Listening to your inner voice

I’ve spent the last few weeks paying real close attention to myself and my anxiety. I started back with the counsellor 2 weeks ago and we’ve been working on ‘inner voices’, what mine is saying and making note of it to reflect and work on.

It’s worked really well and I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself and generally been able to discuss it and start working on letting it go. Up until yesterday my anxiety has been low and I’ve felt quite happy with my progress.

Yesterday my anxiety levels started going up and I couldn’t quite work out at first why. There didn’t seem to be a particular trigger. So I’ve been listening to my inner voice. (I really should name her)

And what my voice is telling me is I’m tired.

On Monday (it’s Thursday now) I travelled to London for an all day meeting on Tuesday. I didn’t get check into my hotel until 7 and I never sleep well in hotels. It also meant I couldn’t eat as well as I’d like. As much as I’d like to once you’ve checked into a hotel and it’s getting close to 8pm you just want to go to the first restaurant you find to eat rather than spend an hour walking around to find the best fit. My colleague will only eat in a Nando’s when she works away. I never seem to have the energy to go searching.

All of this means my diet went out of the window. It’s not the calories and weight loss but rather I’ve been eating quite cleanly and with low carbs and you just don’t know half the time what is going into the cooking. I ended up with chicken and chips and some sauce. It was a restaurant based sauce (not ketchup!) so I don’t know the ingredients and I didn’t have the energy to ask.

Tuesdays meeting was eventful as there’s been a terror related car crash that morning which was on my route to work. Then we were evacuated for over 30 minutes because of a bomb threat (I’m a civil servant and my office when in London houses many senior leaders). While I was anxious about that it does mean you have a higher level of alertness and are less likely to stroll around enjoying your day.

Two days on and I’m still feeling over-tired, my diet hasn’t righted itself quite (I’ve gained a pound as well) and despite having completed my 10k steps a day I don’t feel like I’ve moved around and exercised enough and I’m anxious. So the anxiety this week is the inner voice coming out telling me I need to exercise, get out at lunchtime (I haven’t all week) and go for a walk and to eat better.

I’ve started this morning by making sure I’ve brought my own lunch. Originally I had back to back conference calls from 9 until 3pm (not healthy) but as the 12pm one has been cancelled I’m going to go outside and get some fresh air (even if it is raining on and off) and hopefully the anxious feelings will start to settle.

Eat well, move about more and sleep well. Simple things but sometimes we just don’t do these enough.

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On The Up #mentalhealth #wellbeing

There’s been a big difference already since the last post. Now I’ve admitted (to myself as much as others) that I’ve been struggling with my mental health and taken steps to put into action some support I already feel much better.

Everyone handles their mental health issues in different ways but for me I need to be active and so on Monday I went back to work. I’m no good at sitting at home, I just brood on stuff and make it worse.

I’m a big believer in positivity and that positive thoughts breed positive actions and I’ve found that by thinking positive this week and talking to people about changes that need to be made that events have turned up to help me do just that. The universe is listening.

I had a really good chat with my manager who is turning out to be really supportive. I’m ambitious so we’ve been looking at ways to stretch myself without making myself ill.

I’m actually looking forward to my next gym session. Until Sundays induction I had never been in a gym (always done exercise classes) as I found them intimidating but this one I think will work for me. I’ve kept up my 10,000 steps in between and feel really well within my body.

And then lastly (it is only Wednesday) our sports and social club have started a ‘staycation’ event over the summer basically offering lots of little events that you can do. I’ve signed up for 3 walks around the city centre and some crafting. One is making book marks and the other is teabag paper folder. I have no clue! But they sound like fun. I’ve not done neither of these things before and it actually fits in with my 4 point plan from the occupational health consultant.

So a big turnaround from this time last week when I found it difficult to leave the house and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.

There’s been a big difference already since the last post. Now I’ve admitted (to myself as much as others) that I’ve been struggling with my mental health and taken steps to put into action some support I already feel much better.

Everyone handles their mental health issues in different ways but for me I need to be active and so on Monday I went back to work. I’m no good at sitting at home, I just brood on stuff and make it worse.

I’m a big believer in positivity and that positive thoughts breed positive actions and I’ve found that by thinking positive this week and talking to people about changes that need to be made that events have turned up to help me do just that. The universe is listening.

I had a really good chat with my manager who is turning out to be really supportive. I’m ambitious so we’ve been looking at ways to stretch myself without making myself ill.

I’m actually looking forward to my next gym session. Until Sundays induction I had never been in a gym (always done exercise classes) as I found them intimidating but this one I think will work for me. I’ve kept up my 10,000 steps in between and feel really well within my body.

And then lastly (it is only Wednesday) our sports and social club have started a ‘staycation’ event over the summer basically offering lots of little events that you can do. I’ve signed up for 3 walks around the city centre and some crafting. One is making book marks and the other is teabag paper folder. I have no clue! But they sound like fun. I’ve not done neither of these things before and it actually fits in with my 4 point plan from the occupational health consultant.

