Monthly Archives: January 2015

Well-being techniques – Just breathe

January 26, 2015

Now this may seem like an obvious one. We all know that we have to breathe to stay alive. However, what many of us don’t realise is how important this breath is in our everyday living and our feeling of well-being.

Shallow breathing is often the reason for our anxiety. It causes us to feel light-headed, have tingles through our body and generally feel keyed up and tense. Oxygen is not getting around the body as it should.

Many schools of thinking including meditation and yoga, all focus on the breath. It is indeed our life force and is absolutely key to feeling calm and well.

Take a minute to notice your breathing. Are you taking short, shallow breaths? If so, you are not getting enough oxygen into your blood, and this will result in a number of physical manifestations that make anxiety and stress much worse. The breathing needs to be deeper and regulated, rather than shallow and stressed.

When my anxiety and depression were at their worst, one of the first things my mum did to try to help me relax, was to listen to a calming visualisation cd. The focus was not just on calming the body through visualising calm, but also to calm and regulate the breathing so that the body would relax. I can attest that it was not effective at first. I was so anxious and tense, I felt only frustrated that I could not calm my body and mind. But by continuing the practice, over time, I noticed the benefits.

Today, even when the panic strikes, I am aware of my breathing. I will notice that I am taking short, shallow breaths. I now recognise that this has to be addressed so I use a method that I read about called 4-7-8 breathing.

There has been so much scientific study into the effects of applied breathing techniques and as yet I have not found one that is more effective than the 4-7-8. It can be used to ease you into a restful sleep, calm your nerves before a big event or speech, or to stop a panic attack in its tracks. Here’s what you do:

  • Inhale through the nose for the count of 4
  • Hold the breath for the count of 7
  • Release the breath and breathe out for the count of 8
  • Repeat until calm comes over the body and mind.

Now there is definitely science to this. You could ask yourself why hold for 7 and out for 8? All I can say is, whatever the scientific reason, it works. It slows the heart rate down, it brings calm and focus to your breathing and within a few minutes there is a strong sense of peace and well-being.

If nothing else, take away the importance of breathing correctly. If you are extremely anxious and tense, then understand it wont be easy at first. It will take patience and time. But it is so worth it. It is the first step to calm and peace. Please let me know how you get on with the technique. Huge hugs K xx

 

My Journey Diary – #1

January 13, 2015

Quotes - the journey diary

I thought it might be nice to touch base on a regular basis to let you all know how I’m progressing and what’s happening in my life and with my health.

Work on the blog has really taken over everything else at the moment as I am working hard to launch at the beginning of February to the wider audience. The anticipation of everything brings with it excitement and definitely some fear. I think when you are about to embark on a personal journey, when something could become much bigger than you, then it is normal to have nerves. Particularly when you suffer from an anxiety disorder.

I’m using all the tools I have in the bank to remain calm and focused on a daily basis. I’m trying not to look too far ahead and to take each day as it comes. I think over-thinking everything can only take the joy out of something that is really so exciting and is a big step forward in my life.

Personally I have been riding high. I have a working group of people who are looking at the blog and so far the feedback is great so I’m really happy. But the past few days I have been worn out. I think all the excitement and work has taken its toll a bit. I am not very good at remembering that I have fibromyalgia and that exertion, mentally and physically, will eventually have an impact on me. I’m going to use my pacing techniques and remember to take time to switch off too. I want to stay the distance with this blog and that is the most important thing. So planning my time is going to be key. Overall I’m feeling pretty strong mentally, but I always have days where my head is ‘in a box’ as I like to say. This means I have far too many thoughts buzzing around in my head and I definitely have a feeling of things being not quite right. When I’m like this I try to breathe, meditate and keep my faith in the big man that all is under control. It just calms me and centres me and helps me to see the bigger picture.

I’m so excited for this journey and have a feeling it’s going to mean big changes in my life. I have faith and hope that my mind and body keep up! I hope you are doing ok too.

Hugs K x

Love – Be love, not hate

January 12, 2015

Coming from a place of love is not easy when you are suffering from mental health dis-ease and physical health problems. Most of the time you are glad if you can crack a smile. But changing your perspective and attitude can actually have wonderous effects on your well-being and health.

