Duvet Days: Here’s to Lazy Weekends

Staying in can be amazing, especially when you make The Lazy Weekend List. The best thing about this list is you can put anything you want on it to pass the time, why not make it a social gathering too? Let me help you by suggesting my top activities for the perfect lazy weekend list.

The Solo Lazy List

If you are planning to spend the weekend by yourself, then here is a few thoughts to get you inspired for what you might want to do.

  1. Read a book, as in a whole book from start to finish. You could challenge yourself with the task of completing an entire book over the weekend. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long novel like War and Peace or The Shining, but maybe something shorter like Animal Farm by George Orwell, which is a fantastic Novella and easily achievable to finish in one sitting.
  2. Another idea is to have a long, hot, relaxing bath and let the bubbles submerge you in a tranquil atmosphere. Maybe even read that book while you’re in there.
  3. Let’s face it, we all have guilty pleasure films and TV shows that we don’t like people to know we love, so why not sit down, get comfy and stick your favourite tacky film on.
  4. The last thing I will suggest but is far from the last thing on a very big list is to write. You could start a journal writing down your thoughts, feelings and events that happen on a day to day basis. If you’re not one for wanting to write a journal then maybe start a short story, it could be about anything you want. Once completed, you could even submit it online with the vast number of websites that love receiving stories. Furthermore, you could even start writing your own blog and turning it into a new weekend routine.

The Group Lazy List 

If spending the weekend by yourself isn’t your thing or you live with other people then fear not, there are just as many things to do as a group to keep you entertained.

  1. Binge a box set and see if you can complete it in an entire weekend, here are a few franchises that are possible to watch back to back.
  • Harry potter
  • Star Wars
  • Lord of the rings and the Hobbit
  • X-men

These are just a few ideas that you may want to challenge yourself and the group to try and watch in a weekend.

2. While the films are playing you could pig out through the day, starting with an extravagant breakfast followed by brunch, then topping up with a lunch filled with some of your favourite snacks, and then ending with a banquet fit for a royal family.

3. One last idea you may want to do while binging on movies and stuffing your face is to build a forte. Get all the duvets, blankets and pillows you can get your hands-on and start constructing your comfy kingdom. Just the idea of being inside that forte of comfort eating food and watching Harry Potter (or whatever you choose to watch), sounds like heaven.

We all need lazy weekends once in a while, even if the weather isn’t all grey clouds and downpours outside.

If you do end up having a lazy weekend, then tell me what you got up to or add some of your own suggestion in the comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.    

Are you after ways to boost your soul? Why not read my blog post here.

Need some ways to get motivated? Check out my blog post all about motivation!

What Would You Change Right Now In Your Life If You Could?

Part of mindfulness, is to accept life for what it is. Often we are told when it comes to our mental health, to come to terms with our lives as they are, to not get down about what we are lacking in life. Although this is true, we should be accepting of our lives and how they are now, it doesn’t mean you can’t dream.

When I was in the darkest days of my anxiety, I would never dream of things in my future. Of course I wanted my life to change. But there was a huge difference. Wishing for change, and dreaming for change and taking action to change your life is entirely different. The first one will put you in a low mood which is hard to escape, whereas the second will give you the motivation to dream and change your life for the better.

What type of things can you make positive steps towards?

You could be dreaming of anything.. but the key is not to obsess over it and base your happiness with it. Learn to be happy in the moment, to accept your life as it is. You will not become happier when you achieve your goals, but you will expand your life, perhaps feel more accomplished and more confident. Happiness doesn’t last… it’s a feeling that comes and goes. So learn to be happy now.

You can make positive steps towards a variety of things. Here’s my list:

1. I’d love to lose weight. I won’t be happier when it happens but I will feel more confident in my own skin, so I have started calorie counting and I need to make healthy small changes each week. This way I’m more likely to stick to it rather than a crash diet.

2. I wouldn’t have nerves and anxieties and all of the physical symptoms that come with it. I, of course, hate that I suffer with anxiety and get nervous about the smallest of situations. So yes, I would love to change this. But ultimately, as I work on myself all the time and bit by bit, this area of my life does become easier.

3. Get back into driving. Those who know me well, know how much I’d love to get back into driving and be confident again. I know this is a case of mind over matter. I won’t be happier if I could drive, but I certainly would be proud of myself and it would make my life easier. That is why this is a goal I will work on in the long run, but I only have to do it for myself and no one else.

