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! 

Advertisements

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!
Cuddles

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.
Mealtimes

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!
Behaviour

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.

The Rise and Plateau of the Fit Fatty

Can anyone else identify with me here; my diet is currently pretty poor (not overall,more the fact I tend to binge on ridiculous crap in the evening) resulting in me being overweight. However on the flip side, I now work out at least every other day and run 10k per week over 2 evenings so I am probably physically fitter and stronger than I have ever been.

I feel good, my mental health is good but no difference on the scales or with the way my clothes fit! This is why I currently identify with, and like the term “fit fatty”. Yes, my body shape is… Bluntly speaking..fat. But I am a lot fitter and stronger than many ladies I know who have a more slender figure, so I feel more confident about my size knowing that, my love of pizza and carbs aside, I am actually pretty healthy otherwise.

I am not naive, I know I need to make more of a conscious effort to say NO to popcorn, massive portions of noodles and take away food especially if I want to see a difference on the scales. And the surgery I require is most likely a direct effect of having a poor diet over the years. Hands up, I need to take more responsibility especially as a mother.

But that doesn’t change that I feel confident, am learning to say ” f**k it” to any negative feelings on my part about my shape and I know that I am myself and not the sum of what others think of me. Also, I can run. 🙂

Slaying the Beasts and Receiving but a Scratch

Oh look, here comes another mindfulness/anxiety/CBT metaphor post. Observe!

Today I did some proper adulting. However, it almost didn’t happen because I experienced an anxiety attack just as my child care arrived to enable me to partake in said adulting.  My tasks were simply to go and vote, and get a blood test at the local community hospital just the other side of the city centre.  You may not know this, but I don’t have a phobia as such of blood tests but I dislike them immensely due to the fact that my veins are rubbish and tend to disappear when phlebotomists are present.

Today this decided to manifest as a panicky/anxiety-driven flap in which my poor mother was subject to me deciding whether I was going to go or not, me actually phoning my GP to determine whether the test could wait until I go in for my op (it couldnt), phoning my dad to see if he could give me a lift to at least get me there (he couldn’t) and the whole time she remained calm and patient as a said, occupying the smalls whilst I flapped.  Eventually, I decided I was going to put my big girl pants on and go.

Having rubbish veins and unfortunately several previous blood tests, I am aware of all the hints and tricks such as being warm and hydrated, making a fist etc.  tHEREFORE I took all measures, and, get this, decided to become mindfully aware of my walking and then my breathing as I waited for my number to come up.  You know what?  It worked.  The more I breathed, the more I felt my anxiety dissipating and the more relaxed I became,  I was still slightly apprehensive but it was totally manageable.  The phlebotomist I was was lovely, and listened when I explained about my poor history with blood tests.  Usually the aforementioned tricks of the trade helped a little, but today despite my  power walk to the hospital in my coat (after voting – see adult points earned already) followed by drinking a whole bottle of strawberry flavour water, my veins did not want to play ball so she ended up taking blood from my hand using a very pretty but complicated needle – butterfly tube – plastic thing combo.

It wasn’t pleasant, it sucked when she moved the needle around in my veins to try and strike gold but I felt a lot less stressed than I have previously, focusing on my breath and reminding myself this was as bad as it was going to get.  But it certainly wasn’t the worst experience.

 

After that, I power walked to M&S and had a delicious lunch and discovered chocolate covered cookie dough bites and chorizo crisps.  I need to go there for random junk food more often.  I feel like the anxiety was akin to a small yet persistent aggressive terrier that once it got hold would not let go until I took it for a walk, and then it got so bored of terrorising me it just left of its own accord.

 

 

As a bonus, tonight the biggest small asked to play with balloons.  So I sucked it up, and retrieved a couple of small ballons for him and one for his brother from the “therapy balloon bag” and let them play with them for th elongest time ever.  None of them burst and nobody died.  Today was a good therapy day 🙂

13 Reasons Why

This post is a little bit different. I just finished watching “13 Reasons Why” after seeing a lot of comments about it on Facebook from friends. I found the pace slow yet intriguing and the more I watched the more I wanted to learn the outcome. And it got me thinking that I want to share my 13 reasons (not exhaustive) why I want to live.  I am not writing this because I feel suicidal or depressed, more as an affirmation and reminder to appreciate the goodness and joy in life. I also don’t intend it to be a list to state what others should be grateful for because it’s my list but feel the show has had a subtle yet profound impact which I would like to express through writing. So here is my list, unedited and written as it comes to me.

1. My family, immediate and wider. So much love and supporof completiothat goes both ways.

2. My children. I am their world as they are mine.

3. Friendships I share in near and distant proximity, especially those that blossom and grow with little effort.

4. I have a car which I am allowed to use whenever I want to go wherever I would like to. And am getting more confident in doing so!

5. Sooooooo many books and e-books to get through.

6. Using my bullet journal to accomplish day-to-day tasks and relishing in the satisfaction of completion.

7. My mini home gym; I can exercise without leaving the house.

8. Running dates with my beans 🙂

9. Living near a good pub.

10. Future study plans and anticipating my return to academia.

11. We are financially comfortable enough to cover our bills yet poor enough to really appreciate it

12. Life has a lot of lovely surprises, big and small

13. I feel loved.

I could go on but this is a list of 13 reasons in keeping  with the show title. And on that note, time to do a loving kindness meditation.

Being Here Now

I am going to try my very best to articulate these thoughts into words, so bear with me. Firstly,  I cannot fail to mention my sadness about the horrific events that occurred in Manchester last night.  My heart breaks a little with every story, plea for contact with unaccounted for loved ones and devastating news at those who sadly won’t be going home.

Also, the thing that has made me well up the most is the pride i feel for the fellow humans who have gone above and beyond to provide comfort, food, transport, shelter and love to those affected.

I also cannot imagine how Ariana Grande is feeling having her performance targeted like that. Poor lady.

With that said, the inspiration for tonight’s blog came to me whilst I was meditating following a reluctant dumbell workout (wow how pretentious does that sound?!).  A little while ago I wrote about the difference between being and doing, and how to differentiate between the two in real life. Easier said than done, right? But it led me to think about exercise. It’s no secret I have an ongoing battle with my weight and by proxy physical appearance. I am trying hard to sever the mental link between that and my self worth. One sure fire way to lose weight and generally get healthier is to exercise. Before I have put pressure on myself to do it, because that’s how you lose weight (as well as eating right). However since I have made a habit of it, I am enjoying working out for the sake of working out. 
Forget whatever goals I have of one day feeling like it might be acceptable to wear a bikini in front of other people (not that I intend to, just feeling like I can); that would be acceptable bonus acceptable nd not the be all and end all. I LIKE  the workouts I am doing. I LIKE  the lady that does them. And as a bonus, I like the positive difference it makes to my frame of mind. And with no defined goal, it makes it feel a lot more relaxed!
Summary: Do it because you like it and do what has to be done.
Second point from that: meditation. I recall reading several times not to meditate to achieve enlightenment,  sleep, relaxation or any other profound experience other than to perform the act itself and spend some time purely in the moment.  It made me think that I am not lost in meditation, which seems to be quite a popular hippy outsider concept ( for want of a better definition) but through mindfulness practice I am HERE in meditation. 

Despite my amateur ramblings, I feel this demonstrates to myself that I am really getting the concept of living mindfully and the attitudes  I’m beginning to adapt naturally reflect that. 
There, that feels better! Now to enjoy the rest of my bath and hopefully the baby will sleep through the night 🙂