5 ways to pace yourself over Christmas

5 Ways To Pace Yourself Over Christmas

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

I absolutely love Christmas, it’s one of my favourite times of the year BUT it’s also incredibly busy. Because of that, I need to pace myself and I know that’s the case for a lot of other Spoonies too! So here are 5 ways I plan to pace myself.

If you can get things done in advance, go for it! 

I started Christmas shopping as early as I possibly could. Not for the bragging rights (although yes it is a nice feeling) because it took a lot of pressure and stress out of the run-up to Christmas.

It also meant I could spread the cost out which was another thing off of my mind. For me, long periods of intense stress can cause a flare so I’ll try and help myself as much as possible.

Plan in rest time. 

I know that I need to get a good sleep and not be on the go every minute of every day. I need to plan in rest breaks to make sure that I’m healthy and can get the best out of the day.

To do this, I try and have at least one day of the weekend to myself or make it more chilled. I try and make sure that I get to bed at a reasonable time too! Health is important and being sick over Christmas completely sucks.

Know that it’s ok to say no! 

Everyone wants to meet up, go to this, go to that. As much as I’d love to go and do everything the simple fact is that I can’t. Over Christmas, I miss out on pay because I’m Freelance! I need to not only look after my health but also my bank balance!

Let people help you.  

I’m not great at this. I fight to be as independent as possible but with such a busy time of year taking help when possible can really help. Someone else wants to drive? Let them! Someone else wants to do the cooking. Go ahead! If people want to help you they’re doing it out of kindness and, usually, love.

Try and stay in some kind of routine where you can! 

Christmas day is obviously exempt from this if you are like me and wake up stupidly early because you are so excited. I get a week and a bit where I’m not working. As much as I want to nap as much as possible every single afternoon I know it’s going to impact me later so I try and stick to some kind of routine.

I might get up a little later, stay up more or go out with friends – but I still have some idea of getting a good 8-9 hours every night then get dressed and get on with what I want or need to do.

 

Is there anything you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Compassion Costs Nothing

As most of you will have seen, earlier this week Demi Lovato was hospitalised for an overdose. Demi has spoken publicly about living with Bipolar Disorder and Addiction and released song Sober in June. She hasn’t hidden from the public that she is living with an illness and doing the best she can.

When I read that she had been rushed to hospital it weighed heavy on my heart. I hoped that mental illness hadn’t taken another young life. I also knew that the internet would be full of narrow-mindedness and, of course, there was. While the majority was positive with an outpouring of love some didn’t want to know. They threw around hurtful words in regards to something that they knew nothing about. They seemed to be completely void of compassion.

compassion (noun)

 

Some would argue it’s ‘just because she’s famous’ that people care and, yes there are some but I think it just highlights that no matter how successful, no one is immune to mental illness. At the centre of this is a young woman in her twenties with a health condition that could very easily take her life. So many people around the world are suffering and, if anything, I hope this reminds people that this is and illness.

Compassion costs nothing, caring costs nothing. There are people you know who are likely working their way through a mental illness and trying to understand and not just write people off could really save someone’s life. Is this the most eloquent post I’ve written? No, probably not. It’s just something I needed to say. I truly hope Demi recovers. This is just the tip of the iceberg and we have so much more to do in terms of talking about mental health and I for one will keep talking, keep learning and keep loving.

 

 

 

10 Ways to Support Someone with a Mental Illness

MHAW18: 10 Ways to Support Someone with a Mental Illness

When a loved one is struggling with a mental illness it can be hard to know what to do and how to help. For me, when I’m on a low I don’t even know what I want sometimes! There are some things, however, that you can do to help. I wanted to share them with you.

Listen

Sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen. They don’t need actions or solutions just someone to listen to how they feel and why they might be feeling it. It’s really that simple. Having someone listen to you can make such a change to a person’s day.

Don’t assume you know or understand 

Mental illness may have a set of symptoms but it is a truly personal experience. From experience, someone else thinking they know what you’re going through and trying to guess, rather than listen, is frustrating. It is so, so important to see this as a personal struggle not just a set of symptoms. Depression isn’t just sadness, Anxiety isn’t feeling nervous these are real issues.

Support them with small steps

Sometimes something that might seem small can be a big deal. In my worst times, I struggled to leave the house to go to the shop down the road. I physically couldn’t leave and when I did I had anxiety attacks. So my amazing boyfriend helped with the smaller steps. First, take a shower, then put on some clothes, then put on my shoes etc. It was long and frustrating but we did it and later that afternoon popped to the shop. I do the same thing with close friends with things such as blood tests. Small steps matter!

Let them know you’re there without forcing them to open up 

People will open up when they’re ready. Trying to force it from them will probably have the opposite effect. Just letting someone know that if they want to talk or hang out, you’re there is a big help.

Don’t try to ‘fix’ them 

Don’t listen to Coldplay, people with a mental illness aren’t broken and recovery has to be something the person wants for themselves.

Treat them as the person you know they are 

The person you know is in there, they might just be hiding. You can still make jokes, ask them to go places. They could say no 99 times but that 100th time they might feel well enough to go. It let’s them know that you still love and care for them.

Ask what they need 

It could be someone to just sit with in the quiet, someone to eat with or just being that voice at the end of the phone. Asking them what they actually need rather than guessing makes things a lot easier in the long run.

Swot Up! 

There’s so much information out there to help you understand what your loved one is going through. Read personal accounts, watch documentaries, listen to music. You might not be living it but you can try to understand as much as possible.

Be there 

It really is as simple as that. Just being there for someone.

Be a champion 

Mental illness is something that we need to talk about and even if you’ve never lived it you can be a champion and continue the conversation.

