Glutton for Punishment

That’s the person I am. I take on more things at the wrong times. Spending money and trying to create more time then what’s available to me. No wonder I feel tired, stressed and overloaded.

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I put extra things on myself before I’ve finished the other courses, goals or work. My body has decided to take on a cold as well. Prioritise relaxation and Me Time!! That’s what I need to do.

Is there something you need to prioritise?

NVQ Drawing to the End?

After 4 hours spend with my NVQ assessor, I’ve done 14% more with a total of 75% complete. 2 more set meetings, which she says I may finish in February rather then March/April time when I first asked if I could finish any earlier.

I’m so glad it’s been moved up a month. It’s given me that light at the end of the tunnel feeling. That early next year I can potentially look for another job and tick completion of my NVQ off my goal list.

How the Fear Routines and I Connect

Wanting courage within myself. That is something I want to embody. To have courage fight through my fear and anxiety. To have it as an instinct rather than that part of me that gets shut behind a door. 

Watching Kate Courageous in one of her videos got me thinking about why my courage is behind a closed door. She speaks of her fear routines. Surely I need to understand before I can conquer. Looking at her fear routines, I can’t really pinpoint an exact one I fall into. I have parts in all. 

I believe my number 1 is THE SABOTEUR:  I try new things or start something but never finish or get to the end then don’t use it. Would have saved me a lot of education debt. All because of fear. Those negative thoughts going through my head. I start things then quit to do something else regardless if I wanna do it anymore. There are times I underperform. Mainly when I’m getting towards my low moods. 

But my number 2 THE PERFECTIONIST comes though. At these times the perfectionist helps. But I haven’t worked out how to stop or at least slow it down. I go from underperforming to overperforming. Getting into the drive where I need to be and do better. That I have to do the job, get it done, even though another could have done it exactly the same way. But I need to know that it is perfect. Going into the mindset that I need to do even when I know it’s not right. 

I’m not sure which way around to put my number 3 and 4. Could I have a joint one? Have THE MARTER and THE PESSIMIST at the same level. 

THE MARTER: I clearly have a saboteur pattern as this is my number 1. I give to others and no go after what I want.  This I have reduced slightly. I give to others but am starting to go after what I want. I’m glad I wrote this. I believe THE MARTER is my number 4. 

Number 3 has to be THE PESSIMIST: My negative thoughts and anxiety help to rule THE PESSIMIST in me. I get the “things don’t work out for me” feeling. That the world is out to get me. Tests me. 

I feel my number 2-4 lead me to the point that they help my SABOTEUR. That it’s feeding off my other fear routines. Now I need to figure out how to cut these fear routines down to open up my courage. 

That’s for another day. Do you have any of these fear routines? Do you have your own?

 

Understanding My Inner Critic

I’m always hard on myself. I doubt myself. I criticise myself. I know I shouldn’t but I do. I need to learn how to change this. Andrea Own has done a guide and questions on your inner critic. These are my own response to her Questions.

  1. Know your inner critic intimately. 

Q: What areas in your life are you the hardest on yourself?

Body/appearance. Future. Finance.

Q: What does your inner critic specifically say to you?

“Your not good enough”. “You won’t get to where you want to go”. “Your don’t have the confidence or drive to get there”. “What’s the point?” “Your too skinny / boney”. “Your never gonna put on weight”. “No one is gonna want to see your body. Especially not Dave”. “Why wear that?” “Your never gonna own your own home”. “Your spending too much”.

2. Uncover hidden beliefs inside our shit-talker. 

Q: What are the things that you can pull out of the statements that you have come to believe about yourself?

“I’m not deserving / smart enough for success”. “I’m never gonna own my own home”. “I don’t deserve to be comfortable in my own skin”. “I don’t know how to do this”. “I can’t do this”.

3. Challenge those beliefs

Q: What if the beliefs weren’t true?

I do deserve success. I work hard to get to where I wanna go. If there is something I find I can’t do, I figure out how. I will own my own home. We are saving where we can. I spend more when I’m anxious. I need to process and I’ll be able to cut down. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their own skin. I’m doing everything right to get the weight on.

