Us Against Ourselves; Let’s Work Together On This Journey.

I started writing this blog over a year ago now with the intentions of sharing my journey with anxiety. Within that year and a half, I have learnt so much about mental health. It’s been a hell of a journey. But, I feel that there is more I can do.

My Journey With Anxiety

I started suffering with anxiety properly five years ago, but looking back, I can now see that I probably had anxiety tendencies from a young age- I was just labelled a ‘natural worrier’. The five years I have suffered, I have been through the local NHS counselling three times. The last time being within this past year and being the most effective- so firstly, I would recommend CBT therapy to anyone. Through my journey, I remained positive, and hopeful that although I knew there would be no cure, that I could learn to deal with this monster and take control back of my life.

Find out more about Me Against Anxiety here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days but I do feel that I am in a much better place than I was five years ago, or even a year ago.

I now write for two mental health charities and I am constantly researching and learning about all things mental health. I am invested in my mental wellbeing and I am determined to keep this positive journey going.

I Want You To Join Me On This Journey

One thing I have learned on this journey, is to be open and talk to people. The more we remain silent, the more the anxiety or depression wins. It leaves us feeling ashamed, alone and hopeless; making our symptoms worse. Talking about it shuts the monster up. It allows us to voice ourselves again. To be ourselves, and not the anxious us. We can speak out, be brave and turn to others for support.

I want you to join me on this journey. I’m no expert- I still have a lot to learn. But why don’t we learn together? With a positive support system. I want a safe place for people to be able to talk about their mental health, to be open and and feel positive that no one will judge you for what you have to say. It can be a place to rant about anxiety and a bad day, but also a place to share positive stories and helpful hints and tips on tackling this.

It will be a place to help boost and lift each other. To help combat anxiety.

Join My Facebook Group; Us Against Anxiety

I have launched a Facebook group called ‘Us Against Ourselves’ so that you can join and have that safe positive online space. There will be challenges and tips for everyone on a regular basis.

You can access the link here.

Soon I will be launching an exciting email course full of handy tips and challenges for you to follow. This will be announced in the group at a later date and on here, of course.

For more help on anxiety- check out how to begin tackling anxiety.

Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast is a great book to start with researching anxiety.

Anxiety Rebalance is another book you can purchase to start on a positive journey.

18 Mood Boosting Ideas.

When you feel down, and the weight of your world is weighing on your shoulders heavily, it’s hard to find ways to get out of the slump. I did write a blog post on ways to get out of a slump, but sometimes it’s down to yourself and your own personality, likes and needs that help you.

Have you ever spent time writing a list of the things that bring you joy and cheer you up? I challenge you to do that this week. Make the list look nice, positive and place it somewhere you have easy access to. Then next time you feel low, do something off the list.

What’s on my list? What ideas can you take from this?

