You’re never too old!

Happiness.

As a child I was OBSESSED with horses. I had so many horse-themed things in my childhood, from key rings to fact books to a set of Barbie’s stables. I absolutely loved them. Until the age of 18, however, the closest I had got to riding one was at Skeggie beach on a donkey.

I came from a big family (I am one of 8 siblings) so a hobby as extravagant as horse riding was just something we couldn’t afford. My grandma paid for me to take up piano lessons, but nothing ever really made up for the fact I couldn’t learn to ride. It was all I wanted! 

When I turned 18 I went to university and met one of my closest friends, Holly. She had learnt to ride as a child and also loaned a horse for many years. I was lucky enough to visit the stables where she loaned her horse and got to sit on one for the very first time! After that I was eager to have real lessons. At university I joined an equestrian society and had a handful of (expensive) group lessons with the girls from uni. However, it was just too expensive for a student to maintain and the stables that we rode at were also really far to get to via public transport, so I had to stop learning.

Years went by and I left university, took up teacher training and started my career. I was busy and didn’t have time to think about much else… until depression hit me last year (alongside the horrible anxiety that I still have now). After that, I couldn’t even get out of bed let alone think about hobbies. Just having a simple smile on my face was a challenge.

After my partner told me that I needed to get something for myself ‘or else’ I knew exactly what I needed. (I know he just wanted what was best for me and at the time I really was just sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.) I googled stables in my local area and booked my first riding lesson with them.

This was a few weeks ago and now I really enjoy my private lessons. The first few lessons I had, I joined a group lesson but this was usually made up of children (because generally adults don’t really go and learn new things it seems!). I’ve quickly learnt the basics and how hard it really is to  control a cheeky horse with a strong mind of its own!

The biggest lesson I have learnt, however, is that having a hobby is so important when you’re battling a mental health problem. Just knowing that you have that one thing that you can escape to can make a world of difference. People told me that exercise is good for you and I always hated the effort of going to the gym, but I finally knew what they meant when I began riding lessons. No matter how low I feel, every time I’ve had a lesson I’ve felt much brighter and happier than before. 

I’m so lucky to have something that I enjoy that is all for myself. It’s easy to look at how I progress and I can’t wait to see what I will be able to this time next year or in ten years. You’re never too old to learn something completely new! So do it today! 

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Being kind to yourself.

Happiness., Self-esteem

This evening, I received a text from my best friend. She told me she was feeling low about herself and unattractive. That she didn’t feel that people ever looked at her and thought, wow, she’s beautiful.

Whilst we know that ‘beauty’ is only skin deep, it got me thinking about how unkind my friend was being to herself, and how we all do it to ourselves all the time. I couldn’t ever imagine telling my friend she was unattractive and that nobody thought she was beautiful. So why is she saying it to herself?

Making your own personal goals – revisited.

Happiness., Self help

At the beginning of the week, I wrote a post about making your own personal goals. (Read it here.) So, that’s just what I did. I have been off work due to Easter break and this week had to spend it alone, which is something I find difficult to do. So, every day this week, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to get done and also in order, so that I had a structure for my day and something to achieve. Some items on the lists were small and others were larger jobs. I was going to add a photograph of them but I feel it’ll be much neater if I type them out (though I have added an image of them at the end, to show you how I did it)!

Making your own personal goals.

Happiness.

Today I wanted to share something that I find very important in my life. Since last year, my anxiety has lead me to become more and more of a recluse and in the past, I have struggled to find the motivation to drag myself out of bed. Without the help of my partner, I would probably still be like that now. This has been so harmful to our relationship because my partner wants me to be the independent, carefree girl that he fell in love with – not somebody who mopes and feels sorry for themselves. He has been incredibly supportive in my journey, including taking interest in my CBT sessions, however now I know that it is truly up to me to build myself up. At the end of it all, the only person who can make you feel better is yourself; people can come and go all the time.

How to find joy in little things.

Happiness.

 

The journey to a happy and comfortable state of mind may be within touching distance or miles away through a long, dark tunnel. We all have our own personal battles, whether that be mild anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, grief or chronic depression. That being said, it’s important to know that it will not all be okay with a click of the fingers; it takes time and perseverance. Not only this but it may be easier some days than on other days.

For me, I suffer with low confidence and anxiety regarding how I look and how people perceive me. I sunk into a dark depression last year, and ever since, have been doing what I can to try and bring myself back up from the ‘darkness.’ That has included CBT therapy, positive thinking and mindfulness activities. I am no longer in a depressed state of mind, however my self-esteem is still low and my anxiety can still get pretty high leading up to events.

Happy images.

Happiness.

Here are some images that make me happy. They are photos I simply took on my own phone. Some of the images have personal significance and some are just places I made wonderful memories that I like to reflect on when I am feeling low. I hope you can enjoy the images as I do. Perhaps you have some places that you love, or feel safe in, or some memories that you look back on fondly. Go out and find somewhere, if you don’t.

(From top, left to right: 1. My first riding lesson on a horse called Buddy, when I was 18 years old. 2. Having fun in the park with my best friend. 3. Whitby’s bell, the place we scattered my granddad’s ashes in 2015. 4. Whitby, focus on Whitby Abbey.  5. Robin Hood’s Bay. 6. Scarborough seafront, a place I holidayed every year with my family. 7. Novalja sunset, Croatia. 8. Leaving Croatia, observing the small island and all the lives down there. 9. Me, looking out across Palma Nova’s seafront in Mallorca.)