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.

What They Don’t Warn You About Motherhood And Anxiety

Motherhood changed me. There’s no doubt about it. I became less selfish, kinder, warmer and a much better version of myself. But there was the flip side to it. I lost myself a little. I love my children more than anything and I have loved every stage of their life so far. I strive to be the best mum I can possibly be. But there are certainly elements to motherhood that are made much more difficult when you suffer with anxiety.

You’re Not Alone.

At times it felt like I was the only one that felt so isolated. I love my children so much but I was losing myself whilst the anxiety monster on my shoulder got bigger.

However, with time I realised that I wasn’t alone. That other Mothers were going through what I was. Since those days, I have spoken to so many that have also felt the same. Although this is upsetting, it also is reassuring that I haven’t been alone in how I felt.

The Sunday Night Feeling.

Have you ever experienced the Sunday night feeling? Perhaps when you were a child, dreading the week of school ahead of you. Or maybe you were in a job that drained you and the thought of heading into the office in the morning made you want to press pause on life, like Bernards watch was capable of doing.

This is how I felt. Even though I had no school, no job. In fact, most would have dreamt of having the week ahead to choose what they wanted to do. But let me explain, having children and being 100% responsible for a life is the most daunting thing I have ever experienced.

When the boys started crawling, I had to baby proof my whole house and ensure that NOTHING that was a choking hazard was within reach. Then when they were weaning, I dreaded each meal time as I didn’t want them to choke. I watched countless videos on how to stop a child from choking.

Not forgetting cot death. Which doesn’t just happen in the cot but anywhere, anytime of day.

I was responsible for keeping these children alive. They meant the whole world to me and it was like pieces of my heart were now walking out in the outside world rather than safe inside my uterus. I would break if anything happened to them.

That is why I worried on a Sunday night. Because all weekend I had my husband there to share joint responsibilities. When he was around, I could go to the toilet, or drink a cup of tea without worrying that something would happen in the fraction of the time it took to boil a kettle.

As time went on, I realised I was capable of watching them and looking after them. But the worry of a parent is something unfathomable. And so I almost dreaded worrying for the entire week, worrying that I was doing something wrong. That’s why anxiety and motherhood don’t go together well. I worried anyway, then I worried more for this person I was caring for.

The Feeling Of Loneliness.

You’d think that by having company 24/7, you couldn’t possibly feel lonely. Well, you’d be wrong.

The loneliness you feel as a parent is entirely different to a loneliness when you are alone. It’s odd. But the only explanation is, that you feel trapped inside your head with all these thoughts and feelings which although you could try and express to your baby or toddler, they just wouldn’t cooperate back.

Only having a small tot to talk to is lonely. You crave attention and adult conversation. You word vomit the second you come into contact with another adult. Even if it’s your delivery man.

The loneliness is one of the most difficult things I faced. Even though I had my baby’s company, I still felt cut off from the outside world.

Self Care Is Forgotten.

When you have a small child, you are so focused on every ounce of their care and routine- that often, your own self care is forgotten or put on the back seat. This is what causes a lot of the anxious issues.

To help combat mental health issues such as anxiety, self care is essential. It helps to revitalise your soul and allow you to refresh. It stops you from becoming drained.

Unfortunately, when you are spending every waking hour tending to your baby or toddler, it’s often your needs that are placed to one side and ultimately this ends up creating issues further upstream.

The Changes Your Body Goes Through.

Another element that affects a lot of mothers, is their body changing. Obviously your body is put under so much strain when it is carrying a baby, and for some your body never goes back to the way it was.

This could be physical- such as a stomach that isn’t as flat as it used to be, or visible stretch marks (they do fade though).

Or it could be that the health of your body changes. My health certainly hasn’t been the same since my youngest. Either way, the changes your body go through are both incredible and miraculous, but they also put a strain on yourself and your confidence.

Fading Until You Just Become “Mum”.

It almost feels as if your uniqueness and your characteristics fade until you just become “Mum”. This is most likely due to the fact that you get next to no time to yourself. Your whole life revolves around your little ones, so what made you “you”, is less apparent.

You are tired, exhausted, drained. You live off few hours of sleep a night and I don’t think you ever truly catch up on sleep from those first few years. So whenever you do get time to yourself, you’re desperately trying to recharge your batteries, rather than having the time to enjoy a hobby.

Essentially, you feel like you lose your identity and become “mom”. Your former identity dissipates for a while.

