Depression · Diary · Health & Fitness · Lifestyle · Menopause · Mental Health Awareness · Mindfulness · SAD · self care · Wellbeing

Self Care Sunday 25th February

This week has been a good week for me. I may not have had the time for my usual beauty treats but I have felt relaxed and content even without spending too much time on myself. On Sunday of last week I decided to start a week long alcohol detox. I don’t drink a huge amount and rarely touch spirits but I had noticed that alcohol had crept into my weekday evenings. I had always been a weekend drinker, it used to be because I had kids to ferry around from clubs and friends most nights during the week, so I only ever had a drink on a Friday and Saturday. But since the kids left home and we moved out from London into a Kent Village, we have found that we have the odd midweek trip to the local pub or have a glass or two in the evenings after a busy day at work. My units have been slowly creeping up and last week, when we were both on holiday from work, we drank alcohol almost every day. Whilst I’m not at the stage where I am concerned for my health (my idea of too much is probably less then most people’s) I do know that I don’t sleep as well when I have had a drink and my skin suffers from the dehydration effects of alcohol.

So I started Sunday and woke on Monday morning feeling very refreshed and started the day with a healthy smoothie which contained spinach, lime, avocado, Greek yoghurt, oats and water. Which, I had with my daily supplements. Even though I eat well I still have to take certain supplements everyday due to going through early menopause.

Each morning I take four supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D along with Omega 3, to maintain good bone density and keep my joints nice and supple. I also take Vitamin B12 as this helps combat tiredness and depression and also helps me concentrate. Since going through the menopause I find that I suffer from brain fog sometimes and my Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms are definitely worse if I don’t take the Vitamin B12 or the Vitamin D. I also occasionally take Magnesium if I am going through a period where I have disturbed sleep, which used to be a lot when in was in the middle of going through the menopause, now I am five years post menopause I find I need to take it less frequently, but I still make sure that I have a supply to hand, just in case.

I buy my supplements online at Amazon, I have been using Solgar supplements for about seven years and I find them to be very good quality. They are not the cheapest, in fact I could probably buy what I need a lot cheaper on the High Street, but I know these work for me so I would rather spend a little more.

Solgar Vitamin B12
Solgar Omega 3
Solgar Magnesium Citrate
Solgar Calcium with Vitamin D

I had a busy few days at work this week, which is nothing unusual for me and I found little time in the evenings to switch off. Even so, I stuck to my detox and ate really well this week which left me feeling a lot more energetic, so I had a very productive week at work. My week was made all the better as after months and months of working my backside off I finally had my promotion and pay rise finalised. I was tempted to celebrate with a glass of something bubbly when I got home from work on Thursday, but instead we avoided the pub and I stuck to water with my dinner. A huge achievement. I also got stuck into some more studying, which meant I actually stayed away from social media Thursday evening and most of Friday. I was so busy I didn’t miss it and it was actually quite nice to have a little digital detox.

I think I might start to unplug one night a week now. Especially as I have more studying to do and I want to find time to read some of the books I received at Christmas. I think everyone should try it. Social Media can sometimes become a little all consuming, you feel like you are missing outif you miss a day. I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this. Instagram is both my best friend and my worst enemy. It is an important tool for those of us trying to promote our blogs and I also run a daily photo challenge which means I feel that I need to have a presence each day, which can become very time consuming, but in all honesty it is good to have a break every now and again as it can also be very draining and when I am not feeling my best it also has a tendency to enhance my feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes it is impossible not to compare yourself to other people. It’s easy to forget that not everything you see on Instagram is real life and is actually often a enhanced version of someone’s life. But although I know this I still get sucked in and allow myself to feel self-conscious. Which is why I practice self-care. It is a way to remind myself that I am special regardless of how I feel I compare to other people.

A coupe of years ago I bought a fabulous little book aimed at encouraging you to enjoy the simple things in life. It is one of those coffee table books that you just dip in and out of when you feel the need. As I have been researching a lot about self care for a future blog post I am working on, I decided to pick it up the other day for a little inspiration. On Friday whilst rushing round the supermarket after work, I decided to stop and treat myself to some flowers. But not just any flowers, my favourite flowers in my favourite colour. It was quite a large bunch so I now have them in three rooms in the house, including my dressing table, which is a lovely treat for the mornings when I am getting ready for work. And they remind me to enjoy the small pleasures in life.

