When the mirror lies to you.

Many people will often speak negatively about the way that they look. Being critical of our appearance seems to be something that comes far more naturally then speaking positively about ourselves.

But what happens when it becomes something more serious? When it starts to take over a persons life? And when what was once a negative comment turns into a full blown destructive thought process?

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Body dysmorphia. A very serious and debilitating thing to live with. Can you imagine the pain of seeing yourself in the mirror and hating what you see? Day in and day out?? Can you imagine what it feels like to get ready and to actual believe that you are larger then you were the day before? To compare pictures all the time and convince yourself that you have grown in size? To find the smallest flaw in your appearance and to focus on it obsessively? To scrutinise your face in the mirror all the time? To examine photos in depth and always conclude things negatively ? To feel as though your clothes are tighter all the time? To be convinced your stomach, or your thighs, or arms are growing consistently ? To see your face as larger and larger every day ?? Torture. Non stop – the voices whirl around and around in your head.

It makes no sense to everyone else. How can it ???

What your seeing isn’t real. What your feeling isn’t real. Yes – to you it is. Right in that moment – you see yourself exactly that way. It takes over – it pulls you in. You feel like you might break at any moment.

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Yet everyone around you tells you how great you look. How amazing you are. People give you attention and comment on how attractive you are, or how lovely your outfit or hair is. Yet you don’t feel it. Any of it. Deep inside your consumed. Your thought process is raging. Your emotions are taking over. You feel awful. The voice is loud. It’s taking over. And you hate it.

It isn’t easy at all – but remember – that voice – it’s lying to you. It’s putting you down. It’s telling you things that aren’t true. It wants to keep you in a low place. It wants to drag you down and convince you that you aren’t good enough. It wants to point out every slight possible negative thing about you – so that you feel worthless. So that you feel disempowered. So that you hate yourself and feel so low you can’t even begin to start the day.

RBLOG1 It’s like a controlling partner – who wants to dominate your life and to take away your power. Its like an abusive relationship or toxic friendship – where your constantly kept in this vulnerable position – feeling not good enough. Feeling empty, low and worthless. Body dysmorphia – it wants to take you down. It wants to destroy you. Any chance of happiness you might have – it wants to take it away. Anything good – it wants to sabotage. That’s the irony – things might be going well, something positive might happen. You might be feeling happy with something – and there it is – ready to pounce. Ready to destroy. ‘You don’t deserve this’ it whispers. ‘This won’t last’ – it says. ‘You can’t be happy’ it repeats quietly in the background. And instead of allowing these vulnerabilities to be explored, it focuses on the physical – pointing out the negatives and drawing your in to a world of self-hatred.

Its also there when your very stressed, when your run down, tired and overwhelmed. Things might be getting on top of you – you can’t cope with it all. BOOM – there it is. Telling you how awful you look. How massive you are, how disgusting your body and face are. Its ready – it wants to take you down. You feel awful – it wants to make you feel worse.

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Fight back!!!! Try not to listen. Talk about it. It’s so hard. But say it out loud. The voice doesn’t want you too. But say it. Then it loses its power. Tell someone close to you what you are feeling. Articulate your worries and concerns. They can help to reassure you – and while they can’t take it all away, they can focus on grounding you.

Write your feelings down – get them out of your head. Don’t let them take over. You can beat this. You don’t have to listen to every negative thought in there. Your worth more – write and write until you can tell yourself that.

Look after yourself – simplistic but true. Good positive self-care makes it all easier to manage. If you are eating properly, sleeping well, getting enough down time and calm time – then you will feel so much better in general. And the voice won’t have such a chance to take over.

Spend time with those that make you feel calm and at ease. Be around those that make you feel good in yourself. Limit your time with toxic people or those that drain your energy and take from you. There is only so much of you to go around. You need to focus on what is good for you.

And don’t forget – there is also therapy. Counselling can really help when it comes to fighting the battles of body dysmorphia. It helps people to understand the root causes of what is going on and change day to day behaviours. It helps to put coping strategies in place and to move forward in a more positive way.

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When its time to forgive.