4. Be more independent. At times I worry that I’m too reliant on other people. Not just physically, but mentally, I am always seeking reassurance from others. I need to gain confidence and be more independent. This wouldn’t make me happier, but it would be a positive step for self development.

So these are four things that I feel would better my life. I know I won’t be happier, but they are goals I have for myself for my future. When you face a list of goals, at times it can be overwhelming. But you have to look back before you look forward. Look at how far you’ve come so far. These are goals of mine from the past to show you what I mean;

5. I used to feel like I wanted a job writing from home. For me it was always my dream to be a writer and I wanted a job that would fit around my children but also allow me to cope easier with my anxieties. I have managed to achieve that. I pinch myself everyday that I am here, earning a living writing for others. It hasn’t been an easy journey and I have pushed myself to my limits, but it has been worth it. This really is proof of working hard to achieve a goal and a dream.

2. I have always suffered with bad knees, I wanted to have less achy knees. I was given two surgeries for my knees and although they do still ache on and off, they are nothing like they used to be. The surgery was scary and was a leap of faith but I’m glad to have done it. When they ache now I know they’re not as bad. I also know exercises I can do to help further strengthen them.

3. I wanted to worry less about my social life. I wanted to be confident in the friends I saw- I have achieved that. It took some time but I realised how important it was to let go of those who caused me distress and hurt. I had to focus on the friends who made an effort and learn to play the tennis game. This was hard to start with, but now I am truly lucky to have a group of supportive friends around me, and I know these are the best ones for me.

I have had to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow. It’s been hard and you really need to be patient, progress doesn’t happen easily or over night. However, you can put your mind to it and set small goals in order to achieve growth.

There are things I have changed in my life over the past few years for the better and I am so proud of myself for that. However, there are still things I’d change. In the mean time though, I am grateful for life as it is right now and I am happy and content. Going forward I will still push myself and try and achieve these new goals too.

What changes would you like to make in your life going forward?

Take a look at my blog post on friendships here…

Find out how to boost your soul here….

Why You Should Become More Minimalistic

Do you often feel overwhelmed? Is housework a chore which often gets you feeling down and stressed? Very often our surroundings impact our internal thoughts and feelings. When you have a cluttered space around you, you will end up also having a cluttered mind. By going minimalistic you can reduce the stress and overwhelmed feeling. Let’s explore more in below.

Do we really need every purchase we make?

Do you find that perhaps you buy things without real thought of whether or not you truly need that item? I have been guilty of this in the past, often I find that I think something looks great, whether this is clothing, an object or even food, but the reality was that I didn’t really need it.

Next time you are shopping, whether online or in person, ask yourself before making the purchase- “Do I really need this?”

What are the benefits of having a de-clutter?

There are so many benefits of having a de-clutter. Here are a few:

1. Decluttering helps as a distraction and makes us feel better. If you are full of anxiety, why not take your mind off it for a few hours and spend time cleaning and tidying? This has shown so many positive effects on mental health.

2. It has philosophical benefits, such as embedding a positive mindset when it comes to a clutter free life and becoming more minimalistic.

3. It helps with your mindfulness. By really thinking about your belongings and sifting through them, you can really get to grips with what each item, or clothing really means to you. Being more mindful aids your mental health. It allows you to feel calmer and more in control.

4. Oh boy, does a clean up and declutter help cleanse your space. It creates space to breathe within your home. You will no longer be feeling swamped by the never ending clean up routine, or constantly looking around to just see meaningless ‘stuff’.

5. You figure out very quickly what really matters to you and what serves you well. Suddenly ‘stuff’ isn’t so important, but certain items and clothing bring you benefit, joy or warmth.

6. You can save energy by having less clutter to keep on top of. It saves cleaning time, and creates a lot less stress in your life.

7. If you have a lot of clutter in your home, you can create a sensory overload, which results in further anxiety.

Future Purchases

Once you’ve had your de-clutter, you will be more thoughtful when it comes to further purchases. You will be able to really think about whether or not you need items when you’re out shopping or when you’re browsing the online shops.

This will save you a lot of money going forwards and will make each purchase you make that more rewarding. You will get more joy out of when you buy something than when you’re always just buying items.

