Coming out of an EDU – What Now?

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So you’ve been discharged. What now?

A friend inspired this post when whilst chatting about her recovery and her imminent discharge from the EDU she has been in for several months, she mentioned that her relationship with food was still far from ideal. She didn’t say it in so many words, of course – it slipped out – we’d been talking about what she liked to eat and she mentioned she had got really into Angel Delight recently. She liked to have cheese or ham sandwich at lunch and then have some Angel Delight. ‘But then sometimes I’ll have ham and cheese. If I have both then obviously I can’t have the Angel Delight.’

So I said, ‘Well, you can have the Angel Delight even if you have both sandwich fillings!’ Her face said it all and she shook her head. The concept of ‘going over’ her given allowance was too much and there was still immense pressure there to keep strict control over what she was eating – the fear of going over the specified amount.

This all worries me massively because after 6 months of intensive therapy and close monitoring, the core issue is still very much present. This isn’t her first time in an EDU, either. It makes me feel as though we are possibly not approaching this in the right way, as in an ideal world a person suffering from Anorexia wouldn’t be sent to fend for themselves when they are still struggling with the demon in their head which still likes (and is able) to take over. I feel as though my friend is being consistently let down, even though I realise that the longer you suffer with Anorexia, the harder it is to recover – as to put it very basically these are now habitual beliefs and behaviour which are hard to break one year in, let alone several. I realise that.

I can’t speak from experience on this one, as at the time of my illness, there were no specialist facilities I could go to – which is why I had to get better on my own with the help of my family. It’s daunting to say the least starting life outside the relatively safe confines of an EDU when you’ve still got that demon in your head knocking about somewhere. You’re only just aware of various strategies and disciplines which might help you to cope and to feel better.

So, I want to share some of the things I talk about in Tough Cookie here with you. When I thought about my recovery in depth later on, I realised that these were the things that had changed my perspective and ultimately changed my life, helping me to eliminate Anorexia for good. These are just short descriptions with bullet points which I hope are helpful – but if you’d like to learn more, you can see the book here.

– Focus on what you want (goals): To overcome Anorexia, you have to regain the goals it’s thrown away. It’s fine – you can retrieve them – they’re not gone forever! This can feel difficult when you have been so consumed with Anorexia for so long, however with a little help from others and a little consideration you can rediscover the things you wanted before you were poorly. I’m a visual person – so the best way to do this for me is to do a brain-storm or board on Pinterest or on large paper to properly see where I’m going and what it is I want to do. Have one list for short-term goals (attending a party, going on holiday) and another for long-term (having a relationship, getting a job, finishing your degree).

– Don’t be hard on yourself (or allow others to be): There’s an untold pressure on you to now recover or to ‘be better’ now you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in an EDU. Of course you and I know that this is a journey which is constantly evolving and can’t be defined as ‘Anorexic’ and ‘Better’. It simply just doesn’t work like that. You might experience pressure from family and friends who are so keen to see you well that they want to believe that this is the end of the road. You may also be putting pressure on yourself – but don’t forget that pressure was probably a contributing factor to your illness. Try to distract yourself with positive things and explain to family members and friends that this isn’t something which goes away overnight – and in fact the true ‘battle’ begins when you are back in your own home, as you are not supported or watched by EDU staff.

– Find some fabulous distractions: I talked above about ‘distracting yourself’. It’s a tactic I’ve used throughout my life for various reasons, and it’s a good one. What’s more, it helps you to feel mentally and physically better and can even get you working towards your goals. You may have forgotten the things you once liked, but have a think about some activities you could do which fill your days. There’s nothing worse than sitting around alone all day – that’s a recipe for Anorexia to creep back in and it’s frightening. Whether it’s reading a book, writing a novel, sketching, taking an arts or music class or watching a film with friends, make sure you’re slowly starting to fill your life with the things you love. Even better, spend time (no pressure!!) working towards one of your goals. For example, if you are still studying, spend a little time doing some research you feel you’d like to do or find interesting. If you want to start a blog, start drafting a few posts. If you’re into photography, research some books you could buy and a camera you could get to start on that path. Whatever your passion may be, fill your time with it.