So a big turnaround from this time last week when I found it difficult to leave the house and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 183 Frustrations #365daychallenge

Today has been a bit of a frustrating day after a relaxing weekend. I woke up to the sound of my neighbour having some kind of argument with slamming doors. This was about 6am and he’s normally so quiet so a bit unusual. I also could only hear the one voice so intriguing as well! Sadly he’s not been there long and I don’t know him well enough (as you never see him) to get any gossip.

So I didn’t wake up too well. Then the bus was delayed by 10 minutes. It didn’t really affect anything in getting to work but along with having to go back home before I caught the bus as I’d forgotten my locker key it added to my negative mood. Sometimes I feel a bit anxious going into work. It stems from a previous job and so I often go into the city centre early and spend 20-30 minutes having a hot drink sat somewhere first. Usually this means I get to work unstressed and not rushed. However it didn’t work today and I still felt really anxious until about lunchtime.

Then my conference call to discuss data I need for my job has been put back 2 days. To top it all off my  outlook for emails has been really slow and keeps crashing. All in all I’ve spent most of the day counting the hours down until I can go home again.

I did get some encouraging texts from my friend today so that made me feel a bit better. Sometimes there are days like this where we feel everything is not awesome and nothing seems to work. Sometimes it’s okay to acknowledge that and let it run it’s course. For me it doesn’t usually last too long and so I don’t fight it.

To quote Gone With the Wind – Tomorrow is another day… (and tomorrow is my late working day so if nothing else I’ll get a lie in #positives)

365 Day Blog challenge Day 158 The Wheel of Life #365daychallenge

Yesterday in my development course we had an exercise called the Wheel of Life. In this you have a wheel broken into 8 sections. In each section are 10 dotted lines and you have to rate each section as to where you think you are. The purpose being you can then work out which areas of your life need extra support and attention. I first did this exercise in 2015 just after an anxiety based breakdown. I’d been diagnosed with a sever anxiety disorder.

These days I’m at my happiest and I feel really good. I know I have anxiety but I believed I had it under control for the most part. I do know my social anxiety has got the bets of me a little bit but actually when I compare the two charts I can see I’ve been deluding myself a lot.

One good thing about yesterday was the chance to talk it out with people who challenged me a bit on the subject and really made me thing. This was part of the course as we had to really discuss what changes we wanted to make in our lives and how. Then we had to have honesty discussions with each other as to how likely we will stick to the actions we’d set ourselves.

Looking at my 2 charts my work score has gone up. Understandable as I was in a job that I’d lost the love for and had no support, now after a lot of hiccups along the way I enjoy my job and have a lot of support. My health score went up 5 points! That’s down to the diet and walking I’m doing, the positive results and holding myself accountable in this blog. It makes me hyper aware of what I’m doing.

Money and personal growth are the same. I’d just started the repayment plan and so I think that score will be low until it has finished and I am always looking at new ways to grow in knowledge.

The rest went down and if I look at the categories they are all things influenced by being sociable; relationships, fun, friends and so on. Again in this blog I’ve talked about my social anxiety and how sometimes I think my finances have impacted on it but it’s harsh to see no positive change in 3 years. I trust myself with my physical health now to not dwell on it too much so the mental health side must be something to focus on for the rest of the year. I don’t want to check in 12 months time never mind in 3 years and have the same feelings.

I’ve taken some strides; following on from the flirtology book I’m getting quite used to chats with strangers now. I now need to take this forward more. I finally found a book club I enjoy and feel comfortable with. There is though, so much more to do. I need to sit with pen and paper as I think better that way and come up with some actions. I’m at a point where I refuse to let this take over my life any further and in a place where my will is ready to do battle with my brain and not let it control me. Now all I need is a plan.

365 Day Blog challenge Day 77 – Letting Go of what doesn’t serve you #365daychallenge

I’m still full of cold, still under the blanket fort of self pity and seeing as I’ve spent the last 77 days thinking about and dealing with my demons my thoughts today have moved onto books.

I’ve decided to get rid of my JK Rowling Harry Potter books. I decided earlier in the year to re-read them. This is the first time since Deathly Hallows came out in 2007. Since then they’ve gathered dust on the shelves. I’ve read the complete set of Pratchett Discworld books twice in that time and there’s 41 of them. I think I’ve seen the HP film series a good 3 or 4 times in the 11 years since the last book.

I’ve managed 3 HP books and I’m thinking they’re …okay. I have a feeling it could be another 11 years until I read them again. So I’ve decided to sell them. I’ve less money this year than previous years but still the same things to save up for so the money raised (all £4 of it…) will go towards the new passport I need. And if I do want to read them again…then that’s what libraries are for.

But it’s made me think about the things we cling onto whether because we feel we should, or because it cost us lots of money originally or because we thought something was cool or pretty. My mum has 32 dinner services. She lives alone and uses the same plate, cup and bowl all the time. She bought the dinner sets because she thought they were pretty and because the shopping filled a need at the time. They’re not even on display like my books. They’re in the garage, getting damp and dusty.

We cling onto these things then that serve no purpose to us. Letting go of these things is good for the soul no matter what the item. So the books are going. I feel quite pleased with the decision and there’s now space on the shelves for books I will read in more than one decade.