Becoming minimalistic doesn’t have to be extreme. By cutting down on the clutter in your home and life and only focusing on what really brings you joy, you are able to free up energy and space you wouldn’t have had before. Really consider future purchases which could take up physical space, as well as emotional and mental things too!

Read my previous blog post on why housework is good for mental health here.

In need of a Spring Clean? Check out my blog here.

Would you ever become minimalistic? What are your views?

How to Focus on What You CAN Control

Life has definitely thrown us a curveball. If you’re anything like me, change can be scary and difficult to manage. I hate change, and I always try to resist against it. I know how wrong this is- I have learnt over the years that it’s much better to ride the waves of life.

When you resist change, it’s like fighting for your life against a current, only to get swamped under the weight of the water anyway. When you learn to get up on that surfboard, the changes become easier to go with. It’s all about focusing on what you CAN control. So how do we do this?

Sift through your worries

Start taking control by taming your worries. To do that you need to name them to tame them. Have you ever tried worry time before? If not, I urge you to do this. Check out my blog post on worry time here.

After you have gotten your worries sorted between those you can do something about and the hypothetical ones. You then need to learn to let go of the ones you have no control over. Just let them be. Acknowledge that you’re worried about them but let them drift away.

Instead of worrying about what you can’t control, spend some time planning achievable goals and milestones to tackle the practical worries you do have.

Don’t resist the waves of change

If you resist change, the results are that you won’t stop it, but what you will do is end up being swept away by the current. The change will happen anyway. The popular saying, “go with the flow” hasn’t been passed around lightly. To go with the flow means to ebb and flow with the changes around you, don’t resist them. Embrace them.

Life would be dull in some ways without any changes, and changes certainly give us opportunities for us to grow. Think of all the changes in your past; they led to where you are now, which is exactly where you’re meant to be. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

You just have to trust in the process.

For every change, find room to grow

Instead of resisting change each time, think about the situation you’re in and think of ways in which you can grow from it. How can you adapt to the change? How can you create the silver lining in the new way of your life?

If we stay stagnant, we never grow, we become comfortable. It’s good to grow as a person and learning should never stop.

When looking to what others are doing, there is one thing you MUST remember- you can not control what others do. You can only control your own thoughts and actions. If you disagree with someone’s choices, it’s best to just let them get on with it. We are all on our own pathways so don’t try to change or influence another’s choices. They have to do their own thing. Focus on your own pathway.

Focus on what you CAN control in each and every situation

What CAN you do? Can you ensure that you are taking care of yourself well in terms of eating and exercising? Can you ensure you are having time for yourself to relax and rest? Are you able to talk to a friend or family about your worries?

Think of all the positives and what you can control. That’s all you can do.

Remember that you can only control your own situation and choices too. Don’t punish others for their own moves. Just focus on your own destination.

If you have a friend who doesn’t make any effort- what can you do? You can’t force them to text but what you CAN do is make your effort to them and wait patiently for a reply- focus on something else in the mean time.

You can’t control someone breaking a rule, but you can stick to them.

You can’t control someone else’s rudeness, but you can control your own kindness.

You can’t control someone making a terrible mistake- but you can control making a terrible mistake by voicing an opinion that may hurt them.

It’s time to go with the flow….

I hope that this blog post has given you inspiration to ‘go with the flow’ and stop resisting change. The key is to focus on what you CAN control. Stay strong. You’ve got this.

Why not read my blog post all about the toughest times in my life and how it led me to where I am today? It’s proof that although change can suck, it often shapes our future.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind

After the tragic news of Caroline Flack sadly taking her own life back in February, society began to look at the way both the media and social media were affecting lives and mental health.

As we all know, the media has a tendency to bend the truth to sell newspapers or get views on their social media and websites. This has also been seen during Covid 19, as they report anything and everything, just to get people to click. They don’t think about the scare-mongering that they are doing. I had high hopes that after Caroline Flack that the world would start to be kinder, only this hasn’t happened.

Caroline Flack isn’t the only person to have committed suicide over social media abuse; statistics show that suicide rates from social media abuse have doubled since 2018. I can’t express enough how sad those figures are, knowing that people are taking there own lives over being bullied and targeted online. It’s heart-breaking .