It goes without saying – there are certain events that happen in people’s life that they feel are totally unforgiveable. People cannot always find compassion or have understanding for everything that ever takes place.

Life is not about always making things ok – and it is of course ok for any of us to say when something has truly upset or hurt us. We have the right to express every emotion we feel – including anger.

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But what happens when our pain eats us up? When our anger makes us bitter?  And what happens when we hold on to the things that cause us nothing but hurt and upset. There may not always be a place for total forgiveness. But there is a place for healing. There is a place for letting go – and there is a place for moving forward. And to fully be able to do that – we need to be able to say to ourselves – this happened – but I am ok. Its ok. I am moving forward and I am letting go.

If we don’t do this – we remain stuck. You will see it – many times. People get caught in a vicious cycle. One of pain. One of anger. One of bitterness. Sometimes a path that is full of addiction – alcohol, drugs, sex, food, exercise, work – the list is endless. People find many ways to avoid the things they truly feel – and many ways to escape the thoughts in their head.

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Fundamentally however – real healing comes from facing those thoughts. It come from engaging with your own reality. It is the ability to be able to say – yes this happened to me. And yes it really hurt and it has been beyond painful. But if I hold on to it – if I continue to allow it to dominate – then I will never be able to move forward. Sometimes we all have to say – enough is enough.

Letting go is never easy – however it looks and whoever it involves – it is the hardest thing to do. But once you do. Once you truly do – your mind will be so clearer. It will feel so much calmer and the clarity you find will enable you to engage in your life more. To be more present and focused wherever you are and with whatever you are doing.

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Nothing stays the same in life – and that is ok. While change can be so painful at times and cause stress and anxiety. On the flip side it can also bring possibility, new beginnings, excitement and happiness. Sometimes when a door shuts another one opens. And sometimes change can also being relief. Relief that you are not in a certain situation anymore, dealing with something that you found so hard or facing someone that just caused you more pain the happiness.

Even when something or someone has caused you so much pain and hurt, it is ok to look back and acknowledge that good times also existed. Even when letting go of someone is so painful – you can also smile and think of the happy times you once shared. This is called inner peace. Calmness. Let it in if you can. Because when you do – you have healed.

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We can forgive but not invite someone or something back into our lives. We can find empathy and compassion even when it feels impossible and bleak. We can search and find understanding and in that understanding we will feel better in ourselves. But none of this means that we lose our right to be angry about what has happened to us or to someone we love or care about. We just make a healthy choice – to not allow that anger to eat us up. To let that anger go. To forgive perhaps – but not forget.

But then we remember – that difficult situations always teach us something. The lesson isn’t clear at the time – it isn’t always straight forward at the time. But over time we look back and we acknowledge  and see the message that is meant for us. Overall – our aim is to simply let go.

Finally – there is also the important area of forgiving ourselves. None of us are perfect. We are all human. And at some point we all do things that we could easily come down on ourselves about. But no good ever comes from beating ourselves up. We all make the best decision we can in any given situation. And that is what truly matters. Don’t spend time being hard on yourself. Learn to forgive yourself. To trust yourself and to be yourself. Remember you deserve to be happy.

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Believe in yourself

How often do you hear people putting themselves down? Speaking negatively about themselves or expressing self-doubt? It is more common to find people questioning themselves, second guessing themselves or feeling insecure, then it Is to find people speaking highly about themselves, or trusting that they are always doing their best.

Isnt it sad that we live in a world of self doubt. That we are surrounded by critical voices, judgements and opinions. Often ones that people don’t need to hear. Ones that don’t make people feel good about themselves, and ones that do nothing but feed negative thinking.

Of course this isn’t always the case – there are those of us that empower. Those of us that speak highly of others, that compliment people and build others up. And there are those of use that encourage people to do everything they have ever wanted too.

But we do live in a world of comparison. We do live in a world where people place high expectations on others and where they are so quick to form opinions and judgements.

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I often say to clients – it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. What matters if what you think. It doesn’t matter how others view your life – it matters how you feel about your life. You don’t need external validation. You may feel that you do. But you don’t. What truly matters is what’s inside. And what’s really important is your own inner happiness.