 

What would you add? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday Seven: 7th Feb 2016

As promised I’m starting a new weekly post about my favourite 7 things of the week! Some weeks it might be themed, others it will just be my favourite 7 things of the week, like this week! If you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to see in Sunday Seven then let me know in the comments!

One – Having my face plastered across the Uni 

Last year I won an award for Overcoming Adversity and to promote this years award there has been a very embarrassing picture of me and the other winners  all over Facebook, Twitter, the student paper and all around the screens at the uni. I’m nominated for 3 awards this year too which is awesome, but doesn’t make this picture any less embarrassing.

IMG_6325

 

Two – My Hamsters 

Hamski and Noodle are my fur babies and have been really active this week. We’ve had a lot of hugs, some lessons in not biting (Noodle) and a few mini photo shoots. I’m completely besotted with them both.

6BB213DC-D5C5-43CA-B285-E33427FB78FC

Three – Fresh Flowers 

I’m a sucker for fresh flowers. I just love the smell and the way they brighten up a room, even if it’s rainy and horrible outside. My grandparents got me these on Monday to say get well soon, because they’re adorable.
IMG_6295

Four – New Books! 

I had some books I needed to exchange this week and came home with three that I’ve been desperate to read. Sex Criminals is a graphic novel and nothing like the title suggests, well it is but not what you think a sex criminal would be, it’s volume 2 out of 3 and so far, so good. The next two books are by authors I adore and have reviewed  before, both are Young Adult fiction and look to be brilliant.

IMG_6328

Five – Primark’s Star Wars Game 

The Force is strong in Primark. I absolutely love anything Star Wars since watching the original trilogy over my birthday, then of course the new film was fantastic. I popped into primark and got a kick ass pair of shoes for a fiver (!!), R2-D2 cup for £3.50, Storm Trooper knickers for £2.50 and the socks for about £2. This badass stuff and the Harry Potter stuff they normally have is one of the reasons I only let myself in there sparingly. IMG_6340

Six – American Crime Story 

Now, I don’t normally watch a lot of TV. There are a lot of ‘cult’ shows that I’ve never watched or I have watched and haven’t seen the appeal, I’m much more of a book girl. That said, I watched the first episode of American Crime Story and I am hooked and can’t wait for the next episode on Tuesday. It’s also made me interested in the trial itself, meaning I have a lot of reading to do after pouring over documentarys last month.

rs_634x862-151121113347-ACS20S120Vanity20Fair20Ad

Seven – Harley Quinn 

All hail Harley Quinn! This is the graphic novel that started my obsession. I absolutely love the character of Harley and today picked up another novel, making it my third. There’s another two I need to buy and of course I’m excited about the new Suicide Squad movie. I have to admit so far I like this version of Harley better, but we shall see when the movie comes out in August. IMG_4616

10 things that helped get me out of a low mood (and hopefully can help you!)

Ok so I disappeared yesterday because of a pretty crappy low (yay, depression). Now I’m back and I’ve been looking after myself for the past 2 days now I want to share 10 ways to help when you’re on a low. These help for me, hopefully they will for you as well!

1. Take a shower or bath

IMG_0022

When I used to have a REALLY bad low, before I was diagnosed my Mum would always send me to the shower to calm down. Now when I have a low it’s always the things she recommends first. I don’t know why but water has always made me feel calmer.

2. Be comfortable

IMG_0833

When you’re feeling particularly rough you do not need to wear super tight skinny jeans. Today and yesterday were comfy jumper and jean days. Also at night make sure your comfortable with some good PJ’s and an early night, even if you can’t sleep being able to relax will help.

3. Take some time to think about what YOU need right now

IMG_0146

Do you need sleep? Do you need to go for a walk? Be around friends? Work out what it is you want and need to make yourself feel even a little bit better. I’ve had plenty of days where for the morning I had to be alone but later my friends made me feel a lot better. It’s a personal thing and taking baby steps if you need to.

4. Talk it out or write things down

IMG_4405

Some of my best songs have come from horrible moments. Writing or talking, generally just getting it out of your system is healthy. Of course there are other ways too, some people do art or sport, whatever works for you.

5. Eat some good food

IMG_1739

Screw the diet. Comfort food is the best. For me a bit of chocolate and a good cup of tea can really make all the difference.

6. Get some natural light

IMG_0687

10 minutes of sunshine is proven to boost Serotonin levels, even if it’s overcast try and go outside. I know what it’s like when all you want to do is lie in the dark and forget everything. When I feel like that and just want to be alone I walk to my local shop, it only takes 5 minutes and I don’t talk to everyone

7.Exercise

IMG_1646

When I used to hear this I used to get irritated, why if I didn’t want to get up would I want to exercise? I know by now that just being around the horses lifts my mood and going riding is great to make me have a more stable mood, it gives me something else to think about. I can’t ride every day though, so Sunday I decided to head to the pool (the only other exercise I can stand) I only done half an hour but felt much better.

8. Put yourself around people who make you feel happy

IMG_0767

It usually takes me a little while to get to this part. For the first part of my lows I normally want to be alone but gradually I’m ok being around people. Moving in with Ali was a hugely positive part of getting better since moving to uni, sometimes I’ll see friends or text my mentor to see her but I almost always phone my Mum to talk things over. Support is always key.

9. Have a little treat

IMG_1724

If I’m sad and go wandering I usually buy myself a little something partly to cheer myself up and partly because I left the house, because sometimes that’s the absolute worst part. It’s usually just something small, a bar of chocolate, cupcake or a book, whatever money I have spare really.

10. Don’t be so hard on yourself

IMG_1698

Everyone has good and bad days, depression or not. Don’t blame yourself if you’re out for a day or even longer, just work through as best you can and don’t beat yourself up!