43 articles Articles posted in All About ME!

A Healthy Mum Means A Happy Family

When you’re a full-time working mum, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Usually, most of your attention is focused on your kids, and perhaps, that’s the way it should be. The problem is that by always putting your kids first, you can forget to look after yourself. Working full time is stressful when you’re a mum, and you don’t want to lose your quality of life because you haven’t been looking after your own health. Here are some of the things that you need to think about to stay healthy when you’re working.

Cut Out The Stress

Do Not Worry

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By far one of the greatest dangers to your health is stress. Stress can have a number of different effects on the body. It has even been connected to the development of certain types of cancer. As such, you need to do everything you can to reduce stress in your working life. Breathing exercises are a simple way to do this. If you feel yourself getting stressed, just count to ten while breathing in deeply. As you let it out, you should find your stress levels are quickly diminished.

Sleep is important for regulating stress and tension too. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to get those eight hours that you need. To do this, you can think about writing before bed. This will help you deal with some of the thoughts swirling around your mind that could ultimately keep you up until the late hours.

Don’t Put Yourself In Harm’s Way

Typing too hard

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There will be situations where you could put your health at risk simply by completing your job, and a simple example would be RSI. It’s estimated that twenty percent of the UK workforce deal with some form of RSI or repetitive strain injury. It is typically caused by typing for long periods without breaks. If you suffer from this, you may eligible for an injury claim. You might want to look into PISD claims for injury because your employer is accountable for any injury you suffer from while at work. Don’t forget, even the smallest injury can impact your mental and physical health.

Eat Well

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By eating a healthy diet, you can look after your mood, your mind and your body. You’ll keep your body strong, and it will be able to deal with the pressures of the day. Eating a good, wholesome diet filled with fruit and vegetables has also been shown to elevate mood and allow people to tackle problems more effectively. You don’t have to be a fitness nut to accomplish this either. Balancing your diet with the five recommend a day is enough.

Take A Little Time

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Last but not least, every once in awhile you should make sure  you are taking some time for yourself. This could be anything from one day a week to twenty minutes every day. During this time forget the difficult situations around you and relax. Read a book, take a nap or just have a lovely soak in the bath. This will give your body and your mind the time it needs to recharge and keep you healthy.  

Things to Do Before I’m 40

A few years ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I hit 30. Aside from the fact that I wrote it with not really enough time to achieve any of the things on the list, life changes and it became rather obsolete, but I was thinking recently that I should make another list of things to do before I’m 40 (especially because I’ve got about 2 and a half years to achieve it all in!) so here’s a few things that I know I’m going to include:

Go on a Hen Do

Amazingly enough, I’ve managed to reach the grand old age of 32 without ever having been on a hen do, and I didn’t have one of my own when I got married, either (nor did Husband have a Stag Do…aren’t we boring?!). Having said that, I’d love to go on a Hen Do and enjoy a proper girlie evening out with my chums, I just need some of them to hurry up and get married!

Be a Bridesmaid

Maybe I’m just a person who’s not conducive to weddings, but I’ve never been a bridesmaid either! I didn’t have any bridesmaids when I got married, purely because we got married on a desert island in the middle of nowhere and didn’t have anyone with us, so I can understand why I’ve not been top of anyone’s list for being their bridesmaid…although Sausage always insists that she’s going to have me as her Maid of Honour, so maybe I’ll get a shot one day after all!

Get a Degree

I’ve been so wishy-washy with getting my education but I’ve FINALLY decided what I want to do and have changed my subject from Psychology to English Literature and Language. Once I’ve completed my degree, I intend to get a teaching qualification and become a teacher. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for such a long time and it’s a profession which will fit in with our family. Hopefully I’ll have achieved it all before I’m 40!

Travel More

I’m lucky enough to have been to a few really amazing places, not least of all being the Maldives, but I really would love to travel more and take the girls to a few places too. We’re lucky enough to live close to a medium-sized airport which flies to a few different European destinations, so once we’ve all got our passports sorted we’ll be up, up and away!

Write a Book

I’ve had the beginnings of a novel floating around in my head for the longest time, Ive just never managed to get it down on a page. I’ve got no illusions of being the next J.K. ROwling or anything but it would be so cool to write a book and maybe even self publish a few copies, so that I can see my own name in print.

