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

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

I have been on a journey this past year.

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

I ways always chasing people and trying to please them.

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

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

We are all equals.

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

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

This could be either;

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

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

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

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

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

An unequal friendship is an unhealthy one.

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

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

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

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

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10 Things you need to ignore to become happier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Why I’m Done Chasing People And You Should Be, Too

I am writing this very personal blog post in the hope that it may help anyone else that just doesn’t feel good enough at times. I am going to explain why I am done chasing people because I realise now that this is just a vicious cycle in my life.

You see, I have learnt a lot about myself this past year. I’ve learnt what my big red button trigger is. A lot of people that suffer with anxiety, usually have a big red button trigger, that when pressed sets off all sorts of anxious behaviour. It’s difficult to find what your trigger is, but it’s worth doing some self- reflecting until you discover it.

My big red button is that;

I’m not a good person. I’m not a good friend.

I know logically that the only one that can control this and change this is myself. I can do my utmost best to be a good person and friend. Although it changes from person to person on what makes someone good, I know what I would consider as being a decent human and friend and I know how to act in a way to make sure I accomplish this. I put a lot of effort into my friendships, I make a lot of time in my life to see and speak to friends and I try as much as possible to be there for them when they need it.

So, if I know this, why do I worry about it?

Well a combination of low self esteem, being a natural worrier and past experiences has set my brain up to default back to this statement and worry. And it usually defaults back to this when my trigger is pressed.

This book was amazing at helping me to recognise why I had low self esteem.

What causes my trigger to be pressed?

A lot! But one main trigger is when there is a clear lack of effort from a friendship, when a friendship is really one sided. Now, I’m not talking about when a friend takes a while to text back- because I can be guilty of this too. Or the occasional non- reply; because again I can do this. I’m not talking about a cancellation or two, because life happens. But I am talking about constant, consistent chasing of a ‘friend’. The ones where you feel that if you didn’t talk to them, they would never think to message you. The ones where you get that gut feeling that they just don’t want to hang out. Those friendships are my trigger.

So, why am I chasing these one- sided friendships?

Because it has become one big vicious circle. I can’t seem to win with myself- because if I chase, the following happens; I feel neglected, unwanted, unliked, unimportant. This eats away at my self esteem and leaves me feeling like I am not a good person. I am not a good friend. So, I chase because it seems like this is the only answer- because maybe I might break through and get them to like me, so feel wanted. But I also chase because if I don’t; I feel like I have given up on someone, I feel like a bad person. I feel like a bad friend because I usually try so hard to see the good in people and to be forgiving, so when I don’t chase someone- I blame myself for the non contact.

Has this always been the case?

Not at all. I have had many friendships in my life; some still are around and very much present. Some, though, have naturally drifted apart- as let’s face it, we can’t stay friends with everyone from school, college, university or the jobs we have had. It is only natural for certain friends to leave your life. Imagine if we did keep in contact with everyone- we would never have any time to get on with our current lives because we would constantly be messaging or socialising. We have to prioritise who is active in our lives and who we make time for. People naturally drift away but it doesn’t mean they have completely gone, it just means they are further down our line. These are the ones we message or see once in a blue moon. Or maybe it’s just become impractical to see or speak to them anymore. I used to be so good at this. I know that the ones that have drifted, it wasn’t done in a malicious, horrible way, it happened naturally and I still have nothing but love and fond memories for these folk. It never used to affect me until anxiety hit 5 years ago. Read about my battle against anxiety here.

So why am I now done chasing?

Because I realise that something has got to give. I thought about my timescales of a standard day, the time I had to do what. What percentage of my day was wasted chasing? Too much! I have to juggle a lot already, but I have been adding to my already hectic plate. I am a good person. I am a good friend. Yes, at times, this may get questioned but I am doing so much better with this now. It is time to break that vicious cycle. If you are chasing a one sided friendship, then stop. It does not make you a bad person or friend to stop chasing.

Friendships should be a tennis game.

You need to be hitting that ball back and forth. So if you text someone and don’t get a reply- don’t text again until you do. Or if you have asked to meet up with someone and they don’t seem keen, don’t keep asking. You’ve made your move, now wait for theirs. A decent friendship will play out like a tennis game. At times, someone may need to take a break. Let them, when they are ready, they will step back in. Since I have stopped chasing, it has been a pleasant surprise to find that some people whom I didn’t expect to hear from, have actually text me first.

