Week one million (or so it feels like) of lockdown approaches. I feel like everyone is starting to get super fed up. We have all done the Joe Wicks, made the iced coffees, danced to Tik Tok dances, cleared out our drawers and done more online shopping than our finances are ok with. What’s next?
I have found that I am returning to my old ways more and more – but this aint no bad thing! One example is that I bought a football. I don’t know what came over me I haven’t played with a football in years! As a child, I loved nothing more than going outside and kicking a football around. I was so happy when it arrived and once I got it blown up I was straight outside with my new purchase.
In CBT, when visiting your core beliefs, there is discussion around what you enjoyed when you were younger to help map out your identity. Kicking a ball outside was one of them and it was exactly what my inner child needed. It was such a stress reliever to boot the ball against the wall. Hilariously it also brought up child grievances of people not wanting to play with you when you wanted them to. I asked my boyfriend to play and when he didn’t I was in a proper huff haha.
I’m a bit late on the monthly update as it is now well into May – however I thought I would share some of my reflections since my last blog of this nature in April.
Last month I set out to read a few books, I have not read all in my intended list as I skipped on to a few different books (short attention span soz)
- Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
I absolutely loved this book – his story of his journey with mental health is truly inspiring. He also has an amazing skill of putting into words what you are feeling in an extraordinary way. I love lists and brevity and the short chapters were a refreshing read and I was able to easily fit them in before my daytime nap. I also read it during the day so that’s a clear sign how awesome this book is! I am now reading his next book ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ which focuses more on Anxiety and it is amazing so far. It’s upsetting me that there’s a blank space and this isn’t even so I have just put this sentence here to set my mind at ease haha.
- The Four Pillars – Dr Rangan Chatterjee
I have been a big fan of Dr Rangan Chatterjee since Made By Jade introduced me to his podcast but had never read any of his books. I really loved the imagery in this book and the simplicity of his advice on complex subjects. The Four Pillars of health are split into Relax, Move, Eat and Sleep. It is a fascinating read and one that I find myself going back to reread certain bits for everyday application. It is one for the bookshelf for life.
- The Chimp Paradox –Prof Steve Peters
This was a book I chose to read to help me build healthy habits and push through days of low energy. I haven’t actually managed to finish this one yet as I find it quite textbook-y. However, the information is absolutely on point and it focuses on how to differentiate your thinking from the ‘human’ and ‘the chimp’. As I am super tired all the time I feel like my chimp brain is always in action. I don’t always have the energy to think carefully about my reaction to something and I am definitely starting to identify chimp behaviours in myself so I hope to have this read soon so I can start to implement them!
In addition to the above books I also read
- The Little Book of Hygge
I have walked past this book in bookshops SO many times, picked it up and put it back down again. If, like me, you hesitated about this book I advise you to get it straight in your basket! I have never felt so happy and chill reading a book. Hygge, is a word to describe the Danish Way of living, it can not be literally translated into English but it is used to describe the feeling of contentment by enjoying the simple things in life such as lighting a fire and some candles, cooking together and cosying up with a blanket and a book. It also describes Hygge Christmas and includes some recipes that are considered very Hygge. I absolutely LOVED this book and I always drifted off to sleep in a good mood after reading it (before yano the sleep demons turned up and ruined it but it was a nice 5 minutes).
- Normal People
You may have seen on my Instagram that my Kindle miraculously came back to life after taking a swim in my bath a wile back. I decided to get some new e-books right away and Normal People was ranking as super popular so I downloaded it. Not long after the series was on TV so I hurried to read it before watching the show itself. It didn’t disappoint! I actually had no idea about it’s content before I read it funnily enough. Normal People is the most extraordinary book I have read in a long time. It’s the way the writer captures their emotions and the miscommunications that often come with relationships. I also love the phased way of writing which captures key moments in time of their relationship. Its raw, its vunerable and it leaves nothing to the imagination (ha!). It’s the realistic love story away from the fairytale crap that you watch growing up. It is a must read AND watch of the TV series.
