Kindness is Key

I have finally begun to understand how Phil Connors felt in Groundhog Day, trapped in the same acidic loop, repeating the same day over and over. Whenever I watched that film I always wondered what it would be like to experience the same day on repeat and now that curiosity has become a reality. One thing I have struggled with more than ever during this pandemic is my increasing level of anxiety and I feel that Mental health Awareness week couldn’t have fallen at a better time. Now more than ever is a time when people are suffering in silence, isolated away from friends, family, colleagues and that lack of social interaction is taking its toll on everyone.

As it is Mental Health Awareness week, work asked me to write about my experience with mental health and it got me thinking about the theme of ‘Kindness’. I spent a long time being very unkind to myself and I am finally in a place where I can appreciate the strength and beauty of both my body and my mind. That isn’t to say that I don’t still have some dark days, as most of us do but it is now about how I handle my bad days and acknowledge that I feel a certain way rather than running away from it.

The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. I think it is relatively easy to be all three of these things when you mentally feel considerate towards yourself. The moment that you lose that sense of kindness to your mental health and well being is the moment that your mind becomes your prison cell and for some people, it isn’t so easy to break free.

From the moment that you are born into this world you begin to learn. From birth to death, the one person you learn more about than anyone is yourself. You understand your wants, needs, and desires better than anyone else on this planet and when your brain needs to get better you have to take the time out to nurture its needs. If you are feeling sad, anxious, afraid, alone, desperate, broken, trapped, scared, the list could go on…but the point I am trying to make is you are allowed to feel like that. Global pandemic or not, you are allowed to feel however the fuck you want.

I think the most important part of my previous sentence is the word ‘youWho are you? Who do you want to be? Three simple letters that we all spend years developing and growing so that we can become someone we are proud of and that we want to be. You are someone that is worth fighting for and deserves to feel all the happiness, love and kindness that the world has to offer. Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions because they are what have built you up into the warrior you are today. Without feeling those things you wouldn’t be the courageous person you are now and with every battle you have faced it has allowed you to carve out a future of endless possibilities to explore.

I am sorry if your experience of life has been similar to mine so far because I understand how difficult it can be to live with a mental illness. My inner demons: Anorexia, Anxiety, Body Dysmorphia, and Depression make a grueling bunch. I used to live in fear and shame, punishing my body for the pain I was experiencing in my head. My body will bear the scars of that pain for the rest of my life but I will continue to share my story so that I can help others out there know that they are not alone. Whether you’re having a good or bad day, allow yourself to feel those emotions. Don’t run away from how they make you feel and instead acknowledge that your feelings are valid. I still have bad days but that doesn’t mean it is a bad life. It means that I have the opportunity to move on from this feeling and tomorrow I can try again.

As my blog says, there are no flowers without rain and it is important to remember that even in the darkest of days your mental and physical health is what’s got you to this stage. Every curve, every hair, every cell that makes up who we are is what’s brought us to this moment so be kind to your body. It’s going to carry you forwards even when you don’t seem to know-how.

How can you be kind to your body you ask? Well, it isn’t just your body you have to look after. Also, be kind to your soul, your heart, and your mind by taking the time to do the things you love. Force feed your brain with positive thoughts and let the roots of positivity spread through you. Soon the person you want to be will be in full bloom. A beautiful flower that reaches for the sun, climbing up from the cracks of rock bottom with the almighty strength of an oak. Stop striving for perfection because it doesn’t exist. You are perfectly imperfect the way you are and the world is a brighter place because you exist.

You have no idea what you are capable of and the world is your oyster. The possibilities of who you want to be are endless and whichever version of you that you choose, I hope you are happy. Spend time getting lost in things you love and create a world for yourself that you are proud of. Whatever it is that makes your soul warm whether it be reading, painting, music, performing, traveling (after rona of course) but whatever it is, fill your life with it. Never stop learning because knowledge is food that your brain can binge on but if you need a lazy day, allow it.