If you want to check out the book. You can buy here on Amazon for £8.99

This week seemed to fly by and before I knew it the weekend was here. And after six days of no alcohol I finally caved and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco on Saturday afternoon. I spent a lovely few hours with my family celebrating my great-niece’s 4th Birthday. It was the first time I had my family since before Christmas. I sometimes have a somewhat fractured relationship with my sisters, it all goes back to events from my childhood, which left me with some major insecurities, but I have been working through some of these issues and I certainly felt more relaxed on Saturday and more comfortable around my family. It was not easy being the eldest of four children and having a mum with mental health problems.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. I normally try to get all my chores done on a Saturday so that I can just relax on a Sunday. Today was no different.

After a lie in and a lovely cup of tea in bed, my husband cooked brunch while I started trawling through the internet looking for a potential holiday for May. We both work in education and have to take our holidays during the school breaks, which is a bit of a nightmare, especially when you don’t have kids yourself. We are trying to find somewhere that isn’t family orientated as to be honest, now that we holiday without my children we don’t necessarily want to spend our holiday being surrounded by other peoples kids. Plus I spend everyday at work in the company of 400 kids aged between 3 and 10. Adult only holidays are not only hard to find but they are also quite expensive. So I have my work cut out. My search was not helped by the fact that our internet went down for the third time in two days. We were without broadband and phones for 5 hours today and in the end I couldn’t even use the data on my phone as the whole Village were obviously all trying to access the internet via 4G at the same time. So I ended up pottering around the house doing a few odd jobs, it was very frustrating though as I had planned on getting some work and studying done and typing this blog post (which has now had to be posted on a Monday). I felt completely lost without my internet fix. And there wasn’t even anything decent on TV. Which is why we rely on catch or box sets so much.

Anyway it finally came back to life at about 7pm which gave me enough time to jump on and set up a text alert to all our parents ready to send should the snow descend on us over the next few days. We have been issued with an amber weather alert for heavy snow this week. It is certainly freezing cold, but we will wait to see if the weather report is correct. It rarely is.

So that was my week. I’m trying for another week of zero alcohol and I’m in the last two weeks of Cycle 1 of my Bodycoach 90 Day Plan. Next week will be the big reveal in terms of what I have lost. I’m keeping it a secret until then so check back next week for the update.

Have a lovely week and thanks for reading my post.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Depression · Diary · Health & Fitness · Lifestyle · Mental Health Awareness · Mindfulness · SAD · self care · Wellbeing

Self Care Sunday 18th February

Where did that last week go? Oh of course, it’s half term, I had most of the week off work, so true to form, the week disappeared in a flash. I really am not ready to go back to work tomorrow. I have been having far too much fun this week.

It has been a fabulous week, with plenty of self-care time and quality time with my husband.

I got off to a good start, Monday was one of my days off work so I made the most of being at home and the sunny weather. After my first kettlebell workout in months I took myself outside for a two mile walk around my Village. I am desperate to get back to the gym and circuit classes and weight training but my ankle is still not as strong as it should be. It has taken months for me to feel confident enough to start exercising. Ligament injuries do not heal quickly. I have been trying to follow the Bodycoach 90 Day Plan but illness has made it almost impossible to stick to any fitness routine. I have felt better this week so I am hoping that this virus that I picked up at the beginning of the year has finally moved on.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in school working. And I am so glad I picked those two days as the weather was awful. Then hey presto the rest of the week was warm and sunny. It doesn’t normally work out that way does it? Someone must have been smiling down on me.

Wednesday was of course Valentines Day. We don’t celebrate it. If I am honest I don.t really agree with it. But that’s just my opinion and I don’t have a problem with other people celebrating. My husband and I work at making sure we do not take each other for granted. My husband is very good at making me feel loved all year round. It’s the everyday little things that matter to us. We don’t need the cards, flowers, presents or overpriced meal out. So as a way to participate in the day we decided to pop down to our local pub for a drink (the first of many this week). They were holding a anti-valentines night. I was expecting it to be quiet. But much to my surprise the pub was packed and full of middle-aged couples like us. We ended up having a great night chatting and drinking beer with friends. I did, however do a little nod to the day of romance, by adding a bit of pink to my outfit. The flowers in the photo below are very special to me. It is my bouquet, which I made myself, from my wedding 2 1/2 years ago. They take pride of place in my dressing room so I see them every morning when I get ready for the day.

On Thursday we decided to venture out for a spot of retail therapy for the house. I did want to go to Ikea but my husband broke his toe last week so cannot walk too much. So opted to stay local and ended up in The Range, one of my favourite stores for homeware. I picked up a few items for the bathroom, which is nearly finished. I can’t wait to get to the styling stage where I can faff with all the lovely accessories I have bought. We also bought new blinds for the whole house. A bargain though. Three 6 ft blinds and six 3 ft blinds for just over £100. Obviously no shopping trip is complete without a spot of lunch. So we popped into Chimichanga for Burger and Cheesecake. They do a really good lunch menu. Two courses for £10.50. You really can’t go wrong with that. And if you are in a Mexican restaurant it would be rude not to have beer with lime. It took me back to the late 1980’s when I worked in London and our favourite night out was beer and tequila in a fabulous restaurant just off Regent Street called “Break for the Border”. Many a hangover was caused by that place.

Friday night was Date Night. Once a month we try to have a proper night out. Not the local pub. Usually we go out for a nice meal or take a trip to London. This month we decided to use a Cineworld Gift we received for Christmas. A trip to the cinema is a rarity for us, much to my husbands disappointment as he is a big film fan. The reason we don’t go is because to the cinema is because I struggle to sit still in one place for too long. It is a real problem for me. About 45 mins into a film I start to get fidgety and then completely lose concentration, sometimes I even fall asleep (and I have been known to snore – very embarrassing). We tend to try and get to the cinema at least once a year though, but we have to pick the film carefully. To be honest musicals tend to feature very heavily. The last three cinema trips have been to see La La Land, Jersey Boys and Sweeny Todd. And this trip was no different. We went to see The Greatest Showman. Which I have to say was a fantastic film. I was transfixed. No fidgeting or heavy sighing. I stayed put until the very end. If you haven’t seen it I can totally recommend it.

After the film we popped over to one of the nearby restaurants for food and cocktails. How pleased was I to find out that they have a late Happy Hour. So of course I took full advantage. The food was amazing and a great night was made even better when the couple at the next table told us that if we downloaded the restaurants app you could get 50% off the food bill immediately. Bloody brilliant. A three course meal, cocktails and a beer for hubby came to less than £30.

After the excesses of the previous few days we decided to spend a day at home on Friday. Hubby busied himself putting up the new blinds while I spent a few hours trying to clear my ironing pile and writing a couple of blog posts. I also made the most of the sunshine on both Friday and Saturday by getting out for a four mile walk/gentle run. I extended my route to include the local Marina. And made the most of just sitting for ten minutes watching the little sailing boats. I love being near the water. It always makes me feel so calm. Maybe it has something to do with being a water sign.

Saturday Night was another night out at our local pub. We were showing our support for their first ever Quiz Night. And we also love a good general knowledge quiz. I wasn’t holding out much hope of doing particularly well. We went along with three other couples, who like us enjoy a drink. So imagine my surprise when our team or four won. I think it was only down to the fact that they didn’t ask any sports questions or anything about modern music. We won a cash prize too which was enough for a couple of rounds of drinks. We left before things got too messy though. I really didn’t want to be nursing a hangover on my last day off work.

This morning I had a little lie in and enjoyed a cup of tea in bed. I feel completely shattered. We have had such a busy week. It’s rare that I get more than a day or two off work during half terms and when I do I usually just want to curl up in front of the TV. Especially at this time of year, as I am normally feeling low and suffering from quite bad Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. This Winter has been one of my better years. We went away to sunnier climes at Christmas and this always helps alleviate my symptoms. Despite having an ongoing illness, I haven’t felt depressed or lethargic or wanted to hide away from the world. I have also been taking better care of my mental health, spending more time practising self-care. This may be helping me in some way. I think it has definitely made me more conscious about the need to be kind to myself and take time to enjoy the little things that make me happy. To help me with my quest for a calmer, healthier life, I started reading this book at the beginning of the week. I am really enjoying it. I’m not going to give away too much now as I will write a review when I have finished it and post it on the blog.

Anyway, back to today. When I eventually got out of bed I spent the rest of the morning busying myself with household chores, food prep and getting everything ready for work tomorrow. And after a little pamper session where I had both a face mask and hair mask I am now sitting down for the rest of the afternoon. I am planning on writing a couple of blog posts, doing a little reading and then one of my favourite tasks….meal planning. Later we will have a roast dinner and find a movie on Netflix that we can watch together, although to be honest this normally results in him watching the movie and me half watching the movie while flicking through a book or social media… I do know better though, not to ask what is happening in the film.

I hope you all have had a fabulous week and are enjoying a restful Sunday. I’m trying not to think of my week ahead. The first week of any term is always a little stressful. And its nearly the end of the financial year so I have a mountain of work approaching plus the next module in my School Business Manager course starts tomorrow with a web tutorial at 6pm. This time I will not procrastinate and leave all the studying until the last minute…. Who am I kidding !!

