Monday 31 December 2018

Mental health & something to make you laugh 31/12/18

I have struggled with my mental health over the years.  Bouts of anxiety and depression are not fun to live with but I'm fortunate not to have fallen completely into black holes and I have a loving supportive and understanding family.  I definitely have issues with control and find new situations challenging.  When I'm particularly anxious about things I need to know I can get to a toilet when I need to.  Issues around that make the anxiety even worse.

What I do know from my own experience is that the person suffering with anxiety or depression can only be really helped once they are ready to accept and face their demons.  Telling me to pull myself together or that it's all in my head would have the opposite effect to that intended.

Mostly these days I am coping and I'm challenging myself.  Our trip to Montreal was an example of this.  We were going somewhere new, visiting and staying with people I've never met and I was not in control.  But we planned ahead, were open with our hosts about the problems and we had a great time.  Yes there were a few sticky moments:  needing to get down from a hill top walk quickly when it had snowed and the path was icy in places was one of them.  Fortunately I made it in one piece and with my dignity intact.

Making decisions when you have mental health issues can also be difficult.  Procrastination can become a way of putting off things that seem hard, or even everyday things you don't want to do.  I'm excellent at procrastinating.  That's partly why I've set myself goals again for 2019 even if I didn't do too well with them this year.

On that note, yesterday I decided to resurrect my Wii fit.  I did have some good spells where I used it a lot.  Sadly it laid idle through the whole of 2018.  I decided I needed a clean slate and deleted my previous data.  So fresh start, new baselines required.  For those unfamiliar with the Wii fit, one of the things it does is calculate your weight and BMI and it also looks at your balance - do you lean too much in one direction.  Well I knew my weight and BMI would not be great but I was surprised at how bad my balance seemed to be.  I was prepared to put that down to always holding the Grandkids on the same hip.

I decided to start off gently with a basic stepping routine.  Again I was appalled at how badly I was doing.  I seemed to be completely out of sync and as a former dancer this was not good!  Next I tried a balance game and again was hopeless.

I changed all the batteries in case that was the problem.  Then, eventually, came the moment of enlightenment.  The wii board was facing the wrong way!

Hmm error corrected and my physical efforts were much improved.  Didn't do much for my mental health though! lol

Friday 28 December 2018

19 in 19 - here we go again!

Last year I did 18 in 18 so it follows that this year I have to do 19 in 19.  Except of course I didn’t complete the 18 or really even come close.  I find it does help to have a plan though so I’m getting set for the New Year.

Here are my 19 objectives for 2019:                 

1.   Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
This translates to “stop procrastinating” and if I can master this one it will make a lot of the others easier to do.
2.   Work on the garden
I have help with the garden but I definitely want to do more myself.
3.   Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
We did manage a few outings but not enough because every time we do go out we inevitable say “we should do this more often”!
4.   Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
Last year I achieved the target of 4 so I’m upping the game.
5.   Complete the A – Z  blogging challenge
Already working on this – definitely all in the preparation.  Plus I know I can do it.
6.   Family weekend away for my birthday
It’s a big 0 birthday and this is how I’d like to celebrate it.
7.   Look after my health – eat well, sleep well, play well
It’s all about routines I’ve decided.
8.   Visit my brother
We almost made it last year but not quite.
9.   Visit the beach
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
10.                Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
I managed more than 52 last year so this is definitely doable.
11.                Keep a journal
Self explanatory!
12.                Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
By this I mean 1 original piece of work per week.
13.                Organise/Take more photos
I’m getting better at remembering to take them but not at organising them or getting copies printed.
14.                Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
Do you ever feel you’re in a rut?
15.                Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
Didn’t happen last year.  Hopefully I’m not setting myself up to fail again.
16.                Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
I’ve combined these two things this year to hopefully make it more manageable.
17.                Visit/see Noah every month
I definitely want to achieve this one.  I see a lot of Nathan & Rory but Noah is further away so visits take more planning.
18.                Make progress on the house plan
There are lots of works that need doing on our house but we have made a list and a loose plan of what needs doing first etc.  I’m not going to set deadlines as that’s probably unrealistic but making progress would be good.
19.                Lose 19 pounds
Yes it’s a random number but it works for me.  The pounds have been creeping on for a while now, especially over the last few weeks, so it’s time for it to stop!  I’ll be getting on the scales on 1st January and starting from there.

18 in 18 - Final Roundup

18 in 18 – Annual roundup.

Here is a summary of how I did with my 18 in 18 challenge. 

1     Bake once per month (bread/cake/biscuits).        
Ø  This was a miserable fail.  I have done very little baking this year.  More cooking but not baking as I defined it above. 
Ø  Going forward this is staying on my list but without being so specific.  It will be just be a general aim.
2     Plant new flower bed and child proof garden. 
Ø  Well one bed is planted but it’s not childproof yet.  Fortunately Nathan hasn’t been here enough to make it a priority but now he’s running around and Noah and Rory won’t be long behind him it will be more important to get this done. 
Ø  Going forward it’s going to be a general aim to do more gardening and that will incorporate making it safe for the Grandchildren.
3     Sort out magazines
Ø  This was a total and utter fail!  I still have piles of magazines in the house
Ø  Going forward it won’t be on my 19 in 19 list but hopefully they will be gone by the end of 2019! (Even if I end up dumping them in my recycling bin.)
4     Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal)
Ø  We didn’t always achieve this but we did do more than previously
Ø  This will be on my 19 in 19 list and hopefully we’ll plan better next year
5     Eat at 4 new-to-me restaurants
Ø  This was achieved, even if some of the restaurants were at holiday locations so unlikely to be revisited
Ø  Going forward I’m upping the # to 6.  This will also help with the previous target!
6     Complete the A – Z  blogging challenge
Ø  Finally a complete success!
Ø  Definitely going on next year’s list.
7     Plan a family weekend away for next year
Ø  This was probably too far in advance for me so nothing done as yet.
Ø  Going on the new list – this is for my (big) birthday so it WILL happen
8     Walk at least 3 times per week
Ø  I did do more walking in general but I wasn’t always very disciplined about it
Ø  Staying on the list – will try to do better!
9     Visit my brother
Ø  Failed
Ø  Staying on the list – maybe 2019 will be the year we reconnect.
10  Visit my cousin
Ø  Another fail, we’re both too busy
Ø  I probably won’t put this on the list as although I might not get up to see her, we have already got a holiday booked for September so we will be getting together next year.
11  Visit the beach
Ø  A success.
Ø  Will be on the new list!
12  Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
Ø  Another success!
Ø  Will be on the new list.  I actually got past 60 books but I think aiming for 1 book per week is a good target so I will keep it at that.
13  Keep my bullet journal updated
Ø  Well my bullet journal is a bit of a hybrid thing and it hasn’t been consistent throughout the year.
Ø  Going forward I’m making the intention of keeping a journal.  The shape and form will probably be (extremely) flexible and fluid!
14  Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
Ø  Apart from November when we were away for over a couple of weeks I definitely upped my blogging output.  (234 posts for 2018 at the time of writing compared to 168 for 2017.)  January, April and October were good months­­ thanks to various challenges but there were still not enough original posts in the rest of the year.
Ø  This will feature on my new list but not sure how specific I’ll be yet.
15  Take more photos
Ø  Definitely doing better
Ø  Could do more!
16  Update my wardrobe
Ø  Achieved
Ø  Needs to be an ongoing task – I have a lot of new summer clothes which I must make an effort to wear but I could now do with adding to my winter wardrobe.
17  Do more crafting – update on blog
Ø  Didn’t do well on this.
Ø  2019 is the year my sewing machine will get moved and used!
18  Try out a new recipe each week
Ø  I didn’t achieve this every week but I certainly tried out quite a lot of new recipes this year.  Towards the end of the year we signed up to Hello Fresh, a meal delivery scheme, and that has definitely had me trying new things which was part of my aim.
Ø  I think I will keep this on my list to motivate me.  I need to improve on my planning though.

As you can see, some things went better than others, some things probably shouldn’t have been on the list!  Was it helpful?  Yes, although it did become a bit of a chore at times.  Will I be doing it again?  Yes, but I will be trying to make it easier and perhaps less target driven, especially as there needs to be an extra item on the list! 

One excuse I could give for not achieving more is spending time with these 3 little ones.  I think it's a pretty good excuse!  I might have to settle for Nana for now as Nathan can say that but not Nanny.  He also loves his Granga 😂


Thursday 27 December 2018

Home for a rest! 27/12/18

I'm back from a wonderful Christmas break with all my family.  We all stayed together in this lovely house just outside Broadstairs in Kent.  (11 of us in total, Hubby, me, our 3 kids, their wives and the 3 Grandsons.)

I took these photos yesterday and regretted not taking them on Christmas Eve when the weather was better.

 This is us all sitting down for Christmas dinner, only Rory is missing - I guess he must have been sleeping! (And Vicky who took the photo!)
 We had such fun with these 3 this year.  Can only imagine what chaos they will cause when they're all running around.  It was hard enough work just keeping track of what Nathan was up to!  The other 2 mainly stay put at the moment although Rory has worked out how to roll over and over so he also needs to be closely watched.)

This was taken on Christmas Eve when most of us managed to get out for a walk.  The weather was so mild for this time of year although it did get a bit chilly once the sun went down so we headed back before it got dark.

We arrived on Sunday and came home today (Thursday) so we had 4 nights together and it was lovely.  We didn't do a great deal apart from plenty of eating, drinking and playing games.  We did get out for a walk one afternoon but it was just good to enjoy being all together and relax.

Yes I did relax, especially once Christmas dinner was cooked and ready to eat.  Organising that was a little bit stressful, especially working in a strange kitchen but I had a good team of helpers and I was able to mainly sit and delegate tasks.  I'm getting better at bossing people about delegating!

Fortunately the kitchen was well equipped and also had 2 ovens and a five ring hob so we were able to get everything cooked reasonably smoothly and we weren't too late sitting down to dinner.

Unfortunately the time flew by and it was time to pack up and return home.  In time for the engineer to fix our heating, again!  It broke down the morning we left so the house was very cold when we got back but nice and toasty now.

Tomorrow we're meeting up with members of Nick's extended family so that will be fun.  Then I think it will be a few quiet days to recharge our batteries.