Category: Mindset

In Praise of the Afternoon Nap

I love an afternoon nap!  When I wake up, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day and evening.

I am not alone.  Winston Churchill also loved to nap.  He believed you get twice as much done if you nap!  “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half,” he said.

I have always loved a Sunday afternoon nap.  There is something quite indulgent about snuggling up with a book and then allowing yourself to close your eyes and head to dreamland in the middle of the afternoon.

I also have great memories of that nap at the end of nursery school or kindergarten.  Bliss.

To nap or not to nap?

I have recently being experiencing a flare.  My pain levels are off the charts and this makes me grumpy.  To be honest I have also had a niggling feeling that the depression that I have kept at bay for many years is creeping back.  The weather isn’t helping – in Ireland has been dull, grey and rainy for months.  I really don’t like taking antidepressants (although I would never rule them out). What I could do to help myself?

I sat with my journal and tried to figure out how to get though this rough patch. The first thing I realised is that I must be absolutely diligent with my exercise.  Exercise gives you endorphins – happy hormones so this was an easy fix. It is easy when you are not feeling great to skip, but that is the last thing I needed.  You can read about my wonderful trampoline routine here.

The second thing I realised is that an afternoon nap might help.  It was around 5 pm that I was feeling completely overwhelmed by pain and low mood.  I wondered if a nap might help.

An afternoon nap definitely helps

After a few days of my new routine, exercise first thing, eating as well as possible and my nap I started to feel a bit better.  The late afternoon dips were gone and I felt more able to cope.

There seems to be some evidence to back this up.  According to WebMD Napping isn’t just for babies. Studies show that an afternoon nap is great for adults, too. There’s no need to feel lazy for indulging in daytime sleep. A short nap in the mid-afternoon can boost memory, improve job performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease stress.

Dr. Sara Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life has some interesting thoughts.  In an article on www.time.com she is quotes as saying that naps are good for most people.  Mednick says. her research shows a nap—defined as daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. “For some people, naps are as restorative as a whole night of sleep,” she adds. More research shows a quick nap can lower stress and recharge your willpower. And napping has also been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

It looks like my instincts to take an afternoon nap are good.  My research did show however that if you are very sleepy and feel like you need to sleep all the time, there could be an underlying cause.  If in doubt please consult your doctor.

For me though I am off upstairs for a little shut-eye.

Thanks for reading and sharing my journey.

Kerry x

Messages for my Inner Child

I was going through some old photos, and was struck by a few things.  Firstly, that I essentially haven’t changed that much.  I am older for sure, but the ‘me’ that was there at 7 is still there today.

My journey from seven to 55 has been exactly that a journey – lots of ups and downs, twists and turns and even if I could – I can’t change anything.  What I can do is remember that the essentially positive seven-year-old is still inside and by remembering my inner child I can keep myself young and positive.  I started to think of messages to my inner child.

My messages to my inner child are:

  • Keep creative.  Remember the joy of bits and pieces and how they all go together to create something special.  Choose whatever colour crayon you want and colour with abandon.
  • Don’t listen to the critics.  There is always someone who feels that they know better and are happy to correct you.  Don’t let anyone dampen your enthusiasm.
  • Everything in moderation.  In our house we were given a small package of sweets on a Friday night, and a comic on a Thursday.  We looked forward to this with a huge amount of expectation, and enjoyed it with delight.  A taste of sweetness is enough you don’t need the super-size bags.
  • Friendship is important.  As a child I loved spending time with my friends.  Sleepovers, after school visits and the exciting weekends.  As I got older it was discos and shopping, but the constant was friendship.  As an adult we get busy, too busy.
  • Enjoy play.  We forget the abandon of doing something for no particular purpose.  Running along the beach with my dress tucked into my knickers!  The sunshine filtering down and adding to my freckles.  I still want to do this (and I’ll tell you a secret I still do).
  • Accept who you are.  I never quite loved my freckles (I do now though).  At seven year’s old I had never heard of obesity, body image or cellulite.  I was just me.  I am still me.
  • Embrace dressing up.  I loved dressing up, shoes, hats, loads of accessories and a good bit of sparkle.  I even had a wig in my dressing up box.  It is nice to remember how it feels when we make a bit of an effort and even nicer when we receive a compliment.
  • Live for today.  At seven, we do not think of the future, we live for the day, and perhaps plan for a treat or an outing.  It is not that I advocate never planning for the future, but today is all we have promised.
  • Be prepared.  Now, don’t laugh!  When I was little I always kept a handbag, and in it a spare pair of knickers (pants).  In those days our underwear was held up by elastic and those elastics were known to snap.  Little acts of preparation go a long way.

