World Mental Health Day (a few days late)

Seven years and 13 days ago I had the second (of 3) breakdowns. This, the middle one, was by far the worst and the one that could’ve ended my life but in the end was my saviour. How strange that something so bleak and horrendous could be the best thing to ever happen to me.

30th September 2010: the date has been seared on my bran ever since and every year I’ve felt down in the lead up to it, the events have played on my mind and for a few weeks afterwards I’ve not been the most cheerful of people.

2017 though…. 2017 had been markedly different. I actually forgot about it! No constant thoughts, no dwelling on all that happened that day and has happened since. In fact until World Mental Health day on 10th October I wasn’t paying much attention to the past at all.

And well, isn’t that something to celebrate???

It’s not perfect. After a couple of comments about being quiet I guess I’m not completely over the anniversary even if it’s my subconscious that’s still needing work rather than anything else.

Looking back on the last few weeks I have been quieter. I’ve not been that well either which could have played a part in that too. I’ve also been consumed with shouting at student finance England for nearly ruining my attempts at re-starting my OU degree (all fine again now). I’ve not really been keeping in touch with people. So there’s still a way to go but I’m feeling quite pleased with myself today

I’ve got so many exciting things coming up in the next 12 months. I’ve got some challenges to work on (and because I love them so much I’ve got action plans to work on those challenges) and I’m looking forward to the future so much.

Here’s to forgetting about breakdowns even more next year 🙂


Diet Blog week 6

Lost 2lbs

Total 8lbs

Finally I’ve moved some weight! This is the first time in a few weeks where it hasn’t felt like my body was against me. No broken teeth, phantom periods, real periods and God knows what else. I stepped up the walking and have been pushing myself as much as I can. One thing I’ve noticed is if on holiday or pottering around I can walk 15-20k steps without noticing. These though usually involve several stops for cups of tea and rest. When pushing myself to do as many steps in one go then I can do about 8000 before my body remembers it’s overweight and getting old and starts to ache. So I’ve been doing around that figure, stopping for a rest then doing the same number again and it seems to be working. There’s a burn there for sure.

I’ve also been cutting out the carbs and having lots more protein. I expected it to be hard as I’m not a big meat eater but I do like ham and eggs so I’ve had quite a few omelettes.

There have been a few challenges after the weigh in above that hopefully I can pull back from that I’ll cover next week but I’m feeling determined and hopeful as I go along. This is the last time I’ll ever allow myself to be this weight.

2017 mid-year in review

I’m a few months late really for a mid-year review but I’ve just spotted my gratitude/good- things-happening jar is 3/4 full. Without looking through it (that’s a treat for between Christmas and New Year) I’ve been thinking about the last 8 months.

Work – It’s been a roller coaster year. Some days I love my job and some days I just want to hide under the duvet and pretend it’s not there. Pretty standard with most people I guess. I’m just a Geminian drama queen so when the horrible days happen I’m telling everyone I want to quite and having mini-meltdowns (as I did about 6 weeks ago). However I’ve recently taken on the role of well being advocate so I get to put together events such as our team walking challenge. Events like that make me happy enough to push through on days when it’s not so great

Self employment – I had a push to re-start this in 2017. It’s also had it’s ups and downs to the point where I decided to take a step back to see if it’s really what I want to do with my life. Turns out I’m passionate about these things but not so hot on working for myself. I’m just not business minded. There are so many things I could be doing besides updating websites, pushing the business, and doing all that annoying paperwork. As I have a day job guess what – the boring admin jobs don’t get done. The task now then is to find ways to utilise the things I love but maybe not on a self employment basis. Or just plod along and see what the universe has in store.

