This is me!

Being happy takes work.

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This morning I am well into my daily working routine and already feeling accomplished by 9am (a bloody good day so far!), but it’s Wednesday and I feel mentally drained from sitting at my desk for the last two days solidly doing prep for upcoming events and tutoring in the evenings.

I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead with my business Story Chefs and it’s exciting work. One job is a first for me as a writer in residence at a university and the other jobs are in schools and at a festival. It’s going to be a great month work wise, I can feel it bubbling and as the years of self-doubt slide away, I am happy to be doing work that lifts me up.

And yet, having not really relaxed or surfaced from the work I had to do since Sunday, when I woke this morning, I had the lyrics to my favourite song of the moment whispering in the back of mind.  I guess I was in need of some love and a reminder of what it’s all about. So I loaded the song, turned up the volume full blast and sang my heart out.  A few bars in and the tears began to stream (Man, this live recording gets right to my soul) and goosebumps decorated my arms – I needed to release some emotion and by the end of the song, I am feeling much better.

It’s a relatively new thing for me – to be in tune with how I am feeling.  Part of my anxiety of not being good enough has, in the past, driven me to work 14 + hour days with no or little thought for anything or anyone else, including me.  Part of the reason I am still going strong at this freelance life is the groundwork I put into my self-care. And this morning I am proud to be reminded that my inner voice, the one that speaks with love, is getting louder and clearer and keeping me on the right track.

I know it’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot but it truly is the little things: I blasted my favourite song and then took my little dog for his daily walk in the local park and now I am back at my desk, with a refreshed perspective, ready to do some more work but with a little less stress and a whole lot more of what I need – builders tea in my favourite mug and The Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat!

How are you feeling today? Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you can tune into your inner voice and find the love in it. There’s no doubt you will have something to worry about but if for just a few moments you can lose yourself in your favourite song or go for a short walk in nature, I promise it will bring happiness. And if you do, please get in contact and let me know what song you played or where you walked, or both!

Signing off today with this simple yet powerful cartoon:

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(Artist unknown)

Removing the stigma – It’s okay not to be okay

As I drive this new road, sharing the ups and downs of my mental health experience,  I’ve discovered something simple yet mind blowing.

On the opposite side of fear, we usually meet acceptance.

More often than not, when I share how I’m feeling or talk about the emotions I’ve experienced in the past with someone I trust, the person I am telling opens up about a time they felt the same or experienced something similar.

I am aware that the freelance lifestyle I have carved out, and am still continuing to mould, allows me to be more open and I guess, that’s why I started steering this way in the first place – so I could be more me.

Five years ago, whilst I was still an employee in the education sector, I would never have felt comfortable discussing my own mental health issues for fear of whispering in corridors or worse, job loss. In fact, I was so ignorant about mental health that I rarely even said the term out loud, having grown up hearing the word ‘mental’ used only as an insult.

And as I talk to more people about their experiences, I realise that most of us are in the same boat and I’m aware that freelancing is not for everyone so how can we nurture a more accepting society?

Some people’s fears are so loud and convincing that even the most open of minds find it hard to reveal how they really feel, what they really want and need, even to themselves.

Maybe they are a mother of young children worried that authorities will deem them incapable or maybe they’re a CEO of a major company too scared to show their emotions for fear of losing the title they strived for all their life.  Whoever they are, whatever the barrier, their fear will cling onto what’s important to them and say something along the lines of ‘You’ll lose your job.’ or worst ‘They’ll take the kids away from you.’

As I said in an earlier post, these lies are to stop you from living your best life and it’s time to shine a spotlight on them, fight back and watch as they shrink, shrivel and die the gruesome death they deserve.

So how do we remove the stigma and help people to start talking?

There’s definitely more information out there than there used to be and as I look for help, the more I seem to find.  There’s a treasure trove of people and resources just waiting to help us and this blog will be my way of sharing all the incredible stuff I find.

I really want to reach the people who don’t yet know they are struggling. The people among us whose fears are so filled with lies that they don’t even know they are suffering, have just accepted it as the way life is.

That’s who I was and I was lucky enough to have many people stretch back their hands to help pull me through and now, this my way of paying it forward… by stretching backward! (are you still with me?!)

Consider this blog a stretched out hand pulling you forward into the light, and hey, bring your sunglasses, it’s bright over here 🙂

For today, here are just three of the many campaigns/people who are helping to rid the world of these fears and shine a light into the darkness;

Keep shining,

Lindsey xx

P.S. I endeavour to make this blog as valuable as possible for everyone who wants to live their best life yet! If you want to receive these blogs straight to your inbox, please sign up below.

 

 

Birthday treats

My office is an office made for just the two of us.

Me and my dog, Austin.

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Mini Schnauzer/Owner of me –  Austin Bailey sitting in his favourite spot on my lap in the office.

And honestly, after nearly a decade in numerous noisy and non-stop classrooms, it’s just the way I like it.

Just one problem, well more of an observation really…

As I turn 35 today, I’m aware that I have no cream cakes to buy and hand out in celebration.

So instead, I want to offer a free book to the first five people who send me an email saying YES PLEASE!

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The greatest knowledge ever gained

Depression and anxiety lie to you.

This is probably the greatest personal knowledge I have ever gained.

Not believing every single one of your own thoughts can take some getting used to. Not owning every idea or opinion that sweeps through your mind certainly tests the most switched on of people and yet, us humans don’t always make it easy for ourselves.

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Desiderata

Desiderata noun plural noun: desiderata

  1. something that is needed or wanted.

Today I share with you a poem that I am about to frame and hang up.

My dear mum emailed it to me after I began to open up about the depression I was experiencing whilst living abroad.  I was in a sorry state and have to confess that I don’t recall it lifting me up very much at the time however it must have done some good, even if I didn’t know it back then.

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A whole new world, a small old world

Last year, I fell in love with a whole new world of books – Workbooks and in particular,  spiritual ones.

Pictured below is the first workbook I ever remember completing from cover to cover:

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Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain was recommended to me by a dear friend and so, as I’m excited by all recommendations, I headed to my first port of call when buying books, http://www.worldofbooks.com

I was saddened to see that it wasn’t in stock however they did have the workbook for sale so I snapped it up, thinking ‘Why not?’ (more…)

Five year plans & negativity bans

Five years ago next week, I turned 30 and back then I seemed to be living THE life, well at least, that’s how it looked.

It’s not that I was making my life up to look good online; from the outside, it truly looked like I was living a good one. I had a well paid job abroad, an offer to extend my contract by two more years, a recent promotion, a family I loved back home, some good friends at home and some new ones in my new home too, and I spent most weekends sunbathing on fancy beaches and drinking cocktails in swanky hotels.

In theory, I should have been delighted.

But the truth was, most days I was terribly homesick, extremely lonely, in a constant (more…)