The Recovery Writer

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Tag: balance

Stress Management – Using Organization Tools

Lessening The Stress By Organising the Mess 

One of the greatest gifts of entering recovery is the way in which my life has become so busy. While this is a positive thing I must also remember to manage the stress, so as to look after my mental health.

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Be Proud Of Yourself – Day 61 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

its ok to be proud of yourselfSelf-care is allowing yourself to be proud of your achievements

I struggle to accept compliments, although I have learnt not to be self-deprecating in the way I reply, I still struggle to just say thank you without then following up with something along the lines of, “Well, of course, its nothing special….”

I think this is a hangover to my formative years. I was put down often and never felt good enough. I learnt, in turn, to put myself down and downplay my achievements. Somehow, I saw this as a positive quality, that it made me humble, as I felt to mention my qualities and abilities made me arrogant.

Over the last few years, since vlogging and blogging, I have received so many wonderful comments about how much I help people, that I have a talent for speaking, and so forth. I have begun to not only say thank you without any qualifying remarks, but I have also learnt to say these things about myself, out loud, to other people.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of yourself and singing your own praises. In fact, it is vital. If you downplay your abilities, you, in turn, downplay your opportunities. Being able to champion my own strengths and skills, has opened new doors and new possibilities, especially in growing my youtube channel and embarking on a new career path into freelance writing.

I value humility highly, arrogance is an ugly trait. However, this is a delicate balance. Be humble, but remember that being humble doesn’t mean you have to think less of yourself.

 

 

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Using Gentle Determination -Day 59 Of #365daysofselfcare

This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

easy does it but do itSelf-care is gently pushing yourself out of your comfort zone

While it is essential to look after yourself when you have mental health problems, it is also important to continue to challenge yourself. It can be tempting to say,“well I won’t try to do that, because if it fails, it might knock me off balance”. Unfortunately, this can also often be the message we receive from our friends and family. This, of course, comes from a place of concern, they too worry that a set back could negatively affect our mental health. However, not rising to a challenge can be just as detrimental to our mental health as we deny ourselves opportunities for growth, confidence building, and improved self-esteem.

I have recently taken a considerable risk, in changing my career path to freelance writing. In doing so, I risk failure, and I inevitably put myself in the way of criticism and rejection. I can understand peoples concern for me, their worry is valid. I must, in turn, be mindful of my own concern for myself. However, I must not let this stop me, but rather remind me to be realistic and balanced as I move forward.

This, of course, is true for anyone embarking on a new direction. Sucess comes in allowing oneself to try whilst being aware of the obstacles you may face, and having some strategies in place to take care of yourself whilst you walk boldly into the challenge.

 

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Creating Balance- Day 50 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

DONT LOOK FOR BALANCE CREATE ITSelf-care is actively creating balance in your life

I have a packed diary for the next two weeks. Some of it is leisure, some is business. Both categories cause my anxiety levels to raise.  I can very easily get overwhelmed. The main reason for this is that l put far too much pressure on myself, to do things to a high standard in my personal and professional life. I know all too well that I have the control dial for my expectations of myself turned up far too high. Even though I know this, and cope far better with my increased self-knowledge of how to deal with it, it still of course comes up at times.

One of my main coping strategies is to make sure I have a clear day at least once a week where I can take a mental health day if I need it. Time to sleep in, stay in my pyjamas, and generally recharge my batteries. This helps me to regain my balance. However, I do not have a spare day free for a while now and this is adding to my feeling of being overwhelmed as I am worrying about where i will find balance.

I realise that I do not in fact need to look for balance, but rather create it. I dont have to rush through all my commitments and then crash on my designated ‘regain my balance’ day. I can instead choose to mindfully look for ways to create balance , in amongst all the busy days ahead.

On realising this, my self-care yesterday (as I am posting this late!) was to say yes to my best friends request to join him on a night out, after his date unfortunately had to cancel. Initially I thought, I cant do this, I have too much to do. But actually, going out, having a nice meal, spending time with my friend, listening to amazing music, was just the balance I needed and I created it.