It is my belief that we can all achieve anything we put our minds too. We are capable of far more then we really give ourselves credit for. And ultimately we are capable of fulfilling any of our dreams. If we just believe in ourselves.

It sounds simple right – after all believe and you will achieve?

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Of course it is not always that easy. What if a person is very insecure, or if they are living with an addiction, or depression, maybe they are fighting an eating disorder. Or what if someone generally has low self esteem and low self confidence. Perhaps they have been bullied in the past of they have bene in toxic / abusive relationships.

All of these things knock people’s confidence. They shatter hope and destroy dreams. They leave people fighting demons, trying to overcome battles in their head and they result in a lot of self-criticism and a huge amount of not feeling good enough.

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As always there are many things that people can do tRBLOG4o help themselves get into a more positive place.  Things like using a support network. Communicating and expressing feelings more.  And of course there are several changes that can be made in a person’s life to help them feel better about themselves. Things like positive self care, taking time out for themselves, working on stress levels, journal writing etc. Other areas can be looked at – finding a place of moderation when it comes to things like exercise, alcohol etc. Looking at food in a moderate way is also really important. Generally people can work towards re storing balance in their life and incorporating positive mantras so that they begin to feel better about themselves.

All of the above can really help – but sometimes things like depression and anxiety for example. Well they can take over – and they can leave a person feeling very alone, lost and full of self doubt.

That’s where therapy comes in….

Starting the therapeutic process can of course be daunting. But with the right therapist – in a relaxed and calm environment , real healing can begin to take place.

Therapy can really help people to start to challenge the negative voices in their head. It can help them to unpick the critical and punitive scripts that go round and round. And it can work towards replacing them with kinder scripts. With nicer and more respectful words and thoughtful voices. It can teach people the art of being kind to themselves and it can help them to learn how to like and eventually love themselves.

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Of course it isn’t easy – and the journey isn’t quick. But with a lot of work, time and effort – it can happen. So if you want to start believing in yourself. If you want to gain more self confidence. If you want to learn how to like yourself, to respect yourself and be kind to yourself. Then why not give it a try? You will soon see the difference it can make.

The better we feel in ourselves the more we are capable of achieving anything we put our minds too. The more self confidence we have – the more we can shine and sparkle. Go find the best version of yourself. And if you need help doing that – we are right here.

 

A fear of happiness.

A fear of happiness???

It seems ironic…

It doesn’t quite make sense…

There is no rational or logic.

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Surely everyone wants to be happy ???

Right?

But what if you have never known happiness?

What if every time you started to feel happy something changed?

What if you have been let down again and again?

What if life has shown you so much darkness?

What if you have only ever functioned?

What if you have lost the people or things that made you happy?

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Wouldn’t it then become hard to believe in happiness?

It would be understandable that you might not think it exists or even allow yourself to imagine that its out there.

It would be understandable if you always thought that happiness is something that happens to other people.

Who could blame you if you had concluded that happiness is something that isn’t for you.

Maybe you have convinced yourself that you are not a person who will ever be truly happy.

Perhaps you have now become afraid …. Fearful of letting happiness in. In case it goes again. In case it is taken. In case it is destroyed. And so you remain ‘safe’. Protecting yourself and keeping yourself in this bubble. This place where you think you are better off but where you are a prisoner. Trapped in your own negative and unhealthy thoughts. Telling yourself its ok and you don’t need anything else.

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Your fears are holding you back. Your fears are keeping you trapped. Its not safety your feeling, its suffocation. Sure predictability gives a sense of security. And yes if we take a leap outside of our comfort zone then we open ourselves up – we become vulnerable. There is chance we may feel pain. There is a chance we may hurt. But what about the flip side – there is a chance we may actually be happy.

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If you can – allow yourself to be more open to change. Try and take small steps. If we don’t make small changes then nothing will ever change. If we don’t try and adapt then we remain stuck and we remain the same.

 

Perhaps you can try something new today – just something small. Give yourself a chance. You deserve It – take a small step in a positive direction. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Why don’t you try and look at things a little bit differently?? Maybe you do deserve to be happy? Perhaps you do deserve a chance? You never know – your happiness could be right around the corner? If you only allow yourself to open up and let it in.

