Find yourself: Part 2

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Write a bucket list!

I started writing my list when I was 30 with the aim of setting down 100 things I wanted to do before I shuffled off this mortal coil. This might sound easy-I know it did to me, I had a 1000 desires running round my head a day never mind a measly hundred in a life time. However as I wrote my list I soon realized a lot of my goals were very similar and instead could be group into one accomplishment. For instance all the places I wanted to go could be changed to ‘I wanted to travel more’, and all the furnishings I wanted to buy for my home meant ‘I wanted to live in a bright clean home that reflected my personality and my family could feel proud to live in’. So getting to 100 was quite hard and instead I decided to get as far as I could then let it grow as I developed.

Its been 4 years now since I first started this list, some items have been added, (like visiting the giraffe hotel in Africa)  others have been taken off (getting further training in administration) as I’ve changed and grown. I’m also proud to say I’ve accomplished some  (getting a higher wage) and am in the progress of obtaining others (buying a house). However some will take a life time to accomplish (being a good mum and partner), while others may take only a day. But each time I accomplish a goal I learn so much more about myself and life and I would like to share one of these experiences with you now.Image result for manchester midnight walk

This past weekend I’m proud to say I accomplished one of my goals which was to take part in the Manchester Midnight Walk. This is 10 kilometer walk organised by Manchester’s St Anne’s Children Hospice, it is ran and paid for by BetFred so all the proceeds can go to the charity. It is a walk (you are not allowed to run or jog) around the outskirts of Manchester City center which starts at the stroke of midnight.

I had seen this charity event advertised years ago and had wanted to take part since. It was appealing to me as it was just walking – up until then I thought all charity events had to involve running or hiking or throwing yourself into deep puddle of mud while being electrocuted-all of which I hate but walking had always been something I rather enjoyed. It was for a local charity which I believe in and I was also walking around my home city (and as I did the walk I was moved by all the memories that came flooding back to me, all the buildings I had worked in, the clubs I had danced at, the days out I had enjoyed, my whole life seemed to pass before my eyes as I took in the beauty of my city by night). It would also provide an opportunity for self growth by taking me out of my comfort zone  as the walk started at midnight-I’m not a night owl and am usually tucked up in bed by 9 pm so the changing my of sleep pattern would be hard and I had to set up a lot of support for this part of the challenge, including having my friends meet me before the race at 9 for drinks and a pep talk, I had a large coffee at 11 am and my mum took my daughter for the night, allowing me a lie in the next day.

However when I explained all these reasons to anyone who bothered to asked me my motivation this never seemed enough and indeed on the night I did feel like a bit of a fraud. Many of the other 2,000 participants where doing the walk in remembrance of a friend or family member they had lost. For some this made the event very somber. The fact we started in the Manchester Cathedral meant many people took the opportunity to say a pray and light a candle. While for others they were turning it into a celebration of their love ones life with people there in fancy dress, singing songs and even popping into bars for a cheeky tipple in their honor. I on the other hand was on my own and had been blessed in the fact I had never had a friend or family member that had needed the care of a hospice. But this did not stop me in understanding the need for them and the funding challenges they face.

And indeed once I had got over my first wave of excitement and I hit the 5 km mark I could feel my mind and body begin to flag. My feet tingled, my calf’s hurt and my hips felt strained, I began to wonder why was I doing this! What was I putting my body through this pain for?  It was then I turned to my good old skills of list making:

  1. It would benefit me physically. Although I had been hitting the gym 3 mornings a week for last four months I had recently hit a wall and had needed a goal to help me get over it. This walk had done the trick, it had given me motivation at the gym and while doing the walk I could already feel my stomach muscle tensing. It was defiantly more enjoyable than running and something which I could do again to keep my physically fit and motivated.
  2. I was ticking off a goal from my bucket list: This gave me a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, I had not just thought of something, wrote it down and planned it (the easy part). I had actually put my money where my mouth is and got off my arse and done something. In trying to obtain any goals the actual step of action is often the hardest as it often pushes us into uncomfortable and difficult situations, whether this is physical, mental or personal. So in obtaining this goal I knew I would give me the confidence to achieve more challenging ones in the future.
  3. Take part in wider community: In accomplishing  this goal I was also ticking off another goal on my list which was to take part in my wider community. I can be quite a solidarity person and often joke I’d be quite happy locking myself away in my home with my partner and daughter and never seeing the outside world again. However I know this is not the path to happiness and instead it is helping our fellow man and caring for others that will bring me much deeper joy and interest in life. And as I walked I was moved by how deep my feelings were for my home city, I had spent a number of years running away from it and had been ashamed by it nastier side in the past but now I felt a real connection to the place and the people and it made me feel proud and want to do more for it.
  4. Time to reflect on self growth and development: When passing bars and clubs that night I saw many drunk lads and barely dressed girls and I thought “good for you, young and out and enjoying your life the best way you know how but I’m done with that part of my life and I’m glad I don’t need small dresses and long cocktails to have a god time anymore, instead I’m doing something that benefits others and gives something back to my city.”
  5. Motivate others: I’m happy to say many of the surprised spectators high five us and cheered us on, having a genuine interest in what we were doing and why. It made me hope that some of them would see that there were other ways to spend your evening and maybe they would take part in the future as well.
  6. Bring me back to reality: However there was the occasional lost soul who drunkenly murmured obscenity to us as we passed. There was also the drug dealers and hookers that we saw lurking in the shadows of the more desolate parts of town, the high homeless who barely knew what was happening and then there was that group of skinheads who were hanging around an odd part of town with the police on the outskirts waiting to see if they would move on or kick off.  Seeing all these parts of Manchester reminded me of the reality of the world I live in and how not everyone is lucky enough to have grown up in a happy loving home with support and love and have kept themselves on the straight and narrow path.

After the walk had finished I reflected on everything I had thought and felt that night, and as I contemplated I realized in every goal that I achieve I find out more about myself  and they help shape and define me as a person.

When writing the bucket list I had had to decided what I really wanted from life, what kind of person these goals would make me and while 4 years ago I might have 1000 desires running through my head a day I know now which are put there by advertising or social media, which are other peoples desires pushed on me and which are my own, which are the ones that are fleeting desires and which will truly make me a happy and contented person.

With walking the midnight walk I learnt so much about myself and in the future I hope to do more walking challenges and raise more money for good causes, I want to have a draw full of t.shirts from charities I’ve helped, I want my daughter to see her mum helping others and feel proud of her and I want my friends and family to see that fund- raising walks is now a part of me and hopefully motivate them as well.


Finding yourself: Part One

This corny overused phrased has often been used to describe a time in a person’s life when they separate themselves from their everyday norms of work, family and friends, using isolation or foreign lands and strangers to help them gain insight into who they really are.

That was not how it was for me!

At 21 I did not understand this phase. After leaving university many of my friends decided to take a “year off to find themselves” often disappearing to far eastern lands, with a bulging back pack and no clue in the hope of returning with an understanding of their purpose in life.  But I just didn’t get it! I would rave at them “how can you not know who you are, you have been you since you were born, what have you been doing this whole time if not being you”.

It’s only with hindsight that I understand why these fiends felt so lost. From birth they had been following other peoples rules, first their parents, then their peer pressured friends and soon they would be heading off into society’s expectations of them. But before they confronted the crazy mess of the modern world they wanted to make sure they were choosing the right path.

Looking back I wish I had had the sense to take a step back and think-really think about me and what I wanted-instead I just threw myself at life. At the time I too remember feeling very lost. University had not brought me the insight of truth I had so desperately hoped it would. I still did not know what I wanted to be, what I would be good at or what kind of life I wanted. I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be poor or struggle, I didn’t want to stock shelves in Tesco’s or drive buses and I also was not ready for marriage and children and a mortgage.