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Balancing Healthy Habits – Day 49 Of #365daysofselfcare

The Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

healthy habitsSelf-care is developing healthy habits without being hard on yourself

Myself and food have a constant love hate relationship. Although I do have a far healthier attitude towards eating than I once did, it is a constant battle. I can go a period of time where I eat really well, then I have some down days and comfort eat, or simply just stop paying proper attention to what I am eating.  I cycle like this all the time.

Over the last couple of months, I made a lot of progress in moving again towards healthier food. I even lost some weight after putting on an awful lot. Then I was diagnosed with a low thyroid. I decided to stop giving myself a hard time about losing weight and to just eat sensibly and revisit my need to shed a few pounds once my thyroid levels had levelled out.

However, I seem to have used it as a bit of an excuse to stop making any effort to eat regularly and healthily. Since starting the thyroid medication I have lost weight without really trying, even when I’m eating comfort food I am not putting on weight . This means I am really lacking incentive to improve my diet.

Today, I went shopping and bought some healthy food. I cooked myself scrambled egg on bagels and as I sat eating them I remembered how much I really enjoy nutritious food! It is just too easy to grab a quick processed snack but it is never as tasty. Its helpful that I now have a partner, someone else to cook for (yes those of you that know me will be surprised to hear that I am the chef in the relationship, his cooking skills are worse than mine!). I need to remember that it is about balance. I don’t have to go full steam ahead and become a food saint. It is not about setting hard restrictions, it is about little changes that become habits.

 

 

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Pushing Through Fear-Day 38 of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is knowing when to push through fear

2018-06-08_14.01.53-01When you have mental health challenges, one of the hardest things is to balance the times when you push through anxiety and when you allow yourself to avoid the anxiety. Knowing when to do which takes a lot of self honesty.

After yesterdays anxiety, I almost cancelled today’s driving lesson. I also had my boyfriend staying over and so my mind was thinking up all sorts of excuses. However, I knew that on this occasion, pushing through the fear was the best self-care action I could take. If I had cancelled, it would only have strengthened my inner critics voice which insists on telling me that, “… I can’t drive, I’ll never pass my test, my instructor hates me…” etc.

As it turns out, I had a really good lesson, proof that the things fear tells us often just are not true!

 

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Remember to Breathe-Day 17 to 19 Of #365daysofselfcare.

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

Self-care is remembering to breathe

2018-05-18_23.39.22-01I have slipped behind with my posts as I have been rather distracted by my new dating adventures! Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s OK, as long as we remember to come back home to ourselves as soon as we notice our attention has slipped.

I have still been practising good self care. Doing this challenge is helping me to stay aware which is a really great thing. On day 17 my self-care was in reminding myself to take breaks throughout a long day of writing. Day 18 was being firm with myself and not cancelling my driving lesson even though my anxiety was screaming at me to pick up the phone and do so.

Today, day 19, has been calming myself down after last night’s amazing date! I gave myself permission to have a quiet duvet day, just doing a little writing in between grinning lots! It’s important l enjoy this lovely feeling but stay grounded in looking after myself.

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Day 16 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge
2018-05-15_21.52.12-01It has been a really tough day today. I had an appointment with the Mental Health Team this morning as I have been referred to them for further support.
I find these initial appointments so hard. The anxiety of meeting someone new is bad enough and then there is the demoralising discussion of my  mental health history how I am currently  struggling. It is never nice discussing past issues and being open with a stranger about all that’s going on, even when you know it’s for a good reason.
Then this evening Yang, one of my gerbils,  passed away. It was his time and it was peaceful but it was still sad to see him go.
The desire to self medicate with food was huge this evening. It can be hard to know when its OK to allow yourself that treat and when its actually not in your best interests. I decided that it would be better for me to compromise with myself and have a more healthy treat instead, choosing sorbet and fruit rather than Ben and Jerry’s.
It tasted amazing and I felt good for making the right self-care choice for myself.
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Coping With Stress When Your Scale Is Already Off-Balance

balance.jpgThis week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘Stress’. Sadly, stress is a common affliction in our fast-paced world and it is something that each of us need to be mindful of. However, when you have existing mental health challenges, being mindful of stress becomes even more critical.