House – This is an area with lots of success this year. Tomorrow I get a new hall carpet after it twice suffered through a burst boiler. I’ve talked in previous blogs about having a debt plan and little spare cash so this is a big deal for me at the minute. I’ve also repainted all the rooms. Still a little bummed that my lovely coloured walls are all pale magnolia/barest peach but if I follow through on my plans to sell up in 2 years these are the colours buyers want. If I decide to stay then Oh I m going to have so much fun repainting everything red/orange and yellow! I’ve also replaced lots of little things like lampshades, kitchen utensils, pots and pans and so on. By the end of the year the last few rooms (kitchen and cupboards) will have been repainted. I may have to give in to the idea of pale walls but I’m getting my colour in my accessories.

Health – My diet blogs are ongoing. 6lbs so far and I’m keeping up to the diet. I’ve a walking challenge on this month but I’ve been pushing the number of steps for a while now. One thing about being a wellbeing advocate. It means I have to practise what I’m preaching so less pizza more health. I’ve reconnected with a dentist and currently saving for some cosmetic dental treatments. I finally started having the money to get my hair styled and coloured on a regular basis. The second half of 2017 is all about me and these small things are going some way to not finding myself but rediscovering myself.

Fun/Life – Oh this needs work. I’ve been to a few events this year. First music concerts in a  couple of years and some drinking nights out. What I’ve discovered though is that I miss being out and about. I’m a sociable person but the debt plan is killing that. Me and my friend who lives in a different city had a heart to heart about this with the plan that we will take turns visiting each others houses per month and go out on the town. That’s one thing to look forward to. I then made a list of who I am and what I like to see how I can use it to start reconnecting with people. How do I get out without much financial investment. I’ve started at a couple of book clubs which are ok. It’s early days yet. One of the things I thought of was a night class. Instead I decided to re-start my open university degree/ I have 2 (part time) years left. That will give me the opportunity to go to some study days and connect with people on Facebook forums. I’ve a little list of some other bits to look at too.

Money – This is a biggie. I am now half way through my debt plan. I’ve managed to reduce the end date by 3 months and most importantly I have cleared 50% of my debt. Seeing the figures last month was one such a happy moment and one I didn’t think I’d see

So when I have a bad work day or a day when my mood is low I can actually look back and see actually this year has been pretty amazing. They’re all small steps but they’re adding up to one great year.

Diet blog week 5

Weight lost this week  – 0lbs

Weight loss total – 6lbs

Stayed the same this week…again. So disappointed as I felt until the day of the weigh in that I was doing really well. I’m going through an early menopause (I’m 45) and sometimes it really feels like my body is trying to sabotage me. I didn’t have these issues when I dieted in my twenties. Last week I just felt bloated…this week I really was. My third period in the last 12 months and it chose weigh in day to happen. Why couldn’t it have waited until the day after??

I’ve also had to deal with a chipped tooth. That is my fault as I accepted a Haribo. Yes one small jelly sweet broke my tooth and I had four days before I could get it fixed. Four days of soft food. If ever there was a reason to give up candy!

I’ve had my sulk, my teeth are fixed and I’ve been averaging around 12000 footsteps for the last few days. Our work walking challenge starts tomorrow and we’re so competitive so I know I’ll be pushing myself this week.

I’ve also taken over as the teams well-being advocate so I need to practise what I preach now. This month is healthy heart week and even when there are bad weeks with the diet I’ll console myself with the fact that I haven’t gained again and I’m taking all the steps I can to keep my heart healthy.

I’ve also been given a few Youtube websites to get some exercise sessions. Not sure yet whether they are free or if there’s a subscription. That’s one of my goals for this week. I’ve also dug an old wii fit out of the cupboard and bought some new games for it. Lots of opportunity for change going forward.

Hopefully I’ll see the reward for some of this on the scales next week


Diet blog week 4

Weight lost this week  – 0lbs

Weight loss total – 6lbs

Stayed the same this week but early life menopause is to blame for most of it. In a previous time real and phantom periods often led to a 2-3lb weight gain so I’ll take it. I’d be happier to not stay the same but I have to remember that I’m on a life changing journey not a quick fix and that a loss or staying the same is still a positive and I’ve still not had the take aways and chocolates. I’m walking more. I’ve set myself a challenge of a minimum of 7000 steps on a work day and 5000 on a non-one. It’s not the recommended 10k steps but the aim is to have this challenge a regular occurrence and then I’ll increase.