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Depression · Lifestyle · Mental Health Awareness · Mindfulness · SAD · self care · Wellbeing

Self Care Sunday 21st January

This week was one of those hectic weeks that quite often lead to me neglecting myself. Work was extra busy this week with government returns to process, a training day and about a dozen meetings. All on top of my normal workload. I also had to commit some time to my studies this week. My assignments are due to be submitted in a couple of weeks and I have three 5000 word essays to complete. When will I learn not to leave these things until the last minute.

Anyway I promised myself this year I would make self-care a priority, even during the busiest times at work.

I started the week off with an early night. I do love the dark Winter nights, it is the perfect excuse to get into my pjs, pop on a face mask and get into bed to watch TV or read something lighthearted such as this book, which is one of those great little inspirational books that you can dip in and out of. Each page has a different quote to inspire you. The book is available at Amazon. I try to do this at least once a week and get to sleep before 10.30pm. If I’m not feeling particularly sleepy I swear by Sleeptherapy pillow sprays from Avon, I have used them for years.

Also on Monday I started the new Bodycoach 90 Day Plan after being offered it for free. Joe Wickes has kindly offered all of those people who competed and graduated from his first plan the opportunity to do his second personalised plan free of charge. Of course I jumped at the chance. I had great success on the first plan back in 2916, losing one and half stone and dropping two dress sizes. I have since put on half a stone and am back to a size 10/12 due to not being able to exercise for the last 5 months following an injury to my foot. I started the workouts on Tuesday morning and really felt the pain later in the day. It’s been a bit of a struggle getting up and down the stairs all week but it has been a while since I did this level of exercise.

The first half of the week was a little challenging at work. I had to deal with a couple of staff issues which saw me having to reprimand a couple of members of staff. Not something that comes easily to me but it’s part and parcel of being a senior manager. I was pretty stressed out and feeling very low when I got home from work Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m lucky that my husband is great at looking after me when I feel down and he took over cooking dinner while I treated myself to a luxurious shower with another product from my monthly Birchbox.

I have to say I don’t think I have ever used such a lush shower gel. It is so creamy and smells divine. My skin felt so silky afterwards. One word of advice if you go and get this product is you only need a tiny amount. It comes out of the pump as a clear gel but as soon as you rub it in it turns to a gorgeous creamy foam. You can purchase this Shower Foam at www.rituals.com

Thursday was a long day at work. It was Spring Census Day. It is the day that all schools have to produce various governments returns and each school has a specific time to run their report and there are always errors and queries to resolve before it can be submitted to the Department of Education. The return is used to formulate some of our funding so it is really important that the data is correct. After such a busy day I didn’t feel like cooking so my husband took me to one of our local pubs for dinner. It was freezing cold so I took the opportunity to wear my favourite big cosy jumper from Next. This really is a fabulous knit at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately it is no longer available online but I have seen it in store in other colours.

Because I had been really good with my diet all week and I had stuck to the no sugar, reduced caffeine rule of the 90 Day Plan all week I decided to have a little Friday night treat. I used the Black Forest Hot Chocolate powder that was in my Christmas stocking, for the first time. It was an interesting flavour and if you are looking for a hot drink which is a little different then it might be worth a try. I can’t find the powder available to buy at the moment, it may a Christmas product but you can purchase Black Forest syrup at Amazon.

My Friday night treat set me up nicely for the weekend. Saturday morning was taken up with normal weekly chores of cleaning and ironing. Normally on a Saturday evening we would either pop to our local pub for a drink or have a Netflix and takeaway night. This week we had arranged to drive across Kent to meet up with my husband’s Sister and Brother-in-Law. We hadn’t seen them since last Summer. We both have busy lives, full time jobs, kids and houses that we are renovating, so we only ever seem to catch up at family gatherings. This time we met up at a lovely country pub in Westerham It was the first time the four of us had been out without kids in tow and we had a really great time. If you are ever in this area check out the Aperfield Inn. Very cosy, amazing food and fantastic customer service. We all enjoyed ourselves so much we are planning to do it again soon.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. It always has been. When my husband and I were first dating, we would have every other Sunday to ourselves because my children would be at their dads for the weekend. We used to make the most of it by having a lazy day. We would stay in bed all morning, reading the newspapers, eating bacon sandwiches and drinking coffee. The afternoons would have been spent on the sofa watching a movie while a roast dinner cooked.

Today we did much the same, minus the newspapers as they just make me angry now. But we stayed in bed late drinking coffee. Then instead of cooking bacon sandwiches at home we wrapped up warm and walked to the Marina in the sleety snow, stopping at the old fashioned river side cafe for a cooked breakfast.

