I think I can still get away with wishing Happy New Year to all reading this! I’ve been treading lightly into the month of January. I’m hoping 2017 has started off well for you and yours. 2016 was not a fine vintage in my life scape but that was then and this is now. For those that don’t know last year I experienced personal trauma and heartache in losing multiple babies, a grief that I can’t really put into words other than the most harrowing experience I have been through to date. I am determined to look after myself better this year and when stress inevitably rears its head I have been using techniques to quash it in its tracks. One example is this mindful exercise floating away a red balloon.
- Find a quiet space, sit comfortably and imagine a red balloon.
- Slowly inhale
- Slowly exhale, filling the balloon with thoughts of stress and tension, then release it into the sky.
- Repeat for until you feel calm.
I suppose you can only make changes (even the small ones) if you really want to. I say this because last month you could have placed all the positive thinking books in this World right in front of me but I wasn’t interested I just felt ill and sad and nothing seemed to help. It was a blip on a grand scale realising that even those that live and breathe positivity can fall down and find it hard to get back up again. Resilience is something I know I do possess and the turning point started 1st January 2017 when I began to feel physically better recovering from a chest and cold virus which had knocked me sideways for the whole month of December whilst looking after a poorly toddler. Bad luck runs out eventually!
A few years ago I read a book called Chicken Soup for the Soul. This is one book I think everyone should read. All about uplifting stories that show strength and courage in the hardest of times. Most people I have spoken to don’t really do ‘New Year Resolutions’ it’s easy to say we will do more of this or less of that but the reality is life is busy and things fall off the radar even with the best of intentions. I would like in essence to feel good time every minute of the day and being healthy and happy are my main goals in life ALWAYS. This post is about my little changes and how they are helping me. When you are feeling low for whatever reason it’s hard to sometimes just ‘snap out of it’. I wallowed a bit in self-pity not interested in feeling better not excited by anything and all I was doing was focusing on caring for Jay making sure he was clean, warm, fed and loved… but I was not taking care of me…that is until now I have started putting a plan into action.
I came to realise last month that I needed to seek help to deal with the losses I had been through. I have contacted The Miscarriage Association, Tommy’s and Sands all incredible charities that I support. I have been lucky to have support from family and friends but I fell into what I can only describe as a void with no one to pull me out. I have only just started the grieving process but I am of sound mind to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all dealt cards in life some are easier than others. I’ve had to visit some dark places but the idea is that I want to let go of these feelings of sadness except that you can’t always control what happens to you but it’s what you do after that really matters. Some people find it easier to cope with things better than others but this sentence which I read in the book has really stuck with me.
‘Change your thoughts and you change your World’
Keep a Gratitude Journal
A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. The idea consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has made a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face I think I would have a lot of meetings in that case! Despite my difficulties last year looking back I wonder if I had kept a journal in 2016 would it have helped me deal with things better? hard to say but I guess I am now much more aware of the positive things in my life. Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for you begin to appreciate simple pleasures those little things that you previously took for granted. I know when I get messages from my readers or YouTube Channel Viewers it means a lot to me and I feel happy that people take time out of their lives to read what I have to say or watch a video I made.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, as the old saying goes, then the windows are the soul of our house. Every weekend I open all windows and doors to let air in for 5-10 mins yes it’s freezing in January but there is definitely a sense of a cool freshness which is strangely satisfying. I view the home as an extension of your body and spirit. Some people burn sage to absorb the extra emotional vibrations and I burn candles to make my living space feel like a sanctuary that I feel comfortable in. I believe you have to love where you live make it your home.
Weekly Meal Planner/ Cook more meals
I have been cooking every single night of January so far, no ready meals or packet sauces and I am really enjoying eating vegetables and aiming to get my 5 a day although Mr M reckons it’s now ‘7 a day’. In 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced the concept of ‘5 a day’. Along with the UK’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition (COMA), they set the recommendation that we should be consuming 400g of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. I’ve also discovered that 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree counts towards this quota! This was then adopted by the UK government, and it is now widely recognised that fruit and veg should make up a third of our daily food consumption. How many of us actually reach this target. I have scoured my many recipes books and have listed a weekly meal plan to try and get more veg into our meals I want to nourish my body better with good stuff and enjoy the treats too so there is a balance. I like one pot or tray bake style recipes which are quick and easy to do and a great way to eat more veg. Some of you may know I get to work with Iceland as part of my vlogging role with Channel Mum and have embraced the power of frozen. We rarely throw food away now as I don’t like waste and spend sensibly on good produce.
Drink turmeric water
The health benefits of drinking turmeric water each morning are mostly due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. This spice is popular in most curries but have you tried giving this tonic a go. I’ve read it’s a wonder beverage and one I am prepare to drink more of, just mix a quarter or half teaspoon of turmeric with some warm water in a glass and add lemon juice if you prefer. I actually don’t mind the taste although it’s a face puller if you haven’t had it before.
My Yes Mum positive affirmation cards get used daily I keep them where I can see them and repeat the words every now and then throughout the day. Words are powerful and make an impression even though we may not realise it. Sometimes I catch myself picturing the cards in my head. If you or anyone needs a boost I definitely recommend these.
