12 Ideas For Things To Do In Isolation

We are a few weeks into what I believe is a mixture of being in the Big Brother house, living Groundhog day and an apocalypse movie all rolled into one. It can really get to you when you look ahead and wonder how long we will be stuck here for. But, it is important to stay positive. I’ve decided to come up with a list of ideas of things you can do in isolation.

Binge on some boxsets.

I never usually have time to watch too much Netflix. Often, my list gets too full I can’t add any more on. Now is the time to indulge in the TV and get through my list. Have you got an endless list of films and shows that you’ve not yet had a chance to watch? Now’s the time.

Some great ones that I have viewed have been;

  1. Love is Blind. This is so cringe-worthy but also hard not to watch. I got so hooked on it last weekend and watched it all within a matter of days.
  2. The Tiger King. This is a new Netflix documentary. It’s less about tigers, more about complex lifestyle choices mixed with enemies.
  3. Dark Tourist. This is also a documentary, but each episode is based on a dark tourist spot. My favourite episode has to be where they explore Japan where the Tsunami hit a few years ago.
  4. Friday Night Dinners. This is the perfect thing to watch for some light comic relief. I’m so happy they have released a new series.

Read some books.

How many times have you wished to sit down and curl up with a book? Now you can. Challenge yourself to see how many you can get through during this time. Post your recommendations below.

Exercise.

By exercising, you are keeping yourself healthy and fit. Exercise also helps to boost your mental health as well as your physical health. If you are allowed, then take a walk or run outside. If not, try finding some YouTube videos to give you guidance for a work out.

Whether you have children or not, Joe Wicks is hosting free live PE sessions for the nation each morning at 9 am that you could join in with. Or search his YouTube channel and you will find more inspiration and videos.

Have you got an exercise bike that usually collects dust? Drag it out and start using it. You will thank yourself in months to come that you stayed active.

Get Baking or Cooking.

Now is the perfect time to start cooking using different ingredients. Rather than just popping something in the oven, why not look online for some new recipes and take the time and care of preparing a meal from scratch? This can be such a nice activity to do each day.

You can also get into baking. Bake yourself some nice tasty treats to enjoy throughout your week. You never know, you may even become the next star baker.

Here are a few things that we have cooked and baked recently:

  1. A chicken pie from scratch.
  2. Chocolate chip cookies.
  3. Chocolate chip flapjacks.
  4. McDonald’s inspired egg Mcmuffins.

Take Up A Creative Hobby.

Have you always wanted to do something for yourself that gets you in touch with your creative side? Maybe you’ve always loved drawing, or playing a musical instrument but you never usually get the time to do so. Now is the perfect time. Here are some of the creative hobbies I have enjoyed over the time:

  1. Colouring In. Colouring in can be a very mindful activity. It helps you to drown your endless worries and thoughts, instead focusing on the beautiful colours in front of you. And not forgetting to try and keep within the lines!
  2. Sewing. I was gifted a unicorn sock pack for Christmas from my brother and his wife. I started it weeks ago but it remained unfinished. But now I finally have time to finish sewing and completing it.
  3. Cross stitch. I have always loved cross stitch. It calms me like no other hobby and I always love seeing my finished pieces. I have been making some time for this peaceful craft again.

Be Youthful and Play Video Games.

I have to say this has been one of my favourite past times of isolation. I have loved getting the Nintendo Switch out and letting my inner child free. I never usually can justify spending hours engrossed in a game when I usually have so much to do. But this has been the ultimate escapism for me. The games I’ve enjoyed are;

  1. Pokemon Sword on the Nintendo Switch. I love the storyline to this game and now I am making it my mission to fill and complete my Pokedex. My boys love watching my play too so that’s been a bonus.
  2. Mario Kart. A bit of harmless fun, I have spent hours whizzing around the race tracks and escaping from the real world for a while.
  3. Two Point Hospital. Who can remember Theme Hospital? This game is essentially the same and I am hooked.
  4. Plague Inc. I used to have this on my phone, but I decided to download it again. It’s very apt for the current situation, and it is a bit addictive too.

Have a Clear Out.

Now is the perfect time to go through your house and have a clear out. You can choose a room a week, gut it and then decide what you need to do. Does it need a deep clean? A paint? Or maybe it could do with some new home touches- like a new storage solution, or a new wall canvas. Now is the best time to get your home up to scratch.

Think of those jobs that you never usually have time to do in the home- NOW is that time.

Reflect on life.

This isn’t time to dwell, but it is a great time to reflect. How was life going for you? Was there something that you’d love to change now? Now is a great time to reflect on where you’re at in your life and where you want to go.

