety had been the best it had been in years. This has knocked it back ten fold. I have cried more than I think I ever have, and I have a constant knot in my stomach with anxiety.

What can we do about feeling trapped? Keep busy. That is the best way to combat boredom and also dwelling on things. Write lists of things you can do, split them into housework, hobbies, self-care tasks, Spring cleaning tasks and if you have children, home schooling tasks. This will keep you busier than you realise. Keep to some sort of routine, create a loose timetable on what you might do each day. You don’t have to strictly keep to it, but it may help.

Looking for the positives.

Try to see the positives in this unprecedented situation, we all lead such busy lives that often we don’t have the time to pause. I am seeing this as life being paused. Of course I miss my friends, and I am worried about the virus itself. But, maybe being cut off from normal life is just what we all need?

Certainly the environment is managing to heal. The world is having a rest. That’s another positive to take from this.

But asides from that, when was the last time you really took time out- a decent amount of time to spend with your family, or partner? When were you last able to spend time doing your hobbies? NOW is that time.

Self-care can come first. The pause button has been pressed. Now we could sit and dwell on it all, or we can embrace this quiet time. It is time we will never get back again. Once life resumes, we will be so busy- and hopefully mindful of every social interaction we ever encounter again.

How are you coping? Let’s reach out, keep talking and support each other through these testing times.

How To Cleanse Your Life For Spring

It’s finally Spring time. We can all shake off those winter blues and the chilly frosty cold. The flowers are sprouting from their buds, the trees are starting to bloom and reveal a sea of greenery around us. The mornings and evenings and lighter, and somehow spring time makes life seem a bit lighter. Now, we all know what else Spring brings; time to Spring Clean! So how can you cleanse your life for Spring?

De-Clutter The House

The best place to start is your home. By removing excess material possessions and clutter that have no place in your home anymore, you are also helping to ease mental matter too. You’ll find you will end up with less housework, and therefore less stressing to do each day too. You’ll be surprised that a clutter free home will do to your mind too.

Have you got a lot of toys in the house? Maybe get your children to sit with you and have a toy clear out. You can get them involved in the sorting out and cleaning process, allowing them to understand the need to let things go when they have served their purpose. Don’t forget to teach them refuse, re-use and recycle, too.

Order any new items that you may need for the house. Maybe you need some new towels for the kitchen, or some new storage or organisation solutions. It’ll make you feel more upbeat and positive about your living space.

Prepare The Garden

Over the coming months you will be spending more time outside. That is why it’s a great time to prepare the garden and any furniture you may have for it now. Create a cosy, comforting space for the exterior of your home too.

Getting out in the fresh air is so good for the soul. Fresh air is great for clearing your mind, and gives you a great chance to practise mindfulness, too. Spending time working on the gardening is also a great little hobby to get into this Spring time, allowing you to find escapism and distract your busy mind from negative thoughts.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring.

Start Walking More

Now is the perfect time to stretch your legs and get into a regular regime with walking. It’ll help boost your health and get you outside in the Spring sunshine. This will give you ample opportunity to practise mindfulness yet again.

Not only would regular walking help to boost your physical health, but it will also help your mental health too. Perhaps ask a friend if they fancy joining you, too?

What Upcoming Events Do You Have?

Write a list of your upcoming events this Spring. What will you need? What do you need to buy or book onto?

It’s great to plan ahead. You can prepare yourself for events coming up that perhaps you feel anxious about, whilst ensuring you have everything you need for it too so that when it comes to the date, you are feeling more prepared and in control.

Often anxious feelings come from the sense of not feeling in control, but by planning ahead and looking at upcoming events in advance, you can eliminate this issue and feeling.

Have A Wardrobe Overhaul

Have a clear out of your wardrobe. Then go out and get anything that you may be lacking in, maybe your jeans are starting to get to thin and are threatening to break? Or perhaps you could do with some dresses or clothing ready for Summer time?