Q: If these beliefs weren’t true, how would I show up differently in my life?

I would have confidence in what I do. I would follow my path, conquer all obstacles in my way. Ask for help when I need it. I’d continue to better myself on my terms. Being honest to all as well as myself. I’d wear what the hell I like.

Q: If these beliefs weren’t true, what decisions would I make?

I would be more mindful with my actions and thoughts. Conscious of my intentions with both people and food. I would make decisions that feel right for me. I would move jobs now. I would travel the world. I would go to a mortgage adviser.


These questions I would never have thought to ask myself. I believed once you had an inner critic that’s it. They’re with you for life. Which they are. You have to understand and know the way to be able to be the boss rather then the critic take over.

The I woulds and the inner critic needs work. I need to start implementing the I woulds into my life.

Do you understand your inner critic?

Communication: BSL

Communication is the key to most day to day interactions. Working in care. It’s vital.

I completed my Module 5 of my NVQ today. Communication. Clearly a big topic. Most of the things in the module I knew as common sense. Manners, I’ve learnt growing up. But reading all the information made me more mindful this evening completing my bed calls.

I noticed on one, I was speaking fast. It’s something I’ve tried to slow down before.  Mindfulness communication.

The module provided me with many links to further information. One of which was the British Sign Website. As learning sign language is a goal of mine, I was interested. I found they did an introductory BSL course online.

I’ve looked for courses before on and off a few times. But never one I could commit too or afford. But this one was £19.99 for a year’s access to complete.  The course comprised of 8 lessons. As they have had good reviews, I’ve decided to give it ago.

I’ve enrolled and done the first step to learn sign language. I’m not setting myself a deadline other than the year access I have. I want to take my time and really absorb it all.

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Are you controlling your body or is it controlling you?

I had a felt sucky day. I had a headache, felt sick, allowed myself to be used like a doormat. My body controlled me. I didn’t control it.

When I looked at session 2 of my positive steps course; I found it quite fitting. It was called controlling your body. That our bodies change and our physical symptoms impact our mood.

Definitely did with me today!

It went over the vicious cycle. Hoping by now I understand my own and what effects me. I’m certainly learning that.

It went on to explain stress on the body. Looking at the physical symptoms you have. I knew I had symptoms but I didn’t realise how many.

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No wonder I feel more stressed and have unhelpful thoughts when my body feels this way.

There are two ways our mood is affected by our bodies; muscle tension and Automatic Nervous System. Looking T my body model, I have more in the muscle tension category then the other.

The symptoms we get are due to our fight or flight responses. It’s our bodies way of saying there’s a threat. Whether it’s work, kids, bills, arguing, even the housework. Money, work and my to do list are my obvious threats.

My tiredness, lack of motivation and lethargy is where my depression kicks in with the stress.

Then it gives me tips on how to combat the stress and depression. All the things you already know but have to hear anyway for your mind to click.

I certainly need to stop asking for reassurance, reduce avoidance and do some exercise.

Then there’s the relaxation techniques. I’ve met these before in my relaxation module. Think I need to go over my relaxation techniques 1 and 2 to refresh my memory. Then do.

Just doing something at the moment is an achievement for me.

Mindfulness: Turn Off Autopilot

This morning I’ve looked at the next section within my mindfulness module. As you can see from the title of the post this section was about being on autopilot. I tend to live most of my life on autopilot. I suppose you don’t really notice it until you’ve had your day and wondered what you’ve actually done.

I have a few of them. I even can be on autopilot when driving. End up at my destination and wonder how I got there. Which is not a good thing. Turning off my autopilot is what I need to learn.

What does it actually mean when you’re running on autopilot? 

It is doing things automatically without paying attention to your experiences. You’re not focusing. Meaning the negative thoughts and worries can easily start to build a life of their own.

What does becoming aware mean?

Learning to become aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Being in tune with what you need and want. Hopefully, to guide your actions.