Are there exceptions to this rule?

For me, yes. My inner circle. The ones that I can call or text any time. These people, I can triple text if needed because I know life is busy, I feel comfortable in the friendship and I wouldn’t class it as chasing when usually these people are making as much effort as I do. You should be able to count these people on one hand. This is where quality friendships far outweigh quantity.

And what if I get nothing back?

If a friend came to you and said that someone wasn’t making an effort with them, texting them back or wanting to meet up, what would you tell your friend? Why do you value your friend more than yourself? It’s time we started to value ourselves above everything. It’s so important to look after yourself or this is when anxiety can become a vicious circle and your self esteem and worth can start to decrease.

If someone is making no effort and the friendship has become more one-sided and you can’t see a reason why; then that says more about them than you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person, it could be that their priorities have changed in their life and they don’t have time for you anymore. This does hurt, don’t get me wrong. The worst scenarios are where they are members of your inner circle and they suddenly change their effort. But, that is THEIR problem, not yours. If you have done all you can, then just be you and focus on your life. And if they never get back to you or don’t put that effort in again- then do you really want someone like that as a good friend?

Most of the time, the explanation lies with the other person. We are not mind readers- so don’t try to guess why. Just accept that this person has changed, whether thats due to their priorities or life changes, or maybe your friendship has just altered. The main thing to remember is that we can not be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t make either of you bad people, or bad friends. It just means you don’t gel. And thats ok! We can not get on with everyone or stay friends with everyone we’ve ever been friends with. It’s simply impossible. It may mean that they are just becoming more of a distant friend rather than a close friend anymore. So tell me, what are you willing to give up to keep chasing people in your life? For me, nothing. I realise now that my life is important. My everyday routine is important. So why do I keep using up my time to chase a one sided friendship? I’m done.

How will this help my anxiety?

It will end that vicious circle. I won’t message people over and over. Because I am worth more than that. I don’t have time for that. I won’t keep asking to meet up if I  keep getting consistently cancelled on, or if you are reluctant to make plans as you are busy. I am busy too. Life is busy. I firmly believe that you prioritise what you want to. I can be having such a hectic month, but if one of my best friends wants to make plans; I will make sure that I have time for them. If someone else wants to meet up, I will check my diary and give them the next available date. But, I barely have time for me which is something that is so important and I am going to start scheduling in. I am busy, so why am I chasing someone that is too busy for me? We all have the same hours in a day but different things we have to fit into that. If you can not prioritise time for me; then I will no longer do that for you.

By doing this, I am effectively culling people from my life. This sounds so alarming, but in reality the ones that are culled are the ones that make zilch effort. On a scale of friendships, there could be a certain percent that you end up chasing; these ones are the ones that make you feel rotten. If this percent was culled, what are you left with? Genuine friends. You don’t come away from these conversations or meet ups feeling drained, negative or judged. You come away feeling positive. A couple of my best friends live hours away, we go months without seeing each other, and days without talking but there is nothing but positivity there. Genuine friends can go a while not speaking or not seeing each other- but the effort is still there. The positivity and love is there. And when you’re left with genuine friends- it doesn’t matter how many you’re left with. Quality far outweighs quantity and having people let you down, and not knowing who to trust.

School and Facebook is so similar; there are people that are more and less popular than you. I used to feel envious of the popular ones, of all their likes and plans. I used to think that it would make me a good person and a good friend if I had as many likes as that. But what do you really get from that? What do you ‘win’ in life? After reflecting on this, I’d rather have a small group of REAL friends that make an effort than hundreds of likes on Facebook. It’s all false anyway. As for being popular; I want to be a good friend and person and I think people have different things to offer. I need to start prioritising my own family and life more than chasing friendships, so the time I have left to socialise I would rather work on building up the bonds of those close friends than I would having loads.

Read more about me against my social life here.

I’m done chasing friends.

I am a good person. I am a good friend. By not chasing people, this doesn’t make me a bad person at all. It says more about someone else if they don’t value my time and efforts. I want people around me that make me feel positive and good about myself. Why am I letting people drain me? Why am I meeting up with people or messaging people that make me feel negative, that make me doubt myself?