Try a slightly different style, you never know; it may transform your confidence. Treat yourself to a new clothing item, as it’s important to show yourself some love and reward yourself for being as awesome as you are.

Now is a great time to get a better skin care regime. Often our skin has suffered with the harsh winter weather and central heating. You could sort out your make up, and get rid of any that have gone past the expiry date as these could negative affect your skin. Then start a new regime that will have your skin feeling soft and healthy.

Healthy New Habits

Maybe this Spring you could try some healthy new habits. Mindfulness is a great concept to explore and practise. It will help to teach you not to dwell on the past, or fret about the future and learn to be in the here and now.

This Spring I want to be more mindful, to practise body scans when my anxiety is bad and to absorb life more fully. It could be as simple as noticing your surroundings on your walk, rather than letting life walk on by.

Stop dwelling on the past. It’s no good for you or your mental health to dwell about the past. What’s been has been and there is nothing you can change now. Learn to let go of the past, to accept it with kindness and to learn and look forward to the future. Forget about what’s happened over the Winter, and embrace Spring with open arms.

A Virtual Declutter

Spring time isn’t just a great time to declutter your physical space in your home, but it is a great time to have a virtual declutter. Go though your phone to delete all unwanted items. Make sure to check under notes, photo, apps and other content. Have an email clear out too.

Go through your laptop and clear out photos and files. Your phone and technology will work quicker, and more efficiently and you will feel good for the digital clear out.

Plan a refresh for Spring.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring. It’s time to organise the next steps in life. To let go of the past, both physically and emotionally and look forward to what life has in store next for you. You will feel so much better after your declutter.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring.

How often do you Spring clean? Is there a certain time of year that you do it? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

If you are looking for inspiration to help boost your mood, click here.

If you are looking for ways to let your spirit feel free, click here.

What Makes You Feel Powerful? Why Power Can Be Okay.

Anxiety has habit of draining our confidence. It can make us feel weak, small and overwhelmed. It’s hard to feel in control at times, when all we want to do is grab our steering wheel in life and be the driver. So, what can make you feel powerful again?

What Is Power?

According to the dictionary, power is ‘the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way‘. Feeling powerful doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, not like when people let ‘power go to their head’. It can give us all the confidence to go and chase our dreams, or accomplish our goals. Those with anxiety very rarely feel powerful. Mostly, they feel overwhelmed. They can feel weak and small.

Now when power goes to your head, it’s a whole different matter. In these circumstances, power is more physical- and this happens to those with money, or in management. Or those with a hold on other people. When you use your physical power against people, this is wrong.

But power doesn’t always have to be bad. Power and feeling powerful can be good for your soul and confidence.

What Makes Your Powerful?

Have a think about what makes you feel powerful, like you can soar or conquer the world. For me it’s these things;

  • I am a Mother
  • I have a loving family around me
  • I have some incredible friends around me and I am a good friend back to them
  • I live independently with my Husband, raising our children who look up to me for support and guidance
  • I went to uni and achieved a degree
  • I run my own business
  • I know I am brave, after 4 broken bones, knees cut open and 6 operations
  • I am becoming mindful- a great quality to have
  • I have faced a lot in my past- and I’m not even 30! I know I am strong
  • The right music and soundtrack can make me feel powerful and motivate me
  • As can certain quotes
  • I am me- no one else can be me

Think about moments in your life when you feel in control. Does a certain movie or TV programme motivate you and make you feel powerful? What about music?

Power Up Your Life

As mentioned above, power doesn’t have to be abused or seen as a bad thing. When you feel powerful, and use this in a positive, motivational way, it is a good feeling to experience. Now you’ve thought about what makes you feel powerful, reflect on your list.

Firstly, did you manage to write anything down? Maybe at this moment in time, not a lot makes you feel powerful. That’s ok, but make it your mission to find something. Go through playlists on Spotify and try to find a song that makes you want to kick anxiety’s backside. Or try listening to podcasts that can motivate you.

