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.

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12 Resources You Need To Help Understand Mental Health.

It’s been over 5 years since I really started to struggle with anxiety. Those 5 years have flown by. Some days, weeks, months and even years have been harder than others. But I have always stayed determined that anxiety will not beat me. I will not let it have control over the whole of my life. A massive way of helping with this, has been to research mental health and anxiety from home.

Where can you gain knowledge on mental health and anxiety from?

Lots of places! Mental health and anxiety are no different from the other topics that you’ve had to study over the course of your lifetime, from Shakespeare, photosynthesis and media studies. You can research mental health on the internet (be aware of what sites you use and make sure they are credible and the information has been well researched), books, podcasts and factual videos. So what have I found to be useful?

Books.

I have only read a few books on mental health so far, but I have read a few on mindfulness too which has also helped with anxiety symptoms. I am always reading something new that will help with mental health and anxiety. Here are a few books I would recommend so far;

  1. DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh. This book helped me to learn all about anxiety and how it works. I learned so much about the brain and its functions. It also goes through the symptoms of anxiety and breaks them down with the aim that you stop being fearful of those symptoms happening but more importantly it teaches an amazing technique to help calm you down during a panic attack. This technique you can implement whenever your anxiety is rising. I could not recommend this book enough.
  2. Mental Health Wisdom: Developing Understanding & Empathy by Antony Simpson. This is a perfect starting point for anyone that wants to get clued up on mental health. It goes through the many different mental health illnesses, symptoms and has so much invaluable knowledge and wisdom embedded in it. It then goes on to list some tips on how to manage and look after your mental health and well- being. I thoroughly recommend purchasing this book. I was lucky and had this book gifted to me by the Author in return for an honest and impartial review. This review is of my own opinions and thoughts. I genuinely believe that this book will teach you a lot about mental health. I love the ideas throughout on how to top up your mental health and wellbeing. The pages on the seven essentials to be mentally and emotionally healthy and happy are especially useful for those suffering.
  3. Mindfulness in Eight Weeks: The 8 week plan to clear your mind and calm your life. If you want an extensive place to start learning about mindfulness and practising it daily in your life, then this is the book to start with. It is full of absolutely everything you need to learn about mindfulness. Practising mindfulness is shown to help improve your mental wellbeing.
  4. Like a Queen by Constance Hall. Although this isn’t aimed at people to tackle mental health, this book was invaluable. It had me laughing, tearing up and laughing some more. It was great to realise that we are all in the same boat and that we should all be less judgement and show kindness.

Apps.

We are in the age of technology. Most people find it far easier to pick up their phone these days than to open and read a book. Thankfully, you can get some great apps that are really helpful when it comes to helping with mental health issues. What have I discovered or been reccomended?

  1. 7 Cups: Online Therapy for Anxiety and Depression. This app helps you to connect with trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists. So, if you need to reach out and connect with someone, they are there right at the other side of your phone. I think this is great for anyone that doesn’t feel confident talking over the phone or in person about anxiety or depression.
  2. Headspace: Meditation. This is a great place where you can begin to start mediation. It takes you through the process step by step. It helps to establish calm and wellbeing in your life.

For more recommendations on apps to use to help promote healthy mental health, check out this link.

Resources for Mental Health.

We are at a time where, thankfully, mental health is being spoken about a lot more these days. There are heaps of resources to help you through a trying and testing time in life. Type into Amazon ‘mental health’, ‘mindfulness’ or ‘self help’ and you will find a ton of books dedicated to those that will help you. Do the same on your app store and you will find free and paid apps that you can download. Not only is it spoken about more now, but there are loads of resources and charities that are helping end the stigma and offer help with these draining and horrendous illnesses. Here are some websites worth checking out:

  1. Time to Change.
  2. Mental Health Foundation.
  3. NHS England.
  4. Mental Health UK.
  5. Mind; Dorset.
  6. Samaritans.

This month is Mental Health Awareness month. So if you or a loved one is suffering with your mental health, then looking at the above resources will help to gain knowledge and understanding in the area. It will not only give you wisdom, but it will also help give tips and help so that you can help yourself or your loved one make it through this difficult and testing time. Next week is Mental Health Awareness week. Show your support by sharing this blog, or any of the above resources on your social media pages. Spread the information like wildfire. Open up about it, as it’s extremely important to talk about mental health. You never know, you could be saving a life.

If you need somewhere to start, then my post on How to begin tackling anxiety should be of some help.

Mental health awareness month is May.

Keep an eye out next week for my very first post with Dorset Mind. It’s on a topic I think we can all relate to; Body Image. In the mean time, I would appreciate it if you could share or like this post on here and on social media. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter too (links above).

If you have any questions, then please leave a comment below and get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on these and order the items, it will not cost you anymore but I will receive a small commission which helps to keep 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.

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

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

I have been on a journey this past year.

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

I ways always chasing people and trying to please them.

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

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

We are all equals.

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

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

This could be either;

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

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

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

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

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

An unequal friendship is an unhealthy one.

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

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

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

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

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on these and purchase anything, it costs you nothing extra, however it gives me a small commission in order to keep this blog going.

10 Things you need to ignore to become happier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

My big red button is that;

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

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

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

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

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

What causes my trigger to be pressed?

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

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

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

Has this always been the case?

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

So why am I now done chasing?

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

Friendships should be a tennis game.

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

Are there exceptions to this rule?

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

And what if I get nothing back?

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

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

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

How will this help my anxiety?

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

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

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

Read more about me against my social life here.

I’m done chasing friends.

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

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

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

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

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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.