Once you look after yourself with care and kindness this will effortlessly embrace others. We live in a world where we can be anything so always be kind. Mental health is an invisible battle that claims so many lives so take the time to reach out to your friends because one small act of kindness can go a long way. You are a ray of sunshine so what are you going to do today to make someone’s day brighter?

Peace and love always,

💗🌸💗🌸 Beth 💗🌸💗🌸

 

 

 

Crazy Corona

Writing a blog post during a lockdown, well this is a new one. I feel like I am like living through a zombie apocalypse, minus the zombies. Streets are emptier, roads are quieter but I imagine each household is a lot louder. With children off school, many of us working from home and so many of us juggling a career, being a parent and now all of a sudden a full-time teacher as well, well…I can imagine everyone’s home has become a bit of a madhouse. The media seems to be spending so much time fuelling the fears of the nation, spoon-feeding mass hysteria into the eager mouths of viewers at home when it could be reporting the beautiful things that this lockdown has given us.

The Himalayas can be seen in India and the canals are clear in Venice. Air pollution in China has reduced so much it is thought to have saved 70,000 lives. Italy sang from its balconies and the UK clapped from its doors. Children all over the country are putting rainbows in the windows to stay connected and to spread hope/joy rather than fear/panic. A herd of goats even invaded Llandudno because the streets were deserted! So many incredible things have happened because of this lockdown and I think it’s good to have something positive to focus on.

The news continues to pour gasoline onto the COVID-19 bonfire, filling our minds with death tolls, fear, and panic. I have stopped watching the news simply because all it does is upset me and encourage my already overactive imagination to run wild. All I can do is stay at home as much as possible and stay safe. At the end of the day this isn’t just about me, or you at home reading or your neighbors. It’s about the entire population and each of us doing our bit to reduce the risk.

It is a difficult time whilst plans continue to be canceled, events delayed and holidays rescheduled. On top of this being apart from friends and family can take its toll. I wanted to share the things that I have been doing to keep myself sane at home whilst the craziness continues to carry on outside in the world beyond my front door. This might not work for everyone but I think during a time like this it is important to share anything that might help someone else get through this as not everyone’s home life is as easy as yours.

With the extra time I’ve had at home, I have been trying to do as much as possible that is going to benefit me after lockdown is over. I have started a sketchbook again for the first time since leaving university and being able to draw and use my time to be creative again has really helped me feel more productive. I have been reading more books as I have simply had the time to and it feels so good to spend less time on my phone/laptop/PlayStation. I am making a conscious effort to leave my phone in other rooms so I can do more activities that are going to benefit me as a person. I have started running 3/4 times a week and even though it is difficult it feels incredible to just be outside and I encourage everyone to get outside a least once a day for a walk or some sort of exercise as I have found the days where I don’t that my mood is really impacted. I also think it is important to have a clean/tidy workspace as this helps boost productivity and I always say a tidy house = tidy mind. I have started to make plans for our garden and I have also been looking at little bits for around the house so we can start to decorate once this is all over.

Finally, I think the most important thing is to stay in touch with your loved ones. Whether it be text, phone call or face time, no one deserves to feel alone in this as we are all in the same boat together. I have written letters to some of my friends as there is so much more thought and time that goes into a letter and it also gives you something to do by taking time out of your day to write it. It also gives the receiver something new to do and helps pass a bit of time. Take a few minutes away from Netflix to call and talk to your friends so you can hear their voice as sometimes that’s all you need to brighten your day.

It’s the little things that matter right now because we can’t take them for granted. If you got up, got through today and that’s all you could do then you smashed it. You don’t have to be learning a language or doing yoga or painting masterpieces to be making the most out of lockdown. Take this time to work on the weakest parts of you that you may have been putting off for a while and you will be surprised what a little bit of time, focus and determination can achieve.

Stay safe, stay home and wash your hands.

Peace & love always,

Beth 💗🌸

#EachforEqual

We are all born with a voice. Such a short and simple sentence to open with but I bet it has got your cogs turning. I will say it again and this time think about the words as you read them. We are all born with a voice. Now of course biologically we are all born with voice boxes and vocal cords however I am not referring to the sounds that come out of our mouths. I am referring to the voice that we each have as individuals.