Perhaps your job has been getting you down, you could always use this time to job hunt, or broaden your skills and knowledge. Is there an online course you could take up? This is a great time to get studying and learn something new, then you can use this for a job hunt further down the line.

Or maybe you had toxic relationships or friendships? There is nothing more cleansing than having to distance yourself from everyone. It is now that you can really reflect on who is important in your life and who is not. Then when we are able to get back to ‘normal’ life, you will find it easier to stay away from those that bring you down.

Whatever was bringing you down and affecting you negatively in life, this is the best time to distance yourself from it and never go back. However, if you equally feel like something is lacking in life, now is the best time to consider how to get that in your life.

Touch base with loved ones.

Calls and FaceTime is what has been getting me through these past two weeks. I have tried to call or video call friends each day, if not a couple of times a day and it has made the world of difference. Every time I get to talk to a friend, or family member, it helps me to feel more connected to them and it really boosts my spirits.

I really miss seeing my friends in person, but this time has given me a chance to really reflect on what amazing people I have in my life and I know we are going to have the best time on the other side of this. In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying every phone and video call we have. Try scheduling some calls into your days.

Plan for your future.

As mentioned above, this is a great time to plan for the future. Is there a skill you want to take up? A holiday destination you want to go to? Plan for what you want life to look like when we get out of this.

Do you want to be more or less social? Take up a new hobby? Find a new job or career?

What do you want to do to treat yourself and your family after this? Where is the first place you will go?

Although we can’t put a date in our diaries for anything, we can still write a list of plans that we want to do.

Catch up with life whilst practising self care.

How many times in the past year have you wished for life to slow down? Before this, I was always so busy and I kept saying to myself, “Next week life will slow down and I can spend time on myself”. Only that never happened.

Until all of a sudden, life was forced to slow down.

Although I am now juggling work and children, I have still got a little extra time on my hands and I am still able to begin practising self care more regularly. I have started going on a daily run. This is something I would never have had the time or chance to do.

What self care can you partake in? Start today. You will soon feel a huge difference and hopefully going forward, it will soon become routine so that when life does resume, we still prioritise it.

Being still.

There is something quite magical about being still and observing life as it is. Or just being still outside in the garden and noticing nature around us. Nature is healing. Earth is healing.

It is deeply heartbreaking that so many people are suffering or losing their lives in these upsetting and turbulent times. It is time to be still, to acknowledge everything we should be thankful and grateful for. To take a big breath. This is life, this is history we are living. We are brave, we can get through this.

I hope that this blog post has given you some ideas on what to do during this time of isolation. I seem to have a few good days, followed by a few very down days. It’s only natural for our feelings to be turbulent and all over the place, just like life is. Ever since I have suffered with anxiety, I really struggle to adapt to change. The only thing I can do is take one day at a time and focus on what I can control; and that’s all of the above.

Social Distancing and the Impact on Mental Health

It’s been a few weeks since I last published a blog post for Me Against Myself. I had one lined up as a new blog post, but it’s hardly relevant now. The World as we know it has quite literally been turned upside down. It has affected the lives of so many, if not everyone. We are now effectively in ‘Lock-down’ in the UK. Now this is affecting many aspects of our lives and our freedom is the main element. But also social distancing is having a huge impact on our mental health.

Worrying and Anxious Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I have had a bucket load of worrying and anxious thoughts. I feel like the vast majority are in the same boat here, we are worrying about the coronavirus itself and either ourselves or our families getting infected. But also, worrying about the impact this social distancing and lock down may have on us financially. Many of us will see our employment, or businesses suffer due to the current situation.

We may also be worrying about food, getting food and the supermarkets potentially having a shortage. In fact, there is just so much you could worry about when it comes to Covid 19.

What can we do about our worries? The main thing to take away here, is that these are unpredident times. No one knows what is happening, or what the future holds. There is so much uncertainty and of course, the climate changes daily. So, it’s almost like having a constant knot in our stomachs waiting for the next wave of news to hit us.

Why not try worry time? No, it won’t take away these worries completely- and they are only natural. BUT it may just help to control them a little bit.

Social Isolation

One of the biggest changes to life is our inability to be social. Now usually we are naturally social beings, however, we are have to put a pause on all social encounters for now. This is obviously for the greater good to help stop the spread of the virus, however it is bound to affect our mental health.

I have always said that a cuppa and talk with a friend does you the world of good. Hugs and warmth from someone else help to comfort you when you’re feeling low are priceless. I have on many occasions cried over the past week, not only because of my worries of the invisible killer, but also at the thought of not being able to see my friends for months.