Just because things have been one way it doesn’t mean they will remain that way. Just because something happened before it doesn’t mean it will happen again. Its hard to have faith. It’s hard to trust. Especially when you have been hurt and let down before. But if you never try then you will never know.

Pic Blog Everyone’s definition of happiness is different – it doesn’t ever look the same. You need to focus on what truly makes you happy and how that happiness looks for you. Search deep inside. Make some positive active choices. If you can – take that leap of faith. And remember YOU deserve to be happy.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

‘Comparison is the thief of joy’.

This quote couldn’t be truer. The more time people spend focusing on what others have, the less time they have to appreciate what it is that they have. There is no doubt that comparing leaves people feeling worse, yet why does it happen so often?

We grow up in a competitive world. From a young age we are compared to our peers. Whether it is our social, physical or emotional development – it is all looked at next to our peers. And unfortunately this theme stays with us through to adulthood.

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People often compare themselves to others in a variety of ways – perhaps in terms of looks, success, wealth, status or even in terms of relationships. Social media heightens such comparison. Pictures and posts of how well people are doing in variety of areas only add to others feeling inadequate in some way or not good enough.

Groups that people belong to – whether that be long term friendship, parent groups, colleagues, fitness classes etc. Where ever you go there is a sense of wanting to fit in, wanting to belong and needing to feel accepted.

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If someone is feeling low, or lacking in self-esteem, then the pull towards comparing can be heightened. They are likely to see only the positives in another person’s life, and to create an image that isn’t reality. An image that ends up making them feel so much worse about themselves and their life.

The reality is that people mainly share the positives about their life. Post the things that make them feel better about themselves and display the side of them that they think people want to see. This leads to others tending to do the same thing.

And so it goes on.

The pressure is there – to be good enough. To look good enough. To achieve, to have what others have and to conform to the expectations around us. People end up getting drawn into complying with social norms and losing sight of what it is that makes them truly happy.

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Strip it away for a moment – take a step back.

Does it matter what someone else says? What car they drive? Or what house they live in? Does it matter how someone else looks? Or how they live their life? Is it really an issue if they exercise more or less then you? If they go out more or less then you? Does it truly matter what job they have? Is it important what relationship status someone else has? Or how many children they have or want? Is their opinion on your life really important?

If you are truly honest with yourself – it doesn’t. It really doesn’t matter. Every one of us is totally unique and different. We all approach things in a different way and we are living our lives the way that we would like too. Or at least aiming to do so.

Remember the more you look around you, the less you look in front of you. Just for today, step back and look at what you do have. What makes you happy? What makes you feel good? Who is in your life and what is in your life? I am sure there is a lot of positive, and where there isn’t, there is time for things to change or improve. Life doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a work a progress. But I promise you one thing. The more you start focusing on you, and the less you focus on others – the better you will feel.

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A negative relationship with alcohol

Do you find yourself thinking about alcohol a lot?

Do you crave having a drink?

Do you see alcohol as a reward when something has gone well?

Do you turn to alcohol when you are stressed?

Do you use alcohol to suppress feelings?

Do you drink when you are upset?

Do you get very down or angry when you drink alcohol?

Do you find that you black out or cant remember things?

Do you spend a lot of your time hungover?

Do you find that your work is suffering due to your alcohol use?

Do you feel lethargic and tired a lot of the time?

Do you find that your day to day life is suffering?

Do you find that you forget things regularly?

Do you feel like things are slipping out of control?

Do you feel as though alcohol is taking over?

If your answer is yes to some or most of these questions, then you have a negative relationship with alcohol.

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Sometimes alcohol can be used socially. Sometimes it can be used when having a good time, or on special occasions. There are times it is associated with fun and laughter.

However, sadly, a  lot of the time, peoples relationship with alcohol can take a very negative turn. And before they know it, it becomes a crux that they lean on. Something they use to get through the day, to manage the week, and to cope with the every day stress of life.

