Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Getting Help With Anxiety from Harry Potter

As I type this post I should be hanging my head in shame, I have been MIA for several weeks and neglected my beloved motivational blog.  However, instead of the shame, I feel slightly exhilarated and refreshed.

Many of you know that November is a crazy writing month for me, as I partake in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  This year I chose to write the first draft of the final book in my young adult trilogy.  On November 17th, I wrote my 52,000th word and declared myself a winner!  I adore this competition; it is the perfect platform to keep me one hundred per cent motivated on my writing projects.  If only I could be this motivated all year round!

So as I uploaded my manuscript and watched as my word count was validated, I began to think about my blog content and the topics I want to look at over the coming months.  Confidence, organising your life and looking after yourself are the themes I will be exploring over December and into the New Year.  But, to write about confidence, and being organised, and before I can attempt to look after myself, I needed to do it, live it and become it.

Back in the summer I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety; I’ve spent the last few months putting myself back together and using the tools I’ve learned over the years as a holistic health practitioner and tutor to help me.  My anxiety prevented me from leaving the house and so my confidence took a nose dive.  As a normally active and social individual, this was particularly hard for me to deal with.

Over time, I have worked through this anxiety and pushed myself into situations that would make me uncomfortable.  A simple night out with friends could cause a string of physical symptoms to flare up.  Popping to the shop turned into an SAS mission done only under the cover of darkness.  My home became a haven where I could lock the door and hide away, but this wasn’t helping my situation.

So, what did I do?  I had to start small.  Pushing myself to get out and about began as a coffee with a friend at home.  Then I worked up to meeting friends at a local coffee shop.  My sister-in-law together with my good friend, Caroline, arranged a girls night out once a month where the three of us went out for dinner.  It began to work and my anxiety depleted.

Last weekend, I took my three teenagers to the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour in London.  This was a full day of trains, buses and busy venues.  I was so proud of how I coped with everything, even having to stand up for the two hour train journey home, as we were all packed in to the carriages like sardines!

The Harry Potter Tour was truly magical, and it was as I wandered around the film sets that I realised how much fun I was having.  I’d let my anxiety and depression control me instead of me taking control over it.  Of course, it’s not always easy to turn your emotions around or switch off from the low feelings, but I now realise that I’ve come a long way.  The wondrous power of a caring family and supportive friends has been amazing too, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me over the past few months. 

The magic of Harry Potter seeped into me as I flourished my newly purchased wand and vowed to allow myself the occasional time out.  Revitalising your soul, chilling out and going back to the beginning are important things to remember when you feel the need to be MIA.

So, I won’t hang my head in shame; I will relish the experience and be grateful for the darkness because it’s only when we live in the shadows that we can appreciate the magic of life.  Harry taught me that!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Using Colour Me Beautiful to Boost Wellbeing

If you were to take a look at my wardrobe, you would see a plethora of black fabric.  Skirts, trousers, dresses and tops; all of them are black.  I don’t use my black clothing as a ‘think thin’ statement, and, fortunately, it isn’t because I attend a multitude of funerals, I just like wearing black.  I believe it may have something to do with my passion for the Gothic genre.  I do have the occasional flutter of blue, red and green, but I have to be in the right mood.

During my Resolution Challenge back in 2013, one of the hardest weeks for me was when, at my daughter’s request, I had to give up wearing black for an entire week.  Suffice to say it was highly entertaining and one of my hardest challenges.  You can read the post I wrote about it HERE.

So, when I signed up for a Colour Me Beautiful session with my mum, I was worried that black would be on my no-no list.  Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can get away with it (phew!), but I was surprised at how much colour can change your total appearance.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Will It Be Third Time Lucky?

#NaNoWriMo.  Will it be third time lucky?

In 2013, as part of my resolution challenge, I took part in my first NaNoWriMo competition.  NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is a writing challenge open to anyone, and it entices entries from across the globe.  The task is to pen a 50,000-word novel in 30 days – no pressure!

The 50,000-word target works out to 1667 words per day, every day, for the thirty days of November.  Of course, when you throw in work, family and lifestyle it isn’t always possible to squeeze in 1667 words.  This is where dedication and dumb pride come in. 

When I did NaNo for the first time, I announced it to the world via my blog.  The reason for this was so I couldn’t back out.  It worked, and I hit the 50,000 point by the second week.  I did the same last year, hitting my target in the third week.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - Are you a victim or a survivor?

Over the past six weeks, I’ve shared my Positive Thinking Series.  Last week we talked about how failure was a good thing, you can read that post HERE. 

In the final post of this series, I want to discuss ways of moving forward and not letting your past hold you back.

We’ve all experienced a setback or two in our lives.  Sometimes they are small inconveniences, and other times they are life altering situations.  How you react to these events frames the way your future self copes with other circumstances.

Have you ever listened to someone as they grumble about a physical ailment, knowing that you, or a friend, suffer from the same problem?  We all learn to cope with our setbacks in different ways. However, some people are unable to do this and live a ‘victims’ life instead.  Which would you rather be, a victim or a survivor?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - Failure is a Good thing

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared my Positive Thinking Series.  We’ve looked at how not to feel alone, learning to believe in yourself, and taking things one step at a time.  Last week we talked about how to have a good day, and you can read that post HERE. 

Today I want to talk about failure.  An odd topic to discuss on a motivational site, however, failing is part of life, and it’s how we deal with this aspect that shapes how we cope with future events and situations.

Many of us shy away from even saying the word ‘failure’.  If you are a parent then failing is a taboo subject, even sports day has changed to accommodate all the physical needs of a child to ensure no-one ‘fails’.  I could argue that a bit of healthy competition is good for the soul, but I think that’s a whole post on its own!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - How to Have a Good Day

Last week I talked about not having to be perfect, you can read that post HERE.  It leads me on quite nicely to this week’s post; how to have a good day. 

Not having to worry about being perfect 24-7 helps us to go with the flow and relax our outlook on life.  I attend a creative writing class every Monday evening, where I have to read out my work to the group.  When I first started, I was terrified that my writing wasn’t perfect, and I would be laughed out of the class.  What I failed to realise, my fellow students are in the same position, we all want to improve on technique and find new ideas.  I relaxed, and suddenly my writing improved and I even got a few belly laughs from my homework piece – it was a good day!

We very often forget to remind ourselves of all the good stuff in our life.  It’s human nature to dwell on the negative rather than focus on the positive.  Of course, when we linger on the negative talk this only increases the negativity we attract into our daily life.  My favourite quote is ‘thoughts become things, pick good ones’.  I try to live by this mantra.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - You Don't Have to be Perfect!

Last week I talked about taking things one step at a time, you can read that post HERE. 

It’s a wise idea to break any goal down into smaller chunks, but this doesn’t automatically make us exempt from sabotaging ourselves further along the path.

To succeed, we not only need a plan, or structure, but we need to be attentive to our needs.  If we don’t nourish our ideas, and indeed ourselves, then we can trip up at the first hurdle.

Being diligent and planning ahead, or putting in the effort when it’s needed, can be the difference between success and failure.

However, being determined could be mistaken as perfectionism.  Could you cope with a setback?  Would you fall apart when faced with a failure?  If you can’t accept that it’s okay not to be perfect, then you may risk creating a huge barrier to achieving your goals.