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.

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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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Do This 1 Thing Each Day To Help Anxiety

What if I told you, you could change your perspective and help with your anxiety within two weeks by doing one thing each day? This one simple thing can help improve your anxiety and mental health in such a short space of time.

Anxiety is such a consuming, scary thing to suffer with.

At times I can feel myself drowning with all of my stresses and worries pushing and shoving me further under. At times it’s hard to feel that there is a way out. Sometimes though, just by building one simple activity into a routine, it can make the world of difference.

The activity is simple.

Each night, find a time to reflect on your day. Try to find a nice quiet location, or just lay in bed quietly pondering the events of the day. To be honest, this was something I was doing each night anyway, but instead of seeing positives, all I could draw out was the negatives. What if so and so found me annoying at the school gates? Oh, I forgot to tackle THAT item on my to do list. Did I show enough affection to my husband and children? Could I have been healthier today?

This activity changes your thought patterns.

It takes 11 times of doing something new to change a habit. Do this for 11 days in a row and soon your will start to change your thought patterns and behaviours. So, instead of dwelling on all of the negatives and over analysing what you should or shouldn’t have done, focus on the good. Then eventually, your mind will learn to recognise the good more naturally.

If it helps, even try to write down four good things that have happened each day.

Is that it?

Yes, it really is as simple as focusing on 4 good things that have happened that day. Repeat this everyday for a few weeks and soon your brain will start to naturally draw itself to the good of the day rather than dwelling and ruminating on the bad.

But I find it hard to think about anything good that’s happened.

Although the task is simple, it doesn’t make it easy. Having suffered with anxiety for the last few years, I find it really difficult to pull the good out of a bad day. Some days it feels like the whole world is against you, you question your social life, you question your future and you dwell on your past. But, there are even positives to having anxiety.  Sometimes all you need is to practice a new skill that can help grow and strengthen you as a person. That’s what this task aims to do.

Recognising the four good things.

When it comes to listing the 4 good things from each day, don’t try to only focus on the big things. Most of the time, it’s the small and simple things in life that mean the most. Perhaps something big did happen, like a job promotion or you went to a social event which you loved. But maybe it was something small, like fresh bedsheets on the bed or it was the night of your favourite TV show so you curled up to watch, for me it’s The Walking Dead, with a cup of delicious hot chocolate. Keep open minded and just find four good things each day. No matter how big or small.

Soon you’ll find that your mind begins to open up to doing this and it will get easier to find four good things that have happened each day, in fact some days you will be able to list far more than four.

So why not give this a go? Try this one simple, non time consuming activity each and every night for the next few weeks and see how much your anxiety and overall mental health improves.

Have you tried this activity before? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you. Also don’t forget to follow me on Facebook (Link is above) If you liked this post and found it helpful then please do give it a like and a share on social media. It would mean the world! Thank you.

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12 Tips On How To Cope With Anxiety

