Trying to Beat the Struggle

Work is better.

Home is better; especially financially and regarding support for the biggest small, however I have severely neglected taking care of myself both mentally and physically. I don’t mean in terms of bathing, sleeping, eating, drinking and your basic day to day self care.

I mean more in terms of actually doing something in order to overcome the frustration I feel at myself in tackling my weight problem and my anxiety. I have a year’s gym membership which I have not used since my grandma passed away, and I have also paid for a years slimming world membership…in October.

Which I am not doing well at, or even trying. I am meant to be a bridesmaid next February but I look in the middle and see a frumpy, past-it 32 year old. I don’t know if there’s any other way o can approach this or maintain my efforts aside from biting the bullet and doing it.

I feel I have so many new starts and changes and ugh, it gets old. I realise that’s because it has to come from me, the maintenance and accountability. So here we go, let’s take it a little at a time and slowly best this thing.


Positive Reflection

Despite the fact that by the afternoon I was feeling rather jaded about work again, I managed to accomplish a few positives this evening.  I renewed my DBS certificate for another year, and wrote the majority of my supporting statement for the biggest small’s DLA application.

Also, I gave myself the diet goal tonight if having a completely syn-free dinner which I managed and also not to have any snacks between dinner and bed, which I also achieved. Achieving goals is awesome, no matter how big or small. Tomorrow, as silly as it sounds, I challenge myself not to have any biscuits at snack time and to only eat what I bring for my lunch from home. And not to feel anxious about the morning drive taking littlest small to my aunty’s!

Belated Merry Christmas!

…I have a semi permanent reminder of all the joyous festivities as I have gained half a stone in weight over the last few weeks.

Along with an autism diagnosis for the biggest small and working alone due to my mum having surgery, it’s not had the greatest impact on my overall health however I am determined now to turn this around. On a positive note, my little sister has got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid in 14 months time and I have been accepted to do a master’s degree starting in September next year.

I can still watch videos of balloons being burst, and have felt less anxiety when walking through town if there are balloons so that is also a positive. I have had a lot to overcome in 2017, like many, and feel ready with goals in mind to tackle 2018.

Since I started this blog I have definitely noticed some positive changes, the main thing now is to rebuild those habits and keep them up. It always seemed quite cliche to me to resolve to make changes at the start of a new year, however now I realise it doesn’t matter when as long as you do something. Everything starts with a good intention. 

So here’s to the end of 2017 and the start of a new year. 3 stone to lose…go!

Autumnal Update

Thanks to those who are still with me, it has been a few months since my last post.  I am holding the fort solo so  this may well take all morning to write.  Rather than summarise the last few months, let’s have a look at what’s happening now and what’s relevant to this blog.

The main difficulty I am having at the moment is with the biggest small.  He started nursery part time in September; and two weeks prior to that he all of sudden decided he wasn’t going to use the potty or toilet anymore.  Fast forward to this week, and despite my plan of revisiting toilet training alas it was not to be, so looks like we’re going to be waiting until Christmas before braving the pants again. Disheartening? Yes.  End of the world? No. He still fits in pull-ups and nappies at night.  I guess I mainly feel disappointed because he was independently taking himself to the toilet over summer and then just regressed 10 weeks ago.

Littlest small is having a bit of a skin flare-up at the moment; he had to be seen in the children’s emergency department earlier in the month because his eczema got really bad and the poor dude ended up on antibiotics and steroid cream.  It’s still something we have to keep an eye on and meanwhile have to cover him in thick ointment twice a day which husband particularly dislikes as he hates the texture!  Can’t say I blame him.

Small people aside, I have noticed how Mindfulness has been effective at helping me cope with balloons and fireworks in social situations recently.  Last weekend I was enjoying a girly night with my lady friends, we were sat in the back garden with a fire blazing and there were firewoeks going off at random times throughout the evening.   They weren’t particularly loud, and the amaretto being consumed may have helped calm to nerves but it felt like a big step. Then the following day, as a family we went with out good friends for lunch at a pub in town and there were balloons all over the place (as decorations, not where people could play with them) and I didn’t bad an eyelid as I walked in and had an anjoyable meal.  I soon forgot about the balloons, and if any burst whilst I was there I certainly didn’t notice.  Since my operation I have neglected my mindfulness studies somewhat so have made a conscious effort recently to get more into it.

One of my short term goals is to get back into diet and exercise; I hve recently purchased a years’ membership to both Slimming World Online and the gym and neither are going very well, a month in.  I have been too lenient with myself when it comes to eating and not exercising so realise i need to incorporate mindfulness and more self disciplne to make this investment work for me, starting, well, today.

I’m trying to make a conscious effort to think before I eat about if I am hungry and if what I am going to be putting in my body is worth it and try and take some steps aorund the house to stay active.  This may prove challenging with a clingy small but will do my best!

Bloodstock 2017

I was very anxious in the lead up to Bloodstock this year. Husband and I only had a day ticket for the Sunday, so with a good friend driving and my mum taking care of the kids we were ready to go.
I had been feeling anxious about the crowds, whether there would be loud pyrotechnics or fireworks, what state the toilets would be in and whether I would have any difficulty getting drink so that I could deal with the above. 
I had nothing to worry about. I was with good friends, the booze flowed freely and although there were pyrotechnics there was nothing loud or frightening. I enjoyed Obituary, Skindred, Arch Enemy and Megadeth whilst in good company and rather inebriated.

Definitely felt the after effects for a couple of days afterwards; roll in next year! 

A Mindful Dental Experience

I am feeling a bit sensitive at the moment emotionally. Nothing in particular has happened, could be due to hormones but I have decided to focus on something positive; my painful dentist visit earlier today.

Firstly, in my town there have been loads of reports of people, in particular those who are homeless or street drinkers/drug abusers taking a substance called black mamba or mamba spice which causes them to behave in a strange and sometimes unpleasant manner.

This has resulted in problems for local businesses and many ambulances being called for people who have overdosed on the substance. I was apprehensive about walking to the dentist in the centre of town, convinced l would witness such sights for myself!

I  was grateful that I saw none of the above, and noticed there was police presence at one of the areas notorious for it so that made me feel better. So onto the experience itself.

I saw my dentist today for a deep clean. I have had these in the past; not the most comfortable experience but something i have coped with before.

After the initial measurements and x-rays, the treatment began. Oh my goodness… I was not expecting that level of discomfort! The dentist explained before the procedure if I wanted a break to raise my hand. I didn’t want to prolong the experience any further, so i chose to reflect on mindfulness CBT techniques I had read and firstly, with effort, accepted the pain.

Yes it was uncomfortable and i wouldn’t have said no to anaesthetic, but I accepted it was happening and that was the worst it would feel. I also alternsted between focusing on my breath as I inhaled and exhaled, and the sensation of my feet making contact with the dentists chair. I had a lot of tension in my shoulders and upper torso (no surprises there) and so I worked on trying to relax that part of my body.

Finally the clean was over and the dentist commented on how well I coped with it. The pain didn’t get any easier, at times it increased but I accepted it for what it was and found strength in that.

Acceptance is a powerful thing and I look forward to trying this again! Now I have a new regime each night to help heal my gums. Also, I accepted I had a bad diet day by treating myself to a salted caramel brownie and some yoghurt banana chips on the way home!

Mindful Parenting

Typically, I am all ready for bed (after a challenging bedtime with toddler followed by this week’s Game of Thrones) when the inspiration to write this post hits me in the face like a sledgehammer. Or that might be the coffee I just drank; either way I want to talk about Mindful parenting.
Please note, these are my own ideas and opinions based on my own studies and practices of mindfulness and it’s all part of my overall journey.
It has been noted, and also researched in peer-reviewed journals about the benefits of practicing Mindfulness as an individual. However, personally, I haven’t yet come across anything specific relating to parenting and a mindful relationship between parent and child. It’s very easy to assume, from the outside, how actively practicing mindfulness with your child has benefits to both the parent and child. Some of which may include (but not limited to);
Patience, compassion, understanding, tolerance, awareness, shared experience, learning 
Now I am not saying you can’t have these without Mindfulness, that would be silly. I like to think I had several of these qualities already thank you very much…but mindfulness can certainly (and does) help with honing them in is particular situation and to be more aware of them. I find with my 3 year old my emotions and thoughts definitely have an effect on how we interact. For example, I can feel myself get wound up and frustrated and notice the manifestson of that in my behaviour when he refuses to do as I have asked. Or go to bed. Or isn’t very kind to his little brother.

A more Mindful way of dealing with it would be to perhaps focus on my breath, make myself aware of what is happening as an observer and accept his behaviour.I don’t have to like it, just accept it without judgement. Ideally this would lead me to calmly respond rather than react. Is there a cue of his I am missing? Do I literally need to sit calmly and quietly with him, for however long it takes, until he calms down?