Instead I did the only intelligent thing I could think of –  I looked around at the people I had spent the last three years with and I thought “who do I admire?” And my eyes landed on a friend of a friend who was getting some qualifications to live and work abroad as a Language teacher. I liked that! She wasn’t just going on a long holiday of boozy nights, sexual experimentation and no responsibility  she was going to engage in the community, get to know the people and make a real difference to someone’s life. So I signed up and did the same.

Unfortunately my intelligence stopped there. Instead of carrying on this train of thought of “who do I admire and why and how can I emulate that?” I instead let the world shake me and throw me where it wanted. I fell in and out of love, I made bad friends, I lost and gained jobs. Every decision I made was emotional and done with nothing more than the purpose of immediate happiness that unfortunately often led to long term grief.

It was not until my 30th year that I began to question this way of life. I had just had my first child, I was in a 5 year relationship with a man I loved and I was in a job I liked but that didn’t pay well. I had just been though my wonderful pregnancy and first few months of motherhood – where every ounce on my energy had gone into taking care of my daughter and preparing myself to be the best mum I could.

And although this was a great moment of happiness in my life slowly my thoughts were beginning to turn to “do I want more than this and if so what is it?” and “Am I capable of more?” Slowly these thoughts began to weigh down on me and I started to feel lost. But now instead of throwing myself at the world I had my little one to think of and I knew one of the things I desperately wanted was to be a good example to her of what a strong, capable and happy woman can do so I decided to take the first step to answering my questions by learning more about me and what I wanted.

It was then I came across Jack Canfield book ‘How to get from where you are to where you want to be’. I had never read a self-help/development book before and had always been worried I’d been seen as weak and stupid for picking one up. Surely people would think “does she not know this stuff by now? What’s wrong with her?” But the truth was if life was a game no one had taught me the rules, or I had forgotten them or they had changed. I was confused and needed someone to say to me “maybe this is the way”

Jack Canfield’s book is a great book for anyone feeling this way. Yes it’s a little hippy dippy and American and yes you do have to read it with a very open mind but it asks you a lot of questions and allows you the time to think about it. It takes into consideration that not everyone’s goal in life is to be rich or have a brilliant job (although a lot of it does talk about this), and instead asks you to think about your passions and talents and interests. It ultimately asks you to confront yourself with all your weakness and faults and skills and be honest about them and brave with them-which is harder than it sounds. For instance after reading this book I had to get over my ego, I had to admit and really know that I was not as intelligent as I thought I was, that my goal of having a high flying job was not going to happen as I was bad with strangers and hated confrontation. That I had no obvious transferable skills and talents but instead had more fluid skills like being good at organisation, working alone and doing tasks others may find boring.

Jacks book is a set of 25 principles’ scattered throughout with real life stories of his own and others. He uses these as evidence of his principles but they also act as motivation and inspiration and after reading this book I began to think again about the people I admired. And that’s when I had one my first light bulb moment.  I realised there where many people I admired but I never put much thought into why I admired them because then I may start changing my life and I had just got myself comfortable and to get out of my comfort zone was just far too scary.

But oh god am I glad I did as my life has become much more purposeful. Now I don’t ask myself “can I do more?” instead I ask “what shall I do next!” Things I never thought I’d achieve I’ve done or I’m on the path to doing, everything from bringing in more money, controlling my eating habits, and getting myself out of debt. I feel awake and I know I have found out a lot more about myself. For instance one of my favourite TV characters is Murder she wrote Jessica Fletcher. I love her because she embraces life she gets up and runs, she has lots of friends, she travels and she does not let her gender or age stop her. It’s because of her I joined my local book club-even though I’m the youngest member.  I admire my Auntie P because she is selfless and constantly trying to grow even if it’s out of my family’s comfort zone – it’s because of her I tried yoga and Buddhism and now love it. I recently watched a documentary on Prince Albert’s life and I admired how he tried to squeeze as much out of life as possible, every moment was spend doing something beneficial either for himself or his family and he gave intelligent thought to all his actions. It’s because of him I get up at 5:30 to exercise and am taking part in yearly charity walks

Since first picking up this book I have read a lot of other self-development books and have found many of them are very similar but some of them are better than others and Jacks book is still my favourite and one I refer to often.