It Does Get Easier.

What I can tell you, after years of experiencing the above, is that it does get better and easier. Everything settles down. When children get older, they become more independent and you’ll miss it when they weren’t. But it does mean you suddenly have these small gaps of time where you get to focus on yourself again. You’re less in demand, which means naturally you are less exhausted and drained.

My youngest started school just over a year ago. I kept crying at the thought of him going, I dreaded it. I suddenly felt “not ready” for my stay at home mum days to be over. But I’ve gotten used to the quiet now. I work from home, yet I don’t feel lonely. I feel like those hours in the day I am able to be me again, to work hard and achieve my own personal goals and to invest in myself. Then when I pick them up from school, I am so so happy to see their faces and we just strive to make the most of the time we have together.

As my boys have gotten older, they have become their own character and person. And my two are amazing. I laugh so hard with them now, they say the most funny things. They crack me up. They take notice of things I like and dislike and they help me out now. Infact they do take care of me and care for me. All of those years of hard work raising them from womb to toddlers, it’s paying off. They still need me a lot, but on a different level now. I also need them.

Motherhood gets easier. Parenting never gets easier but it is different. Each stage of your child’s life will have its ups and downfalls. But motherhood is different to parenting. Motherhood is a feeling, and it’s one that gets easier with time. So hang in there, you’ve got this.

If you’d like to read more about my journey with anxiety, start at the beginning.

It’s also worth being cautious with social media too, read here to find out more.

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!

What Goals Should You Set This Year?

January is the start of a brand new book in your life. As the cheesy saying goes, you’ve got 365 pages ahead of you from the 1st January. These pages are the days to your year. It’s a good idea to set out some goals ahead of you. Sometimes New Years Resolutions don’t go according to plan, and that’s ok. I also find that the first few weeks of January you are so busy getting back into the funk of life. But now is a good time to set some goals for the year. What goals should you set this year?

Physical Goals

Perhaps you want to lose weight (I want to highlight here that this should be because you want to, or because of health reasons- not because of society’s pressures) so now is a good time to sit down and plan out a healthy diet plan.

Don’t eliminate “bad” foods altogether. If you don’t treat yourself from time to time then you are more likely to binge on the junk food and this will escalate quickly. Try to plan some treat food into the diet too. This way you’re more likely to stick to it. Also remember this isn’t a quick fix in Jan- plan for the whole 12 months and set yourself mini goals.

Getting more active is also a good idea. If you’re not wanting to sign up to the gym, there are plenty of other free activities you can do. You could try the couch to 5k Running Programme. You could get out on a daily mindful walk, which will not only help you to stay active but help with your mental health too. Or you could do some at home exercises. Perhaps you could sign up to some exercise classes like Zumba or Pilates.

There are plenty of exercise options out there. Exercise is a really great way to boost those endorphins and leave you feeling good. Again, set yourself small goals for the 12 months and build up. If you throw yourself into it too much to begin with, you may end up losing motivation.

Educational Goals

Maybe this year you’d like to study something new? There’s no age limit on learning. In fact I am constantly striving to learn new things all the time and take on smaller online courses to boost my knowledge, especially in my business sector.

However you could study for fun too- there are plenty of colleges that can offer evening classes in thinks like baking, textiles or IT skills. Have a look at what’s on locally to see if you want to increase your knowledge bank.

Personal Goals

Maybe there is a personal goal you’d like to achieve. For me last year, it was to not chase anyone anymore. I did really well with it although there were a few people that I did still make more of an effort with as I knew it wasn’t personal or in their abilities to make the same effort back at times.

Maybe there’s a bad habit you have, or maybe you don’t actually make enough time for yourself to do things that boost your joy or self esteem. For me I struggled with “me time” last year, so this year I want to set aside half an hour a day to do something selfish as such. As I realise how important this actually is.

Work Goals

Are you happy with your current career or job? Nothing needs to hold you back if you are unhappy and want to change direction with work life. Or perhaps you are looking to get a promotion, or a pay rise. Make this year your year to work hard on those work goals.

If it all feels too much at the moment and is overwhelming, break these work goals into smaller chunks. Also don’t forget that money isn’t everything and neither is work. Don’t spend your days grafting away whilst dealing with depression. Often, when we make a big life change, such as a change of jobs, it can be just what we need to help boost our mental health and give us a fresh start in life.