Puzzles and Adult Colouring in books
I usually walk past the books and magazine stands in stores but the other day I found myself purchasing a word search puzzle book. I complete a word search puzzle a day. I’m not clever enough for Sudoku puzzles, my mum on the other hand surprises me with her ability to conquer the killer ones..I don’t know how she does it. I think it definitely helps exercise this organ which we all have called the brain. Colour Yourself Calm Mandalas by Paul Heussenstamm is a mindfulness colouring book. The very act of colouring is calming, a soothing activity feels so similar to painting my nails which incidentally I’ve managed to grow naturally without anymore trips to the Nail Salon for fake nails! The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala represents wholeness. This is another mindfulness exercise which can help reduce stress levels.
Limit sugar intake
Sugar is a killer says my 75 year old dad and Diabetes does in fact scare me. There isn’t a history of diabetes in our family and yet I did have gestational diabetes while I was pregnant which threw me into a wave of panic but in some ways it was a good wake up call. I am much better at managing my sugar intake now. I study product labels perhaps a bit too much but if I feel it’s going to do more bad than good I won’t buy it. The basic rule I work by is that if there is more than 10g of sugar in 100g of the product I won’t eat it. I made the mistake of eating high sugar fruits during pregnancy which I think contributed to my condition then but we all have different insulin levels and it’s important to really be aware of the hidden sugar. I have also been caught out by some low fat products which actually have a lot of sugar. Best to take a moment and check the labels of the food you love eating just so that you’re aware.
Go to bed at the same time each night
Early to bed early to rise another saying that my dad thinks is good practice. Lack of sleep has been linked to a myriad of problems. I try and stick to 9.30pm even at the weekends. I set a daily alarm on my phone 8.30pm to remind me to start finishing up tasks and shut down the body shop. That way come 9.30pm I am physically in bed. I used to look at social media before bed but I am finding I sleep better when I am not looking at my phone screen. I definitely feel better and don’t yawn in the mornings like I used to with the sleepy eye look through not getting enough sleep. There are exceptions because children like to wake up and in turn wake you up. Thankfully the little man has been fine sleeping through the night without any fuss although I suspect it’ll change at some stage.
I have been a blood donor for 8 years now and feel strongly about helping others especially if it can help save a life. I know not everyone can donate blood which is a real shame as there is always a shortage of blood. I love the chats with strangers after the donation process when you get a cup of squash or a tea and choice of biscuits. This is a little post I wrote a while ago on the very subject.
So this is a bit of an experiment and no idea if I will still end up looking like a shrivelled up prune in my later years. I won’t be having plastic surgery that’s for sure. I drink this apparent elixir of youth each morning with the primary aim of improving skin tone. I’m not keen on the taste but I am prepared to give it a go and see if it will help slow down the ageing process. Forty isn’t old in the grand scheme of things but if I can help my skin with the help it needs especially in the winter months then why not.
Treat yourself to something new each month
In my days Pre-Motherhood I was a stickler for spending a lot of money on makeup and candles. So nothing much has changed then. But I definitely don’t buy things for myself as much as I used to that’s for sure. Most purchases I make revolve around Jay. While I am unable to walk past a department makeup counter without parting with my earned pennies I thought I would remind myself that it is okay to buy things for yourself with the caveat that you only buy if you can afford to and it won’t stress you out later.
Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Kidman’s Kiss
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Gloss Port-to loo girl
Molton Brown Ambrusca Cleansing Shower oil which leaves the skin on your body feeling super soft and smelling wonderful.
Play with Jay
Life at the moment is making sure I have quality time with my little boy and getting to play with him. I am aware that one day he will be doing his own thing and after everything I have been through to become a mother, these years are short and I will be as silly as I can with him. He is angelic and not so angelic in equal measures as he approaches the threenager years. I tell him that I love him everyday but it’s even better when he says it to me. I do feel it’s important to tell the people we care about how special they are to us. Why leave it till it’s too late.
Digital detox phone and electronic devices
I know quite a few people who are ditching their Social Media profiles whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. I have been using it less as I do think it is an addiction of modern times. Social media isn’t necessarily think a bad thing but there is a time and place for everything. I’m so glad I grew up without social media when people actively arranged to meet in person and talk but I do feel that is now lost in many ways and we chat behind screens. My writing is awful, and yet I love receiving letters from two wonderful friends of mine called Geoff and Beryl in their late eighties with the most wonderful writing. I feel a little embarrassed sending letters with my writing but there is something special about putting pen to paper. I used to write to my brother when he first moved to the States. These days you are only a few feet away from someone using their phone. I know Mr M isn’t a fan of social media. I use it as part of my job and of course its nice to be able to connect with people but I am enjoying time away from the phone too.
So there you go an extensive list you could say but I am trying to make a conscious effort, I also know there are bound to be times when things don’t go to plan but accept that’s part of life’s tribulations and it’s okay not to be perfect. Please let me know what things you are also trying.
Try something new this month whether it’s eating a vegetable you’ve never tried before or calling someone you’ve not spoken to for ages. Anything but something.
Wishing you all a peaceful and mindful New Year!