Tag Archive | Self-help

114 days of Freedom



So, another UK tax return filing deadline has come and gone and after two weeks of “tidying up” I now have 114 days of freedom before I return to work. Last year I took to writing a journal , but I am fast running out of space to keep all my different memory books, scrapbooks and travel journals so this year I plan to keep tab on my adventures using my blog. I will still write up a journal for my travels in Iran but everything else lends itself perfectly to online journaling.

I have no special plans, other than a holiday in Iran, but have lots of things that I would like to do in my time off. If I achieve some or all of them I will be well pleased. If I don’t, they can wait.

What’s on my “list?” Just a few ideas……..

  • Visit Richard IIIs burial place and museum in Leicester Cathedral.
  • Go and spend some time with my big sister and enjoy some “girlie time.”
  • I must go and have a cuddle with my newly-born great-nephew Sebastian. He looks gorgeous and I am so pleased for my niece and her husband that they now have the start of what will be a beautiful family.
  •  Lots of doggie walks with Jasper will get me out of the house and into the fresh air-as long as it’s not raining to hard!
  • I have an order list for patchwork quilts a mile long so I must spend some time sewing and sewing some more.
  • I’d like to decorate our landing and stairwell but it’s a big job. I need to prepare myself for this challenge!

Whatever I end up doing, I am determined to relax and recover from the stresses of the previous 8 months. I did have a spell of acute anxiety last Autumn which caused me some problems so I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Jasper is the chill-out king so I will be adopting some of his tactics. I’m not sure whether I will adopt the same pose, but after a few glasses of wine who knows?


Here’s to sharing my 114 days of freedom!



Waterlilliesnef stands for “the new economics foundation” an organisation which has produced a great set of postcards to promote it’s initiative “Five Ways to Wellbeing” Continue reading


Everyone has choices.

However, the ability to see choices rather than traps is very much dependent upon your state of mind and mood.  I know from personal experience that when self-esteem and confidence are at their lowest ebb events take on a sinister inevitability and I feel trapped and claustrophobic unable to manufacture the changes which would bring about an uplift in mood and fortune. It often feels like there is only one choice, Hobson’s Choice,  very restrictive and unrewarding. This is perhaps ok when buying a car…..”any colour as long as it’s black” (Henry Ford) but faced with life’s choices it is demoralising and depressing.

At no point should major life-changing decisions be made when feeling below par but you can and should take comfort from the belief that your choices will still be there waiting for you when you feel stronger and have more energy to tackle the underlying issues with confidence.

Frustrating as it is, you will need to be forgiving of yourself during dark times and a lowering of personal expectations will help to put things into perspective and recover your mood more quickly than if you remain stubbornly self-critical. The choice is yours-be kind to yourself. Trust in those friends, family and colleagues who are supportive of your fears and anxieties and beware of those that don’t.

When faced with difficult choices, I also know that it is all to easy to hide behind your low mood, taking refuge in the hope that problems will miraculously disappear. They rarely do and denying that choices exist and avoiding the issue will only add to the negative downward spiral into disappointment and a self-fulfilling perception that you are a weak and ineffective person. It is not true. You probably just need time to recover your equilibrium. Try not to deny that you have choices but instead acknowledge that choices are there but now is not the time to make important decisions. This is a positive action and will help restore confidence as you start to regain control.

Chose to believe. Chose your friends and most importantly, chose to love yourself.

Happy Birthday Poppyposts!

Poppyposts celebrates it’s first birthday tomorrow and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to log-in and read the posts. A total of 11,072 views in 12 months-I am amazed and delighted. Here’s to the next 12 months and exciting times.

I have now renewed my subscription which enables me to continue writing and unsurprisingly some themes will remain constant. Fighting the ever-present spectre of depression (currently in remission) is still important as is helping in the campaign against the stigma of mental illness which remains a priority. Talking openly and honestly about my experiences with depression undoubtedly helps to do this and I will continue to do this for as long as it does help. There will also be more trips to Iran which are a rich source of blogging material but I’m not planning on going out anytime soon as I understand that the temperature has dropped close to freezing and they have snow. Brrrr…..too cold.

Children In Need is upon us again and deserves another highlight. This year I have my Pudsey Bear ears to match my T-shirt and fairy cakes. I won’t however be doing the Santa 5k, or BBQ-ing Christmas Dinner in the back garden this year but I do have my new creative venture “The Scrapbook Fairy” to keep me occupied during the long winter days. I will also be working with Sandra, the lovely proprietor of JLT Crafts to put on scrapbooking crops and workshops in her shop in the New Year. This is something I’m really looking forward to.