Life Goals

Have you got a bucket list? Maybe now is the ideal time to set yourself a goal to achieve from it. Or if you haven’t got one, why not make one? Now is a perfect time to start living life to the full and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Or maybe, you just need to sit and review your life. If anxiety and depression has gotten a hold on you, maybe now is a great time to seek help and advice and address the deeper issues. CBT therapy, or counselling is great for working through issues and taking care of yourself.

Are there bigger goals in life that you want to work towards? Such as buying a house, or starting a family? These should only be tackled when the time is right, and naturally aren’t ones that happen easily. But if there are bigger life goals that you would like to accomplish soon, then maybe you could start taking small steps towards them, such as starting a saving plan.

However, if life is difficult at the moment, remember how important it is to take one day at a time. If anxiety is all too much for you right now, here is how you can begin tackling it.

Self- Care Goals

One of my goals for this year is to practise more self-care. Too often I find myself doing lots for others, but not enough for myself. Too often, I run myself into the ground most weeks trying to achieve work goals, and take care of my family. Often, these weeks go without allowing myself the time to recharge and refresh.

This year I am putting a stop to putting myself last. I see now the importance of self-care and how I need to be spending time on myself for everyone’s sake. I can then refresh myself so that I am the best version of myself to achieve everything else I need to day by day.

So, how can you set self-care goals? Maybe there are things you’d like to invest in, like getting your nails done or getting a facial or a massage. Or it could simply be putting 10 minutes aside each day to recharge your batteries. You could take a relaxing bath, read a book or watch a TV series. Make sure that this year you set yourself some self-care goals.

You can see through this post that there are many different goals you can set yourself for the year, and many different ways in which you can achieve them. If life is hard, then set the goal to just take one day at a time. The important thing to remember is that this is your life, and you are in control. But setting goals can be healthy and you get a great sense of accomplishment afterwards. What goals will you be setting this year?

If you’re struggling with the January blues, then read our post here.

Can It Really Be New Year, New Me?

So January is upon us and we are now in the new year stage. A lot of people find this is a great time to start New Years resolutions and make healthy changes in our lives. Some of us actually manage to achieve these, but some of us may give up a few weeks, or if you’re lucky, months into it. Can it really be ‘new year, new me’? Or is this just a phase that everyone goes through in January only to propel ourselves into feeling more miserable when we don’t achieve our New Years resolutions?

New Years Resolutions

How many times have you made a New Years resolution only to see it fail within a few months? Or how many of you see this as a completely fresh start and motivate yourself constantly to keep going?

I have had many a New Years resolution in the past fail. In fact most have. But one year, I made a New Years resolution/ challenge to bake every single recipe in this baking book I loved. I actually did it! I finished in the December and I felt triumph. Only it clashed with the resolution to lose weight. But I still managed to do it as it was doable- it was something I enjoyed.

Break Your Goals Down

So when you make your New Years resolutions, I would make ones that you will actually be able to achieve. If it’s something you know you will eventually hate or resent, don’t set it. You’ll feel disappointed in yourself if you fail but you’ll be setting yourself up for a failure if you don’t set yourself a realistic resolution in the first place.

Like losing weight, a very common one. It’s so generic. You need to be more specific and make it more do able. Perhaps only allow yourself to eat chocolate/ cake etc on a weekend and eliminate these out of your weekly diet. Perhaps say no to sugary drinks but only allow yourself one a week. If you ban yourself completely from something, you may end up rebelling. But if you set a realistic goal and break it down, you will manage it.

Really think about what you want to achieve and set yourself specific doable bite sized goals. This is the best way to accomplish a resolution or goal. My baking one was broken into doing one bake a week, by the end of the year I had to double and sometimes triple this but it helped with the longevity of the challenge.

Breaking Bad Habits

Another element of the New Year is to eliminate bad or toxic habits. In that respect, I find that sometimes someone just needs a bit of a kick to start the new behaviour. In that respect, the new year is a great signal for that. However, it must be noted that it takes years for a behaviour to form; so it can take a while for it to break.

Be patient with yourself. If you slip up a few times, don’t panic and give up entirely. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the mistake, (which is easily done as your brain has been wired to behave that way or react that way over years) and keep trying.

Is it a new ‘you’ this New Year?

Is it a new ‘you’ this New Year?

So is it really new year, new me?

