Stress

Hi everyone,

I haven’t written anything for a while but I’ve still been reading other blogs. I have been pretty busy and pretty tired. I couldn’t find the words I wanted to write. There is a lot of change is underway at the moment. And it’s stressful. Anxiety is up, mood is down. Yuck!

Following my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I decided that doing 2 part time jobs adding up to more than full time probably wasn’t a great thing to continue to do. I have been feeling for some time that it is not sustainable and I am heading for burnout. So the diagnosis was the kick up the butt I needed. That and the fact that extra hours came up at one job to allow me to go full time there. Is it a coincidence? Is it fate? I don’t know, but I made the decision to go “down” to full time. 

Leaving is going to be very hard. I have been at that work place for 2 years although I have had different roles in that time. I am stressed at the moment about the job, doing handovers, telling clients I am leaving. That is the worst. Almost enough to make me stay. 

But this time I said no. This time I put myself first, I put my health first. I am hoping this will help me manage better. Less hours and hopefully less stress can’t be a bad thing! I am also trying to be less busy generally and make more time for self care. More time for blogging too hopefully!

So take a leaf out of my book and do something for yourself. Look after yourself and your health! 

Love,

Ellie xxx

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Stepping out of my comfort zone

Today my boyfriend had a day off, which is very unusual for a Saturday. We went for a walk this morning and then did a bit of shopping, went for dinner and then met up with his work friends. Let me first say, his friends are lovely and they always make me welcome. 

But I feel very anxious about being around lots of people, especially when I don’t know them very well. So we were going to a pub in central london on a Saturday evening, I knew it would be busy. 

Yesterday I said I might not go to the drinks in the evening. Today I decided I’d see how I felt and then decide. When we arrived at the drinks I said I would leave after about an hour. 

I actually stayed for over two hours. And I had a nice time. Yes I felt a bit anxious at first and I am bloody knackered from all the walking I’ve done today, but I enjoyed the evening and I’m glad I went. 

I guess the point of this post is to say I am trying to push my comfort zones. And it’s a good thing to do. I always put in my safety mechanisms, for example I took my car home before we went into london so that I could leave the drinks earlier than my boyfriend if I wanted to (I did and he’ll probably be out most of the night) and that helps with anxiety. I find if there’s no way out, that’s when I struggle. Like with the hike, I was more anxious because I knew that if I dropped out the whole group had to stop (minimum group numbers). It’s also important not to push yourself too hard (where is the line? You’ll have to judge that for yourself!) because sometimes you feel like you go backwards that way, but usually if you are taking small steps, a step out of your comfort zone is a step in the right direction. 

So go on, push your boundaries and do something that’s a bit difficult, you might surprise yourself! 

Love,

Ellie xx

Pushing my comfort zone

Today my boyfriend had a day off, which is very unusual for a Saturday. We went for a walk this morning and then did a bit of shopping, went for dinner and then met up with his work friends. Let me first say, his friends are lovely and they always make me welcome. 

But I feel very anxious about being around lots of people, especially when I don’t know them very well. So we were going to a pub in central london on a Saturday evening, I knew it would be busy. 

Yesterday I said I might not go to the drinks in the evening. Today I decided I’d see how I felt and then decide. When we arrived at the drinks I said I would leave after about an hour. 

I actually stayed for over two hours. And I had a nice time. Yes I felt a bit anxious at first and I am bloody knackered from all the walking I’ve done today, but I enjoyed the evening and I’m glad I went. 

I guess the point of this post is to say I am trying to push my comfort zones. And it’s a good thing to do. I always put in my safety mechanisms, for example I took my car home before we went into london so that I could leave the drinks earlier than my boyfriend if I wanted to (I did and he’ll probably be out most of the night) and that helps with anxiety. I find if there’s no way out, that’s when I struggle. Like with the hike, I was more anxious because I knew that if I dropped out the whole group had to stop (minimum group numbers). It’s also important not to push yourself too hard (where is the line? You’ll have to judge that for yourself!) because sometimes you feel like you go backwards that way, but usually if you are taking small steps, a step out of your comfort zone is a step in the right direction. 

So go on, push your boundaries and do something that’s a bit difficult, you might surprise yourself! 

Love,

Ellie xx

Things that help: pampering self-care

I am trying to find as many things as possible that help. Things that help when I’m feeling low, things that help with the aching, things that just make me feel a bit better. This post is about pampering and self-care in a more physical sense. Would love to hear any more suggestions! 

Bubble baths are one of my favourites. I put in some bubble bath or a bath bomb (I love the selection at Lush!), run a nice hot bath, put on a relaxing playlist and sink into the bubbles. It’s a chance for “me time”, to relax and unwind, and as an added bonus, it often helps with the aching. If there’s no time for a bath, a hot shower can also help lift my mood and reduce the aching, especially if I have a deliciously scented shower gel! 

Painting nails. This sounds really strange but if my nails are painted I have no urge whatsoever to bite them. If they aren’t painted and I start getting anxious, I get the urge to bite them. Then I get annoyed with myself, then I get more anxious and bite them more, and so it goes on. The other thing is, when my nails are painted a bright colour it cheers me up when I see them. And that’s why when I did the dreaded hike, I painted my nails green with orange dots!

Face masks – another way to “pamper”. I have one that goes on and feels very cool on the skin and then just sinks in. This is great when I feel run down and my skin goes dry. The ones that set (clay/mud masks) are great because you can feel them setting which keeps you in the present moment. Also you are guaranteed a laugh if you look in the mirror while it’s on! 