What message would you give to your inner child.  She is still there, no matter what your age.  By remembering little me, I hope to give that childish joy alive forever.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

Fat people can exercise and enjoy it!

 

Yes, I am fat.  I have struggled with my weight my whole life.  Knowing what I know now, I wish that I had figured out how happy keeping moving makes me years ago.

A few weeks ago someone asked me what exercise I did.  I answered that I jumped on my mini trampoline.  You could actually see the images in her mind as she tried to visualise me on a trampoline.  It is not that I jump up and try touch the ceiling – what I do could probably be defined as jogging in one place.  With the huge benefit of less pressure on my arthritic joints. (I previously wrote about the benefits of rebounding (trampoline jumping) here.)

My biggest fear

I am afraid of loosing my mobility.  In fact, I have lost some already and have issues with balance and pain when walking.  I use a stick for any distance, or in areas where I am unfamiliar.  At first, I was embarrassed, and ashamed that I needed a stick to walk.  In Manchester with my son and I asked him – do you mind that I need a stick to walk?  His answer (he is very straightforward):  ‘At least when you walk with Stan (the stick) you walk faster.’  To be honest at least when I walk with a stick I get out and do it!

Anchoring habits

I knew I had to get moving and at the same time I knew that I needed to incorporate exercise into  my daily routine in a way that I would enjoy it and that it would become a habit.  When I get up in the morning, my first thought is tea, and then breakfast as I have a number of medications to take that need food.  The next thing I would do is write my journal.

In order to incorporate exercise effectively I decided to anchor my trampoline sessions to these two activities.  It is no fun jumping on a full stomach, so first thing in the morning I come downstairs and straight onto the trampoline.  Sometimes I jump to breakfast TV and other times set up a YouTube concert to inspire me.  By doing this first, I get it done and am rewarded with breakfast and some quiet time with my journal afterwards.

What to wear to exercise?

For many years I used the excuse of not having workout gear.  Thankfully times have changed and there is a great range of exercise gear at companies like Oxendales in all sizes.  The truth is that you don’t need special clothes to jump at home.  Just be comfortable and wear a good bra!

Footwear is another matter.  It is really important to look after your feet – especially as you get older and most exercise requires good supportive and comfortable footwear.  I am delighted with these blue grey shoes gifted to me by Hotter.  I could walk for miles in them, and the extra bonus is that they look great with jeans or jeggings.  They  haven’t been off my feet since they arrived.

My fab footwear are called Flow Shoes and are lightweight, flexible and trendy.  They come in three colours – Sky Blue (my choice), black and pebble grey.

Check out their range online at www.hotter.com.  They have a wide range of sizes and widths and a superb delivery service.

Although this is a sponsored post and the shoes were gifted to me, the story is my own.  I hope to share more episodes of my health and fitness journey with you here.

Thanks for reading – I am off to jump!  Yes, fat people can exercise.

Kerry xx

Unplugged in Mabalingwe


It is ok to be unplugged!  To leave behind responsibilities and that fine but strong thread that ties us to the online world.  It isn’t easy though.

The lure of the African bush

When we started planning our trip to South Africa, I just knew I wanted time in the bush.  Time to get back to my roots and feel ‘African’.  It is hard to describe the assault to the senses that sunset in the bush is – it’s the smell of the soil and the aroma of smoke as the fires crackle for night-time braais (BBQs).  The gentle sun on my skin, and the sparkle that the sun creates as it touches the leaves in the trees and kisses the water.  It is the taste of a cold beer, or glass of wine and the company of good friends.  And, It is even the laugh as you look behind you and find a family of warthogs wanted to join in.

Dreams do come true and we had our bush experience at beautiful Mabalingwe, a nature reserve in the Swartberg Mountains in Limpopo Province in South Africa.

