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Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Self-care tips for busy parents

As busy parent’s we can often find our days are like a never ending to do list, as soon as we have finished one thing it is straight on to the next.

As well as looking after our children, there is cleaning, chores and for some of us work to fit in as well. With life being so busy it is hard to remember to take time out for ourselves to ensure that we have some me time and do not become run down.

As parents we tend to put our self-care last and focus more on our children’s care when in fact taking care of ourselves should be number 1 priority as when we our burnt out we are unable to care for the rest of the family.

As they say in the airplane safety briefing before the plane takes off, ‘always put your breathing mask on first before helping others’, they say this for the simple fact that if you take care of yourself first you are then in a better position to help others afterwards. The same goes for self-care, look after yourself first then you will be in a better position to give your children the best care.

I have to admit I have not been the best at self-care and often put myself last but I have been making more of an effort lately and have noticed the improvement in family life, when I am chilled and happy so is the rest of the family.

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How to factor in self-care?

Take 10

With our busy lives, time is always an issue when trying to fit in self-care and we can’t take a few hours off every day to refresh. This is where we need to ensure that we take at least 10 mins to ourselves a day. I have incorporated this into my everyday routine with a tea break. Everyday after finishing work and getting back from school run I will make a cup of tea and sit down on the sofa and drink it slowly. If anyone wants anything from me they are going to have to wait until I have finished. It is amazing what just a 10 minute refresh can do for your mind and body.

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Exercise

Exercise is a great way to clear our heads and help us stay focused. If you are feeling stressed then a great way to unwind is yoga. Yoga has the unique ability to help melt away stress and help your mind to focus on what is important. It will leave you feeling calm and relaxed and after doing it regularly you will feel healthier and stronger. (For more on yoga take a look at my post Why parents need yoga)

Going for a walk or a run is also a great way to get some you time because as well as getting exercise you are also getting fresh air.  

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Taking time out to go to the gym, an exercise class or any type of exercise that you enjoy will leave you feeling energised and invigorated and ready to take on the challenges life throws at us.

Planning

I know planning can seem an odd thing to put for self-care but sometimes if we really look at our busy lives and take the time to sit down and plan out our week you will find that you can slot in a few hours here and there for ourselves. Whether that would be in the morning before the children wake up, a little time while they are at school/nursery or when they have gone to bed. If you usually spend this time filled with chores plan in that one day a week you are going to forget all about the chores and take some time for yourself.

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If you are looking for a good planner take a look at my

post on The ultimate Diary Planner.

Hobbies

Find a hobby that you enjoy doing and set yourself some time during the week to carry it out. I love to read so every night before I go to sleep I sit up and read a bit of my book, some nights I can only manage a page or two as I am so tired and other days I can read for hours. There are lots of hobbies out there like knitting, drawing, baking, listening to music the list is endless you just need to find something you enjoy and try to set some time aside to do it.

Music

Music for me is one of the best ways for me to de-stress and go into my own little world. Even if I am still doing the housework putting my headphones on and dancing around the kitchen whilst mopping is the perfect way to forget your troubles. I also quite often put the radio on in the morning while we are all getting ready as I feel it motivates us more and I also listen to my i-pod on my walk to and from work which helps me relax and switch off for a few minutes. (For more on how music can benefit families read my post on how music brings families together)

Baths

Now this maybe a lot higher on some peoples list but for me baths are very rare. I am a shower person as they are quick, easy and get the job done and I don’t have much time for baths. That being said when I am feeling run down taking the time to have a nice warm relaxing bath can really help.

We are all different and all have our own unique ways to help us relax and unwind, whatever they maybe we all need to ensure that we are setting aside some time no matter how big or small in our busy lives to take care of ourselves.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Mental health & Wellbeing

The benefits of Journaling for children and adults – with Heather Rose of Mindset & Me

Journaling is an unsung hero on the fight against mental health for both children and adults. It is a simple activity but writing down your feelings can have a huge effect on your mental health and well being. The power of journaling needs to be utilised more especially for children.

My eldest daughter suffers from anxiety and can get stressed quite easily but since she has started writing in her journal everyday I have noticed a difference in her. She is a lot calmer, is more open with me and talks more about how she is feeling and her confidence has started to grow. She loves to sit down in bed every night and write down the events of the day before she goes to bed.

How Journaling can help with our mental health

Heather Rose from Mindset and Me has developed her own range of journals for both children and adults. She shares with us the benefits of journaling and the ways it can help with our mental health  –

“Journaling can be very effective for many different reasons and help you reach a wide range of goals whether that is personal, lifestyle, family or work.

It can help clear your head and make important connections between thoughts , feelings and behaviours.

It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.”

Heather’s business Mindset and Me has a wide range of affirmation and mindset products which can help with confidence boosting, teaching the importance of self-love and helping to give inspiration. Her journals have received amazing reviews from lots of parents that have seen the benefits of their children using a journal.

If you are your child is struggling why not give journaling a try and see the benefits for yourself. After seeing how it has helped my daughter I recommend Journaling.   

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Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Mental health & Wellbeing

Ways to Help Children Improve their Mental Health & Well-being

It is Children’s mental health week and with 1 in 8 children aged between 5 to 9 years old suffering from at least one mental disorder it is time that we start looking into ways to help our children from a young age practice good mental health. Data from the NHS.

Emotional well-being in children is just as important as their physical health. If children have a good mental health they can develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and can grow into healthy adults.

Ways to help support children with Mental Health

Below is a great guide from believeperformance.com with ways you can help your child with their mental health.

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Love

We love our children but with our busy lifestyles how often do we show them that we love them. We may spend hours running around after them, tidying up and taking them from club to club, we know we do all these things because we love them but do our children see this as love?

Sometimes we just need to take a minute to spend with our children and show them the love we have for them and that we care about them. Taking time out to listen to them and give them our uninterrupted attention can help show we care and that we love them.

I recently took a online parenting course with Growth & Grit called ‘Managing the mayhem of Meltdowns’ and one piece of advise that has really stuck with me is the need to spend at least 10 minutes everyday with no electronic distractions doing what your child wants you both to do together. Not only will this show you love them but can help build your bond and give them the attention they need from you.

Smothering them with kisses and cuddles is also a great way to show you love them but make sure you get in as many as you can when they are little as once they grow it becomes harder to get kisses and cuddles.

Exercise

Exercise can help children and adults feel good. When exercising our bodies releases chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin which help to boost our mood and can alleviate stress and anxiety. Exerciseright.com says that a short 10 minute walk is a great way to elevate anxiety and depression in children, so why not all get out together and go on a family walk.

Being out in nature can also help with mental health as it can help relieve stress, anxiety and in the long term help depression. Take a look at my post about the benefits of nature for more information on how it can improve health and also for ways children can enjoy nature. Even just encouraging your children outside to play for an hour or so a day can help boost their mood.

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Yoga and meditation is a good thing to get your children into from a young age even just 15 minutes a week can help make a big difference and they will learn relaxation techniques that they can use in everyday life when feeling stressed.

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Journaling

Starting your children off Journaling at a young age can have so many benefits and help with mental well-being. Scholastic say that Journaling can help children deal with their big feelings. Journal’s are a safe non-judgemental place for children to record how they are feeling and it helps them to express and understand how they are feeling. Journaling for children can also help improve their writing and communication skills. Mindset & Me have created a journal especially for children which is designed to help improve their mental health and well-being as well as build confidence, resilience and help develop high self esteem, Mindset & Me Children’s Journal.  

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Music brings families together!

Music is a powerful tool to help build and strengthen relationships especially in families.

Children from a young age are drawn to music and you will often see children dancing away to a beat without a care in the world and when adults join in with them this can really build a stronger bond and memories.

I will never forget when I was around 10 years old and we were at the disco at a holiday camp and my dad got up to dance with me. He was doing a real dad dance and just letting go to the beat of the music without a care in the world.

Although I remember a few people were staring he didn’t care and nor did I, we just danced away. That day he created a happy memory that will live with me forever and that puts a smile on my face whenever I think back to it.

Now with my own children we will often listen to music together and we all get up to dance around the living room. This never fails to put smiles on everyone’s faces and we all feel happier afterwards. We are also not shy about getting up on the dance floor at weddings and dancing the night away together. My girls are usually the first up on any dance floor and we follow not long after.

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We often find songs on Youtube to play and listen to together, my seven year old’s favourite at the moment is Michael Jackson, she loves all his songs and plays them whenever she can. When we hear Michael Jackson we will all get up and try some of his moves and sing along as we go. Not to mention us all trying to learn the moonwalk down the supermarket aisle in Sainsburys (the floors are slick and so it is much easier to moonwalk on).

There has been lots of research carried out to suggest that listening to music can have a positive effect on child development and well-being and also help build family bonds. With this in mind we should all play a bit more music at home even if it is just as background noise while we carry on with the tasks in hand.  

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Music also has the ability to help combat stress and help us unwind. As parents we must have all had a moment when we have been running late for something, we then start to feel stressed and the children pick up on this and start acting up.

As is always the way when you are late you will usually hit traffic and while you are stuck there helpless to do anything the stress starts to build. This is where you need to have an emergency song always handy in the car. Now an emergency song is one that everyone enjoys and that you can all sing to at the tops of your voices like no one is watching. I guarantee you this will melt away any stress and even though it won’t help you with being on time it will ensure you all reach wherever you are going in a happy and carefree mood. Even if you don’t have the music just start singing a familiar song that the children can join in with.

I am not going to hide the fact that I have joined in and sung a car rendition of ‘Let it Go’ at the top of my voice and more recently with all the songs from ‘The Greatest Showman’ and I can say I have always felt better for it and we have all laughed and smiled afterwards. I will never forget the time I drove back from a children’s party with Lia my middle daughter and ‘ Beyonce’s ‘Runnin (Lose It All)’ came on the radio and we both sung it together at the tops of our voices smiling and laughing all the way home. It is one of those memories that we will both never forget.

A study carried out by Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands demonstrates that listening to music whilst driving influences mood which in turn can impact driving behaviour. A study carried out showed that listening to music can positively impact mood while driving, which can be used to affect state and safe behaviour.

Music can be beneficial in so many ways, it can help to calm us down, relieve stress, aid sleep and it can also help pump us up before physical activity or even just to do the cleaning.

Everything is always better with music.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Why we should choose Memories over Material.

In society these days is it hard not to be materialistic and want to have the best clothes, newest gadgets and the best toys for ourselves and our children but do these items bring real happiness?

Material things bring short term happiness.

If you ask your children what presents they got for their previous birthdays I bet they will have a job remembering. Even adults will struggle with this question but if we have had a memorable experience then the memory will stay with us and we can recall the day as if it was yesterday.

When we buy material items we feel happy at first but the happiness wears off as time goes by but experiences stay in our mind and create lasting happy memories, that we can think back to and recall.

When we get to our final journey in life material items are suddenly worthless and all we have our treasured memories to think back over and remember the amazing things we have done. It is these life experiences that will help us feel accomplished with the life we have led.

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades says “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”  

So with Christmas coming up don’t go mad on present that will be forgotten within a few months instead invest in life experiences. Not only will they bring more joy and create lasting memories but when enjoyed as a family they can help build and strengthen relationships.

Online Poll

I recently ran a small poll over my Facebook page to find out if people would rather spend their money on Experiences or Material things. As you can see from the results below 89% of people choose experiences over material things. A few people stating that they just didn’t have the room for anymore material things and that making memories are more important. 

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Kayaking down the canal

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Star gazing on a mountain top in Madeira

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Learning to body board

Tobogganing

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

My Sports Day Break Down

It all started the day before sports day when I had my long day at work. I spent 8 hours in a glass fronted office in the boiling heat with only one crappy fan to blow round the hot air. I had planned that night to prepare our lunch ready for sports day the next day and I was going to make a pasta salad but instead I was feeling so ill that after the kids went to bed and Dino left to travel back to London for the week to work I went straight to sleep. 

I had hoped that if I went to bed early I would be up early and be able to make all our lunches in time for sports day in the morning before the kids woke up.

As you can probably guess that didn’t happen, it was so hot during the night I didn’t sleep very well and of course I then overslept in the morning. We all ended up sleeping in until 8am which on a normal school day we would have been leaving the house at this time to get to breakfast club but this morning we were all still snuggled in our beds.

When we all did finally emerge it was all a rush to get everything ready, well mainly on my part while the kids pottered about all 3 of them moaning at me that they hate sports day and didn’t want to go. I had finally got them all ready when I realised that I hadn’t done the washing up or packed the food or got the blanket ready for sitting on the field with and by that time they should have already been at school.

That was it, I sent them off to school without me (we live 2 mins from the school and my eldest is 10 years old) and I quickly got everything ready and did the washing up then picked up my bags and ran to the school as quick as I could.

Before I could get to sports day I had a meeting booked with one of the teachers to discuss extra help for my daughter. That teacher was then ill so someone else filled in. 

To summarise the meeting it went like this, we have had too many staff absences and a high number of children needing extra help so at the moment we cannot help her, we will try next term, it also seemed to me that they were implying some of the issues were down to my parenting skills. By this point I was a broken woman and didn’t have any fight left in me so I just accepted this with a view to meet again next term when I am in a better frame of mind.

By this point sports day had already started so when I went to the field to get a spot it was packed and I couldn’t find anyone I knew to try and sit with so I ended up walking round to the empty side of the field and sitting on my own.

I sorted the mat out and then sat down and got a drink out as I was so thirsty. As I started to sip that ice cold water it suddenly hit me, oh damn I didn’t give my girls any water bottles or bring enough water for us all. How could I forget their water bottles today of all days, it was a burning hot  day and they would be out running as fast as their little legs could carry them.

That was it I couldn’t hold it any more the tears just started to roll, the harder I tried to stop them the more they came. Thank god for sunglasses, I put my head down let it all out and had a good old sob. Then I managed to wipe the tears away without anyone noticing, well I was still all on my own on the far side of the field.

After crying though I felt so much better, sometimes you need to reach rock bottom to be able to bring yourself back up.

I took a minute to compose myself then sort out what I was going to do. Co-op is only 5 mins walk away and it was still the reception classes doing there events so I had a little while before any of my girls come up to do their races so I picked up my handbag up and headed for the gate.

Before I got to the gate I spotted a refreshment tent (you have got to love the PTA) and they had water bottles for 50p each, I have never been so happy to see a refreshment stall. Problem solved, I bought the water and managed to hand them to my girls before they started their races.   

After that more people came round to the other side of the field and I managed to find another mum that I knew and we chatted. I felt so much better, my previous troubles now seemed a distant problem. Then later on my children in the older years of the school were allowed out to sit with me to watch and cheer for their siblings,  they were in a lot happier mood now so they kept me company.

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(My older two keeping me company at sports day)

From there my day got better and I did have an enjoyable day, so did all my children despite them moaning in the morning they didn’t want to go and I even took part in the mums race.

I wanted to share this post with you not for sympathy , believe me I hate sympathy, it is to highlight that you never know what people are going through, on the outside they may look like they are fine but inside they can be fighting a secret battle. Even superheroes can’t be super all the time they all have their breaking point.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

The Unfair Mum! Should I let my 10 year old have a mobile phone

Love the skin your in

Why a plastic jug should be high on your hospital bag list

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Children's Crafts and Activities Mental health & Wellbeing

The benefits of nature and ways to get out and enjoy it.

This Summer lets go wild, get outside and enjoy nature at its best. Nature can really help improve our health and the more we embrace it, the more we will benefit.

Why not get the whole family together to enjoy the great outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and don’t be afraid to get dirty.

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There has been so many studies showing how beneficial spending time in nature can be for both adults and children. An article I found by the BBC reported that spending time in nature can improve vitality, mood and also help anxiety.

I also found on Askthescientist.com a list of 10 interesting health benefits of being in nature these include strengthening the immune system and relieving stress.

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With mental health problems on the rise in today’s society and more and more children suffering from stress and anxiety we owe it to ourselves and families to use the healing powers of nature. We need to all take time out from our stressful lives and enjoy some relaxation in our natural surroundings.

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Here is a list of ways you can get out with the kids and enjoy nature this summer  –

Bug Hunts

Get the kids digging around in the dirt, looking under stones and in the plant pots to see what bugs they can find. This will help children understand about habitats and they get to see bugs up close. Playing in the dirt has health benefits and there have also been links to it helping fight depression.

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Grow your own Vegetables

This is a lovely way to enjoy the outside world as a family you can spend a day together planting your favourite fruit and vegetables and once planted everyone can watch them grow and tend to them. The best reason to grow your own fruit and vegetables is that you are rewarded with delicious home grown produce which always tastes so much better than anything food you buy in shops.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can grow produce in pots and grow bags or go all out and get an allotment.

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Wild swimming/paddling

Wild swimming is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature it is both invigorating and refreshing. This can be done in rivers, natural pools or even the sea. Here is a website with a list of places you go wild swimming. Wild swimming can also help boost your immune system and can decrease inflammation and pain. Please do check that it is a safe place to swim beforehand especially in a river.

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Nature walks

Just getting out for a walk with the family is a great way to really enjoy nature and there is always so much to see. There are lots of set walks throughout the UK and with the wonder of the internet you can find routes and walking trails before you leave. The National Trust has a list of UK walks and also the Forestry Commission has a list of woodland walks around the country.

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The beach

I love the beach and always find it a relaxing environment. There is always something for everyone to enjoy at the beach and it is perfect way to get out and enjoy the natural environment. We do tend to avoid the highly commercialised beaches and stick to the quieter more natural beaches.   

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Build a Den

Den building is a great activity that everyone can join in with it brings out the inner child in you. Whether you hunt for and collect your own materials to build a den or you go to a wood  where materials have already been provided for you it will be an enjoyable activity for all.

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My girls found all these materials left in the bush by the builders and built themselves a den out of them.

Pond Dipping

Pond dipping is a lot of fun and can teach you a lot about what lies below our rivers/ponds and is a very relaxing activity. Just listening to the trickling of the water can help calm any mood.

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Why not also read my other posts –

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

The Fun that can be had in open spaces

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Love The Skin Your In!

With the rise of social media and the ability for anyone to add filters and edit pictures with ease our screens are filled with flawless looking people all showing perfection in every picture. We are bombarded with these unnatural pictures of celebrities, acquaintances and even friends with the pictures being changed from the subtle overlay filters to full on Photoshop/airbrushed photos.

It’s no wonder so many people feel self-conscious and have the need to add these filters to their pictures to keep up with how we feel we should look.

I have never been confident with the way I look and until I started writing this blog had never taken a selfie in my life. I always tried to be behind the camera taking pictures instead of being in them. I could not stand to look back at myself and I never would have dreamed of sharing a photo of myself. 

A changing point for me was recently when I went out in a snow blizzard and when I got home my mascara had run all over my face and my family were all laughing away at me. There is nothing better than spreading laughter even if it is at me so I thought I would take a picture and share on my page for all my lovely followers to enjoy. After taking my selfie I loaded it onto the computer and immediately started flicking through filters to make myself look half decent but then I stopped in my tracks and thought why am I doing this?

I can’t stand how everywhere we look there are fake edited pictures of people making us feel insecure and yet instead of taking a stand I am adding to the problem by sharing my own filtered photos to the world of social media. That was it enough was enough I was going to face my demons and show me for me.

As you can see from my Facebook post I did post my unedited selfie and to top that off I wasn’t even wearing any make-up as it had all run off. Even though it did take me an hour to gather the courage to actually share my post I am so glad I did because I realised that I need to start loving the skin I am in and not caring what other people think.

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Let’s help put a stop to these unhealthy touched up images one unfiltered selfie at a time. Let’s stop hiding behind filters especially the dog/bunny ones that are everywhere at the moment. Be proud of how you look and share your pictures of your true beauty. If we all dropped the filters and filled social networks with true pictures of real women and men then we would all feel a lot better and more confident about ourselves and embrace the way we look.

Beauty comes from the inside and radiates out through your smiles. So share your unfiltered selfies and let your true beauty shine through for everyone to see.

Share your natural beauty with #lovetheskinyourin 

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why I turned Vegetarian and my journey on cutting out meat

Being a writer with Dyslexia

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

All You Need Is Laughter

The Beatles may have famously sung ‘All You Need is Love’ and while Love can bring you together it is Laughter that will keep you together.

We hear stories all the time about people who love one another but argue all the time and this doesn’t just go for couples it is the same for families. While you may love your mum, sister, brother or child unconditionally you may not get on with them or even like them.

Laughter can strengthen relationship bonds and bring you closer together. Real laughter can only be achieved when you are in a state of true happiness so the more laughs you can achieve together the happier you will be with each other.

As we grow older we tend to laugh a lot less as the stresses of life take over which is a shame as laughter can help alleviate stress and there have been some evidence to show that laughter benefits our health too. (Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm )

If you ever needed an excuse to take time out and watch a comedy sketch, movie or even visit a comedy club together this is it, put down phones and immerse yourself in comedy allowing the laughter to take over. You also find laughter can strengthen memories. If you have been somewhere with a friend or family member and had a really good laugh in the process you are more likely to remember this event in time and put it as one of your happier memories.

If you are in search of laughter as a family there are plenty of ways to achieve this together. If you have children listen and pay attention to them kids say and do the funniest thing no doubt you will catch something to make you laugh and children most of the time will join in the laughter and smiles when they see you doing it even if they have no idea what the laughter is about.

You can also play games together, there are games like Pie Face and Speak Out that are designed especially so you can laugh at each other. Also you can make your own games my children love the ‘try not to laugh challenge’ they either make up their own version or put one on youtube. We as a family have also been getting really sour sweets and taking it in turns to eat them and laughing at the faces we all pull whilst sucking on them and if all of the above fails to raise a laugh then a good old tickle fight is sure to have you laughing.

Installing a good sense of humour in children is important and it will help them in the future to build relationships and combat stress and as adults we need to work on adding more laughter to our lives to help balance out the stress we already have. Not to mention laughter is a great tool towards helping mental health issues and stress. With 1 in 6 of us experiencing mental health issues at some point in our lives  it is important to try and look into ways to prevent and aid recovery from mental health.

The BBC Trust me I am A Doctor states that laughter can be as effective as exercise as it release endorphins, which can make us experience positive feelings. 

So let’s do our best to try and install some laughter back into our lives and spread the joy of laughter to as many people as we can.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Why you should choose memories over material

Music brings families together

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing

The Benefits of a fitness watch and how mine keeps me active!

I am what you would call and average Joe in the health & Fitness department. I am not over or under weight just right in the middle however saying that I don’t go to the gym and I eat a lot of cakes and biscuits. I work a 9-5 desk job and after the kids are in bed in the evening I like to laze in front of the TV with a cup of tea and biscuits.

Although my weight is fine my arse and my belly has more jiggle in it than a jelly and upper body strength is just none existent. I can just about manage to carry my shopping let alone lift weights of any sort.

I am one of these people that have a period of really not caring and doing nothing and then all of a sudden deciding that I need to change and inspire to become one of these super fit women I see on social media.

When I decide to start a fitness regime I like to see my progress so I take a before selfie in the mirror so after a few weeks I can take another and see how well I have done. Unfortunately I never get to the after photo, I went through my phone pictures the other day which were spread over 2 years and I found 6 different before photos with an extra roll added on each new one.

