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.

Cooking Day

Cooking has been my theme for the day. I really enjoyed it and learnt new things. My first spell in the kitchen was with my mum baking. I made buns, a cake and mince pies.

I’d never made mince pies before. It was interesting to learn. I myself don’t like them but Dave does. So it’ll be nice to make them for him in the future.

My next spell in the kitchen was making a Pork and Apple one pot. It was gorgeous. The flavours were amazing. I really enjoyed cooking from scratch. It does take me longer to make then the times stated in the cook books. Dave helped to prep. It was nice to spend the time together.

Our friends left happy, which was great. See what we come out with tomorrow.

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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A Sense of Control

It may have been Friday the 13th but I felt positive by the day I had. I had lunch with B. Our first proper girls’ outing. It was effortless! I didn’t feel like an imposter at all. I bought my one and only Halloween item and the first present of Christmas 2017. I’ve wrapped it and everything.

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I even felt positive about my NVQ meeting. More so afterwards. I was honest about my feelings towards it and my job. She understood and supported me completely. Due to the way my NVQ works, I’m only allowed to finish my NVQ 2 months early. But it’s sooner than before.

After a lovely family film night watching The Fast and The Furious. I’m starting to feel control over my life.


Note: I know today is not Friday the 13th. My posts get published two weeks after I write them down. It happened to be Friday the 13th on that day. 

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.