Letting go

We shopped, we packed and set off on our journey.  It is funny that the first thing we seem to do when we get anywhere is to check our phones.  And when we got settled in to our gorgeous cottage, we had nothing.  No signal at all!   Between us we tried all sorts of positions and combinations but to be honest no matter what we tried it didn’t work.  Standing on my tip toes with my head angled towards I don’t know what, I managed to send a message that we had arrived safely.  We relaxed, we ate good food, we chatted and laughed and yes, had that glass of wine or two.

Mabalingwe is an amazing place, with the opportunity to go on self-drive safari.  We got up early in the morning and headed out at a slow pace, rambling along taking in all the sights, sounds and smells that epitomise the African bush.  Lucky for us, we saw some amazing sights including my two favourite animals, zebra’s and giraffes.

Unplugged and without transport!

I told myself I was fine, not being connected.  After a couple of days of no internet access I felt quite smug. I could do this.  That was until I finished my book on my kindle and realised I didn’t have a way of downloading a new one.

On Monday I needed to confirm that the hire car I had booked would be delivered.  Now my stress levels started rising.  I couldn’t make a clear phone call as the signal kept dropping.  I couldn’t access my emails and to be honest I didn’t feel good knowing that I was so out of touch.

Eventually I asked the hotel reception for assistance and some hours later the car turned up.  Sometimes we need a reminder of how things were done before mobile phones arrived.

To celebrate the arrival of the car, we visited Vultures View – the amazing pub that is literally in the sky and offers great service, good food and views begging to be posted on Instagram.  And, we discovered, the best WiFi!

I downloaded a book, or two, checked my mail and social media accounts and realised that truthfully, I hadn’t missed much.

Choosing to be unplugged

For the balance of the week, I chose to be unplugged (almost 24/7).  It was quite freeing to know that scrolling through my phone was pointless.  Instead I read lots of books and took time to simply do nothing.

I also, treated myself to a couple of treatments at the Mbali Spa.  Self-care is a bit like being unplugged – you know you need to do it, but in the hustle of daily life it gets forgotten.  I made my choice and simply relaxed. My first treatment was a geranium and pine sugar scrub.  I felt so good after it that I booked a facial for the next day.

I must admit that every couple of days we visited the pub and ‘checked-in’.  We even got caught in the most amazing and scary thunderstorm one day, when even the higher powers unplugged the electricity.

Perhaps I need the thought of our beautiful time in the bush to remind me to stop scrolling and unplug.

Thank you for sharing my adventures.

Kerry x

 

Embracing JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out

I took a month off.  A month off blogging and most of social media.  I left my laptop upstairs gathering dust on my desk.

The time out from my normal routine led to great perspective and some exciting clarity.  I think it is a great idea for anyone.  We are constantly evolving and time out and a bit of rethinking is just what we need to get the next surge forward.

So, what exactly is JOMO?

Well, JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – is basically the opposite of FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out.  I wrote about this a while back, as it was something I struggled with.  My health prevents me from doing quite a few things, and even when I say I will, I often have to cancel.  I always felt a bit peeved to be honest.  I sat at home on my sofa watching events on social media and wishing I was in the thick of it.

A shift in my thinking over the past months made me realise that it is ok not to be everywhere and that there is huge joy in simply staying at home and investing in my own life.  I love to paint, and to create and truthfully, I am so happy being creative that it’s a joy not to worry about what I might be missing out on and simply embrace the present.

I’ve taken up crochet again, as a tool to stop mindless scrolling and its is truly a joy to see the little piles of granny squares that will soon become a blanket.

I have also realised how often we don’t pay attention to the person we are with.

Mom, do you really need to Instagram that?

As a travel lover and travel blogger I love sharing my experiences, finding new vistas and new flavours across the world.  Recently I was in Manchester visiting family.  I was trying to be subtle as I snapped sights, while still enjoying this special time.  My son and I went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch.  We both love Japanese and this had become a bit of a tradition when we were together.  The food arrived, and I opened Instagram to add to my story.  Mom, do you really need to Instagram that?  I stopped short.  Of course, I didn’t.  I needed to spend special time with my son who I don’t get to see that often now he is living in another country.  I also needed to savour the aroma of the gorgeous food in front of me.

Taking time out

I took time out for January.  I didn’t blog, and I shared very little online.  I felt strong.  I felt like I was in the moment and took a huge amount of joy from it.  We had a little budget trip to Spain, a belated Christmas present, and keeping account of everything wasn’t a priority.  Yes, I did take a few snaps and shared some of it online, but I was also very conscious of simply feeling joy in the moment.