This little mindfulness book is great at opening up your mind and accepting things as they are.

I have always made it clear that my door is always open. So, if we haven’t spoken in weeks, months, years- I am still here. But I’m not chasing anymore. My time is valuable, my efforts are precious. If you hit that ball back at me, I will always hit it back to you. But when you stop, please don’t be surprised when I take a step back and go join another game. I’ll re join when you do.

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If this blog post resonated with you, then please do give it a like on here or Facebook and share it. You never know who is struggling out there, not feeling good enough. When really everyone is more than enough. You just need to focus on those quality friendships then chasing the quantity. You need to learn to let go and believe in yourself and the right people will be there for you.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media too (links above)

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12 Fun Ideas To Help Boost Happiness

When you suffer with anxiety, it’s important to practise self care often. I keep saying to people lately that I’ve been ‘selfish’ as I’ve done something for myself. As a New Years resolution though, and since embarking on a journey of self improvement and boosting my mental health, my aim was to be more ‘selfish’. I was reminded lately on why I shouldn’t use that word. It is so vital to help boost mental health, keep us sane, find happiness in the small things in life, to do necessary things for ourselves. We are important. We need to look after number 1. Here are 12 fun ideas to help boost happiness.

1. Seeing Friends

For me a coffee with a friend is a perfect way to spend a morning. I feel so lucky to have people around me that I can grab a mocha with and chat about life. It definitely boosts my spirits. Why not book in with a friend to see them this week for a chat and cuppa?

2. Seeing Family

Nothing is more important than family and I am so lucky to have the family I do. A Sunday round my parents is always a sure fire way to calm the anxiety and make me feel at home. Have you got family that live local? Plan to spend a day or dinner with them.

3. Going On Walks

Get into nature, breathe in the fresh air and just go for a simple walk. It’s a great exercise choice and it helps to boost your mental health by bringing you closer to nature.

4. Watching  a TV series, Films or YouTube Videos

I’ll be the first to admit I love a Netflix binge. Some great TV series we’ve watched lately are; Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, You and Bandersnatch. We thought Bird Box was brilliant too and, of course, A Quiet Place. We are very much into our TV and films. But when I’m scrolling through Facebook before bed, I do very much appreciate the funny videos that are on there or on YouTube for a quick entertainment fix. What do you like to watch on TV?

5. Cross Stitch & Crafts

I love to get crafty. For me, my favourite hobbies are cross stitch and sewing; whether that’s making blankets with material or little felt decorations. It’s very satisfying making something from scratch. Have you got a hobby that you enjoy doing? Why not take one up?

6. Baking

One of my favourite hobbies is baking. I love it. I try to do different recipes each week.  It’s something that my family enjoys me doing too! Why not find some healthy recipes online for dinner or some treat recipes for cakes? Baking can be so therapeutic.

7. Self- Pampering

I love to paint my own nails. I used to have a lot more time and patience with it and would do all sorts of nail art, now, however as time is more precious I do tend to do simpler nails but by having freshly painted nails, it really does boost my mood.  Is there something you enjoy that is a bit of self-pampering? Why not treat yourself to a  bath bomb every month and indulge in a hot bubbly bath?

8. Games

I grew up with two brothers that were huge gamers and to some extent this did rub off on me too. However, it is a real rarity that I get to play games. And if I do, it is usually on my phone. However, the Sims and my DS are also great ways to unwind and I really should play on them more often. Do you enjoy games?

9. Retail Therapy

Of course, there is always retail therapy. Although we do strictly budget our money these days, there is something about browsing the shops that keeps me content. I do love a bit of online shopping too. So really, this is also a rare occurrence that I actually have money to spend but I do really enjoy a bit of a shop. How about browsing the shops on a sunny day and doing a bit of window shopping? Or treating yourself to a new top!

10. My Children

My children are everything to me. Some of my favourite ways to spend time with them is by going to the park, going to the beach and playing with them. Of an evening, to help us all wind down, we now get the board games out and play one before bath time. Even though it’s only ten minutes, it gives me that bonding time with them and also helps me to unwind too. We also do puzzles.