I think the voice of someone comes from the actions they choose to make and the path they choose to follow. So many of us are scared to speak up and stand for what we believe in because we live in fear of standing alone. Society encourages us to not rock the boat but be brave and take that first step forwards because our actions can have an impact on our larger society.

I think because the majority of people think they’re ordinary that they think their voice won’t make a difference. Please read this over and over again if you have to because you are not ordinary. You are so much more than that, you just haven’t realised yet. Every single one of us can have an impact because you don’t have to be a certain class or race in order to make a difference. Collectively, we can make change happen.

International Women’s Day is a beautiful day where globally we can celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but is so much more than that. This year imparticular there is a huge focus on gender equality and it is important to remember in such an environmentally and politically turbulent time that we are all equals.

This year imparticular there is a huge focus on gender equality and it is important to remember in such an environmentally and politically turbulent time that we are all equals. So again I will say, we are all born with a voice. Are you going to sit back and whisper your life away or are you going to stand tall and roar like the almighty lions and lionesses that we truly are.

Stop having the attitude that someone else will take the first step. Our individual actions all contribute to the bigger picture. For example, imagine a 7.7 billion piece jigsaw. Individually you’re just a cut out piece of cardboard but collectively we create this beautiful image. 7.7 billion people live on this planet yet the population is still being divided by factors such as gender, race, and class.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery. Instead of concealing the cracks, gold is used to emphasise the beauty of what once was broken. The moment we accept and share our struggles is the moment we begin to paint the cracks with gold. Lets focus on the cracks that society has divided us by and unite ourselves with the gold.

Just like when I started writing this blog, I was just one girl from Manchester writing down her thoughts. My thought process when I started writing was that I wanted to help myself recover whilst helping other people who may have felt the same as I did feel like they weren’t alone. I now have over 600 followers on Instagram and whether it’s 1 or 600 people reading my words is irrelevent. The point is I dared to speak out about the dark times I was going through in my life which meant that others felt like they could too.

Every action you make has a positive or negative reaction. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in whether that be gender equality, racism, the environment or in my case mental health. Speak out and make your corner of the world that little bit brighter. You might not think you’re changing the world but you’re taking a step to push us in the right direction.

With it being International Women’s Day I wanted to include some of the women that have inspired me in my life. My family and closest friends who all love and support me in everything that I do. I love you all. Thank you for inspiring me each and every day to be a better woman.

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I wanted to thank Maggie Alphonsi MBE, the incredible English former rugby union player who inspired me to stand up and use my voice in this post. She recently came to my work and did a talk about leadership and she made me realise that we can all be leaders and by this, I mean by the examples we make of ourselves. Also thanks to Tyla for making me go back and ask her for a photo because otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

iwd maggie mbe

Peace & Love always,

Beth 🌸👭💗

 

Hello, 2020.

After 2 months away from my blog, my fingertips are eager to get typing. I guess I should say Happy New Year seeing as it’s already mid-January and I still haven’t got round to writing my celebratory new year post. So, yeah, Happy New Year to those who still read my random little posts and to those who haven’t…well welcome to a safe space. 

2020. Wow. The start of a new decade. So many possibilities are lain out in front of us, with an endless choice of different opportunities to take. I’m not going to sit here and waste my time typing about all of the same old “New Year, New Me” bullshit because the reality of it is, you are the same person that you were on December 31st. The only difference is, on the first of January, you were probably part of the 95% of the population that woke up with a hangover. A new year doesn’t mean anything special. It just means that another year has passed you by and for a lot of us, that means without achieving the things you wanted to do in life.

The truth is that the only person who is stopping you from reaching your goals is you. If you say you’re going to do something then go and do it. Don’t waste time worrying about what could happen because if you never take that risk then you will never have the chance to reap the rewards either. This ‘what if I fail’ mindset that we all waste time lost in is destroying our chances of succeeding before we’ve even started. 