Alcohol can become very addictive – and like any addiction, that cycle is very hard to break. Often when people feel low, stressed, overwhelmed etc – they use alcohol to self-medicate. They numb the things that they are feeling – they block them out. And before they know it they are dependent on it to survive. And the thought of a night off – well it becomes unmanageable.

At first there is a lot of denial – no one ever wants to admit that something is becoming a problem for them. It is hard to be honest with yourself – or with anyone else. It is easier to try and pretend you have it all under control.

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Perhaps you are having a few glasses alone – before you go out or meet up with other people. Perhaps half a bottle has turned into a bottle every night. And before you know it – your opening a second one. Maybe you are drinking at a much faster pace then you ever did before. And your need to keep going is getting stronger. You may be finding it hard to ever stop – ‘one more drink’ or lets have ‘one last round’.  You have become the person that never wants the night to end – you even find your taking a glass to bed with you. Waking up in the morning and wondering what happened last night.

Sometimes alcohol can lead to black outs and forgetting part of the night. People can try to gloss over this – with funny stories of what you did.  You become well equipped at laughing at yourself. And at justifying yourself. There are reasons – you haven’t slept well, you haven’t been out in a while, you didn’t eat enough. The list goes on. But if you were truly honest with yourself and with them. You had already drunk a large amount before they even saw you.

Being that intoxicated also leaves your vulnerable and in dangerous situations. You may be fortunate that you have good friends who will make sure you get home ok – or a partner that ensures you are safely in bed. If someone is looking out for you that helps – but what about looking out for yourself? Taking care of yourself ? And what happens if you lose the people you are with? If you someone spikes your drink or takes you somewhere? You are so vulnerable when you are that drunk. Its not funny anymore – its dangerous.

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There is such dangerous side to this relationship with alcohol – not only can it lead to emotional outbursts – anger, upset, frustration etc. It can be very destructive for relationships. It can also pull you down into a dark place – depression creeps in. You cant sleep. Your exhausted all the time and may fall asleep in front of the tv. But when you go to bed – you are awake all night. Its hard to switch off. The alcohol might knock you out for a bit but before you know it your awake and your feeling horrendous.

On top of that it can have a huge impact on your health – your liver first and foremost. But how about your memory too, your cognition, your skin, your weight, your energy levels. You name it – your physical health suffers as much as your mental wellbeing. And before you know it your looking in a mirror seeing a pale version of yourself. A tired version of yourself. A bloated version of yourself. A depressed version of yourself. You feel low, you feel down and you realise you have been neglecting yourself for quite some time.

I often say to my clients – you have to hit rock bottom before you can climb back up again.  And this really is true. One day you make wake up and be so upset and realise what have I been doing to myself? One day you may think what has happened to me? One day you may go so far and then realise how out of control things have got. And on that day you make a decision – you make a decision to sober up. To take real actual care of yourself and to change things. That’s the hardest decision in the world – putting alcohol down. It means facing up to everything around you – it means dealing with all that stresses you out and addressing it. It means facing up to the things that are hard and it wont be easy. But once you do it – it will be life changing.

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Working towards a healthier lifestyle – physically and mentally. Emotionally getting on a better path – that’s not easy. Not easy at all. But remaining the same is destroying you – you become a shadow of who you once were. The following is a useful list of how to try and change things.

  • Talk to the people closest to you about your feelings
  • Ask them to help you as you work towards changes
  • Find some useful and positive distraction techniques
  • Make time for exercise – in moderation
  • Work on a way of de stressing – breathing techniques, mindfulness practice, yoga etc
  • Improve your self-care – make time for a walk, a bath, a book
  • Keep a journal
  • Get to bed at a decent time each night
  • Try to wind down before going to bed
  • Start seeing a therapist
  • Write a list of all the positives without overusing alcohol
  • Set yourself realistic targets – certain nights off, certain amounts etc
  • Put away the money you were spending on alcohol each day – for something positive
  • Invest in things for you instead of alcohol
  • Find other activities to do that don’t involve alcohol
  • Do things with your friends / partner / family that don’t involve alcohol
  • Realise you are worth so much more
  • Learn to love and respect yourself
  • Work on the relationship you have with yourself
  • Slow down and focus on what’s in front of you

Coping with relapse – Eating disorders

Recovering from an Eating Disorder is all consuming. It is a full time job in itself and takes a lot of commitment and hard work. It can therefore be quite soul destroying when relapse happens.