If you’ve just been discharged from an EDU or are about to be discharged and are struggling, afraid you might relapse, then please continue to read the blog and don’t be afraid. You might feel alone coming out of an EDU – but you do have the support of me and Tough Cookie and the things you may have learnt during your time spent at the EDU. As always, if you have any questions you can always contact me.

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Hair Loss – What NOT to do

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There are so many articles on what to do when your hair starts falling out – what products to use, what to eat, how to style it. From experience these can be a little bit mind-boggling and of course everybody has different hair types, different types of hair loss and therefore widely varying opinions on products and methodology. Here’s my run down of the top ten things NOT to do when your hair starts falling out:

  1. Don’t panic

This one comes under the category ‘easier said than done’ – I know. Stress and anxiety is a massive cause of hair loss – at best it exacerbates existing hair loss. It’s difficult not to be distraught when you start losing your hair and start obsessing over each lost strand, staring longingly at everyone else’s hair and feeling generally crap and upset. Our hair is often our comfort blanket , our crowning glory – your hair (or lack of it) can make a huge difference to how you look and ultimately, how you feel. I know that. Try your best to distract yourself from what is going on with your hair. Make a plan of action and feel assured knowing you’re doing everything you can to help your hair.

  1. Don’t overbrush

Brushing your hair can be therapeutic and distracting; yet it can also become an obsessive ritual of seeing how much you have left and how much comes out when you do brush it. Some hair loss advice calls for regular brushing but experts say it is possible to over-brush your hair, and especially where hair loss is concerned over-vigorous brushing will only cause more harm than good. Use a natural bristle brush to distribute your hair’s oils evenly and minimise breakage. The same goes for washing – try not to overwash your hair even if it gets greasy and even if you are using a hair loss shampoo. This strips the oils and increases exposure to chemical nasties which do not do your scalp or hair any good. Using your hair loss shampoo twice a day won’t make any difference to your growth compared to if you were using it every other day – but it may damage your hair and have the reverse effect instead.

  1. Don’t go buying expensive shampoos

Sadly, there’s lots of people who’d like to cash in on your hair loss because they know how upset and vulnerable you are, and that most (me included!) are desperate to try anything, no matter what the cost, to get their hair back as quickly as possible. Please don’t be drawn in by anything which appears ‘too good to be true’. Equally, don’t go buying every single hair loss shampoo and product out there. They all work differently, they are different for different people, and their efficacy also depends on what sort of hair loss you have. Read reviews (you can read my post on Hair Loss Shampoos here) and make a decision on what is best for you. Give it a good month or two to see if it is working; you won’t see results in days or even a week or so no matter what anybody says. If it still isn’t working, try something new. I’ve made this mistake before and the best thing I did was eventually to buy one shampoo and conditioner and stick to that regime for over a month – that’s when I saw amazing results. Equally, I’ve tried shampoos, given them a month or two, and realised they are not working, kicked them to the curb and tried something new. Perseverance is the only way to be sure of what works and what doesn’t.

  1. You don’t have to cut it all off

When my hair fell out after my eating disorder, my hairdresser categorically told me to cut it all off. The best solution, she said, was to cut it all down to at least shoulder length and keep cutting it until it reached the length of my baby hair. That way, it could all grow at the same rate. 14 years old and recovering from an eating disorder, I was desperately clinging on to the hair I still had left. Losing it had been a shocking additional blow a few months into my recovery. There was no way I was going to cut it off.

My hair admittedly looked awful for at least a year. I lost mine from underneath, so stringy strands hung over bald patches which were gradually filled with lots of wispy baby hairs. As they grew they formed a fringe on my forehead and a fluffy ‘do beneath my old hair around the rest of my head. It wasn’t the best look, but it allowed me to keep my hair and eventually 3 years later my hair looked incredible. For a year or so I’d worn clip in extensions which helped me to feel more confident and forget about the state of my hair, and one day, I realised my hair was exactly the same without them. The baby hair had matured and was long and thick and as a whole it looked fabulous.