Don’t look at the next 12 months as a challenge but instead welcome the opportunity to better yourself. Acknowledge that, like all of us, you are only human and you are bound to have insecurities and weaknesses that you want to work on. Take time to improve them and better both your mental and physical self. By first of all accepting that the darkest parts of you, are still a part of who you are means that you are taking the steps to accept who you are as a person. Stop punishing yourself because you don’t look a certain way or didn’t get the grade you wanted. Stop beating yourself up over that interview you didn’t get or not reaching a new personal best. You are a work in progress and you would be very stupid to think that transformations like this happen overnight.

You need to understand now that to get where you want to be it is going to take a lot of hard work and I say that from my own experience. Once upon a time, way back when I was a lost and troubled teenager, I never thought I would be where I am today. A flower or a tree grows from a tiny little seedling, buried beneath layers of soil that are weighing it down. It’s trapped in the dirt, fighting its way through to the tiny bit of light shining through the cracks in what seems like a very dark and depressing world. Eventually, after what feels like forever, it breaks through and envelops itself in the warmth and for a brief few seconds enjoys the welcoming glow of the sun. However, even at this point, the battle isn’t over. Here comes the rain, the wind, and the snow and whilst storm after storm passes, the flowers continue to return, resilient against the onslaught of the seasons. As the flowers return, the trees stand tall and overlook where they once were. 

I guess the point that I am trying to make is don’t give up. Instead of “New Year, New me” how about “New Year, Better Me” and focus on the steps you need to take to become the best version of yourself. We need to stop letting failure damage our pride and instead take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and better ourselves. If we never did anything wrong then we would never learn. Acknowledge your weaknesses and focus on improving them and embrace each opportunity that comes your way. Challenge yourself and learn from those around you and remember that just because you can’t do something right now doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to. Treat yourself and your mind with kindness and understand when to give yourself more time to achieve something. Everyone runs at different paces in the marathon that we call life and really, who’s the true winner at the end? You learn more from mistakes than you do from success and just because you took a different approach to achieve the end goal doesn’t make the result any different does it?

You are imperfectly perfect and don’t let society tell your mind otherwise. It’s 2020, a new year and a new decade. Stop letting the idea of perfection, stop you from accomplishing the things you want. Perfection is merely an illusion and what matters most is your effort. No one can take that away from you. So what are you going to do with your year? I’d love to hear about it. 

For the first time of 2020, peace & love always 💗

Beth 🌸

No Negativity November

Now that the clocks have gone back, it’s got colder, darker and officially feels like winter. I hate the fact that I wake up for work whilst it is still dark, I come home when it’s dark and the weather in between isn’t much brighter. Amongst crowding in as much overtime as I can before Christmas and juggling my social life, going to the gym and finding the energy to do anything but sleep, I have decided to push myself to do something I would never usually do.

Whoever read my last blog post will know that I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and embrace new experiences and the challenges they present. So I thought, what better way to do this than to sign up for the Manchester Sleepout which I am taking part in through my work to raise money for the Booth Centre. For those of you who don’t know who they are, they are a charity that brings about positive change in the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, to help them plan for and realize a better future.

So, this Friday, 8th November, I will be sleeping out on the streets of Manchester to raise money to help fund the amazing work that they do to help the homeless. Manchester is a city that is very close to my heart and after living in the city centre for nearly 3 years I saw the number of homeless people considerably increase. I always used to try and do my best to help the regular people I saw on my way to uni, buying them a sandwich or a drink because at the end of the day they are only human. They are the exact same as you and me and I don’t think the majority of society often realizes how lucky we all are to be in the positions we are currently in. To have rooves over our heads and clean clothes on our backs is a lot more than so many other people out there have and personally, I feel extremely fortunate for all of the things I have around me.

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With the huge rise in homelessness across Manchester I believe every individual should have the right to have access to support and advice to help break the cycle of rough sleeping. Although The Manchester Sleep Out doesn’t aim to replicate homelessness, I will be facing some of the realities – the biting cold, the damp, the noise and the difficulty of carrying on your day with little sleep. This is a great opportunity for me to break out of the restraints of my comfort zone whilst raising money for a great cause.

If you would like to donate please follow my justgiving link below. Please sponsor me no matter how large or small to help prevent more people having to spend this winter out in the cold on the streets of Manchester.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/beth-clegg2

A lot of people waste a lot of time complaining or thinking that they have it the worst when the reality of it is, we are part of a very privileged society. If you take anything from my writing, please take this. Stop wasting time being so negative and enjoy the people and luxuries you have around you. Enjoy the experiences that come your way and make the most of them because we are all capable of greatness, we just need the confidence and opportunity to prove it. People spend way too much of their time wrapped up in social media and trying to prove a point to everyone else when the only person they should be worrying about is themselves.

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Be the person that you needed when you were younger. Set yourself goals and once you achieve them, set even more. When you begin to near the goal post, don’t slow down, speed up because just when you think it’s the scariest you will realize how far you have come to achieve that feeling of success. I honestly believe that happiness is an emotion every human being should be able to experience. Not everyone goes at the same pace and we all experience life differently but we shouldn’t let that stop us. We should all start making the effort to be kind, be generous, be friendly and be the nicest versions of ourselves that we can be because if every person did that, the world would be a better place.

So, this week I set you a challenge. Don’t waste a second of November by being negative. Power through the cold, rainy days and pick one thing a day that you are grateful for, even on the mornings when you don’t feel like it. Appreciate everything you have and don’t let the coldness of winter change that.

Thanks for reading,

Peace and love always 💗

Beth 🌸

 

 

Explore the Unkown

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot recently is how uncomfortable my comfort zone has become. The welcome warmth of the familiar blanket that has become the mundane and very repetitive routine of everyday life. I have become so used to the feeling of workdays blurring into one and one weekend passing after the next. I have been daydreaming about the feeling of euphoria that would wash over me. when I shatter through the walls of my comfort zone. I want to break out and keep going until I am stood looking back from the horizon watching my fears crumble away in the distance.

I want to wade out into the deep until I can feel the chill of the unknown gently lapping against my jaw. I want to take a breathe and dive down into the darkness, reaching out into the abyss until I meet the foreign sensation of overcoming my fear to swim. With each stroke, I embrace the possibility that holding my breath and leaping into the new might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Let your fingers carve through the waves until you’re storming ashore like the angry rain clouds that come every Autumn season. Release your built-up emotion like the heavy rainfall building up on a humid day. Let there be almighty thunder and earth breaking lightning until the sun eventually begins to shine in the distance and then bit by bit the rainfall begins to evaporate.

Continue to walk upstream and explore the meanders of possibilities that have hidden themselves away all this time whilst your anxiety stopped you from exploring. Begin to step over the small obstacles in your way because they aren’t worth wasting time on and start to bounder over boulders until you’re climbing the edges of the mountains. Grasp onto the welcoming hand of a friend as they pull you up over the last hurdle as you think you’re going to fall, and collapse on the peak as you look back and realize everything you have achieved.

One day, not so long ago, you thought this was impossible. Take a step back and admire the journey that you have been on. You started as a dot on the horizon and you have leaped, swam and climbed to the other side to be able to sit back and admire the view, made up of all the small things that you once thought you weren’t capable of doing. Each one of those little steps where you told yourself to keep going has got you to this point and all you need to do for now just take a second to appreciate your strength.

Don’t let fear control you. Embrace your worries and one day soon you will be ready to take the next leap of faith. When you are ready you will know which risk is worth fighting for. To push through the water and climb the next mountain you need to familiarise yourself with the idea of change until you’re pushing your fears overboard, watching them topple over the falls and shatter on the rocks below.

Don’t live in fear because you were always too afraid to explore the unknown. Seek discomfort and explore the endless possibilities that this beautiful world has to offer because otherwise, you will let so many opportunities pass you by. Nothing worth having is ever easy and I think the more you push yourself out of the warmth of your comfort zone, the more you will achieve. We are all individually capable of so much more than we realize and it is only because we constrict ourselves into the cages of our comfort zones that we stop ourselves from achieving our true potential.

Go and explore. 

Peace and love,

B 💗🌸

Sharing my Story

I thought I would share the two posts that I recently wrote for Campus Life who are the UK’s premier student communication specialists. They work with some of the UK’s leading universities and it was an honour to write some content for them. They engage with students across the country on a range of different issues and topics and to be able to share my story to hopefully help other students out there was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. If I even help one person out there then that will make me happy.

I have shared the links below for the two pieces I have written. The first post is about how my mental health impacted my university experience and the second explains how I told my family/friends about my mental health.

http://browzer.co.uk/aberdeen/my-eating-disorder-reality-at-university_92807

http://browzer.co.uk/aberdeen/how-i-told-my-family-about-my-mental-health_93131

Peace & Love,

B 💗🌸

Better Late, Than Never.

So the first month of being 23 has flown by and it is time to reflect on where the last year has brought me. Not only have I bought a house with my boyfriend but I am also establishing myself within my job and taking the steps to progress forward with my career. On top of this, I have been to Paris and Berlin, music event after music event and I will be ending my summer at Creamfields in a few weeks time. I always find my birthday to be such a nostalgic day and I always find myself looking back on the past twelve months, wondering where the next twelve will take me.

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My 23rd birthday consisted of cocktail after cocktail in bar after bar across Manchester and as per usual when I started ordering tequila, I knew it was time to go home. One thing I never thought I would be doing when I first started writing this blog, was reaching my 23rd birthday and I have found the last few weeks difficult as I have seen everyone my age celebrating their graduations. All I keep thinking is “that should have been me” as I scroll through everyone’s photos and celebratory cap toss boomerangs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud of all of my friends for succeeding with their chosen subjects and to all those out there who have just graduated or obtained a degree, I salute you because it really isn’t an easy thing to do. Many a night spent in the library, cramming for exams, last-minute revision and scrawling down the last few words of your essays that are due in the morning. Rather you than me my friend. I will stick to my monthly posts and I struggle to find the time for that let alone trying to find that work life balance whilst juggling a part time job, social life, uni work, gym etc.

I have recently realised I spend a lot of time comparing my life journey to those around me. For example, the majority of the people my age are currently graduating but just because I’m not, doesn’t mean that I am a failure. I have my own house, I have a good job and I am happy. I have the rest of my life to become a graduate IF that is what I want to do. Life isn’t about doing everything that everyone else is doing. It is about doing what you want to do because you want to experience something.

Life is made up of so many moments of impact that simply pass us by but contribute greatly to the person that we are today. What others achieve today doesn’t mean that you won’t achieve them tomorrow, or the day after that, or next week, or year. There isn’t a timeline for us all to follow that says we must do this and must have done this by a certain age. You only see what others around you want you to see but that doesn’t mean you have to be doing the same thing.

So that person has graduated, that person is travelling, someone else has their dream job and another friend has bought their own house. That guy you know has been promoted to CEO and that couple you used to like are having their second baby. That girl in your class got an A+ and your favourite musician has announced another world tour. I’m sat at home in an oversized t-shirt, typing away and that is exactly where I need to be.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that life isn’t a race. Enjoy where you are right now because you’re never going to experience this stage in your life again. We spend so much time rushing to the finish line when in fact the journey we’re all on is the most important part. We all need to ditch the timelines that we think our lives should be following as everything will unfold in good time, just as it should.

Don’t run in competition with anyone but yourself. Don’t desire to be better than anyone no matter what shape or form that comes in. Just aim to be better than yourself, better than you were yesterday.

On that note, peace and love always,

Beth 💗🌸

 

 

 

Take a Time Out.

So my boyfriend and I spent the past few weekends couch hunting. After spending the last 6 months in our new home squished together on a tiny, ugly, disgustingly green love seat it was definitely time for new seating arrangements. As most first time home buyers will know, you are without a doubt ‘skint’ for the first couple of months whilst you adjust to budgeting your payments and having adult things to pay for like a mortgage, bills and oh god how I miss my parents paying for the weekly food shop.

So anyway, like I said, my boyfriend and I went couch shopping this weekend, ready to splash the cash on a brand new beautiful sofa. I can’t begin to describe how excited I was. So off we went hunting through DFS, CFS, Sofology and Harveys, sitting and perching on leather, fabric, fibre and sponge until we found a comfy and cosy, corner-shaped couch. I loved it and so did my boyfriend. We double measured and the deposit went down, finance application filled and away we went, happy with our choice and happy to have one thing done off our Saturday to do list.

Yet as soon as we left the store my brain began to wander to our narrow doorways and tight living room layout and I just couldn’t seem to switch off my negative thoughts. I tried to enjoy my afternoon but my anxiety was in overdrive despite the reassuring words from my boyfriend. Stop being silly I scolded myself, no one else is worrying but you. So afternoon turns to evening and evening turns to lying in bed wide awake at 3am. Lying in bed soon becomes measuring the living room like a crazy woman at 3:45am and then eventually dropping off to sleep as daylight began to creep through the blinds in our bedroom. My anxiety-riddled mind must have been exhausted from all the overthinking.

Now I don’t know about you but I can definitely say that worrying so much about a couch of all things is not normal. My thoughts were snowballing so fast that I could barely pinpoint one before an avalanche more just tumbled down on me. I felt sick, my heart was pounding and it didn’t matter what I told myself or what my boyfriend tried to reassuringly mumble at me as he was falling asleep, my mind was in a frenzy over the most ridiculous thing and I felt stupid for worrying.

When I woke up with a clear head and rational thinking mode switched firmly on all it took was a quick drive back to the store to resolve the situation. We cancelled the application and chose another couch and within a few days, our deposit was refunded and put back down on the new one we had chosen. It was as simple and as easy as that but the thing about anxiety is that it can manifest itself in anything, no matter how simple the resolution. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, that little bugger likes to pop its head up on a regular basis and make your day a misery and no matter what you tell yourself at that moment, all you can do is worry. I am a firm believer that no matter what meeting, interview, conference, presentation, date, speech, family dinner or event you have planned, it isn’t worth your mental health. Especially not a couch!

Now one thing that I like to do when I feel like my brain is running out of control is to try and take some deep relaxing breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth whilst I try to ground myself. When I am ready I slowly start to identify 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and one thing that I can taste. All you have to do is slowly count down from five to one and before you know it your mind has dropped from 5th gear to 4th, maybe 3rd, luckily 2nd and finally first gear all because you’re focusing on rational thoughts. Anxiety affects people in different ways so this might not work for you but if someone out there is struggling today, I hope this little technique helps.

For example, I can currently see the sun shining through my window, 4 pillows on my bed, a mirror, a pair of converse and a cobalt blue…I want to say Peugeot…parked across the road. I can feel the keyboard keys on my macbook, my duvet that I am sat on, my grey joggers that I am wearing and the blue fluffy blanket at the end of my bed covering my toes. I can hear birds tweeting outside, cars driving past my house and the song ‘Time is Dancing’ by Ben Howard quietly coming out of my laptop speakers. I can smell the parma violet wax melt I have put on downstairs and pink grapefruit Zoflora from cleaning the house. Finally, I can taste fresh lemons because they’re sliced up in my water.

It took me a matter of minutes to type that paragraph and even though I am not currently in the midst of an anxiety attack it still helped me feel calmer and gather my thoughts. I took a couple of minutes and took the time out of my day to figure out what is going on around me. When you’re anxious I find that time has a tendency to either drag it’s feet or speed right up, there never seems to be an in-between.