I’ve been suffering with anxiety for four years now. Over the years, I have had to create tips and tricks on how to deal with it. Somedays my anxiety is harder to deal with than others, but over time, I have done a lot of research into what can help. I have found a few methods and tips on how to deal with anxiety affectively; I will list these below.
  1. Worry time. When I was doing research on anxiety I came across the notion of worry time. I am guilty of worrying too much during the day. And sometimes when I’m feeling anxious, the worries will just keep coming. Well, once I’d read about worry time, I felt like this could be controlled a lot more. Basically anytime through the day, if a worry pops into your head, write it down on a notepad or notes on your phone (so keep it close by) then draw your attention back to your current task at hand or if you’re not doing anything, find something to do. Then when it comes to the evening, set 10 minutes aside at the end of each day. Put the timer on and sit down with your notes. This 10 minutes is your worry time to go over the worries that have popped into your mind during the day. You can then reflect and sort these worries out.
  2. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes when I look at my diary, I can feel very overwhelmed about what’s to come three weeks or months ahead, depending what I have on. When I went for CBT before, I learnt the importance of pushing myself and making plans and sticking to them so I’ve always gone ahead and made plans, even ones I feel slightly uncomfortable with. I do this to push the boundaries of my anxieties in the hopes that it will help me further along, but in the meantime, some of the plans can be quite daunting and scary. So the best thing I find, is not to look ahead to much. Obviously it’s important to know what I have going on in the coming days, but more often than not, it is far easier just taking one day at a time. So when I wake up in the morning all have to know is that I just have to get through that day and those plans. I try not to look ahead too much.
  3. Writing lists. I love making lists, I make them about everything. My list can be about daily chores I have to do, shopping list, to then if I’m feeling anxious or worried about anything I will write a list about that. The lists then help me to organise my thoughts better. By seeing them on paper, I am able to visualise and begin to make a plan on how I go about making my way through what is written down, whether that is organising my to do’s into when I should complete each task or where I can buy the things I need in the shops. Or if it is about my anxious thoughts, I can then make my way through them and figure things out how to make me feel happier and more comfortable with those. Decluttering your mind is just as important as decluttering your physical space. So making lists helps to organise your thoughts and even your daily tasks so that you feel more organised and your mind is less cluttered and busy trying to work through everything it needs to.
  4. Doing research. Since suffering with anxiety, I have read a few different books that have really helped me, not just mindfulness ones. Some of the books I have read are as follows; ‘Overcoming Low Self Esteem‘, ‘DARE‘, ‘The Little Book of Mindfulness‘ and ‘Mindfulness in Eight Weeks‘. Having done some research, I have learnt so much about my brain, anxiety and depression. Learning about it does really help to move you forward in life with more wisdom and knowledge about what you’re suffering with. I think because I’ve learnt so much, I have also learnt a lot about myself and that has helped my anxieties a lot. I have some other books ready on my shelf to read- make sure you follow my Facebook page and subscribe to the blog to see how I get on with those. I can’t wait to be able to read all of them and learn even more. Hopefully I’ll be able to help myself and help all of you as well.
  5. Turn to those you love. I am so lucky and grateful to have a great home team around me. These are the people that have my back. The ones I can call when I need them. My family and husband are so supportive and even if they do think I’m silly, I can always turn to them and know that I will be spoken to with truth but with love. This is incredibly important. Reach out to those around you and bond with them.
  6. Seek help elsewhere if you need it. If you’re really struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to go to your GP’s and explain how you’re feeling and why you are struggling. Some areas in the U.K. have fantastic mental health services that you can use. There are also other charities such as Mind , Heads Together, and the number to phone the Samaritans is 116 123 (UK). Don’t feel like getting help is something to be ashamed of. Some people struggle with their diets and exercising regime, so they seek out nutritionalists or personal trainers. Others may turn to sleep coaches to help sleep train their children. Seeking mental health help is so important. Don’t suffer alone. I have been through my local mental health services a couple of times and the help and support I have been given has been invaluable. I’m not ashamed about it as it has helped me to grow and improve and thankfully i’ve done this without needing antidepressants.
  7. Schedule in some me time. It’s really important to give yourself some tlc from time to time. Give yourself a glorious bubble bath with a scented candle.
  8. Go on a nature walk. There is something about nature that really soothes the soul and helps to ground you. Take in the scenery and be mindful.
  9. Escapism. I truly believe in a good bit of escapism- that can be through films, tv programmes or reading an enjoyable book. Don’t stick anything too depressing on but rather something that can absorb your attention and give you that escapism from life for those few moments.
  10. Cut out negative toxic people. I have had my fair share of toxic people in my life. They would make me constantly over-analyse everything to do with our friendship. Suddenly it hit me, that the days I felt so down and ashamed- were because of the way they were treating me. Sometimes toxic behaviour isn’t obvious, but when you spot it, cut it out. You will feel rubbish for a while but after that distance from those people, you will feel tons better.
  11. Don’t over do things. I can be so guilty of this, I end up cramming so much into my weeks or pushing my boundaries too much in one go. It’s good to push yourself, it’s good to try new things- just don’t over do it because it will leave you both mentally and physically exhausted and that leaves the barrier down for an anxiety flare up to happen.
  12. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Alcohol isn’t advised when you suffer with anxiety, although whilst you’re drinking it you feel merry enough, usually anxiety peaks after an evening or night drinking. I still have a glass or two of my favourite, Tia Maria and Coke, but I never over-do it or drink often.
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I hope these tips have been helpful for you to read. What tips would you give to fellow anxiety sufferers or to anyone to help boost their mental health? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you. Also please do share and like this post on Facebook- we need to spread the message that it’s ok not to be ok.
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Why you should be using ‘Worry Time’ to help tackle Anxiety