Never again will I take for granted going for a simple coffee and cake with a friend and discussing life. And what I wouldn’t give to have a girls evening in with one of my best friends, howling with laughter like we usually do. There is so much I wouldn’t take for granted again. Like going on a school run and having that 10 minutes of conversation at the start and end of the day with others.

What can we do about social isolation? Just because we are practising social distance and essentially in a ‘lock down’, it does not mean we need to socially isolate. Keep in touch with loved ones, whether they’re friends or family on social media, by messages or phone calls. I have already Face-timed a friend whilst we both sat, had a drink and caught up. I have also made a phone call at least once a day touching base with friends. At the end of each phone call, my spirits were lifted.

It’s funny, as before this, we had to be careful with social media but yet now social media and our smartphones are our lifeline when it comes to coronavirus. Through them, we can still touch base with friends and family. I encourage you all to regularly call and keep in contact with your friends and family. Before we know it, we will be sipping on a warming mocha and looking into the eyes face to face of those that warm our hearts. Just hold tight for now.

Trapped Inside Our Heads

Not only does the coronavirus lock down mean we will feel trapped inside our homes, but it will also be hugely testing for our mental health. That means that we will also feel trapped inside our heads too.

There is so much more that could cause ourselves low moods, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. It can exasperate conditions that were already there, even if they were fairly dormant. My anxiety had been the best it had been in years. This has knocked it back ten fold. I have cried more than I think I ever have, and I have a constant knot in my stomach with anxiety.

What can we do about feeling trapped? Keep busy. That is the best way to combat boredom and also dwelling on things. Write lists of things you can do, split them into housework, hobbies, self-care tasks, Spring cleaning tasks and if you have children, home schooling tasks. This will keep you busier than you realise. Keep to some sort of routine, create a loose timetable on what you might do each day. You don’t have to strictly keep to it, but it may help.

Looking for the positives.

Try to see the positives in this unprecedented situation, we all lead such busy lives that often we don’t have the time to pause. I am seeing this as life being paused. Of course I miss my friends, and I am worried about the virus itself. But, maybe being cut off from normal life is just what we all need?

Certainly the environment is managing to heal. The world is having a rest. That’s another positive to take from this.

But asides from that, when was the last time you really took time out- a decent amount of time to spend with your family, or partner? When were you last able to spend time doing your hobbies? NOW is that time.

Self-care can come first. The pause button has been pressed. Now we could sit and dwell on it all, or we can embrace this quiet time. It is time we will never get back again. Once life resumes, we will be so busy- and hopefully mindful of every social interaction we ever encounter again.

How are you coping? Let’s reach out, keep talking and support each other through these testing times.

How To Cleanse Your Life For Spring

It’s finally Spring time. We can all shake off those winter blues and the chilly frosty cold. The flowers are sprouting from their buds, the trees are starting to bloom and reveal a sea of greenery around us. The mornings and evenings and lighter, and somehow spring time makes life seem a bit lighter. Now, we all know what else Spring brings; time to Spring Clean! So how can you cleanse your life for Spring?

De-Clutter The House

The best place to start is your home. By removing excess material possessions and clutter that have no place in your home anymore, you are also helping to ease mental matter too. You’ll find you will end up with less housework, and therefore less stressing to do each day too. You’ll be surprised that a clutter free home will do to your mind too.

Have you got a lot of toys in the house? Maybe get your children to sit with you and have a toy clear out. You can get them involved in the sorting out and cleaning process, allowing them to understand the need to let things go when they have served their purpose. Don’t forget to teach them refuse, re-use and recycle, too.

Order any new items that you may need for the house. Maybe you need some new towels for the kitchen, or some new storage or organisation solutions. It’ll make you feel more upbeat and positive about your living space.

Prepare The Garden

Over the coming months you will be spending more time outside. That is why it’s a great time to prepare the garden and any furniture you may have for it now. Create a cosy, comforting space for the exterior of your home too.

Getting out in the fresh air is so good for the soul. Fresh air is great for clearing your mind, and gives you a great chance to practise mindfulness, too. Spending time working on the gardening is also a great little hobby to get into this Spring time, allowing you to find escapism and distract your busy mind from negative thoughts.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring.

Start Walking More

Now is the perfect time to stretch your legs and get into a regular regime with walking. It’ll help boost your health and get you outside in the Spring sunshine. This will give you ample opportunity to practise mindfulness yet again.

Not only would regular walking help to boost your physical health, but it will also help your mental health too. Perhaps ask a friend if they fancy joining you, too?

What Upcoming Events Do You Have?

