My mindfulness journey

I lost my mindfulness streak on the app I use. Part of me is so angry, i was at 309 days… so close to a year!

But it doesn’t matter. At first my mindfulness was a goal, a desire not to lose my streak of days in a row on the app. But now it’s part of my life, and almost every morning and often in the evenings, I sit and take a few minutes to do a mindfulness meditation on my Stop, Breathe and Think app.

I am away at the moment, half way across the world, it’s a scout thing which means practically no time to myself for nearly 3 weeks. I’ve managed to do my mindfulness most days, but I’ve missed a couple (hence the end of my days in a row streak!)

But I’m ok with that. Now meditation is not a chore to be done, but a tool I can use, and that I know helps me. The realisation that the streak doesn’t matter is a freeing one, and it has made me smile.

I have been staying in some beautiful places, up in the mountains with views for miles and miles, and I’ve spent ages just taking it all in. At night, I’ve sat and looked at the beautiful star filled sky, and taken time to be present. That is mindfulness.

I’m really pleased that mindfulness has become a genuine part of my life, and I intend to spend much more time taking in the simple, natural beauties in life, and just being instead of constantly running like a hamster in a wheel.

Love,

Ellie xxx

Beautiful mountains

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Review: Jan-March

It’s the end of March which means we are already a quarter of the way through 2018. Where has the time gone?

I have been determined to make 2018 a better year, and I’ve been doing a little review each month in my bullet journal which is helping me notice changes, track goals etc.

I have noticed a lot of change in myself in these last few months. Even though I am definitely still having (quite a lot of) bad days, there are also the good days.

I wanted to do a quarterly review and look back at what I have done so far this year. So far in 2018 these are some key changes –

  • I am walking (at least) 10,000 steps pretty much every day now. This is huge for me as I was only doing about 3000 a day before I started working with the physio in November.
  • I am walking with my head up instead of looking at the floor all the time. I think this in itself helps with confidence, and is probably much better for my neck!
  • I am still keeping up with my mindfulness meditation. It has become part of my daily routine and I have done over 180 days in a row on my app. It is about more than maintaining my streak on the app now and I feel like I am able to take mindful moments in every day life.

I do a monthly review page in my bullet journal each month and I find that really useful to help me see my progress. I make a note of best moments, worst moments, favourite things and achievements from that month. This is definitely something I would recommend doing, as reviewing and reflecting is a good way to move forward and it reminds you of the positives rather than just focusing on the negatives.

I wondered about blogging my monthly favourites, so let me know if that is something you would be interested in reading!

Love,

Ellie xx

100 days of mindfulness!

I reached 100 days of mindfulness in a row. I’m really proud of that, especially given how hard the last couple of months have been. It has become part of my daily routine – every morning my alarm goes off, and then I open the app on my phone and put on a short meditation. My favourite morning one is ‘welcoming the day’ on the app I use – Stop, Breathe & Think.

I would like to increase the time I do my mindfulness each day, but 5 minutes every day is a good start! I know that mindfulness is a really good tool in managing anxiety, so ideally I would use the skills when I am in a moment of panic! One of my favourite meditations (called ‘relax, ground and clear’) talks about being on top of a mountain and I really love that imagery, it puts me in a more relaxed state and it’s easier to tackle the day.

Another time that I find the app really useful is if I am struggling to get to sleep. When you are lying in bed trying to sleep and all of those niggling thoughts pop into your mind – did I send that email at work? I must remember to buy more milk. Etc. Or worse, the negative thoughts set in – “I’m useless”, “no one will ever love me” and so on… To clear my mind, I can put one of the mindfulness meditations on (often ‘falling asleep’ or ‘sound bed’) and then my mind focuses on my breath and I am much more relaxed so sleep comes more easily.

I know I’ve written a few posts about mindfulness and this app in particular, but I am a massive fan and I feel it could help others too! Plus, the logo is a really cute cloud with a face!

Love,

Ellie xx

Mindfulness: update

If you’ve read my last post you will know things are pretty bad at the moment. They got worse actually, as my grandma is now in hospital.

I’m trying to focus on the positive and all that because moving around isn’t helping. I’ve been doing a lot of crying and getting dehydrated which leads to headaches so trying to drink more water!

Also, today I hit 50 days in a row of mindfulness! This is the longest streak I have ever done and I feel proud. I do it now because I want to, not just because I know it’s meant to be good for me.

I have a routine, every morning when I wake up, I press snooze on my sunrise alarm clock and then put a mindfulness meditation on. I usually only do about 5 minutes but I think it’s a good start to the day.

Sometimes I do another one in the evening, especially if my mind is full and won’t let me sleep. I also sometimes use it at other times if I am feeling particularly stressed or anxious, or having scary thoughts.

I’m pretty proud that despite the week I have had, I have still managed to keep up with my mindfulness. And for a few minutes I have peace and I don’t feel like the world has ended.

Take care everyone.

Love, Ellie xx

A month of mindfulness! 

I think I have mentioned before that I use mindfulness meditation to help me manage my anxiety/depression/stress etc. 

Today I am really proud to say, I did mindfulness meditation every day in October! I try to do one in the morning before I get up and one before I go to sleep, just 5 minutes each time. I have been doing mindfulness on and off for a long time, but 31 days is the longest I have ever done in a row (32 now as I am carrying on into November!)

I use an app called Stop, Breathe and Think, it has a variety of different meditations, I tend to use the “welcoming the day” and “falling asleep” ones mostly, but there are lots of different ones. My favourite one is probably “relax, ground and clear” because the second half of it is about imagining you are on top of a mountain, and I find that really relaxing. 

There are lots of other mindfulness apps too – Headspace is another good one. You can also find meditation CDs in charity shops or MP3s online, lots of options!

Some days I struggle through my meditation, my mind keeps drifting away and I long for the gong to mark the end of it. Other days, when it finishes I feel like a weight has lifted. But I am persevering, and I want to extend it a bit and do some longer meditations. 

My 5 top tips for meditations would be:

1. Stick with it. You may feel silly at first. You may struggle to keep your mind on the words. But keep trying and in time you can learn to engage with your breath and focus on the current moment. 

2. Make it a routine. Now I know that when my alarm goes off in the morning, the first thing I do is put a meditation on. Whenever you choose, stick to that time every day and before you know it you will have a habit!

But…

3. Don’t stress if you miss a day. I am guilt of this one! In the past, if I missed a day I lost my motivation and would forget about mindfulness for a while. The app I use keeps track of the number of days in a row that you meditate, it’s great to see how many in a row I have done, but I have now learned to accept that sometimes I will lose my streak, I can just start again.

4. Leave your expectations to one side. Mindfulness is all about being in the moment, and instead of engaging with every thought you are meant to acknowledge the thoughts without judging them, and let them pass. It’s the same with expectations – maybe you think it’s a load of rubbish and won’t make a difference? Put that to the side and give it a try. Maybe you’re hoping it will change your life and be your saviour? Put that to the side too. The likelihood is that mindfulness is either of those extremes, but it might give you something positive. 

5.  Find something that suits you. When I started trying mindfulness I tried a lot of different apps. They all have different styles, different voices, different accents, different types of meditations. I think it’s really important that you find a voice you can engage with as it would be difficult to fully connect to the meditation if you are constantly thinking how annoying the voice is! 

Let me know if you give it a go! Does mindfulness help you?

Love,

Ellie xx

Worry

Worry

Worry about worrying 

Worry about migraines 

Worry about having forgotten something. 

I am currently on my way to Scotland to go camping with the scouts for a week and it is likely that this anxiety will continue until I arrive and have set up my tent. 10ish hours to go…

Anxiety is irrational, I know that. Trying to explain it to someone that doesn’t understand is impossible, they don’t get it. They say it doesn’t matter, if you forget something they do have shops in Scotland. But it’s not really about that. It’s just constant worrying about anything and everything. I guess that’s why it’s called generalised anxiety disorder.

On a more positive note, I am hoping being in nature will be good for me, a week to chill and not think about work. And bonus, I get my own tent this year! 

I love the sound of rain on the tent (as long as it stays outside the tent!) and it’s Scotland, so rain is inevitable. I will be doing my mindfulness there too, already done some on the coach (trying to drown out the shouting/singing of lots of teenagers!)

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! 

Finally caught up!

Ellie is finally back up to date with blog reading!! I managed to get nearly 2 weeks behind at some point and I didn’t want to miss any out, so what better to do on a Friday evening than read lots of blog posts? And then I thought I haven’t posted in a while either – I really want to sort this out!

I’m approaching 2 weeks since I arrived in Germany now and things are still going reasonably well. At times I miss home, S, friends etc. and at times all the new and different things can be overwhelming, particularly trying to understand and make myself understood in German, but all in all I’m ok, things are good.

But although I am a lot better than I was months ago, I know that I still need to look after myself. So tomorrow, I am finally going to start the mindfulness book which I bought a while ago. I plan to do it everyday (or as much as I can anyway) because I really do think the mindfulness helped me when I was doing it with A.

(Although actually, having said that, I’m going away from Monday – Friday so I won’t be able to write or do my mindfulness then!)

I feel like I don’t have much to say/write anymore and I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just tired from all of these early mornings, or maybe it’s because there’s so much in my head that it’s all jumbled up and I don’t know how to make sense of it all.

This is turning into a strange rambling post so it’s probably time to stop writing soon. Maybe I will try to do some creative writing over the weekend while I have time – maybe a poem or something.

Dependent

I hate being dependent on other people. Especially S.

Because he could leave (like the ex did.) That’s why you should never let anyone be everything to you. But it’s hard not to rely on him.

I hate how my happiness relies on him. When I’m with S I am generally much happier. It’s when I’m on my own I feel down. And I overanalyse every little thing. Why do I do it to myself? I’m torturing myself over things I can’t change. Things that are said and done, it’s too late to change them.

And things that he doesn’t even care about but I do. I feel fat, and I hate it. But I’m scared of starting exercise again like before because it’s addictive, like not eating – addictive and not good. 

I haven’t been blogging that much recently. Too busy. Life just gets in the way. But I still need time for myself. I’m going to try and set aside some time each day for myself. To reflect on how things are, to write my blog, to do some mindfulness stuff (because I haven’t done any of it in ages, and it was helping I think.)

Sometimes I think I do too much and I don’t allow myself enough time to just be. On Monday I had a day to do nothing. I slept until about 1, then pottered around doing not much – reading blogs, watching TV. But it was nice, just sometimes it’s nice to do nothing. Nothing that matters anyway. I’m always in such a rush all the time, maybe I should take a step back and try to relax a bit.

This post got a bit more reflective than I expected. Just a quick one before bed. To get some thoughts out of my mind. This one is like a mental stream (MMS you should be proud!)

I just want to stop for a bit. I wish I could pause the world, like in Bernard’s watch (did anyone watch that?) And then I could just take some time, with nothing going on. Wouldn’t it be nice?

But relaxing has always been difficult for me, that’s something I need to learn to do. A was right – I can’t give 100% all the time, it’s too exhausting. I need to relax too, and take some time for me – not to work or volunteer or even socialise, just to unwind.

Hopefully my holiday will help me relax a bit. On Monday I am off to Amsterdam (not Prague as originally planned) so I’m sure I will have an Amsterdam-related post at the end of next week!

As you might be able to tell, my mind is a bit of a jumble at the moment, if you managed to follow this post and its changing topics – well done!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx