Things we say to ourselves….. Self Esteem Project part two

I have to say that I was blown away by the response I got to my last blog post. I never thought that talking about self esteem in the way I have been would strike a chord with so many of you. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read, to get in touch and who took part in that first task.

I have been thinking lots about future newsletters and how I can make sure that each one is different and looking at self esteem from other perspectives. This week I have been thinking about small things I do on a regular basis to boost my own self esteem. When I say small I mean tiny. Things that others probably don’t even realise I am doing but I am constantly. These things help me get through every single day and I think they will be able to help you too.

I like to call this process ‘things I say to myself’ and I think on some level I have done it since I was small. I realised quite early on that I wasn’t the same as other people. I didn’t have the self confidence and belief that others seemed to and I had to work that bit harder to see the stars through the darkness. In these early days I realised that it made me feel better to hear and read positive things. I would listen to music that I found uplifting and that had lyrics that resonated with me. Some of this music I would turn to at times of upset and need. It was often different music for different things. I recall a Backstreet Boys song (don’t laugh, I’m old!) where the lyrics went and I still remember them by heart ‘if you ever feel like no one cares, when you try your best but you get no where, don’t give in’ yes this is full of emotional teenage angst but it helped me through hard times.

In times of hardship or need I recall talking to myself and saying things I needed to hear such as ‘you can do this’ ‘just get through it Luce’ and various other words of encouragement. Of course we know that I say some awful and nasty negative things to myself but even though I do this I am able to acknowledge that if I say positive things to myself then I feel brighter and able to carry on.

I’m not for a second saying that this method always works. For me it doesn’t. When I am at my lowest few things can pull me out of it and saying kind things to myself won’t all of a sudden make everything better but they will help. They will offer a glimmer of some light even if at the time it is hard to see it.

Last year when I was at my lowest I listened to Jess Glynne on repeat. I have written before about how much her music helped me and her many mantras about not being too hard on yourself and moving forward became the words I would say to myself just to get through the minutes of the day.

I got to the point where it helped me massively to write down all these positive things I would say to myself as constant reminders that I could refer to when I needed it. I had notebooks all over the place full of doodles with inspirational quotes and positive mantras filling the pages. I have written before about my ‘Quotes to live by’ Pinterest board which I still fill on a daily basis with these positive things I can say to myself that will at any time of need give me a boost.

This concept isn’t a new thing. Daily affirmations are practiced by many, positive quotes adorn the walls of houses across the world and the wartime slogan ‘keep calm and carry on’ is uttered all over the place on a regular basis. There is a reason for this. The things we say to ourselves are important. They can make us feel things. They can help us. It doesn’t cost any money and you can use them at any time day or night.

So….. this weeks task then is to come up with some things to say to yourself that are personal to you to help to boost your self esteem. I would like you to write them down, doodle them, make them pretty, stick them on your wall or keep them on a piece of paper you carry with you. Have them accessible and near so if you need that boost you can always use them. I am going to share some of my favourite ones with you and also some resources that can help you come up with your own or find some that suit you.

I understand that this may seem daft. In a world where suicide is so prevalent and mental health issues are so common surely if it’s as easy as saying some nice things to yourself then we would all be fine. Of course that’s not the case but surely if anything can help even in the tiniest of ways then it’s worth a try?

Here are some of my favourites:

‘Life is tough darling, but so are you’

‘You are enough’

‘You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way’

‘A woman is unstoppable after she realises she deserves better’

Go to Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and look up motivational and inspirational quotes, create yourself a board, favourite some tweets or save some Instagram posts so you have a bank of motivation whenever you need it and add to it as often as you can. You can do this in a notebook or diary too so you always have something with you that can help.

I would love to hear your ideas of things you will say to yourself to help boost your self esteem. Please share them and I can create a list to share with you all. Even if you are only able to come up with a couple of things that you can use if you incorporate them into your day I assure you they will help.

I hope you have enjoyed this second instalment of my self esteem project. I still haven’t worked out how to set up a newsletter but as soon as I do I will let you know!

I love to hear from you so get in touch if you need to.

Lucy xxx

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A little less me than usual……

As any of you who suffer with mental health issues to any extent know sometimes they can rise up and smack you in the face when you are least expecting it. Sometimes life is just life, relatively normal, ticking along and suddenly you feel like you want the world to open up and swallow you just to keep from having to face the day.

Being honest I’ve had a few hints that this was coming, I’ve noticed myself looking in the rear view mirror of the car over the last week and not only using it to drive the car safely (yes sometimes I can manage driving!) but also as a way of criticising myself, comments like ‘look at your wrinkles’ and ‘shit job with your makeup today Luce’ have been creeping back in. I’ve been drawn to my bed to the point where getting up has been getting harder and some of the things I usually find joyful don’t seem to have been giving me the smile they usually would.

The final thing that has tipped me over the edge is the snow. I didn’t realise how much anxiety I had about driving in the snow until this morning. Yesterday karl was off and he has no issues driving in snow so it was something that I didn’t need to worry about. Today with the task of getting the boys to school and me to work I have literally gone to a million pieces. The thought of starting the car and skidding all over the place is all too much and I feel like my chest gets tighter every time I think about it. As it’s turned out Leo’s school is closed and I’ve decided not to risk driving to get Nate in after seeing the carnage on the hills going down into town on Facebook. Yet I’m frozen to the spot worrying. This ridiculous, illogical and quite frankly irrational worry is crippling me.