  1. Anything Ant and Dec; e.g. Their Youtube channel- watching old videos always cheers me up.
  2. Chocolate; there is nothing more stress busting then chomping down on an indulgent chocolate bar.
  3. Planning occasions through the year such as birthdays and Christmas. I love the way my year flows from family member’s birthdays, to Easter, to Halloween and Christmas- my absolutely favourite time of the year. So, whenever I feel really down I try to count down to one of the next exciting dates and start to plan for it.
  4. Sunshine. Getting out in the sunshine and soaking in the rays is a great way to relax.
  5. A nice walk. I always put this on the list blog posts I do- but really- nothing beats getting out in nature. It’s good for grounding. In particular, a walk on the beach is one of the best walks to do.
  6. A de- cluttered house. I have to be in the mood to do this, but when I have a good clear out and tidy up, I always feel so good afterwards.
  7. Shopping. Bit of retail therapy anyone? I love getting a new outfit that fits nicely and boosts my confidence.
  8. Quality family time. The best people in my life are my family. Whenever I am feeling at my lowest, I know I need to surround myself with their presence. I’m lucky to have a great family unit myself, a supportive husband but also two incredible children who always have me smiling and feeling grateful. There is something so peaceful as well, when it comes to visiting my parent’s home and the house I grew up in. I love to sit in their garden peacefully.
  9. Cuddles. Who doesn’t need a good squeeze from time to time? Whether it’s with a human or a cuddly pet, go get a hug.
  10. Playing games. I grew up with two brothers who are big gamers- they still are. So, naturally I got into this too. I still love to play the odd game and lately we’ve been getting the old Nintendo 64 out and playing with the boys. It is escapism at it’s best. Pokemon has always been a favourite of mine, and I’m not ashamed of admitting that.
  11. Wearing PJs. Whenever I need a bit of comfort, I pop on one of my many PJ sets and snuggle up on the sofa.
  12. Indulging in good TV series. Bingeing on a good TV show on Netflix is one of the best ways to escape ‘real life’ and get absorbed in someone else’s. This never fails to cheer me up. Obviously I have to have balance in my life, so I don’t constantly do this but when you need cheering up- a good show or film will do the trick.
  13. Writing lists. I always write lists to stay organised but I really, sadly, enjoy writing them. There’s something so rewarding in crossing off the tasks I’ve accomplished and see how well I’ve done each day. Writing them is therapeutic too. Sometimes, it’s nice to treat myself to some new stationary too.
  14. Friends. Spending time with friends is important to me. I am so grateful for the friends that pop over for play dates, that go for a coffee, lunch or dinner and drinks. I have a circle of supportive, lovely friends and they mean the world to me. It’s not always been easy- I had to figure out what friendships were healthy. But, once I did, I’ve felt a lot better having a positive circle around me and whenever I need to, I can grab a coffee with a friend to chat.
  15. Upbeat music. I love sticking on a motivational playlist. If I can’t decide on what to listen to, I either listen to music lists from my past, or I choose a popular one off Spotify and they’re always great.
  16. A belly- roaring laugh. It doesn’t matter how you get there- but it’s so important every so often to make sure you have a big laugh. The type that hurts your stomach muscles and gets your eyes watering.
  17. Mindfulness. Studying mindfulness has taught me a lot to do with the brain and how our minds work. I now realise that it’s okay not to be okay. Negative feelings like sadness are normal. We should feel them as much as we feel happiness. Knowing this, makes those sad moments a lot easier.
  18. A good sleep. Since I’ve had children, I appreciate it whenever I get a good decent, full nights sleep. Even if I don’t, any sleep always helps. Whenever I am feeling really anxious or down about something, I try to go to sleep for the night before I react to something. This helps so much. And nothing is ever as bad the next morning.

Looking at the above list, there are quite a few things that cheer me up and I have some great ideas on days where I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m aware that on those days, I probably want to sit and do nothing. There is nothing wrong with having a lazy day, or having a quiet day to myself to focus on resting, but when you’re in a slump, sometimes it’s best to just pick an activity at random and throw yourself into it. You’ll find by the end of it, your mood has lifted. If you still don’t feel boosted, try another couple from the list.

I’ve always let my happiness fall into the hands of others. Looking at the list above, how many do I rely on other people for? 3. Seeing friends, family and having a cuddle- even then a pet can be a replacement. I always thought I had to have others around me to be happy, or for my leisure time to be worthwhile. I was wrong. I need as much time with myself as I need with other people. I know my likes and dislikes and I know what I enjoy doing. So, it’s a great relief to see that actually, there’s over 10 activities I can do alone that will boost my mood.

I urge you as a challenge, to write down your own list of what makes you happy. Aim for 10 and then add to it whenever you think of something new, or even discover something new. Then whenever you need a mood boost, either select one at random or purposefully. Go do it. Indulge in time for yourself and make sure you are doing a handful of these activities EVERY WEEK. It’s amazing what you can squeeze into a few spare minutes of everyday. Instead of meeting up with those that drain you, fill up your own tank with the activities that re-fill you rather than drain you.

Let me know how you get on in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.

This post may contain affiliate links. If clicked and an item is ordered, it will not cost you anymore, however it will give me a small commission to help with the running of this blog.