I thought of some other aspects of parenting and how I could implement Mindfulness for the benefit of my relationship with my children and the benefit of…well…practicing mindfulness!

When giving my child a cuddle, take in everything about it! How they smell, what their body feels against mine, how relaxed we both feel, listen to their breath or any other sound they make, and if possible view their face and how they snuggle into me. Make nothing else in those moments as important as that cuddle.

Mindful eating is one of the first exercises I undertook on my mindfulness course last year. The idea is to notice the physical appearance, smell, texture and taste of the food as of you have never experienced it before. Chew each mouthful carefully and really  taste the food. You can use simple language to talk about these themes with small children; colours, textures, flavours etc. Mine are too small to understand the concept of mindful eating but by drawing attention to these details it serves as a reminder to me and hopefully piques their interest and attention!

I touched on this earlier when talking about toddler at bedtime but it applies to all unacctable/undesirable behaviour; respond rather than react! If you are feeling cross and fed up (inevitable) make a conscious effort to focus on the breath and become a watchman of your negative emotions. Keep breathing and know this will pass; meanwhile pay attention to what is happening in the moment and if there are any cues or clues which will help when not led by emotions that will calm the situation. At the very least, projecting calm will help you and them! I appreciate at this stage it’s very easy to say and hard to do but that’s where the practice has to come in.
So these are just a few ideas, a drop in what I could see being a vast ocean. I believe if I can more actively practice being mindful with and around the children, my behaviour will have a positive influence on them and their future conduct. I don’t plan on forcing them to sit quietly and meditate (yet!) but at least lead by example. From tomorrow I aim to practice what I preach. As I also work with children this provides ample opportunity to practice! 

Good luck any fellow parents who wish to join me on this adventure 🙂

3.5 weeks post surgery

I have made a few changes recently. Firstly, I joined Slimming World for the third time (!) a fortnight after my op and it’s going well so far. I am able to make it work at work as well as home. I need to do it for a year I reckon; not deciding after a few months I don’t need it anymore and undoing my hard work.

Also trying to make more of a conscious effort to be more present in the now. My biggest downfall is technology; I am playing an online game and find myself constantly checking it. I should try and restrict myself! 

That aside I am feeling good, healed and ready to move on. There are plenty of balloon videos and meditations for me to be gettin on with whilst trying to ignore the call of gaming! 

Post Surgical Summary

I’ve had it!
I have been put to sleep and under the knife (surely you say that for keyhole too?!) and am back home to tell the tale. After a long wait and hospita visits qhich I have posted about here, my gallbladder is no longer a part of me.   My surgery was Sunday,  and I was advised to get there for 7 and not eat anything since the night before as is standard.
After an 8 hour wait I finally went down to theatre where thew op itself went very well and I was brought up to the ward. However,  perhaps because I hadn’t eaten or drank my blood pressure was very low so I quite willingly spent the night in hospital in my own private room and enjoyed the benefits of hospital drugs and meals brought to me and the comfy hospital bed!

I got home yesterday late afternoon and have been having codeine and paracetamol. Mindfulness helped a lot, during the wait, anaesthesia and recovery.  The codeine is affecting my thoughts right now so I am going to stop but yay surgery and yay mindfulness! 

Weekend Away

I am writing this from our caravan on the last night of our weekend away at Reighton Sands resort in Filey.

We have had a lovely time, and I overcame the challenge of driving to a holiday destination with the assistance of husband and google maps. I learned that I don’t like driving on country roads because they are very bendy and other drivers get cross if you don’t overtske lorries despite the fact you can’t see around them properly to get a proper view of the roadcahead to determine whether it is safe to or not.
We have taken the boys on the beach, swimming, on the park, out for dinner and in the arcade. Many photos were taken. The caravan is lovely and comfortable despite there being 6 of us and everything is so close that we haven’t used the car since we got here.

So for the journey back, I am going to stand up for all other cautious drivers and if i want to sit safely but slowly behind a lorry on an unfamiliar country road, I bloody well will! 
If people get impatient, that’s their problem not mine. I am who I am, not the sum of what others may think of me.
Update: Back Home 2 nights later.
I am so proud of myself, drove back all in one go with no problems! Also received a massive compliment from mother in law; I don’t have any wrinkles and apparently look a lot younger than my 32 years! Blimey!

Have my pre-op appointment tomorrow for Sunday’s surgery. Eek.