Relapses are however very common and natural.  The most important thing is being aware of the signs and then being able to deal with what is happening.

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The key signs to look out for are –

  • You have an increased need for control in your life
  • A higher level of perfectionism returns
  • Constant thoughts around food are taking over
  • Higher levels of sadness and hopelessness are happening
  • Avoidance of any get together around food starts to occur
  • Preoccupation with body image and size increases
  • Increased belief that your failing if you are not on a “diet”
  • Weighing yourself becomes more frequent
  • Mood is determined and dictated by weight and food
  • You feel more guilt after eating
  • You feel larger then you actually are
  • Your becoming more dishonest with the closest people in your life
  • You are isolating yourself more
  • Increased time spent looking in the mirror and being critical
  • You start to skip meals, or to purge them
  • You compare yourself more to other people
  • You feel insecure most of the time
  • You have an increased need to exercise continually

If you or someone close to you starts to display some of the above signs, then relapse is occurring. A relapse in recovery can be very disheartening. Often people can feel that they have failed in some way, and that they have let themselves down.  It can be very disillusioning to feel that you are going backwards in your recovery, or that you are back where you began.

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They key however is to remember that you haven’t gone all the way back. Recovery from an Eating Disorder is not meant to be perfect and having a relapse doesn’t mean failure.  It’s important to remember that all of your recovery is still with you. Be kind to yourself, show yourself some compassion and remember that you still have your therapeutic toolbox. Here are some really useful ways to manage a relapse –

  • Remind yourself that relapse is a natural part of recovery
  • Don’t use your relapse as a way of beating yourself up
  • Try and focus on getting back on track with your recovery
  • Return to therapy if you aren’t currently in it
  • Seek help from your therapist if you are in therapy – be honest about where you are at and what you are doing
  • Start to make some positive changes
  • Begin to keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts
  • Start making a food plan to help your eating to settle down
  • Try and identity what triggered your relapse
  • Look at different ways of handling those triggers next time you are faced with them
  • Start spending time doing the things that you enjoy
  • Make sure you spend time around people that make you feel good
  • Ensure that you are using your support network
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Take time out each day just for you
  • Slow down and stop putting so much pressure on yourself
  • Try your best to talk about what you are feeling
  • Listen to your body and your feelings
  • Try to trust and accept yourself
  • Work towards loving yourself
  • Remember to try and enjoy your life

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Restoring your balance.

When was the last time you took half an hour for yourself? Can you remember what it feels like to sit and be comfortable in silence ? Or does your world constantly feel like a busy noisy whirlwind ?

Life is hectic. There is no doubting that. Juggling things like work, family, friends and fitness. It all takes time and it can often be all consuming. Running a household, keeping on top of a home, finances, running a car and even looking after your health. It all leads to very busy days and very busy weeks. And ultimately to feeling as though there is no head space. Or as though there is no time for you.

The reality is that if we try to make sure we cover all of the above, and we do our best to do them well, then we can feel stretched in too many directions. And sometimes as though we are doing a lot, but achieving very little. It can also feel that while we are spending time with people, we aren’t fully present. Because the heads too full and there is very little to give.

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If you recognise this then your currently struggling to strike the balance. You will know the signs. Perhaps your feeling exhausted, run down, or maybe you keep getting ill. Perhaps you find yourself turning to food or alcohol as a coping mechanism for your stress. Maybe the smallest of things are upsetting you. You might be feeling tense and anxious a lot of the time. If this is the case then you are in the world of burn out. And your balance definitely needs restoring.

Stop. Pause. Think about your life. What does it look like? If I asked you to draw a circle and then split it into the sections of your life. What would that image look like? How large would each section be? What colour would it be shaded? What feeling would come from each section?