During my recent studies and research on anxiety I came across the notion of ‘Worry Time’. To begin with, this baffled me. Why would I put aside time to worry each day? Surely this seems counter-productive when you suffer with anxiety? Surely you don’t want to be having extra time to worry when you already suffer with anxiety? This isn’t the case at all. In fact, when I read about worry time I felt suspicious about whether or not this would work but nonetheless I decided to give it a go. In this article, I am going to describe the process of worry time and why I think it’s important and a great way to start tackling your anxiety.

Firstly, I would try ‘Worry Time’ for about a week to see how you get on.

I would say during this first week, it is important to have a small pad and pen nearby at all times. If technology is more your thing, then open up a new notes page and use that instead and make sure that that is accessible to you throughout the day. I tended to use a bit of both, if I’m honest because I would use the notepad and pen if I was at home and had access to it, but if I was out and about I would use the notes on my phone so you can always combine the two. But by the end of the day, you need both copies on you and try to write down the notes from one onto the other- so all of your worries of the day are listed in one place.

Whilst I’ve been suffering with anxiety, I have noticed that I am a constant worrier. These worries can be about small things, big things, just anything.  Sometimes it feels like my mind always worries and it doesn’t seem to switch off. I could literally be there all day with my brain flowing with worries constantly. Once my brain has gone into this pattern, I find it really difficult to switch off and focus on what I was doing, or who I was with. I would switch to these worries through the day, I’d be consumed by it all. I know that this is a very common symptom of anxiety and I’m sure that many of you can relate to this and have probably experienced this on some sort of same level.

So why is worry time important?

The aim of this is ‘Worry Time’ is to reduce the amount of time you worry through the day and allows you to re-focus your energies on your every day life and offers a process to help you to manage your worries and in turn your anxiety. It allows you to take control back a little bit. I think this is really important in making life more bearable and reducing anxiety in your everyday routines.

The process of worry time is pretty simple and it should be fairly easy to follow.

The trick is to remember why are you doing it and to not ruminate over your worries during the day. You need to be strict and and only allow your worries to come out at the specific time.

Throughout the day hundreds of worries and stresses could potentially pop into your head. This method teaches you how to regain control over them. So all you need for this method is to have a piece of paper and a pen handy or you could use the notes on your phone. Just make sure that you have something that you can record down some of your thoughts.

I personally used a mini pad and pen and had that accessible at all times. I love my stationary so this wasn’t really a chore to have this around and it’s quite nice to have the excuse to have a new pad especially for this task. Basically throughout the day, any time that you feel worried or anxious about something, no matter what it is, you need to record that worry onto a piece of paper or wherever you are jotting it down on.

We are not pushing the worry away, because actually there is evidence that by trying to a avoid your worries that you end up making your anxieties worse, but you are just saying to this worry and this anxiety that you’re feeling, that you are too busy to deal with this right now and you will come back and address the worry when you have your specific time later on. So any worry that pops into your head throughout the day, jot it down and then you are to re-address your attention back to your current task at hand. If you are currently not doing anything, my advice is to indulge and get involved in an activity. This could be anything from doing some washing up, another household chore, to having a bit of pamper time, going on a walk, phoning a friend, reading a book. It can be anything practical, but the importance is to put your attention and mind back on something else and to focus rather than ruminating over your worry.

By the end of the day you will have a few of the worries you have experienced written down. At the same time every day you need to allocate 10 to 20 minutes to sit down and have your worry time. It’s best to put a timer on for this so that you don’t end up using the worry time to ruminate and get excessive and take up too much of your evening, so I found that between 10 and 20 minutes is more than enough to complete this worry time task. Make sure that you have no distractions and that you are on your own ready to go over your worries.

