- It is never too late to be what you might have been
- If you ever feel like giving up just remember quitting won’t bring you any closer to your dreams
- Be afraid and do it anyway
- You’re either fighting for your dreams or fighting for your excuses
- Just relax nothing is under control
- The real challenge is to overcome how we view ourselves
- Just a little progress each day adds up to big results
- Be obsessed with your own potential
- If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small – Richard Branson
- If you never try then you’ll never know what might have been
- Believe in yourself, you got this!
So we’ve made it to the end of January, hooray! Doesn’t it always feel like the longest month ever (apart from the last month of pregnancy of course, which is officially the longest month ever)! Every year I find January a bit of a slog, I’m not sure if it’s the cold,
the dark, the post Christmas blues or a mix of all of these put together but it sucks!
The start of a new year always feels a little pressured to make change and be a ‘new you’. It’s very tempting to try and make dramatic changes such as; crash diets, going to the gym every day, planning to run a marathon, giving up alcohol, going vegan, you know the sort of thing. We all want to see a quick fix, why wouldn’t we?
Unfortunately it doesn’t normally take long for the motivation to die and for us to realise making significant changes is actually very, very hard work. Anyone recovering from a mental health issue will of course already be very aware that there are no quick fixes but it doesn’t stop us hoping.
So here’s the bit you probably won’t want to hear.
To make positive change you have to be consistent, you have to make small daily changes which you stick to, they can’t be massive changes as they aren’t maintainable.
Of course if you are recovering from something like OCD or maybe an addiction of some kind you really have no choice, you have to make the changes and attempt to stay on track.
The trick is not to give yourself a hard time, you will mess up now and again and that’s OK. Never loose site of the path you’re on, no mater how slowly you’re walking it. Accept that there may never be an end goal, it’s all about the process of moving in the right direction and getting closer to where you need to be. Where you end up may look nothing like the way you thought it would when you get there and that could be a good thing.
I’m looking at moving careers very soon and I’m starting some training in March, it all feels very overwhelming at the moment but I just have to remember to do a small amount each day and it will eventually pay off.
Changes don’t have to be an all or nothing thing either, you haven’t failed if you slip up or make changes gradually over time.
I’ve wanted to be meat free for a while now and more recently I have started removing meat from more and more of our weekly meals. In the next couple of months the meat will disappear completely but for now if there’s a tin of tuna in the cupboard I’m not going to get stressed about it or throw it away I’m just going to use it up and not buy anymore. I know even the small changes I’m making are heading in the right direction for me and over time they will pay off. There is no big rush, life is a marathon not a sprint.
It’s very easy to just think about the goals and not enjoy the journey you’re on but we need to be more mindful about where we are in life and appreciate what is going on around us. If we are living in the future then we aren’t really living, make every day count. Go to bed each day feeling like you’ve taken a little step closer to where you want to be and that you are heading in the right direction. Be kind to yourself and know you are doing the best you can. Lets make 2020 a good one!
As always, Stay Strong xxx
Over the last year anxiety has become my constant friend, everything seems to trigger it and though I continue to try and push myself to do things – knowing that I have to go through it to get better – it really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and so I find myself thinking, ‘will it just always be there?‘.
This is a very scary thought but is it a realistic one? So many things seem to trigger it and so how am I ever going to get to a stage where I can just, not be anxious? Sometimes I’m not even sure why it’s there at all? If I’m in a new situation, meeting someone new or in an unfamiliar place I get it but why would I feel anxious when trying to decide what to cook for tea? Or getting ready to go out for the day or even just walking along the pavement?
Are we all just a bit more anxious nowadays?
Life is incredibly busy and we do put so much pressure on ourselves to be – or at least appear to be – perfect. Is social media to blame? Do we honestly think that everyone else has it ‘sorted’? Are we afraid of looking weak or less than? Do we think others will judge us? Why does it matter if they do? Or is there just some deep bedded shit from our past that we have to work through?
I’m personally not sure how we are supposed to process this stuff but being aware of it I would guess is the first step. Ultimately you’re trying to reprogram things that have been ingrained in you for years and this takes a lot of work and being present, you can’t just expect the body to change without being conscious of what it is doing. So how do we tune into our bodies more?