Well, it can be. If you struggle to ditch bad habits and toxic relationships, then the start of January can be a notable point to seriously think about changing your life. It signals a fresh start, which at times is all we need to kick start new behaviour and motivate us to succeed. 

We are all constantly changing within ourselves and often we are not the same person we were a few years back. So yes, we can see the New Year as a way to start this change. But make sure that it is a positive one. 

Treat yourself and others with kindness, don’t criticise yourself constantly and don’t give up. Find new ways to beat anxiety or depression.

I hope that you all have a wonderful start to 2020 and that if you need it to be a fresh start, that you make it a successful one.

December: A Time For Reflection and Contentment.

December is my favourite month of the year. This will be no surprise for those that know me; I’m a Celeb is on TV each night, Christmas for me is the most wonderful time of the year and we have time for reflection and contentment.

For those that struggle this time of the year, check out my post here on how to survive the festive period.

Why Is It A Time To Reflect?

December marks the end of the year. The 12th Chapter in the 2019 story of your life. Some tend to find December is so full of content, you can sit back and reflect on the year that has just passed.

This year has been a crazy one for me. So much has happened. Here is what has changed in my life;

  • Friendships. As usual, friends have come and gone in my life. One was a close one too- this hurt so much to begin with but now I realise that it happened for a reason. The friendship had ran its course, and I wouldn’t have time for it in my life now. Some friends I see and speak to less, as life has gotten hectic for us but the love and admiration for them is still there. And I have welcomed some incredible new friendships into my life. Those that have been there for me this year, I have to thank. They have made this year joyous and given me some amazing memories. I now see the importance of just letting people go.
  • Family. Unfortunately at the start of this year, I lost my Uncle. I still miss him so much. I still wish I had gotten to say goodbye. But this year I gained a new nephew and he is so adorable. I have also been given the chance to spend some quality time with my other nephew, whom I love as if he was mine.
  • Work. I started off the year feeling lost in terms of work and what I was meant to be doing with my life. I was finishing off a course and I just felt a massive amount of anxiety when it came to work. Now, I am embarking on my self-employment journey. It’s tougher than I ever imagined, but I don’t feel lost anymore. I feel excited.
  • My Attitude. I have always been a bit of a mug, to put it bluntly. Whereas now, I am trying to develop a stronger attitude to things. To not be a doormat anymore.
  • Mental Health and Anxiety. I started the year off still seeing a counsellor weekly. That finished in February and since then I have strived to keep learning about mental health and anxiety. I have kept pushing myself. Now I can look back and see the important journey that I went on. I feel so much better. I still have the odd bad day, but on the whole I feel like I am finally kicking anxiety’s butt.
  • Health. I still could do with losing some weight but I have been making sure that I take care of my health as best as possible.
  • Priorities. I can gladly now say, that I have changed my priorities in life. I now no longer put people first when they would never do the same for me. I am fully focused on my family and my work. On the good friends that have stuck by me through it all. It’s refreshing to know my priorities are in the right order now.

Accepting The Future’s Fate.

When it comes to looking forward, I know that it will continue to change. I like to think that this year I have finally accepted this notion. That change happens all around us, all of the time.

Instead of fearing change in the future, I am going to try and embrace it. I see now that it is inevitable, I can’t resist it from happening anymore. I have always been a firm believer that everything happens a reason, so it’s best to just go with the flow. This is why it’s important to accept the fate of the future. To let things be. So looking into the future, into 2020, I know things will change again. But this time, instead of resisting, I am going to have faith that it’s all for the right reasons. It helps me to keep travelling down my life’s journey.

Being Content and Mindful

A huge achievement in life is to feel contentment. Mindfulness can be the tool to help you achieve this. Mindfulness makes you focus on the here and the now. You direct your thoughts into the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past, or fretting about the future.

Since I started reading up on mindfulness, I realised how powerful the mind is and why our thought processes work the way that they do. That is why I highly suggest giving mindfulness a go to anyone that is wanting to live in the moment more. My aim for 2020 is to practise mindfulness properly again and to see its full benefits.

Merry Christmas To You All

I just wanted to take this time to thank you for following my blog and my journey with anxiety. I hope that this blog has helped people out there, giving you some help and hope. I hope that you have a great festive period and enjoy the last of 2019.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year To You All.

The next instalment of this blog will be early 2020- so keep an eye out! Until then, take care.

December is for reflection and contentment.

Already dreading the January blues? Take a look on my blog post here on how to combat those dreaded blues!