When you come from a place of anger, jealousy, despair and hate, you will only feel negative feelings. These feelings bring only negative outcomes. They are in themselves, negative emotions. Its easy to take a position of blame if you are struggling to come to terms with something that has happened to you or has happened in your life. But believe me, these negative thoughts and emotions create only pain, for you. They have absolutely no impact on the person or persons you are thinking about. They just make you feel bad.

So, with this in mind, try to start thinking in terms of positive, loving thoughts. Start to come from a place of love. If people have hurt you, send them positive, loving thoughts and then close the door on it. Dwelling on negative things that have happened to you will only drag out the experience. You will keep reliving it. So start today. Put an end to the negative feelings and emotions and think only loving thoughts. This might sound far fetched, but the truth is that when you think about it, all our lives we are looking and hoping for love. In whatever context. Whether it be family, romance, children. We want to be loved and love someone else.

Love is a really powerful emotion. Put to the right use you can change your life. If you believe in Karma, then you may believe that if someone does something bad, then it will come back to them. If this is what you believe then the fates will sort everything for you. You need not worry.

My pap always told us that you reap what you sow. If this is the case, we all need to start sowing some good, loving seeds to see good loving things change in our lives.

Love and kindness are so very powerful. Share it as much as you can and you will be amazed how good things start to happen to you and how your feelings towards the world will change too. Don’t be a victim of your circumstances. Be love, wherever possible.

Huge hugs, K xxx

Beauty – Clarins Haul

January 12, 2015

Beauty - Clarins Haul Jan 2015

As far as I was concerned, Clarins had been around for years and was a bit old fashioned.I’ll be honest, I always thought it was something for my mum and her age group.  I stand corrected.

Clarins was launched back in 1954 by a French masseur. His intent was to make women feel attractive. It launched back then as a skin care brand. By 1980 it was the number one selling luxury skincare brand in France. It didn’t take many more years to reach number one status in Europe and is now a household name across the world.

Since I have always been into makeup and skincare, it is a surprise to me that I have not tried any of these products before now. But I think that genuinely is because it had become such an entrenched name in the world of beauty, that the younger generations were drawn to the new, upcoming and fashionable brands, such as Clinique, Benefit, Mac.

So on the recommendation of a few friends and also some enabling from beauty bloggers I have made a couple of purchases.

Clarins have a hugely successful make-up range too. And from what I can see the make-up also has skincare benefits. So to start my journey with Clarins, I opted for two skincare items and two make-up items. I did my shopping at Boots.

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First is the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner. Now this product is raved about by industry skincare guru, Caroline Hirons. The toner is an acid toner. This means that you get the exfoliating benefits to your skin, without the harsh rubbing of topical beads or grains. Many beauty bloggers use this toner and the product has high acclaim, so I’m very excited to include it in my daily skincare. I will report back on how it goes. I am hoping for good things!

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Next is a product that beauty blogger Amelia Liana swears by. Its the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil.

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Specifically aimed at dehydrated skin, this oil is said to quench the thirst of skin that is dry and problematic. I recently turned forty. My skin is generally pretty good, but at times it gets tired and run down. Normally It is a reflection of my mental and physical state. So taking care of it is something I take seriously. I have combination skin so I get oily patches and dry patches. I have found huge benefits using facial oils, over the past year of so. So I have high expectations from this little bottle. It costs around £30 depending where you purchase, so its not cheap. But a few drops is all you need. So far the smell is amazing and it feels very luxurious. How it will pan out long term, I am yet to see. I will keep you posted.

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Then on to make-up. This is my weakness. I admit it! I have now heard and seen so many reviews about this product that I HAD to purchase it! Its the Instant Concealer. Now this comes in a foundation-like tube. And at around £22 a tube, you actually get a lot of bang for your buck. I have been an avid user of under-eye concealers since before they were even a ‘thing’. Back in the day I would slap on the Rimmel concealer stick in ivory and feel like my eyes had taken on a whole new look! Friends would laugh as it was always in my handbag!

Over time there has been a huge increase in the use of concealers, and specifically under-eye brighteners, such as the cult classic, Touche Eclait from Yves Saint Laurent. And believe me I went through plenty of them! It is a cult product for a reason, in my humble opinion, but there have been many high street and high end dupes over recent years.

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On first use I would say that this concealer is a bit of a hybrid. It covers well, it is light enough for under the eye but works equally well as a one-stop-shop if you are short of time and can only conceal. It definitely brightens too. So far I am loving it! I’m using the shade 02. The 01 was too light for me. From first trials it has remained moisturising and certainly didn’t crease under my forty year old eyes. Again there are high hopes, but I have a feeling that this little tube is going to deliver.

Last but by no means least is another blogger favourite and that is the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector.

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Again a product that has had so many mentions in the blogger world. This is a lip balm, lip gloss, lip protector, lip gel. So it pretty much covers all bases. It is aimed to plump and perfect the lip. It has a beautiful scent and glides on like a dream. I went for apricot shimmer as I always edge towards peaches rather than pinks. It is quite opaque I thought, but it really does something to enhance the lip. Key for me, it is NOT sticky and your hair does NOT stick to it! It looked fab on top of my favourite Mac lipstick too. (Brave, by the way).  At time of writing, this gloss is in the make-up bag. This generally means it’s a keeper!

All in all, from the bits I have tried I have been impressed with my purchases. How the skincare will go, I don’t know yet, but will keep you posted. Let me know if any of these are your favourites and what your experience of Clarins is. I’ve listed all products below should you wish to try yourselves, Huge hugs K xxx

Love – Gratitude. Be grateful

January 9, 2015

They say that when you come from a place of grace and gratitude that this can change your whole outlook on life. They say that with determined effort to change your mindset from what you don’t have to what you do have, you can move mountains. Now I’m not sure that this is wholly true, but being grateful has certainly has given me a very different perspective on everything.

Over the past couple of years of being unwell, I have done a lot of reading. From this reading a number of common themes keep appearing. If you want to be well and have a sense of well-being, then you have to be thankful. On this basis I made some changes in January 2014. I started to keep a ‘Gratitude Journal‘. This journal was a black notebook and I made a pledge with myself to write in it every evening before bed. The pledge was to find three things that I was grateful for in that day. It wasn’t easy at first. Particularly when you are kind of used to looking on the ‘dark’ side. But after a few days of really thinking about it, it started to get easier.

Each night I would write my three things. It could be anything from seeing my niece’s beautiful smile, to a new pair of shoes or just to have peace of mind that day. With time, patience and practice this grateful mindset has had remarkable effects on me. Without me realising it, over the past year, I have become a person who feels blessed. Not a person who feels victim to all that has happened to me.

Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ has a similar approach. She has a ‘Happiness Jar‘. In this jar she puts one happy thought per day. Written on a slip of paper. Then at the end of the year you can literally sift through a years worth of happiness. Looking back on what you have been grateful for and all that you have, is a truly humbling experience.

It is very easy to be negative. Particularly when you are unwell mentally and physically. Or life is constantly throwing you curve balls. But believe me, if you change your view to that of gratitude for all you have, it will become abundantly clear that you have plenty to be grateful for. Start today. Make it your new habit.

Onwards my Loves,
Kiki
xox

” You are smart, you are kind, you are beautiful and you are important.”

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For more advice:

Depression & Anxiety

Well-being techniques

Fibromyalgia

What is depression? – A creative narrative

January 5, 2015

It is a hole. An abyss. A place where all feeling leaves you. Apart from the deepest of sadness. And fear. Its fear like you have never known. A fear of never feeling whole again. All that once ignited your soul, now leaves you empty. You want to be alone. Alone with your thoughts. Away from judgement and prying eyes. To weep. To weep internally and externally for the deep loss that you feel. The loss of the person you once were. The person who was happy. Carefree. The person who loved life and everything in it. But now? Nothing gives you that same joy. There is no joy.

“Will I always feel this way?” you ask yourself. Will the darkness lift to let even the smallest amount of light through? You are self absorbed. You wallow. Nothing brings comfort except maybe to sleep. But that’s only if you can.

You have no interest in washing, dressing, brushing your teeth. All of that seems pointless. You have no appetite, or crave only comfort foods. The despair is so bleak that the light in your eyes goes out. There is life, but there is no soul. The soul is tortured by nothingness.

Futile attempts to ‘pull yourself together’ are exactly that – futile. If you could do it, you would have done it a hundred times over. Thoughts of death come. Then your own death. Would that bring peace? Everything is dark. You don’t want light. Light only makes you feel more dark.

Those who are around you and care for you, offer comfort. Suggestions to maybe go for a walk or eat something. Get out of bed. Live. They do no know that these things do nothing for you. By the very fact that all the things that once gave you pleasure, no longer do, creates only more pain. You are broken. No longer whole.

See my previous post: What do I do if I think I’m depressed?