It’s been 4 years since I started my own journey of self-discovery and over that time I’ve had some successes and some failures and while everything I have learnt from may not have made me stronger it has made me understand myself and my view on life more as well as making me more relaxed, accepting and patience.


Weight loss Story-The Gym!

(In the below article I pass comment on my own weight and appearance, this is no way a judgement of others or their appearance,  we all have different viewpoints and what we deem as attractive is each our own personal opinion and should be respected)

Losing weight post pregnancy can be difficult for a lot of mothers. I know it is for me! Three years ago I was a size 18 on top and 20 below and was too embarrassed to even think about getting on the scales.

That was when I decided I had to do something. During the first year after JKD birth I started to look at my relationship with food, how I approach it, my understanding of it and how I consume it. In that time I have managed to radically reduce my carbohydrate intake, have better control over my cravings and drink a lot more water, three things I thought I’d never be able to do. And after one year of just controlling my food I was able to slim down to 11 stone and 7 pounds with a size 14 on top and 16 on bottom.

It was then I decided to knock it up a gear and take on exercise-something I had never been a fan of and had not touched since my high school gym class days. I decided to start slow by getting a walking app and aimed to walk the recommended 10,000 step’s a day. Despite getting off bus’s a stop early, walking around the office all day and going for an hours walk on my lunch break I still found I was only reaching 8,000 steps a day and my weight was not shifting-although my energy level was defiantly up.

It was at this point I decided to take up jogging. It was spring, the mornings were brighter and the air slightly warmer. I got up a little earlier than my baby and decided I’d start by simply running round the block. As the days past I tried to go quicker or further. I joined online jogging groups and discussed my progress. I enjoyed the hit of fresh air first thing in the morning and the happy feeling of accomplishment at the end.

My love of exercise was starting to grow and so I joined a local evening yoga class and loved it. The quiet peaceful time to let go of all my worries was great and I was surprised at home much I actually sweated. Although I missed seeing my daughter during this hour of exercise I knew she was having some fun dada time and I’d be home in time to make dinner and put her to bed.

With all of this combined by the summer of last year I had managed to get myself down to 11 stone 1 pound-the smallest I’d been in years!

Then two disasters stuck.

First I lost my love of jogging. It suddenly started to become very painful for me, especially in my chest and my ankles and knees started to hurt, so much so I couldn’t jog for days. I looked for advice and was told everything from get new trainers, to slow down and you have hit a wall just push through it. None of it helped! I started to hate running and decided to take a break from it-which a year later I have no intention of breaking.

Then I lost my job. My contract had come to an end and I was really expecting it to be renewed but when I told it wasn’t(due to lack of projects)  and my boss (who had been perfectly lovely with me all year) suddenly turned nasty my anxiety was triggered and I realised I all my attention now had to go on getting another job.

I was very lucky and found a better one a month later. However it was further from work, nowhere near my yoga club, meant a lot of desk work and they wanted me to start earlier. Meaning my personal time was now limited and I had to make a choice, exercise or my family. I chose family!

Over the last 6 months I have been focusing on my new job, getting settled in and getting to know my colleagues.

Then last weekend JKD and I were relaxing at home and she took my phone and started taking pictures. I love when she does this as it means I get to see the word from her point of view. So later that night I started looking through the pictures, at first they were all cute-close ups of the glitter on her art table, a box of ribbons, her dolly’s bright yellow hair. But then I found the pictures she had took of me, slumped in my oversized pjs and weekend fluffy dressing grown, I looked like a fat slop you would easily find on the Jeremy Kyle Show! Oh God! Is this what she saw when she looked at me!

I jumped on the scales and found I was 11 stone and 7 pounds. The weight I had been before I started exercising. This was not surprising. I had after all not exercised for 6 months and although my eating habits were ok my consumption of sugar was higher than I’d like and I needed to rein it in.

Something had to be done.