I experience my own mental health as a set of scales which are always off balance. My various challenges and addiction history, mean I own a set of scales which are incorrectly calibrated. It’s almost impossible to get them to level out dead centre. I have learned to be okay with this, and to find ways to get them to balance and stay stable in their offset state. This works as long as my life remains fairly consistent and stress free. However, life is life, unexpected or upsetting events will of course occur. When they do, like many of us with mental health challenges, I’m affected far more by stress than people whose scales are more accurately calibrated.

In experiencing an additional stress, I find I am triggered in all areas. The shock of a stressful event can knock me for six, my physical health begins to suffer, I can start feeling ashamed that I am falling apart where others around me are coping. If I am not careful, this can send me into a spiral and put me at risk of a crisis or relapse.

Over the last few years in my recovery, I have learnt how to better manage a stressful event so that I can look after my mental well-being until the event passes or is resolved. These are some of the things that I find helpful, in order to reduce the impact of the additional stress.

Remind yourself that it is OK to feel whatever you are feeling

Enforce your personal boundaries – clearly state your needs and your limitations

Drop anything from your life that is not important – make things simple

Use your coping strategies to administer self-care to yourself

Contact a friend or support agency for extra help

Evaluate your well-being on a daily basis – it may take a while to re-balance

Stress is often unavoidable but with careful management, it need not compromise our entire well being and we can return to own definition of balance in good time.

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Day 9 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

IMG_20180508_232358_796This morning I faced a long standing fear of driving. I have wanted to learn for a long time but have been too nervous for so many reasons.

I had lessons in my early 20’s but I was drinking and drugging back then and I am ashamed to admit that I was likely under the influence during those driving lessons.Additionally, my anxiety makes it really hard for me to meet new people, especially under such stressful circumstances. When I am anxious I find it very hard to concentrate and this adds even more problems in learning to drive.

To be honest, I almost called to cancel. My instructor was late and I was actually hoping that the lesson wouldn’t happen. He turned up and I was very open with him about my fears and that really helped. We took it slowly and by the end of the lesson I was much calmer. I cannot believe that finally, after years of trying, I actually made it through an hours lesson! I’ve now booked a block of lessons to keep me committed to facing this fear.

Unfortunately the rest of the day was stressful. My GP surgery yet again messed up my appointment meaning I had my testosterone shot almost 6 hours late. Rather than get stressed and lose the mornings good feeling, I instead used the time productively to vent my stress in a blog about my ongoing issues in accessing my GP surgery

I found myself craving comfort food in the evening and on this occasion, as I haven’t had Ben and Jerry’s for a while,  I decided that today’s self-care would be a ‘naughty treat’.

Everything in balance!

 

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Day 8 Of #365daysofselfcare

This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge

IMG_20180507_190642_672I am still exhausted and feel generally off colour. Perhaps its the new thyroid medication? I’m really not sure whether its that or just my usual mood cycle but either way…urg.

I had to cancel on my best mate today and I hate doing that. I had so much difficulty yesterday outside in the heat, I think it makes my fatigue worse so when l woke today still feeling awful l knew l had to reschedule.

Unfortunately I then went into a spiral of guilt about cancelling, and then I saw all the updates about our lovely weather and went into a spiral of guilt about that too. All the should’s’ came out….l shouldn’t have cancelled….l shouldn’t be wasting this lovely sunshine, l should be outside enjoying it. I should be finishing my writing…. Oh my goodness my inner critic is LOUD today!

I Decided to compromise with myself again. I walked into town, had a coffee and wrote a little, got some supplies and then headed back home. I’m reminding myself that setting unrealistic expectations of myself is harmful and counterproductive. I’ve done what l can do, all the ‘should do’s’ can go away!

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