If you found that there were things, try to introduce them more into your weekly routine. Boost your confidence, motivate yourself and start to let powerful be a concept for you.

What Makes You Feel Like You Can Soar?

As you can see, feeling powerful does not have to be dangerous. It doesn’t have to be seen as being superior or rude. Don’t use people, or power. Don’t abuse it either. Just boost your confidence, and allow yourself to feel powerful, and not weakened by anxiety. Revel in the activities that allow you to feel this and power up your life.

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my article on what makes you feel free.

If you are feeling down in the dumps, read this article on how to tackle those low moods.

What Do You Treasure The Most In Life?

Often when you suffer with anxiety, it is hard to focus on the positives in life. We can get into a negative train of thought, thinking of all that’s lacking, or ‘going wrong’ in life. It’s time to change direction with your thought patterns. Today, I want you to think about what you treasure the most in your life.

What are your top 5s?

Reflect on your life. Take time to sit down and have a pen and paper in front of you. What would you say are the top 5 things in your life? This could be physical or not. Do you have children? A partner? Maybe it’s a physical item you treasure, like a favourite book, or journal.

Write down the top 5 things in your life. And cherish each of these 5 things. Remember how lucky you are to have them. You may find it hard to begin with, you don’t have to sit and do this in one day. You may want to take a few days to mull it over. But when you have your 5, fold the paper in half and pop it in a safe place.

Focusing on the good each day

It is essential to try to train your brain into thinking positively rather than negatively. To do this you must practise brain- training. Check out my blog post here, on how you can focus on one thing each day to help your anxiety.

At the end of everyday, grab a pen and paper and write down 3 things that have been good at the end of everyday. When you have done this everyday for a month, you will soon start to retrain your brain into focusing on the positive rather than the negative. They could be big things, or small things. Initially you will find this difficult, but with time it will get easier and you will soon realise that the smaller things in life actually mean the most.

What else do you treasure?

It can be big or small. Here is what I treasure;

  • My family, extended and immediate.
  • That my dream came true (as corny as that sounds!)
  • My ability to write
  • The British seasons
  • Special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter
  • The incredible free education we receive in our childhood and teenage years
  • The amazing NHS
  • The ability to use escapism through TV, films, games and books
  • A good, bent over, tears rolling laugh. I especially treasure my family’s sense of humour and how we always laugh together
  • Weekend get togethers at my parents
  • The taste of good food and drinks
  • Our wedding album
  • Videos and photos from my beautiful life and my memories with my loved ones
  • My One Tree Hill, OC, Buffy and Walking Dead boxsets

Now you’ve seen my example, it’s time to reflect and write your own. Use the 2 typical scenarios to help you: If you were a castaway on an island, what 3 items would you take? If there was a fire, what would you rescue other than yourselves? These scenarios may be extreme, but they get you thinking about what your truly treasure. What things in life would you be utterly lost without?

Remind yourself of this list daily

Pop this list on your fridge, against your shower screen or next to your mirror. Everyday for a month look at this list to remind yourself of the treasures you have in your life. It will remind you of what you hold dear. Suddenly it becomes crystal clear that it really is the little things in life that mean the most. That the people around us are our treasures. We don’t have to have oodles of money, the latest gadgets or a flash car. We need love, support and encouragement.

We will treasure our memories, through photo albums and videos of our past. We hold onto the precious times where we felt content and happy.

We can treasure escaping through music and films. To be able to escape from our own lives and drown into a whole new world.

Sometimes our treasures are not material things, but time with loved ones.

What you treasure will say a lot about you. Listen, take note. Then move forwards opening your life up to similar things. Make more memories with loved ones you won’t forget and capture them on a camera, print them out. Indulge in a TV series in the evening to escape if you are going through an anxious stage. Get creative with your treasures.

Life will become sunnier.