I feel like I am back in I.T trying to make cool images and failing haha.
My sleep is always going to be a work in progress where I add and take-away different things to help me manage Narcolepsy. Trying to be consistent and keep in routine with this condition is very difficult. You can get into a great routine for two weeks maybe and then something happens, something shifts and it goes out the window. When this happens it is incredibly frustrating. Everyone knows the saying to get back on the horse but when you are falling off a horse every two weeks or less it feels harder to get up each time. That sounds very deep but its how it is. I enjoy when people say how positive I am and happy. Its not that this is a deception but I have to keep an optimism, a hope that things will get better or I would lose my mind. Some days I want to stay in my bed all day and just give in to the exhaustion. Since lockdown I have let myself have a longer nap in the evening and its actually been the worst thing for my routine. I have woken up groggy with an upset stomach usually so I have gotten back to my 20 minute naps and I feel much better.
This month I have focused on music a lot as a pick-me up for my mornings and evening wind down. I have also been listening to the Wake up Wind Down recordings by Niall Breslin on Spotify which are absolutely fantastic. I feel like I’m his bestie now I listen to them everyday haha. Here are some updates on what I was chatting about last month:
- Phone/ Screen use – I have sort of fell off the wagon with respect to my phone being outside the bedroom so I want to get back into that again now that my kindle is alive and well. My online shopping has definitely went up this month.
- Morning Routine – I have made good progress here, even getting out in the morning for a walk but I still sleep in the odd time. I’m not sure that can ever be totally prevented from happening though with being this sleep deprived. It’s good to have the intention and the steps I want to take though.
- Nighttime Routine – Last month I was only really introducing this to my routine and I am pleased to say that it has made a HUGE difference. The act of doing something nice for yourself before bed and then gradually winding down is so rewarding. As part of my routine I have now introduced skincare. I usually would have used cleanser in the shower as I quickly wash my face before jumping out again. Now I make sure to do my skincare every night before bed. It makes me feel good to look after my skin and helps me to relax before bed. It also keeps on top of those pesky breakouts. There are SO many skincare brands that I found myself a bit overwhelmed trying to research them so I turned to Youtube. I would recommend James Welsh or Hyram on there as they are super honest and easy to follow when it comes to complicated ingredients! I have been using the Ordinary products although I haven’t got a SPF yet which I really need to start wearing now that I am at the old age of 28!
- Cataplexy – I am now experiencing more noticeable Cataplexy symptoms. I was watching something the other night and someone made a joke and I spilled my tea all down myself. I’m not sure if it was my hand or my jaw muscle that weakened. It was quite upsetting as it showed that the Cataplexy is getting gradually worse.
- Nutrition – I have made some positive steps this month with my nutrition. I am taking my supplements religiously and it has made a huge difference with my mood. I noticed this in particular during hormonal flares, which weren’t as bad as previous months as a result. I have also been making smoothies in the morning with my Nutribullet and have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels, which is great. My boyfriend is a much better (and eager)cook than me and he purchased a slow cooker and food processor which he has been loving and I have been eating the delicious food made from it!
- Exercise – I have got a bit better at completing daily exercise this month and I even lost weight! I have been enjoying walking and yoga and the weight loss has given me a wee boost to keep going.
- Social – I have to say that this is still a struggle for me as I am embracing my introvert side a little too much haha
- This month I want to do a bit more personal development and learn some new skills. I sort of feel a bit jaded with my blog in terms of how it looks and I would love to jazz it up a bit. I saw a few courses on Google Garage so I’m going to give them a go and see how I get on. I’m a big nerd at heart and absolutely LOVE learning new things. Can’t believe I just wrote that. Oh well, it probably wasn’t that much of a secret anyway!
- Exercise – As I said above I have incorporated this more into my routine which is great and I want to continue this but maybe add a workout into the mix as well.