My module gave me two exercises to try to help me become more mindful; The Raisin Exercise and The Body Scan.

The Raisin Exercise

This exercise you really do need to embrace the silliness of it. As you’ll see from my reflections on the exercise, I felt silly doing it. It’s called the raisin exercise but if you don’t have any or don’t like them (like me) then use another food. I chose grapes.

This exercise is to show you how it feels to be fully present in the here and now. If I felt silly during this exercise does this mean I feel silly when it comes to being in the here and now? 

You have to focus your attention on eating the raisin (or food choice). Involving being aware of the smells, images, sounds, feelings or tastes. Most of all try experience without the judgement. If your mind wanders, just bring it back.

The module gave seven steps to complete this exercise. I’m not going to detail them all. I’m just giving each step the title. It’s self-explanatory really. Just focus on that part of the food at the time of you completing the step.

  1. Find a spot
  2. Hold
  3. Smell
  4. Hear
  5. Taste
  6. Eat
  7. Swallow

I’m not gonna be mindful if I don’t put in the work, am I?

Here’s my reflection from completing this exercise:

  • I could feel the weight of the grape in my hand
  • I could smell the sweet smell of the grape
  • I noticed saliva in my mouth
  • I could hear my stomach grumbling
  • As I swallowed the grape I could feel it move down my throat

Where you able to be open to the experience and not be judgemental?

No

Did you allow yourself to be curious during the exercise?

Yes

How you found the exercise overall?

I felt silly about doing the exercise. I sat in my room where it is quieter. It got me to eat the grapes only (I don’t like raisins). I tend to eat while doing something else. When I smelt the grapes I always thought of wine. When I listened I heard what was going on around me. The washing machine going, my mum getting herself a snack and drink and a plane going over. Tasting I felt strange holding it in my mouth before I chewed it. When I swallowed, I realised I don’t think about that part before. As I continued to eat my grapes I tended to miss out steps 2 and 3. I did listen to what was going on around me. I slowed my eating down instead of rushing to eat the grapes. I think when eating I need to be more present. I may find I can enjoy food that way. Hoping it can encourage me to eat better again.

The Body Scan

This helps you experience thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they are. Being aware what happens in your body, without trying to change anything. By focusing on each part of your body, you become in tune with your whole body.

Your body can give you loads of information. Whether you’re mindful of it or not. When I was asked which information do you remember your body giving you, I was like what you on about. Thankfully there was an example. Here is mine:

  • When I have a headache, it’s often because I’m stressed
  • When my chest hurts, it’s often because I’m anxious
  • When my shoulders hurt it’s because I’m feeling tense
  • When my stomach is noisy, it’s because I’m hungry
  • When my eyes start to feel heavy, it’s because I’m tired

To complete the body scan I listened to the audio that was about 15 minutes. To sum it up you find a spot you won’t be disturbed, even if it’s for 5 minutes. Lie down, be comfortable. Just try not to fall asleep. Be open to the experience and not be judgemental. Focus on one part of your body at a time, going from your toes to the top of your head, slowly.

My reflection:

What did you notice?

That parts of my body were tense and others ached. I found it nice to be laying there not doing something taxing with my mind.

What went well?

I really liked having the audio there. It made me go back to doing what I needed if I did get distracted. But I did find that I was being distracted less.

What was difficult?

Unsure if there was actually something I found difficult. Yes, I got distracted but because of the audio, I was able to go straight back. I have saved it to listen to it again at a later date when I’m completing a body scan.

Coming to the end of the module. It gave me homework. I felt I was back at school. My homework is this:

  • Pick one daily activity that you will complete with total awareness. (Try a simple activity) > I’ll choose brushing my teeth
  • Pay special attention to the 1st bite of your dinner
  • Practice the body scan at least 4x a week
  • Fill in your mindfulness diary each time you practice

I was gonna see how many sections I could get done today. But now that I know I have homework and I should be taking everything slowly. I will do a section a week on my mindfulness day.

Then in between, I can carry out my homework. Putting the work in to be mindful.