I love my blog

I have been writing my blog for nearly 4 years now.  I love how it has opened my world and brought me back to the joy of writing.  I have met so many amazing people and have had the true joy of connecting to people all over the world, as their lives touched mine, and mine theirs.

I am not giving up my blog, or social media, which I really enjoy too.  What I am doing is embracing JOMO and knowing that everything has a place in life.  I have committed to blogging at least once a month – less than I originally planned.  I will blog about things that excite me and that I cannot wait to share.  I am also committed to finishing my book (it has been a long time coming) and focussing on my art ventures.

Thank you all for your support, for following me and reading my ramblings.  My blog brings me Joy.

Between you and I have given up on FOMO.  If I am not meant to be there, then why fear missing out.  I’ll embrace JOMO and sitting by the fire, sipping on hot tea, reading a good book or simply being in the moment.

 

Kerry x

I went back to work in the corporate world at almost 50!

At 48 I went back to work in the corporate world.  It was scary.

I truly began to understand the meaning of fake it until you make it when I found myself in hot water for not replying to a meeting request in Outlook.  Outlook hadn’t been invented the last time I played corporate games.

The reason I was dressed in black and wearing heels for the first time in 10 years, and literally shaking in said heels was an interview.  This was something that hadn’t happened in more than 20 years.

My back to work story

My marriage broke down, and at 48 I realised that the only way forward was for me to get a job that paid well.  I had my qualifications and lots of life experience, but nothing currently corporate.

There are a few things I did that really paid dividends:

  • I paid someone to write-up my CV – CV styles change, and it is honestly the best investment.
  • I bought some corporate clothes – it really is true that you must dress for the job (and salary) that you want.
  • Brush up on your IT skills. Absolutely everything had changed in the time I was out of the loop.  Although I used a computer at home I needed some up-skilling.
  • Learn a bit of jargon – it seems trite, but it really helps to fit in.
  • Study – read blogs, articles and anything you can get your hands on – especially if you are aiming at a particular industry.
  • Set up a twitter account and start following industry leaders
  • Set up and work on your LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is basically your online CV and really important.  Use the CV created (see above) as a guide.  These two should really match..
  • Google yourself – your prospective employers will do this, so be aware of might come up.
  • Check your Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – and delete anything you don’t want to be found.

Subsequent to going back to work I trained in Personal Branding Coaching – you can find out more about this here.  We all have a brand and going back to work – you need to be aware of this and craft a brand that works for you.

Back to work Tips from Teenagers

My son, at 16 was my back to work coach.  ‘Stop worrying about what you are going to wear Mom, you need to study for your interview’.  Really?  I had never studied for an interview before, so I took to Google and researched common interview questions.  I found out that you also need to research the company, and have your own set of questions prepared.

Once I had the study part done, he did advise me on what to wear, and it meant leaving my hippy arty clothes in the cupboard.

Armed with my homework and wearing my new outfit I set off for my interview.  Literally shaking inside, I kept reminding myself that I had run my own business, and I had started a business in Ireland and marketed it with absolutely no budget.  I might be older than all the other candidates, but that could be turned into a positive too.

I surprised myself (and a few others) by nabbing myself a job in corporate financial research as a marketing manager – after a very long spell out of the corporate world.  This was only just the beginning.

A sandwich, and a briefcase doesn’t necessarily crack it.

The first day of work I was literally shaking.  I got dressed twice despite having chosen my clothes the night before.  My confidence wasn’t great, my marriage was in tatters and I was taking a huge step into the unknown.

It was horrible.  I am not going to pretend otherwise.  I arrived at work, was shown my desk and that was it.  Almost everyone in the office was more than 20 years younger than me, and they didn’t speak to me.  (There was a reason for this but I didn’t find out for months).

My new boss who was based in London flew over to meet me, which helped somewhat but the truth was I was very out of my depth.  I was receiving emails and meeting notifications and having to figure out the internal communication system, while smiling and acting like I had everything under control.

It does get better

The following day my marketing colleague and boss headed back to London and I was on my own.  On my own with my good friend Google.  I googled everything and learnt fast.