Lipstick – never underestimate the power of a good lipstick. Despite not being a very “girly girl”, I own an embarrassing number of lipsticks. There is something about lipstick that gives me confidence. I have a lipstick for every occasion – nude lipsticks for days when I just want a little extra something, bright lipsticks which scream confidence (even if i don’t actually feel confident, the lipstick helps!) and everything inbetween. I think a bit of colour helps brighten up my face, especially on days I feel very tired. I joked with a colleague once that if I was wearing a bright lipstick, it meant it was a tired day, and that’s probably true! 

Spa days. This one I have yet to try, but it makes sense that a relaxing spa day would boost my mood, reduce stress etc. I am hoping to do a spa day with some friends sometime in the future, so I guess I’ll write a post about that when it happens. 

Wearing pyjamas and dressing gown. I will confess that I spend most of my time at home in my pjymamas and dressing gown, and if not pyjamas then dressing gown over clothes. I have one of those super soft fluffy dressing gowns and they are the best thing to comfort me. It is so comfortable and comforting to be wrapped up in snuggly pyjamas and a dressing gown, one of the few things I like about the weather getting colder is that I can get the fluffy pyjamas, slippers and dressing gown out without anyone thinking I’m strange! 

Writing this has put me in the mood for a bath and pyjamas now!

Love,

Ellie xx

Things that help: bullet journal 

I have decided to write a few posts on things that help (me) to manage my mental health. I’m not saying they will help everyone/anyone else, but they help me and personally I find things that help one person often help at least some others! So I’m going to kick off this “things that help” series with… bullet journals! 


A friend told me about bullet  journaling back in January, I started mine in March. For a few months I stuck to it religiously, and it really helped. To be honest I think what actually helped was the fact that I put aside about half an hour each and every evening to write in it, make it look all pretty and generally spend time on something just for me. 

So what is a bullet journal? At its simplest it is a mixture between a to-do list, a planner and a diary. In that sense, it is useful to get yourself organised. But the main benefit to me is the therapeutic side of it. I have a lot of pages relating to wellbeing – a list of self care ideas, I tracked my mindfulness (another post on this to come!), my moods (although I lost track of this and haven’t filled it in since may… oops!), my migraines, my steps per day, and a bunch of other stuff. Then I have pages on trips I want to make, a bucket list (which I added recently), gratitude pages, my 100 happy days and lots more.

Self care ideas

Meditation tracker


The coolest thing about it is that you can do whatever you want with it. I have tried lots of different styles of weekly or monthly planner pages. I am not very good at using it as a planner I have discovered, but I do use it to set goals each month and then do a review at the end of the month. My bullet journal is very much for my mental health rather than organising my life (although I do use it for to do lists sometimes), but it can be either or both or something completely different. And what is great is that if I don’t use it for a month, it doesn’t matter – no wasted pages, I can just start up again when I feel the urge. It takes away the guilt for me, in a normal planner if I saw an empty month I would probably just avoid it for the rest of the year!

Monthly review and goals pages


My bullet journal is in a dot grid notebook which makes drawing lines and layouts super easy. I definitely like this style of notebook and will get a dot grid one again when I start a new one. Mine is A5 but I am considering A6 next time, maybe then I would take it out with me more and it would be more useful in organising my life! 
Here is a link to the orignal bullet journal for more info – http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/

And here’s a link to a post about using bullet journaling for mental health – https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/mental-health-bullet-journal?utm_term=.vtxWOdxo0#.swoL62y4A

 Bullet journals are a big craze right now so if you google, search YouTube or Pinterest loads of stuff will come up! People get really creative with them and some are really beautiful, some are more functional, and lots are somewhere in the middle. I enjoy making mine pretty but I’m not very artistic so mine is pretty in simple ways – I use washi tape (which is basically like masking tape with pretty patterns on – AMAZING for any stationary addict) and different coloured pens, and it makes me smile flicking back through and remembering things. 

Each month I pick some stuff to track such as journaling, reading, mindfulness, exercise etc and use a tracker. I’ve just set up my September goals and tracker pages – and yes, there are elephants! 🐘

September goals (so far)

Tracker for September


I hope this is useful/interesting! I may do more posts on bullet journals in the future. If there’s anything you’d like to know about my bullet journaling, let me know in the comments 😊

Love,

Ellie xx

P.s a thought to leave you with –

I won

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Since then I have been sky diving and completed a 4 day walking expedition. Take that chronic pain and fatigue! 

I feel so proud that I finished my hike. It was bloody hard and painkillers and sugar were my friends, but I did it. I was incredibly lucky with the weather (hello burnt arms!) and that I had a lovely team I was walking with, but we did it. The first morning of the first day I wasn’t sure if I would get to the end, but I was determined and continued. By the end of day 4 I was in agony and all I could manage was putting one foot in front of the other (had to leave the map reading to the others) but WE DID IT!

I’m completely shattered now though. Clever me thought it would be a good idea to go straight back to work afterwards, it was not. Still, only one more day at work until the weekend and my best friend is coming to stay!! 

I want to remember this when the pain and fatigue takes over and I feel like I can’t do anything. I will not let this control my life, I will not let it win. I will not let a diagnosis stop me from doing the things I want to do*. So for this week I can say, I won. 

Will write again soon, got a load of posts in draft but this week I’m too sleepy!

Love,

Ellie xx

*although I need to learn to manage my time and ability to stop and rest better, but I’ll get there in time.