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

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

My Journey With Anxiety

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

Find out more about Me Against Anxiety here.

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

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

I Want You To Join Me On This Journey

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

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

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

Join My Facebook Group; Us Against Anxiety

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

You can access the link here.

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

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

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

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

18 Mood Boosting Ideas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boost Your Self Esteem With This Simple Challenge.

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

Changing your mindset.

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

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

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

Try this challenge to boost your self-esteem.

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

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

A list of my qualities.

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

What you can do next.

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

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

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

Overcoming anxiety and depression.

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

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

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

10 Ideas To Help You Get Motivated.

Recently I went on a lovely week holiday with my family. We spent the week exploring, sitting on the beach surrounded by beautiful scenery and having plenty of family time. I’m lucky to be close to my parents and siblings so a week away with them was exactly what was needed. There’s something about getting away from the mundane everyday routine that helps to reset and refresh you. I barely had any chores to do that week. No lists of jobs to accomplish each day. I just had to embrace the holiday. So I did. But coming home was difficult.

Feeling Blue.

It always is difficult. I always get the post holiday blues and nothing ever prepares me for them. Even though I get them each year, I still struggle. Which got me thinking, my life isn’t plain sailing. Even though I am doing a lot better with my anxiety, I still get my low moods. I still get my bad days and weeks. So, what motivates me to getting into a better mind frame and get on with everyday mundane life?

Here is a list of what motivates me with some ideas on how this can help motivate you.

  • My children. The thought of my children always motivates me. I either want the absolute best for them, or I want them to be proud of me. When life is dragging me down, I look to them and remember that I want them to have the best childhood and as many adventures as possible. I try to make everything into an adventure and we use a countdown board to the next special date that we’re looking forward to, whether that’s the next family member’s birthday or a weekend away. If you have a special someone in your life, focus on them and some special activities you can do together.
  • Music. Upbeat, positive and motivational music always gets me going. If I’m having a down morning and finding it hard to get on with my jobs for the day, I always choose an uplifting play list on Spotify. Listening to music helps to get my rhythm going. Try making a special playlist with all of the songs that get you motivated so you can listen to it whenever you need to.
  • Lists. I love writing lists and then ticking items off. They hugely help to motivate me. I feel so accomplished when I see chores and jobs crossed off, this keeps me going. Treat yourself to a list pad and start to organise your to-dos onto paper.
  • Fresh starts. A fresh start, such as a new season helps to cleanse my mind and allow me to think of new beginnings, which usually helps to make me feel clearer and more positive. Next time the seasons change, allow it to be a cleanse of your life and try to think of it as a new beginning.
  • Taking care of my physical health. When I eat healthily, exercise and get into a good routine of self-care, it really helps to look after me mentally as well. Try eating a more healthy and varied diet and make sure to get in some regular weekly exercise and see how you feel after a month.
  • Inspirational, positive quotes. Look at my blog post on quotes here and how they help with my anxiety. This Success and Inspiration in a Jar looks amazing and would make a great gift for someone too.
  • The seaside, beach and ocean always helps. There is something so calming about looking out at the sea and feeling a sense of immense stillness. The world is huge, and looking out at the sea makes problems seem that little bit smaller. Take yourself on a stroll down to the beach, whether thats sunbathing in the day time or strolling alongside the stars and the sea in the evening. It’ll help to boost your mental health and leave you more motivated the next day.
  • Scenery, countryside and the fresh air. Another place I love to go to is the countryside, I love looking out at beautiful scenery and feeling at peace. Sometimes looking out at the countryside, it reminds me of how beautiful the world and life can be. Getting out in fresh air is really good for the soul too. Whenever you’re next feeling in a slump, go for a walk with some scenic surroundings- even if it’s raining! It’ll help to pull you out of the slump.
  • Family weekends and being peaceful. Family weekends and being around those that I am nearest to always manages to calm my anxiety down and help me to feel boosted and more positive. Family is the place where unconditional love and support resides, try spending some time with yours and see how a peaceful weekend can help you.
  • Good friends. I am very lucky to have good friends around me. It’s true what they say, about having a circle around you that reflects your best interests and values. Since I have been through counselling, I am now more careful with who I choose to have as friends. I want positive, healthy friendships. Read my blog post on how to tell if your friendships are healthy here. Now I have a positive, healthy circle around me and I know that these friends want me to win and succeed and they help to pick me up whenever I am feeling down.

Practising Motivational Ideas To Form A Habit

By recognising when you need a motivational lift, you can try a few different ideas to figure out what helps you. By practising one of these and making one become a daily habit, or weekly habit, it pushes to make sure goals and accomplishments happen. By being motivated, it helps to manage anxiety and depression and boost your mental wellbeing.

What helps to motivate you? Let me know in the comments below.

A trip to the seaside will help to boost your wellbeing and calm your anxiety.

This article contains affiliate links, if you click on these and purchase an item, it does not cost you anymore, but I will receive a small commission to help maintain the running of this blog.