On the walk home we stopped at the Co-op in our Village square for roast dinner ingredients. The rest of the day will be spent on the sofa under the blanket. Hubby watching movies while I catch up with social media, write a couple of blog posts and indulge in some online shopping, I wont be buying anything exciting… just food and toiletries.

So there goes another hectic week. The week ahead should be a little calmer at work, but I have a lot of studying to catch up on so I’m still going to be busy. I will still make sure that I fit in a little self-care though as I am finding that I really look forward to it now. It is slowly becoming part of my daily routine.

I hope you have had a good week and don’t forget to make some time for the things that bring you joy.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxxx

Diary · Diet · Health & Fitness · Lifestyle · Wellbeing

Week 3 (Sculpt & Tone) – THRIVE DIARY

The first day of my final week of the Sculpt & Tone Stage was an epic fail. I woke up late, hungover from an impromptu Sunday evening party in my local pub. All good intentions to get off to a good start went completely out of the window. I spent most of the day either in bed or on the sofa.

Tuesday was a little better but to be honest I struggled at the beginning of the week. The weather was awful and my mood was low. I almost felt like I had a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is something I have suffered of for as long as I can remember.

I did manage to force myself to exercise on Wednesday. Only a short Yoga session at home but it was better than nothing and helped lift my mood. The rest of the week I felt a little better and getting out of the house to meet with a friend was the best medicine. 

Saturday I made sure I ate well during the day and worked out in the morning to make up for the fact that I had a night out planned with my Sister and her Husband, who were coming to stay. We went out for dinner at a local Indian Restaurant and then onto our Village pub for an Ibiza Party Night. Too much to drink again. But no hangover on Sunday thankfully.

It has been difficult keeping on plan during the holidays and I feel that I have let myself down a few times. So as I have several events this week, including an all inclusive weekend away, I am going to take the pressure off myself and take a little break from my plan. I am going to give myself a little holiday and allow myself to relax, have fun and enjoy a little over-indulgence. It is just as important to know when you need to step out of a routine and relax. I think it will do me good to have a little holiday and to come back refreshed and remotivated. 


MONDAY 7th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 1,930
Breakfast - Banana Smoothie
Lunch - Beans on Toast
Dinner - Cold Gammon, Fried Egg & Chips
Snacks - None
Wellness/Beauty - Mini Facial with Liz Earle Products

TUESDAY 8th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 9,380
Breakfast - Banana Smoothie
Lunch - Courghetti Bolognaise
Dinner - "Picnic on a Plate"
Snacks - Hnadful of Mixed Nuts
Wellness/Beauty - Spending the Day with my Son

WEDNESDAY 9th AUGUST

Movement - 20 mins Yoga (Barbara Currie Power of Yoga DVD)
Steps - 2,005
Breakfast - Slice Wholemeal Toast with Ham, Avocado & Poached a Egg
Lunch - Avocado & Lime Smoothie
Dinner - Grilled Pork Chop with Beetroot & Feta Salad
Snacks - 1/2 Packet of Haribo Sweets & Glass of Prosecco
Wellness/Beauty - 10 min Meditation (Calm App on i-phone)

THURSDAY 10th AUGUST

Movement - 10 Mins Kettlebell Circuit
Steps - 9,595
Breakfast - 2 Slices Bacon, Fried Egg, Beans & Wholemeal Toast
Lunch - None as I had a late Breakfast
Dinner - Grilled Chicken & Salad & Pitta Bread
Snacks - Large Latte & Bakewell Tart
Wellness/Beauty - Coffee & Cake with a friend

FRIDAY 11th AUGUST

Movement - 5 km walk
Steps - 13,590
Breakfast - Avocado & Lime Smoothie
Lunch - Grilled Halloumi & Chorizo followed by Chicken Burrito
Dinner - Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein
Snacks - 1/2 Packet of Haribo Sweets & Glass of Prosecco
Wellness/Beauty - Manicure

SATURDAY 12th AUGUST

Movement - Bodycoach 20 min HIIT workout
Steps - 14,450
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Tomato
Lunch - Fruit Smoothie
Dinner - Meal Out at Indian Restaurant
Snacks - None but had several drinks throughout the evening
Wellness/Beauty - Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Face Mask

SUNDAY 13th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 4,675
Breakfast - Full English
Lunch - None
Dinner - Roast Beef, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli, Asparagus & Carrots
Snacks - Lemon Cheesecake
Wellness/Beauty - Early Night

So I will be back with my Diary in two weeks after a little break from my plan.
Enjoy the Sunshine that is meant to be on the way.

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx