Worrying? That’s So Last Year!

I don’t like making resolutions; they don’t stick (with me anyway), and why wait until January to make a change? This year, however, I have made one. I have decided to become worry-free.

 

 

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This is not something that comes naturally to me. Worry has been my constant companion for my whole life. Do you know whose middle name is Worry? Me, that’s who.

As long as I can remember I have been a mildly anxious person (I hesitate to use that word, because my anxiety is the old-fashioned kind; not debilitating, just annoying).  As a child – as my mum will attest to – I was the one nervously biting my nails in the car on the first day of term.  Not because I was worried about the first day back, but because I was terrified that we had made a mistake and it really wasn’t the first day back at all. ‘What if everyone else came back yesterday, and I’ve missed a day?’

Is that weird? The same with non-uniform day, my stomach would be in knots, until I caught a glimpse of a classmate sans uniform.  I’m pretty sure that’s a normal worry though. Right?

 

As an adult, things haven’t been much better to be honest.  I have worried my way through new jobs; new experiences; pregnancies; meeting new people; old jobs I don’t like anymore; not having enough money; and less frequently, having enough money (in case it disappears)…. You name it, I’ve worried about it.

 

But NO MORE! As of 2017, worry is going in the recycling bin.  It’s going to come out as happiness and contentment.

 

My reasoning behind being a big fat worrier, is that if I worry about it (and expect the worst) then I won’t be disappointed when the worst happens.  But NEWSFLASH, this is extremely flawed logic.

 

Over the last 13 years I have been pregnant six times, and have four children.  You could argue that my anxiety during those pregnancies was justified, but did it do any good? Heck no.

 

 

“What’s comin’ will come, 

an’ we’ll meet it when it does” – Hagrid

 

My final pregnancy was by far the most stressful, after suffering a late miscarriage the year previously.  So I worried.  Oh, I worried like never before.  Thankfully my daughter was born happy and healthy in 2014 (albeit back to back – awkward child that she is).

One thing I am certain of – my worrying did not create this gorgeous little being.  In fact, she is the most nervous and anxious of them all.  I would go as far as to say that my high stress levels during the pregnancy caused her to be a nervous child.  Me worrying about that would be pointless though.  I owe it to her (and my other children) to be a calm and rational role model.

 

The thing about worrying is that it doesn’t stop bad days happening, it just ruins the good days. And where’s the fun in that?

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Being Grateful


Have you ever said ‘I’m just having one of those days’? Doesn’t it start to feel like every day is one of those days after a while?  The negative feelings and interactions with other people snowball until you are one big ball of frustration and irritation.  Life seems like an uphill struggle, and insecurities and anxious feelings are at their highest.

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Leading up the summer of 2016 my life was a little bit… let’s say bumpy.  My mind was all over the place, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with myself, and I was feeling uninspired.  I announced several times to my husband and family that I had decided on a new career path, only to dismiss it a few days later.  I honestly thought I was having a pre-midlife crisis (…possibly midlife.  Eeek, am I that old already?)

It was an unusual time.

I started reading all the self-help books I could get my hands on (some better than others).  I gravitated towards motivational speakers on Youtube, rather than my usual beauty ‘gurus’, and I started to move away from beauty blogs and magazines, and towards stories of inspirational people.

I would wake up feeling apathetic at best, and downright miserable at worst. I wouldn’t describe it as clinical depression, more misery and low mood.

But then one day it all fell into place with a thud.  The way I was feeling was because of me. It was the way I was reacting to situations that was making me feel so rubbish.   I was in charge of my life – no one else.

 

I started to work on being grateful for what I do have, instead of grumbling about what I don’t have.

 

Doing this has had a greater impact on my life than I ever would have imagined.

 

Gratitude, giving thanks, feeling blessed, whatever you want to call it is essential to my own mental well-being, and I would bet that if you are feeling low it would help you too.

Which feels better? Noticing the things that are missing from your life, or noticing the positive aspects?  I know what feels better to me.

I’ve tried both approaches extensively, and have come to the conclusion that life is better when I make a point of finding the good and ignoring the bad.

For the most part now I feel like I have moved on to a better place. Doing so has been a journey, and is still ongoing.  One of the biggest changes that has come about in my thinking, is feeling grateful for the things that are going well, and taking the time to appreciate the good.

It is also something that needs to be kept in check every day.  Feeling happy and grateful one day a month doesn’t really cut it.  I start and end each day with lying in bed remembering all the people and things (yes, things, it’s not evil and materialistic to be grateful for things) that I am blessed with.