For some people too much for the circle might be taken up with work, for others family or children. Some on the other hand might be all consumed with health issues, money worries or addictive behaviours. Everyone is different. What does your life circle look like? And what does it say about you?

Reflect on what you see, and evaluate what you feel. What would you like to be different ? How could you achieve more of a balance? Is there something you could give more time too or something you do less of. It’s important to restore balance and it’s equally important to do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good.

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To live a balanced life we need time for ourselves. Even if it is half an hour a day. We need some time to reflect, to pause and slow down. Some people find me time when they are in the bath, or walking, reading, writing, drawing or perhaps listening to music. There are many distractions to fill time. Such as social media, television, food, company, alcohol etc. But the most valuable time is spent slowing down, and taking care of ourselves. Try and create a window in your day for you. Block it out in your diary if you need too. Make it happen.

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Achieving balance means keeping fit and healthy. But it doesn’t mean taking this to extremes. There is no need to spend your life exercising or worrying about what you eat. Try to head for the place of moderation. It does exist. Aim to exercise a few times a week and to eat balanced diet. This means having things like salad, fruit and vegetables. But it also means having things like pizza, chocolate and wine. There are no rules. There are no good or bad foods. Work towards balance.

The same goes the other way. Try to avoid drinking or eating to excess. It’s good to have a night out and off steam. But if it becomes dependency then there is an issue. And if it’s something your turning to all the time, especially during stressful periods, then it’s not good for you. Think about your relationship with alcohol and food. Or even drugs if that’s an issue for you. Look at the amount you are using things and think about how you might like to do things differently. Work out a balance that suits you.

RBLOG4Maintaining a healthy balance also extends to areas of our life like work, finance, and running our homes. We need and have to devote time to these areas. But none of them should be extreme. Never get too busy making a life that you forget to make a living. Ensure that you don’t spend all your time working. Create some down time, even if it is small windows. Money is an issue for many people, there is no doubting that. Try to organise your finances in a way that they don’t cause you extreme stress or worry. Remember to try and find enjoyment in the small things.

It doesn’t have to be extreme. The same goes for running a home, taking care of a family etc. Yes it’s important to have things clean and tidy, but there is no need to spend all day trying to create perfection. And yes it’s important to spend quality time with loved ones, including children. But it is equally important to spend quality time with you. Never let any one area of your life dictate or take over. Step back. Evaluate and make a plan. A plan the includes you. A plan that makes time for you. And a plan that ensures your head doesn’t feel so over loaded it can’t take any more.

Life is like learning to ride a bike. You need your balance to do it. Without our balance we are wobbly, lost and unfocused. Get back on your bike. Focus and find your way.

Today.

Finding light in darkness

There’s been a demon living in my head, she answers to my name, she tells me I’m not worthy, that life is only pain.

I’m not sure when it started, I’m not sure when it will end,
But I do know life feels easier when I don’t have to pretend.

I cry in dark corners, where nobody ever goes,
I wear my smile so proudly, so no one ever knows.

I feel clouded by the darkness,
I feel scared I will never see light,
Writing used to be my healing, but my pens been out of sight.

Depression is not just sadness, it is a complex state of mind
It takes away all meaning, it can be incredibly unkind.

It tells you life’s not worth living, it tells you life’s black and white,
It creeps up on you whilst your sleeping, in the middle of the night.

But recently something happened, things took a different turn, I was reminded in an instant when my heart began to burn, that it all can change so quickly, you never really understand, the fragility of life until you are dealt a different hand.

I was reminded of the people, who I love so very much, the ones who keep me going, when life just feels too tough.

So, as I sit here writing, tears rolling down my face, I needed you to know that in my heart you have a special place.

Your smile it gives me comfort,
Your eyes tell me it’s ok,
Just your presence and your nature give me the strength to fight another day.

You give me hope when I feel hopeless,
You listen when I feel lost,
You sit with me through darkness, no matter what the cost.

You walk with me through storms,
You help me face my fears,
You show me that there is meaning and words beneath my tears,

There’s been times when I’ve felt broken, failed to see what’s in plain sight,
You’ve helped me to keep going, given me belief that I can fight.