 

Taking Care of Yourself this Spring

I don’t know about you but I’m SO ready for some warmer weather. The winter has really taken it out of all of us and I’m definitely looking forward to longer days and some sunshine on my face. I’ve been doing a lot more to take care of myself lately, eating properly and going to the gym, and I’ve been thinking about ways that I can expand on that in the coming days, so I thought I’d share with you my top five ways to take care of yourself this spring:

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is good for so many things and I’ve been looking at all of the different uses for the different oils, including anti-ageing properties and ways to soothe aching muscles. Neal’s Yard Remedies have an amazing range which are completely organic and have an oil for every ailment imaginable – I’m planning to mix a few of my own scents to use in the bath on gym days.

Massage

A few years back, I went for a massage at a local day spa and I enjoyed it SO much but it’s something I’ve never found the time or money to do again. Now that I’m running and weight lifting, I feel like I’d really benefit from a massage (or even regular massages) so I’m planning to make Spring the season in which I do it!

SLEEP!

Sleep is SO important to healing and mental health and as most parent knows it can also be an elusive thing! It becomes even more important when you’re exercising because the body needs time to heal and repair itself, so I’m planning on revamping the whole look of our bedroom and treating us to some new bed linen, to make our bedroom a palace of relaxation so that sinking in to bed at night feels like a proper treat! Many people struggle with nasal issues which interrupt sleep, so consulting a nose surgeon might really help.

Yoga

As well as the exercise that I’m already doing, I’m planning to throw in a weekly yoga class as well. Running and weight-lifting are both great ways to lose weight, increase strength and tone up but I’m hoping that yoga will help with my flexibility and also help to improve any muscle aches that I get after working out. Invest in a decent yoga mat if you plan to go to a class as the gym’s own ones usually smell of feet!

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a word that I’ve heard a lot of people use in the last couple of years and after looking into it, I think it’s something I could really stand to learn more about. The definition of mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” and it sounds like exactly what I need for my Springtime self-care.

What are you doing to take care of yourself this Spring?

How To Make Use Of Spare Time On Your Own

In many cases, society expects us to parent our children in a certain way and judges us if we do certain things, like letting them stay up late or eating certain types of food. Heaven forbid spending time away from our children due to the accusations of neglect we’d receive. But the fact of the matter is that it is good to spend some child free time to yourself, and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. Of course we love our children and cherish them dearly, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to crave a little ‘me time’ as well. There will be plenty of opportunities to spend time with them, tell them off and use your unimpressed poker face when they’re being naughty. Whether they’re away for a whole week, just a weekend, or just during the day at school, here are a number of ways that you can make the most of your alone time.

Couple Time

If you and your partner are new parents, you may have forgotten what life was like before. So why not arrange for your children to have a sleepover with the grandparents, allowing for you to have a child free evening. This frees up time to go to the cinema, enjoy a candle lit meal or even just enjoy a bottle of wine. Why not revisit your first ever date together and remind yourselves of who you were before you were parents. It will make your bond as a couple stronger than ever, perhaps even reinvigorating the relationship as you continue your parenthood journey.

Girly Time

As much as you love your children, if you spend lots of time with them, you’re bound to miss regular interaction with adults. So whenever you get the chance of free time away from your children, utilise the time by hanging out with your friends. Whether that means heading to your favourite café for a cup of coffee and a really long gossip, or a pamper session at the salon, it will be great to have an adult conversation and you’ll feel energised and recharged afterwards.

Gym

A great way of keeping fit and a great social opportunity, statistically, people who go the gym are also far happier because exercise releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that increases happiness. If you get yourself into a regular routine, even if it’s just once a week, and go along with a friend to keep each other motivated (it also provides opportunity for gossip). It’s also good to check if your gym runs classes like spinning, yoga or aerobics which can be great for meeting like minded people.

No Time to Read?

Time to ReadAs soon as I was old enough to read, I became something of a bookworm. The Hobbit was the first “proper” book I read when I was about 6 and it was an ongoing love affair from then. When I was in my early teens, I’d wake up on Saturday morning, go into town to buy a new book and then spend the rest of the weekend reading it, usually finished by Sunday afternoon. My mother was so concerned by my lack of interest in being a street-raker that she actually consulted a doctor about my behaviour (although I think most  parents would be delighted by a child who chose to stay at home and read, but hey, sometimes you just can’t win).

The last time I read a book was a couple of years ago now. Carrie, by Stephen King if I remember rightly (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t already read it. In fact, read ANYTHING by Stephen King.). But since then, I’ve not picked up a book. I have plenty of access to books and I also have a Kindle, so that’s not the problem.

I keep claiming that I “don’t have time to read”, but that’s not really true, either. I have plenty of time for Facebook and Netflix and Candy Crush and all of the other things which hog my attention. I might CLAIM to be time poor but that only seems to apply when it suits me. I think the problem is inside my brain…what I once loved about reading is the thing which is making it hard for me now. Bear with me while I elaborate.