My children; my marriage;  my parents and extended family; our health.  A roof over our heads; money to buy food; cars to make life easier; gadgets to keep us busy and entertained; music; movies; The Walking Dead (I’m kidding about that one – kind of). Education; freedom; books.  I really could go on all day.

Even those that feel that nothing goes their way can find something to be grateful for each day.  It’s the quickest way to feeling uplifted, I guarantee it.

 

Let me know what you’re grateful for in the comments, I know you can do it. joyfulthings joyful things beauty blog family blogger skincare mascara eyeshadow lipstick lip balm cleanser toner moisturiser makeup make-up primer blush blusher nail polish

 

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Lessons From a Four Year Old #2 – Have Fun

Do you have enough fun in your life?

 

When I became a parent, I thought that I would be the one doing the teaching.  I assumed I would teach my children life skills – speaking and dressing themselves – as well as social skills – not killing each other, being kind.  So far mission accomplished. I have four reasonably well-mannered, kind children who make me proud every day.

 

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What I didn’t expect, however, was for them to teach me fun stuff too.  But they do.  Constantly!

Recently, I wrote about how my four year old daughter has shown me how not to have fear.  I have been trying to follow her (albeit inadvertent) advice, with varied results.  Then, lo and behold, another lesson!

 

We were at my son’s Sports Day back in July, and •terrible mother alert• I was bored.  Daughter number two was in her pushchair, and the four year old was roaming free, like a wild animal.

As well as watching my eleven year old trying his hardest to win all the races, I was also half watching daughter number one. Making sure that she didn’t disappear – as children are so good at doing in the millisecond that you take your eyes off them – or injure herself.

While watching her, I realised something rather extraordinary, she wasn’t bored.  She was having a great time!  She was running, and jumping and skipping, and rolling down a hill, then running up it and rolling down again.

 

Meanwhile, boring old me was checking my watch every six seconds, and wishing for the end to come. (The end of Sports Day, not the end of the world – it wasn’t that bad).  As I watched her, I thought, why can’t I have fun like that? Why can’t I be that carefree and joyous?

 

And then newsflash;

 ‘Wait, I can be!’

I know life gets in the way sometimes, and, let’s be fair here, my four year old doesn’t have to worry about paying bills, or whether the strange noise that the car is making means something is wrong (it did, and yes, it was expensive).

 

But really, we should be trying to enjoy our lives.  Who’s to say we can’t skip, and roll down hills as an adult? Just because we have crippling credit card debt, and other worries, doesn’t mean we should let it consume us.

Sometimes, we need to just let it go, and be silly.  So what if other people look at you and think you’re completely insane? They are just jealous that you can do 12 cartwheels in a row.

Laughter is the best medicine.  It relieves stress, and makes us live longer.  What’s not to love?

So sing, dance, watch a funny film, and just laugh.  Go and catch those Pokemon, if that’s what makes you happy.

I speak from experience when I say that a low mood can be a slippery slope.  When I made a conscious effort to climb out of the darkness, I saw a vast improvement in my life.  Yes, the problems are still there, and no, I don’t own a yacht yet, but day to day life is a lot less miserable.

 

I’m sorry for the cliche, but it has to be said: life is short. So please enjoy it!

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How to Make Jealousy Work in Your Favour

Jealousy, what a pain in my butt. Bizarrely, in my marriage, I’m not a jealous person whatsoever. I put this down to the fact that I feel secure, and I know that my husband would never do anything daft that would put our family at risk.  In other areas of life, however, it can be a different story.

 

It can be really hard not to feel envious of people that are enjoying their success, particularly when things may not be going in the direction that we want them to.

 

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Where does the jealousy come from? It is more than likely caused by dissatisfaction in your own life, whether you recognise it or not.  It’s human nature, we want more, and we want what ‘they’ have.  Remember, there is no shame.  Not if we use it to make ourselves better, not bitter.

For example, I don’t feel threatened when my husband can’t keep his eyes off the backside of the 20 year old that has just passed by our table in the restaurant. He can look, because I know he won’t touch.  (I realise this makes him sound like a lech, but he really isn’t).

When I see others having personal successes though, I find it harder to be quite so dismissive. That little voice will start, the one that reminds me there are many career goals that I still have not achieved.

So, what to do? How do we turn jealousy into a positive emotion? Well, like anything, it is a choice.

You can choose to let it consume you, and turn you into a bitter person.  Or you can celebrate the success of your peers, and utilise those feelings of envy.  Jealousy can be motivational, if we let it. Look at what exactly that person is doing that you want for yourself, then go out and get it.