The last 12 months have been exciting, challenging, sometimes difficult, often dark and disappointing but they have also been amazing. I am blessed with new friends, new activities and a new perspective on life.

Happy Birthday Poppyposts!

Thank you XXXX  


In my eyes, the word “disappointment” doesn’t sound damaging. It’s just  sad. But disppointment can be the most destructive and long-lasting emotion clouding relationships for hours, days, months and years.

Today I was disappointed both by others and myself and I’m fighting to cling on to the positives rather than sink with the negatives. It’s hard when someone lets you down and fails to meet your expectations especially when you don’t expect much to start with. It’s even harder to realise that you have let someone else down despite your best efforts.

Tomorrow is another day with new challenges and perhaps I will be able to atone for my disppointments.

I always try to give 100% and therein lies the problem.

I expect everyone else to do the same.

This is unrealistic and I understand that but it’s hard to reconcile sometimes.

Here’s to tomorrow.

Yes we can!

Calling all control freaks. Let’s make 2011 the year in which we finally learn to let go and give someone else the chance to share responsibility for world peace, universal happiness and global success. Let’s make it the year that we realise we can’t do everything, in our own way all of the time without damaging our relationships and making ourselves miserable.

From today therefore I suggest that we relinquish control over certain areas in our life and regain control of our emotions instead. We need to trust our family, friends and colleagues and work with them to achieve a better balance of authority and reliance rather than try to take control and dominate proceedings. This idea may scare the pants off you at first but instead of feeling powerless you may experience a sense of liberation  freeing up valuable emotional energy. You might even enjoy this new-found freedom and have time to rekindle interests and passions previously subdued.

By being less controlling the chances are that your relationships will develop and strengthen, you will become more relaxed in your approach to life, and you can start to enjoy yourself again. How good does that sound?

Firstly you need to admit to being a control freak and to realise that it is not necessarily a weakness. It is however, better to be self-aware and realise that this is a trait that is dominant in you and manage its influence accordingly.

Can we fix it?

Yes we can!

The Control Freak’s Guide to Living Lightly

Be arsed……..

Sometimes in life it is difficult to feel motivated to do anything. Whether it’s something you need to do, or something you’d like to do, the inspiration, energy and enthusiasm seems to have deserted you. Perhaps you too have lost count how many times you have argued with yourself. “Get out of bed”. “Can’t be arsed”. “Turn the shower on”. “Can’t be arsed”. “Put your make-up on”. “Can’t be arsed”. “Book those theatre tickets”. “Can’t be arsed”. “BE ARSED”. “Can’t be arsed”.

Friends, family, doctors, counsellors, therapists, neighbours, teachers can all help you get back on your feet, but ultimately the responsibility to get your life back on track and to “be arsed” is YOURS.  No one else can do it for you. Small steps and achievable goals are key to bringing the fun back into your life so don’t give yourself unrealistic targets which dent your confidence further. Go for something fun, easy to build into your routine and makes you feel better about yourself and the world. 

Depression Alliance outlines 5 ways to wellbeing;   


With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Do you and your workmates share a common interest?  Do you know your neighbour?  Keep in touch, make that call, write that letter, send that text, feel a valued sense of belonging. Building connections will support and enrich you every day. 

Be active…

Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Nature is good for us – being in green open spaces increases our sense of wellbeing and relaxation. Cycle to the shops. Play a game. Get muddy in the garden. Dance. If you find it hard on your own, talk to a friend, family member or work mate – help motivate each other. Go to your local library and see what activities are on offer in your area. Search the internet.

Don’t forget to eat well – nutrition is a key part of keeping active and keeping mentally and physically healthy. It doesn’t have to be boring or expensive: lots of fresh produce and omega-3 rich foods. Exercising makes you feel good and joining others helps you to feel connected. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take notice…

Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Take time to breath, unwind: yoga, meditation, listening to music, reading a book – time on your own.  Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you. 

Keep learning…

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Get creative: draw, compose music, write poetry, act, dance, paint, cook, knit… Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun and a chance to connect with other people in your community or at work.


Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Look out, as well as in. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Search on the internet for your local volunteer bureau. Explore local time-banks. Look in your library or community centre for ways to get involved. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.

There are lots of things you can do with just a bit of imagination, forethought and positive thinking. So be arsed, help yourself, and do something different today.