Sunday, 29 April 2012

A recipe to de-stress

This week I wanted to share with you all something that I have found has really helped my stress levels over the past 2 weeks - upto the point where I look forward to the evenings now where before it was the time of day I spent every waking hour panicking about.

Those of you who have followed my posts, or popped in and out off my blog will know that following the birth of my beautiful daughter 2 years ago my world sunk into a whirlpool of darkness and anxiety - the diagnosis of these symptoms the hardest pill iv ever had to swallow ... Post natal depression (PND)

I have written posts on a whole variety of my lifestyle some of which PND has affected, some it has dominated and ironically some of which it has improved.

The diagnosis of the illness was challenging enough but living rather than just existing with the symptoms PND inflicted me with we're a battle in itself.

Iv written about how I found myself to come from the depths of depression an back into the light, naturally there are times when I wobble but on the whole it's an illness that is in the background, putting my life my loves and my world centre stage.

However despite a positive attitude and the recovery from PND I still suffer anxiety about the evenings - especially if it's me on my own dealing with it. But by complete accident I have found the most simple yet amazing stress reliever that has in 2 weeks made me excited about evenings more than any other time of the day.

My husband and I a few weeks ago were sorting through our jeans when coincidentally we both realised our waistbands were more than just tight so we decided there and then to start healthy eating but also affordable healthy eating and we stumbled across the goodfood guide from the BBC.

We downloaded a weeks worth of recipes and hit the supermarket firstly I was sceptical that the ingredients wouldn't be cheaper than the things we usually and routinely buy and that eating mainly veg and protein would become mundane and how exactly a less than 350 calorie meal could be satisfying.

My lord was I proven wrong the fresh fruit, lean meat and fresh vegetables plus countless herbs were over £40 less than our usual shop and on the very first evening as I started prepping the food I found myself enjoying what I was doing, excited about the final result and when that came was overwhelmingly proud of what u ha made, and even more delighted when my husband and toddler were just as thrilled.

As the first week went on I found myself getting a total buzz about making our dinner that my mood had done a complete 180 and I was finding that the spark of happiness that I lost with PND was with me most of the day rather than pushed out by evening anxiety. Plus the huge shift in food and easily hitting our 5 a day physically I feel healthier and more energetic

Second week in and I'm already counting recipes for next week an planning shopping around the meal plan. Plus iv lost 4lb now too.

Someone once told me "nothing tastes as good as feeling happier in yourself feels". I completely agree

I wanted to share this with you all, For a few reasons:
Firstly there is a misconception healthier food is more expensive. Wrong it's not

And secondly; its been a huge aid in my battle with PND and if anyone else suffers with anxiety or depression give it a go. You've nothing to loose and hopefully like me you will feel better, and quickly too.

Thank you for reading please share any healthy recipes in the comments below AND any anxiety/depression easing tips you may have
iv lots of mums and dads who would love to know any healthy recipes especially when it comes to upping the intake of their kiddies fruit and veg.

Just to prove the food looks tasty here are some colourful creations from my kitchen

Thursday, 19 April 2012

A different beat

I have decided this week to do something different partly for my own purposes and partly because it may make readers identify with the post on a different level.

Iv had a rather stressful week, so my purposes for this post is because I want to write to help myself feel better.

I have decided to make this post have a rhythm? If you've been following my blog from the start you will know I am currently studying English Literature, so this post also doubles up at a bit of practical revision.

The layout off the following piece of writing is set out too show my journey this far... (have a read of my previous posts if you aren't fully up to speed)

Breathe, grip, shudder, scream
The pain of a nightmare somehow is a dream
For this is happening, there's no stopping now
In my mind it's happened, I'm already so proud
Panic, confusion then terror sets in
This is no way a life should begin
Trauma, stretch marks my whole being aches
But here she is, that first breathe that she takes
Her lungs fill with air
My eyes locked in serenity's stare
A wash with love, a sense like no other
For here is my child, and for her, I'm her mother

Infancy begins with gifts, visits, pink all over the place
Smile after smile but it's only a painted face
For underneath something lurks
Something's not right, is it just that each day merges into tomorrow's night?

I live as expected, with a stiff upper lip
For that's the British way when your mind feels sick
It's not an infection or a pain you can see
But it's just as debilitating, and has invaded me

In the mirror I look, I shiver at the glare
For who is that person looking back with my stare?
She resembles my features but her eyes have no shine
Its unavoidable that glare is mine

Each day becomes the same:

My head hurts, it provokes, it evokes and then takes it toll, Im down and I choke

The circle around me becomes the soul of myself
And it's with thanks to them I do it right and get help

Scary knock on that door, as it opens it creaks
My eyes sting with tears - the tears are my speak
It says it all - a new mum that can't cope
Lost her way, herself, her mind and her hope

Recovery maybe slow but it will come
This is a battle that has to be won,
By me
For her

The fight of my life
For the light of my life
The love of my life
For her, my life

It's been over a year, and my days are brighter
Though, there are dark moments - a stark reminder

In art I find a pause, some time,
too stop and reflect on a healing mind

By talking even shouting I hope someone hears
There is always an outlet for your troubles to share

My heart now melts when I see her smile
PND is an illness not a chosen lifestyle

Now even on dark days there is still sun in my world
Because it shines for me and my beautiful girl
That love in her first breath, will be there in my last
The light in my eyes, and the smile on my face is no longer a mask

A parent's mind can be an enigma
But I'm shouting out loud and smashing this stigma!

Thank u xxxxx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Saving for a Savvy Sanity

My apologies for the lack of posting - loosing my laptop is proving a challenge, that coupled with being poorly has made for an interesting 2 weeks.

As I stated in my previous post being without Lylha whilst being ill was a trigger for my battle with Post natal Depression to have a mini flare up - thankfully upon physically getting better my psyche followed.

This week I want to share with you a different angle on my battle with PND that for some of my readers will be irrelevant ( we will call you the millionaires) but even so I hope you find this little insight into how I try keep a cap on my PND interesting.

As iv said previously I'm not a medical expert but I'm willing to bet (no pun intended) that there is some link between lack of money and mental health issues. I'm sure most people have experienced a tightness of some sort over the past few years and I would assume this has added pressure on your mental health, be it in the form of stress, depression, anxiety or even simply putting you in a bad mood.

When I had Lylha and went from a well paid, career established, independent woman to a full time mum fully dependant on my hubby and our household income halved I struggled for the first time in not having accessible cash for things we needed and wanted. Now don't misunderstand me, as a former bank manager I fully expected there to be a real tightening on our household purse strings but what I didn't foresee was how the lack of my OWN money would have such a bearing on my mental health.
I quickly found any money I used on myself a trigger for feeling guilty as i viewed it as "family money" and any money my hubby spent I was then annoyed with - despite it was his grafting that brought this income in.

As PND took a huge hold on me and my savings balance dwindled with the financial pressure parenthood brings I noticed I felt I was loosing some kind of a grip on a part of my "pre baby" life and this in turn made me feel awful.
This coupled with the awful "snobbery" that goes with motherhood; The whose buggy does what, I only buy my children the best organic food and snacks and my goodness I'd never let my baby wear tesco baby grows - We all know someone who falls into that bracket and it puts a horrible unnecessary pressure on those listening as some people simply can't afford it, or quite frankly, like me, didn't want to waste money on items that spend 90% of their lifetime being puked on!!
All of these things made an already turbulent time for me that little bit harder to deal with - untill I saw a spark...

I realised that money concerns are the last thing a new mum suffering with PND needs and I needed to find a
way to overcome this pressure to help me feel better whilst having zero disposable income of my own. So I started doing things to help ease the family budget the first and biggest change came from shopping online, it meant I wasn't tempted by non essential offers, items and sales that are infront of you in store (sorry supermarkets) and the delivery cost was cheaper than my petrol. This literally saved us £40/£50pm - money well needed as a new parent I'm sure you would agree. But this in itself didn't help me personally, so I started, from CHB, saving £2pw with the intention that at the end of the yet this was the money we had disposable for the Xmas and new years parties without having to find it, or scrimp on presents to make up for it. This small amount wasn't missed by me personally, and come the end of the year when it was time for Lylha to go to her nannies it was nice to be able to do something where there was no guilt, juggling or worry off expense associated.

So I went a little further I started saving the small change from "popping to the shop" and over a few months this amounted to £90 - had it been in my purse it would've frittered away but in a money tin, almost forgotten about it made a nice dent in lylha's forthcoming birthday presents.

The reason I chose to share this was because one of my recover techniques was based around control and amidst a recession money is, sadly, one thing we need to keep a close eye on and if there is a way to make this a positive and to help someone feel a little easier then fantastic.

By keeping literally a few odd pounds back iv helped save part of my sanity.