Archives for the month of: December, 2015

As the new year approaches, let me ask you a few questions where we can all learn a few things about ourselves to become happier or in my case to guide and help you all to “feel happy”.

  1. What does it take for you to “be happy” or to “feel happy”?
  2. What images or sounds comes through your mind when you hear or see the word “happy”?
  3. What feelings do you have when you are happy?
  4. How many days of the week do you feel happy?
  5. We were all happy at one point in our lives and then what happened?
  6. Why are we living life “being miserable” or “feeling miserable”?
  7. Why are we drained from our positive energy and happiness?
  8. Where did our happiness go to?
  9. Who took it away from us?

Everything we are and do today goes back to our childhood, our set up, our education, our parents, our culture, our traditions, our beliefs, our extended family, our peers, our teachers, our society and what we were taught by all of these aspects of our lives.

When a child grows up in a happy, loving, caring, kind, affectionate, stable, secure, safe and protected environment, he/she shall become a happy and content adult. On the other hand, when a child grows up in a dysfunctional family where the child’s basic needs were not met, there are damaging results that has destroyed that child’s foundation. The destruction leads to mental illnesses, anxiety, lack of: self worth, self confidence and inner strength and poor health.  A child has a right and deserves to feel safe and protected in their own home. When the child is robbed of these basic needs, they become very damaged and this creates so many issues for them to handle and manage in their adult life.

Therapy is the most effective way to recover and heal from the emotional pains accumulated throughout childhood. Yet, due to the complications surrounding therapy treatment it can be non existent for so many. Some do not believe that therapy works. Others think it’s too expensive, some think it’s this and that to go to therapy. Some are closed to change. Others just bury their head in the sand thinking there is nothing that needs “fixed” because they think that they are perfectly in great health and they are happy. Denial, ignorance, fear, shame, poor attitude and lack of knowledge about the positive gains from working with therapy can hold us back from making a good recovery and heal from our past emotional pains.

How many of us know of any one who has had great results and made progress in their lives from working with a therapist? How many of us have invested their time and money to seeking the help of a therapist? Some people may have heard of an unpleasant experience someone else had from therapy and so therefore this has sown a seed into their head. This seed then becomes their perception of why therapy does not work.

Human beings need to feel they belong to a group, a pack, a community and when they do something, anything that is out of the ordinary from their group, they feel they will be castaway. They think they shall be judged, labelled, attacked, ridiculed, criticized and dismissed. So they stay within what they know is safe and secure without ever venturing to the outside of their comfort zone for themselves and to make progress to feel happy.

Maintaining adult relationships are the most: demanding, difficult, challenging, painful, troublesome, exerting and time consuming task we ever take on. The relationship adults have with themselves is more than all of the above. It takes daily effort and time to maintain the relationship we have with ourselves. It is the most important and valuable relationship we have with anyone. How we talk to ourselves determines how we create happiness for us. How we talk to ourselves is determined by how we were spoken to in our formative years. The inner voice that is talking to us everyday comes from how we were spoken to as a child. It controls most of our lives from when we were a child and a teenager right up to the day we pass on.

From my amazing journey with personal development in the past four years and six months, I have come to learn that to be happy is totally different from feeling happy. I feel happy when I am connected from my heart. I use my heart to feel happy because my heart is what I use to feel. I  am a kinaesthetic person so I feel happy when I am engaged in physical activities. I am connected with my heart so therefore I feel happy. To be happy for me, means I am searching for happiness from an outside source such as having a delicious meal to devour. This means I need to constantly search for an outside source to be happy which is costly, time consuming, damaging, destructive and the happiness needs fuel on a daily basis.

This is why so many people engage in and enjoy addictions to the extent where it creates ill health, causes relationships to break down, drains them from their finances, diseases set in and heart problems become a part of their lives, especially in men. Being disconnected from the heart is a huge issue yet generally, so little seems to be known about all the ill health that this creates. Tat O’Per’s book The Orgasmic Effect explains this in more detail and I related to her insight which helped me to connect with my heart whenever I was feeling sadness come through. I also learned about my own addictions, mainly to social media when I was feeling sad and empty inside.

When we are suffering from toothache, we see our dentist, when we are sick, we see our doctor, when our feet are causing us pain, we see a chiropodist, when we are affected by injury, illness or disability, we see a physiotherapist so we go and see a therapist when we are feeling sad. Simple!

I went to see a counsellor for:  anger management, bereavement, depression and anxiety. It helped me to be able to have a non-judgemental person to listen and guide me through my challenges throughout the most difficult and dark times of my life. I could vent, I could scream and shout.  I could be feeling: sad, happy, angry, frustrated, raging, vulnerable, weak, fragile and overwhelmed. I could be feeling whatever I was at the time and my counsellor knew how to handle my emotions. She was calm, laid back, professional, positive and always gave me her undivided attention to listen to me with the intent to understand where I was coming from.

The last time I had saw my counsellor was in June 2014, when I needed her guidance yet again after losing my big brother to a very sudden death. I was in tremendous emotional pain and everyday I woke up feeling my heart was heavy, weighed down and I felt empty inside. I felt my world had collapsed once again and I was abandoned. I made great progress with seeing my counsellor once a week and that hour for me to focus on my lose was a huge step to my recovery.

Until we get the support, help, advice, tools, understanding and listening ear from a professional who are trained to guide us through a journey to recovery and healing, adults’ feelings of happiness shall always be controlled by their past emotional pains. It can and does cost us more than we can ever imagine. The relationship we have with ourselves deserves the best, it is the most valuable relationship we shall ever have and we can turn our lives around from feeling sad to feeling true happiness with a helping hand from a professional who is trained and qualified to guide us to a journey of feeling happy from within.

So feeling happy for me, has been a long, tiresome, challenging, at times dramatic and mostly,  a valuable journey where I found my true self. I am loving the feelings of happiness from all the hard work I invested in as well as all the time, effort and money, sometimes, burning the candle at both ends to reach my goal of feeling happy from within. Well done me! Patting myself on the back! Hehe

 

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Gratitude! We all know what it means, yet how many of us actually practice gratitude on a daily basis? What does practicing gratitude mean?

What images comes into your head when you hear or see the word gratitude? When was the first time you heard or saw “gratitude”?

Are you aware of the attitude that we have towards life’s ups and downs determines the quality of our lives?

I was never taught anything about gratitude in my childhood other than to say “thank you” when someone outside of our family gave me money, a gift or bought food for me. My parents never taught me anything about gratitude by being a positive role model themselves. I never heard my parents say “thank you” to each other. I never saw my parents show their appreciation for each other. Nor did I ever see my parents being grateful for what they did for each other.

My father was a very bitter and angry person and still is. He is a taker and never did I see him show gratitude for all that he has. My mother is more of a giver than a taker. She gives to others whenever she can. She rarely takes anything from others. I spent my first eight years of my life with my mother as father was living abroad. So I picked up my mother’s generosity and I gave more than I would take. Yet, somewhere along the way with my journey of life, things shifted.

I had become a very bitter and angry person with so much hatred, who was living life in an extremely dark place after I lost what felt like everything that I had worked so damn hard for. It was not my fault and I felt I was the victim.  I had been holding onto so much resentment from my past that was creating much illnesses for me. My health was deteriorating each day as I would wake up and muddle through each day thinking that I was hard done by. I felt I was the victim to all that happened to me and I was creating more ill health as I continued to live my life with this poor attitude.

I was aged 39 when I first heard about practicing gratitude from a group of people who was engaged in personal development. I was introduced to them through a business opportunity that my cousin Denny was involved in back in 2011. Then in December 2011, I was given a tool to use to help me focus on the positive things that was happening in my life. This helped me to focus on the present and being mindful to everything around me.

I started to write in my “gratitude journal” that was to become the most powerful tool I have used to attract more of what I want into my life. Gradually, I could feel my spirits lifting and I was more mindful of my surroundings. I enjoyed writing a list of the things that made me happy that day before I went to sleep at the end of my day. As I was feeling good from within, I felt my moods lifting too and this was a huge benefit to me as I suffer from seasonal affective disorder each winter. So I was feeling energised, happy and content with my life.

My life was beginning to get brighter, bigger and better. I had shifted my poor attitude to a richer one of gratitude. I was becoming the person that everyone wants to be surrounded with. There was a huge spring in my step each day and this was magical to me. I felt fear lifting from me and there was an abundance of happiness, health, wealth and love wherever I went, whatever I did and with whoever I was with. I learned why my life had turned out the way it did. I learned why the things I had was taken away from me. I learned why I was attracting every negative situation to me. I learned to never allow that to happen to me ever again.

So I have been practicing gratitude everyday since that amazing December in 2011. I have filled a huge number of notebooks with all that I was grateful for. I love to shop for bright and appealing notebooks wherever I go.  I continue to inspire others of how powerful it is for our lives when we take time to practice gratitude daily. I have seen how people lose whatever they had when they were ungrateful each day just like I was. I have seen my loved ones lose whatever they had because they were ungrateful as they complain and criticise so I told myself that I shall never become one of them.

My relationships have become so much richer because I am grateful for every one I have in my life. I have a great laugh with my sons now. We can have fun, banter with each other and we are more relaxed with each other nowadays. This is a humongous shift from what life was like for us before I began my magical journey with my best friend, my gratitude journal. My relationship with my ideal partner has become so fulfilling because I express my gratitude to him by writing thank you notes for him, sending him a thank you text now and again and I also ask my sons to do the same. I am leading by example. I thank my mum for her continual support and give her a hug where I never used to.

I offer my time, support and listening ear to those who need it. I give food whenever I can to people who are less fortunate than me as I see them crouched down on the streets in our city centre in the freezing cold. I am more patient with people than I ever was. I am more calmer, more at ease and relaxed with any difficult situations that arise. I feel I am making fantastic progress with my journey of life and adventure.

As I gradually became more positive, inspiring, loving, caring, compassionate and empathetic I noticed that my well being and health had become much better and stronger. I had more energy to do what I wanted to do each day. I was getting less colds, flus and coughs. I was much more resilient to challenges, set backs, hurdles, twists and turns and I loved my new lease of life. I shall never allow myself to go back to my old self now.

I am attracting more of what I want into my life each day and eliminating the negative, the toxic and the dramatic too. I choose to never engage with anyone who are less than positive and inspiring to me. I am aware of the huge impact these people have on my happiness so I have a clear boundary put into place. I am what people have called “living in a positive bubble” and that is my choice. I know what is working for me and I shall continue to do what creates happiness, health, wealth and love in abundance for me and my loved ones.

So next time you are thinking why your life is treating you unfairly, turn it around by practicing gratitude and invest some time to become happier. Your body, mind and soul shall thank you for it. You shall become so much more productive as your energy levels begins to soar. Go on! Do it for the first thirty days and commit to it for the rest of your life! It’s approaching a new year and a new beginning so let’s get you to start a new habit for a bigger, better and brighter life!

Source: The importance of making consistent progress

Discipline is at times, a word that the adult runs away from because as children we absolutely hated it. Our inner child therefore, controls our lives when we have no self discipline. We allow things to get on top of us because we had neglected the self discipline. Something simple as putting our clothes to it’s place when we undress instead of leaving them on the floor can feel like climbing Mount Everest. I sometimes just don’t feel like brushing my teeth because my inner child is lazy. So what do I do?

Idleness breeds idleness. Action breeds action. So when I don’t feel like doing something it’s a number of things:

  1. It can be a sign that my inner child has been neglected. She wants to play yet I need to get on with my day. I neglect to talk to her and reassure her that I shall let her play when I am done with doing what I need to do
  2. I have lost my momentum for achieving my goals and I feel sad so I become lazy instead of picking myself up and keep moving forward
  3. I have neglected to have fun with myself and laugh
  4. I am stressed
  5. I am tired and or sleepy
  6. I have been neglecting my feelings and they become overwhelming
  7. I allow my negative inner voice to take control of my life
  8. I have allowed distractions to consume my time
  9. A disruption to my usual routine

So in order to get myself back on track, I have been experimenting and analysing with what works for me. I need a sound sleep of at least seven hours each night in order to have energy to see me through my day. My sleep is affected mainly by what I eat and when I eat. When I have had too much of certain foods, they affect my body,  drains it of essential energy to help me get the most out of my day and I just want to sleep. I know all this information from tracking my sleep and what I eat. I am more productive on days when I have had a sound sleep, the sun is shining and life is going smoothly.

My sleep was affected this week due to my yougest son being sick. I took him into hospital on Tuesday morning at 3.30am and we stayed until 12.30pm which meant I had a lack of sleep for one night. I had a lingering headache all day Tuesday then I felt ill the next day with cold symptoms.  My sinus affected my breathing so I had three more nights of disturbed sleep. In total, I had been sleep deprived for four nights. This affected my self discipline and I was neglecting to work on my goals. Things like these happen to us quite often so we can allow them to knock us down or we choose to recover from our illness then get back on track.

However, the momentum I had built before I fell ill with the cold has been crumbled and lost. This means I need to work from the bottom and build it back up which is my biggest challenge. My mind and body has a power struggle and guess who wins? It takes me many days of procrastination to start back getting on track with achieving my goals. Why? It is easier not to do anything than it is to do something. My mind wants to do something, anything to get back on track. Yet, my body has become lazy from resting and recovering from my illness. So when my mind tells my body to get off my lazy ass and do something, there is always without fail, a struggle or three. My body tells my mind “I don’t feel like it today, I can’t be bothered, I am tired and sleepy, let me do it tomorrow”! So it becomes a fight with mind and body until something gives way.

What happens next is rather quite extraordinary! Once I start to do something, anything and enjoy it, I feel it was such a waste of time to have to fight with my mind and body. I understand that habits are essential to achieving our goals. I also understand that we are responsible for choosing what we do and do not do. So who is it that chooses to make a start to get back on track? Is it me? Is it my inner child or my inner teenager or is it the adult me? I asked questions to analyse what holds me back from taking that first step to getting back on track.

I have come to realise that the way I talk to myself first thing in the morning before I start my day affects how productive I become. I have also learned that how I feel physically also affects my productivity. So if my sleep was disturbed then my day will be without a doubt less productive than I had planned. So how do I become better at controlling my inner voice first thing in the morning? How do I make sure that I get a sound sleep without getting disturbed during the night? My diet of course is vital to me getting  a sound sleep and also when I eat. Then, it is important that I get time to exercise to feel happy and relaxed. Last, how I spend the last two hours before I hit my pillow determines how well I sleep. So it is a combination of things, not just one, it is a combination just like a list of ingredients that are needed to bake a cake. Without the flour, our cake will never be a cake.

My emotions need to be taken care of too in order for me to get the most out of my day to become productive. Then, there’s my inner child who needs my attention and when she is not getting it, she throws a tantrum and will stop me from my productive day. That’s where a power struggle takes place and it can become rather ugly! I used to ignore her, blank her, dismiss her and neglect her. This only created more issues than necessary so I have learned my lessons well. I have a talk with her and tell her what I need to do and why. Then I explain to her that we shall play and have fun when………and she accepts that then I am allowed to achieve my goals without her pestering me.

I read in a book early in 2014 that taking a pause now and again helps use to make conscious choices. I have been practicing this and that pause I take can make such a humongous difference to success or failure which is my choice. Did you know that we make choices every minute of every day? Conscious and subconscious, we are making them constantly. So pausing for that moment to think and evaluate the consequences of our actions pays off more than we realise.

I was never taught self discipline by my parents in a constructive manner. My father is a toxic man who has no emotional intelligence and he is therefore, a rageaholic which destroyed my inner child, inner teenager and my self worth. So I worked very hard each day for the past four years and six months to build up my self worth. My mother is my biggest inspiration because of all the hardships and adversities she has endured. Yet she still has a huge smile each day and she never allows anyone or anything to keep her spirits low for any length of time. She just dust herself off, get up and give life the best she has, with whatever she has and enjoys life. She is childlike and has lots of fun which is vital to her well being and overall health.

Having fun to me, is absolutely essential to my well being, my health, my inner child, my inner teenager and for my success. I can do more in a day when I know I am going to have fun so I make it a goal of mine. I love to have a good laugh, a giggle, a boogie, a wiggle and this allows the stress to leave my body. My self discipline is determined by my mental, emotional and physical state. The three go hand in hand and without one the other two shall never function. It’s just like a car shall never get us to our destination safely without enough engine oil.

So the next time you feel like you are a failure because you are not self disciplined, analyse what is holding you back. Check in on your inner child, inner teenager and have fun with them. Also, be sure to check in on your mental, emotional and physical health. Make time to de-stress each day and take care of your own needs. Track your progress as you go along each day with achieving you goals. Write down your thoughts and what seems to bother you. Get to know what works for you and want doesn’t.

if nothing changes then we become stuck and when we regret not doing something then it is draining ourselves of our positive energy. So self discipline is one of the main ingredients to achieving our goals.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

The schools that I had attended taught me how to pass exams yet they never taught me what I taught myself in the last four years that have been more valuable to me than learning algebra, trigonometry and history which I found so boring. I was dead inside whenever I had these classes! Why did I need to learn these boring subjects at school I had asked myself? What value are they going to add to my life later on?  How do I retain the information I had learned from these dull subjects and use them in my later life?

My parents taught me very little about how to get the most out of my life due to their lack of insight, knowledge, wisdom, love and curiosity for me to learn to become a better person. They were never the affectionate type who showed their love. I came from an extremely dysfunctional family which created so much ill health and it destroyed my self worth. I was taking care of my own needs at the age of ten when my mother became pregnant with her third child. I was abandoned after my younger brother Tony was born. So my needs were never met by my parents other than the bare necessities: food, water, clothes, shoes, eduction, shelter and medical care.

I learned how to see my own doctor and get medicine when I fell ill from aged ten. I was going to the dentist on my own from aged twelve. I bought our new carpets at aged nine with my mum who paid for them. I took my mum to all of her anti natal appointments to be her interpreter at aged ten and needed to take time off school. I was taking care of myself, my parents and Tony yet my own needs were only met by me, the child who needed her parents to take care of her. I felt lonely and alone, unloved and unwanted yet I knew I was capable of taking care of me because I was strong willed from being brought up by a very bold, loud, confident and mostly fearless mother.

However, somewhere along the journey with life, I lost that boldness I once had. I lost my authentic self who was assertive, confident, positive,  enthusiastic, bubbly, chidlike, fun to be around and attractive. I struggled with an unfulfilled marriage and was desperate to get out of it. Yet, with no money to my name that would allow me to move forwards and no reliable support from my parents due to our culture, I was stuck. I was sick from being tied down and I felt locked up in a huge cage with no freedom to be who I was born to be. I was losing myself each day and something happened that helped me to “escape”!

That was back in December 2007 and how far I have come since then has amazed myself and others. I have become so much more capable and assertive, by gaining more confidence each day as I continue to make consistent progress for personal growth and happiness. I step out of my comfort zone nowadays to grow. I take calculated risks to get more out of my life. I am open to new opportunities for learning and life experiences. I have long term and short term “smart” goals to achieve. I have a vision for my ideal life, career and love life.

So how did all this happen? How did I make so much progress? How did I turn my life around? Well, I took charge of my life and no longer lived as a “victim” to circumstances. I no longer blamed other’s for what happened to my life. I learnt that everything that happened to me, was my responsibility, not my parents, not my siblings, not my ex husband, not my friends or colleagues. I had become a toxic person from being surrounded by toxic people. So I put up clear boundaries by removing toxic friends and boyfriend, limiting my time I spent with toxic members of my family and then, and only then could I focus with much clarity on achieving my goals.

