Memories in a jar

At the beginning of the year, I wrote that I was going to write a happy memory each day and put them all in a jar.

If I am being honest, I did not really think I would stick to it, but I have. I have barely missed a day, and have even taken squares of paper when I have been away from home so I can still write down a memory each day.

Sometimes it’s bloody hard to find something. Sometimes it’s really easy. There have been good days and bad days.

I filled up my first jar. Managed to cram in memories from January until June. I’ve bought another jar the same for the second half of the year. One jar is full of memories, another is empty – full of possibilities.

Love,

Ellie xx

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Enjoying nature

I’m away in Germany for a few days, and I’m having a really nice relaxed time catching up with friends.

The weather is absolutely beautiful, and so I’ve spent most of the weekend outside. Apparently here, swimming in lakes is a big thing, and we went to a lake yesterday, and another one today, and lay out in the sun reading and then went for a swim.

It was bliss. (Once I got over the initial feeling of cold water!!) I am not a strong swimmer, so I didn’t go very far, but it was really nice and refreshing.

Picture of a beautiful lake and a bright blue sky

Nature at its finest – sehr schön

I’ve heard that swimming in cold water is meant to be good for anxiety. I can believe that as I felt very calm – It felt so nice, like a weight had been lifted. I also felt like it helped me relax my body, so the achy-ness calmed down. I was in the moment, and enjoyed the moment. For that short time I wasn’t worrying about anything, I was just enjoying the feeling of being in water, and the sun’s warmth.

I know there’s a lake quite near me at home where you can go swimming, so maybe I’ll give it a go…

Last weekend I was camping with scouts, and this weekend I’ve been outside a lot too. It’s reminded me how beautiful nature is and that it gives me a chance to relax and breathe some fresh air. The lovely weather definitely helps though – it makes nature sparkle! It makes me happy, and anything which makes me happy is good in my book, especially if it’s actually healthy!!

So that’s my new goal for the rest of this year – go outside more. Go to the countryside. Go to the park. Enjoy nature and allow myself time to really relax, because I never really stop, but maybe I should sometimes.

I hope you can enjoy nature too!

Love,

Ellie xx

Friends matter!

I’m all smiles today. Tired, but happy. I’ve spent the weekend staying with my best friend, we had a lovely chilled time and it was so nice to catch up properly with no reason to rush around for once.

Friends are such an important part of wellbeing. In the 5 ways to wellbeing* (more info on this on the Mind website) connect is the first on the list. It has been proven that connections, social networks (in real life rather than Facebook!), friendships and relationships have a massive affect on wellbeing.

I am a very social person. I have a lot of friends and I like being around people. Sometimes Often I get socially anxious, especially when I’m around new people or new situations, and I definitely need my ‘me time’ too; socialising sometimes makes me very tired, but other times it energises me. I guess you could say I’m an extroverted introvert, or an ambivert?!

I know how lucky I am to have the friends and family that I have around me. When I am feeling low I start isolating myself, but I know this makes things worse. I have been reaching out a lot more lately, and have reconnected with some friends I had lost touch with. So please, reach out to friends and family, find ways to build connections in your life. Friends matter!

Love,

Ellie

*will probably do another post on the rest of the 5 ways to wellbeing

It’s the small things

This week has been hard in terms of fatigue. Yesterday I went into london for my CBT session and afterwards went to see a friend. I had some time to kill so walked through one of the little parks/gardens you find in random squares in london.

It was sunny and the way the sun lit up the flowers made me smile. It’s the small things that make life good.

Seeing these pretty flowers springing up out of the dirt was a nice reminder that beauty can grow where you least expect it.

Love,

Ellie

Progress

Progress is in the small things;

It’s getting through a whole CBT session without crying,

Going through a day without thoughts of self harm,

It’s feeling happy, even for a short while,

Remembering what it is like to feel proud of myself,

When the smile is real and there is hope for the future,

Making plans which I genuinely look forward to,

Little by little, step by step:

That’s progress.

Love,

Ellie xx

Memory jar

One of my clients told me about this idea and I thought it was really cute so I used it myself…

Every day you write one happy/positive memory or thing from that day on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in a jar. Then on New Year’s Eve you will have 365 happy memories* to read to bring you into a positive new year.

I thought that was lovely so I’m trying it myself. As you can see, it’s (day 1) 1st January so there’s one piece of paper so far, and I hope many more happy memories to come! I kind of wanted a prettier jar so I may change it part way through, but for now it will do! 😊

Love,

Ellie xx

*you could start this at any point in the year but I think it will be cool to do a full year and have 365!

I can breathe 

This morning I woke up, I stayed at my boyfriend’s house last night. I woke up and said “I don’t feel anxious”, it was such a surprise that I had to say it! 

After he went to work I took my dog for a walk, my family are at a university open day as my brother is hopefully going next year so it was just me and the doggo. 

I took him to a lovely park that has a river and a wooded area. The colours are beautiful, I love autumn. It’s a bit windy, what with storm Brian on it’s way, so the leaves were blowing about and it was lovely. I walked through the woods while my dog ran around happily and I realised – I can breathe again. I felt at peace with the world, earphones in, leaves blowing about and not another soul around except me and doggo. 

