Inspiration, mental health, Motivation, real life, social media, Uncategorized, women, Writing

And….she’s back in the room.

I was signed off sick for a few weeks at the end of last year. Work related stress. The NHS Trust I work for is a Mental Health Trust, and they run courses and classes through their Recovery College. I took advantage of signing up to a Mindfulness course of 6 weeks. We meet in a beautiful building opposite a park – that’s sets the scene for the 2 ½ hours, calm and serenity.

I have to say that on my first session, I felt a little bit of a fraud. The rest of the group had their own story to tell, but I knew they had been on medication, had troubled histories and issues that were still current and plaguing them. I had had a crisis which had taken me away from work for a short period of time – I didn’t feel my problems warranted such support. How wrong could I have been?

Each week we were given the opportunity to try different mindfulness techniques. From simple 3 minute breathing exercises to more intense 30 minute full body scans. Each time for me it became easier to appreciate the opportunity to relax and go to a different place in my head!

And just because I’ve done this 6 weeks of Mindfulness I’m not professing to be an expert. But this is what I’ve taken away from this very useful course.

Be kind to yourself

It is ok not to be ok, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not.  You wouldn’t be mean to a friend who needed help – why be mean to yourself! We put so much energy into helping others – often we forget that we need to invest time in ourselves in the first place to be able to offer that help to others.

Habits can be quickly formed, but with training can be un-learned. We were told that the technical term is ‘Neural pathways’. Something goes wrong, you get into the spiral of self-doubt and anxiety and ruminating over it. By using this knowledge and skills – we could lean to accept this may happen again and avoid this spiralling pathway by taking back control. For me I think this is task I need to get better at. It should probably start by not saying ‘sorry’ each time something isn’t quite right!

We all have an ‘inner critic’.

It’s how we respond to it that sets the scene going forward. We don’t have to listen to them, you wouldn’t listen to a bad TV programme would you? You would use your skills to turn it off and watch something else. Perhaps over time, you realise this inner critical voice may in fact be someone who has criticises you in the past. Allow yourself the knowledge that everyone makes mistakes and can be wrong. But give yourself the opportunity to accept this and learn from it. I know who my inner critic is – someone in my past – who made me afraid and criticised me for lots of little things. He is still there, and is probably the one who I’m always saying sorry to.

 

Be in the moment – it’s not a bad place to be.

They said children are great at this, they don’t think of yesterday or last week or last year, or tomorrow or next week. They don’t worry over what’s gone before and if they could have done things differently. We are never going to change what happened in our past, but we all have the opportunity to learn from those events, and either do them differently next time, or try and avoid them. The meditation techniques they teach you give you the skills to bring yourself back to the present time. They encourage you to think about your breathing, your body, different sounds and sensation. It’s difficult to think of too many other things while you’re doing this – but my mind has a tendency to wander – and believe me it did – but I brought it back and tried again. My mind is normally all over the place, I’m thinking of lots of things – and you are given the permission to do this – but these are the skills and techniques to stop you from engaging in those thoughts and taking you off down that spiralling path.

Image result for free picture of breathing

Breathing is really important!

Deep regular breathing from your belly allows you to get into a natural rhythm. It helps you to concentrate and centre yourself. If you’re concentrating on this way of breathing it is calming and fills you with oxygen. Combine this with the rhythmic voice of the tutor, or a mindfulness CD it gives you the opportunity to relax, and find some peace from the constant chatter going on!

We have all forgotten how to live in the moment. Well – we like to think we do. We engage with people over social media, on the phone, in the shops and in the work place. But do we ever give ourselves the opportunity to look at our surroundings, the beautiful scenery and nature? Not often, we are too busy rushing from one place to another. We buy ourselves sweet smelling shower gels and toiletries, but are often too busy with our own thoughts to appreciate them. We were encouraged to take some time to carry out daily tasks mindfully. Showering, cleaning out teeth, cleaning, cooking and baking. Concentrating on the task, using all our senses. Every little helps, doesn’t it?

I need to change those bad habits I have and using this process it will be so much easier and 2nd nature.

At the end of the course, I mentioned to one of the others on the group that I had felt a little bit out of place at the start. She said something that I will take with me, that everyone’s problems are their own, and should be equally valued as such. Everyone deserves to be offered as much help and support as anyone else.

I learned something equally as important over these 6 weeks too. Things I do, jumping from one thing to another, following those thoughts in my head can be so annoying to others! I often have 3 conversations going around and need to say them all. But for those who are not party to my minds way of working- it can be pretty confusing! So now I park the two seemingly lest important things, and just concentrate on the most important. And I have to say it helps.

 

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

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Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Uncategorized, Whatever, women, Writing

Is it twilight or night time?

That time of night when the bedroom is dark, but just light enough for you to get out of bed without banging your foot on the bed side table, or falling over the random pair of shoes you have left under the radiator.

Enough light for you to head down the stairs to the peace of the kitchen to make a sneaky cup of tea and toast.

What are you doing!!!!! It 4am.

It shouldn’t be any time to be creeping around the house. It should be the time you are snuggled up in bed – asleep. Not tonight though. You wake up for some unknown reason, and that’s it…..

If you were an author and writing a book about those romantic twilight hours when the world is asleep, but animals and young lovers are bight eyed and busy tailed, it would sound plausible. But I’m not an author. I’m not writing a book about the misty twilight hours. I’m writing about the night time- yes lets address this as it is. The middle of the night when the rest of the northern hemisphere should be asleep – and you are awake!

Shall we start this again?

That time of night when the bedroom is dark, and cold. The light from outside fights its way through the blinds, and as you turn around in bed for the 10th time at 3.30am it shines right in your eyes! Your husband’s phone has pinged a few times, and when you unplug your phone from the charger a WhatsApp message comes up and lights up the whole room. It’s from your son telling you he has landed in some far off place at 2.30! No wonder you are awake – it’s like Piccadilly Circus.

That’s its then. The ‘thought worm’ enters your head – well to be honest he is actually always there, but he loves the twilight hours! There is absolutely no chance of any sleep now.

Good Morning!

 

 

 

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COVID-19, Families, Family, Inspiration, love, real life, Uncategorized

For my grandchildren

Will you remember who I am
after all this Hullabaloo,
will you let me hold your hand
just like you used to do?

 Can I whisper in your ear
tell you stories or two,
walk down the street together
Just like we used to do?

 Will you want to come and stay
as you often used to do,
or will you insist I stand
6 feet away from you?

 How long will it take to remember
the fun I had with you,
to go back how it was together
after all this Hullabaloo?

 

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Uncategorized

Grand National

I think that they should just let the horses run the Grand National without a jockey on their back. They seem to do so much better on their own! The ride might take longer, they still run at a pace. But riderless

horses don’t seem to fall. Isn’t that what we want?

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Uncategorized

I’m not sure if I want to come back.

I’ve taken a break from Social Media, I’ve been away for a few months. A self imposed exile, to see how it would feel. So, apart from my blog being shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter- I can say with honesty that I have not been on there to check any posts. Not even to see my blog posts.

For the first few days I was lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself ! And to be honest it hasn’t got any better. My phone is with me at all times. Just in case my sons text me..stupid I know. They have their own lives – if it was urgent they would ring! So I pick up the phone and read my meagre emails, and read and re-read the newspaper, till I can recite the stories!

I’ve missed a lot. Pre arranged facegroup things, walking groups, writing events. Family happenings, family pictures…updates of grandchildren.

Then tonight I gave in and looked at Facebook. And it hit me! I’m not important. Life goes on without me, the lives of others don’t stop because I don’t see what they are doing, or because I can’t share in their happiness. And I wouldn’t want it to. But the hard thing is – it hurts! For those 5 min I came back, it wasn’t fun anymore.

So I’m staying away for a bit longer, until I can work out in my own head and heart how to manage it. I can see how social media is effecting young people, that ‘apparent’ feeling of rejection for those less resilient to deal with – is hard to overcome.

But overcome it we must, and work out another way of being part of the bigger picture.

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anger, Food, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Whatever

Curry and customer services.

I work at the sharp end of customer services. I spend my days thanking people for something. Often apologising for the lateness of something, whether its the delay for an appointment, a letter being held up, or more often than not a professional who is running late, because of the complexities of the job. I’m used to juggling things, and over the years I’ve honed the skills to avoid dropping those balls I’m furiously keeping in the air!  So I know what you need to be a good customer service provider.

Above all you need to be attentive to the people who are your customers, and you need to keep your eye on all those balls your juggling. You also need to make sure your team are well trained, and you have rigorous Standard Operating Procedures . That way everyone is clear of their expectations and your not let down by someone who doesn’t understand what is expected of them.

Let me tell you what happened last night. I went out for dinner with my husband who insisted that as it was his birthday we go out for a curry. Great I thought, we both love curry, and had been to the restaurant before, so knew what to expect.

We ordered a drink which arrived promptly. And I asked for some poppadum’s to keep us going (which actually never arrived). We ordered our meal. A starter to share. My husband ordering two 1/2 portions of something hot and tasty, while I had a rice dish, and some nan bread between us. She asked if we wanted rice, I said no, my hubby would have some of mine, as he only ever eats a small amount of rice. She went away, and we waited for out meal. The surrounding were calm and quite. The restaurant wasn’t 1/4 filled, and there were ample serving staff. I’m setting the scene, as its often the busy times and staff shortages that cause the most problems, believe me!

It never occurred to me that she didn’t get the order right. It also didn’t occur to me that she hadn’t read the order back to us to confirm she had understood what we had asked for.

The food arrived, and it was wrong. She had completely got my food order wrong. Instead of a biryani – a rice dish, it was a vegetable bhuna – a very different dish altogether. So she took it away. But  after 5 minutes I had to go and ask for them to take my husbands food away too, so it could come back out with mine. I wanted to eat with him, not have his food sitting getting cold on the table!

One of the waiters came and apologised, and offered us a drink as a token. We thanked him, and we would have a coffee or another beer after the meal. 5 min later two more beers arrived.

The main meals came back as ordered, together with a fresh nan bread.  Each person who served us apologies for the error, so it felt like the whole team has been involved in the disaster!  If only she had read the order back to us in the first place, it wouldn’t have happened, they wouldn’t have lost at least  £40 in free beers, replaced foods, loss of tips (sorry I couldn’t bring myself to leave anything) and a cancelled booking for later on in the week!

Is it any wonder the high streets are suffering? Restaurant chains are cutting back and  shutting branches. They now have to be on the top of their game to entice people to spend their hard earned cash in them.  They need to get it right, or loose profit and customers.

 

 

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Animals and birds, Food, Laughter, Uncategorized

Sleeping on the job

What do you expect! It tiring paddling around looking for food, dodging the boats. I’m up early at the crack of dawn normally, its those birds who sing the dawn chorus that wake us up.

Give it a break! The weeds in the water tickle your webs. Whew! And then the fish, swimming underneath you – is nowhere safe?

I came onto the bank to get away – and people throw bread and seeds at me! I can’t tell you how much I’d love something different. The bread – it makes me feel so bloated. I’ll never get back to my youthful figure again, those brown and yellow fluffy feathers made me look so – youthful!

Me and my bird we just want to sleep.

 

 

 

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