One of the appeals of reading a book was that feeling of slipping inside the story, losing myself in the words and in my own imagination and being taken away from reality into a finely-woven tale which could completely consume me. These days, I seem to have an absolute inability to disconnect myself enough to lose myself in anything. Even when we’re watching a film or TV show, I’m picking up my phone to browse Facebook or Reddit or occasionally Twitter (I say ‘occasionally’ because, is it just me, or is that place just tumbleweed central these days? No-one seems to chat on there like they used to).

People have noticed how attached to social media I am and it’s become a bit of a running joke, but it’s also starting to worry me. It seems like my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has become all-encompassing. It’s definitely a lifestyle thing; when I was young and single, I literally NEVER turned down a night out or a chance to socialise. I could be settling down in my pyjamas, get a phone call and be in the pub in half an hour flat because I couldn’t bear the thought that people were having fun without me, and I think Facebook has become a substitute for that – I can still be sitting in my pyjamas, not NEEDING to go out and still be connected to everything that’s going on in my friends lives.

I’ve seen other people take a social media detox and I genuinely wonder how they do it. Going on Facebook, either by app or desktop, has become almost like a reflex, something I do as a matter course and I really feel like I need to take a break. The main fear is that, because so much of my work is social-based or reliant on a social media scoring, stepping away means losing money but I think I need to give it a go and see before I let it consume me. From next week, I’ll be removing the app from my phone and only accessing Facebook via my laptop, and I’ll only be using my laptop during “work” hours.

I need to re-learn how to read. How to watch a TV show without picking up my phone every two seconds. How to interact with my kids and Husband without there being a screen between me and them.

And the stupid thing is, the thought of it fucking terrifies me.

How To Tackle Tidying: The Easy Way

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We all love a clean and tidy home, but it is rare we love the process. Busy modern life might include work, travel, social occasions and family commitments to name a few. Cleaning and tidying can be the last thing we feel like doing. But occasionally, a small change in our approach can make a big impact on the results. A tidy environment can instantly give us a sense of space and clarity. It can encourage us to take a bit of healthy pride in our home. It can even make things run more smoothly through the day as we’re far more likely to be able to find things. If you have tidying to tackle on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, look no further than the helpful tips below.

Make A List

It may seem that making a list is counterproductive if we’re short on time. Surely it takes us extra time to write the list? But there are many advantages to writing a list that will save us time overall. Firstly, we will have a clear idea of what needs to be done. We can work calmly and methodically without allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed. If necessary, we can even set times or days for each thing on the list. That way, we will be confident that everything will get done. Even if we’re very short on time. Another advantage of the list is the sense of accomplishment we feel when we tick things off! Seeing the list shrink before our eyes can feel like a weight is lifting. We can then use this feeling of motivation and accomplishment as momentum to get everything else done too.

Set A Timer

It can be easy to lose track of time when we’re cleaning. We can quickly become tired and frustrated, and it makes it harder to return to work after a break. Instead, try setting a timer. Many people swear by the positive effects of even ten to fifteen minutes of tidying. You may wish to set longer but don’t be tempted to go above an hour and a half without a break. If the work is physically strenuous, incorporate more regular breaks than this. Ultimately, setting a timer helps us to stay focus and minimise distractions. We are more likely to work intensively for a short burst of time. Over a long, uncertain time period we can quickly lose interest or become distracted.

Invest In Equipment

Cleaning and tidying is far more fun if we have reliable and effective equipment. It can be downright frustrating if we don’t. We should try to invest in a good vacuum cleaner, for example. Dusters and tea towels can be important for achieving shine and cleanliness too. Reputable brands like The Linen Works make fabrics that are more durable. We won’t have to put in as much effort to achieve excellent results!

Extra Storage

If you find that you seem to be constantly tidying or always cluttered, you may simply need extra storage. Even if you’re short on space, many containers are fold-away or stackable. You may find that storage actually frees up space rather than limits it. This can often make tidying a breeze.

My LITTLE Bucket List

I see a lot of people talking about their ‘bucket list’ of things that they want to do before a certain time and they’re always full of grand ambitions – sky dives, mountain climbs and foreign travel always feature highly. However, there are lots of LITTLE things that I want to do to, seeingly achievable things that I just never get around to doing, so I thought making a list here might spur me on!