I thought about taking photos because I wanted to capture the moment, but I realised I wanted to BE in the moment. Create the memory in my mind instead of on my phone, just take it all in. Besides, I don’t think a photo would’ve been able to get it quite right. 

It’s not a feeling I’ve experienced for a long time and it felt great. I don’t know how well I have explained the feeling or whether anyone else knows the feeling, but just wanted to share a positive post! (For a change!) 

I have a social event tonight so anxiety has reappeared a little bit, but it’s nowhere near how bad it has been for the last few weeks so I’m enjoying this time.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend, don’t get blown away! 

Love,

Ellie xx

Feeling alive! 

I haven’t written in a little while. I was in two minds about which post to publish today. It has been an interesting couple of days. I have decided to go with the shorter and more positive post today so I have more time to get the other one how I want it. 

So today I jumped out of a plane! It was my first sky dive. I was worried about getting panicky once we were in the plane or not being able to do it but I did it and it was amazing. It’s hard to put into words the feeling, but I really felt alive and that was a great feeling! I felt real and alive and connected and in awe of the beautiful views and the fact that I was thousands of feet up in the air essentially dangling from a parachute. It was so cool, and the nice thing is that S (my boyfriend) skydived too, he went just before me but we were in the same plane. It was a great experience to share, and we both decided a hot drink was needed afterwards from all the adrenaline!

Obviously it was a tandem jump so the instructor did everything, so really there was no jumping involved. I just got told to adopt a specific position (head back, hands on the shoulder straps, feet tucked behind) and suddenly, woosh, we are in free fall!

It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I decided to do it, definitely one to tick off my bucket list! I feel proud that I did it and I didn’t let anxiety stop me! 

After today it’s made me realise there are loads of things like that that I would love to do one day, so tomorrow (I have booked another day off work to relax – proud of myself!) I am going to write a bucket list 😊

Have you ever skydived? What’s on your bucket list? I might share mine once I’ve written it!

Love,

Ellie xx

A spark of motivation 

Working in the field of mental health, I spend 5 days a week trying to support clients with their mental health and suggesting goals – try mindfulness or write down three positive things everyday or make time for self care. I often find myself coming out with gems such as “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and “you are always focused on others, but what do YOU want?” 

Hypocrite. 

Yep, I am a massive hypocrite. 

But no more. I am going to try and take my own advice. I am going to try and be more positive, make time for self care, be selfish sometimes. 

Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that a bit of mindfulness here or goal setting there is going to cure anyone because that would be bullshit. You know that, I know that. But it’s about doing things that help, even a little bit. It’s about building confidence, helping someone develop their identity – things they do or don’t like, enabling people to get that sense of achievement when they meet a goal. It’s about small steps and sitting with that person and really listening (because so often people don’t listen) So now it’s time to support myself.  I’m going to work on being the best I can be, and to help myself be a little bit happier again. 

One of my lovely blogger friends is doing 100 happy days at the moment, I tried it once before and didn’t manage it all, but I’ve been inspired by my blogging friend so I’m going to try again but in my journal this time, a little more manageable. I’m on Day 3 so far, I am managing and I won’t worry if I don’t manage all 100 days in a row!

 I have started my mindfulness again lately (I did 25 days in a row but went away for the weekend and lost my streak – but I started it up again today). I have a bullet journal, I find it very therapeutic but for some reason I stopped*, I will get that going again. 

A little bit of motivation has surfaced today! 

I am going to do some blog posts on the things that help me such as mindfulness and bullet journaling. What helps you? Is there anything you would like me to write about? 

Love,

Ellie xx

*When I start feeling unwell I stop all of the things that actually helped before. It’s counterproductive but the motivation goes and before you know it, all the good things have been left behind and you’re wallowing even more! 

Happy

I think this is what happy feels like.

It sneaks up on you, much like depression, and then BAM, you realise that you’ve actually got to the point that you genuinely feel happy. Not “not bad”, not “ok” but happy, actually happy.

Today not even the fact that Deutsche Bahn (German train company) are completely USELESS can bring me down today.

I was so worried about doing this year abroad, and it’s turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done for me. I feel free here and I love it. I have a job but I like it and it’s not many hours. I am free to travel around Germany (and off to Copenhagen at the weekend) and I don’t feel stressed for the first time in I don’t know how long.

I know that I won’t always feel happy (that would be too good to be true), but that is ok. Because normal people have good days and bad days, so one bad day doesn’t mean it’s all going wrong again, just like one good day doesn’t mean everything is fixed. I am well aware of the many issues that are still under the surface, and the concoction of drugs I’m on that are helping me feel better. I know that it’s not over, I don’t know if “completely recovered” even exists, but I am doing so much better and I feel like me again.

This overly happy and cheerful post will undoubtedly be followed by a “oh wait things aren’t that great” post, but for now – I’m going to enjoy being happy, and being me (or continuing to find out who I am)

Much love,

Ellie xxx