You remind me of a shooting star, your smile so bright and rare, every time I see you, you let me know you care.

I am humbled by your passion, I am humbled by your grace
I am humbled by your soul, you feel like my safe place.

You said, once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up,
It takes courage and commitment but it’s better than staying stuck.

You said, this life is not always easy, there will be ups and there will be downs, but no matter how much you think you want to, please don’t let yourself drown.

So, I will keep on treading water, gaining strength along the way.
I will continue to keep fighting, be thankful for each day.

In this poem lies a meaning, a lesson to be learned,
What if we always wait for tomorrow but tomorrow never comes?

So, stop waiting for the future, stop worrying about the how,
The only way to live our life is to love what we have now.

We’ll never really know how much we need the sun, until it doesn’t rise at all,
Reach out to those you love, a hug, a text, a call.

Don’t wait until the ending until you start to live,
You’re stronger than you realise, you have so much to give.

This is the story of your life, it’s you who holds the pen. I hope you can keep on writing until the very end.

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Finding your voice

Asking for what we need….

Saying how we truly feel…

Expressing our thoughts and emotions…

Sharing vulnerability…

Saying when we are angry or hurt…

Telling someone the impact they have had on us…

Technically these would be the easiest things for any of us to do.  Finding our own voice is something we all need to be able to do. Articulating ourselves is something we all want and crave. After all if we are true to ourselves and express what is going on for us – then we are at peace with who we are and we are honest with those around us.

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So why is it so hard???

Fear often plays a big part – fear of rejection, fear of being let down, hurt or seen in a certain way.  Fear of showing vulnerability or admitting that you need something or someone. Fear of showing emotions – wondering how they may be received. Fear of loss, of confrontation – the list is endless.

Past experiences – we all learn what we live after all. And If you grew up in a world where you weren’t shown how to use your voice or express your needs. Then you learn to suppress, accommodate and to always please. You become a person who puts others needs before their own – and gradually you forget that its even ok to have your own needs.

Addictions and mental health issues can also play a part. Often people struggle with things like depression, anxiety or eating disorders. Or they self-medicate with the use of alcohol, drugs or sex – to name just a few. What once was balanced becomes addictive – exercise, social media – you name it. Escapism – people get lost in a world that isn’t real. They avoid, they detach – and the whole time they are doing that – they aren’t thinking about what they really need. Let alone truly asking for it or expressing it.

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There are many reasons that people do not assert themselves and many things that impact on the way that people find their voice. We live in a world where we are encouraged to not rock the boat. We are taught to fit in to society, to merge and mould and ultimately to conform. But does that make people truly happy??? All the while they spend pleasing others and focusing on other peoples needs – they neglect their own. All the time they do what is expected of them – they don’t do the things that they truly need.

What would your life look like if you stepped back for a moment and thought about what you truly need??? What would it be like if you were to actually say yes to what you want to say yes to and no when you truly meant no? Would it be ok to say you don’t feel like doing something ? Would it be ok to say I need this and Id like this ? Is it ok to express who you truly are?

Imagine a world where we all did that……

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Internally people would feel so much more at peace and so much calmer. Because they would be doing the things they truly want to do and they would be living a life that makes them feel fulfilled. Communication would be improved so much – it would be so much more open. People would be able to express what it is that they feel and need. Relationships would be more fulfilling. They would be more meaningful. And every individual’s day to day life would be calmer and happier.

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The next time someone really hurts you – tell them.

The next time someone lets you down – let them know your hurting.

The next time you disagree with something – say so.

The next time you don’t want to do something – say no.

The next time you prefer something – express your preference.

The next time you want to something – work for it.

The next time you need something – make it happen.

The next time you feel content – hold on to it.

The next time you feel anxious – express it.

The next time your struggling – try to work through it.

The next time you feel insecure – discuss those insecurities.

The next time your scared – express it.

The next time your angry – assert yourself.

None of this is straight forward and it is a constant work in progress. But if you make that your aim – if you try to apply this every day throughout your life. Then you will be on a much more positive path and you will find your voice. Its ok to be you, its more then ok to feel what you feel and its ok to express it.

You’ve got this.