11. Getting Out and About

I love to get out to new places, visit zoos, aquariums and go to garden centres. It not only benefits myself, but my children love it too. Go somewhere new and see how you feel afterwards.

12. Organisation

Anyone that knows me, knows I love to be organised. I do this by browsing Pinterest, writing lists, planning Christmas WELL in advance, having a sort out and planning my next gardening or DIY project. I am a firm believe that being organised helps to declutter your mind too!

They say before dating, that you should get to know and fall in love with yourself before you fall in love with anyone else. I think even after dating, marriage, kids and even if you have an active social life; it’s so important to make time for yourself and have fun! These are 12 ways in which I boost my mental health. This week, make your own list. Then book some time in over the next few months to be able to complete some of these. I love to try and find balance in life, so not all of these are regular things but they are things I can book in to do. Some of these can be done with others too, so you can drop any guilt of isolating yourself. But at times I think alone time is so vital.

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Drop a comment to let me know the fun ways that you help to boost your mental health and happiness. Don’t forget to follow me on social media too (links are above).

10 Tips to Help Reduce the January Blues

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am Christmas obsessed. So it comes as no surprise that at the end of November all the way until Boxing Day, I am at the peak of my happiness. And anyone that knows me well, knows that once New Years hits, I’m, well the opposite. It shouldn’t affect me like this, it’s ridiculously silly. But I love Christmas and everything about it. It, to some extent, drowns everything out and makes me feel all jolly. Well, it is the most wonderful time of the year afterall!
So come January, I feel lost. I sort of want to count down the 300 and 50 something sleeps to go. But I know I can’t live my life happy for only 1 month and sad for 11. Even though my youngest little boy, who seems to be taking after me with my post Christmas blues, said he will do.
As a mother, and an anxiety buster- I must make the rest of the year just as amazing. Which, when you do tend to suffer with anxiety and dwell on the negative, is a tough thing to do. But 2018 taught me a lot about myself and life. And perhaps it doesn’t have to be so bad, as long as I work hard on improving myself and my life.
My New Years resolutions will be to lose weight, stop chasing people and waiting for their replies, work on my anxiety busting goals and to work hard to become self employed.
But what can I do now? What can I do right now to make sure that I can overcome these January blues?
  1. Make some positive plans for the future. For me, if I have something to look forward to, even if it’s something small– I am able to focus on that. So this month, we are trying to book a weekend away to see some family and friends. I’ll also book in some dates to see some friends this month for a coffee. In terms of longer plans, I’ll start thinking of things to do this spring/ summer with my children. A very positive thing that we have already done this month is book a holiday for this Summer.
  2. Have a little ‘me’ time. I intend to schedule in short bursts of time throughout the week, to do something different that I will enjoy. This could range from baking, having a bath, painting my nails to having a de-clutter. Every little helps to re-energise my soul and boost my mental health.
  3. Eating healthily and drinking more water. This speaks for itself. The healthier I can be, the more my body will feel better and reward myself.
  4. Spend time working on my physical space. I don’t know about you, but a less cluttered and homely looking home makes me feel better mentally. I have started by writing in my diary when I will do a sort out and deep clean of each room; I usually tackle one room a month so it’s not taking up too much of my time, but I’ve also written a list of what needs doing over the next couple of weeks. I’ve had a thorough clean since Christmas and we got some new furniture so I’m in the process of having a bit of a sort out and organising. I already feel a lot better and mentally decluttered.
  5. Although I find it hard to think ahead, to some degree I do map out my year and what I want to do when roughly. For example, we will be going to visit family a few times this year. I also want to take my family to London for a weekend trip, so I’ll figure a few things out that will be positive. I also roughly map out when certain tasks need completing.
  6. Start the new year with some anxiety busting hacks, like worry time or writing down positives at the end of the day.
  7. Get enough sleep. I have been guilty of burning the candles at both ends this Christmas time, so it’s time I got into a good routine of early to bed and early to rise so that I am ready to face the day and achieve as much as I can do.
  8. Don’t expect too much too soon. Going from a festive, jolly season to welcoming the January blues- it’s a tough time for us all. So don’t expect to feel on top of the world straight away. Just take one day at a time.
  9. Get on Netflix and watch some of their fantastic shows and films. Something that has helped me over the past couple of weeks has been to have some TV to look forward to at the end of the day. I will work through my jobs as quick as I can, knowing that come evening time I can curl up in my PJs and stick a binge-worthy show on. This month so far we have watched; Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House, You, Bird Box and Black Mirror; Bandersnatch.
  10. Take up a new hobby. For me, I love cross stitch, sewing and baking so I have made sure that in those times that I need to do something for myself, I have these to focus on and enjoy.