The next part is to go through your list of worries one by one.

As you go through the worries, you may find that some have already resolved themselves, you may find that some don’t bother you any more. With the remaining worries that you have in front of you, you need to then categorise them into two; one being hypothetical worries. These are worries that you can’t do anything about. These are the what if worries and these are the ones that when you usually have them on your mind, they run away with you and you start to panic and think what if this happens, what if that then happens etc. These hypothetical worries can get you very caught up, however, if there is no practical way of resolving them and they are just what if worries you have to try your best to think that there is nothing you can physically do about this worry and you have to put your faith someone into life and hope that with time this may resolve.

Now what you could do, is to make a note on a separate piece of paper with all of the hypothetical worries you have and remind yourself that you cannot resolve this worry tonight so you will readdress this tomorrow. It may be that a few of these you have to come back to each and every day but you realise that although you are worrying about it, you’ve got a certain time that you can worry about it and that’s at the end of the day so that it stops spoiling your day. I think with time you’ll see that a lot of these ones will either resolve themselves or you may not be that bothered by them any more.

The second category of worries are the practical ones. So these are the worries that you have that you can do something about. So if you’re worrying about money issues, then your next step is to write a step-by-step plan on how you are going to tackle this worry; what you are going to put in place to get through this problem. You will find that instead of excessively worrying about the situation, your head is turned into more practical thinking and you will feel better alone by just putting some practical steps and goals onto a piece of paper on how to tackle this worry. Then, of course, you should go ahead and follow the steps and break them down into as many tiny goals as you need to just to make you feel better about it all. By making the steps and goals into bite sized chunks, it all seems more manageable and less daunting.

When the timer goes off, you are to stop going over your worries. It doesn’t matter if you have any left to go over; those will then continue onto the next evening when you have that time again. As soon as you have finished your worry time, the aim is for you to just put your concentration and mind back into other aspects of your life and back to a current task at hand. As I would do my time in the evenings, I would then have a shower and go and watch some TV, knowing that actually I’ve gone over my worries. Some of the ones that I can’t do anything about, I can address another day and I’ve put some steps in place of ones that I can do something about. Now it’s time for me to go and carry on my life and if I have anything else to worry about, I will put it down ready for me to come to during my next time.

So that is ‘Worry Time’ in a big long nutshell.

  1. Basically any worries you have during the day, jot down as you go along. As soon as you’ve jotted those down, you need to put your attention back on the task at hand in front of you.
  2.  Find something practical to do that will take your mind off these worries after they’ve arisen.
  3. At the end of each and every day, you allocate 10 to 20 minutes. Put a timer on.  Sit down somewhere quiet and go over these worries.
  4. Some worries may have already resolved or you find that you’re not fussed about them any more. A lot of worries will remain. You then need to decide which category to put these into. Can you do something about this worry? Is it a hypothetical worry or practical worry? Determine which category they belong to and the hypothetical ones you need to put to one side to maybe address a different day or see if with time it goes away or if you are able to just try to let it go and let things be. You cannot physically do anything about that worry or it may be that you can’t do anything about that right now and you’re worrying about something that is a year away, or years away. What I would then say is to have a think about some steps you could put in place if that really happens but other than that I would try to just put it to one side as for now there is nothing you can do about it. Please stop beating yourself up about it. But what ifs may never happen so it is stripping away from your present joy in life by worrying about these.
  5. With the practical worries, you then need to write down some step-by-step goals on how to tackle these worries so that you can move forward with your life. You can then implement these steps and goals.
  6. At the end of the worry time, you are to go back to life and continue to jot down the worries you have outside of the time that you allocate each day.

I did this for a few weeks a couple of years back.