My own worries

I fear for my own children as they get older and start going online, signing up to the various social media platforms there will be. As a parent, I can only protect them and monitor their activity for so long then they will reach an age where I can no longer restrict their profiles as they become young adults.

All I can do is warn them and advise them that at any point if they are being abused online or any other way, to speak to me.

There are two important things everyone should come away with from this post.

1. If you are being targeted and abused, please seek help. Talk to your parents or any other family member, a teacher or even the police. Do not suffer in silence and take the abuse, make yourself heard and stand up to these Trolls.

2. If you are targeting someone or know of anybody abusing people online, then make it stop. You have no idea the damage that is being caused to someone, even if you are just ‘messing around’ or ‘having a joke’. It maybe a laugh to you, but in no way at all is it funny. You wouldn’t be laughing if someone took their own life because you were just ‘messing around’. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

It’s time to take this seriously

I know this post seems serious, but it’s a serious matter that will only get worse if we don’t do something about it now. We should be here for one another supporting and helping each other, not tormenting and bullying.

Please share this post, it’s a message that everyone should know and learn from. 

During Covid 19, there has been many a number of individuals speaking out with their judgements and opinions. Just be careful with what you voice, you never know who it may affect. We can all play the part of being in the glass house, looking out and commenting on others, but we truly never really know what someone is going through or why they make the choices they do. So, just be mindful of what you say online and to others.

I’ll end with the quote Caroline Flack used before she sadly took her own life, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” 

If you’re struggling with your anxiety and don’t know where to start, try with reading this blog post first.

If you want to know more about my journey, you can read it here.

5 Positives We Can Take Away From Covid 19

It feels like “normal” life as we know it was a life time ago. The days have all merged into one long day dream. I’m not quite sure if its a dream, or a nightmare. Or a mixture of both. I long for the normal days that we used to rush through, I long for them because I know now not to take them for granted. Despite this testing time, there are some positives that we can take from this. Here are 5 positives we can take away from Covid 19.

1. Learning not to rush through life

In these testing times, we have learnt how to be still. We have not had the need to rush through life, from plan to plan, exhausting ourselves and draining our energies. Life has suddenly become so much simpler.

When life resumes, perhaps we don’t need to go back to hectic times? Perhaps we shouldn’t overload ourselves with too many plans but not enough self-care. These quiet moments have taught me that rushing through life was not the right thing to do.

We should take time out to just chill. And whilst we are going through each plan, I will be taking it all in so much more now and really making the most of everything.

2. The World is healing

Whilst the rest of the World is paused, the World has been healing. The environment has had far less pollution due to less travel being made both on land and in the airs. We have seen pictures of Venice’s Canals being the clearest they have been in over 60 years.

In Wales, goats have been flocking the empty town streets. There is something special about animals reclaiming the World. Cows have also been reintroduced at Giant’s Causeway.

Through daily exercise, people have been connecting with nature, helping to boost their mental health and getting a better relationship with nature. Let’s hope that this relationship continues and that many people carry on caring more about nature.

Having less pollution has massively helped the environment. Years of damage are finally being undone. But it cant stop there. Thankfully many environmental charities are still working hard to fight for these issues and to protect our planet. Let’s hope that going forward all of this positive news on the environment isn’t undone. The sights of ruined beaches and littering have been upsetting in recent weeks, let’s not go back to old habits.

3. Spending quality time with family

How many times lately have we wished to spend more quality time with our children or our partners? Lock down is giving us this chance. Although my husband is still out working each day, I have had an abundance of time with my children. It has been lovely having them around every day.

For those you that are usually like ships passing in the night, this will give you an incredible opportunity to reconnect and spend time together. Play games, watch films, snuggle and be silly. Have fun. Be a unit again.

For those you that are usually like ships passing in the night, this will give you an incredible opportunity to reconnect and spend time together. Play games, watch films, snuggle and be silly. Have fun. Be a unit again.

4. Figuring out what bits of life are worth going back to

I don’t know about you, but this has given me much needed time to stop and reflect on where I am at in my life. What was working well for me, what wasn’t? What parts of my life drained me more than it gave me positives? What parts of my life left me feeling down, sad, anxious or upset?

I am starting to notice that I don’t miss certain people like I thought I would. That I don’t miss certain things like I thought I would. This is very eye opening. This time has allowed me to figure out what bits of my life are worth going back to, and what I can step away from in the future. I would thoroughly recommend you doing the same.