I hope that these 10 tips for beating the January blues helps. January is a dull and dreary month for many, so it’s best if we take it day by day and we make the most of these cosy winter days and evenings. Don’t take it so seriously. We’re half way through winter, Summer sunshine will be here before we know it. This month be selfish. Buy yourself that outfit. Go out and watch the latest movie at the cinema. Make plans with friends. Curl up with a cup of tea and Netflix. Find something small to achieve each day to give the days purpose and meaning. Find something small each day to enjoy to give the day pleasure and joy.

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Let me know how your January is going and if you’re managing to beat the blues. Also click on the links above to give me a follow on social media, for more updates and tips on how to overcome anxiety. Thank you.

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!

8 Tips To Help You Cope With Change

Recently I went through a big life change. Moving house.
Now, change has often been worrisome for me. But since I started suffering with anxiety, it is terrifying. It’s a leap into the unknown. It’s not feeling at home, comfortable, in charge. It goes against everything I try to daily enforce in my life to ensure calm and to feel “on top” of things. It’s brave.
I’ve been searching for a new home for a few years now. I knew as a family it would benefit us to move closer to my Son’s schools and also I felt like over the past couple of years we had outgrown our humble abode. Yet every time I loaded RightMove I was reluctant and I was picky. I knew whatever I chose, I had to be sure of because I knew how much the change would affect me. Then I found this place. And me and my husband viewed it, then I got this feeling. I just knew this was going to be our future. And so I took that leap.
Change terrifies me. It really unsettled me. I still don’t feel ‘at home’ now, but I know that will come with time. Here are some tips on how I have handled the change;
  1. Make lists. Making lists is something I do all of the time anyway, it keeps me feeling like I have a sense of control and I feel organised and my thoughts aren’t so cluttered and floating free. I’ve got a few lists on the go now but it’s been essential for me during this change. I have always been a list maker. I do it for everything, big and small; from Christmas shopping lists to what housework needs doing, tasks I need doing on my blog to places I want to visit with my children throughout the year. Having my lists handy over the past few weeks has been so helpful to me.
  2. Keep in as much of a ‘normal’ routine as possible. It soon became apparent to me that nothing was going to be normal as I knew it again. We had moved. Our routines would naturally change because of this, but still the first week was awful because I just wasn’t trying to get into a routine. When week 2 began, I knew that the most important thing to do, would be to create some sort of normality through routine. Which we did, and immediately I felt better. No, things will never be the same again as they were a month ago, but they can still be good. You do what you can from the old, but tweak it with the new.
  3. Accept help. In whatever way you need. I had a thousand things to do one day, but my husband ran me a bath and told me to go soak myself instead. I listened, and I am thankful for that pause and helping hand that I was given. My friends and family have been so supportive over the past few weeks and have been helping in the ways that they can. I also, I’m not ashamed to admit it, but have started counselling again. I have never taken anti-depressants, although I see nothing wrong with those and I believe they help so many people so should be used where they can help. So my way of getting help is by talking it through with someone trained to give me help, advice and techniques that I can use. These new techniques of calming my worries down have really been invaluable. I am thankful that I had help available to me.
  4. Indulge in yourself. In a time of change, it’s important to look after yourself. Watch that chick flick, go out with friends, read a book or take a bath. Have some time to yourself. Life is forever changing so it’s important to ground yourself from time to time and rediscover you. You can never feel guilty about looking after number one.
  5. Acceptance. Realise that nothing will be the same again. Autumn is a fantastic metaphor for this. Every year the trees shed their leaves, the breeze lifts them off the branches and they let go. What happens a few months later, new leaves grow. I have been using this metaphor a lot lately, it’s helped that my change has also come over Autumn. But I have to accept the change. Let go of what has been and look forward to a fresh start and what’s coming next. This applies to everything; friendships, relationships and happiness. Nothing is guaranteed to stay. But the best thing to do, is learn to let go, accept what is and what will be and be grateful for what is left.
  6. Take one day at a time. I was very naive when we moved and thought that by the next day, we would be cleaned up, unpacked, tidied with homely things put on the walls. 2 and a half weeks later and there’s still a list of ‘to-do’s. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say. Things take time. I realise that now. I need to practise patience a lot more. To be honest as well, by taking it one day at a time, I am reflecting more on the journey and it can be quite exciting. Small steps.
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I found it so easy to get caught up in all of the stressful situations that moving and change brought me. I was stressing over everything. So many things went wrong and then naturally my mind was racing with negativity. Now, I am slowly getting there with settling down, I realise that every little thing does not need to be analysed and stressed over. If I can not fix a problem, I should not worry about it. Instead I should focus my energy in the tasks at hand. I’ve actually gotten pretty good at this now. And when I really need to worry, I use ‘Worry Time’ to do so.
  8. Be kind to yourself. It has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks. I have had so much thrown at me- as life goes, we all get it- and I wasn’t being too kind on myself. I’ve made mistakes over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten snappy and on edge about things. But do you know what? That’s ok. I forgive myself. We all make mistakes. Nothing is dandy all of the time and we can’t always be perfect. All I can do is try my best. Now change is horrible and daunting for anybody, but as I find anxiety difficult at times, for my it’s the worst. Not only that, but moving has been listed as one of the top situations to cause stress and anxieties. So no wonder I’ve not felt myself! But now, I am being kind to myself. It’s been a couple of weeks and I am getting used to it all now, now it’s time to wipe the slate clean, have a fresh start and BE KIND to myself.