Play Bingo

One thing that I’ve always wanted to do is go to a bingo hall and play proper bingo. I love to play bingo online and do it regularly, but I’ve never had the full bingo hall experience. My mother in law and I have been talking about going for about ten years now and I’m determined to make it happen one of these days!

Fly a Plane

Flying a plane has been a lifelong ambition of mine, ever since I was tiny and had a career plan mapped out towards becoming an astronaut (stupid short-sightedness ruining my plans. Grr.). Anyway, I recently discovered that there’s a company at the local airport which offers tandem plane flights where you get to take the controls, as well as full-blown flying lesson, so I have no excuses to not try.

Start Acting

When I was a kid, I was quite fond of acting and was part of various am-dram clubs, but obviously as I got older and things like work and eventually kids got in the way. I’d absolutely lvoe to find the time to get involved with a drama group again and act in plays and musicals, and I think it’s the sort of thing which is very good for the soul.

Stand Up

This one is a bit of a secret ambition, but I’ve wanted for ages to have a go at stand up. I even have a secret file on my phone and laptop containing material that I would use if I ever took the plunge. It’s something which I imagine takes a huge amount of courage and a very thick skin, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know how terrible I am!

Write a Novel

I have to say, I think MOST bloggers would tell you that they’d love to write a book, and I’m no exception! I haven’t decided yet quite WHAT I’ll write about, whether it’ll be for adults or kids, a novel or short stories, or even something factual, but I just know that somewhere in me there’s a book that’s dying to get out!

What would be on your little bucket list?

Half An Hour a Day

Woman-reading-magazine-on-sofaAs you’ll know if you’re a regular Mum’s the Word reader, last September we moved to a rural location about ten miles away from where we’d lived for the previous 9 years. Sausage was given the option to change schools (or become home educated), or stay where she was and she chose the latter option. This means that we have about a 20 minute drive each way a couple of times a day to get her to and from school. Unfortunately, the school has a bit of a parking issue which means that getting there any later than about 2.40pm pretty much guarantees that I won’t find a space.

Leaving an hour early may sound like a massive pain, but I’ve started to really relish the time – more often than not, BB falls asleep on the way so by the time we get there, I’ve got about half an hour, sometimes 45 minutes, of pure, unadulterated time to myself. I’ve taken to attempting a number of activities during this time – sometimes I like to play mobile bingo, sometimes I read a magazine, sometimes I watch a TV show on my mobile phone, sometimes I listen to the radio…and sometimes I simply do nothing!

It may sound self-indulgent or unproductive, but I genuinely believe that this 30-40 minutes a day makes me a better Mum. Having time to decompress and do something JUST for me once a day really recharges my batteries and by the time Sausage comes out of school, I’m a happier, more relaxed Mummy and I’m able to give the girls my full attention far more easily.

BB is at an age where she’s pretty full-on. She’s quite demanding at times, and sometimes I have days where I feel like I’ve had a person ON me all day long. Don’t get me wrong, I adore these times and don’t take for granted the fact that I get to be at home with her as I know a lot of Mums who would love the opportunity, but it can be quite intense. That’s why I need just a little time each day to shake of “mumdom” and be me for a while. I even bought a copy of Take a Break today and I fully intend to complete ALL of the competitions in it during tomorrows ‘me time’!

What do you do to get some time for yourself? Is it a daily thing or do you save it all up and do one big thing for yourself each week? I’d love to hear all about your me time, so please do leave me a comment below.

The Year That Was.

NEW YEAR2015 has been a pretty odd year for us. We started the year living in the little bungalow that we’d lived in for the previous 5 years but knowing that we had the prospect of moving hanging over us because our landlord wanted to sell. We moved in March, thinking we’d found a long-term home, only for our new landlord to decide to sell up so by September we were living in our third home of the year. It’s all  very bittersweet; we’ve been messed around and had the rug pulled out from under us but we’ve ended up in a home which is a bit of a dream for us, so while I wouldn’t want to repeat any of the process that got us here, I’m kind of glad it all happened.

Sausage and Burrito Baby have taken the upheaval totally in their strides. Sausage is doing well at school and is adjusting brilliantly to it all while BB seems to be growing into a lovely little girl. We’ve struggled with her fiery temper and have worried about her on and off but she’s started talking NON-STOP which seems to have curbed her frustration at being unable to communicate and helped her blossom into a wonderful little person who is loving and sweet, just like her big sister.

Husband loves life in the country and is thriving on having space to walk Chuck. At the beginning of the year, he set himself some personal goals which he not only achieved but actually completely smashed and I’m really proud of him for sticking to his commitment to living a healthier life.