Always remember to take the time that you need. If you feel like you can’t keep going then split your time down. Don’t think of your life as years, months or even weeks, take it one day at a time. Split the day down into hours if you need to and even further again down into minutes. You’re doing great and some people need more time than others and that is completely normal. Life is a complicated journey but one thing it certainly isn’t is a race. Remember to be a tortoise in a world full of hares.

Peace & Love always,

B 🌸💗

p.s our new couch is the best.

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Be Brave.

Do you ever feel like your days are just blurring into one and then next minute it’s June? Yeah, well, that is my life right now. I have taken a month-long break from my blog (yet again) and it feels like forever since my brain has felt inspired and motivated enough to string my thoughts and wonderful words together. Seeing as I am currently bed bound after recovering from a small operation on my chest I thought what better way to pass the time than to type away instead of Netflix asking me if I am still watching.

I have so many things to talk about in this post and I am actually going back a few months to something I just simply haven’t had the time to write about. So whilst it was Stress Awareness Month and also Mental Health Awareness month not too long ago, my work decided to set up a number of different talks and activities in order to try and reduce stress for employees and also to help people open up about mental health. Being the ED warrior that I am I wanted to get involved with everything that I could so signed up for anything that I could fit into my schedule.

The first thing I signed up to take part in was a “Say How You Feel” session that was organised by our communications department. The idea behind this was that whoever felt comfortable signing up would speak in front of people and open up about their mental health journeys and how they dealt with stressful periods in their life. So, with the last few years of stress still very fresh in my mind I signed up. I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks so didn’t know if it was even going ahead then I received an email me inviting to take part. I was nervous but eager to share my story with the idea that I could hopefully help others in my workplace. In total, four of us got up and shared our stories with a room full of about 25-30 people.

Nervous doesn’t even begin to cover how I was feeling. I luckily spoke second or else I honestly think I would have done a Mia Thermopolis Princess Diaries moment and thrown up all over the poor people on the front row. Being able to get to a point in my life where I can now stand up and openly share my story when this time two years ago I was suicidal is an incredible achievement for me. Even though I have shared my thoughts, emotions and words throughout my recovery journey through my blog, getting up and saying them out loud in front of people both I know and didn’t know was a huge step forward for me. I think that’s the most important thing about doing something that scares you. I have found that afterwards, it is always the most rewarding both emotionally and mentally. 

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Another thing that I signed up for was a talk from the guys at Whysup. In case you don’t know who they are, please go and check them out on Instagram @whysupofficial or online at http://www.whysup.co.uk. Mark and Liam both came to speak about their journeys through addiction and mental health with the aim of spreading awareness and helping others not to suffer in silence. It was such an inspiring and emotional story and it has made me realise how much I want to help raise mental health awareness in any way that I can. You wouldn’t know from the photo below that one of us suffered from anorexia, anxiety and depression and the other with addiction and depression.

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So many people struggle through their hardest moments alone, afraid to disappoint others and too scared in case they get shamed or ridiculed. The truth is that everyone is fighting a battle that you don’t know about and it is much easier to join together and help each other rather than getting defeated by the darkness that can swallow you whole. Share your self-care techniques and ask your friends, family, strangers, acquaintances, absolutely anyone you know if they’re okay. It is such a short and simple question with such an important answer. Be the brave one who when asked this question can answer a simple no, I’m not okay because admitting it can be the hardest part.

Self-care is a daily practice that we oh so often forget. We get swamped with going to work, school, meetings, business calls, university, chores and just other mundane tasks that guzzle up our time. It can be difficult to fit in some self-love when your schedule is jam-packed with all sorts but it is important to make time for yourself. We’re not superhuman, despite how much coffee I drink, eventually, everyone crashes. at the end of the day, your mental health is more important than any test, interview, lunch date, social meeting, family party, school recital, football game or appointment will ever be. Look after yourself and ask for help when you need it.

So today I leave you with this simple question. What are you going to do to self-care today? Maybe read a book, play your favourite video game, have a bubble bath, listen to music, go out with friends, go for a walk. Whatever it is, make some time for you.

Peace and love always,

💗🌸 Beth 💗🌸