31 Days of Wellbeing: Day 16

Day 16 of 31 Days of Wellbeing

I’ve had a couple of days off writing posts because I have had a very busy few days, and I was at risk of burning out if I kept pushing myself to do too many things at once.

Remember, there is only so much you can do and if you stress yourself out frequently trying to keep on top of everything, you will end up resentful, anxious and feeling down. I have been learning this the hard way recently, particularly at work. I am starting to realise the importance of not pushing myself into the stress zone by taking on too much, and by and putting pressure on myself to do everything to a perfect standard.

You can't pour from an empty glass.Take care of yourself.

So I’ve created this quote picture to remind me of this. I will download this image onto my phone so I can keep reminding myself all year about the importance of not taking on too much, of not stressing myself out with impossible high standards. Most importantly, this will remind me that I am better able to help others and share positive energy if I firstly take care of myself.

Where am I going with all this anyway? Your wellbeing activity today is to make your own quote picture to live by. Choose a quote which will remind you of something you should do this year to be happy and have a healthy mind/body. These quote pictures are very easy to make – I use Canva.

Happy creating and please share any that you make in the comments ūüôā

 

Advertisements

Seeing humour

Gemma C

I love Gemma Correll’s work, which actually makes you smile at the darker issues some of us go through. I know the last thing we feel like doing is laughing when feeling low, but if you can find a little humour from time to time, it really helps. I’d say my ‘funniest’ moment when I was suffering was when I hid from an old friend’s mother in the theatre. My parents were totally bemused at what the heck I was doing, crouching down behind a theatre seat! I didn’t want anybody ¬†I knew (aside from my parents) to see me or talk to me that night because I felt like a horrible human being. Now I look back on that, I can smile at how amusing that scene must have looked!

You might not be able to smile at your lower moments right now, but try to find something which gives you a little light relief. Whether that’s images you see on Facebook (I highly recommend looking at more images from Gemma Correll!), watching a comedy or spending time with a friend who makes you laugh, it makes a big difference to get that occasional smile.

Boost of the Day: Understanding yourself

not-until-we-are-lost-do-we-begin-to-understand-ourselves

Although going through a rough time mentally is unpleasant and unwanted, there are positives that come out of being lost. When depression and/or anxiety hit, this forces you to understand yourself better and you have no choice but to learn how to cope with your issues to move forwards.

Whatever you end up doing to help you improve your mental health, sometimes being in a rough situation can be the only way to help you recognise that something needs to change. Counselling is one very effective way of understanding why you are feeling lost and helping you back onto the right path.

Boost of the Day

sometimes-we-need-to-go-backward-before-we-can-go-forwards

Well, after a 4 month break here I am writing again. Partly¬†because I have missed having a hobby like this – blogging is a fantastic way to be creative and get writing. However it is also¬†partly because I miss having an outlet where I can (hopefully) help raise others’ and my own¬†self-esteem.

Writing this blog helped me to build myself up again after going through a period of low self-esteem, stress and depression. I have never been naive enough to think I would never feel low again, and indeed I am certainly still learning that it takes time to manage feelings of low self-worth. It is an ongoing journey and I am going backward to my blogging days to hopefully help myself and others to keep moving forwards and keep raising self-esteem.

As the¬†boost of the day suggests, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to go backward, to reflect on the past, to regroup, to relearn and move forwards into a positive future. Life will never be a straightforward path after all!

Booster Tip #16: Run

running quote

I woke up this morning and felt in a pretty low mood. No big, obvious reason – just being on my ‘time of the month’, my lower back ached, the weather was miserable and I had eaten far too many calories on Easter Sunday! I generally felt ‘meh’.

A couple of hours on, I feel so much better. More energy, better mood and healthier. Why? I forced myself out for a run. I have lost count of the times that I have been so relieved that I went against all my negative instincts, put on my trainers and just got myself outside and running.

‘But I can’t run/I don’t like running/It’s too hard’, I hear you retort. My running fitness is not particularly brilliant at the moment as I tend to avoid winter running. So this morning, I just went really slow. Slow enough that I could breathe easily and would have been able to talk to someone with ease if necessary. Near the end, I had enough energy to pick up the pace thanks to this precaution.

Running off at a fast pace when you are not feeling up to it will of course make your run unenjoyable. Focus on making your run as enjoyable as possible by following these tips:

  • Take it as slow as you need –¬†if you burn yourself out too quickly, you will not enjoy running and will be less likely to go again. Don’t worry if you need to do a walk/run combination instead.
  • Choose a route away from the main roads as much as possible – you will feel far more relaxed without traffic and lots of pedestrians in your way.
  • Set a goal¬†– for some people, it can¬†be really motivating to sign up to a run, whether that is a 5km, 10km or marathon.
  • BUT don’t get too competitive – nowadays runners use apps to track their progress, and it can be disheartening if you can’t run as fast or far. If you find using the app makes you feel bad about running, turn it off.
  • Join a running club or use music as your partner – For some, you may find it motivating to run with others and use running as a social, as well as physical tool for your wellbeing. For others (me included), I prefer to run when I want to rather than be confined by set times. So I use music as my companion – running is more enjoyable for me when I get to listen to my favourite songs.
  • Get the right gear¬†– it is worth investing in a pair of good quality trainers and workout gear to make running both more enjoyable and less likely to cause injuries. Good trainers are a must and well worth spending your money on if you want to run regularly. If you like listening to music, invest in a belt or arm band so you can listen without wires and ear phones flying all over the place!