The easiest part of the learning curve was applying everything I knew about marketing to financial research which was a new industry for me.  The hardest part was learning how to deal with difficult people and office politics.  I also learnt to trust myself and to follow my own instincts.

My back to work story got better and better.  Like a baby bird (of 48) I learnt to fly, and to proudly put forward my opinions and follow those instincts.

During lunchtime I had a sandwich at my computer and taught myself everything about modern marketing.  I learnt how to harness social media and how to convert the basics of research into an online accessible web portal.

Looking back I am really proud of what I achieved.  I am now retired for medical reasons but I can look back and know that I did it!  Yes, I went back to the work in the corporate world and succeeded.

Thank you for reading my story.

Kerry xx

Imagine if you were battery powered

You know what it’s like when the batteries are running low on the TV remote?  It is awkward – pointing at the TV and pressing buttons in the hope that the channel will change or the volume will increase.

We all charge our phones.  We have chargers in the car, next to the bed, in the kitchen and even if you are like me a power bank in my handbag for emergencies.

There are great lessons to be learnt from the digital world.  My son is a gamer and game developer.  I have often watched him play and noticed that players get ‘health’ which slowly ebbs away especially if you get injured.  You have to complete a task or buy new health.  Thank goodness we have the option of ‘plugging ourselves in’.

What about our own batteries?

I think we are battery powered.  Perhaps not in the same way as a phone or TV remote, but more like the quintessential Duracell bunny who can go and go and go, but will eventually run out of power and stagger to a halt.

My own personal situation and the health issues I deal with on a daily basis often make me feel like the bunny that got the dud batteries.  I find myself flat.  Not only down but flat like a battery operated toy that is mumbling and muttering, staggering around.  I am no longer the singing dancing bear (or bunny).

Every one of us is unique and our situations are too.  Some people struggle with mental health, and others with physical health.  Even the seemingly healthy people, are using their batteries every day – running around doing lifts for kids, working in a high stress environment, studying for exams.

Every little thing we do in life is sucking our battery power.

If we don’t plug in and recharge we will come to a grinding halt.

We all have different battery lives

Because we are all unique, we have different battery lives too.  Mine doesn’t seem to have a very long life, and sometimes I need to be plugged in and recharging 3 or 4 times a day.  Other people might be ok with an overnight charge.

The truth is that we all need to charge.  And we need to be cognizant of the fact that if we don’t plug in and recharge we could be in from some serious health challenges.

It was only when things were really bad that I became consciously aware of the need to recharge.  I think this conscious awareness is what has really made a difference, and I would urge everyone reading this to stop, and if it doesn’t seem too silly think about when you need to be plugged in and juicing up your battery.

Recharging is actually quite easy.  There are a number of activities which will make a difference, but to varying degrees, and of course unique to each person.

  • Rest
  • Sleep
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking enough fluid
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Creativity and flow
  • Setting boundaries

It is all very well to simply list these items and promise yourself that you will remember to plug-in.  Life gets in the way, constantly veering us off course and then we look down at our battery life and oops – we are on emergency power.

How I recharge

Recharging needs to become a habit.  Something that you do automatically.  When I go to bed I leave my phone plugged in downstairs.  When I get into the car, I plug it into the car charger.

Similarly I have a routine that after having breakfast, I have my second breakfast (medication and supplements), and then I sit with a cup of tea and write my journal.  This sets me up for the day.  Quite often I get up from my cup of tea with my mind buzzing and a list at my side ready to grab hold of the day fully charged.

It is really about finding what works for you.  I jump on my mini-trampoline for at least 10 minutes a day.  I have made this part of my routine too, and find it is really energizing me – yet another way of charging my battery.

As my own personal battery isn’t all that long-lasting, I have to constantly remind myself to plug-in.  I use the list above to remind myself of different ways I can recharge.  The luxury and necessity of rest is a priority as is setting boundaries.

Just imagine me sitting on my sofa plugged in – just like my phone.

Thank you for reading and please let me know what you do to recharge.

Kerry xx

Respect – my tribute to the fabulous Aretha Franklin

It took me many, many years to truly understand how important respect was as a value.  It is a word we bandy about but a couple of years ago all of a sudden I understood.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

I was journaling and thinking about my life and my history and it came to me that part of the reason I have been bullied (and more) over many years, in many situations, is that I did not have the respect of my others.  This was a huge moment and I feel quite emotional even writing about it.  I had recently left a job where I had been gaslighted by very real horrible bosses.  This was at one of the lowest points of my life.  I was sick, struggling to come to terms with my arthritis diagnosis and also coming to terms with the fact that I could no longer work full-time.