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Have you been through a change in your life lately? How did you cope with it? Have you got some tips you could share in the comment box? I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on social media too, (links are above).

Thank you.

 

8 Steps On What To Do When You’re In A Slump

Sometimes life can leave you feeling a bit drained, like your glass is half empty and you can feel mentally exhausted. I’ve had my fair share of days like this. Days where all I have wanted to do is hide away from life and not face up to my day to day routines. Some days I feel like the World is against me. I feel those around me slipping away. I feel myself slipping into this anxiety swamp. So, what do I do when I’m in a slump, what should you do when you’re in a slump?

  • Take a long walk in nature. Breathe in the fresh crisp air and look at the beautiful nature around you. There is so much beauty in this world if we really open up to it.
  • Aromatherapy. The best essential oils for anxiety are Lavender, Camomile, Rose and Frankincense. You can also get some great essential oil packs on Amazon aimed directly at improving Mental Health.
  • Phone a friend or family member. Even if you don’t know how to explain how you feel, the company will help. Talk about anything even the weather. At times, socialising with anxiety can feel overwhelming, but it is also important to push through as it does help.
  • Watch some TV or a feel good movie. Personal favourites are The Greatest Showman and Stepbrothers. Escapism is a great way of feeling better and just putting a pause on life until you are more rested and ready to face everyday life again.
  • Eat healthily. Treat your body to some fruit and vegetables. Why not make some energy balls? Try to cook from scratch if you can. Reward your hard-working body with healthy and wholesome food.
  • Read a book. The DARE book is amazing and I can not recommend it enough. It really does help to gain an insight into how the brain works and help you to start facing anxiety. This will give you a mental boost and a sense of new hope.
  • Have a deep relaxing bath. Lush have a great range of environmentally friendly products. Here is a great bath bomb that will relax you and make you feel like a Goddess. 
  • Do some decluttering or cleaning. Decluttering your physical space does wonders to help declutter your mind. This book looks good, it’s definitely one I would want to read soon. 

I find that when I’m in a slump with my anxiety and mood, I just need to pick something and do it. But also, sometimes it’s ok to accept that I’m having a slump and just let it be for a bit. I never let myself dwell in my low mood for too long, but sometimes just laying on the bed and thinking things through, or sitting still with my thoughts isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all makes me stronger in the end. But once I’ve sat with my thoughts and had a bad mood for a bit, it’s time to pick one of the activities and then the next and work my way through till I’m out of that slump.

I hope this blog post has helped you. If it has, it would mean so much if you could like or share it on social media. Also pop a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to follow me on social media too (links are above)

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