What Goals Should You Set This Year?

January is the start of a brand new book in your life. As the cheesy saying goes, you’ve got 365 pages ahead of you from the 1st January. These pages are the days to your year. It’s a good idea to set out some goals ahead of you. Sometimes New Years Resolutions don’t go according to plan, and that’s ok. I also find that the first few weeks of January you are so busy getting back into the funk of life. But now is a good time to set some goals for the year. What goals should you set this year?

Physical Goals

Perhaps you want to lose weight (I want to highlight here that this should be because you want to, or because of health reasons- not because of society’s pressures) so now is a good time to sit down and plan out a healthy diet plan.

Don’t eliminate “bad” foods altogether. If you don’t treat yourself from time to time then you are more likely to binge on the junk food and this will escalate quickly. Try to plan some treat food into the diet too. This way you’re more likely to stick to it. Also remember this isn’t a quick fix in Jan- plan for the whole 12 months and set yourself mini goals.

Getting more active is also a good idea. If you’re not wanting to sign up to the gym, there are plenty of other free activities you can do. You could try the couch to 5k Running Programme. You could get out on a daily mindful walk, which will not only help you to stay active but help with your mental health too. Or you could do some at home exercises. Perhaps you could sign up to some exercise classes like Zumba or Pilates.

There are plenty of exercise options out there. Exercise is a really great way to boost those endorphins and leave you feeling good. Again, set yourself small goals for the 12 months and build up. If you throw yourself into it too much to begin with, you may end up losing motivation.

Educational Goals

Maybe this year you’d like to study something new? There’s no age limit on learning. In fact I am constantly striving to learn new things all the time and take on smaller online courses to boost my knowledge, especially in my business sector.

However you could study for fun too- there are plenty of colleges that can offer evening classes in thinks like baking, textiles or IT skills. Have a look at what’s on locally to see if you want to increase your knowledge bank.

Personal Goals

Maybe there is a personal goal you’d like to achieve. For me last year, it was to not chase anyone anymore. I did really well with it although there were a few people that I did still make more of an effort with as I knew it wasn’t personal or in their abilities to make the same effort back at times.

Maybe there’s a bad habit you have, or maybe you don’t actually make enough time for yourself to do things that boost your joy or self esteem. For me I struggled with “me time” last year, so this year I want to set aside half an hour a day to do something selfish as such. As I realise how important this actually is.

Work Goals

Are you happy with your current career or job? Nothing needs to hold you back if you are unhappy and want to change direction with work life. Or perhaps you are looking to get a promotion, or a pay rise. Make this year your year to work hard on those work goals.

If it all feels too much at the moment and is overwhelming, break these work goals into smaller chunks. Also don’t forget that money isn’t everything and neither is work. Don’t spend your days grafting away whilst dealing with depression. Often, when we make a big life change, such as a change of jobs, it can be just what we need to help boost our mental health and give us a fresh start in life.

Life Goals

Have you got a bucket list? Maybe now is the ideal time to set yourself a goal to achieve from it. Or if you haven’t got one, why not make one? Now is a perfect time to start living life to the full and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Or maybe, you just need to sit and review your life. If anxiety and depression has gotten a hold on you, maybe now is a great time to seek help and advice and address the deeper issues. CBT therapy, or counselling is great for working through issues and taking care of yourself.

Are there bigger goals in life that you want to work towards? Such as buying a house, or starting a family? These should only be tackled when the time is right, and naturally aren’t ones that happen easily. But if there are bigger life goals that you would like to accomplish soon, then maybe you could start taking small steps towards them, such as starting a saving plan.

However, if life is difficult at the moment, remember how important it is to take one day at a time. If anxiety is all too much for you right now, here is how you can begin tackling it.

Self- Care Goals

One of my goals for this year is to practise more self-care. Too often I find myself doing lots for others, but not enough for myself. Too often, I run myself into the ground most weeks trying to achieve work goals, and take care of my family. Often, these weeks go without allowing myself the time to recharge and refresh.

This year I am putting a stop to putting myself last. I see now the importance of self-care and how I need to be spending time on myself for everyone’s sake. I can then refresh myself so that I am the best version of myself to achieve everything else I need to day by day.

So, how can you set self-care goals? Maybe there are things you’d like to invest in, like getting your nails done or getting a facial or a massage. Or it could simply be putting 10 minutes aside each day to recharge your batteries. You could take a relaxing bath, read a book or watch a TV series. Make sure that this year you set yourself some self-care goals.

You can see through this post that there are many different goals you can set yourself for the year, and many different ways in which you can achieve them. If life is hard, then set the goal to just take one day at a time. The important thing to remember is that this is your life, and you are in control. But setting goals can be healthy and you get a great sense of accomplishment afterwards. What goals will you be setting this year?

If you’re struggling with the January blues, then read our post here.

Don’t Let Anxiety Hold You Back. Here’s Why You Need To Keep Going.

A couple of years ago, my anxiety was at its worst. Each day was a struggle. I’d wake up and already feel drained and anxious about the day ahead. My worries consumed me. I had a big grey cloud hanging over my head, threatening to rain down on me any minute. But I didn’t let anxiety hold me back. I carried an umbrella. You shouldn’t let anxiety hold you back either.

The Worst Days

The worst days of my anxiety had me experiencing the Sunday night feeling every. I just dreaded what was going to happen each day, even though nothing really terrible happened at all. It was like I was living inside my head, inside a constant horror movie. One that was full of twists and turns, and seemingly never ending.

My stomach felt like it was in constant knots and I would over analyse everything and anything. If someone suggested anything remotely out of my comfort zone, I would decline and not attend or go. I wouldn’t push myself. Ever.

I just did what I could to get by each day. There were situations I didn’t want to be in, so I made sure I was never in them. I was in my own bubble. One I did not want popped.

How I’ve Moved On.

The best thing that I ever did for myself was to seek help. I went through the NHS Steps to Wellbeing program and was, thankfully, given one to one counselling. It is one of the best things I have done for myself.

My counsellor taught me about danger and threat levels. This stuck with me. Say you’re afraid of sharks and you watch Jaws, you would be feeling a danger level of 10 and a threat level of 10. Now, if you’re in the ocean swimming away from one, this would be accurate. But, if you are just watching a movie, your threat level should be at zero.

I had to apply this to my life. I had to realise that just because my brain thought that I was constantly being threatened, it didn’t mean that I was in imminent danger.

My counsellor taught me other tools and coping mechanisms. I learnt so much. I then would practise my new tools and practises as much as I could. It was an incredibly difficult few years. I was running uphill, carrying a weight on my back. It was heavy, but every few yards, something would drop out of the bag and make it that little bit lighter.

There were many pitfalls, stumbles and bumps in the road. It’s not been a linear line of improvement. It’s been all over the place. But I kept going. I kept carrying that load, letting it get that bit lighter over time.

What I do Now That I would Never Have Done Before.

It sounds ridiculous, but there are things I do now that I would have found impossible two or three years ago. They may seem simple to someone else, but to me they were a big deal.

Recently, I’ve started volunteering for my children’s PTA at school. This was a huge thing for me, considering I would have firmly shook my head and said “No” at the idea a few years back, without even putting much thought into it. This time round, I thought “Why not?”. The first meeting was a bit nerve-wracking, but since then I have really gotten into it and I am doing something that will further my confidence, abilities and something that gets me involved with the local community.

I also began networking as part of my mission to get my self employed business off the ground. Again, this is something I was actively avoiding a year ago.

Even small and simple steps, like going out with a group of people I didn’t know well, or going to a friend’s house for the day was a big mission for me beforehand. Now, I look forward to things like this.

I often sit back and reflect. I sit there and realise that I am doing things that I would never have considered doing before. It upset me too much and made me too anxious.

How I’ve Improved With Time.

It’s easy to fall into a trap in the early days of anxiety thinking that you will never get better. That you will never do certain things again, because it is too much of a strain for you. Thankfully, over time I have improved.

There are still things I feel anxious over and still things I’m not too comfortable with, but my hope is that I continue to improve with time. I urge anyone feeling hopeless, to set themselves small goals that they can achieve. This will boost your confidence bit by bit, allowing yourself to build up to the bigger things.

I Constantly Challenge Myself.

For me, giving into my anxieties is not an option. I constantly challenge myself to push my limits. It’s not easy at times, sometimes I just want to curl up and revert back to saying “No”. But, I know that will get me no where in the long run.

So I set myself challenges, I think of a reward I’d like at the end of it; whether thats a foot rub from my Husband or a chocolate bar. But I reward myself for achieving things that cause me anxieties. I sit through the uncomfortable feelings and I push myself as much as I can do.

Anxiety is a horrid monster that takes over your whole being, if you don’t chip away at it bit by bit. I found that when I don’t push myself and I remain comfortable in my own bubble, the anxiety ends up creeping in and making what I can do at the time seem impossible again, then everything gets worse. Whereas, if I’m brave and take a big breath and chip away at it, I can push my limits and boundaries, experience new things and reduce the anxiety bubble.

Keep Climbing Up That Mountain, It’ll Be Worth It.

Keep Going, It Gets Easier.

If you’re at a point in your life where you feel overwhelmed by the future, by social plans or events, please keep going. Don’t let anxiety win. Life gets easier. It really does, you just have to believe in yourself and your abilities.

Anxiety has a habit of making you feel like you can’t achieve anything. Your self-worth and self-esteem is low and your confidence is at rock bottom. Going shopping or to a friends house may seem like climbing a mountain, bit it won’t always feel like this.

Keep going. Keep pushing yourself that little bit at a time outside of your comfort zone. That is where the growth is.

Even The Bad Days Get Easier.

As time goes on, you will find that although the bad days don’t disappear entirely, the bad days get easier. The bad days also don’t last as long. Where you may be stuck in an anxiety rut at the moment, it won’t always be a rut.

Even that awful feeling of dread lessens as time goes on. Time is a great healer and that is certainly the case here.

My bad days have lessened drastically. I no longer feel the constant Sunday night dread. I just aim to improve myself and challenge myself frequently. Anxiety doesn’t not own me, it is just a dragon I have to aim to take charge of.

Like me, don’t let anxiety hold you back. Keep going. One day you’ll look back and realise you could overcome it. Just take one step at a time.

Read this if you don’t know where to start on tackling anxiety.

If you’d like to know more about my journey with anxiety- start at the beginning.

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.

10 Things you need to ignore to become happier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

12 Fun Ideas To Help Boost Happiness

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

1. Seeing Friends

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

2. Seeing Family

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

3. Going On Walks

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

4. Watching  a TV series, Films or YouTube Videos

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

5. Cross Stitch & Crafts

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

6. Baking

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

7. Self- Pampering

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

8. Games

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

9. Retail Therapy

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

10. My Children

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

11. Getting Out and About

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

12. Organisation

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

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

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

10 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.