The horrible experience I had in the workplace had brought me to a stand still.  I was good at my job, I knew this, and yet I allowed these truly wicked people to belittle me, to call me a liar and to bring me to a point where I started to question myself.

I was listening to the radio and Respect sung by the fabulous Aretha Franklin came on the radio.  It struck a chord with me.  I listened to the words and then realised I needed to listen again.  I headed over to YouTube and literally played it over and over again.  These amazing lyrics written by Otis Redding resonated with me. As I listened all of a sudden I realised something really important.

Nobody would respect me fully until I respected myself.

This was such a turning point in my life.  Once I realised this I embraced respect as a word of the year.  This word however I think will live on with me forever.

Today following the passing of a truly fabulous woman Aretha Franklin, I pay my respects to a woman who lived through decades of change and stood tall, constantly belting out an anthem that has, I am sure reminded many woman of the importance of respect.

Thank you for reading and please take a listen to this amazing song.

Kerry xx

Is Social Media a Thief of Joy? – or is it Comparison?

When I compare myself to others, I always seem to come up lacking.  I suspect that this is the same for many of us.  Is comparison the thief of joy? And what role does social media play?

Before the advent of social media (and I am old enough to remember it) we went about our world fairly oblivious of what other people were doing.  What they looked like.  What event they had attended.  How cute their kids were.  Somehow or other we managed, and I suspect that we were happier.

I actually love social media

This blog post isn’t all about slagging social media off.  Not at all.  I really value social media and can list numerous ways it has made my life better.

  • I have met such amazing people through social media who have become firm friends. When I was moving town, a wonderful woman I had met on a group promised to bring wine and cake on the day I moved.  And she did.  I really value her friendship (you know who you are – thank you)
  • I have been able to share my blog with people all over the world. I have also used social media to meet so many other bloggers who have inspired me.
  • I have reconnected with so many people from my past. Long lost cousins, school friends and numerous other wonderful people who I might have lost touch with.  Especially as I moved from South Africa to Ireland.
  • I have been gifted this window to the world. There are times when I have been lonely and knowing that I could pop into Facebook and connect with friends has been a true gift.
  • I have gained knowledge. I have joined groups that deal with issues that I face such as arthritis and pernicious anaemia (which I knew nothing about).  In these groups I have met fellow sufferers and we have lifted each other up.  We have answered questions and explained the unexplainable.
  • I have connected with hundreds of people through my own and have had the privilege of taking these online relationships offline through meet-ups and events.
  • I have made a little money. I have sold art, found people to work with and met up with brands who wanted to work with me.

There is a big but though ….

There are two real negatives for me relating to social media.

The first is time.  When I am online – either at my laptop or gazing at my phone scrolling or chatting, I am effectively disengaged from the world around me.

I know I spend too much time online.  I know this because I scroll, and scroll and realise that I am seeing nothing new.  I know this because I have to go back and ask what is happening because I missed a vital part of the conversation.  I have literally been missing in action.

When I do ‘forget’ my phone I am far more productive.  I get things done.  I listen to music, clean the house and find my creative juices flowing.  I love the practice of daily painting and I can’t paint and scroll at the same time.

I am really trying to limit my time online.  Those that know me are chuckling and rolling their eyes and saying ‘yeah’.  I promise though – I am trying.

The main reason why is that I am finding that comparison is indeed a thief of joy for me.

Comparison is my thief of Joy

My situation is unique to me.  And let’s face it each of us has a unique situation.  I am 54 now, and I suffer from severe arthritis which limits my mobility and in fact everything I do.  Most days pain is my companion and I am always tired.

I struggle with my weight as well so I am no svelte size 10.  I have wrinkles, and rolls and that is just the start of it.  Working full-time is no longer an option – as I simply can’t.  I also struggle with overwhelm and anxiety. There are weeks when I don’t post on my blog because I haven’t been able to write, or photograph anything.

On the positive side I have wonderful friends who support me. I have a good life. Fashion and beauty inspire me.  Travel delights me and I am determined to do more (albeit on a strictly limited budget).  There is nothing I like more than sitting down with a friend drinking creamy cappuccino.  I find my true bliss with a paintbrush in my hand.

