The power of pumpkins?

Reading over previous posts and having a little more ‘thought time’ than usual, I have realised the last month I have truly been engaging with mindfulness. After my time in America, I felt a little distant from myself, with part of me (pretty much all of me) wishing I was still there. After this realisation, I acknowledged my need for mindfulness, to feel in the moment and start to enjoy the present again.

Yes, you bet I am going to talk about ‘those little things’ again, but seriously focusing on the little things in your life, whatever they may be, has the power to bring you such a grounding feeling.

Feeling more grounded with the world around me, where I am without focusing too much on where I am going or where I have been has changed my mood completely. Of course, it is difficult but it’s the little things that can make a difference.

We all know that physical exercise is good for us but what about mental exercise? Focusing on one thing or time in your day, acknowledging the feel, scent and sound. Okay okay, I know some of you reading will probably look at the photographs of the cute dogs and leave here but bare with me.

During one of my many attempts at mindfulness, a mindfulness teacher asked me to eat one raisin, to close my eyes, feel it, smell it and taste it, noticing the texture and taste, more tasteful than any raisin I had tried before, I began to notice how little we engage with daily activities.

It is unbelievable how much of our lives we miss because we are not mindful, always rushing, looking around and thinking about the past or future. This Sunday to bring more content to your week, try and do something, anything, mindfully.

Oh, and where this post was going before the ramble, it was yesterday afternoon that I realised how grounded I feel, compared to a few weeks back. Mindfulness does not work over night, it takes time but over that time, with consistent practices you will begin to notice the difference, just as I did.

Looking around a pumpkin field, seeing so much colour there could have been a filter, filled with gratitude for my aunty and her doglets. Noticing the crunch of the leaves and even the smell of pumpkin (not the nicest smell I admit), I felt very content with where I was, in the moment.

Not quite the pumpkin picking post I thought would happen but sometimes I just must share these rambles, in the hope that you to have a mindful moment today.

Wishing you well,

Nicole

For more posts on Mindfulness, BeMindful.co.uk

To see more of my walks and rambles follow my Instagram stories

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Mental health in the media.

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness, talk about our mental health, tackle the stigma, reach out or simply do something to better our own mental health.

Unfortunately, this day can be a very different day, it can very easily turn into a day that worsens our mental health and one that feeds into the stigma and misunderstandings around mental health.

I have spoken about mental health in the media before, as have so many others, yet it never seems to be enough as the media continue to use phrases and inappropriate methods of sharing mental health information and personal experiences.

Today sees the launch of Natasha Devon’s Mental Health Media Charter, a campaign which will change the way the media reports on mental health. The power of language, imagery and social media is huge and if done correctly can reduce stigma, raise awareness and educate many generations, ultimately saving lives from mental illnesses.

If you care about the way mental health is reported please follow me, along with many passionate mental health campaigners, as we support the Mental Health Media Charter.

Use the hashtag #MHMediaCharter, follow @MHMediaCharter & @_NatashaDevon along with the other organisations that have already shown their support in backing this wonderful campaign.

I used to feel ashamed of having an eating disorder, even with a diagnosis it was not enough to make me believe I had one. I mean, how could it? I did not look like that person on the television or the one in the newspaper.

Using images of unhealthy bodies, before and after photographs and numbers can lead people to believe they are not sick. Seeing this form of reporting left me feeling unworthy of treatment, reinforcing not only mine but societies misconception that to have an eating disorder a person must be thin.

Using the term ‘Anorexic’ or ‘Bulimic’ instead of explaining how a person experiences an eating disorder, a serious mental illness associates the person as the illness. I have been called ‘an anorexic’ and I cannot put into words how upsetting it is to hear that term, let alone see it in black and white for the whole world to see to.

Being called ‘an Anorexic’ lead me to believe that is all I was and I became very confused, I remember thinking I was anorexia. Looking back, I know better, I know that Anorexia is an illness and that words get thrown around but there really is no excuses. Nobody should feel like this.

I talk about mental health the best I can, yet writing a post on my personal experiences does not come easy. I spend days reading my post over and over again before publishing, making sure nothing I post could be harmful to anybody who maybe reading. If only I could say the same about the media.

How many eating disorder articles, interviews and television shows have you seen that focus on weight, food and harmful behaviours? I have been interviewed myself, asked ‘what food was like during my worst days?’ Something neither I want to relive or be used as a ‘shock factor’ headline, one that could give somebody a ‘she did this, you do this’ thought. Instead we should be focusing on what it feels like, awareness and support.

Four years ago, I was too ashamed and feared talking this way, now if I don’t stop writing this post will turn into an essay. The list of bad examples goes on but hopefully not for long, together let’s end bad mental health reporting.

No matter the size of our publication, the amount of followers we have or our target audience, we must take mental health in the media seriously, we

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must take more care and educate ourselves on the correct ways of reporting.

Please if you do one thing today, read and share the Mental Health Media Charter.

Thank you for reading,

 

Nicole

 

More of my mental health posts,

Mind, Time to Change, Samaritans, MHFA EnglandB-eat. 

The light I now see.

If you have been following my journey for a while, you will know how much I love the outdoors, or ‘the little things’ I often talk about, and if you have been following my journey for even longer, you will know that this hasn’t always been the case.

Living with Anorexia, took my love for pretty much everything away. I was lost, withdrawn and the way I saw the world around me became very dark. Throughout my recovery and journey so far, the way I see the world has become lighter and lighter. So much so, I often become filled with gratitude, this is something I hope to share with you all.

Continue reading “The light I now see.”

May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).

Before we start this ‘free from favourites’, I want you to know that I am not sponsored by any of these companies, I just like sharing with you all a few of my favourites in the hope it can help. I remember all too well how frustrating and difficult it was when I discovered my gluten intolerance and whilst being vegan seems easy enough, pairing the two started of being quite hard.

Continue reading “May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).”

Thriving day three & four.

Another addition to the #thrivelive blog posts, beginning my Wednesday with a very slow pased morning. I usually rush through my mornings, trying to get ready as quickly as I can. Instead, I tried to be a little slower and I guess more mindful of the small activities I was doing. Even brushing my teeth, being more aware of how I felt and instantly feeling more connected to myself.

Once ready, my mother and I went into Chester, as I mentioned in a previous post I am going away for the summer and well, my suitcase is still empty. I went with the hope of buying most of my things but ended up buying gifts, a bath bomb and one pair of shorts, oops. Non the less, it was a beautiful day and my mother and I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Olive Tree Brasserie, but you will hear more about our visit in May’s free from favourites. 

Expecting to be exhausted after wondering around Chester all day, I had planned to pop on a face mask and relax for the evening, until my sister asked if I wanted to go for a run. The sky was still blue and the sun was beaming, my dad, who is training for the Chester marathon, suggested we went through the country lanes and I could not resist. We ended up doing over five miles, not all running I must admit. It was so very beautiful, I would have taken photographs but my sister and dad were in ‘the zone’ and whilst used to me by now I think my ‘look a cow, look a lamb, look at that tree’, may have been slightly annoying. This is definitely where Instagram stories comes in handy.

Day four of #thrivelive, I woke up a little later than usual, I had another slow paced morning and ate breakfast whilst watching some morning television, featuring Rich and other Time to Change supporters, talking all about talking about mental health. I love the media coverage Mental Health Awareness Week has received, only also reminded it should not be needed but here’s to hoping for change. Speaking of Time to Change, even my car is standing up to stigma!

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This morning, I took a drive to a favourite town of mine, Llangollen. I usually wait for somebody to join me but I quite enjoyed my own company. I walked through the town, admired the view and popped into a couple of shops to.

I know it doesn’t seem like I have done a great deal but the last four days of #thrivelive, of being aware of my mental health, continuously practicing mindfulness and doing things that make me happy has really helped me feel at peace with myself. I am now finding myself asking, why don’t I do this more often?