Maybe you can get in touch with them and ask how they did it.  Will they be a mentor for you? Have they written blog posts, books, or do they offer teaching? Consume a bit of their brilliance, and use it to fuel your own success.

Make a plan, and write it down (or blog about it).  Choose that friend or family member who is always in your corner, and tell them. Find your own cheerleader, and check in with them. Tell them how you’re getting on, and get them to pester you about it.

Set mini goals within the bigger goal, and celebrate when (not if) you hit them.

Work harder, work smarter, and focus on the end goal. Instead of looking at what they have that you don’t, look at what you can learn from them.

 

Use their success to work out what you want from life. 

 

 

 

Now go! Get on it, and work towards your goals.

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Lessons From a Four Year Old – No Fear

In an attempt to get my s*it together recently, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about life, the universe and everything.

 

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I have spent a small fortune on self-help books, and have googled topics such as, ‘how to be happy’; ‘who am I?’; ‘how to find your calling in life’, and ‘who did Negan kill?’ (my money’s on Michonne FYI).

While all of this has been super helpful, the most valuable lesson came from my four year old daughter.

It came about one ordinary day as I was getting my youngest daughter changed in her bedroom. The four year old started coming up to join us, and – rather than climbing the stairs in the usual manner – decided to impersonate a crab. She was doing this strange tilting, sideways walk, that was making me increasingly nervous. Just to let you know, I try not to be an anxious parent, but in my eleven years as a mother I have witnessed more than my fair share of children falling down stairs. Mostly it’s been my eldest tumbling head over heels, and landing with a thud at the bottom. For some reason he just can’t  seem to get the hang of the order that his feet need to move in. So, anyway, back to child number three. She safely made it to the top, even with me hovering anxiously at the top distracting her from her crabby mission.

I must have told her to be careful about 2,987 times, and when she got to the top I breathed a sigh of relief.

‘You need to be careful’, I told her.  ‘You could have fallen down the stairs’.

My worldly wise four year old looked at me with her enormous brown eyes, and innocently smiled. ‘But I didn’t, mummy’.

And there it was. A valuable life lesson.  Apparently, my third-born child knows more about these things than her scaredy-cat mother.  Of course, fear is a good thing, it keeps us sensible and stops the human race dying out.  But what about when we let fear take over, turning us into underachieving bores?  I know I am definitely guilty of letting fear get in the way.

 

I have so many goals, so many things I want to achieve before I die.  Not crazy, ridiculous goals, but fully achievable goals. If I put my mind to it, I can totally do everything I have on my Big List of Dreams.  So, what’s stopping you, moron?! I hear you cry.

Other than a lack of time (poor excuse), there’s only one thing standing in the way of me and heart-bursting fulfilment. Fear.

‘What if I fail?’

‘What if I’m not good enough?’

‘What if people laugh at me?’

Well, so what? What if I succeed? What if I’m brilliant? What if people are impressed?

                  Isn’t it worth the risk?

Are you letting fear stand in your way too? Maybe there’s something that you have longed to do, whether that be in your career, or in your personal life.  Maybe you too hear that voice in your head warning you off?

I’m here to tell you to go for it.

Clearly, I’m not recommending that you do anything that would put your life at risk, or leave you bankrupt, or ruin your relationship.  Think back to being a child, if it helps. Back to the days when anything seemed possible.  As children, before the world gets its claws into us, we see no reason not to announce that we want to be a unicorn.  My daughter wants to be a fairy (when she’s not being a crab that is).  She’s not scared that she won’t be any good at it, or that she won’t have the shiniest wings out of all her fairy friends. She sees her future as a fairy, and who am I to tell her otherwise? She has no fear whatsoever.

So, what’s stopping you? Take that first step. Work towards becoming the person you thought you would grow up to be. You owe it to your four year old self.

Just remember this: It might not end in embarrassment or failure.  It might end up being the best decision you ever made.

 

And if you’re reading this secure in the knowledge that you haven’t let fear stop you, and are properly grabbing life by the balls, then I salute you. Look out for me on the other side.

 

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Midweek Motivation

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We all need a little motivation to get us through the week sometimes.  This quote from Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks spoke to me today.  In all honesty, I don’t believe that hard work will necessarily get you everything you want; I will never be a brain surgeon no matter how many years of study I put in.  However that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of other fantastic opportunities available with a bit of hard graft.

The most rewarding experiences are often those that are the hardest to come by.

Have a great week, and keep at it – whatever ‘it’ may be.

 

 

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