Tag Archives: love

Ray of light in the darkness

When the kids were small, I did struggle with postnatal depression. Things were difficult as I tried to figure out my new identity and ride the wave of stormy hormones and goodness knows what other chemical changes in my brain.

There were small moments though that helped me hold on, showed me there was hope that I even took a photo! 16 years ago taking a photo was not as easy as it is these days with camera phones. I actually had to make an effort to get my camera and take the photo – but then again, as an obsessive photographer and recorder of things, I always had my camera with me. (our first digital camera could capture a whooping 2MB!!)

Having come from Africa, I found the UK weather extremely difficult to cope with and it didn’t help my depression at all. So when the sun shone, the air was fresh, I would try my best to get out. I wasn’t very good at getting out and about like the other Mums would; coffee mornings filled me with anxiety, driving gave me panic attacks, walking hurt me physically…there were so many barriers.

But the back garden was always there. It was a space I could go out and feel grounded, feel warm in the sun and, dare I say it, feel happy and content.

This photo is very special to me because I remember I was having a particular bad period. My son was coming up to 6 or 7 months, the garden was an extra chore I couldn’t cope with (I wasn’t coping with what I had on my plate let alone extras!), my daughter was 3 and hard work…It was all too much.

I took this photo because it was a rare moment of absolute magic. I had been painting the kids’ wendy house with my son in the push chair and a baby bird, learning to fly, went into the pushchair with him! It was such a sweet little thing and my son got so happy. It was magical to feel so close to nature, my heart felt so expansive and it reminded me of what was important.

That moment was a ray of light in the darkness I was in and 16 years on, I remember it fondly.

If you’d like to join me in my Head Garden program where we take time out in nature to help with our mental health, then please click on the image below for more details.

It’s nightlife, but not as you know it

When I did the night shifts at Samaritans, it used to take me days to get back into to a good routine.

When I get disturbed at night now, I’m useless the next day!

It got me wondering how on earth did I manage with a baby and a toddler?!?! Those nights when one was sick and the other would wake. Or just get used to having a baby in the first place needing a feed every 5 mins (felt like it anyway!)

This is something we don’t seem to appreciate as new mums, as partners, as families or as a society to some extent.

We’re still expected to carry on as normal and do ALL that we did before, forgetting that simply having a baby is much more, perhaps more than everything we’d done before.

Working 24/7, non stop, very few breaks, hardly having time to even have a hot shower, hot meal or even a hot drink. And going to the loo in peace becomes a distant memory.

So you lovely mums, please don’t forget that even though it feels you’re not doing much, not managing all those tasks that were part of your unthinking routine, you ARE doing LOADS!

You’re learning a new job, a new routine, juggling new dynamics with conflicting advice, judgements and self doubt.

And looking back now with my babies 18 and 16 I find myself remembering those silent nights feeding them, when it was just us, when those heart melting smiles when they were happy to see me, when I felt pure love and gratitude.

So whatever you’re going through now, it will not last. And, luckily all those nights when we were both crying, when I felt lost and alone, like a failure, frustrated and angry…and those negative feelings seem to be dissolving, leaving snippets of beautiful memories.

You’re doing great and are just where you need to be, in THIS MOMENT in time. <3

Thank you for all the work you are doing xx

Step 2 – Love your body; Detox your mind

I am sure you have heard of a body detox? Well, we are going to look at detoxing our minds.

I believe one of the main reasons we as women are in such a state about our bodies is because we are mean. Now, be honest with yourself, think about all your female relationships, or think about when you watch TV or flick through a magazine. What goes through your mind? What do you say when you have all your girlfriends together? When you talk about other women?

“Wow, she’s put on weight!”

“She’s so skinny, that bitch!”

“She really shouldn’t be wearing ‘skinny’ jeans”

Can you add some more? Be honest, what have you thought in the past week? Month?

Now turn it around and think about what has been said to you. Take a few minutes here to jot down some hang ups you have in your life because someone has made a comment about it?

“You know you’d look so much prettier if you did your eyebrows this way” or

“Your bum looks so big in that”

Ok, maybe those are lame examples but have a think and write down some examples of your own. Now have a think who said them to you. Where are they in their lives? Do you want their lives? To be like them? Have they actually got any expertise in the area? Do they have your best interest in mind? Does their opinion really matter that much?

What have you come up with?

The point is, there are people out there who are so quick to put you down to keep you from becoming confident.

By mindlessly bitching with your friends, or at the TV, you are training  your mind that it is ok to talk like that. It is ok to pick out imperfections. It’s ok because that means that person is not perfect so you can feel ok about yourself.

It’s ok to put others down so you feel ok.

Is it really ok?

We now come to the real reason why we need to retrain our minds. By talking this way about others, and training our minds that it is ok, it begs the question:

What exactly are we saying to ourselves?

You know, that voice in your head that says things. I’ll bet you that voice isn’t very nice to you, is it? You know it’s your voice and  you don’t like it but you let it say these things AND YOU BELIEVE IT!

Here are some examples of what other women have said from a survey I sent out:

“I am not good enough to be part of anything and can’t do anything.”

“I am just existing and smile through the pain, living in my own personal hell.”

“If anyone else treated me I do to myself, I would take them to court for abuse and yet I feel I deserve to do this to myself.”

“I have let myself go and am not good enough to be part of society. I don’t fit in, I don’t belong.”

Write down all the things you can think of that the voice has said to you. Has the voice been kind to you? Do you like it? Can you image living life without this negativity within you? What would that be like?

Be mindful of the voice and what negative things it is saying to you. For a day or so, just notice and make notes if you need to. Notice what you say to yourself, what your friends say to you, to each other, what is said on TV, in the magazine. Just notice how much negativity is out there.

You can’t really control what other people say or do but like I said in the intro, this is your life and you are in control, and you choose what you do and where you go next.

You CAN start changing your mindset.

Every time you hear yourself being negative, say THREE nice things to counter act it.

So if you see a large woman wearing a pair of skinny jeans a few sizes too small, and you’re thinking “She should not be wearing those!”, bat that thought away with “Her hair is a beautiful colour, her eyes are full of so much happiness, she has put that outfit together so well”

Try and think of three positives to every negative and you will soon find your mind is being retrained. Maybe you will even stop thinking of negatives all together? Maybe you will start seeing beauty in all these women around you where before you only saw flaws?

Now, can you image doing that to the voice in your head? For every negative thought you have to say to yourself, can you say three nice things?

3 positives – 1 negative = 1 happier woman!

I would strongly suggest you write down the positives, or if you wish, take a photos of the positives (don’t worry if you’re not ready yet, there’s plenty of time for that).  Collect these positives and look at them often, you will start seeing yourself in a new light and you will start believing how wonderful you are, and how beautiful you are and most importantly, how worthy you are.

Remember, you need to go through the process to see the results.

You can also try a Love ritual which will help you feel better about yourself.

Stand yourself in front of the mirror and say,

“I love you, you are beautiful, you have every right to have a place on this earth and you are worthy of everything.”

Do it as often as you can but promise yourself you will do it at least twice a day. Maybe when you’re brushing your teeth? That’s twice a day 🙂 Change what you say to yourself by all means, as often as you like, to suit what you need at the time, but make sure it is positive.

Self Compasssion

From a young age we are taught to think of others and to be kind. Has anyone ever taught you to do this for yourself? I bet you that you are the kind of person who puts everyone else’s needs above yours, that you are so kind and caring everyone comes to you for help. I bet you encourage those around you and build them up when they are down.

In the same breath though, I bet you don’t do any of these things for yourself, do you? I bet you are pretty hard on yourself and you are always telling yourself off, right? Your self talk is very negative and you put yourself in your place;

“I should know better!!!”
“I am so pathetic”
“I’m such a looser”
“[add what you say to yourself]”

Why on earth do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think everyone else is more worthy, more able, more capable, better, wiser, MORE.

Well, this stops today!!!! From when you read this email, you will change things because my dear friend, you are worthy, capable, better, wiser and ENOUGH.

Trust me, I know 😀

So where does self compassion come in?

The easiest way I describe it for it to really work is to imagine your best friend or child or person you love and give so much to is going through what you are.

What would you say to them?
How would you help them?
How would you be with them?
Talk to them?

Act towards yourself as you would towards them.
Talk to yourself as lovingly and caringly as you would talk to them.
Be with yourself as you would be with them.
Use positive and encouraging words to yourself as you would them.

Does that make sense?

It really is that simple.

By doing this, you will start to learn to accept yourself and if you don’t, in time you will start to like yourself.
You will build your self worth and grow in self esteem and confidence.
You will not feel lonely because your best friend is right there within you.
You will always feel loved.
You will be comforted.
You will always feel like you belong.

Now that sounds like a step towards happiness, don’t you think?