Write a list of your upcoming events this Spring. What will you need? What do you need to buy or book onto?

It’s great to plan ahead. You can prepare yourself for events coming up that perhaps you feel anxious about, whilst ensuring you have everything you need for it too so that when it comes to the date, you are feeling more prepared and in control.

Often anxious feelings come from the sense of not feeling in control, but by planning ahead and looking at upcoming events in advance, you can eliminate this issue and feeling.

Have A Wardrobe Overhaul

Have a clear out of your wardrobe. Then go out and get anything that you may be lacking in, maybe your jeans are starting to get to thin and are threatening to break? Or perhaps you could do with some dresses or clothing ready for Summer time?

Try a slightly different style, you never know; it may transform your confidence. Treat yourself to a new clothing item, as it’s important to show yourself some love and reward yourself for being as awesome as you are.

Now is a great time to get a better skin care regime. Often our skin has suffered with the harsh winter weather and central heating. You could sort out your make up, and get rid of any that have gone past the expiry date as these could negative affect your skin. Then start a new regime that will have your skin feeling soft and healthy.

Healthy New Habits

Maybe this Spring you could try some healthy new habits. Mindfulness is a great concept to explore and practise. It will help to teach you not to dwell on the past, or fret about the future and learn to be in the here and now.

This Spring I want to be more mindful, to practise body scans when my anxiety is bad and to absorb life more fully. It could be as simple as noticing your surroundings on your walk, rather than letting life walk on by.

Stop dwelling on the past. It’s no good for you or your mental health to dwell about the past. What’s been has been and there is nothing you can change now. Learn to let go of the past, to accept it with kindness and to learn and look forward to the future. Forget about what’s happened over the Winter, and embrace Spring with open arms.

A Virtual Declutter

Spring time isn’t just a great time to declutter your physical space in your home, but it is a great time to have a virtual declutter. Go though your phone to delete all unwanted items. Make sure to check under notes, photo, apps and other content. Have an email clear out too.

Go through your laptop and clear out photos and files. Your phone and technology will work quicker, and more efficiently and you will feel good for the digital clear out.

Plan a refresh for Spring.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring. It’s time to organise the next steps in life. To let go of the past, both physically and emotionally and look forward to what life has in store next for you. You will feel so much better after your declutter.

Follow some of my ideas above to help declutter your life for Spring.

How often do you Spring clean? Is there a certain time of year that you do it? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

If you are looking for inspiration to help boost your mood, click here.

If you are looking for ways to let your spirit feel free, click here.

What Do You Treasure The Most In Life?

Often when you suffer with anxiety, it is hard to focus on the positives in life. We can get into a negative train of thought, thinking of all that’s lacking, or ‘going wrong’ in life. It’s time to change direction with your thought patterns. Today, I want you to think about what you treasure the most in your life.

What are your top 5s?

Reflect on your life. Take time to sit down and have a pen and paper in front of you. What would you say are the top 5 things in your life? This could be physical or not. Do you have children? A partner? Maybe it’s a physical item you treasure, like a favourite book, or journal.

Write down the top 5 things in your life. And cherish each of these 5 things. Remember how lucky you are to have them. You may find it hard to begin with, you don’t have to sit and do this in one day. You may want to take a few days to mull it over. But when you have your 5, fold the paper in half and pop it in a safe place.

Focusing on the good each day

It is essential to try to train your brain into thinking positively rather than negatively. To do this you must practise brain- training. Check out my blog post here, on how you can focus on one thing each day to help your anxiety.

At the end of everyday, grab a pen and paper and write down 3 things that have been good at the end of everyday. When you have done this everyday for a month, you will soon start to retrain your brain into focusing on the positive rather than the negative. They could be big things, or small things. Initially you will find this difficult, but with time it will get easier and you will soon realise that the smaller things in life actually mean the most.

What else do you treasure?

It can be big or small. Here is what I treasure;

  • My family, extended and immediate.
  • That my dream came true (as corny as that sounds!)
  • My ability to write
  • The British seasons
  • Special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter
  • The incredible free education we receive in our childhood and teenage years
  • The amazing NHS
  • The ability to use escapism through TV, films, games and books
  • A good, bent over, tears rolling laugh. I especially treasure my family’s sense of humour and how we always laugh together
  • Weekend get togethers at my parents
  • The taste of good food and drinks
  • Our wedding album
  • Videos and photos from my beautiful life and my memories with my loved ones
  • My One Tree Hill, OC, Buffy and Walking Dead boxsets

Now you’ve seen my example, it’s time to reflect and write your own. Use the 2 typical scenarios to help you: If you were a castaway on an island, what 3 items would you take? If there was a fire, what would you rescue other than yourselves? These scenarios may be extreme, but they get you thinking about what your truly treasure. What things in life would you be utterly lost without?

Remind yourself of this list daily

Pop this list on your fridge, against your shower screen or next to your mirror. Everyday for a month look at this list to remind yourself of the treasures you have in your life. It will remind you of what you hold dear. Suddenly it becomes crystal clear that it really is the little things in life that mean the most. That the people around us are our treasures. We don’t have to have oodles of money, the latest gadgets or a flash car. We need love, support and encouragement.

We will treasure our memories, through photo albums and videos of our past. We hold onto the precious times where we felt content and happy.

We can treasure escaping through music and films. To be able to escape from our own lives and drown into a whole new world.

Sometimes our treasures are not material things, but time with loved ones.

What you treasure will say a lot about you. Listen, take note. Then move forwards opening your life up to similar things. Make more memories with loved ones you won’t forget and capture them on a camera, print them out. Indulge in a TV series in the evening to escape if you are going through an anxious stage. Get creative with your treasures.

Life will become sunnier.

What They Don’t Warn You About Motherhood And Anxiety

Motherhood changed me. There’s no doubt about it. I became less selfish, kinder, warmer and a much better version of myself. But there was the flip side to it. I lost myself a little. I love my children more than anything and I have loved every stage of their life so far. I strive to be the best mum I can possibly be. But there are certainly elements to motherhood that are made much more difficult when you suffer with anxiety.

You’re Not Alone.

At times it felt like I was the only one that felt so isolated. I love my children so much but I was losing myself whilst the anxiety monster on my shoulder got bigger.

However, with time I realised that I wasn’t alone. That other Mothers were going through what I was. Since those days, I have spoken to so many that have also felt the same. Although this is upsetting, it also is reassuring that I haven’t been alone in how I felt.

The Sunday Night Feeling.

Have you ever experienced the Sunday night feeling? Perhaps when you were a child, dreading the week of school ahead of you. Or maybe you were in a job that drained you and the thought of heading into the office in the morning made you want to press pause on life, like Bernards watch was capable of doing.

This is how I felt. Even though I had no school, no job. In fact, most would have dreamt of having the week ahead to choose what they wanted to do. But let me explain, having children and being 100% responsible for a life is the most daunting thing I have ever experienced.

When the boys started crawling, I had to baby proof my whole house and ensure that NOTHING that was a choking hazard was within reach. Then when they were weaning, I dreaded each meal time as I didn’t want them to choke. I watched countless videos on how to stop a child from choking.

Not forgetting cot death. Which doesn’t just happen in the cot but anywhere, anytime of day.

I was responsible for keeping these children alive. They meant the whole world to me and it was like pieces of my heart were now walking out in the outside world rather than safe inside my uterus. I would break if anything happened to them.

That is why I worried on a Sunday night. Because all weekend I had my husband there to share joint responsibilities. When he was around, I could go to the toilet, or drink a cup of tea without worrying that something would happen in the fraction of the time it took to boil a kettle.

As time went on, I realised I was capable of watching them and looking after them. But the worry of a parent is something unfathomable. And so I almost dreaded worrying for the entire week, worrying that I was doing something wrong. That’s why anxiety and motherhood don’t go together well. I worried anyway, then I worried more for this person I was caring for.

The Feeling Of Loneliness.

You’d think that by having company 24/7, you couldn’t possibly feel lonely. Well, you’d be wrong.

The loneliness you feel as a parent is entirely different to a loneliness when you are alone. It’s odd. But the only explanation is, that you feel trapped inside your head with all these thoughts and feelings which although you could try and express to your baby or toddler, they just wouldn’t cooperate back.

Only having a small tot to talk to is lonely. You crave attention and adult conversation. You word vomit the second you come into contact with another adult. Even if it’s your delivery man.

The loneliness is one of the most difficult things I faced. Even though I had my baby’s company, I still felt cut off from the outside world.

Self Care Is Forgotten.

When you have a small child, you are so focused on every ounce of their care and routine- that often, your own self care is forgotten or put on the back seat. This is what causes a lot of the anxious issues.

To help combat mental health issues such as anxiety, self care is essential. It helps to revitalise your soul and allow you to refresh. It stops you from becoming drained.

Unfortunately, when you are spending every waking hour tending to your baby or toddler, it’s often your needs that are placed to one side and ultimately this ends up creating issues further upstream.

The Changes Your Body Goes Through.

Another element that affects a lot of mothers, is their body changing. Obviously your body is put under so much strain when it is carrying a baby, and for some your body never goes back to the way it was.

This could be physical- such as a stomach that isn’t as flat as it used to be, or visible stretch marks (they do fade though).

Or it could be that the health of your body changes. My health certainly hasn’t been the same since my youngest. Either way, the changes your body go through are both incredible and miraculous, but they also put a strain on yourself and your confidence.

Fading Until You Just Become “Mum”.

It almost feels as if your uniqueness and your characteristics fade until you just become “Mum”. This is most likely due to the fact that you get next to no time to yourself. Your whole life revolves around your little ones, so what made you “you”, is less apparent.

You are tired, exhausted, drained. You live off few hours of sleep a night and I don’t think you ever truly catch up on sleep from those first few years. So whenever you do get time to yourself, you’re desperately trying to recharge your batteries, rather than having the time to enjoy a hobby.

Essentially, you feel like you lose your identity and become “mom”. Your former identity dissipates for a while.

It Does Get Easier.

What I can tell you, after years of experiencing the above, is that it does get better and easier. Everything settles down. When children get older, they become more independent and you’ll miss it when they weren’t. But it does mean you suddenly have these small gaps of time where you get to focus on yourself again. You’re less in demand, which means naturally you are less exhausted and drained.

My youngest started school just over a year ago. I kept crying at the thought of him going, I dreaded it. I suddenly felt “not ready” for my stay at home mum days to be over. But I’ve gotten used to the quiet now. I work from home, yet I don’t feel lonely. I feel like those hours in the day I am able to be me again, to work hard and achieve my own personal goals and to invest in myself. Then when I pick them up from school, I am so so happy to see their faces and we just strive to make the most of the time we have together.

As my boys have gotten older, they have become their own character and person. And my two are amazing. I laugh so hard with them now, they say the most funny things. They crack me up. They take notice of things I like and dislike and they help me out now. Infact they do take care of me and care for me. All of those years of hard work raising them from womb to toddlers, it’s paying off. They still need me a lot, but on a different level now. I also need them.

Motherhood gets easier. Parenting never gets easier but it is different. Each stage of your child’s life will have its ups and downfalls. But motherhood is different to parenting. Motherhood is a feeling, and it’s one that gets easier with time. So hang in there, you’ve got this.

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

It’s also worth being cautious with social media too, read here to find out more.

Can It Really Be New Year, New Me?

So January is upon us and we are now in the new year stage. A lot of people find this is a great time to start New Years resolutions and make healthy changes in our lives. Some of us actually manage to achieve these, but some of us may give up a few weeks, or if you’re lucky, months into it. Can it really be ‘new year, new me’? Or is this just a phase that everyone goes through in January only to propel ourselves into feeling more miserable when we don’t achieve our New Years resolutions?

New Years Resolutions

How many times have you made a New Years resolution only to see it fail within a few months? Or how many of you see this as a completely fresh start and motivate yourself constantly to keep going?

I have had many a New Years resolution in the past fail. In fact most have. But one year, I made a New Years resolution/ challenge to bake every single recipe in this baking book I loved. I actually did it! I finished in the December and I felt triumph. Only it clashed with the resolution to lose weight. But I still managed to do it as it was doable- it was something I enjoyed.

Break Your Goals Down

So when you make your New Years resolutions, I would make ones that you will actually be able to achieve. If it’s something you know you will eventually hate or resent, don’t set it. You’ll feel disappointed in yourself if you fail but you’ll be setting yourself up for a failure if you don’t set yourself a realistic resolution in the first place.

Like losing weight, a very common one. It’s so generic. You need to be more specific and make it more do able. Perhaps only allow yourself to eat chocolate/ cake etc on a weekend and eliminate these out of your weekly diet. Perhaps say no to sugary drinks but only allow yourself one a week. If you ban yourself completely from something, you may end up rebelling. But if you set a realistic goal and break it down, you will manage it.

Really think about what you want to achieve and set yourself specific doable bite sized goals. This is the best way to accomplish a resolution or goal. My baking one was broken into doing one bake a week, by the end of the year I had to double and sometimes triple this but it helped with the longevity of the challenge.

Breaking Bad Habits

Another element of the New Year is to eliminate bad or toxic habits. In that respect, I find that sometimes someone just needs a bit of a kick to start the new behaviour. In that respect, the new year is a great signal for that. However, it must be noted that it takes years for a behaviour to form; so it can take a while for it to break.

Be patient with yourself. If you slip up a few times, don’t panic and give up entirely. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the mistake, (which is easily done as your brain has been wired to behave that way or react that way over years) and keep trying.

Is it a new ‘you’ this New Year?