As for me…well, this year has been a time for contemplation and adjustment. I’ve had a lot of personal turmoil over the past two and a half years, monumental things that have happened behind the scenes which have really thrown my whole world into disarray. I haven’t blogged about any of it, nor talked about it on social media but needless to say, it’s meant that I’ve had to change the way I view a lot of thing, including what the word “family” means.

Removing people from my life for the sake of my own mental health has meant that I’ve had to re-evaluate and restructure – Husband, Sausage and BB are the most important people in my world and I’m lucky enough to have an extended set of in-laws who I probably wouldn’t have coped without for the past 2 years. It’s taken a long time for me to deal with the fact that my world, and my family, is a lot smaller than I expected it to be at this stage of my life but that I’m also happier. Calmer. More at peace.

Moving forward, I’m hoping that 2016 is free from major changes or upsets and that I can continue to develop my career and take on new projects. Mum’s the Word has been in existence for over 5 years and I’m not feeling any less in love with blogging than I have been since the beginning. I’d like my writing to evolve on to other things and obviously I’d like to make a bit more money somehow, but for now I’m content with the way life is going. I also want to make more time to help others; I don’t have the resources to donate endlessly to charity, but time is one thing that I do have, I just need to work out what it is that I want to do – any suggestions are more than welcome.

I hope you all had a great New Years Eve and are moving into 2016 with a clear idea of what you want from this year, even if (or ESPECIALLY if) 2015 wasn’t kind to you. And just think…there’s only 511 days until the next Star Wars film is released!

My Weight Loss Journey

belly-2354_640I’ve written on this blog SO many times about how I need to lose weight, need to get fit, need to improve my lifestyle. In fact, I’ve written it so many bloody times that I’m bored of the same old self-motivating stuff that never really works and I’m not going to even link to any of the old posts here as they’re all bobbins.

Here’s the thing; over Christmas, I was really ill. The whole family was, in fact, BB and I spent about 70% of Christmas Day asleep on Husband’s Aunt’s sofa, so it was a pretty rubbish day for us, despite our family doing their best to cheer us up and make us feel better. I dragged us all back to the doctors on Boxing Day and the GP decided to send me for some tests as the illness had been lingering for a few weeks by this point and he thought I might have Glandular Fever (Mono, for anyone reading in the States). By the times the tests came back though, it became clear that GF wasn’t the issue. In fact, the reason I wasn’t getting better was that my other conditions (type 2 diabetes and an underactive thyroid) were being so poorly controlled that my immune system just wasn’t strong enough to fight off the germs.

I was sent away with an additional diabetes medication (alogliptin) to take alongside my metformin, my thyroxine dose was upped and I was also put on cholesterol medication (atorvastatin) as my cholesterol had crept up too. I was also advised that losing weight was something I needed to seriously consider. My GP drew a graph to show me what my current state of health was doing for me (which I’ve skillfully recreated in MS Paint…):
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The straight line represents what my blood sugar control should have been like, in an ideal world, for the last 7 years. The squiggly line is an approximation of what my control has actually been like over that time period. The red striped area in between represents actual damage that has been done to my body in the time that my condition has been poorly controlled. For a diabetic, that translates to damage to the retinas, heart, kidneys and other organs, as well as reduced healing times and potential shortening of life in the long run.
That little graph scared the crap out of me. 
So, while in the past I’ve written posts containing platitudes about how I MUST lose weight and I WILL take control, this post is being written from a slightly different angle. You see, that was all about 8 weeks ago now and in that time, I’ve actually managed to lose 18lb already. There are two things which have been a great help, so far; My Fitness Pal, where I log every single thing I eat and keep track of how many calories I’ve consumed (I’m allowed 1610cal at the moment) and the Pedometer app on iPhone which I’ve been using to try to up my daily step total to 10,000. I’ve walked the school run instead of using the car and at least 2 days a week, I’ll walk a super long way home instead of coming straight back. A couple of small changes to my lifestyle and I’ve already made a huge difference.
Something about seeing the potential damage done to my organs, drawn crudely in a free biro from a drugs rep, on the back of a blank prescription has given me the kick up the butt that I so badly needed. I still have a long way to go; I need to lose another 40lbs to get anywhere near a healthy weight, but losing the first 18lb with such small effort has made me realise that it’s not as hard as it seems. My willpower has slipped once or twice, but instead of throwing the towel in like I have in the past, I’m moving past each minor blip and seeing it as reinforcement to my will to complete the journey.
Also, I need to up my exercise game – if anyone has any recommendations for home workouts which won’t make me keel over or run away screaming, I’d be super grateful for them!