Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Random Round-up 3

This song happened to come up while I was listening to the 'celtic' radio station on grooveshark and I love it. Something about the combination of the tube and the singer's voice means that every time it comes on I just want to listen to it on repeat for hours.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


I have made a lot of progress this year. Which is not to say there haven't been times where I've taken more steps back than forward - but I think that the overall trend is positive. It's important for me to remind myself of this by writing it out sometimes, because otherwise I am likely to forget I've made progress at all and will berate myself for stagnating. So here are a few things I've learned, or done: 

I deserve. I deserve self-care, I deserve to feel comfortable. I am getting better at spotting problems and finding ways to solve them, rather than living in discomfort because I'm not worth any more than that. When my bedroom is too cold to sleep in, I deserve extra blankets. When I dread the effects of time spent with my family for Christmas, I deserve to cut that time short and dedicate it to building myself back up. When my clothes no longer fit I don't have to suffer them because it is 'my own fault' - I deserve new ones. 

I write. Writing out my feelings and problems (or imagined problems, on occasion) helps enormously. I've never been good at remembering to keep a journal but for the last few months, instead of complaining to friends and then waiting hours or days for their response (and feeling frustrated and uncofmorted for the duration) I am able to find that comfort for myself and actually to feel better! 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas Care Box

I'm feeling really good today. After getting my thoughts about Christmas down in writing earlier this week, I was able to put together a plan AND put it into action! Behold, my Christmas Care Box: 

This is an idea I've heard about from a few places, but that seems to come originally from the mental health support community. It's especially recommended for those who suffer anxiety. It's basically a box that you fill with things that calm you down, suggestions of things to do instead of binging/self-harming, numbers of friends to call if you need help, basically everything you could possibly need to get you through or out of an anxiety attack, even when you don't have the motivation or the calm, collected headspace to get yourself out of it unaided. 

Though I don't suffer from anxiety, I do know from past experience that spending time with my parents will lower my self-esteem and wipe out my motivation to keep getting better. So a box which contained everything I might need to enjoy my week alone and would prompt me to take care of myself seemed like a brilliant idea. 

Inside I've got my favourite Christmas film, a CD of my favourite Christmas music, some German Christmas stars (they taste like Christmas), some gingerbread body lotion, decorate your own gingerbread men, the remaining pieces of an old family nativity set and a Christmas notebook that I hope to fill with memories. 

I'm not done yet, I'm going to find some other stuff to put in it, but even just having it gives me an enormous amount of comfort. I don't have to worry about what I'll do if I feel down after Christmas, I just have to open a box. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Thoughts on Christmas

I read recently an interesting post on giving fewer gifts on which there was a comment which said "Not to mention it takes the pressure off Xmas and revives the true meaning of the holiday = family." Now, I'm not criticising this comment, it was just a jumping off point for my own thinking.

As a non-religious person who has a difficult relationship with my family (or rather, with my parents who are really the only family I see regularly) - what is the 'true meaning' of Christmas for me?

The short answer is - I don't know. I'm hoping that writing some things down might clear it up for me. I certainly will be going home to see my parents, but I know from past experience that spending too much time there ends up draining me, lowering my self-esteem and leaving me unhappy for many weeks after the fact. But my 'chosen family' (aka my friends) will all be busy with their own families and traditions, so I can't impose myself upon them. It's likely that this year I will spend most of the week between Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year) alone in my flat.

That's not a bad thing. I like spending time alone, and I won't be working so it will be the kind of break that I take all too infrequently. I have managed to make Valentine's Day a tradition for myself, when I usually send cards to all my friends and go to the cinema for myself. I do like the idea of having some personal Christmas tradition - and already I'm having all kinds of ambitious ideas like decluttering and giving anything I no longer need to charity shops, or using the time to reconnect with my friends by writing personal letters to each of them...

But I also know that Christmas is already a stressful and busy time. Already, I only have 18 days to buy presents for everyone, to sort out a costume for the work Christmas party, to get enough work done at work to take time off... Not to mention, I have five choir performances coming up before Christmas. Adding serious decluttering to that seems like a disaster waiting to happen, and I know that immediately after Christmas my motivation will be low.

Perhaps I should dedicate the week after Christmas to self-care, doing things I feel like, when I feel like them and trying not to feel guilt for being 'unproductive'.

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