Since then, I’ve found some hairstyles and a few techniques you can use to help ‘mask’ hair loss whilst you are – of course temporary extensions, wigs and hair pieces are also handy. You can read about them here.

Of course if you’re brave enough to have it all cut to one length then this is good for hair health and growth and will ensure even regrowth – it is completely your decision. But know that if, like me, you are very attached to your hair, you can hold onto it!

  1. Don’t leave it unchecked medically

Hair loss is becoming more common in women especially due to the increased stress and pressure in our lives. Therefore it’s easy to put it down to stress or hormones. But there are other medical causes of hair loss which should be noted and it’s important to be vigilant for in case your hair loss is caused by an underlying health problem. If your hair loss is persistent, make an appointment with your doctor just to be sure there’s nothing else going on. They may even refer you to a trichologist for help with your hair loss.

  1. Don’t overstyle it

We all love our hairdryers, curlers, straighteners, rollers – but it goes without saying, these are NOT good for your hair, especially when it is in a weakened state. I made a conscious decision to stop using the hairdryer (unless it was an emergency – you know we all have those) and I rarely use straighteners or curlers but these were vetoed too. It may well be torture but it is worth it to help your hair to recover and alleviate the anguish that comes with seeing clumps of hair all over the floor after styling. There are lots of nifty tutorials on Pinterest for creating curls (and other hair styles) with no heat and little pulling or breakage on the hair, so if you are naturally curly embrace them and take a look online for inspiration.

  1. Don’t use tight bobbles and clips

Bobbles are the worst thing for your hair. Even ones without the metal clip which can snag hairs pull on your scalp and hair follicles and can accelerate hair loss. I only wear clips or loose slides when my hair is falling out and if I really want a bobble in I use a trick Iwas shown on a shoot by my lovely best friend and renowned hairdresser Mark – attach two bobby pins one either side of your bobble – scrape your hair into a pony then slide one clip through the centre close to the scalp. Wrap the other around a few times till it’s tight then slide the other bobby pin through the centre of your pony. Home-made bungee! So much less damaging for your hair and 0-expense, 0-hassle.

  1. Don’t forget to eat (and drink) for your hair

A few of you won’t like this one and will be sick of hearing it but honestly, good skin and hair health comes from the inside. What happens on the outside of our bodies in often an indication of what’s going on inside, so if your hair is falling out, it indicates a problem whether that’s mental, physical or perhaps a deficiency somewhere. If you’re not at the stage where you feel ready to address your diet then that is understandable, however without a good diet, your hair will struggle massively to recover. The real you will care more about your hair than what an eating disorder cares about, so concentrate on that and try really hard to follow that desire rather than any other false ideals that will be in your head. I really wish I had known what to eat to help my hair all those years ago – I was recovering and I’d have eaten anything to stop it from falling out. You can read my post on food for hair here.

  1. Don’t use harsh chemicals on your hair

Most commercial shampoos, whatever they claim to do, will be full of chemicals which are less than healthy for your hair. The ‘worst’ of these is sodium laureth sulfate, which is what makes shampoos and shower gels lather nicely. Experts say it strips the scalp of natural oils and can also leave hair brittle and dry. Once you know this, you’ll know that finding a shampoo without this in it is very difficult.

  1. Don’t feel alone, embarrassed or suffer in silence

More women than you realise will be suffering from hair loss but will not have told anybody about it out of shame or embarrassment. So many will be covering it up on a daily basis and feeling bad about it alone. Don’t feel like you are alone in this – take a look online and you’ll find lots of friendly women ready to discuss hair loss with you; forums where you can share what works and what doesn’t. And of course, you have this blog J

 

Hair loss is an awful thing to experience but at least now you know what NOT to do and can concentrate on getting your hair, and yourself, back to the best health possible.

Any tips I’ve missed here? Share them!

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Regrets of the Dying – a Must Read

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When you’re young, you feel like you have forever, even though you know you don’t. An inherent complacency influences every decision we make (even when we are older) until we realise we don’t have forever left.

In a lot of ways, I think that those who are unfortunate enough to experience the possibility of life being cut short are blessed. They gain a sense of urgency, the elimination of the fear that hampers and holds the rest of us back as we complacently drift through life believing we have all the time in the world to fulfil our dreams and fantasies.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing – yet there are some tips that can help us appreciate the time we have more and have the courage to do the things we want to do. A lot of my friends are older than me and they tell me to enjoy myself while I am young, yet as I have spoken about before on the blog when you live on a modest income, it’s a difficult balance between enjoying yourself whilst making provisions for later in life.

Nurse Bronnie Ware began a blog documenting the trend she saw in what people told her their biggest regrets at the end of their lives were.

It’s a poignant time in which we are able to, with clarity and urgency, reflect on what we really want, when ironically it is all too late to change our circumstances.

She compiled a list of the most frequently expressed wishes, and they really do make you think. I believe it’s important to share these, especially with younger people because they almost force us to re-evaluate and realise what is really important. Take a look and as always, please share your thoughts!

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

 

  1. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

 

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

 

  1. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

 

  1. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

The above is Copyrighted Bronnie Ware from her blog, Inspiration and Chai.

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How to eat well – frugally

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In my post on 13th January, I discuss the expense of living and eating well.

Here are my top tips on eating ‘clean’ and nutritiously on a tighter budget:

  1. Shop Local. I’m not talking about these fancy ‘farm shops’ where a raspberry meringue sets you back £3 (although I do LOVE wasting money in those places). Most people think that going to your local grocer, butcher or fishmonger is expensive in comparison to the supermarket but often they are surprisingly competitive – don’t forget they now have to compete with the price wars going on at top level to keep local custom. You also have the added advantage of the produce being locally sourced and often organic, even if it is not advertised as such. Delicatessens stocking local cold meats and cheeses are also fab – there’s a lot of fairly-priced artisan food out there nowadays which is sourced right here in the UK.
  2. Look Online. Brands stocked in Holland and Barrett, Tesco and Win Naturally are mostly available online for a reduced price or in wholesale packs (ebay is good for this). Often if you place a large order you also get free delivery, so it’s win-win. The internet is also fab for buying dried fruit and raw nuts, which are frankly extortionate at the supermarket and only ever come in tiny bags! Specialist foods such as gluten free flours, oils and natural sugar alternatives are also more readily available.
  3. Buy in Bulk. Whether that’s through a mail order meat site such as Muscle Food or through your local butcher, as I say in my post about prep if you are lucky enough to have the freezer space, it’s easier (and cheaper) to think ahead and stock up with a lot of food at once. It will keep fresh and you can get excellent quality meat and fish at much lower prices when you buy a lot of it.
  4. Don’t discount Aldi and Lidl. So many more people are latching on to the Aldi and Lidl frenzy now but there are still many who are slightly sceptical when it comes to buying produce. I buy loads of basics (such as oats, unsalted butter, whole milk) from Aldi; but it’s also great for genuine specialist continental foods such as big juicy olives, rich cheeses and spicy meats. The fruit and veg is cheap as chips and they’ve even started an organic range now which unsurprisingly is also perfectly priced. Both Lidl and Aldi also do a great range of raw nuts – Lidl even has a ‘pick n mix nut bar’ where you can choose your own.

All in all, eating naturally will always cost you a little more than if you relied on processed foods. However if you can afford it, the benefits are incredible. Your body is your most precious asset!! I hope that this post demonstrates that it can be done on a budget.

Any more ideas I have missed on how to live and eat well frugally? Share them here!

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Positivity – Good things are just around the corner!

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There’s a saying – ‘An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great.’

So essentially, when life is pulling you back and taking things away it is preparing for new things, making room for better things.

Have you noticed that ‘bad things’ all come at once? Life as I knew it a few months ago has been turned upside down and my physical and mental health have deteriorated as a result. But I’ve had an amazing year this year which I am incredibly grateful for and unfortunately that’s life – there are ups and downs and good times can’t be good without the bad.

Yet the bad things aren’t really bad. Perspective is everything – you see them as bad, but if you look at them they are only bad to you because of your opinion and circumstances. Look at what it is you are unhappy about. You may not see a way it could ever be viewed as good. But something good will have (or already has) come from it. You were expecting another outcome – so when the outcome is unfavourable, it’s an understandable blow and knock to your confidence and self-esteem and the plans you had.

It’s also a gift that they all come at once; as happiness often does.   Here’s why I think it’s good sometimes to have a complete ‘meltdown’:

  • You’re forced to re-evaluate, and often see that things can now be better. You take a step back and see that perhaps you’d fallen into a comfort zone which whilst it may have felt like it suited you actually wasn’t the best.
  • Perhaps you lament the way things were and struggle to cope with the changes which have suddenly come about in your life. We are creatures of habit; no-one likes change, especially when it is unexpected and unwanted. But these things happened for a reason. Try and remember the last time things fell apart for you – chances are you felt exactly the same then. But when things were good afterwards, you were pleased that they had done or had perhaps forgotten how hurt you were in the first place.
  • It gives you the opportunity to reflect and learn from your mistakes. You now have time to think about what has happened, and how you can learn from the experience to ensure that in the future you can employ the knowledge and strength you are gaining. Don’t, however, beat yourself up over your mistakes (I’m a perfectionist, I do this daily). It’s draining, counter-productive and unnecessary. At the end of the day we all make mistakes – and that’s okay, as long as you learn and grow from them.

 

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It’s that time of year again…

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I wrote a post last Christmas about the pressures and stresses of what is supposed to be a happy time of year on those with mental health difficulties. I wanted to write another to reiterate that if you are struggling, you are not alone, and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad about it!

It’s such a beautiful, magical time of year. Many of us probably have fond memories of incredible Christmases as children, when we could appreciate the full effect of it all.

However as adults, contrary to the trials and tribulations of daily life being put on hold for a few days, those problems continue or are often exacerbated as the festive period nears. Whilst most people love Christmas, a fair few will admit that they struggle with it more than they let on. In general for the whole population, there are increased financial pressures with copious amounts of food and gifts to buy and parties to attend, plus the worry of the Christmas diet deterioration. In addition perhaps you have had a difficult year, a bereavement, a break-up, job loss or financial worries and the coming celebrations only serve to remind you of happier times or of what you have lost rather than what you have.

For those with anxiety, depression or an eating disorder however, Christmas poses a number of difficulties and can be an incredibly stressful time. An onslaught of social situations and works dos with an accompanying barrage of small talk, alcohol and food coupled with the pressure of appearing to be happy and to enjoy yourself when that is the last thing you feel like doing is often hard to deal with. Feeling alone when you’re surrounded by people is often one of the worst forms of loneliness.

Here’s a few of my own tips for getting through the Christmas period if you are struggling:

  • Try to make time for yourself. Take time to read a book, browse Pinterest, light some candles, watch some telly or have a long shower or hot bath.
  • Go for a walk. Take some time out in nature. Spend time with animals or pets.
  • Avoid getting blind drunk. It only serves to make you feel worse afterwards.
  • Keep your routine. Routine is important for good mental health and recovery. It can sometimes be disrupted around Christmas with parties and impromptu shopping trips. If you have an eating disorder, explain to your family that it would be helpful if your general and meal routines were kept as similar as possible and make sure that they are aware that eating out unexpectedly may still be difficult and stressful for you.
  • Push yourself. Not too much, of course; but just out of your comfort zone. This is how you grow and recover and develop – chances are if you go to that gathering you’ve been invited to, you’ll have a lovely time and won’t have to feel guilty for turning the invitation down, as well as missing out. You’ll form new or closer relationships with others which helps with social anxiety. Don’t be scared of using this time as an opportunity to do ‘scary’ things and push your boundaries.
  • Give to others. It’s the time of giving! Whilst it shouldn’t be your motivation for doing so, giving to someone else will help you feel better about yourself. If you find yourself with spare time, why don’t you take some food to the homeless shelter or help at the local old folk’s Christmas party? Buy a stranger a coffee, or offer to help a friend. You’re helping others but you are also inadvertently helping yourself.
  • Don’t feel bad for feeling bad. You can’t help how you feel. If you’re making positive changes then you are making an effort and trying your best – don’t be hard on yourself if you are finding it difficult to enjoy yourself and don’t let others make you feel bad either (it’s easier said than done, I know).
  • Try to live in and appreciate the now, the small things. A hot chocolate in Starbucks, a few flurries of snow, seeing a relative you haven’t seen in years. The little things are the best things. You only get so many Christmases; and even if it’s not a time you enjoy, it’s minutes, hours and days of your life. Try and enjoy this time in any way you know how. You might just surprise yourself J

PS…

It’s important not to forget that whilst we should never trivialise or compare problems of our own to others as it is always relative, some people are completely alone at Christmas. Many elderly people, as well as those who are depressed or live alone can feel very down and very isolated over the festive period. If you are able to, please try to reach out to someone you know who may be struggling at this time, and please don’t berate them for not being full of festive cheer.

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This Time Last Year…

Bad day?

Nothing’s gone right? Feeling down, inadequate, stupid, ugly? Frustrated that you still haven’t achieved your ‘holy grail’ – to ‘be pretty’, to pass that exam, to get that job or make more money.

Try and think back to what you were doing at exactly this time last year. Then, look at what you’re doing now, what you’ve achieved, how far you’ve come. Living one year is an accomplishment. Are you measuring your success fairly, as you would with a friend?

Or, alternatively, are you measuring it against somebody else’s? (see my quote about unhealthy comparisons…). More fatally, are you striving to measure up to your own unrealistic expectations?

Aim high. Of course you should. But don’t do so at the expense of your happiness. Don’t be so busy concentrating on the next step that you miss out on everything wonderful around you right now.

Let me share something with you. This time last year I worked in a department store. I felt like I had so much more to offer but it was so difficult to prove that to any potential employer that I was of worth and had capability beyond what I had already done in life.  I was young. We were in a recession, and it showed. Unemployment was at an all time high and everybody seemed very negative about everything. Some of my colleagues had been made redundant from the most amazing jobs, and now worked alongside me, some of them on less money than me. How could I take inspiration from anyone or anything?

I did what I have always done. I put myself in the right places, took every opportunity, and believed in myself. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I had faith in that, and in myself, even at the worst times.

Now, I am in a job I never, ever thought I’d be doing. It’s an exciting job full of everything I love and with amazing opportunities on the horizon. The value of my CV has increased massively. I now have the luxury of a choice of careers, all of which I have always wanted to do. I’m setting up my own business, writing more and travelling abroad more than I ever have.

It’s easy to moan and feel defeated when the rain is pouring and someone has said something or done something shitty to you, nothing has worked out, I’m stressed and frustrated with work or life in general. But it really is just one bad day.

Now, if I’m ever having a bad day, I remind myself of this. I think of the hours spent on the dirty, smelly buses to go and stand alone in the middle of a shop devoid of customers, to be berated by management for things that were out of my control. If I need to, I’ll go back another year, working shifts at 5am for an agency spraying perfume on people for 12 hours a day.

Think about where you were last year. Now congratulate yourself on all your achievements in that time. A year flies but it’s a long time – you can do a lot in a year. Looking back and counting your blessings helps you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

 

Try it, and see!!

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