I am not writing this for sympathy, but merely to give you a true picture of where I am in my life.

Even though I am intelligent I am still drawn in to this dreadful comparison trap.  I watch through the lens of social media as others attend events, go out for gorgeous dinners I cannot afford and seem to have endless cocktails with friends.  I feel real envy when I see people progressing in their careers when mine is in a sort of standstill state.  A cruise – oh I wish I could afford a cruise.  Skinny Jeans and high heels – no chance Kerry!

I know that there are many people who are too sick to go out.  People suffering from depression who cannot comprehend the goings on of others.  Your child might be kicking and screaming and very dirty and you cannot help but compare with the angels you see on Facebook.

Real Lives versus Facebook Lives

A very wise friend and mentor once reminded me.  Beware of the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives.  We all put our best foot (or face) forward on Social Media.  If I take a selfie and I look too tired and sick I don’t post it.  Perhaps I should.

I think that there are a couple of things I need to do for myself to put social media in the right place in my life.

  1. Monitor my time spent online
  2. Remember the difference between real lives and Facebook Lives
  3. Don’t compare. Comparison is the true thief of joy.
  4. Be grateful for what I have!

Truth or Lies?

We don’t know what really lies behind those beautiful images and even if we did, do they really change anything?

If there was no social media, then I wouldn’t know about these things.  I would simply be going about my day living my life.  And perhaps being more joyful.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

What does Loneliness look like?

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Everyone gets lonely.  There are those moments when you feel quite simply that you are on your own and you do not feel supported.

When we think of loneliness, especially at this time of the year, we think of people who live alone.  Old people, single people and those that have reduced mobility to get around.

As I type this I realise that I could fall into those categories, but truthfully I am thankful that I don’t feel lonely very often.  I enjoy my own company, and I am blessed with many friends, both online and offline that make me feel cherished and loved.  I do however lives many miles from my birthplace and must admit that sometimes this isn’t easy.

So how do you recognise loneliness?

I think the answer is that you don’t, for the most part.  If I think of the many people in my life, I know that many are lonely and have lonely moments, and they are not always the ones you would expect.

My own lonely moments have made me very conscious of others, and what they might be going through.  I have created myself a pair of imaginary loneliness glasses and am trying to always be aware of the less obviously lonely.

One of the biggest upsides of wearing these specs is that you will bring so much joy into your own life, just by being in someone elses.

Here are just a few thoughts of where you might look to deliver your own antidote to loneliness

  • Self employed people (they spend hours alone and probably miss having colleagues. I blogged about social isolation before and it all still remains true.
  • People living away from home (either expats, or immigrants). Being separated from your children, your parents and your childhood friends is simply hard.
  • Single people of all shapes and sizes – divorce has left many people alone and lonely, but they are not the only ones. All the media buzz shows Christmas as a time for holding hands, and family moments under the tree.  This is not true for everyone.
  • Older people – especially living alone, or in retirement homes. Memories are special but they can also make you feel melancholy
  • Those living with a chronic illness.  Being limited in what you can do physically means that you often spend many hours alone.  And these people also struggle to find people to understand what they are going through. These people might be lonely, but I am betting they could do with a little help as well as company. I had a group of friends come round to help me decorate my house this year.  Imagine my surprise when they left and I went to light a fire to find that the fire-place perfect.  I was very grateful

The truth however is that loneliness has no face, it has no colour and no archetypical image.  It is up to us to be open, to listen and to hear.

I am always reminded that you can be lonely in a room full of people.

Do lonely people know they are lonely?

I suspect in many cases that lonely people don’t realise that they are lonely.  They know that they are not happy. They know that it feels like there is something missing in their lives but they don’t necessarily identify that this feeling is loneliness.

What if we simply go about our lives with an open heart, offering friendship and noticing the world around us? We will realise when the time is right to offer a cup of coffee or simply make a call.

Let your Christmas present this year be to take some loneliness away from someone.  Either someone you know is lonely – a neighbour, friend or acquaintance that lives alone, or someone who may not realise that they are lonely but whose face lights up at the thought of a hot chocolate and shared conversation.

 

I wish you a joyful festive season filled with love and laughter.

Thank you for reading

 

Kerry xx

 

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