Helpful Thinking for Anxiety…

As some of you may know, when I took my break from work I vowed to get a better handle on my anxiety before even attempting to go through that all over again.

Those with anxiety, or any other mental health issue for that matter, will know that you don’t just wake up one morning and be ‘cured’ of those harmful thoughts or depressive feelings.  You can’t just pop a pill or wrap a bandage around it and hope that all will be better in a few hours because these thoughts come from deep within you, sometimes they are deep rooted and have grown with you for years and attempting to fix those thoughts take a lot of time and effort.

Since starting therapy I’ve been working on a few techniques with my therapist and nothing has helped me more than keeping a ‘Helpful Thinking Diary’.  When I first learnt what this was and how it worked I thought NOPE!! That wont work for me.  I was very used to avoiding all negative or anxious thoughts until they suffocated me and then it was just too much to handle!  Like an overwhelming surge or emotions and I’d end up drowning in them.  I’ve learnt that burying my head in the sand until i’m choking on it just wasn’t good for anybody and it wasn’t resolving anything, just adding to the many many layers of worries and fears and it did come to a point where I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

Now I feel like before I continue I should disclaim a few things, I have no formal qualifications in therapy or mental health.  I did not develop these techniques and am not associated with any persons or corporations that have developed them.   That being said I am somebody who has suffered with a lot of issues on the mental health spectrum, and I know what works for me and what doesn’t. This is something that I have tried in various forms and it has been really helpful for me and my catastrophic way of thinking and when I find a technique that works for me I literally want to shout about it from the rooftops.  If this helps just one other person then it is totally worth speaking about it openly.

I started by getting a small notebook, something lightweight and small enough to throw into my handbag anytime and a pen.  If you love your stationary as much as me this can be a part of the therapy, the beginning of learning to manage your detrimental thought and worries.  Make it a positive treat, a nice little bit of self care that you don’t have to feel bad or guilty about.  This little mode of thrashing out your anxieties will help you feel so much better in the long run so it’s so worth it!  I did consider doing this on my phone just in the notes section and in an age of constant screen stimulation this could be what works for some people but I wanted to step away from the phone a bit.  It’s so easy to be distracted by messages and social media notifications while you’re trying to put yourself in a different mindset and I know that if it was me, I’d end up replying to messages or checking my Instagram notifications and the entire task would be thrown out of the window.

So once you have your vessel, begin filling it with helpful positive things.  Take one of your worries and centre it on your page and once you have your worry begin constructing your branches.  One should say ‘whats the worst that could happen?’ and the other ‘Whats the best that could happen?’

Now break down each main branch further, for each scenario ask yourself ‘what past experiences prove these points?’ For example lets say your fear is your child being harmed if you go out.  The worst that could ever happen is that serious harm comes to your child while you’re out.  But the best is that you go out, achieve whatever you needed to achieve while you’re out and have a lovely day with your child, they get to build their social skills and you get those shoes you’ve been eyeing up all month.

Breaking those two scenarios up further, What does past experience tell you about your fear?  You have been out many times with your little one and thankfully they have come to absolutely no harm therefore the likelihood of it happening is very small.  Some may argue that it is is still a possibility for your fear to come true but break that down further.  Harm could come to anybody at any time, My little boy has more bumps and bruises occuring at home than anywhere else but I would never refuse to bring him home because of the fear he may come to harm.  Past experiences show you that when you have left the house with your little one no harm has come to them but they have interacted with nature, their surroundings, strangers in the street.  They’ve gotten some fresh air and maybe they’ve napped better after they’ve been out? So past experiences show you that it is beneficial to leave the house with your little one.

This is obviously a scenario that I’ve invented to show how, by breaking up the best and worst scenarios you can assist your mind to think more positively.  I’ve used this technique a few times recently and found it so helpful I just had to come on here and write about it

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My gift to Adam for Nursery…

 

As you all probably know, if you’ve been following my journey with Adam for a while, our attempt at putting Adam in to nursery and me going back to work didn’t really work out very well for either of us when my maternity leave ended last December.

So I took some time away and had a good hard think about how we were going to make this process easier for the two of us second time around.  I knew that I wanted to step away from all the negative feelings I had when we went through all of this previously and make it as fun as possible so that it wasn’t such a shock to both of us when the time came for him to go back to nursery.

I came up with the idea of creating a little scrapbook for Adam to take to nursery, something that was only his and he could sit and look through if ever he missed us or wanted a reminder of home so I sourced a small scrapbook and got to thinking about what I could do/put inside for him and then I thought, Why not just put lots of photos inside for him to look at.  He loves books and when I’m not there to read to him he’s equally as content just flicking through the pages and pointing at all the different characters.

The four most important things in Adam’s life are probably Mummy, Daddy, Nala (the cat) and Cars so I got to finding all the pictures I could of those four things and neatly arranged them into his little scrapbook for him and I’ve been showing it to him every time I update it with new photos and he’s absolutely loved it!  I stuck the photos on with brightly coloured washi tape  to ensure they weren’t just going to fall out but also because washi tape is so easy to remove, so when hes all settled and doesn’t really want his little book anymore I can take the photos out and put them back in our photo albums again.  And if he always wants his little book near then I can continue swapping photos out and changing things in the book as he grows without ruining the pages or the photos.

Now that he’s settled into nursery the feedback from the staff is that he loves his little scrapbook and it’s such a great way for little ones to regroup when they’re confused about where family have gone.  He likes to slope off into a quiet corner at some point during the day and look through his book knowing that it is all his and he wont have to share it with the other children and we even give it to him when hes at home which he loves.  Mindfulness is my new favourite pastime and I love that by encouraging him to take a breath during his day and promoting calm moments it allows him to process his emotions without leaving him overloaded at the end of the day.  I’m in the process of taking more pictures of him with the silly cat so that I can print them and pop them in his book for next week and this will be an activity that we can both sit down and do together so he is always involved in the evolution of his little scrapbook.  Also I’m so happy that Autumn is here so that we can forage for crisp leaves and maybe pop them around his photos.

This is not in any way an #ad but I’ve been using the freeprints app to print all of my photos which is amazing because we get to choose 45 free prints a month.  I usually go over the 45 because I take so many pictures of Adam but it only costs a little bit extra.  And all i have to pay is the delivery charge and they arrive a few days later and look really good.  Both myself and my husband have the app so we get 90 free prints a month!! Use my referrer code and we both get 5 bonus free prints, you don’t have to but it would be nice :).  https://fpuk.app.link/invite?friend=sahmad155&end=end

I’d love to know of any other ideas for crafty things with toddlers if you have them and please tag me your pictures if you decide to make your little one a little nursery scrapbook.

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