- Hormones – I have made a new observation this month and that is that my mood is heavily dictated by my monthly fun times and I have started looking into this a lot more. I noticed that my anxiety and sad feeling is more prevalent before my period and I have taken steps to monitor this. I have always known that my Narcolepsy is worse during this time and I would love to be able to get a handle on it because it is literally taking over two weeks of my life every month and it just seems that bit harder to get back on the horse each time so I’m keeping a close eye on it. There’s a few apps where you can track this and I am using Clue at the minute.
- Finances – like everyone, I have been loving the online shopping a wee bit too much so I want to get back to my daily and monthly budgets. I also want to look into Investing a bit more and dust off those old skills!
- My final goal is to put myself out there a bit more. To date I have been really just poking my head up and then back down again. I want to find a flow in blog writing but I must also be patient with myself as once my routines are more solid then I know that this will come in time. I think sometimes I feel like I don’t have very much value to add as I am not at my end goal but the journey is what people can relate to more so it is still worth sharing and then maybe one day I can look back and see just how far I have come.
- Hygge- I am now officially obsessed with everything that makes up making a home more Hygge. I have ordered new prints for my office wall, I bought a blanket and I’m lighting candles again haha. I think it’s a good thing to be obsessed with though so I’m not mad about it.
Finally…my thoughts on the current situation..
This is a tough time for all of us and everyone is affected in some shape or form. We have went through so many different stages of coping from being optimistic to wanting to tear our hair out and back again. I also feel that Social Media and it’s comparison culture isn’t helping. Before all of this happened, it was about who had the most spectacular weekend and it has now shifted to who is coping the best under lockdown. Please don’t compare how you are coping to someone else – you are doing just fine! At the start I feel like I was paying too much attention to Social Media and not enough to what I myself actually enjoyed. Get off social media and have a think about what it is you enjoy and helps you cope. Some things I have enjoyed have been:
- Music – always top of my list and my main survival mechanism.
- Kicking my new football around
- Watching shows and movies that make me proper belly laugh – we all could do with some humour right now!
- Treating myself to a few things every so often – buzzin off my loungewear at the minute
- Discovering new podcasts (the most recent Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – it’s so lovely to listen to!)
- Writing (although I haven’t wrote as many blogs as I would have liked to)
- Skincare – so ready to emerge into the world again lookin flawwwwwless
This week is Mental Health week. Check in with all those around you, I feel like the current situation will mean more people than ever will be suffering from poor mental health and it’s SO important that we talk to someone about it. For me, Pandemic or not my mind is still obsessed with productivity. If I don’t have a productive day I always feel particularly low in the evening and that can be hard when trying to cope with everything that is happening. I try to go easy on myself but by doing so my mind is critical that I haven’t achieved enough. It’s one of those things that I have to continuously work on. I have come so far with my mental health but I feel like it is something that is constantly evolving and you really have to keep an eye on. Even when you think you have it all figured out, something can surprise you and old feelings can arise. One thing that is helping me a wee bit is just having a to-do list with a few tasks on it and then I can feel a sense of achievement or feed my chimp brain as Prof Steve Peters would say!
I think at this point what people are struggling with is the lack of end date. Yes, lockdown has been eased in ways but our life as we know it won’t return for a while yet. This is why it will be important to look after our mental health more than ever. Figure out a few things that bring you happiness and do them as often as you can. That doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days though. I think for me I had to just get back to basics because the struggles that come with a chronic illness were drowning everything out. I know that this Pandemic will feel a bit like that for some people too.
Please don’t feel embarrassed about mental health, everyone has it and if you are struggling please consult a professional. A lot of people are offering online services at the minute so it has never been more convenient to speak to someone. Check out @red_dutchess and @madebyjadenutrition.
I will end this little blog update with a quote I shared on my personal instagram a wee while ago now when I started to try and figure out my mental health:
“Never let a stumble in the road be the end of your journey”
Hoping to chat to you all soon, take care everyone
The Girl Who Ran Away In Her Sleep