However that may be sooner than expected. I was given the task at work of putting together something that the whole team could do for fun and a way to bring us together in spirit if not physically as we are spread out across the whole of England and don’t get to see each other often. So I’ve spent this week calculating how many footsteps it is from my office in Leeds to Louvre in Paris (and for any of my team that want a ‘return’ trip – Louvre to our office in London). It’s just over 1 million & 7000 steps for the first part and there are 22 of us.

It’s already becoming a fun challenge. People are getting competitive with talk of buying fit bits, walking shoes and borrowing neighbours dogs for a walk. Ultimately it’s something good for the heart, the body and the mind. In the 14 weeks we have for this I fully expect weight losses, fitter colleagues (and myself of course) and more importantly a happy, spirited work team

Diet blog week 3

Weight lost this week  – 2lbs

Weight loss total – 6lbs

Much easier to lose weight when you’ve got a week with no real social life 🙂

No meals out meant I could concentrate fully on what I ate and how I cooked the food. As pleased as I am with loss this week I’m double happy with the changes I’m making in lifestyle. Since the diet started I’ve been trying to make lifestyle choice, anything to better myself. So up until yesterday I hadn’t had any chocolate bars and no takeaways. I’d also been taking my own dinner to work.

I say up until yesterday.. I decided that seeing as it was weigh day I’d leave my diner at home and treat myself at the staff canteen. Now I only had potato wedges with cheese and beans but the next day (today) I’m off work with stomach issues. I’ve been up all night ill. I don’t it’s the food choices as there’s nothing really bad about them. But I do wonder if maybe it’s the way they’ve been cooked. The oil used maybe that hasn’t agreed with me.

It makes you realise just how fast the body gets used to being treated nicely with healthy food and then takes offence the minute you feed it bad foods. In an instant I can see the damage I’ve been doing to myself over the years.

So today it’s bland foods while I settle my stomach then back to treating my body like the temple like I want it to be.

See you next week x

(Sweet Soul) Music

The big music news this week is the sad news of the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. I’m not here to get into the rights and wrongs of suicide but all I will say is that if you suffer from depression, if you need someone to talk to please ask for help. If you don’t feel you can do that with friends or family there are many charities out there such as the Samaritans that can offer advice and a listening ear. Seek out your nearest one.

I’ve had an ongoing battle with depression for over 25 years and for me music is a saviour. I love my rock music and metal. There’s something in the guitars that I just love. I always smile the second the opening bars of ‘Back in Black’ strike up. It’s impossible to be miserable with certain songs. But it’s not just metal music. If I’m down I love some Frank Sinatra and Big Band or 80s pop. It doesn’t matter your taste in music, if it makes your heart soar then that’s just play it loud and dance.

Dancing is something else on my mind this week. I saw a short piece that said some people dance as a form of meditation. I find that to be brilliant and have spent the weekend bopping around to see how it works. It is a different feeling to meditation. It just raises the endorphins no end.

It depends on the type of music as to how much energy you expel when dancing. I’ve had an 80s high energy weekend so lots of moving around. It’s fun. What’s the saying – Dance like no one is watching. That’s been me 🙂

So much fun. And again a quick easy way to lift a mood. These are some of my coping mechanisms when my mood is on a down swing. I’ve enough practice after more than 2 decades of knowing when there’s a downswing on the way and out come the tunes.

We’ve all got coping mechanisms, it may be that you don’t know what yours is yet. The key is to find the ones that work for you but as mentioned at the beginning if you need more help, if these things stop working please go seek help.

In the words of Strictly Come Dancing for this week….Keep Dancing xxx