The Sports Game You Should Be Playing With Your Friends

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post how I had learnt a lot about friendships and how to tell if they’re healthy or not. I did a lot of soul searching over the past year and I have learnt a lot about friendships. One of the lessons I was taught by someone still stands out like a sore thumb. It’s one I have to remind myself about daily. The lesson is all about playing a certain sports game with your friends, and not a physical game.

What game should you be playing with your friends?

The game that needs to be played requires give and take, back and forth. It’s a tennis game, or any game that requires hitting a ball back and forth equally. Not hogging the ball and tackling like rugby.

The point of playing this game is that everything ends up being fair and equal. For too long I was putting my all into every friendship, always making and effort, and felt like I was chasing a lot. I never knew who was being genuine, who really wanted to talk, to meet up or to have me as an active part of their life and it was exhausting.

I was being drained. I felt like I was sending most messages first, arranging most meet ups and never feeling good enough. I couldn’t keep on going like this, it was taking up so much of my free time and energy and I was never having enough time for myself.

The rules of the game.

I was encouraged by someone I trusted to start playing this game. If I hit the ball out, I had to wait for it to return. By sending ball after ball, I was just draining my energy and resources. They needed to be replenished.

I needed to focus on myself, I also needed to figure out who was worth all this. By following the rules of the game and making sure there was give and take in each friendship, it allowed me to do this.

So, if I text or called a friend, I had to wait for a reply and not repeat the messages- I could only repeat messages and send multiple ones if I knew that I was at a comfortable stage with that friend. So for example, I have a couple of best friends that I’ve known for 18 years almost. We are at a comfortable point in our friendship, so it doesn’t matter if myself, or they send multiple texts.

This needed to be the case when asking a friend to meet up. The effort needed to go both ways.

How tennis changed my outlook.

I realised that I was putting in far more for others than I was getting back. But then, in other friendships I was so thankful that I could see that it was all equal.

It taught me patience. But most of all, it really showed me who my true friends were and that actually, it may have felt like I was doing all the chasing, but this was only in a couple of the friendships. Most of them, thankfully, were give and take. It was nice to get the texts and someone ask to meet up, knowing I hadn’t chased. It felt good. It made me realise that they were decent friends and wanted to talk and catch up.

And the ones that didn’t. Well, it was sad to begin with, but there was only a couple of people that fell through the net, so to speak, and I wasn’t that close with them anyway. I was done chasing, I was done draining myself.

Now whenever I am having a conversation, a catch up, I know that it is mutually wanted. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when I feel like I’ve chased a bit, but I remind myself of the tennis game. I remind myself that if I was the one to throw the ball back, they must return it. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes I take a while back. But it should always be left to them if the ball is in their court. Sometimes people take a step away from the court to have a break, that’s absolutely fine, then they return full of energy. Sometimes, they get fed up with the game. And they step away.

That’s difficult. Maybe they will return one day, maybe they won’t. But if the ball was last in their court, that is entirely up to them. You have done your all. Let it be.

I encourage you to play tennis with your friends.

You will then see who is worth all of that effort, who is worthy of your time and who isn’t. Your friendships become healthier, boundaries are built and self respect is learnt. What advice would you give a friend that’s doing all the running? Give yourself the same advice- play tennis and you will see healthier friendships form rather than focusing on the one sided ones.

What will be will be. And those that are meant to be in your life, will always hit that ball back, even if it takes a while sometimes.

Here are some quotes that help with my anxiety.

Rescue Remedy is great help in high anxiety situations.

Try and do this for the next month and see how you get on. Leave a comment below as I would love to hear your experience.

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase an item, it will not cost you anymore, but I will get a small commission which helps to pay for the running of this blog.

Boost Your Self Esteem With This Simple Challenge.

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

Changing your mindset.

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

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

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

Try this challenge to boost your self-esteem.

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

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

A list of my qualities.

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

What you can do next.

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

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

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

Overcoming anxiety and depression.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I decided to speak out.

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

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

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

Why open up about mental health?

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

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

Set yourself a challenge for mental health awareness week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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This post contains affiliate links (ads)- when you click on these links, it will not charge you any extra for these items but I will get a small commission from this to keep the blog going.

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.