I attracted my ideal partner after losing my big brother from a very sudden death. I probably would have lost myself all over again and got into a deep depression if I had not been introduced to personal development where I made great progress. The time, money and effort I had invested into my future is definitely paying off.  I flew to Sydney and Hong Kong with my ten year old son to fulfill my dreams this summer. I stepped out of my comfort zone once again and I came home with a totally different prospective to life and what I wanted for myself was even more clear now. The magical adventure allowed me to grow even more and my ten year old son grew as much as me and we both picked up the “travel bug”!

Our next destination is Tokyo and I have made our vision board which has a pride of place on my bedroom wall! I also made our vision board for our Sydney dream home that’s hanging up across from my bed so that I can visualise our magical life in Sydney as soon as I awake each morning. What an amazing year we have had!

I have so many stories to tell from my life’s experiences that’s more valuable than any materialistic purchase anyone makes. I am ever so grateful to be introduced to personal development back in June 2011 by my cousin Denny at a business opportunity. I learned from reading many self help books and other non fiction books what I was never taught at school or by my parents. I am enhancing my life with much knowledge and life experiences that shall serve me well into so many riches.

My relationships with my three sons has become much happier and we love to banter and laugh together. It is such a huge difference from what our lives was like back in 2007. My relationship with myself is at peace and I have learned to love everything about me, warts and all. I am no longer haunted by my past of abandonment and abuse. I am very much aware of what I give out to others is what I attract, multiplied. I have become more compassion towards myself and others. I have a better understanding of why people do what they do. I have more to give out in positivity and generosity. I am attracting everything I want into my life because I have become an attractive person. All the hard work of working hard on myself has been a huge bonus to have all that I now possess.

I may not live in a luxurious home or drive the flashiest car or own designer labels, I may not have billions to my name yet I feel richer than a billionaire! I practice gratitude each day by writing in my gratitude journal. I am ever so thankful to all the people that came into my life who are no longer in it because they taught me who I never want to become. I am learning something new each day, week, month and year because every day is a school day for me. I never allow a day go by without learning something. I have become more productive with my valuable time and I am aware of what I give my attention, focus and energy to as this becomes a part of me.

I no longer get stressed out over trivial things or anything that no longer serves me well. I no longer get caught up in drama and gossip. I stopped watching the news over four years ago because it is toxic and sucks the happiness out of me. It creates fear and stops people from getting the most out of their lives.

I make time to have fun with my inner child and inner teenager because they matter and they deserve my time. I make time to have fun with my sons as we banter and have a great laugh. We love to be childlike and silliness is a great ingredient to a happy home. I also make time to have fun with my ideal partner because it is important to our relationship. Life is meant to be fun so that’s one of my goals in life. When one is having fun, one is giving out joy to others and money could never buy joy!

Oh btw I have yet to make use of the algebra, trigonometry and history that I learned from school and put them to use in my daily life! Haha

Sunday 20 December 2015

 

I am so proud of myself for making conscious healthier choices to be more alert and energetic during this winter. I have been staying awake around 5pm to 6pm (which is when my body feels most sluggish) by doing anything at home other than to take a nap. It is working well so far so I am very happy and content with my results.

It was my intention to stay awake on Wednesday evening so I pushed myself. I stayed in bed surfing the Internet and stayed away from the cheese biscuits, chocolates and other snacks full of simple carbs. My goal was achieved even though I was being unproductive surfing the Internet! Hehe

I had a fantastic day on Thursday and the sun was out so I was feeling a lot energetic. My sweetheart bought our digital photo frame so I was feeling more happy and content than the day before. I attended a job interview in the afternoon and we had group assessments to do which was so much fun because I just love to have fun and laugh. It was great team work as we got everyone involved and the team spirit was on fire! Hehe. I craved chocolate yet I managed to ride through my craving so another win win! Day two of staying awake at 5pm.

Friday was another productive day as I wrote down my new goals for the coming New Year. I went to see a manager at a charity shop about volunteering work there in the afternoon which took an hour there and over an hour back on the bus as I went to do some last minute Christmas shopping. I was proud of achieving so much on this day when the weather was wet, dull, cold and miserable. I stayed awake again, all day in fact as I watched Disney’s version of “A Christmas Carol” at 5pm and munching on some fruit and drinking my smoothie of spinach and red apple.

Saturday, day four of staying awake at 5pm has become so much easier. I was feeling the exhaustion from staying awake all day on Friday so my body needed a two hour sleep after breakfast and it was bliss! I had some time to my own to read, write and colour in whilst my youngest son was swimming with his class mate for over an hour. We came home to do our own thing and I watched Rush Hour 2 at 5pm and it was so much fun even though I have watched it a hundred times by now! It felt like I had not laughed on my own in such a long time so I thoroughly enjoyed my own company in the living room. I had some chocolate today and munched on rice crackers too whilst watching Rush Hour 2.

Sunday, day five of staying awake around 5pm is as easy as ABC!   I am no longer feeling the tired and sleepy feeling around 5pm that I had at the beginning of this week. So my hard work is paying off. Well done me!  I have been much more active this week from being outdoors everyday instead of being idle at home. It has definitely helped me to be more alert, energetic and staying awake around 5pm was a brilliant result from making a conscious choice and being disciplined.

I set my alarm clock to wake me up at 8am this weekend even though I went back to nap after breakfast due to tiredness. I also set a goal to sleep at midnight at the latest this weekend so that I can feel refreshed from a sufficient sleep.  I have been working on doing my yoga each day which helps me to sleep sound throughout the night so that I feel rejuvenated in the mornings. Small goals each day is the best way to achieve my bigger goals. Tracking my sleep is also helping me to be more alert during the day.

I shall continue to work on my small goals to achieve my bigger goals this coming new week. Making consistent progress equals to happiness.

Friday 18 December 2015

Are you familiar with the Scottish long, dark, cold and depressing winters where we become lazy, sluggish, tired and sleepy? We wake up in the mornings to a pitch black welcome. No birds chirping outside. No blue skies or white clouds to be seen anywhere. No warm sunshine with green luscious leaves or flowers blooming. No happiness because our body says it is still night time. So we all struggle just to get out of bed to start our day. That “five more minutes in bed” becomes the norm each morning when our alarm clock goes off. We snooze for five minutes, then maybe for another five. We stumble, we panic, we struggle, we maon and groan in the dark to turn on the bedroom light so that we can see what we are doing. All the while mumbling, “I want to stay in bed all day because it’s too cold and dark to go outside”.

This happens to the majority of Scottish people as they drag their tired and sleepy bodies out of bed to start their day in the dark mornings when our bodies are telling us that it is not ready to begin our day until we see sunlight! Children are also feeling the effects of our Scottish winters. They become less energetic, more sleepy and tired. They spend less time playing outdoors as it gets dark around 4pm in November, then around 3.30pm in December. By Janaury, we are spending so much time indoors that relationships between couples are put under excessive pressure. They are fighting over the most trivial things and this creates a huge distance between them. Children are so bored being stuck indoors so they misbehave and this drives their parents crazy so this becomes a vicious cycle. Our health and wellbeing is put to the test, pushed to the limit and this is called the “January blues”! Christmas and New Year has cost every household a fortune that shall put more pressure onto the adults. So this means there is a lot less spending and plenty of dreaded bills to pay for. Add all this to the colds, flus, coughs, fever, sore throats, lose of positive vibes and happiness that is present from being stuck indoors for every household and what do we have? Misery! Absolute misery!

Every winter since I was in my mid teens, I would struggle immensely to stay awake during the day, eat a healthy balanced diet and stay active. I had no idea as to why I was affected by the dull, cold, long and depressing Scottish winter back then, in such a way that my energy levels would be depleted so much. So much that I found staying awake until bedtime to be almost impossible especially after dinner, when I would sit, watch television and dose off. I also noticed my moods would be duller and I lacked motivation to be active and do what my mind wanted to do. My body was controlling my mind due to the lack of energy and this was affecting my happiness. I was unable to tell my parents about this as I knew they would know nothing about what was causing my condition so I kept it all to myself. So I just learned to live with it the best way I could.

It was many years later until I found out what this condition was, what it was called and how I could, using natural methods, handle it better so that I could be happier during the Scottish winters that caused me to be a totally different person altogether. I never saw my doctor about this condition because I rarely asked for advice or seeked any sort of help from my doctor unless, I was physically sick. I found information about my condition from the Internet whilst I was at home surfing it one night. I stumbled across a website, looked into it and I was relieved to finally find: a name to my condition, a solution to handle it better, regain more energy and lift my moods up! Bingo! Let’s do this I thought. So I ordered a “lightbox” from Lumie and tried it out.

This lightbox was the cheapest version I could afford at the time and it felt like I was alive again from using it in my first week from receiving it from the post. I loved waking up to this beautiful, warm “sun” shining at me as I woke up and get out of bed with “sunshine” during our dull, dark, cold and depressing Scottish winter mornings was a real bonus!  Oh what a huge difference this small lightbox made to my mornings getting out of bed! It was no longer a struggle to drag myself out of bed nor did I needed to fight with my body because the lightbox programmed my body to get out of bed with no struggles or fights. Then I broke it! Oh no! I broke it and wasted my valuable money. I felt so sad, upset and angry with myself for not taking good care of my trusted and useful lightbox.

I was diagnosed with mild depression around the same time and I became so vulnerable, weak, fragile, drained and  anxious. I was about to move into our permanent accommodation as soon as I had it decorated with the help of my big brother during my time off work which was my doctor’s recommendation. Having my depression diagnosed during the winter definitely did not help me at all with the recovery process. I was less active, ate more junk, slept more and became so anxious due to the lack of outdoor activities. I was going into a world of the unknown. I felt so weak and vulnerable and this was the first time I had been feeling so helpless and it was the responsibilities I had as a single mother to my three sons that kept me sane, driven, motivated and positive.  I knew I needed to be strong for my sons if not for myself. I knew that my sons needed their mum because their dad was not supporting them financially. This had put so much stress onto my health and wellbeing that it was creating illnesses one after the other. This winter was the most challenging one for me as a single mother yet! Thank goodness I had the help from my big brother, otherwise I would have had a nervous breakdown!

I coped and survived that winter yet I knew the winters ahead was as challenging if not more so. So I knew I needed to invest in a new lightbox and so I did. The lightbox gained more value from me this time round as I made certain that I would take great care of it so it would serve me well for years to come. It is still going strong this winter of 2015!

Being a single mother to three sons,  I know that maintaining my health and wellbeing is vital so that I can do what I need to do for all of us.  I am a very active, energetic and enthusiastic person by nature yet during the winter months living in Scotland, I feel tired, sleepy, lethargic and have mild symptoms of depression. I lack motivation to see to my needs, my sons’ needs and our lives suffer. I become so lazy, weak, vulnerable, idle, sluggish, slow, dull, bored, weary and I feel like a completely different person to what and who I am during the spring and summer.

Even a simple task as brushing my teeth at the end of the night felt like running a marathon to me during the winter. I would neglect to take care of my own needs. I was feeling worthless, sad, empty and had no sense of pride in my appearance or any sense of direction as to where I wanted to be at or what I wanted to do with my life. I felt I had stalled and remained stagnant. On a sunny day, I would feel happy to have the sun shine on us and I would become active just for the duration of that day. My sons would only get my full attention if and when the sun was out to do its job.

Having my big brother live with us definitely had huge advantages during the winter. He would pick up my youngest son from school whilst I was napping and recovering from my mild depression. I would be spoiled by him as he did most of our errands and he washed the dishes after dinner each night as I cooked and he didn’t. So I became even more sluggish and lazy especially after dinner. I did no exercises during the winter for a number of years until I was introduced to exercising at home in 2011. I began with doing squats, then onto the plank, lunges, then I was given a gym ball from a friend. I explored my options of what I could do at home and I found that the squats and planking was my favourite so I continued doing them. I also used some light dumb bells to start lifting and build the strength in my arms.

The dull weather plays a huge part in the moods of my day. For me, it’s like having pms everyday for the duration of our Scottish winter. I just want to stay in bed like animals who hibernate. I know I certainly would do just that if I had no children to keep me on my toes! I crave simple carbs just like I do during my pms days.  I crave so much of it yet I now make conscious choices of how much simple carbs I consume. I am more disciplined now than I was before I started my new “healthy and active lifestyle” back in June 2011. Before, I  would eat crisps, chocolates and nuts straight after our dinner as we sat and watched television on my bed. It was cosy, warm and perfect for our Scottish winter. The more I ate simple carbs the more I craved for them so it was a vicious circle. I was spending more than fifteen to twenty pounds to fuel my poor habit each week! It was unbelievable! To see the amount of sugar I was putting into my body was scary and frightening! My sleep was disturbed during the night and I would wake up to pee. Yet sleep would take over an hour to come back to me so I would toss and turn and then I would feel frustrated! This affected my daytime routine as I was sleepy during the day, tired and weak. On my days off work I would be a couch potato who just stayed in bed until I was needed by my sons.

I knew I was much more energetic on days where the sun shone on us. So I could literally run a marathon on those days compared to a dull, wet, wild, windy and rainy day. I also knew that my moods would be like a roller coaster from one day to the next. I was more friendly, bubbly, chirpy, positive, enthusiastic and I felt I could conquer the world on sunny days which is always a welcomed bonus for me.  I never could sit still and watch television if I was at home and the sun was beaming down on us. I would be getting my hands dirty with the housework, tidying up, washing my car, doing the laundry, de-cluttering, cleaning our kitchen, vacuum the entire flat, cook meals from scratch and anything else that I could do to be productive. On a dull, wet, windy, wild and rainy day I am a lazy coach potato who would just not budge no matter what if I was at home. I would stay in bed until afternoon when I finished my breakfast.  Then I would cook lunch and be idle. I could sleep again or I could be watching television or surf the Internet. If I was at work, I would be kept moving as my job was demanding and fast paced. So I would rarely feel my tiredness as much as I do at home. Yet as soon as I get home from work and had our dinner I would feel the exhaustion set in. That’s when I grab our snacks, munch on them and watch television in my bed.

Diet wise, during the winter, I feel more hungry for hot food. I could eat three main meals and three snacks then eat more snacks after dinner. Yet I never put on excess weight which is my fortune. I have my genes to thank for this! Hehe.  However, the down side to all my eating during the winter months is, I am shopping for more food than our spring and summer and this means my food bill is unbelievable sky high! Well, I never smoke or drank alcohol so that makes up for it!

My passion for cooking from scratch helps me to eat a more balanced diet whilst I am at home. I rarely go out for lunch or dinner as I know I can get a more nutritious meal from cooking at home. I also know I get to control what goes into my food and how much. This I have my parents to thank for because I was fed home cooked food each day since I could remember. Chinese people love to eat and they sure know how to make their food taste mouth wateringly scrumptious. I have learned a few tricks and skills since I started cooking as a teenager whilst my parents worked and I was a full time mum to my younger brother ten years my junior. I love to be creative with food and I play about with my own recipes. I am always curious about making my own authentic recipe that makes me feel proud to call myself “a cook”. The main disadvantage is I have such a tiny kitchen that can be a real challenge when I want to do my food preparations, bake or clean. So it was such a bonus when our tiny kitchen got a refit a few years ago as it created more worktop space for me to work from. That was heaven to me!

We are what we eat, so rubbish in, rubbish out. I am very conscious about what I feed my Ferrari body with. It gets the best food possible. I never eat microwave meals nor do I eat anything bought from our ” chippies”. I seldom eat anything deep fried or food from McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc etc. I drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and I never drink tea or coffee. I do indulge in chocolate biscuits, cheesecakes, bread and chocolates during our winters which I rarely eat during our spring and summer. I love to have something to indulge in whenever we are having our “movie night” at home as it feels like the “cinema experience”

so far this month, I have been experimenting with anything and everything that I can think of that helps me to:

  1. stay awake during the day
  2. eating a healthier balanced diet
  3. stay more active
  4. Sleep sound through the night
  5. be more productive
  6. do my exercises each day

What works best for me is to get a sound sleep through the night for at least seven hours then I am energised to tackle my day ahead. I feel happier, more positive, more focused on my goals and that is vital to me and my wellbeing because I want to continue with making great progress to achieve my goals. Getting a sound sleep means to me, that I stop using my electronics an hour before bed and set a calm atmosphere in my bedroom. If I eat a heavy meal or a big snack even three hours before I sleep, I am awake in the middle of the night which causes me to feel sluggish, tired and sleepy during the day. Two nights ago, I made myself a big wrap with smoked salmon, tinned sweet corn and cold meat with tinned tuna so I woke up around 3am still feeling that wrap in my stomach! I tossed and turned in bed after going to the toilet and it tired me out in the morning so I took a nap. I strongly dislike taking naps because I feel my day is wasted when I could be more productive.

My body at times just will not allow my mind to do what it has planned out to do. So I accept that whenever it needs to nap, it gets it’s much needed nap so that mind and body are connected and is working as a team. There are many times, when my mind and body are going through a power struggle. The mind is wanting to be productive whilst the body is telling the mind “I need to take a nap before I can be productive for you so just let me take that one hour nap and you will get what you want”! So it’s nap time for the body and the mind needs to accept it instead of resisting. There are times when the mind just cannot get what it wants, when it wants it and that’s quite alright. My mind and body can be like two children being immature and fighting like cats and dogs whilst they decide on what to do with the sleepiness.

This morning, I woke up before my alarm went off which was set at 7.30am so I was feeling happy and content because that means I had a sound sleep and I did feel it. I got just over seven hours of sound and deep sleep. My Lumie Bodyclock was shining as bright as the sun already so I felt great to be awake and all set to start my day. This morning was one of those mornings where my mind and body was connected and happy with each other so there was peace and harmony when I got out of bed which is so rare during our winter so something is working well and I felt surprised! Hehe

I changed my morning routine last week so that I could get more time to spend with my Lumie Bright Spark, (that I bought last year) “shining at me” before driving my youngest son to school. I also set my alarm clock to wake me up ten minutes earlier this week so I am getting the results I really want first thing in the mornings which means I am feeling so much happier. This means that I can be focused on my day and I get more of my list of “to do things” accomplished which is a definite win win! This matters to me because I suffer the consequences when I neglect to take care of my “to do list” and it makes me feel guilty which is the last thing I want.

Having fun also matters to me because my inner child needs to be taken care of too. She loves to have the time to do the things she loves to do and that’s when she feels happiest. When she is at her happiest, I feel (the adult) that I am taking care of my needs and wants more effectively. Having fun in our adult life also helps to defuse any negative or tense moments we are having. We can handle life’s challenges more positively, constructively and effectively when we can have a laugh, have a silly childlike moment and that brings out the best in us during the dullest times of any life’s hurdles.

I managed to stay awake during the early evening yesterday and the day before because I made a conscious choice to. It felt so different to taking that one hour nap between 5pm and 6pm. So instead of napping, I was being productive and learning something about my body and pushing it that little bit up the hill. It was strong enough to do what my mind wanted to do. There was no power struggle with mind and body as they were working well as a team and was connected. What a huge achievement this was to me! Well done me!

I want to continue with my current routine in the mornings yet my youngest son finishes school next Tuesday for the festive holidays which means my body can be lazy and stay in bed until after 8am each morning.  However, it is about making conscious choices and being consistent with the habits that I have put into place. So this means writing down a goal of what I want to achieve in the mornings in order to get what my mind wants. Then it is to be disciplined about achieving my goal each morning.

Let me finish this blog with these quotes below……

“When we know what we want and we want it bad enough, we will find a way!”

“For things to change, we must change!”