For me I have very limited time to fit in exercise and I also really struggle with motivation. I can’t go to the gym or do any classes as my partner works away and I have no one to look after the kids so youtube videos are as close as I can get but the motivation soon leaves me.

Last year I heard all the mums at the school discussing their activity watches and was intrigued to find out what they were. I could hear them all comparing who had done the most steps and others saying that they had won a challenge that they had been entered in too.

After looking into them I decided that I wanted to get one, even if I gave up on the motivation with the activity side, it would still make a great smartwatch and was water proof so I wouldn’t need to take it off when doing the washing up or taking the kids swimming.

As I had a birthday coming up I got Dino to get me it as a present. After he had read and watched countless reviews on which one would be best he got me the Garmin Vivosmart HR he also at the same time got himself one.

When you first get the watch you need to sync it with either the computer or the app for your phone or tablet. On the app you are asked a series of questions with regards to your age, height, weight and how active you are. Once you have filled out the questionnaire you are then set daily goals which increase or decrease depending on what you have achieved the day before.

garmin-steps

This for me was great as although I am not very good at motivating myself I am very competitive and once a goal has been set I have to achieve it. Everyday I would do that little bit extra to make sure I reach my goal and if it gets to the evening and I still have some steps left to do I have even walked or run round my garden. There is a daily stair challenge as well trying to get you to walk up 10 flights of stairs a day and again I would find reasons to go upstairs just so I could achieve my goal.

These subtle little changes really made a difference and day by day I was doing more and more steps and increasing my fitness level. Garmin also set you a weekly target of 150 active minutes which I have to admit I really struggled to achieve and even tried to amend the amount but 150 is the lowest it goes and you can only increase this figure. After I realised I couldn’t cheat I had to do something to make sure I was achieving this goal. That is when I decided that I would start cycling to work every day and since then I smash this goal twice over. I also try to fit in a quick HITT workout here and there just to add a few more extra minutes even though I am not so great at keeping this going.

My Garmin monitors my heart rate so when I am really working hard and my heart rate is raised then the minutes I work at this level are doubled. For example if I am working at high intensity and my heart rate is raised for 10 minutes then 20 minutes will be marked off the active minute goal.

garmin-active-mins

To help me better my step goal and I am not sure if you would class this as cheating or not as I am still working hard, when I am cycling to work I have figured out that by putting my watch on ankle my steps go up with every full turn of the pedals.

The watch also displays your calories burned in the day and the distance you have travelled that day. Another great feature is that it shows how many hours you have slept for and also tracks your movement during your sleep and deep and light sleep levels.

On the app you can join in with the weekly step challenge, which again increase and decreases with what you achieve the week before. I was in the 100k step challenge and always did quite well coming between 2nd – 5th every week that was until I injured my foot and was on crutches for a few weeks after that I was back starting at the 0k step challenge. I have slowly made my way back up coming 1st every week until I am now in the 85k step challenge.

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This watch is the best thing I have ever bought to improve my fitness, I wear it everywhere and check it regularly and it has helped me slowly improve my fitness but best of all maintain my level of fitness. I would highly recommend a fitness watch to anyone whether you are like me not very active or if you are super fit. They are a great way to keep track and gradually increase your fitness levels no matter what stage you are at. If you do have a bit of extra money then purchasing a fitness watch with GPS would be better as it will track you and measure distance when running, cycling or swimming.

I am writing this post as I believe fitness watches are a great tool for keeping active and maintaining fitness levels, I talk about the fitness watch that I have as I am very happy with the Garmin vivosmart HR but just to make clear I have not reviewed or tested any other fitness watches and I am not stating that my own is the best one on the market. My post refers to the benefits any make or model of fitness watches can provide. Which? have a great review of a range of different fitness watches that may be worth reading if you were thinking of making a purchase.

Why not also read my other posts –

Self Care tips for busy parents

I am your friend, A book of Hope

Why parents need yoga

The benefits of Journaling

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.