Of course it has been a lot easier to do this with just finishing university and not having a deadline to meet but I think there is more to it. I think a part of me has been seeing myself as recovered, recovered meaning I don’t need to take as much time to look after my mental health anymore. Going back to my earlier post, ‘we all have mental health’ and looking at how four days of self-care, of making an effort to look after my mental health has made me feel so much happier and connected. I guess maybe I needed this reminder, that no matter how far along our recoveries are, mental illness or not, we all need to look after our mental health. Apologies if this has been a little confusing, kind of a realisation moment.

After that little ramble I shall leave this post here, I hope you are having a nice day.

Thank you for reading,

Nicole

Thriving, day two.

Continuing to share my #thrivelive with you all, only not live and with a kind of dairy style post instead. I began my morning determined to get back outside with a short run, unfortunately my knee had other ideas. Without beating myself up, I decided to have a quiet morning, sit in the garden and catch up on some emails.

Just as I was beginning to get a little agitated with myself, my mother came home with three bunches flowers, including my favourite, Freesias. After recently updating my blog introduction and being reminded of my floristry days, I decided to take a few moments to put together the flowers. It is sometimes hard to get out of that ‘what is the point’ mindset but I instantly felt the therapeutic benefits of being a little creative. I may have got slightly carried away as I lined each jar/vase up against my garden wall.

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I was not able to run today but that did not stop me exploring. This afternoon, I found myself and Archie wandering through a near by woodlands.

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The beautiful weather lead into the evening and so my sister and I took Ralph, my sisters puppy, for an evening walk. Both walks leaving me feeling grateful for dogs but also to live by such beautiful surroundings and actually notice them.

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Today its been the little things that have made me feel like I am thriving. What have you done today that has made you feel present and happy?

Wishing you well,

Nicole

Surviving or Thriving?

Today sees the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 and I have already seen some wonderful posts raising awareness. People sharing their experiences, informing us of the current statistics, facts, signs and symptoms.

The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ with the key message ‘we all have mental health’.

With the pressures of life becoming more and more demanding and our fast pace, always on the go type attitudes often resulting in us merely surviving life. Our enjoyment is quickly disappearing right before us and we are living so far into the future, or past, that our now sadly becomes non-existent. This is how life was for me, that was before choosing and practicing, to be mindful, being aware of my mental health and making more time for self-care.

I cannot stress enough the importance of looking after your mental health, of doing whatever it is that makes you feel happy and connected. Of course, this does not come easy and sometimes we need that little bit of encouragement to take time for us. To help us with this, the inspiring Jake Tyler- Black Dog Walks, has come up with the wonderful idea to do something each day, for mental health awareness week, that makes us feel good about ourselves, using the hashtag #thrivelive.

I will be getting involved by taking part in this challenge and documenting my #thrivelive either here, via Twitter or Instagram. Please get involved and take a moment each day to do something for you.

Here is what I did today, a few weeks back I accidentally wiped my blog of all its photographs, every single one and much to my embarrassment, I did not take this well. Although, managing to restore most, I felt very upset and rather angry with myself to. Since then, I have had a ‘what is the point’ kind of attitude, not picking up my camera or documenting my walks.

Today I decided to put this behind me, breathe in the new day, pick up my camera and take myself, and Archie to, outside. I decided to do something for my mental health, a small task that has made me truly happy.

A walk I have done many times before, yet each time it seems to bring me something new, a new moment of the now to enjoy. Like today, whilst watching Archie run through the buttercups, sparking a conversation about how my mother’s grandmother used to make toast. ‘Freshly cut, grilled not toasted, buttered and placed back under the grill, until we were ready’- my mother as she smiled thinking of her grandmothers toast, a small conversation that made us both happy.  It looks, like Archie is licking his lips with the thought of buttery toast.

This walk never fails to make me feel free, with the open fields, nobody insight and such blue sky, the world felt huge.

A huge world with a tiny wooden bridge, across the river and through the fields, seeing white butterflies all around and crops just starting to sprout, this walk was truly beautiful.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and seeing my #thrivelive, I am looking forward to seeing what it is you all get up to.

See you tomorrow,

Nicole