“Keep shining, beautiful one. The world needs your light”.
My close friends will know that from time to time I have suffered with anxiety and panic; sometimes it’s just a ‘down day’ and other times I can’t shake it off for a while. I don’t always have a reason for feeling this way, but there are times when I’m stressed or something has happened which causes my mind to have a little wobble. I think any recent stress of mine will probably be house related; we have been renovating for two years now and I think it’s started to take it’s toll as we had never planned for this. It’s getting very frustrating and I’m looking forward to being able to have normal weekends again in a normal house! (An update on a new blog post to follow about this shortly!).
I have always been a worrier and suffered with OCD particularly around sleep, which was quite severe when I was younger. I’d describe myself as being quite highly strung and a stress-head, which is probably why me and Luke complement each other so well as he is very laid back and even-tempered. Sometimes I struggle to find the reason behind my anxiety; I am surrounded by lovely family and friends, I have a job that I enjoy (most of the time!), I have my health, house, car, generally I am a happy person who’s content in life… when I sit and think about it like that I’m sure many people would tell me I have no reason to complain (some people have even directly told me that!), yet sometimes I still get low, worried and insecure. I hate the possibility of upsetting or offending anyone, whereas in my teenage years I was much less likely to care. I try to remind myself that this is just the way I am and I should be unapologetic for this. I’m sure that the people who love me wouldn’t have me any other way…she says.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post Being Facebook Free, in this world driven by social media it is so, so easy to fall into the trap of comparing your life against others’ and wondering why everybody seems to lead a busy lifestyle when you actually feel quite happy snuggled up at home with a cup of tea in your flamingo socks. The reality is that Facebook and Instagram is just a snapshot of the good part of somebody’s day and isn’t a true reflection of real life; something that I am guilty of doing myself! I have always said that social media is brilliant, but certainly does not help in terms of mental health. I think the best thing we can do if we suffer in these ways is be accepting of it, don’t be hard on yourself and do little things to try and help. So, this is where ‘mindfulness’ comes in, something that I wanted to write about as I find it really helps me!
I am currently doing a ‘Mindfulness based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ course and loving it so far! I’ll explain a little bit about what mindfulness is, from what I understand of it. It’s about being fully present and being aware of the body and senses. This is done by sending your body into a relaxed state, focusing on your breathing and on the present moment only. When practising mindfulness, somebody told me that when everyday thoughts and worries enter your brain, imagine standing on the platform of a train station, and the train being your worry. The train doesn’t stop, it just passes you on the platform, you acknowledge it and just let it go. The reason I mention this is because I’ve found that when I’m feeling particularly stressed or sad it really does help me, and it only takes ten minutes out of the day to do it (and it’s really relaxing!). I do this by using apps on my phone, my personal favourites being ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm: meditation to focus, relax and sleep better’.
As I’m a bookworm I love an opportunity to recommend a book. I purchased this one a few weeks ago ‘Practical Mindfulness’ and it’s a great little guide for beginners or anyone wanting to find out a bit more. The pages are a little ‘busy’ with a lot of text bubbles etc, so it’s not really a book I would recommend for start to finish reading. However, so many topics are covered such as using mindfulness to aid decision making, helping with friendships and relationships, at work etc so you can flick to whichever page suits.
Other than my mindfulness discovery, whenever I’m having a down day/week/month, for me the best thing I can do is listen to myself and what I need to perk myself up. I am sure that a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and exercise helps in also having a healthy mind, there is no doubt about that, but if I’m sad and want a tub of Ben and Jerry’s then sometimes the best thing I can do is go and buy a tub of ice cream. If I feel like I need some fresh air, then I should take a walk. If I feel like I want a lazy day, then I should spend the day on the sofa watching TV. A hot bath with music on has always helped me, and of course, writing! I wouldn’t have started this blog unless I truly loved to write and I’m so glad to have found the love for this again after enjoying writing so much as a teen. As cliche as it sounds, I also think there is no better medicine than a good laugh with your family or friends. I have covered similar bits and bobs in my previous post: Deep breath in, and out…
Thank you for reading! x