This time also gives a great chance to find out who your true friends are and who has made the effort at keeping in touch.

5. More appreciation for the ‘real’ heroes

What I have loved the most, has been to see everyone wake up and start to appreciate who really keeps the world ticking over. It’s not the footballers, the celebrities, and no, Batman didn’t come and save us. But our incredible front line workers, especially those in the NHS saved our backsides, and they are still doing so. They are risking their own lives, and not spending time with their family in order to keep ours safe.

Every Thursday at 8pm, the nation have been stepping out of their front doors to clap and make a noise for these fantastic heroes. Every single time I have been moved by this. Thank you isn’t enough, but it’s a start.

For anyone that has mocked supermarket staff in the past, I hope you have also had an awakening- because these people are the ones keeping us fed and watered. Again, they are working touch hours in a high demand job right now- and I’m sure the majority have had their fair share of abuse doing so. I am so thankful.

To anyone else working in sectors which are keeping the world going- thank you. Thank you for your bravery, resilience and selflessness.

It’s hard in such a testing time to see the positives. But we have to try, we have to look. Even if it takes more effort. In these dark and unnerving times, there are still the glimmers of light and hope. Just open your eyes to them. And don’t forget, let’s just take this one day at a time.

To read my thought on social distancing, check out my blog here.

If you need ideas on what to do in isolation, check my previous blog over here.

Why I’m Struggling to Listen to Music Right Now

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am really struggling to listen to music right now. In fact, over the past few months, I have barely listened to any music. I can’t really explain why, other then every single song that I hear reminds me of “normal life”. The life I am missing so terribly right now.

The minute a song starts, it takes me back to some sort of memory from the past. Maybe it was a memory of friends or a holiday. But my mind becomes bursting full. It takes me back to the period in my life when I would have listened to that song the most. Whether they were uni days, or days not even that long ago. All I know is that it takes me right back to when this wasn’t happening.

At times, I surprise myself with how well I am doing. But maybe it’s because I am in a weird sort of bubble that I have put over myself. A bubble where I have just pretended that life is paused. I just have to get through each day, doing my work, helping my children with their school work. Repeat.

It’s only when music plays that I realise that I’m not doing ok. I’m pretending. I’m pretending that things are ok when they’re not. How is this ok? How is being distanced from so many friends and family that I adore ok? How is not being able to pop to the shop for a little something ok? I can’t even order the birthday cards I want and need for my friends and family. When did that become such a complicated process? So no, it’s not ok. None of this is ok. 

Music reminds me of that.

Music is the soundtrack to my car journeys

I have ventured out only a small handful of times in the past few months.

I remember the first journey out so vividly, I listened to music the whole way to our click and collect and the whole way back, singing my lungs out, feeling the sun warm my face through the car window. I felt tears prick my eyes. They stung. I tried to blink them back and stay calm. Don’t pop the bubble. If the bubble pops, everything sets in. It sets in how rubbish this is right now. Then I won’t be able to pretend anymore and I don’t know how I will cope then. I’ll go back to how I was at the very beginning, when I cried morning, night and day for a week straight. That’s why I formed this protective bubble over me.

Listening to the songs, I closed my eyes. I pictured life before this. A whole life so far of memories rushed by. The tears then rolled ever so slowly down my face. I couldn’t stop them.

They fell. I held the music close to my heart. It reminded me of a beautiful life I have led.

Suddenly those moments that I’d struggled in my past all just washed away. All that remained was beautiful, meaningful memories with friends and family both past and present. It felt good.

Then the car stopped. The music stopped.

Cleaning motivation delivered by the tunes

The only other times I have listened to music is when I have been washing up and tidying. Music is great for motivation to get me to clear up quicker.

Although on these occasions I have been less emotional, it has still been difficult to listen to music. It all still brings back so many memories. That’s why I have chosen not to listen to any recently. Maybe that’s wrong of me. Let’s face it- music has always been a great healer. Maybe it can heal now. But right now, it reminds me too much of “Normal Life”. And that feels so far off, that I need to stay in this bubble for a while longer.

Have you listened to music in lockdown? Do you find it helps? Or are you like me and it brings back too many memories?

Why do I think social distancing will have an impact on mental health? Read here.

Read here for 12 Ideas For Things To Do In Isolation.

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.