Running and other exercise helped me make it through depression and unemployment, and it has continued to help me when I feel low. Please do force yourself out the door and give it a go… I have never yet heard anybody say ‘I regretted that run’.

Boost of the Day #171: Brave

Careful not to spend too much time over-thinking, over-analysing and over-reacting.

I love it when a Pixar or Disney film has strong, uplifting messages behind it. Brave is one of those films and this quote is a brilliant reminder that we are the managers of our own life. No, you cannot control everything that will happen to you, but you can choose how you react and deal with it.

It is actually a very brave thing to do, to start to take ownership of your own life and what you do with it. But taking control is how to start finding happiness, rather than letting life control you.

Boost of the Day #155: Tomorrow’s sunshine

Don't let the shadows of yesterday spoil the sunshine of tomorrow

Bad days, bad weeks, even a particularly rough year can happen. These times can really test you and can affect your mood for longer than necessary.

As soon as possible, you need to start appreciating life again and everything it has to offer you. Get out the house, talk to people, exercise, eat well and get your life back on track again. If you don’t, years down the line you will regret wasting more time than was necessary.

Boost of the Day #152: Be who you were meant to be

Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything.Maybe it's about un-becoming everything that isn't really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

Rather than¬†spending your time and effort trying to be something¬†different…trying to be something that goes against your true self, work on un-become everything that isn’t really you.

Stop pretending to like that style of music because your friends do, stop going to the gym if you hate it (and find something physical you DO enjoy!), stop gossiping if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

The great part of this is, your time and effort can now be channeled into making a life you love…with the people you love. Being yourself will take less energy and is much easier!

Boost of the Day #100: One year of recovery on…

It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts. (2)

A year ago today, I was struggling. I¬†woke up one morning, dressed for work as usual, and boiled the kettle. I remember vividly turning to my flatmate and saying ‘I can’t make it into work today’. Having forced¬†myself to struggle on¬†for a few months, I was broken for the first time in my life. I went to the Doctor’s that day and was signed off work for three weeks with anxiety and mild depression. That evening, I had my first anti-depressant and my first panic attack. It was not a happy day!!

The next couple of months were a blur.¬†At times I wasn’t sure I would ever feel normal again and I felt incredibly humiliated about everything. I didn’t want to tell anybody what had happened, and I was terrified of bumping into someone I knew, so I hid away from the world. I beat myself up inside and had little self-esteem remaining. But after that…slowly I healed…

It took time, but a year on, I have been off the anti-depressants for 4 months, have a new job which is far less stressful and I feel much better about myself. How did I manage this? Well, this is just my personal experience and everyone is different so this advice may not be suitable for others, but the following things helped me:

  • Family and close friends

I felt so embarrassed about being signed off work and taking medication that I only told my immediate family and a few close friends. They were wonderful – supportive but not pushy, and listened when I needed them. So make sure you open up to someone, even if only one person.

  • Recognition

I recognised that two things had led to my depression – my job and low self-esteem. So I did two seemingly simple things…I quit my job and started seeing a counsellor about my low self-esteem. Actually, they were not easy at all – the idea of seeing a counsellor was a sign of weakness to me, as was unemployment. But I recognised the issue and did take the action I needed to.

  • Talking to someone non-biased

As I mentioned above, initially I hated the idea of spending ¬£40 an hour to talk to someone random about my life. But my word, it did help. It was so helpful to talk to someone who was not biased and who wouldn’t judge me. Plus she worked specifically on helping me deal with my low self-esteem. I still use techniques she taught me today, so it was well worth the money.

  • Writing

When I started feeling better, I decided to start writing this blog. I remember when I was looking for help online with mental health issues, the website Mind helped me incredibly, particularly the area where you can read others’ stories about how they dealt with their problems. I wanted to get my message out there to carry on reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

  • Exercise

When I was at my lowest, exercise gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Even if I couldn’t face leaving the house for a run, I at least did a workout using an app in the living room. It’s a cliche but exercise really does help your mood.

  • Acceptance

It’s important to accept that mental health is an issue and should not be treated lightly, even if you feel ‘back to normal’.¬†I’ve had a couple of down periods since I’ve ‘recovered’ and at first I felt terrified that I was going back to square one. It’s helped me to accept that I might always have moments when I feel lost, but I now have coping mechanisms. I am learning how to deal with stress, anxiety and low moods so they no longer become an issue.

What a difference a year makes! If I can do it, so can others ūüôā