The following day I awoke at 5:30am, got on the first tram to work and got off a stop early to go to THE GYM.

I have previously not been to the gym as I never particularly liked the idea of it. I find it an expense that gets you to shell out money for exercise you could do for free-like running, following YouTube videos or buying your own exercise bike. However I live in a lovely but little home and have no space to exercise and with a curious toddler running around I have no quiet time either.  Also the gym I am going to is reasonable priced and if I go 3 days in one week I’ve already made back what I paid for the month! Lastly when exercising I prefer the idea of learning a skill like yoga, dancing or self-defence. However these options are not currently available to me but will be something I will pursue in the future. Lastly I do admire people who do any form of exercising so if the gym is my only option (and it works) then then gym it is.

The gym I have chosen is a 24 hours, no fuss, no frills gym which allows you to come and go as you please. There is no hard sell and no instructors bombarding you with motivational speeches. They do have easy (if overpriced) vending machines for water bottles, locks and snacks, clean changing rooms, working showers and enough plugs for hairdryers, there are plenty of machines to choose from and this is all I need. I work out for 45 minutes, wash, change and go to work.

My primary goal was to see if I could get up, exercise and get to work on time. With this confirmed I now move onto my secondary goal-to lose weight. My current target is to get down to my healthy BIM of 10 stone. I would also love to be a size 12 all over and a smaller cup size (I’m a painful FF). I’ve given myself until the end of the year (31st December to be exact) to reach this goal.

My current plan it two give it two weeks then weigh myself, if I’ve not shifted anything I will have to join at least one work out class (gulp). If this fails to show results my other option would also be sign up for one to one coach, explain my goals and see what they can do. However I really don’t want for it to come to either of these as I am defiantly a person who enjoys working out on their own, listen to their own music and going at their own speed.

I’ve been going to the Gym for a week now and here is my advice for new starters:-

  1. Pre-pack and prepare everything the night before! I lay my gym cloths out in my bedroom to throw on as soon as I get up. In my gym bag I pack my work cloths, hair dyer, brush, towel, wash bag, make up and jewellery and leave this by the door with my coat and trainers. This helps get you out the door as quickly as possible.
  2. Check your face before you leave. I wash my face, brush my hair and give a quick spray all in politeness to my fellow commuters. However I have arrived at the gym and found last night’s mascara under my eyes and this morning’s toothpaste smeared around my mouth-so check before you leave!
  3. Getting up at 5:30 is easier in your thirty’s! Running around all day at work and then when I’m home with my family means (that unlike my made 20’s) I’m shattered by 9 and can easily fall asleep. Also now JKD is 3 she is sleeping through most nights meaning I’m able to get my much needed 8 hours!
  4. Mornings are lovely! The fresh air is great in the morning as is watching the sun rise or seeing the North Star fade. Looking around you feel very in touch with nature and the natural rhythm of life. Up with the sun and embracing the day to its fullest is defiantly a great way to start a day.
  5. The smell of the gym is not good. As soon as you walk through the door you are met with an over powering smell of sweat, just accept it and move on.
  6. The gym is full of odd noises. From the low gym music from which the baseline can only be heard to the sounds of exercising grunt, bangs and shouting coaches, these noises can be odd and off putting. So I’ve downloaded the Kiss History app and listen to some great old skool tunes while working out
  7. Find what suits you best. I prefer the cross trainer, the exercise bike and the treadmill (in that order). I’ve looked at some of the classes but I find the sergeant major style of shouting at the participants into working out very off putting. I like to stick my music on, go as hard and fast (or soft and slow) as I like for 45 minutes and build up a good sweat before I leave.
  8. The gym is full of posers. From the body building weight lifters doing tricks and showing off to anyone who will look, to the gorgeous gazelles in the ladies changing room who spend more time getting ready then thy do on the gym floor! Just let them be. They are on their own journey, as are you; comparing yourself and worrying will get you no-where, focus on yourself! (Although I do envy some of their bottoms!)
  9. You will see the results. After the gym I come out feeling energised and happy. My body is already starting to feel tighter, especially around the middle, bum and thighs and my skin is glowing.
  10. Remember why you are doing this! Whenever I feel unmotivated I ask myself-ARE YOU BEING THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE? When I think about who and I and who I want to be I think of the everyday people I admire, such as my fellow work colleagues, who cycle to work, run on their lunch break and sign up for charity marathons. They are grabbing life and soaking it up and I want that too!

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    I am a self diagnosed sufferer of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

    For those of you unaware of what this is, it basically means I personally suffer from a mild form of depression during the colder months. This is due to the lack of sunlight I am exposed to and I also believe it is hereditary.

    Up until this year it was something I was only vaguely aware of. More than anything I would often find myself going into a kind of hibernation mode in the winter months-gorging on warm carb food like potatoes and pasta and becoming very lethargic, spending weekends happily lying on the coach in front of the TV believing I was living the dream.

    But this year that all changed.

    During the beginning of autumn 2017 I found myself going through a very difficult period at work which was causing me to have high levels of anxiety-this I believed triggered the worse case of SAD I had yet experienced. I found myself crying all the time for no reason. I cried as soon as I got up, as I walked to work, while at work. I felt very sad but also very scared as I had no idea what was causing me to cry so much! Yes work was being difficult but I’d had difficult times at work before and been in much worse situations, I also knew that if the worse came to the worse I’d just get another job-any job-maybe even a better job. But even with me reminding myself of all of this I still could not stop crying.

    Then one day I found myself in the work toilets crying uncontrollable and all I wanted to do was leave. Nothing at work had happened to trigger this, in fact I had been working very happily on my own on a easy and nice project. But now I suddenly left very lost and confused and so I reached out and called my mum to ask for help. The answer I got was that this feeling I was having happens to everyone and to toughen up. As you can imagine this did not help as this makes you believe that you are intentionally being a weak person, or a person wanting attention and pity and really all you want is for it to go away so you can carry on with your day.

    Next day I spoke to my dad, who focused on the work anxiety angle and advised me to let my management know how they were making me feel. I had been reading up on SAD and what it triggers are and I had found that stressful situations were a cause and it was recommended for suffers to avoid them. So I knew he was right and yet I was not looking forward to this. I was going to have to show my manager that I was suffering, this would put me in a position of weakness and that I was still unsure whether this was my managers intention or not. It took me a week to build up the courage and it was more due to wishing beyond anything else that by speaking out I could stop the crying that I eventually arranged the meeting. We had a very informal chat over a cup of coffee in a quiet meeting room, where I tried to explain to her (while trying -unsuccessfully-not to cry) everything that had been happening to me and how I felt and how I had interpreted everything that had been happening around me over the last few weeks.

    She responded correctly. She said all the right things. Things I needed to hear. How I was valued, how she was sorry-how it was never her intention. She did not ask me if I needed to speak to anyone or if I needed some time off, but I do believe she spoke privately to my line manager about it afterwards and both of them have been handling me with kit gloves since. While to some this might be annoying to me it is just what I need as I’ve learnt (and now my colleagues have also learnt) that if you try and learn on me-even a little-I break!

    Next I went to see my local GP. Now like a lot of thirty southings who are (more or less) relativity healthy I hardly ever see my GP and anytime I do it is always a different GP. None of the doctors at my local practice know anything about me other than what they see in my medical chart. So I knew I was going to have to explain a lot and possibly sound like a complete and utter idiot to a intelligent stranger at the same time.

    I made the appointment but nearly didn’t go in. I sat in the waiting room and felt very silly. People come to doctors for real medical problems not for a bit of weepiness! I wasn’t suicidal, I was still able to go to work, I didn’t want to be signed off sick, I just wanted to speak to a professional and have my suspicions confirmed.

    So I went in and told it all. The crying, the anxiety, how I took no pleasure in life, how I couldn’t think straight, how I was sick of being scared and confused, of how every conversation I had with my partner was about how I was depressed and didn’t know why and seeing in his eyes him blaming himself and how most days I was just going through the motions, pretending to be a happy busy person when deep down inside I just wanted to go to bed and stay there. How I had never really felt this way before but that there was a history of depression on the male said of my mothers family (hence her telling me to just get on with it). How there had been multiple male relations over the years that had killed themselves and how my grandfather was diagnosed in his 60s as having it and up until then he just thought he had inherited the family madness.

    She listened intently as I poured my heart out and tried yet again not to cry. She asked very few questions about my private life and by the end said believed I was depressed and that as she only had my word that this happened in the winter months then yes it made sense it was SAD. She explained that it could happen at any age so it wasn’t surprising I was only getting it now in my 30s. She offered to take some blood to just rule out any other issues -which she didn’t explain but which came back negative. She then offered me 3 options

    1. She could sign me off work right now for 2 weeks while I got my head right. (I turned this down as I work in a very small team and we already have one woman off on depression so it was going to go down like a deflated balloon if I did as well).
    2. She offered me medication. (I turned this down as I wanted to try more natural routes first and if that didn’t work or if I got worse then medication would be my last resort).
    3. She offered me counselling. (I took the card with the information on and carry it with me in case of bad days-but so far I have been lucky in that I have not had to use it.).

    What I was annoyed at was she offered me nothing else. None of the natural solutions I have since discovered and used to great effect. She said nothing about diet or exercise or sunlight exposure and (not for the first time in my life) I was disappointed in the NHS. But at least she had confirmed my suspicions.

    Next I had to figure out what changes I needed to make to reduce my depression. Here is a list of some of the things I found and now use.

    1. I eat a happy diet. Google HAPPY DIET and you see list of varied food which all follow a simple theme-they are all healthy and bright coloured. There is fish and nuts and fruit and green leafy veg as well as small amounts of red wine, dark chocolate and coffee. In my usual day at work I will only eat happy foods. With a cup of coffee and fruit in yoghurt for breakfast, apples, tangerines, apricots and nuts for snacks and leafy green salads or chucky vegetables soups for lunch. I have fish twice a week for dinner, dark chocolate for dessert and red wine at weekends.
    2. I exercise. Everyone knows exercise releases endorphins-which in turn make you happy. Now I am not a natural work out person, I hate hard physical work-but there is no denying how good I feel after I’ve worked up a bit of a sweat so I try to walk 10,000 steps a day, I go to the gym three times a week for 30-45 minutes and I’ve signed up to do a walk for charity event this Sunday.
    3. I get as much sunlight as I can. I am an indoor kinda girl. I like my home and I have easily spends days in the house never venturing outside. However I know this is bad for me and leads me to feeling blank and withdrawn. So I walk as much as I can even going for a walk on my lunch break then having my lunch at my desk after.
    4. I practice mediation. On days that are bad I like to plug my headphones in and grab 10 minutes to listen to a guided meditation video on YouTube. My favourite are the mindfulness meditation which is all about being in the moment. Its strange how just breathing deeply and softly and focusing on noticing and controlling your thoughts can bring you so much peace so quickly.
    5. I use a Lumie Bodyclock Starter. This wonderful alarm clock simulates the morning sunrise in your bedroom. So as I get up at 5:30am, the light will slowly start increasing from 5:00 until 5:30 when (if you want) a little alarm will go off. I honestly have never had to use the alarm as I find I wake up at about 5:20 and lie in need slowly watching the light on the ceiling grow brighter and brighter. It really is the most helpful way to wake up and I always wake up smiling.
    6. I focus on the person I want to be. There are so many things that I want to accomplish in my life and sitting in front of the TV or curled up in bed is just not one of them. So even when I’m feeling at my lowest I think about the person I want to be and then force myself to go onto auto pilot. To clean my nice house, to make a healthy dinner, to do 15 minutes of yoga, to walk to the park and play with my daughter to cuddle my partner and ask how his day has been, to work on my blog, to give to charity, to know and understand the world I live in and the people I share it with and at the end of the day I think about all of these things and how at some point the sadness just stopped.