Is it a new ‘you’ this New Year?

So is it really new year, new me?

Well, it can be. If you struggle to ditch bad habits and toxic relationships, then the start of January can be a notable point to seriously think about changing your life. It signals a fresh start, which at times is all we need to kick start new behaviour and motivate us to succeed. 

We are all constantly changing within ourselves and often we are not the same person we were a few years back. So yes, we can see the New Year as a way to start this change. But make sure that it is a positive one. 

Treat yourself and others with kindness, don’t criticise yourself constantly and don’t give up. Find new ways to beat anxiety or depression.

I hope that you all have a wonderful start to 2020 and that if you need it to be a fresh start, that you make it a successful one.

What Makes You Laugh? Why You Need To Be Laughing Every Day!

Laughter is a hugely underrated activity. A lot of us may do this often, but often a lot of us lose the ability to laugh when mental health issues are weighing down on us. At times, anxiety and depression can leave you gasping for air, let alone expelling excess air in a belly roaring laugh. So, what makes you laugh? And why is it important to try and do this each and everyday?

We All Have Different Laughter Triggers.

We all find different things funny. Write a list of your laughter triggers. Here’s mine:

  • My amazing boys. My children often do or say hilarious things.
  • Ant and Dec. Two of the funniest people to grace my TV presence. I love watching I’m a Celeb and Saturday Night Takeaway.
  • Toilet Humour. Yes, I still have toilet humour.
  • You’ve Been Framed. A TV classic!
  • My family. These are the people that make me laugh the most.
  • Friends. I love having a laughing fit with a friend.
  • Old memories. A trip down memory lane, focusing on the funny moments that reel off in my brain, like real life clips that belong on You’ve Been Framed, always does the trick.
  • Being stupidly tired. Does anyone else get to that tired giggly state?

Friends is the ultimate TV show that makes me laugh.

Try a funny book- Very British Problems has great reviews!

Surround Yourself With The Right People.

People that spark joy and laughter are the best people to be around. Life is too short to be around those that are only interested in idle gossip and drama.

Make sure your circle of friends are the type that aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves and the ones that you often smile and laugh around. If they’re not, make sure you are finding company that loves a giggle too!

If you’re unsure of your friendships- read my blog post on how to tell if your friendships are healthy.

Laugh Each and Every Day.

It’s important to make laughter part of your every day life. Laughter releases happy endorphins, whilst reducing the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and dopamine.

It provides a positive release of emotions, leaving you lighter and happier. It is good for you. But we, as adults, don’t do it enough.

Children laugh over 400 times a day, where as us adults laugh a lot less. Yet, we are the ones that need it the most. Try to find the laughter and humour in every day life. Look at your list, make sure you’re fitting one of these activities into your life each day.

Maybe it’s going on YouTube to watch funny videos? Or going for a drink with a friend?

Laughter connects us all, it takes away from the stresses and strains of every day life and gives us a work out with our stomach muscles! Get more laughter in your life.

You need to be laughing each and every day!

When Was The Last Time You Laughed?

If it wasn’t today, then make it your mission to have a laugh at something today! Try something from your list of laughter triggers, or go on YouTube to find a funny video compilation. Allow yourself time each and everyday to have a giggle.

Soon, you will feel the benefits of this simple, yet effective, human response.

You could also check out my blog post and get some ideas on how to boost your happiness.

What is a laughter trigger for you? Pop a comment below, I would love to hear from you.

This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on these and you order an item, you will not be charged extra, however I will get a small commission to help with the running of this blog. Thank you.

14 Ideas on How to Make Your Spirit Feel Free.

Summer time always reminds me of freedom. There is something so mood boosting about the sun shining, warmer weather and the longer days. My children are off school, we are currently not being ruled by the routine of everyday mundane life.

At the time of writing, the last of the summer holidays are looming and soon Autumn will be upon us. It got me thinking- what else makes my spirit feel free? If you are feeling tied down by everyday life, if you are feeling overwhelmed, why not try one of my ideas below and see how you feel after?