I have recently upped my yoga attendance as I find this practice really helps me tune into my body, I have done yoga for years but more recently it has taken on a new meaning to me. I used to go for exercise, to increase my flexibility and to help with my sciatic pain but I almost feel like I used to do it mindlessly, just following the instructors commands and not really understanding the affect the postures have on the body. The meditation at the end I just used to find boring and I didn’t really get the point of it but now I tune into my body and feel it buzzing with energy after a practice, something which has made me cry on more then one occasion! I am so obsessed with Yoga now that I am doing my teacher training next year and can’t wait to understand more about the practice. I would highly recommend it to anyone feeling anxious.
We need to live outside of our heads more and not be consumed by our thoughts. It is far too easy to live mindlessly day to day, our mind actually helps us to live mindlessly by putting our daily activities into routines so we can do things without really thinking about them. Does this sound familiar:
Get up, eat breakfast, shower, brush teeth, get in car, drive to work, switch PC on, etc, etc
How many new thoughts did you have along the way? The mind thinks it’s helping you out by taking the thinking out of your repetitive daily activities but actually it’s doing you a disservice as you are mindlessly moving through life. Try and mix up your morning routine, or any routine if you can. Drive/walk a different route to work or change what you have for breakfast so you are consciously making decisions and being more mindful.
Here’s one that’s supposed to be transformative but to be honest I struggle with this one too! I will do anything to try and avoid it or ‘not have the time’ for it. It’s so important to try and tune into your body and notice how you are feeling, this is how we pick up on the little things the body is trying to tell us. I am going to try harder at this one.
Less sugar and caffeine
Trying to keep your body in equilibrium so it’s not spiking and dipping all day is also really important but again another really tricky one which I’m not great at either, I really do love my coffee. Maybe moderation and baby steps is the way to look at this one to make it achievable?
Spend less time on your phone and more time in the real world
I probably don’t need to explain this one, we all know we do it and just reducing it maybe before bedtime, during meal times for first thing in the morning will have a positive effect. Technology is part of life, like food this one is all about moderation and knowing when you’ve been on your phone too long.
Get outside more
Again this one is probably pretty obvious but try your best to spend at least part of your day outside, even if it’s just a walk at lunch time and take some deep breaths while your out there!
Be kind to yourself
Look after yourself and don’t beat yourself up, you’re doing your best and you won’t always get it right but as long as you’re trying that’s all you can ask of yourself.
I’m still working on some of these myself but I’m really hoping my anxiety levels are going to start to improve over the next few months. I think a lot of the time we know what we should be doing but actually making the changes seems hard work, Just take one step at a time and don’t expect radical changes these things happen slowly, we are trying to change habits which have been formed over a lifetime and that’s going to take some work.
Stay Strong xxx
I think anxiety has been part of my life for as long as OCD if not longer. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt completely relaxed, always questioning myself and my abilities, always thinking I’m not good enough and trying to please others. I naturally put myself down and the other day I even talked my boss out of promoting me at work because I didn’t think the people I would be managing would respect me enough to see me as senior! I’ve also noticed recently that I hold my breath, all the time which I’m currently leaning is terrible for anxiety.
I have created so many negative patterns over the years – similar to my last blog with the self defeating thoughts – that I’m surprised I’m still surviving to be honest. I’ve even been tempted to give up this blog a few times as, “I know I’ve never been good at writing and who would want to read what I have to say anyway”.
I’m pretty sure a lot of my issues – particularly the breathing ones – stem from when I was young. I had terrible teachers at primary school, a terrifying father who
I just wanted to please all the time so that he wouldn’t loose his temper and just no good role models to show me good habits. So here I am at 34 trying to wade through all the sh*t. Letting go of things which are very deeply rooted, some maybe even completely hidden from me still seems like an impossible task but I’m slowly trying to chip away at it day after day.
I’m guessing we’ve probably all got a bit of baggage stored up somewhere, if you’ve managed to get to where you are in life without any then you’ve done extremely well and please let me know the answer! Some people I think are calmer and find things easier to let go of or flow over them (this is what I’m working on). Other people probably don’t even realise that the reason they loose their temper so quickly or grind their teeth at night is probably rooted in something subconscious. Some people simply don’t want to face their issues and other perhaps can’t or don’t feel strong enough to. It’s definitely not an easy road that’s for sure.
My ‘baggage’ for want of a better word started to make me ill; OCD, anxiety, UC, so I didn’t really have a choice but to look at things. I am trying with this blog, therapy, diet, exercise, breath work and meditation to work through my issues but even I’m scared to open some of the doors to what I know is going to be horribly hard. There’s also a fear there particularity with the OCD that I will get pulled back in and that is absolutely terrifying. Some days I feel like I’m clinging on and I might slip back, other days I feel strong and can face exposing myself to my past. The journey is long and bumpy but somehow I have to stay on it.
So I started this post about anxiety and how I feel like it’s connected to my breath, I’m currently going through a book, ‘And Breathe’, by Rebecca Dennis, which I would highly recommend as I believe it has helped me already. Just understanding how breathing properly can help you control your emotions and anxieties when they hit is the most fantastic tool. I have been feeling more energised and positive just by doing 20 minutes breathing practice a night, it is nice to feel a little bit more in control and to have the energy and motivation to want to cook more healthily and exercise more.
I hope you’re all doing well this week,
Stay Strong xxx
Money is something that I have a very complicated relationship with, I’m guessing I’m probably not alone in this. Like with food it’s one of those things in life that you can’t just avoid or ignore, it’s part of life and you have to try and have a good and healthy relationship with it.
We were never rich growing up but there was always food on the table and a warm bed to get into at night. We didn’t have nice holidays or new toys all the time and we were the family who had to walk and bus everywhere whilst the neighbours turned a blind eye and got into their cars to travel, quite often to the same place we were heading but that was OK, it definitely could of been worse and I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.
My relationship with money actually took a very dark turn when I was 18 and I travelled to New Zealand for a gap year. My gran had very kindly paid for the flights and I was going to be staying and volunteering at a local school so I didn’t think I would have to worry about money. I had saved about £700 in my bank account from working weekends as a waitress at a local pub and to me that was a lot of money, I’d be fine and for the most part things were fine.
Once the summer holidays came the people I was volunteering with wanted to travel to Australia, off we went and again I didn’t really think much about 3 weeks away. About half way through the holiday I completely ran out of money and I became reliant completely on the people I was travelling with, this was not good.
One of them made me feel like the smallest piece of dirt every time we had to get lunch or pop into a supermarket and she had to contribute a bit extra to help me out. I’m not talking about big posh dinners now, I’m talking about a pot noodle or a sandwich, literally enough to survive on. The other – who was an ex boyfriend – basically made me feel indebted to him and like I had to get back with him and be with him to justify what he was giving to me. I felt so grateful at the time that he wasn’t leaving me penniless, I probably would of done anything he asked. It really was one of the lowest points of my entire life and I wish I could of been stronger but at the time I just wasn’t. My OCD was bad and my life experience was just non existent, now I look back I was scarily vulnerable and it makes me so sad.
Fast forward to when I came home and off I went to university, because isn’t that what every teenager does? I still had no money and was in a terrible mental space because of my OCD. I remember one winter I didn’t even have money for shoes and so wore my flip flops, man it was cold. I used to eat rice, frozen veg and tinned tuna every day as it was all I could afford. I eventually dropped out of university as I was spiralling downhill very quickly and pretty much moved in with the aforementioned ex. I’m sad to report that it took me about 5 years to start to build myself up again after going through multiple toxic relationships and jobs.
There are probably many issues I need to deal with from this situation but for now I’m focusing on the money. I guess it is unsurprising that I now have an obsessive relationship with money, checking my bank account a lot and keeping spreadsheets of every transaction. Of course this behaviour is not healthy for me and I’ve reached a point currently where it is completely unnecessary. I shouldn’t have to look at my bank account all the time and so I am going to try not to.
In fact I am going to try and not look at my bank for a year!
Yes that’s right, one whole year. Personally I will be amazed if I can do this but man I would love to so I’m going to try. I will keep you posted.
It makes me sad that so much of modern life revolves around money, we can loose so much of ourselves in the quest for it. It can give other people significant power over us and make us feel unworthy and less than.
Writing this blog post has been tougher then I thought and it’s bought up more issues then I expected but I’m glad I’ve managed to make a start on unpicking some of my yucky past. I hate looking back as it makes me so sad but if I don’t how else will I heal?
Stay Strong xxx