I have sorted a lift into work but I’m panicking about what will happen later if we can’t get home. I’m worried about karl getting home from work again. I’m worried that I don’t have the energy to get into the shower and that when I do get into work I will be less than useless. I’m worried because my sickness record is appalling thanks to my hysterectomy last year and I have to have my toe nail removed on Monday and I can’t be dealing with a spike in depression and anxiety now.

I am concerned that the people I love are getting fed up with how useless I have been lately, how little I have been myself and how much of a drain I am. Let alone the fact that soon I will be the one with one less toe nail and look like some sort of oddball. I’ve been in flip flops and one shoe on one off for about two months now and am getting a bit sick of it all.

I think reading this back it’s quite obvious why I’m feeling low. I have an exam coming up at work, some out of work commitments, an impending building project, surgery, a mess of a house and a general feeling that I’m absolutely not up to any of the tasks at hand. The snow seems to have been the straw that broke the camels back!

Being honest I’m not sure why I’ve written this post. It helps me to write things down, so I can make sense of how I’m feeling and so I know that anyone reading will understand why I’m not being myself. I also hope that other sufferers will like I often do take stock of the fact that I’m not the only one suffering. I know I have to keep going because I have no other choice but inside I want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever.

Be kind lovely people, look out for others, it may not make sense but many of us are not quite ourselves at the moment. If you managed to read this drivel I applaud you, not only do you deserve a medal but a massive cocktail with a sparkler and umbrella on me!

Sorry for being miserable. Hopefully I will be okay soon.

Lucy xxx

Illness, bike riding and lost crocs…….

You know how sometimes you get to the end of a long day and just need a really good giggle? Read on lovely people……..

Today is one of those where I work the day and Karl works the afternoon and night so my parents pick the boys up from school. I go straight to their house and they usually feed both me and the boys before we go home about seven pm for bedtime.

Tonight I got back to find the boys doing clay modelling with Nana, she loves any kind of messy, knife wielding and potentially get paint everywhere crafts so I let her get on with it and watched with a nervousness that I can’t describe while Leo flung around the small knife chopping clay into various shapes. 

The boys ate tea and Nate not even half way through eating declared he felt terribly poorly and took himself off into the living room. Now my Nate is a big boy who loves all the boy things there are in this world. He is also one of the biggest drama queens I know and often goes to extremes when he feels poorly asking questions such as, ‘is it my heart?’, ‘do I need a blood transfusion?’ and ‘is it a deadly disease?’ 

Tonight was no different and within what seemed like minutes he had worked himself up into a huge tizzy and was very concerned he would be sick. He reminded me a bit of a woman in heavy labour, all heavy breathing and uncomfortable movements. It got to the point where not only did he feel sick but his neck was hurting, he couldn’t swallow properly and he was almost delirious. I then went into typical mum mode and thought just incase he had indeed developed some kind of tropical disease that I should get him checked out.

We drove to our Doctors which also has a minor injuries walk in centre attached. Usually they have nurses who can prescribe and often the doctors work late. We went to the lady at reception with Nate leaning on the desk with his heavy breathing and humpback whale type moans. She gave me a perplexed look when I answered the question of whether it was an injury or an illness with ‘I’m not really sure’ and ushered us through to the waiting area where Nate continued to whale loudly.

The kind lady doctor called us in and Nate who had tears steaming down his cheeks went into full flow about how his breathing was strange, he felt sick, his neck and throat hurt and that he blamed the ham from school. She also looked at me perplexed and asked if Nate often got this anxious. I explained that he hates being ill and even the thought of it makes him get into a real tizzy so she was extra patient with him. Turns out his glands were up in his neck so we were prescribed antibiotics and he was told to rest up.

My plan next was to drive to our local Tesco to get his medicine which would take around ten minutes. Nate was having none of this so I delivered him back to Nana’s (by this point it was pouring with rain) and shot to Tesco on my own. The lady at the chemist said I had a few minutes to wait so I found myself by the flowers and picked out some peonies for me and pink roses for my mum. 

I collected the medicine and left the store with handfuls of flowers and the little white bag the medicine comes in, my hair was everywhere and I was soaked. I must have looked very strange. By the time I got back to Nana’s and gave Nate his first dose of medicine I felt exhausted and that we should all be getting home. Nate happily came but Leo refused to put his shoes on and ran off out of the back door into the pouring rain.

I loaded the car with all the things that needed to go home, school bags, shoes, clay models, hats and Nate loaded himself in. Leo then appeared on his bike which he has only just learned to ride without stabilisers cycling round and round the house in the pouring rain. On his second trip round I realised he was wearing a giant pair of adult crocs, Grandads crocs. 

The next thing I knew Grandad himself was running after Leo shouting, ‘he’s got my crocs!’ While I sat in the car windscreen wipers on full pelt wondering if this kind of thing ever happens to anyone else. It took a reasonable amount of time for them both to return for a third loop this time Leo wearing nothing on his feet and Dad telling me as he went past that Leo had thrown the crocs on the lawn. 

On the next rotation Grandad appeared with Leo over his shoulder in a fireman style lift. Leo was placed into the car and as we drove off I looked in my mirror and saw him smiling to himself. He had been having a wonderful time.

We got home and I had to unload the car, I had flowers, two school bags, one handbag, one pair of shoes, half a shepherds pie (leftovers) clay models of Saturn and Neptune, my work bag, two drink bottles and two hats. Nate held his prescription and Leo unlocked the front door. We walked in and everything in my arms dropped to the floor, I managed to catch the Shepherds pie and promptly got the boys into bed. 

They are still awake and I’m eating the rest of the shepherds pie which I planned on having for lunch at work tomorrow. 

Oh well it’s not like it’s only Monday and we still have the rest of the week to go……. oh wait!