It did really help because if I had something I was worrying about I was able to say “Okay, I can’t deal with this right now, but I will do later” and I would write it down and just by writing it down, it felt like I had a load off my mind already. Over time as my anxiety has been getting better, although it is not perfectly okay, I have found a more modified easier version of this. I don’t need ‘Worry Time’ each day any more, however, when I feel that I have a lot on my mind, or I am worrying about several different things in one go, I will write absolutely everything that is on my mind onto a piece of paper. I will then put it away for a few hours, maybe even a day or two and then when I have a clearer mind and I feel like I can deal with these, I will bring this piece of paper out and go over each thing bit by bit. I find that by doing this, I already feel tons better and if it is a practical worry I then set about trying to tackle this with a clear mind and positive attitude. So this is something that you can aim to do further on, but I find that by writing everything down, it really does make things a lot easier to manage. Decluttering your brain is just as important as decluttering your physical space around you.

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So I hope that you will give this worry time a go and I hope that you find this method helpful and manageable to do. If you have any questions do not hesitate to send me a comment or message on here and I will try to get back to you as quickly as I can. Do you have any other tips and tricks on how to manage worries? I’d love it if you could leave a comment, thank you. If you liked this blog post, then please share it on your social media pages and give it a like and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to follow my journey of improving my mental health but also improving the stigma around mental health. I am trying to get the message across that it’s okay to talk about this even if it is just to help each other out. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, the link is above at the top of this page.

What Happened To Kindness?

I feel like as a mother I am constantly being judged. Ever since those early baby days, I’ve felt like all eyes have been on me over the choices I have made with my parenting; whether I’ve breastfed or bottle-fed and also for being a stay at home mum.

Social media can cause us to be judgmental.

With the increase in social media and people opening up their everyday lives through Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories, I feel like everyone is able to judge your every move and look at your life through an open window and make comments. Social media tends to only capture what those that use it want to show so that it becomes a highlight reel of their life or an exaggerated part. Or it may even be completely false and posts are just put up for appearances sake. These posts make out that you look really happy and put together and that everything is going well in your life. No one knows the truth behind anybody’s posts really. It’s easy to lie on social media, it’s easier to put a gushing picture of a happy family up and say how happy you are and proud you are of your family and how well the kids are doing, how well-behaved they are, than it is to allow people that real insight into your life.

That real insight could be that actually maybe you were struggling that day and maybe you barely made it through that day without shouting at your children or hiding in the corner with a chocolate bar. I think we all feel like we are being judged and we don’t want to seem vulnerable and show the messy side of our lives. Everyone is comparing themselves on social media and wondering why our lives don’t match up to the person’s you are viewing online.

I am constantly comparing myself to other mums online and wondering why my children aren’t as well behaved or achieving as much academically. Or why we don’t appear as happy or even my social life doesn’t compare to those other Mums. I try with my social media posts to reflect a more wholesome account of the whole truth to what my life is really like but I am also making sure I don’t only show the highlights of what’s going on. I think we all live in fear that if we open up ourselves completely that we will face criticism, judgement and be ridiculed by the way our lives are when actually no one is as perfect as they make out through social media. And no one really has it all together and if it seems like someone has or if they said they have, they’ve been lying because we all have our insecurities and we all have our downfalls in life.

Social media portrays our life as how we want it to.

Depending what is placed online, sometimes an ideal image of life is reflected out. So people tend to judge on what they see on these platforms. People can be unkind to each other because they are judging the image that has been sent into the world. This can come out of jealousy, out of bitterness. But we really need to be kinder because we don’t know what other people are going through and how their lives really are. Social media is not an accurate representation of someone’s life and even in the real life, if a mum is boasting about how well things are going for her she could well be hiding behind something. The apparently happiest people sometimes are the saddest, the most social people are sometimes the loneliest. Just because we think we know what someone is like and how their lives are, we really have no idea.

On a side note to this, 2 stories have recently been in the news that have just shocked me at how truly unkind people are. The first was Now magazine being completely unnecessarily vile to Stacey Solomon. Whom, I personally 100% admire for being one of the most real and down to earth celebrities there is. When I view her posts, I don’t come away feeling like rubbish about myself, I’m always uplifted. Because she shows us a real and truthful view into her amazing world. She is stunning and yet she isn’t afraid to show her wobbly bits to us all! Yet a magazine has placed themselves behind their “fans” and have thought that it’s okay to completely talk trash about Stacey. Calling her boring, well I think she is far from boring. She is real. And just because she is a celebrity, she doesn’t deserve that unkindness. Another incident is the bullying of a blogger Scarlett London. All this blogger did was post up a paid advert and she got trolled to an unbelievable level. Of course the image was pretty, pink and perfect looking- she’s working! She was posting up a brilliantly creative image, because that’s her job. And she got given death threats for this. No, Instagram doesn’t always show a realistic lifestyle- but sometimes thats absolutely fine. Just like TV and film- not everything is done realistically. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it for what it is and move on with our lives. Why people feel the need to be so unkind and bully online like this goes beyond me. 2 perfect recent examples of what’s wrong with the world now. What happened to kindness? 

The danger of ‘putting up appearances’

The danger to only placing online the highlights, or alternate views of our lives, is that we are putting up boundaries and not really letting anyone ever in fully. In today’s modern world we are constantly open to communication 24/7 through social media and texting but are we really connecting on a proper basis? I don’t think people are connecting deeply enough as humans. I think we all live in such a bubble through social media that we’re not really connecting and getting to know each other and instead we are just judging each other through what we see on-screen rather than what’s really accurate. 

We use social media to stay in contact and we are texting each other, but are we really connecting?

We replace likes and comments with proper communication and actually messaging that person to ask how they really are, what they’ve really been up to. We think that by following someones time line, that is enough to call someone a ‘friend’. Even when there is a conversation, I feel that so many people are afraid to say what’s really going on- through fear that their ‘perfect social media image’ is broken. The criticism that is out there over mental health makes people so afraid to show their true feelings and thoughts.

I choose to open up.

I have chosen to open up and speak out about my mental health, about the anxieties I suffer with, in the hope that others will. That we break the ‘perfect’ images on social media. That we replace them with realness. With kindness. Even on celebrities photos and accounts, the trolls that comment with such mean and hurtful things. Celebrities are certainly not invincible, as we’ve seen through so many devastating sad news over the past few years, such as Chris Cornell. So why do people think it’s ok to tear these people down? They place judgements on what we are shown- not real life. Celebrities and those in the public lie will not always post real, honest images. But that’s part of a job. It’s their vocation. It’s more than ok. It’s also OK that we publish what we want online, whether it’s real or fake. What’s wrong is the judgements that people then have. It’s the online bullying. It’s even avoiding someone in real life because of what they publish. 

Don’t get me wrong, I fear each and every post I publish will end up with judgement about me for having these issues. But with each and every post I have put up, I’ve had people get in touch and not sympathise, but relate. People relate to what I’m writing, but haven’t ever put their thoughts and feelings into words and that’s perfectly fine, I just hope that through my experiences and thoughts that it can help anyone out there not feel so alone, not be so afraid or left hopeless. I want to leave people feeling hopeful. I want people to read this and learn something positive, that we are all in this crazy world together and together we can achieve great things. Like overcoming horrid mental health problems and creating a lot more love and kindness in the world.

Always choose kindness.

Instead of judging people through what you see online or even in person, before thinking you know someone- always choose to be kind. Always choose kindness. Be careful about the words you say and how you treat someone. You think you know what’s going on in someone’s life but next time, just think twice before shutting someone out, or rolling your eyes at their behaviour. I think we all just need to be kinder to everyone, to absolutely everyone we meet. If you see someone struggling with the kids screaming down the road, don’t judge them for being a bad mum because you have no idea what is really going on. Or if you see someone who usually posts plenty of happy showing off posts on their Facebook, but then they suddenly, they put up a little cry for help through something else- Don’t necessarily think that they are after attention, think actually they want help. Be kind, check if that person is okay.

 

We constantly tell our children, “If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all” I think this is a lesson most adults have forgotten.

In any social interaction, please always choose to be kind. Without kindness, what would this world be?

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We only capture and post what we want people to see.

Get in touch, I would love to hear from you. Just pop a comment in the box provided. Don’t forget to follow the Facebook page (link is at the top of the page) I usually post a few bits in between blog posts on there all in the theme of positivity and mental health. If you liked this post or agreed with the issue above, please do like and share the post.