14 Ideas on How to Make Your Spirit Feel Free.
  1. A trip to the sea side. Being on the beach, with the sand sprinkling in between my toes and watching the waves crash into the sea; a moment of pure bliss and relaxation. It makes me realise that the World is huge and my problems are small. It makes me feel calm, content. It brings me back to my youth and the many trips to the beach I had. It makes me feel free. Why not take a day off and take a road trip to the beach? Build sandcastles, paddle in the sea and go explore the rock pools.
  2. Singing in the car. I love to sing along to music loudly on a car journey. I’m no good at singing, but it still allows me to feel free. Try it next time you’re in the car- sing loudly without a care in the world. Really feel the music.
  3. Having a lazy day. Having the odd lazy day reminds me how important it is to take time for myself. I never feel like I have time for it, but I do it anyway. It’s important to make time for yourself. I feel the freedom from the chains of the chores. It feels good. Allow yourself a lazy day from time to time and feel free from the everyday routine.
  4. Having a de-clutter. Sometimes I feel like material possessions and clutter can tie us down. So every so often, I love to have a de-clutter and give it away to charity. The home benefits from having a regular declutter, but your mind will too. For anyone wanting an easy and do-able cleaning system- try The Organised Mum Method– it really works!
  5. Reminder of my childhood days. I love to sit in my parent’s garden in a particular spot and look out to the fields that have been the backdrop to my childhood home. It reminds me of my childhood days, its brings me comfort but also it reminds me of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved over the years and it boosts my confidence. Is there a place you can go that will remind you of your childhood days?
  6. Playing at the park with my children. I love to head to the local park with my children and watch them play and explore. It’s a beautiful feeling when you’re pushing your child on the swing and watching their face gleefully light up. It’s a stark reminder that playtime doesn’t have to end just because you’re an adult. In fact, now more than ever we should allowing ourselves time each week to have fun. If you have children, make it a habit to visit your local park. If you don’t, find something fun to do with friends like paint balling or going to a mud run with inflatables.
  7. Exploring the woods or a new area. Going on a walk some where new exploring, or delving into the dark woods entwined by the tree branches above, often makes me feel alive. It reminds me that there is so much of this beautiful world that I am yet to explore and see, my children love it too and on the whole it’s just good for the soul. When was the last time you explored somewhere new? Go to the woods this weekend and take a note of all the wildlife around you.
  8. Strange comforts. I have a habit every night of taking my fluffy socks off in bed and then I love feeling the cold and softness of my bedsheets on my skin. To go from the fluffy warmth, to the soft coolness of the sheets is a comfort I get every night. Some may think it’s odd, but to have our own strange comforts- that’s true freedom. Have you got a strange comfort that boosts your mood?
  9. Baking. When, I bake and it is successful, I have such a euphoric feeling. I love to bake, but sometimes it doesn’t always go amazing, so when it does I do feel like I have really achieved something and I absolutely love to have my own hobbies and interests. Have you got a hobby that you enjoy? Why not try baking your favourite cake this week? Try this, Baking with Kim-Joy book here to give you some cute and creative bakes to make you smile.
  10. Being ahead/ on top of jobs. Whenever I am ahead of my job list, or at least on top of them and I am feeling in control, I feel very accomplished and free to then invest my spare time into me. Which is a very freeing feeling. Do you make an effort to make lists? Make sure to make them achievable so that you can feel this way too.
  11. Paddling feet in the paddling pool. This brings me back to childhood days too, so I love to pop my feet in a paddling pool and feel the coolness of the water wash over my toes and ankles. Go for a paddle in the sea or in a paddling pool. Feel the water, really feel it and breathe.
  12. Shopping. I love a bit of retail therapy. It’s not often that I am able to actually do it guilt free, so whenever I do it really does boost my spirits. Go on a little shopping trip and treat yourself to something nice.
  13. Whenever my anxieties leave me alone. Even if it is only for a moment, whenever I feel that I am not anxious in any way at all, that is the ultimate freeing feeling. To not be bound by those negative thoughts and feelings and being filled with self doubt and anxious thoughts. To feel care free, that makes my spirit feel alive. Is there anything you do in particular to keep your anxiety in check? Do it today. To help on the times where you feel in a slump, check out my blog post here.
  14. Drinking with friends. Love and laughter are often two of the most needed things in life. So whenever I am able to catch up with a good friend over a drink, have a light hearted evening and a laugh, it really does make me feel great. Arrange an evening out with your friends to celebrate and drink to life.

On the whole, I do enjoy having my daily and weekly routine. It helps me to keep everything in order, from what I need to be doing for my children and their school life, to what work I need to get done to when’s best to eat and go to bed.

But, from time to time, it is essential to get out of the mundane everyday life. To do something that will boost my spirit and make me feel lightness and freedom.

To read more fun ideas, check out my blog post here on 12 fun ideas to help boost happiness.

I love to explore new places, such as woods and ruins.

What makes your spirit feel free? Is there anything on the list above that you love to do too? Why not give a few a go, or try and complete the list by October and see how you feel.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on these and make a purchase, it will not cost you any extra but I will get a small commission from the sale to help with the running of this blog. Thank you.